And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

21 June

John Evelyn,

‘I saw a great auction of pictures in the Banqueting house, Whitehall. They had been my Lord Melford’s, now Ambassador from King James at Rome, and engaged to his creditors here. Lord Mulgrave and Sir Edward Seymour came to my house, and desired me to go with them to the sale. Divers more of the great lords, etc., were there, and bought pictures dear enough. There were some very excellent of Vandyke, Rubens, and Bassan. Lord Godolphin bought the picture of the Boys, by Murillo the Spaniard, for 80 guineas, dear enough; my nephew Glanville, the old Earl of Arundel’s head by Rubens, for £20. Growing late, I did not stay till all were sold.’

A most excellent person


Richard Pococke,
priest and traveller

‘We went three miles to Milcraig (mr Cuthbert’s), a fine situation at the foot of the hill, commanding a view of the river and the country below. Near it is a deep glyn in which there runs a mountain torrent. The banks of it are green and most beautifully adorned with woods. We saw three or four kerns as belonging anciently to the heads of several villages, for their burial places, but on seeing the Picts’ houses since, I doubt whether they might not be the habitations of those people. In three miles from Milcraig, going very disagreeable heathy mountains, we came to a rivulet, and continued on about two miles, passed another mountain torrent, and came into the fine country which is on the Frith of Dornock. I saw a small Druid temple with two or three stones in the middle near the rivulet, and a little further some remains of another. Here I observed grey granite in large spots of white and darker colour.

We came to Ardmore, Mr Bailey’s, near the river, where we stayed two hours, the family being at Rosehall. In these parts they find beds of shells at a little distance from the sea, but not petrified, and they are used for manure. We went westward and soon came to a large kern, the entrance to which about half-way up is visible with a large stone over it. If the entrances are not on a level with the ground I look on it as a mark that they were burial-places; if they are great ruins, that they were castles; and if covered over with green sod, that they were Picts’ houses. . .

They have no miles here different from the English in measure, but the acre is five perches more than than the English. (I think the Highland miles are not above the proportion of 2 to 3 as in England.)’

The Highland manners


Gaspar de Portolá,

‘The 21st, we proceeded for four hours on a good road in sight of the ocean. We halted in a gully where there was much water and pasture. Here the expedition rested for one day. During this interim, some natives came [to the camp] and one of them made signs that he had come across other people ahead [of us], indicating that in twelve days we would reach the place where they had halted and were living in houses, and that there were [still] other people in that place. This served to cheer us as we thus understood from the chief that the ships were there. In this place we noticed that there were two islands; it is a large bay with the landmarks that Cabrera Bueno gives for the bay of Todos Santos.’

They be permitted to dance


Thomas Raikes,

‘Francis has been overwhelmed with despair since his condemnation; he asserts that the pistol was not loaded with ball, that he had no wish to hurt the Queen, but that his sole object was to obtain notoriety, and be shut up for life like Oxford, where he would be sure of a relief from his poverty, and support at the public Expense.’

A mania for gossip


John Addington Symonds,

‘We set off this morning at seven for the Flégère. Papa and I rode mules - stupid beasts, that stopped at every bush and rivulet to eat and drink. Balmat was charming through the day. He is a perfect gentleman in manners and feeling, nor is there the least affectation or parvenuism about him. When I compare him with [some] specimens of English travellers, I blush for my countrymen. Here is a guide of Chamonix, the son of a guide (who would not allow him to go to school or to learn the geology for which he has always had a passion, for fear he might leave Chamonix), whose manners are better, sentiments more delicate, knowledge more extensive, views more enlightened, than most of these soi-disant gentlemen and educated men. It is a great pity that his father would not allow him to study when young, for he might have become one of the first geologists of Europe, such fine opportunities for discovery do these mountains afford, and such an advantage his skill and intrepidity have given him. Though a mountaineer, he never brags, and is always considerate for weaker brethren like papa and me. I like very much to see him walking before our mules with his green spectacles, and old brown wideawake upon his grizzled hair, nodding kindly to the old men and women, joking with the guides, and smiling at the little children. He is patriarch of the valley, and nothing can be done without the advice of M. Balmat. After an ascent of two hours we arrived at at La Flégère, and saw before us the whole Mont Blanc range. For the first time we appreciated the height of the king himself. Now he towered above all the peaks. The names of most of the aiguilles and glaciers I knew. Balmat told us the rest in order. The Aiguille de Charmoz is still my favourite, guarding the entrance to the Mer de Glace. Here papa read ‘Come down, maid,’ from the Princess. It was appropriate, for never were mountains better described than in that idyll.’

A splendid liquid sky


James Hannington,

‘Went to town with Sam. Visited Kew; poor reception. Went to British Museum; warm reception. Slept at C.M. College. Gave address to the students.’

The bishop in Buganda


Florence Farmborough,

‘Enemy aeroplanes had been over about 4 a.m. and awakened us; discontented murmurings came from most beds. We took turns in washing, with as little water as possible. Once or twice we had tried to persuade Rupertsov, our tent-boy, to scrounge another bucketful for us. He would screw his face up and shake his head. Smirnov’s tent was next door to the water-cart and woe betide the person who tried to steal more than his share, for Smirnov knew each one’s quota to a spoonful. Our water-cart had to go to Bojikov to be filled, so we had been warned not to be extravagant.’

