And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

16 May

Isaac Ambrose,

‘In the Morning I went thro’ the Duty of experiences, and felt some Stirrings of God’s Spirit in my Soul. In the evening I fell on the Duty of Evidences, when I acted Faith, and found my Evidences clear. Oh how sweet was my God!’

Edification and imitation


John Thomlinson,

‘Aunt Reed called me ‘an idle fellow - following his hussys,’ etc., and said she would tell my uncle when I came to Rothbury - staying something (sic) in town, etc., told by N Fay. Lettice and spinage will be fitt to be cutt in a week - cresses ready now - sown a few turnips.’

In search of a rich wife


Charles Abbot,
lawyer and politician

‘Mr Perceval was privately buried at Charlton. Perceval, though by no means an eloquent speaker, was the ablest debater in the House; but his treatment and management of the House of Commons was by no means satisfactory to me; and I think he was not desirous of holding high either its credit or its authority.’

An agony of tears


Wilford Woodruff,

‘At Summit Creek, met with the citizens to agree upon electing officers. President Young said that he cared nothing about the feeling of the nation who had driven us out. We should not follow in the path of political foolery. We should have one candidate and but one as delegate to Congress. We can speak our feelings freely, but when we vote, let it be for the candidate of our choice. Should we have two candidates and they have about equal votes, the United States would know we had apostatized from our faith and union, or we were trying to deceive them. We would stand better in their eyes to take our own independent course and get united. If we have but one track, the Saints will walk on it. If we have two tracks, there will be a plenty of devils to run on them. If we begin right, we shall go right. If we begin wrong, we shall keep wrong. The United States are afraid of our union and so is the world. In speaking of the Indians, he said these Indians were the descendants of the Old Gadianton robbers who infested these mountains for more than a thousand years.’

Oh how weak is man


James Charles Tiplady,

‘To Accrington. Grand Procession, laying of corner-stone of new Market House.’

Sunday school demonstration


David Lindsay,

‘I am assured that a diary must deal with nothing but people. So this is to become congealed personalities - all rasping one another.’

Congealed personalities


Archduke Franz Ferdinand

‘The youngest continent would not receive the sons of the old world in bad weather. As I arrived on deck at half past 6 o’clock, I found the sky clear and serene. The sun was just rising. The sea had calmed down to some degree. Various seagulls and sea swallows as well as large guillemots or penguins were swarming around our ship which was approaching the entrance to Sydney, Port Jackson. The day was gorgeous but the temperature was so low that we were well advised to wear warm coats. From afar we could see the two white shining capes or peninsulas - Outer North and South Head - through which the approach to the harbor leads. These peninsulas descend steeply into the sea with sharp rocky faces and cliffs. Splashing, the waves break against the shore. Hundreds of crag martins and common swifts were tweeting and circling above their nesting places. On Outer South Head is a light house. The entrance is rich in flashy direction obelisks. On a small steamboat the pilot was approaching toward us to take the position of our our old captain from Port Kennedy.

All the harbors that I have yet seen are surpassed in the beauty of its scenery by Sydney - a view shared also by the other gentlemen who saw it for the first time.

Despite many enthusiastic descriptions of Port Jackson we have received, the scenery that opened up before our eyes still surprised us and our astonishment and admiration grew minute by minute.

Having passed through the outlying mountains the ship enters into a narrow channel turns hard towards Southwest - and now there lies a delightful sound in front of us. In the distance the sea of houses of Sydney are glittering, to the right and left small bays are open, surrounded by green hills covered with trees and countless villas and country homes whose gardens were filled with splendid flowers in the calendar autumnal colors. Overall it creates an extremely lively and serene view. The bays are populated with steam boats, yachts and boats of all kinds whose passengers wave greetings to the entering “Elisabeth”. Truly, Australia could not have offered us a more welcoming reception! We saw this as a good sign for our stay which we were looking forward to in a very good mood.

The fine clear cool air that refreshed us contributed in no small part to the great first impression - doubly welcome after the sweltering humid heat of Java that flags both mind and body.

Our joyful mood was even more increased by the German consul general Pelldram, who also represented Austria-Hungary here at the moment and had come to greet us and handed us three messages at the same time.

The whole force of the sanitary police regulations which is applied especially against ships coming from Batavia we had to endure too. First we had to anchor in Watson Bay for the health assessment - a stay we did not have to regret due to the delightful surrounding landscape.

After we had been given permission to proceed, “Elisabeth” continued the journey alongside the picturesque bay shore whose ledges were crowned by small forts and batteries - which seemed to me of subordinate fortification value. We then passed Garden Island with its arsenal and the navy yard of the Australian war fleet as well as Woolloomooloo Bay and then moored at a buoy amidst the warships of the Australian squadron at Farm Cove between Lady Macquarie’s Chair and Fort Macquarie.

