And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

31 March

1755
William Bray,
solicitor and antiquary

‘Went to Stoke Ch. This morning. After Dinner Went to Miss Jeale’s to play at Base Ball with her, the 3 Miss Whiteheads, Miss Billinghurst, Miss Molly Flutter, Mr. Chandler, Mr. Ford & H. Parsons & Jelly. Drank Tea and stayed till 8.’

Base ball and cricket records

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1837
Charles Cavendish Fulke Greville,
civil servant

‘Among the many old people who have been cut off by this severe weather, one of the most remarkable is Mrs Fitzherbert, who died at Brighton at above eighty years of age. She was not a clever woman, but of a very noble spirit, disinterested, generous, honest, and affectionate, greatly beloved by her friends and relations, popular in the world, and treated with uniform distinction and respect by the Royal Family. The late King, who was a despicable creature, grudged her the allowance he was bound to make her, and he was always afraid lest she should make use of some of the documents in her possession to annoy or injure him. This mean and selfish apprehension led him to make various efforts to obtain possession of those the appearance of which he most dreaded, and among others, one remarkable attempt was made by Sir William Knighton some years ago.

Although a stranger to Mrs Fitzherbert, he called one day at her house, when she was ill in bed, insisted upon seeing her, and forced his way into her bedroom. She contrived (I forget how) to get rid of him without his getting anything out of her, but this domiciliary visit determined her to make a final disposition of all the papers she possessed, that in the event of her death no advantage might be taken of them either against her own memory or the interests of any other person. She accordingly selected those papers which she resolved to preserve, and which are supposed to be the documents and correspondence relating to her marriage with George IV, and made a packet of them which was deposited at her banker’s, and all other letters and papers she condemned to the flames. For this purpose she sent for the Duke of Wellington and Lord Albemarle, told them her determination, and in their presence had these papers burnt; she assured them, that everything was destroyed, and if after her death any pretended letters or documents were produced, they might give the most authoritative contradiction to their authenticity.’

The King’s bathing habits

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1911
Sydney Moseley,
journalist

‘(Fleet Street) And now, after a week of continuous work, I can rest awhile and write my thoughts. Ten minutes ago I hadn’t a penny in my pocket; now I have over £4! Watney offered me the ‘night news-editor’ job and I accepted - again on space! This means that anything I write through the night which is printed will be paid for. I can ‘order’ any stories from our correspondents in the provinces, too. I think he has a good opinion of me, and this has been strengthened by the report of Sir William Bull, who was ‘very pleased’ with what I did. As regards the work I am about to do, he added: ‘there are great possibilities’ in it, and I am of course going to make use of most of them. According to Watney’s description, it is a post I should love; but I must take care of my health. It is now 6:30pm and I have had nothing to eat since 8 this morning!’

Saw television!

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1921
Thomas Cobden-Sanderson,
craftsman

‘The race was rowed yesterday, and after a terrific struggle - first Cambridge leading, then, at Hammersmith Bridge, Oxford, then beyond Chiswick, out of sight, Cambridge - Cambridge finally won by a length, but never once, or hardly once, was daylight seen between the boats. The crowd was immense, for the day was fine, and it was expected that the race would be a great race. We had a great crowd, and all the morning was taken up in preparing tea - cakes, tables, etc. - and arranging seats and benches in the garden. We were to be “at home” from 4 to 6pm - the race being at 5 or thereabouts - and by 4 I was exhausted, and retired to the parlour to rest.’

Innumerable ripples; countless diamonds

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1933
Elizabeth Smart,
writer

‘We took a bus from Sloane St to the Ritz and our white gloves began to look faintly grey at the tips. We walked along to Givans and tried on the blue checked blouse which was wrong and didn’t fit. We made an exit there - and London was making an awful noise. Men drilling and buses roaring and things falling - you couldn’t hear or think. [. . .] The noise and confusion was worse and worse - and then what should have been spring sunny air was filled with gas smells and dust and tired heat and hard dirty pavement - horrible dusty gas coming out of the bowels of dirty motors and buses.

O the clashing and jarring. It never seemed so bad. We went to Lilley and Skinners and sat in a fairly comfortable seat and Mummy tried on shoes that looked awful and cost pounds. [. . .] We took a taxi and came home and then Mummy and I had a sherry in the lounge and I was a little tight but I camouflaged it and she went out to lunch. Then I reeled into the dining room and had lunch. Then I took a bus to the Ritz and walked or rather strutted in a clipped sort of way up Dover St - and my hair was unspeakable and looked untouchable in fact - I wore a hanky under my new silk hat. The girl gave me a wash and wanted to pluck my eyebrows which made me mad - why should they want to standardize even me? I am sick of this Mayfair fashionable smart - socialness - Tatler-Spectator - jealousy - boredom - toeing the mark.’

Everything is sunshining

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1939
Harold Nicolson,
politician

‘Down to the House. The PM says he will make a statement shortly before three. The general feeling is that he will announce that if Poland and Rumania are attacked we shall go to war. There is some uneasiness about in the corridors. People fear lest Chamberlain may not stay put. Chamberlain arrives looking gaunt and ill. The skin above his high cheek bones is parchment yellow. He drops wearily into his place. . . He begins by saying that we believe in negotiation and do not trust in rumours. He then gets to the centre of his statement, namely that if Poland is attacked we shall declare war. That is greeted with cheers from every side. He reads his statement very slowly with a bent grey head. It is most impressive.’

Of war and of sowing

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1955
Allen Ginsberg,
writer

‘Tiring of the Journal - no writing in it - promotes slop - an egocentric method.

Life’s quiet finally, no love, another plane, after-hours from the office, struggle completed (high tonite on terpinhydrate of codeine), music, rugs, a lousy room and evening robes in which to read, a typewriter.

Lately in revising I’ve noticed a tendency - revising year pile of notes - to adjust the notes to small groups of lines as in 3-line stanza, begun however before reading the Williams late forms - the division being by active words, number of active words in phrase.

“the sad heart of August dies”

the nouns & verbs have a single weight, the adjectives usually less unless strong words or long ones. Count mainly by eye. But requirement of regularity of some lines is a clarity I find apparent lately, so that the notes don’t present themselves totally amorphous. The lines are not yet free enough - for this reason the concentration process is useful again in order to get a sense of measuring small lines - with later possibility, the expansion to a large form with lines distributed over the page

but equal, each parallel indentation equal or equivalent

So that the structure has a structure at least as an excuse for its form

following, as we might guess, the given possibilities of lengths of speech mind-think lines - there will probably be a select number to recognise & distinguish, the double:

and the triplet

“fantastical physical

images

Neal’s naked breast” ’

Thoughts, epiphanies, poems

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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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