And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

16 July

Thomas Raikes,

‘I called on the Duke of Wellington this morning; he says the news from France has astounded all the diplomates in London, and gives the most fearful apprehensions for the future, as well for France as for all Europe.’

A mania for gossip


John Addington Symonds,

‘The people of Milan are very unquiet to-night. They have been excited by a speech of Garibaldi, in which he denounced Napoleon, called him ‘traditore,’ ‘mosso da libidine,’ ‘capo di briganti, di assassini.’ The Milanese hate the French, and are beginning to weary of the Sardinian government, and because they have to pay heavier taxes they regret the Austrians. This promulgation of Garibaldi has roused them against France and Sardinia, and made them furious for a Republic. To-night they propose a demonstration; all the soldiers - cavalry, infantry, and National Guard - are in readiness to suppress it. While I was writing, a confused murmur reached our ears. We got up and ran to our window, which looks both up and down the street. Instantly we perceived that a large band of men, with lighted torches, were rapidly advancing up the street. A crowd formed in front of them. We saw men behind and at the sides. The bright red torches swayed about, burning and smoking with a glare upon the houses crowded with faces. Something seemed to interrupt their progress. A great noise arose, and the crowd increased. It was picturesque to see them toss their flambeaux up and down to make them shine, and in the distance each man looked like a shape of flame. Eschmann came up and told us that this was one of four divisions of the demonstration; 400 of another had been taken prisoners, and these were surrounded with soldiers. The soldiers forced them to break up, the crowd dropped away, and so ended the émeute. I often wondered what a demonstration meant. This is a pretty and picturesque specimen.’

A splendid liquid sky


Alexandra Feodorovna,

‘Grey morning, later lovely sunshine. Baby has a slight cold. All went out 1/2 hour in the morning, Olga & I arranged our medicines. Tatiana read Spir. Readings. They went out. Tatiana stayed with me Sc we read: Bk. of the Pr. Amos and Pr. Obadiah. Tatted. Every moring the Command, comes to our rooms, at last after a week brought eggs again for Baby.


Suddenly Lyonka Sednyov was fetched to go & see his Uncle & flew off - wonder whether its true & we shall see the boy back again!

Played bezique with Nicholas.

to bed. 15 degrees.’

Death of the Romanovs


Bruce Lockhart,

‘Dined with Fletcher at the St James’s. He gave me a lot of information about our secret service. The head of it now is Admiral Sinclair, a terrific anti-Bolshevik, who has succeeded the old ‘C.’, Mansfield Cumming. The new ‘C.’ is hard up for men for Russia. Incidentally, discovered that Kenworthy has a bad war-record. During the war he was in command of a destroyer in the North Sea and ran into a merchantman. He was the first man to abandon his ship. The gunner, however, and some of the crew succeeded in patching up the leak, and Kenworthy came back. Kenworthy was relieved of his command - but not by court-martial - and was sent to Gibraltar. During war, too, Kenworthy also attended a revolutionary luncheon at which toasts were drunk to the English Republic. Basil Thomson’s man reported this to Admiralty. Beatty and ‘Rosie’ Wemyss were furious and went to L.G. Latter, however, refused to act. Kenworthy has also made a considerable packet of money out of his deals with Russia. Not a good candidate. . . Late to bed. Went on to club afterwards.’

Secret agent in Moscow


Hermione Llewellyn,
secretary and noblewoman

‘A magnificent parcel, covered in tape and seals, arrived for me from India. Inside were two pairs of old-fashioned corsets with bones and laces. They were sent by HRH The Duke of Gloucester. Nick and I had an argument as to how one should thank one of the Royal Family for a present of corsets. Whichever way we put it looked disrespectful. Finally, we sent a telegram saying: ‘Reinforcements received. Positions now held. Most grateful thanks.’ ’

Reinforcements received


Renia Spiegel,

‘You probably want to know what a closed-off ghetto looks like. Pretty ordinary. Barbed wire all around, with guards watching the gates (a German policeman and Jewish police). Leaving the ghetto without a pass is punishable by death. Inside, there are only our people, close ones, dear ones. Outside, there are strangers. My soul is so very sad. My heart is seized with terror.

I missed Zygus so much today. I thought about him all the time. I’ve longed so much for his caresses, nobody knows how much. After all, we face such a terrible situation. You will help me, Bulus and God.’

I just want a friend


John Rupert Colville,
civil servant

‘Things came to a head today, at any rate within 10 Downing Street. Before luncheon Harold Macmillan came to see Lady Churchill and told her that the Cabinet was in danger of breaking up on this issue. When he had gone she rang me up and asked me to come and see her. I in fact knew more about the situation than she did and since she proposed to “open” the matter to Winston at luncheon, I suggested I should stay too.

She began by putting her foot into it in saying that the Cabinet were angry with W. for mishandling the situation, instead of saying that they were trying to stop Salisbury going. He snapped back at her - which he seldom does - and afterwards complained to me that she always put the worst complexion on everything in so far as it affected him. However, he did begin to see that Salisbury’s resignation would be serious on this issue, whereas two days ago when I mentioned the possibility to him he said that he didn’t “give a damn”. On the other hand it became clear that he had taken the steps he had, without consulting the Cabinet, quite deliberately. He admitted to me that if he had waited to consult the Cabinet after the Queen Elizabeth returned, they would almost certainly have raised objections and caused delays. The stakes in this matter were so high and, as he sees it, the possible benefits so crucial to our survival, that he was prepared to adopt any methods to get a meeting with the Russians arranged.’

