And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

26 March

1699
John Evelyn,
writer

‘After an extraordinary storm, there came up the Thames a whale which was fifty-six feet long. Such, and a larger of the spout kind, was killed there forty years ago (June 1658). That year died Cromwell.’

A most excellent person

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1710
Timothy Burrell,
lawyer

‘Two bushels of wheat which I sent to John Sturt the miller, weighed 124lbs sack and all; there were brought back 111lbs, so that 13lbs were wanting.

To John Lord, to buy stockings, 1s 6d; for 2 neck-cloths, 4s 6d; breeches and drink, 5s.

I pay’d the saddler for John Coachman falling drunk of his box, when he was driving to Glynde, in part of his wages, £1 7s 6d.’

Dr Fuller’s infusion

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1869
William Howard Russell,
journalist

‘The Suez Canal is not made. There is a considerable amount of work still to be done. But the conception of M de Lesseps is raised out of the limbo of possibilities. The project for the junction of two seas is already in a condition to admit of a probability that the remaining part, being the easier portion, will be completed by the 11th of October.* The commercial success can only be determined by the experience of a term of years after the canal has been opened. No opinion can be safely offered on the point. If the route be conducive to the interests of commerce, no national jealousies or private interests can prevent its stream flowing through the canal at a great profit to the shareholders. The freight which the Company proposes to charge is at the rate of 10f a ton transit duty on all actual cargo, excluding provisions for the crew, dead weight, stores, &c; and the sum saved on a voyage to the East Indies would be equivalent to the total insurance on the ship, without counting the time saved, cost of the crew in food and wages, and wear and tear of material. It may be said, and with some truth, that it is too early for any speculation until the canal is open; but it is not too early to remark how complete has been the failure of sinister prophecies.’ [* The footnote reads: ‘The opening, as the world knows, is now fixed for 17th November.’]

Happy birthday Suez Canal

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1980
Alasdair Maclean,
writer

‘I am now well into 1970 with my editing task. Another month, at most, should see me finished. As well, too, for I grow very short of money. I must look to the future now. I must consider what may happen when the last shilling goes and I have to leave here.

If I were sure of being able to support myself with my pen I should not care so much. But freelance writing is such a precarious and at times degrading way of earning a living. Constantly a buttering up of editors, constantly a hinting at commissions. And constantly, too, looking out for the postman, with his good news or his bad news and constantly waiting for a cheque that may or may not be coming or may be coming when someone in an office somewhere gets around to sending it.

I have had my share of all that in the past and am none too keen on going through it again. It is hardly even that the freelance is doing what he wants to do or is doing something at least closely related to his vocation. Very often he isn’t.

Yet a small voice inside me says, ‘Still it is better than working.’ Perhaps so. I have had my share, too, of soul-destroying jobs and know what they can do to one. Nevertheless I have taken the precaution of pulling the one or two gossamery strings I yet hold, to see if I cannot arrange for employment of some kind in Kirkcaldy, where I lived before and where I know people. I should get on faster if I were better able to transfer my written notes to typescript. The typewriter is a hateful machine. I had rather have the toothache than change a ribbon. And I have coined a new definition of Sod’s Law: ‘When two typewriter keys are struck at once the one that gets to the paper first is never the one that is wanted.’

An antiphonal chorus

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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.

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.