And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

10 May

George Whitefield,

‘Tho’ God has shown me great Things already in this Place, yet to To-day I have seen greater. I preached twice with Power, and to large Congregations than ever: And in the Evening went to settle a Society of young Women, who I hope will prove wise Virgins. As soon as I entered the Room, and heard them singing, my Soul was uncommonly delighted. When the hymn was over, I desired to pray before I began to converse: But, contrary to my Expectations, my Soul was so carried out that I had not Time to talk at all. A wonderful Power was in the Room, and with Accord, they began to cry out and weep most bitterly for the Space of half an Hour. They seemed to be under the strongest Convictions, and did indeed seek JESUS sorrowing. Their cries might be heard a great Way off. When I had done, I thought proper to leave them at their Devotions. They continued in Prayer (as I was informed by one of them afterwards) for above an Hour, confessing their most secret Faults: And at length the Agonies of some were so strong, that five of them seemed affected as those that are in Fits. The present Captain of our Sloop going near the Water-side, was called into a Company almost in the same circumstances; and at Midnight I was desired to come to one who was in strong Agonies of Body and Mind, but felt somewhat of Joy and Peace, after I had prayed with her several Times. Her Case put me in Mind of the young man whom the Devil tore, when he was coming to JESUS. Some suchlike bodily Agonies, I believe, are from the Devil; and, now the Work of GOD is going on, he will, no doubt, endeavour by these to bring an evil Report on it.’

Preaching with power


John Newton
, sailor and priest

‘Preached at Collingtree. Had a large congregation. The church crowded, the chancel and belfry nearly full. My dear and Mr. Cowper went with me.’

The extraordinary Mr Newton


John Skinner,

‘During the Prayers at Morning Service Cottle’s son was hawking so loud when I commenced the service I was obliged to look at him in order to check him from interrupting the service. The pew which Burfitt built without any authority from me or the Ordinary, has been more than once the scene of great impropriety of behaviour during Church time, for the sides being higher than the seatings, so that the congregation are not able to see the people who are sitting down, they talk and laugh and misbehave themselves greatly. This evening the pew was filled by two sons and a daughter of farmer Skuse, a son of Hicks, John Rossiter, and a female in mourning; the elder Skuse I saw talking and laughing with the person in black, and I said aloud that, as there had been great impropriety of behaviour in that pew, I requested there might be no repetition of it this evening. John Rossiter stood up in the pew and looked very insolently at me, but I took no notice.’

Impropriety in the pew


Alfred Domett,
statesman and poet

‘Called on the Thornycrofts, Wilton Place. Found Mr T at work on a model of the horse for an equestrian statue of Lord Mayo he had been commissioned to make for Calcutta. He was modelling his horse without sketch or other original as a guide. Said he had made so many he did not require any. When he wanted to study a horse, he used to go & walk in the Park, Rotten Row, where his living models were in plenty.

He never exhibits at the Royal Academy, nor sends his works there as he does not belong to it. Does not care to belong to the Academy now though when he was young it would have been of use to him.

Talking with Mrs Thornycroft and praising her beautiful and simple statues of the Queen’s children she said the Queen had had copies of them made to send to several of the Royal Families of Europe.’

Browning’s friend Domett


Miguel de Unamuno,
writer and philosopher

‘Yesterday, Sunday, at Canillas. What peace there! If one could live and die like they do. We went to the burial at Calzada of a poor fellow who had died of paralysis. I kept thinking about spiritual paralysis. They told me that he died saying: “What a sweet dream!” He seemed asleep there, at the door of the church.

Later the fields were blessed. The young girls brought all their presents in a procession, shawls, kerchiefs, all strung up on a pole.’

Go and wash and see


Charles Graves,

‘Went down to play golf at Royal Wimbledon. [. . .] returned at 12pm, twenty minutes after the blitz began. In half an hour it was quite sensational. We were on fire. I ran into the street shouting the news and asked for assistance. A gunner subaltern from next door dashed in. Eleanor, in the meantime, had thrown some sand at the fire-bomb, which promptly exploded. I dashed up with the stirrup-pump, while the officer stuck the nozzle into the pail. We were in the dark. I couldn’t see what was happening but realized that something was wrong. I pumped away wildly and then said: “Don’t be a bloody fool. Bring the pail up and squirt the water on the bomb.” In a few minutes we had got it sufficiently under control to enable me to put an inverted pail on it. So that was that. We had previously had a fire-bomb on the doorstep and put it out with sandbags. The wardens’ whistles blew again and another twenty or thirty incendiaries came down in the street, as well as on one house two doors away from me and one three doors away.

The first caught fire immediately, and a fire-brigade crew that happened to be passing was diverted by us to it. We ran out and put out the bombs in the street and then hurried to the house three doors away on the right with stirrup-pump and pails of water. After twenty minutes this was dealt with, but as we were standing on the corner we suddenly heard a bomb coming straight at us. We threw ourselves on the ground as it burst forty yards away. Lumps of masonry came crashing down all around us. Altogether most unpleasant. This bomb landed on a house, trapping three people. But they were rescued within an hour, bent but not dead.

By this time a complete block was on fire eighty yards away, towards Portman Square, and there were some other fires about, but three fire-engines were on the job within 200 yards of me. I particularly admired the fireman on the top of a ladder with the bombs falling all round. But I suppose he thought he might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb.