My first day at No. 10


Carolina Maria de Jesus,
rubbish collector

‘I got up and obeyed Vera Eunice. I went to get the water. I made coffee. I told the children that I didn’t have any bread, that they would have to drink their coffee plain and eat meat with farinha. I was feeling ill and decided to cure myself. I stuck my finger down my throat twice, vomited, and knew I was under the evil eye. The upset feeling left and I went to Senhor Manuel, carrying some cans to sell. Everything that I find in the garbage I sell. He gave me 13 cruzeiros. I kept thinking that I had to buy bread, soap, and milk for Vera Eunice. The 13 cruzeiros wouldn’t make it. I returned home, or rather to my shack, nervous and exhausted. I thought of the worrisome life that I led. Carrying paper, washing clothes for the children, staying in the street all day long. Yet I’m always lacking things, Vera doesn’t have shoes and she doesn’t like to go barefoot. For at least two years I’ve wanted to buy a meat grinder. And a sewing machine.

I came home and made lunch for the two boys. Rice, beans, and meat, and I’m going out to look for paper. I left the children, told them to play in the yard and not to go into the street, because the terrible neighbours I have won’t leave my children alone. I was feeling ill and wished I could lie down. But the poor don’t rest nor are they permitted the pleasure of relaxation. I was nervous inside, cursing my luck. I collected two sacks full of paper. Afterward I went back and gathered up some scrap metal, some cans, and some kindling wood. As I walked I thought - when I return to the favela there is going to be something new.’

There’s nothing to eat


Don Kazimir,
sailor and submarine captain

‘We were drifting nicely at 200 meters. . . F. Busby, D. Kazimir, C. May, and J. Piccard have slight colds. The cabin temperature got up to a comfortable 66 °F. C. May checked iodine concentration in the number 1 and 2 fresh water tanks and found no iodine - cannot understand why, the concentration should be 6 ppm. The same for tanks 3 and 4. C. May was having difficulty with the bunk counters and some sleep monitoring caps. The number 1 hot water tank was cooling down fast since the vacuum was lost - will shift tanks soon. Good luck message was sent to Apollo 11 astronauts.’

The deeper you delve


Jacques Piccard,

‘All during the night the Franklin has drifted slowly at about 600 feet. Nothing has been moved to adjust her stability. Everything is fine, we are at a point 69 miles southeast of Cape Kennedy. We send a message to the Apollo 11 crew, a few hours before they leave for the moon. At 9:32, we hear - indirectly by way of radio and underwater telephone - the countdown and departure of the most fantastic expedition ever undertaken by man.’

The deeper you delve


Woodrow Wyatt,

‘John Major came to dinner. The dear wronged and injured man, free of the strains he was put under, was cheerful. He will give up Huntingdon to let Chris Patten in. “He’s my best friend.”

John said he wanted Patten to be Prime Minister and he would resign at the appropriate moment, possibly going to the Lords: he might not even do that.

I said I thought William Hague was pretty ghastly. John said he would get Chris Patten back in the House to challenge him. This is allowed under the rules where there can be a leadership change once a year, unless they alter the rules beforehand which I don’t believe Hague would dare to do. John said he voted for Kenneth Clarke for the leadership as the best man to rattle Blair on the economy, though he thought Ken a real bastard.

John thought they [Labour] would get two terms. It would be too difficult to disperse such a huge majority after only one parliament. I said, “It is quite extraordinary how all their ideas are yours and from the Tory Party.”

I suppose it is possible that Patten could be acceptable as a sort of centre candidate. He’d certainly be better than Hague. John said, “I don't want this dreadful, overdone, right-wing stuff all the time. I want someone to lead from the centre where it’s best to be, in the centre or slightly right.”

I remain convinced that Portillo has the best chance now that he has calmed down, but he must be warned to have no connection with David Hart. Rifkind was a fool to have him as his political adviser when he was a senior minister.

I am very fond of John. He was a very capable PM, making the economy the best ever. However, the modern Tory Party is top-heavy with shallow minds and blatant self-seekers. They expect quick results and have little guts or loyalty. They short-change the leader when the going’s rough.

It was lucky we didn’t have a cowardly crew like that when we stood alone against Hitler. They’re nothing like the old Tory MP squires who put first their duty to the country.’

Blatant self-seekers


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And so made significant . . .
is the world’s greatest online anthology of diary extracts. It is presented in the same way as popular books like The Assassin’s Cloak and The Faber Book of Diaries, i.e. by calendar day, but contains more, and many longer, extracts than is possible in published books. Moreover, for each quoted extract there’s a link to a Diary Review article with some or all of the following: further extracts, biographical information, contexts, a portrait, and links to online sources/etexts. Furthermore, new extracts are added on a regular basis.

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Notes and Cautions
In general, these diary extracts are quoted as given in the published (book or online) source referred to in the reference articles. Each extract may be all, a large part of, or a small part of the complete entry for that day. I have tried to indicate where text has been removed from within a quote by the use of trailing dots in square bracket.

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The Diary Junction is one of those wonderful privately maintained public resources for which the Internet is justly celebrated: a database of information about celebrated and obscure diaries[over 500] from all historical periods, with referrals to the dates the diaries cover, where the originals are held and bibliographic information on published versions.’ Laura Miller, Salon

The Diary Review, hosted by Blogger, publishes magazine-style articles on diaries and diarists, several times a week. Now over ten years old, The Diary Review is the secondary source for the extracts in this online anthology.