And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

22 March

Ki no Tsurayuki,

‘This day the carriage arrived. Owing to the dirt on board he removed from the boat to the house of a friend.’

The earliest literary diary


Charles Wesley,
priest and evangelist

‘While I was persuading Mr Welch not to concern himself in this disturbance, I heard Mrs Hawkins cry out: ‘Murder!’ and walked away. Returning out of the woods, I was informed by Mr Welch that poor blockhead Mrs Welch had joined with Mrs Hawkins and the Devil in their slanders of me. I would not believe it till half the town told me the same, and exclaimed against her ingratitude.’

Hymn writer in sex scandal


Barclay Fox,

‘Had the long anticipated pleasure of meeting John Mill, the exquisite writer in the London & Westminster. His voice, face & manner betoken delicacy of feeling, mildness, clearness and correctness of view, with that entire absence of assumption & affectation which distinguishes the really great from the really little.’

The day came at last


George B McClellan,
soldier and engineer

‘The command ‘Fire!’ had scarcely been given when a perfect storm of iron burst upon us every gun and mortar in Vera Cruz and San Juan, that could be brought to bear, hurled its contents around us the air swarmed with them and it seemed a miracle that not one of the hundreds they fired fell into the crowded mass that filled the trenches. The recruits looked rather blue in the gills when the splinters of shells fell around them, but the veterans cracked their jokes and talked about Palo Alto and Monterey. When it was nearly dark I went to the left with Mason and passed on toward the town where we could observe our shells the effect was superb. The enemy’s fire began to slacken toward night, until at last it ceased altogether ours, though, kept steadily on, never ceasing never tiring.’

Musket fire in Vera Cruz


Charles Piazzi Smyth,

‘At the Observatory 9.30. Sig. Cacciatoro [sic] receives us urbanely. The dust on the roof of the observatory was caught on the morning of the 10th but might have fallen the previous night or day, but not the previous 3 days because the wind was so strong . . . he supposes the dust came from Africa.

To observatory to see Signor Tacchini. Spectroscope attached to the end of 9 inch equatorial. Two black curtains fitted up temporarily for eye end to move between and also [to shield] from sun. No clock work; used RA and dec[lination] handles combined with Sp[ectroscope’s] own circle of position. Slit is used very narrow - solar prominence seen thus, in narrowest sections as it passes slit. . . . Sp[ectroscope] only for mapping shapes and sizes or red prominences. Tacchini observes sunspots by projection on screen and fixes angles and draws circle on a board with circles of position and radii. Has observed Saturn |in the same way] and drawn it accurately . . . 

At 9 p.m. return by invitation to observatory to look through equatorial. Tacchini works; Cacciatore looks on. Moon three quarters full . . . Jupiter not very well defined, and from power 150 and its small disk Tacchini with a short sharp pencil puts in details on a circle drawn on paper 6 inches in diameter. The central zone is certainly rosy. I could not pretend to see all that he put down. . . . He showed the Linnhe crater as a nebulous white spot on Mare Serenitatis.

Jessie complains of the cold at the observatory, overwalks herself for warmth in returning and falls ill again.’

Accompanied by ghost


Robert Earl Henri,

‘I don’t like perspective. I hate it. I understand it but can’t take interest. It’s like chopping wood.’

Make the draperies move


William Booth,
priest and evangelist

‘The theatre again in the morning at ten. An excellent plan. Oh, that it could be adopted the world over! The senseless system of beginning at eleven makes you feel it is time to close almost before you have had time to get well started. We were crowded, large numbers outside clamouring for admission, so much so that the police called out their reserves, and fifty men guarded the entrance. We had an excellent service inside, and forty at the Mercy-Seat. It was a beautiful Meeting, and made a mark for ever on my heart, and on the hearts of many more.

Afternoon. The large Hall of the People’s Palace had been arranged for this as well as the Night Meeting. We were full, and many were turned away. I lectured on ‘The Duty of the Community.’ Great satisfaction among my own people, and a good impression made upon the minds of a good many of the leading people of the city.

Night, 7.30. Again full. It is a building erected for an Exhibition, and made suitable for a Meeting only by putting up a great screen across the centre. I suppose we could have filled the entire space; but whether my interpreter could then have been heard, I am not sure. I preached with point and power - more breathless attention I never had in my life. I reckoned on an easy conquest, but we had one of the hardest fights I ever remember before we got a soul out. I left at 10.30, completely played out. A wall of policemen on either side kept the people back while I got into the carriage, the crowd having waited a long time to catch a glimpse of me. Had long, restless, and sleepless spells during the night; but still I have not done amiss on the whole. I must now prepare myself for the coming Berlin Staff Congress.’

I got the truth out


Mary Fuller,

‘I worked this Sunday morning at the studio, and then flew to my beloved Philharmonic concert. I arrived in good time, and, taking my accustomed seat in the back, I opened the lettuce and mayonnaise sandwich and proceeded to lunch. The usher looked at me doubtfully every time he passed thru the radius of mayonnaise smell, but the quick demolition of the sandwich and my cheerful abstraction disarmed him. The concert had started, and I was absorbing the beauties of Grieg, when “Raven Locks” passed down the aisle. Being in working clothes, I hid down under my hat, hoping to pass unnoticed, but how can a personality of eloquent silence hope to get by unobserved? Just as I thought I was safe, he turned directly and bowed. During the intermission he came back, and we had a nice chat. “You dont need to be dressed up to enjoy music,” he said, and I agreed with him. He is the sort of quiet, poetic personality that I like. One does not meet them often. The program was very good, tho I cannot enthuse over the new Dvorak symphony; I have heard it several times, and it hasn’t registered yet.’

What happened to Mary


Ira Gershwin,

‘Up at 12. To the Embassy Club with Lee to meet Guy Bolton for lunch. My lunch very nice, too - smoked salmon (everybody eats smoked salmon here), filet of sole marguery, curried veal with chutney, coffee, wine, cake (cocktail & beer). The club was crowded with a lot of important looking men, mostly over 40 and a lot of young women. At the next table to us sat Arnold Bennett, Frederick Lonsdale & 3 other men. After lunch walked Guy down Piccadilly to the theatre where his “Blue Eyes” is rehearsing. Dropped in for a minute, saw John Harwood. Then to Anderson & Sheppard for fittings. Visited some other shops. Evening we were too tired to go to the Kit-Cat Club where a “George Gershwin Night” was on, so stayed in hotel & played 21 with Phil [Berman] & Leo [Robin], losing about £4. Frankie came in about 3 & told us both “This Year of Grace,” the Noël Coward revue opening to-night, & the Kit-Cat affair were great successes. The weather was lovely again to-day & it’s too bad we don’t get up earlier in the morning to do some sight-seeing. Changed $200 worth more of American Express checks to-day making 5 in all.’

Of Thee I Sing


Sigmund Freud,

‘Anna with Gestapo’

Anna with Gestapo


Mochtar Lubis,

[Of the pride in his wife for staying calm.] ‘I want you to be like that always. Do not worry about me. If you are strong, I will be strong too. I get my strength from you, and hope you will get strength from me. . . Thank you for your flowers. Each time I look at them I see your love in them.’

Mochtar Lubis in prison


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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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