And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

10 May

1740
George Whitefield,
priest

‘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

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1829
John Skinner,
priest

‘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

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1873
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

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1897
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

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1943
Joseph Goebbels,
politician

‘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

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1990
David Lodge,
writer

‘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

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1999
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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