And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

4 June

1679
John Evelyn,
writer

‘I dined with Mr Pepys in the Tower, he having been committed by the House of Commons for misdemeanours in the Admiralty when he was secretary; I believe he was unjustly charged.’

A most excellent person

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1751
David Garrick,
actor and producer

‘So Hot I did not stir out all ye morning, Saw Devisse from London, din’d with Sir John Lambert & went to ye Comedie Italienne with Mr Mildmay belonging to the Embassy - there was nothing sure Ever so despicable & contemptible as Arlequin Scanderbeque. We did not, nor could not stay it out.’

Hiss’d off ye English Stage

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1863
John Evelyn Denison,
politician

‘Mr. Tollemache wishing to make a personal explanation as to some observations of Mr. Gladstone’s about the Committee on the Holyhead packet - Then rose Colonel Douglas Pennant - Mr. Gladstone explained - Then rose Mr. H. Herbert - I had to interfere. Mr. Herbert moved that the House do adjourn. Then Mr. Hennessey spoke, all attacking Mr. Gladstone - I had again to interfere. Then Lord Robert Cecil tried to get a stronger expression from me about Mr. Gladstone’s words, but without success. The whole thing was verging on great irregularity, reference to past debates, etc. Still a personal explanation could hardly be permitted, and so the thing grew in dimensions, always growing more irregular as it went on.

The House was in a touchy, irritable state; the slightest step on my part might have raised a storm. It was a flare up all in a moment. But such is always the case with the sharpest hurricanes. The barometer gives no notice.’

A dignified Speaker

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1864
John L. Ransom,
soldier

‘Have not been dry for many days. Raining continually. Some men took occasion, while out after wood, to overpower the guard and take to the pines. Not yet been brought back. Very small rations of poor molasses, corn bread and bug soup.’

See maggots squirming

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1935
William Soutar,
poet

‘TO MY DIARY (on a dull day)
Since verse has power to give a grace
Even to the commonplace
I shall, within a rhyme, declare
The cupboard of my mind is bare
Not only of an underdone
Cutlet of thought; the very bone
Of prosy platitude is gone.
And since for you, my hungry hound,
No meaty morsel can be found;
And since I would not have you own
A master who could proffer none,
I bleed myself to be your drink:
Is not the blood of poets - ink?’

My hungry hound

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1964
Waguih Ghali,
writer

‘Am at the office. Lovely sunny day. Woke up in an excellent mood. Sang in the car going to work. Perhaps even relieved that that Liselotte thing is finished with. Had a nice walk in the sun to the bank. Bought Simone de Beauvoir’s Le deuxième sexe - in English, unfortunately. But something to read in lieu of depression and thinking. “Thoughts are a disease of the flesh,” said Thomas Hardy.

Will go swimming at noon. Let me live today for today and damn everything else. I’ve got enough to eat, haven’t I? A flat? A car. What do I want? A woman? I’ll go get one from a dancing hall this weekend. Fuck her and throw her. It is the only language they understand. They love that. They’ll love you for it. Leave my bloody anaemic sentimentality and sickliness - Let me be fresh, for Christ’s sake. Am in a good mood today.’

Death in my heart

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1968
Dang Thuy Tram,
doctor

‘Rain falls without respite. Rain deepens my sadness, its chill making me yearn for the warmth of a family reunion. If only I had wings to fly back to our beautiful house on Lo Duc Street, to eat with Dad, Mom, and my siblings, one simple meal with watercress and one night’s sleep under the old cotton blanket. Last night I dreamed that Peace was established, I came back and saw everybody. Oh, the dream of Peace and Independence has burned in the hearts of thirty million people for so long. For Peace and Independence, we have sacrificed everything. So many people have volunteered to sacrifice their whole lives for two words: Independence and Liberty. I, too, have sacrificed my life for that grandiose fulfillment.’

The crimes of war

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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.

SITE DEVISED by Paul K Lyons

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, usually several every week. The blog has been publishing for over five years, and is the secondary source for the diary extracts in this online anthology.