Guilty of murder


Guy Mayfield,

‘Serious air raid on Tuesday. The aircraft was over here about midnight. We listened to it, standing outside the Mess. We watched the AA guns open and heard whistling incendiaries drop on Cambridge where about 11 people were killed by another large bomb. Petre, Clouston and Ball were sent up. Petre and Clouston claim one shot down apiece. Petre is badly burned but alive. The aircraft shot down by Ball came down near Fulbourne. I went to see it the next morning. The debris was scattered over 300 yards. There was some loot among it: rugger vests and bales of French cloth. Three prisoners are here with us: the navigator, von Arnim, was given breakfast in the Mess and I was given charge of entertaining him. A sergeant is in the guard room; one wounded officer is in the sick bay. We buried a corpse, Paul Gerech, assumed to be RC, at Whittlesford today, I represented the CO. It was strange to see the Nazi flag on the coffin in England. While I was looking at the wreckage, I was joined by the AOC of the Bomber Group; we both looked at the bales of cloth, then at each other, and said nothing.

Life is now very hectic. “Ted Kid Lewis”, the boxing instructor here, is suspected of fifth column activity. I think he is merely punch drunk and talks, so he shouldn’t be here. Croker, a corporal, is also suspect and is being watched by MI5. He knows this and came to see me and to get advice. Two undisturbed nights. But it looks as if there will be life tonight.’

Bader ‘squirted’ him


Charles Kikuchi,

‘Lots of visitors as usual. Many of them probably came out of curiosity to look at us and the camp. Makes one feel like being either in a zoo or a prison. The person who owns the property across the highway in front of the main gate has opened up a very profitable enterprise. He has a 15 cent parking lot!’

The Americanization process


John F. Kennedy,

‘Tonight it looks like Labor and a good thing it will be for the cause of free enterprise. The problems are so large that it is right that Labor, which has been nipping at the heels of private enterprise in England for the last twenty-five years, should be faced with the responsibility of making good on its promises.

D_ maintains that free enterprise is the losing cause. Capitalism is on the way out - although many Englishmen feel that this is not applicable to England with its great democratic tradition and dislike of interference with the individual.

I should think that they might be right in prosperous times, but when times go bad, as they must inevitably, it will be then that controls will be clamped on - and then the only question will be the extent to which they are tightened.

Socialism is inefficient; I will never believe differently, but you can feed people in a socialistic state, and that may be what will insure its eventual success.

Mr. Roosevelt has contributed greatly to the end of Capitalism in our own country, although he would probably argue the point at some length. He has done this, not through the laws which he sponsored or were passed during his Presidency, but rather through the emphasis he put on rights rather than responsibilities - through promises like, for example, his glib and completely impossible campaign promise of 1944 of 60,000,000 jobs.

He must have known that it was an impossibility to ever implement this promise, and it will hang as a sword over the head of a Capitalistic system - a system that will be discredited by its inability to make that promise good.’

JFK‘s diary strikes gold


Hermann Buhl,

‘Camp 4

High winds during the night. Entrance under a meter of windblown snow, tent no longer visible at all. Set off at 8:30 with a 100 m rope up the Rakhiot ice wall. Stretched it out with other bits of gear at the bottom, but still 30 m short of the bergschrund. Traverse behind the Rakhiot Shoulder prepared: smooth ice . . . Cut many steps, weather good but windy.

Then a diagonal traverse up brittle snow to Rakhiot Peak. Strong wind and cold. Climbed the last needle, IV, without gloves; just like being at home. First seven thousander, 7070 m. Otto stayed down below.

Over the summit, down the other side without rope. Wonderful view to Silbersattel and Nanga, particularly the South Face above the fog.

Climbed down to Moor’s Head, left snow shovel behind. Mist whipping up the ridge. Traverse back to Rakhiot Face. Send Otto back to cook something while I cut a ladder of steps down the Face. Three porters, Hermann and Kuno are at the Camp. I arrive at 7 o’clock but no food is ready yet. There are two tents in the hollow.

Tomorrow we are supposed to go to Camp 5. I’m already looking forward to it.’

Scenery fantastic - like home


Paul K. Lyons,



Say goodbye to Mutti and am on the road by 11.30. First lift is from a friendly van driver - we communicate little in French. Lifts take me past Liege and Aachen and Koln - from the autobahn there is a magnificent view of Koln and the cathedral. Two splendid lifts follow - the first to Frankfurt from a young guy who offers to take me into town for a meal after two hours at a conference - I decline. But I am very lucky to change some money - the E-5 goes straight by the airport - phew! - I will eat this weekend. A student in a rented car takes me to and around Wurzburg. It is very lovely - there’s an old chateaux by the castle on the hill overlooking all, and an old palace where an international Mozart festival is being held. I finish off the night with a non-talking falling-asleep lift to just outside Nurnberg.’

Around the world in diary days


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And so made significant . . .
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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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