The coastal defense is undertaken by the ships of the British navy stationed in Australian waters, the Australian Auxiliary Squadron and of warships in the service of the colony. According to the Australasian Naval Force Act of 1887 the Australian colonies pay an annual contribution of 1,092,000 fl. in Austrian currency to the British government for it to provide the Australian Auxiliary Squadron. Furthermore the construction costs borne by the British government for the ships of this squadron carries an interest of 5 percent paid by the colonies but the overall annual interest is not allowed to surpass 420.000 fl. in Austrian currency. This Auxiliary Squadron consists of 5 fast cruisers and 2 torpedo cannon boats and is commanded by a British Rear Admiral who also is in command of the squadron of the ships of the British navy stationed in Australian waters. This squadron consists of 1 armored ship, 3 cruisers, 3 cannon boats and 1 steam yacht; its main station is Sydney. The war fleet owned by the Australian colonies consists in total of 1 armored ship, 2 cruisers, 4 cannon boats, 13 torpedo boats, 2 torpedo barges and 7 steam boats; the majority of theses ships belongs to Victoria and Queensland, while New Zealand does not own any warship.

Next to us was moored the proud British ship of the admiral, the armored cruiser “Orlando“, with 5600 t; next to it followed the cruiser “Royalist” and the cruiser “Mildura” of the Australian Auxiliary Squadron besides the cannon boat “Boomerang” and the cannon boat “Paluma” owned by the colony of Queensland which is used at shared cost by the colony and the British government to map the coast. On these ships our anthem rang out accompanied by the sound of the guns.

In a short time appeared Lieutenant Governor Sir F. M. Darley, accompanied by his adjutant and cabinet secretary, and soon afterward the commander of the royal squadron, Rear Admiral Bowden-Smith, as well as the mayor of Sydney, Mr. Manning, came on board to greet me. The governor himself had been recalled to England after only two years of service. His successor is bound to arrive soon. Numerous compatriots namely Istrians and Dalmatians who are doing business in Sydney came on board of “Elisabeth” to look for and find friends and acquaintances.

Dispositions for the next few days were quickly made. Then a boat brought me on land to set foot on the soil of the colony of New South Wales and visit its capital, the oldest city of Australia.

Sydney, which lies on the South coast of Jackson Bay that cuts deeply into the land, is situated on a couple of hills - imposing by the number and size of its buildings - and then by and by blends into villa settlements and the green of the landscape. Founded in 1788 as the seat of the penal colony of New South Wales, Sydney - originally Port Jackson, then named in honor of the secretary of state Viscount Sydney - has grown tremendously namely during the last few years. The population increase of Sydney is best illustrated by the following numbers: In 1800 Sydney had barely 2600 inhabitants, in 1861 95.596, in 1881 already 237.300, on 31 December 1892 including the suburbs already 411.710 inhabitants.

As an important trading and industrial center Sydney owes its rise mostly to the safety and size of its harbor which handles more than three quarters of the total imports and more than half the exports of the colony of New South Wales. In the year 1892 2960 ships with 2,804.549 t entered here and 3067 ships with 2,842.635 t departed; the imports of the colony represented in this year a total value of 249,318.312 fl. in Austrian currency, the exports one of 263,666.964 fl. in Austrian currency.

The boat landed below Government House at Fort Macquarie where the road led along a quay to the city. On this quay there was a very busy life as the large steamers of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company as well as those of the Messageries maritimes are moored and are next to the warehouses of many floors in which wool bales and hides were loaded in and out without interruption. Viewed from the quay the two main streets and main traffic veins of Sydney, George Street und Pitt Street, cross the center of the city running parallel from North to South. Even though many streets are arranged in a grid, this monotonous regularity of modern city design is not much noticed as Sydney is situated on hills which continuously changes the scenery of the streets.

Among the many public buildings of Sydney all built in stone I mention the most remarkable: the university, a colossal building with a grandiose hall in Gothic style which rises at the North end of the beautiful Victoria Park, the cathedral and the newly built Catholic Church of Maria, the splendid Town Hall, the palatial post office with its colonnades and a large tower, the museum next to Hyde Park and finally the parliament.

Pretty houses, many with balconies and verandas, and shops on the ground floor where European goods are sold, line the macadamized streets where a busy crowd is going here and there. The streets are highly urban and still very cozy and friendly. Not the least because the visitor thinks to be in a European city as he sees but white faces, among them especially beautiful women and girls - an agreeable view after the colored and in our opinion not very attractive physiognomy of the natives of the countries we had recently visited.