Druce’s was on fire about 600 yards away. Clouds of smoke billowed across the street in the high breeze. There was the roar of enemy bombers, the sound of machine-guns, the screaming of the wind as the Fighters dived after the bombers. The moon was blood red. It was a hell of a night.’

A hell of a night


Joseph Goebbels,

‘Frick, who was present at this talk, cut a very poor figure. The centralized administration that he built up is neither approved of nor even appreciated by the Fuehrer. The Fuehrer criticized the Ministry of the Interior so outspokenly that Frick ought to draw certain conclusions. But he is too old and too fond of his office for this.’

The Nuremberg ten


Arthur Schlesinger,

‘We continue to make progress. I have never really doubted, since Watergate began to unravel, that Nixon would be removed or would resign before January 1977. This confidence was based essentially on a sense that Nixon was the greatest shit - probably the only shit - ever elected President of the United States, and that no disclosure about his greed and knavery would ever be the last. So, when he went on TV on 29 April and said, with apparent perfect confidence, that the release the next day of his expurgated version of some of the tapes would show “once and for all” that everything he had done with regard to Watergate was “just as I have described them to you from the very beginning,” I did not believe it for a moment.

One’s sense that he is now hopelessly immured in a dream world leads me to believe that he will not resign, at least without a deal. I am also more sure than ever that the Senate will convict and remove him. This is the most solemn vote most of those senators will ever cast, and then, if ever, they will vote their consciences. Moreover, none among them has any personal affection for or loyalty to Nixon, and those Republicans up for reelection know they will do far better if Gerald Ford is President.

I may well change this view, but Henry Kissinger, despite his work in the Middle East, seems to me one of the most disgusting figures in this whole business. Yesterday Dick Rovere, Martin Mayer and I were chatting at the long table in the Century about Kissinger and especially about his mania for secrecy and about the panic he evidently fell into when Dan Ellsberg handed over the Pentagon Papers. After a moment I said, rather loudly, “In my view Kissinger and Ellsberg deserve each other.” A short while later, as I left the table, I was hailed by someone sitting directly behind me. I need hardly say that it was Ellsberg. He gave no indication that he had heard my remark, though he could hardly have missed it, given the authoritative tone in which it was uttered. We talked a few minutes. He seemed more egomaniacal than ever and affected to think that further and harsher prosecutions lay in store for him.

The movement toward impeachment moves slowly ahead. I encountered in my two Washington trips a certain pessimism as to whether anything will happen. Peter Lisagor thinks that Congress is such a cowardly body that Nixon will survive. Rowland Evans also thinks that Nixon will pull through. I continue not to think so.’

Nixon - ‘the greatest shit’


Roy Jenkins,

‘Breakfast with David Owen at Carlton Gardens for the Foreign Ministers of the Little Five, nominally in order to debrief them on the Summit. Some discussion after two opening statements by David and me, in which K. B. Andersen asked the only interesting question, which was whether I thought that the arrangements in London had been compatible with the Rome compromise. I said ‘No’, but I nevertheless thought it had been worthwhile that we were there.

Left Carlton Gardens at 9.30 and was in the hotel in Strasbourg only two hours and five minutes later. Answered questions in the Parliament after lunch. Gave a dinner for Colombo - as President of the Parliament. An enjoyable discussion during which my morale improved, partly because I suddenly realized that I had made a French breakthrough. During my first three months in Brussels I thought it had definitely retrogressed, and even after that had not improved, but it has now jerked forward and I suddenly felt much more fluent and had no difficulty in leading the whole two-hour discussion in French.’

A fairly burdensome exercise


David Lodge,

‘I’ve been so busy over the last few days that I haven’t had time to record any notes until now. On Monday, the British May Day holiday, I flew to Frankfurt to appear with Malcolm Bradbury in a kind of festival of contemporary British writing organised by the British Council. We have done this double act so often that we are in danger of becoming the Peter Cook and Dudley Moore of modern English letters. It was a long and tiring day and evening - an almost continuous sequence of interviews, meetings and socialising. [. . .] The next morning, after a leisurely breakfast and a short stroll around Frankfurt with Malcolm, I flew back to Birmingham, arriving at 1 p.m. I drove home, changed and went out immediately to the rehearsal rooms for the run-through. This went quite well and Lou [Hirsch] got through all his major speeches except one without a fluff. He and Sue [Penhaligon] still however tend to make small, but to me troubling, verbal errors.’

Lodge’s diary playback


Piseth Pilika,
dancer and actor

‘Mr Hok Lundy, Director-General of the National Police, had asked me to go to meet with him because he had something to tell me. He sent two bodyguards to fetch me. I asked my younger sister to accompany and we went together. I was at the same time afraid and happy because I thought there might be a message for me from Sen. I met with Hok Lundy at Kien Svay, at a restaurant situated in a quiet place. He told me to go and hide somewhere for a while because Mrs Bun Rany Hun Sen was very angry against me and was plotting to kill me. I was very afraid but tried not to show my feeling. I gritted my teeth but could not repress tears. I had not imagined somebody would fool me so terribly. I am so disappointed because I have never sold my body to Samdech Hun Sen. We loved each other like husband and wife, so I thought. I realise how naive I have been in believing his words. I have never been fooled like that. This is my first lesson, I have learnt to know about deceitful people. I don’t know whether they would spare my life or sentence me to death because they rule over the country. Only God can help me. My only response to and shield against them are goodness and righteousness.’

High drama in Cambodia


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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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