And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

22 July

Richard Rogers,

‘This month, tor all the gracious intraunce into it, which I made mention of before, a sweet seasoninge of my minde with sensible sorow for mine unnwoorthiness and wants, hath been much lik unto the former, for though I began well, yet I by litle and litle fell from the strenghth which I had gotten and became unprofitable in study, and praier and med[itation] were not continued privatly of me with such ioy as the first week, yet not broken of. But I felt not how the frut of them did sweetly accompany me all the day after. And study was better folowed the first and 2 week then since, but setled at it I cannot feele my self, which is my sorow. And among other thinges I cannot feele use of that which I know, nether have any freshe remembr[ance] of it for that I doe not still increase it. What strugglinges and yet apparent hindraunces I feele about it, it is merveilous. In the other 3 thinges about the which and this I am especially occupied, as I cannot say that there hath passed much against me to accuse me, so I count that to have been becaus I have not had such occasions offred me as might have proved me. And for that the lord hath kept these from me in great measure, let me geve glory to the lorde allwayes.

I thanck god at the setting downe hereof I was well affected, and mine hart since yesterday was greeved to see such a decay of grac as partly now I have set downe. And in deed I am glad that I may see with grief when there is any declineing in my lif, seing it cannot be avoided but such shalbe, but yet that thei are so often, and that so few times of grace may be redde in these papers to have been inioyed of me, it is no meane grief unto me.

I escaped a great peril of the disfiguring of my fac, if no greater, under a tree at the commencment. Where, to see how their ordrelynes in other places creepeth in also, it may iustly greev a Christian hart. We mett at B. also this week and conferred. I visited 2 sick persons this time, not without profit. I have also been well affected at the doctrine of exod[us] 16 for the most part this month, weeping once or twice.’

Diverse corners of my heart


Benjamin Franklin,

‘Yesterday in the afternoon we left London, and came to an anchor off Gravesend about eleven at night. I lay ashore all night, and this morning took a walk up to the Windmill Hill, from whence I had an agreeable prospect of the country for above twenty miles round, and two or three reaches of the river, with ships and boats sailing both up and down, and Tilbury Fort on the other side, which commands the river and passage to London. This Gravesend is a cursed biting place; the chief dependence of the people being the advantage they make of imposing upon strangers. If you buy anything of them, and give half what they ask, you pay twice as much as the thing is worth. Thank God, we shall leave it tomorrow.’

Founding Father Franklin


Robert Lester,

‘This Morning, at break of day, we left the above Town, and now we are come into a wide River, we meet with great numbers of Boats, loaded with Plunder, belonging to the King of Ava, taken at Pegu, and I am informed going up to Prone, Ava, &c. and that the King is not far from us. At 3 this Afternoon, we came to a small Town, on the bank of the River, where we found the King, in his Barge, with great numbers of other Boats attending him: Antonio waited on the King, to acquaint him I was come, and, at 5 o’clock, a Messenger came from Antonio to acquaint me, that the King would give me Audience to-morrow morning and that it was the King’s Desire I should send the Present by the Messenger, which I delivered.’

An audience with Alaungpaya


Letitia Hargrave,
wife of colonist

‘Went on deck before 8am to see a large ice berg. Miss Allan describes it as being like a hay stack. It was about 160 feet above water and an oblong square plenty of ice all round.’

York Factory lady


Laura Matilda Towne,

‘Our guns have come! Captain Thorndyke brought over twenty and gave Nelly instructions. Commodore Du Pont was here this afternoon. The people came running to the school-room - “Oh, Miss Ellen, de gunboat come!” I believe they thought we were to be shelled out. Ellen, Nelly, and I went down to the bluff and there lay a steamboat in front of Rina’s house, and a gig was putting off with flag flying and oars in time. Presently a very imposing uniformed party landed, and, coming up the bluff, Commodore Du Pont introduced himself and staff. We invited him in. He said he had come to explore the creek and to see a plantation. They stayed only about ten minutes, were very agreeable and took leave. Commodore Du Pont is a very large and fine- looking man. He invited us all to visit the Wabash and seemed really to wish it.’

First school for freed slaves


John L. Ransom,

‘A petition is gotten up, signed by all Sergeants in the prison, to be sent to Washington, D. C., begging to be released. Captain Wirtz has consented to let three representatives go for that purpose. Rough that it should be necessary for us to beg to be protected by our Government.’

See maggots squirming


Thomas Hardy,

‘To Winterbome-Came Church with Gosse, to hear and see the poet Barnes. Stayed for sermon. Barnes, knowing we should be on the watch for a prepared sermon, addressed it entirely to his own flock, almost pointedly excluding us. Afterwards walked to the rectory and looked at his pictures.

