And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

18 March

William Bray,
lawyer and antiquary

‘It pleased God to release my child William from his sufferings, when half a year old he was seized with convulsions which never left him.’

A good state of health


Juan Crespí,

‘I set out from this spot early in the morning, but at about two or three leagues past Yuvai. one of the mules which was carrying my effects gave out and lay collapsed upon the trail, unable to go on. It was necessary for the soldier who had been accompanying me to stav behind with some Indians, in order to see whether the might bring it on after resting it, and for me to leave in order to reach the old mission of Santa Maria called Calamofué. I went onward with my own two Indian boys whom I have with me, in company with some other Indians belonging to the missions who are following me; I went the whole day at a good pace, stopping for a while only to eat a bite at midday, and I came about ten o’clock at night to the aforesaid mission of Calamofué, where I met a courier from Santa Maria mission, sent by Reverend Father Preacher Fray Fermin Lasuen, with the vestment and everything else needed in order to be able to say Mass her on the following day, Palm Sunday, as I had requested of him from back at his own mission of San Borja. As it was so late at night upon my reaching here, I told them to make me some chocolate and retired to rest, for I was truly worn out.’

Settling in California


William Bagshaw Stevens,

‘After service at Foremark set out for Ashford for the sale of Mr Bullock’s Library on Monday. Spent the evening alone at Wirksworth.’

A disappointed man


Joseph Farington,

‘Dance recommended the painting clear skies with Ultramarine and White alone and then to use Ivory Black, with White for the cloud tints; adding in some cases a little vermilion or Naples yellow. He said Sir Joshua Reynolds recommended the using Black for his cloud tint, which he said would always be in harmony with the Blue and White.’

Farington on Dance


William Booth,
priest and evangelist

‘What I said of the Councils yesterday may be repeated to-day. I had a great deal more material than I could possibly introduce into two days, and on leaving out some topics, on the spur of the moment, some were left out that might have been of great benefit. However, everybody was pleased, and, I think, profited. The only question in my mind, similar to the one that haunts me in every Officers’ Council, is whether I am making the most of the opportunity.

There is no doubt that we have here a powerful body of men and women, good, devoted, and loyal to the principles of The Army, proud to be connected with it, and ready to receive instructions, and to carry them out. The great lack appears to be a want of energy, enterprise, and daring, the being content with a little success instead of reaching out to all that is possible and promising. However, they are wonderfully improved, and I hope the present Commissioner’s health will allow of his carrying them a long way farther in the direction of enthusiasm than they have reached before.’

I got the truth out


Dorothy Mackellar,

‘. . . Ruth and I went out to Diamond Bay, picnicking. It was a heavenly day and there were heaps of mauve and white violets. I told her about Pearl and Charlie, then we acted Kid Prevost’s saga for hours. The landscape did fit in! It was too good for words. The feeling is on me still, I can’t think myself free of the play. It went awfully well. Oh that sun-soaked cañon! She loved it too. Evening: Sleepy and happy. Early bed.’

I love a sunburnt country


Mary Fuller,

18 March 1914

‘Tho spring is here. I decided to hang up some New Year’s resolutions, so I jotted down six. Three of them are here; the others are too personal to set down: 1. Do the best you can, and after that dont worry. 2. Seek and accept only the best, the highest; shun all else. 3. Make keen, select judgments and stick to them.’

What happened to Mary


David Gascoyne,

Lutte et Destin
What I have suffered during the last week is too intricate to be put into words: it all seemed to crystallize today - tonight, above all, when I was walking down the Champs Elysees after leaving Kay, and the cold spring moon, and the lights, and the budding leaves on the trees, were all blurred because of the tears of self-pity swimming in my eyes. [. . .]

And then at lunch-time, at the Durrells, when we were arguing, futilely, about war and war-resistance, Miller said: ‘Yes, Durrell’s probably right; because he’s a man, if ever there was one, who’s so strongly favoured by Fortune, that even if he were fighting in the front line, he could be pretty certain of coming through without a scratch. But you’re not like that; you ask for trouble; your destiny can only be a tragic one . . .’

Faced by acute financial crisis, spent the afternoon trying to think of a way to get to England until the time to go to Switzerland. Kay having bravely volunteered to get me a return-ticket, I have now worked out a plan for the immediate future, but it’s not a very comforting one ..

In the bathroom of Kay’s hotel apartment, washing my hands, struck by a sudden indescribable desolation while listening to her cross-channel telephone conversation, in the other room, with Freddie ‘Do you love me? Yes, but’ (shouting) ‘Do you LOVE ME? - SAME HERE!’ Standing in one of the basins was an enormous bouquet of daffodils and narcissi that he had had sent to her. (I had never thought that I should one day reach the point when the spectacle of other people’s happiness would arouse only bitterness in me. And when they don’t even realise their own happiness!)

We went out and had a rather gloomy dinner, overshadowed by the horror of the Barcelona air-raids, news of trouble on the Polish-Lithuanian frontier, and the general foulness of the European outlook. Afterwards, went to see Garbo in ‘Marie Waleska’, which did nothing to calm one’s emotions. When we came out, I was feeling so wretchedly lonely that what I wanted more than anything was a long talk with Kay and a certain amount of human sympathy. But no, she was resolutely determined to go immediately back to bed; and though she must have vaguely sensed how I was feeling, this only seemed to have the effect of making her shut herself off completely. ‘Now don’t go and do anything queer’, she said, as I was saying good-night at the door of her hotel - I don’t know why, unless my expression was strange. (She meant, I suppose, don’t go and get picked up by anybody.) Walked away alone, at the end of my tether. ‘Le pauvre jeune homme’, said somebody in a group I passed in the Champs Elysees. Violent resentment of self-pity at gratuitous pity from outside.’

The poet’s destiny


John George Adamson,

‘She wants to get a divorce and to marry me; she has discussed it with Peter and he wants it. I do not know whether I want to marry her; I do not want to behave like a cad, least of all hurt her. I am single, past my youth and I want to have a wife some day - why not risk it? It will be something positive if I make her happy.

Well I “burnt my boats” and now I am in honour bound to marry her. I think it will not be difficult to fall in love with her.’

A life of Joy and lions


Pete Seeger,

‘In the afternoon Toshi and I have a long interview with another writer our age, the head of the journalists’ association, Luu Quy Ky. Luu says that after the U.S. and puppets are defeated trouble is predicted in the south. And then he goes on, “There has been much corruption by the dollar. But we know that the job is to rebuild, not recriminate. Six hundred years ago, after we defeated the Mongol army of Kublai Khan, the king’s minister brought a large box into the court of the king. “This box,” he said, “contains names of all those who collaborated with the invader.” The King ordered the box to be burned, in full view of the court. So today, the NLF proposes that there be no reprisals against the puppet mercenaries.’

They mix it up almost as I do


Leonid Brezhnev,

‘Exercise. Then talked to Chernenko. Then with C[omrades] Gromyko A.A., Andropov Ustinov - we read materials about Vance’s visit - Rang Pavlov G.S. on cost [next word started and crossed out] Read all kinds of material with Galya Dorishina Went to the circus.’

To every historian’s despair


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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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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.