The streets are very busy which is easy to understand in the case of Sydney as an important trading place. The only thing I find fault with is that they have introduced London cabs that are very uncomfortable for its passengers.

The acquisitions we had to do were fully made in the European manner. The transactions went smoothly and quickly and we appreciated not having to search and haggle for hours as in Bombay, Calcutta, Singapore and Batavia.

Then I paid a visit to the Lieutenant Governor in Government House built in Tudor style and distinguished in its interior by its noble calm elegance of its furnishings. Sir F. M. Darley speaks German fairly well which eased the conversation very much. He showed me the garden of the palace which offers a delicious view of the harbor and Mossmans Bay opposite it with its villa quater of St. Leonard. The garden is well kept and contains a rich collection of Australian tree and bush species.

The next visit was devoted to - I suffer from museum addiction - the museum housed in an imposing building and distinguished by the richness, correct arrangement and good conservation of its objects. As I was first interested in the especially Australian species, I turned towards the mammals to study namely the strange class of marsupials. Among the well stuffed animals were represented various kangaroo and wallaby species, from the giant kangaroo to the lovely rock wallaby (Petrogale penicillata), oppossums, the flying squirrels, various species of quoll and possums, the Australian koala, wombat, dugong, the wild dog dingo or warragal and the platypus.

The bird world of Australia is completely represented. Noteworthy are: the New Dutch cassowary or emu; the rare lyrebird; the numerous species of intensely colored cockatoo and parrots, as well as the group of swamp and water fowl which included many species of which I was unaware. Australia seems to be poor in predator birds and chicken species according to the survey presented in the museum while the order of the pigeons has beautiful specimens. One well stuffed specimen of every bird species is presented in a glass cabinet. Thousands of bird bodies, however, are kept in chests to serve as exchange objects from time to time.

The museum possesses too a rich collection of corals and shells, of beetles and butterflies and finally an ethnographic one of objects from the continent and the islands of Australia which I intended to see during a second visit.

In the mean time, the clock struck five, a time where the streets of Sydney are filled with the vivid traffic as the inhabitants of this city tend to go out into the open air at that time.

Following this example we ambled in Hyde Park and in George Street until it was time for the table d’hôte at the Australian Hotel which I intended to attend.

This giant building six floors high resembles in construction, dimensions and installations the English and American hotels but with the agreeably appreciated difference that one did not have to rely only upon English cooking of roast beef and anodyne vegetables but was well supplied with food and drink. The table d’hôte reunited in a large hall a large company. The gentlemen were, according to English custom, wearing dress coats, the ladies even in mostly low-cut festive dresses. Not much laudable can be said about the dinner music performed by some artists who elicited awful sounds out of their instruments.

As the operetta theater that it was said offered good performances was closed and a circus had just left Sydney the day before, there were only two entertainment locations for us who had been deprived of “artistic” divertissement for a long time - the two music halls “Tivoli” and “Alhambra” in which popular singers, among them also Negroes, and female dancers produced themselves in front of the audience that applauded in the manner of the land by shrill whistling and was not particularly distinguished. The audience consisted mostly of workers, sailors and small business men.’

The Archduke’s travels


Tommy Lascelles,
civil servant and courtier

‘Lunched in Cadogan Square, and Cynthia Charteris and Mary Vesey came on to the theatre with us. Really, I believe those two are the most perfectly beautiful pair of creatures on this earth. Cynthia is at present the lovelier of the two, but won’t be in five years’ time. Now her beauty simply strikes one like a blow the moment she enters the room - and the more one looks, the more perfect it grows. But Mary V. is far the nicer of the two; she is a person of decided opinions, and with the most delightfully impulsive manner.’

Sports of the people


David Lindsay,

‘As to Petworth, the contrast of the splendid pictures with the dirt and squalor of the House moved me to pity. I have never seen such neglect. The great show apartments containing this superb collection are carpeted with tattered linoleum, the windows grubby, the fireplaces almost rusting. As for the chapel, which is apparently used as the electrician’s workshop, I have seldom seen a more melancholy vista. The big gallery with mud-coloured walls is a kind of lumber room: with a little care, intelligence, and expenditure what a splendid achievement this gallery would be.

After a perfectly enchanting drive we found ourselves at Goodwood. The Duke of Richmond (a peppery little Duke I should say) and a handsome daughter. Lady Helen, gave us tea and showed off the pictures. Here is care and affection well bestowed and amply repaid. Without taste they have disposed their possessions to great advantage, while the fact that this is a family accretion of pictures rather than the collection of an astute amateur, gives merits to the Goodwood ptnacoieca which the Petworth pictures can never acquire.’