Poetry versus reason: e.g., A band plays ‘God save the Queen’, and being musical the uncompromising Republican joins in the harmony: a hymn rolls from a church-window, and the uncompromising No-God-ist or Unconscious God-ist takes up the refrain.

White phantoms, cloven tongues


Paul Léautaud,

‘Dinner with Mme Dehaynin and her daughter. We laughed a lot over the excellent meal which, in the last resort, was to cost so little! What an adventuress! She told me she prided herself on being able to spend a couple of months at the best seaside resort without paying a franc and then get away scot free, so clever was she at twisting people round her little finger. “When I’ve worn this place out,” she said, “I’d like to go to the Ritz.” After dinner we sat in the drawing-room. We were alone, and Mme Dehaynin went to the piano and sang us La Femme à Papa, La Mascotte, Madame Angot - a whole epoch of pleasures and follies, providing a few good minutes for me.’

So I held my tongue


Albert James Sylvester,
civil servant

‘I have spent a very busy weekend on a memorandum by L.G. in answer to the Government, to be issued to the Press today. He phoned me at 7.30 a.m. giving me additions, one of which was: ‘Most of their document is taken up, not with an examination of my scheme, but with a torchlight procession of their own achievements in every sphere of activity.’

At 11.15 a.m. I accompanied L.G. to the large committee room at the House of Commons, where there was a big gathering of journalists, to whom I distributed the relevant documents. For the next hour, he reeled off answers to the questions which poured in on him. Afterwards I lunched with L.G., Dick and Gwilym at the Harcourt Room at the House. L.G. said as he was leaving the meeting one of the lobby correspondents had come up and said: ‘Would you mind telling me what is the lotion you use which keeps you so fit?’ L.G. said: ‘I answered John Power.’ (Sir Henry Fildes has just brought him a bottle of John Power Irish whiskey for him to try.)

He is a very great man


Willy Cohn,

‘Yesterday was a horrible day. Terrible upsets, with Trudi as well. Arrangements for additional payments to the Palestine Trust Office so that we can at least take Tamara with us. To the bank, where I spent an hour negotiating; then came Dr. Latte, whom we had selected as our foreign currency advisor. We found a possible way out, namely if we can use the boys’ money that was placed in blocked accounts, we may be able to take Susanne with us. I cannot even imagine separating from the child.

Regarding yesterday, I must add that I was summoned to the Gestapo in the morning in the context of a so-called “street action.” They wanted my families personal information to the extent that they are registered in Breslau, and then he asked, “When are you emigrating?” I told him that my son had applied for me. “How long could that take?” I replied, “A few months.” “You can go home now," he said. The whole matter took a few minutes.’

This won’t break us


Felix Landau,

‘. . . In the morning the workers ordered arrived. When I then wanted to go to the committee of the Jews, one of its members arrived and asked for my assistance, since the Jews refused to work there. I went over there. When these arseholes saw me, they ran away in all directions. A pity I didn’t have a pistol on me, or I would have shot some down . . . I declared that unless 100 Jews would fall in within one hour, I would choose 100 Jews to be shot. Scarcely 30 minutes later, 100 Jews arrived, and another 17 men for those that had escaped beforehand. I reported the incident and at the same time demanded that those that had run off were to be shot for having refused to work . . . 12 hours later, 20 Jews were killed.’

On parade for execution


George Barker,

‘The grammar of glorification is demonstrated at the flick of her head in the candlelight and at her smile the foundation of vocal admiration collapses in the magnificat. Mythology, in a poverty of raiment, cannot clothe her and god almighty on his throne of grace serves only to adorn the ring on her little finger. O my Canadian!’

O God George, can’t you see


David Lindsay,

‘I had to take seven children to Dunmow in Essex... Many of these children had never been into the country before and I had to tell them what a tree was, and which animals were cows. One boy saw a big flock of sheep and explained to his neighbour that they were pigs!... They will be away for a fortnight and I have no doubt they will return looking more angelic than ever. We have now sent off 700 or 800 and the emigration will go on during the whole of August... The parents nearly always do their best to help us in raising the necessary funds.’

Congealed personalities


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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.

For any other use of these diary extracts other than browsing please refer to the original sources.

Any author, publisher or other copyright holder who takes the view that I am unacceptably breaching their copyright please let me know. I have tried to remain sensitive to copyright rules (using far fewer quotes, for example, when a book, by an author still alive, remains in print and popular), but it is not practical for me to seek authorisation for every quote and article, since I maintain these websites without any funding or advertis-ing. I take the view that publicity for the source books is a quid pro quo for my use of the extracts, but I am more than happy to remove the extracts if asked.

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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.