Congealed personalities


Leonid Brezhnev,

‘Went nowhere - rang no one, likewise no one me - haircut, shaved and washed hair in the morning. Walked a bit during the day, then watched Central Army lose to Spartak (the lads played well) . . . 7 August. 19th day of holiday. Swam in sea 1.30 - massage pool 30 minutes. Washed head - with children’s soap . . .’

To every historian’s despair


Michael Farrell,

‘Up early again. Have to cover a lot of distance today and there’s a telephone interview to do first, this with a woman at the Iowa Press-Citizen, in anticipation of my arrival there (weeks from now, I assume).

The next gig is in Austin, Texas, almost 800 miles away, so I won’t plan to get there tonight, but want to take a good bite out of it in order to get into the city relatively early tomorrow. I’ve not been to Austin and am looking forward to it. I keep hearing that it’s the “Berkeley of Texas,” a bastion of liberalism in an otherwise conservative state.

With thanks to Bobby and Eugenie for their gracious hospitality I head back into Santa Fe, through the narrow lanes of that lovely town, and finally to U.S. Highway 285, which runs a pretty straight shot southeast to West Texas.

It’s beautiful heading down out of the highlands under a bright blue sky pebbled with cottony white clouds. Driving up from El Paso on Tuesday, the climb from Las Cruces to Santa Fe was so gradual as to not be obvious, but a climb it was. Like El Paso, Las Cruces is less than 4,000 feet above sea level (actually higher than I had thought), while Santa Fe is nearly 7,500, so Mule had work to do - and did it without complaint. It was a “beepless” day, thank heaven, without great panicky moments.

I filled up the tank in Taos last night despite the fact that I still had two squares showing on the gas gauge and could probably have easily made the sixty-five miles back down to Santa Fe, but since it was very dark and there wasn’t a lot of civilization until we got close to Bobby and Eugenie’s, I decided not to test Mule. And again this morning the gauge says it’s still full.

As we race southward the mesas become less prominent and the land flattens out. It’s interesting to watch the outside temperature rise (the one thing I can understand on the dash screen so full of complex diagrams and information) as our altitude falls. From the time we left Los Angeles and hit the desert, the outside temperature has been in the high nineties, only dropping into the high eighties in El Paso. Once we pushed up to Santa Fe it got into the sixties and fifties, dropping one morning into the forties, so having the connection between altitude and temperature spelled out before me is interesting. Taking full advantage of the downward slope and a lack of traffic, I push Mule along at a good clip. I figure I’ve now broken the speed laws in every state we’ve touched so far. [. . . several paragraphs follow about ‘President Stupid’ - George W. Bush]

Here we are in southeastern New Mexico, zipping along under the now-less-cloudy blue sky. The flat, scrub-covered land stretches as far as one can see on each side, and when I look to the left I note the entrance to a vast, fenced piece of property with a sign over the gate that reads, Victor Perez Ranch. When I say vast, I mean that the road under the gate runs straight away from the highway and disappears over the horizon without a single structure in sight. Somewhere off in the far distance beyond the edge of the earth I envision a huge, elaborate ranch house and attendant structures looking like something out of the movie Giant.

Considering this as we roll along gets me thinking about the whole idea of owning property. As a city boy from a working-class background, I know the satisfaction that comes from owning a home and a piece of property, but thinking of Victor Perez and his rancho, or people like the characters in Giant, or so many others with huge landholdings - the kind of acreage that makes one understand the use of the word “spread” - gives me pause. It brings to mind the Native American concept of living in harmony with the land, perhaps as a visitor, or as one who is granted a kind of stewardship over it because it cannot be owned, as such; one lives in partnership with it.

Closing in on the Texas border we pass through the New Mexican town of Encino. Unlike the wealthy San Fernando Valley community of the same name, this Encino (meaning evergreen or a kind of oak tree) is a shambles. A virtual ghost town, to say it has fallen on hard times is to understate it by miles. Shuttered stores, overgrown yards, huge weeds covering the front of what was once a filling station mark some kind of tragedy in the lives of the people who once resided here - and the few who perhaps still do. Very sad to see this; shocking, in a way. And, not to make Victor Perez out to be a villain, because he’s probably a nice man who worked hard for what he has, the disparity between some lives and others in this country is writ large for me in these two sets of circumstances.

Crossing into Texas the clouds have come together and turned gray. Soon there is a steady sprinkle on us that continues down to and through the town of Pecos, Home of the World’s First Rodeo, per the signs. And as we cross the Pecos River I note that Mule and I are no longer “west of the Pecos.” [There follows a lengthy anecdote - inc. a conversation with the Mule - about nearly running out of petrol.]’

Breaking the speed laws


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And so made significant . . .
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