And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

28 May

Ralph Jackson,

‘In the morning I went upon the Key & saw a fight between 2 or 3 women against one man. Went into my room & got my clean Shirt on and rode down to Winkhamlee upon my Masrs Mair and from thence to Shields & went on board Mr Gallon, the Mary & Jane, to desire he would come up and Clear today, for Friday and Saturday were two Holidays. He came up with me as far as the Waggon way and then I rode down to Winkhamlee. In the evening I went to the Stables with Billy to tell Geo. Wardell’s lad to go down to Shields and then I fetched Billy’s Galloway down for Capn. Clifton to ride on. After I took a walk with Billy and some more to Elsick and got every one 1⁄2 of New Milk.’

Apprentice Hostman and squire


Benjamin Haydon,

‘On Monday last there were one thousand and two people visited the Elgin marbles! a greater number than ever visited the British Museum since it was established. It is quite interesting to listen to the remarks of the people. They make them with the utmost simplicity, with no affectation of taste, but with a homely truth that shews they are sound at the core. We overheard two common looking decent men say to each other, ‘How broken they, a’ant they?’ ‘Yes,’ said the other, ‘but how like life.’ ’

Thirst after grandeur


Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen,
sailor and explorer

‘We were at that moment surrounded by high, steep mountains, mostly covered with forest. Towards the north we perceived the southern slope of the northern part of New Zealand, also rather high. On the western side we perceived a fenced-in space and apparently inhabited. Soon afterwards two boats approached us from this side, one containing 23 men and the other 16. Over the stern side of the boats rose a rectangular squared beam of about 6 feet. The oars were like shovels, like those employed by all the inhabitants on the shores of the Southern Sea, and painted dark red. The men were rowing two and two. When they reached a distance of a few sazhen [one sazhen equals seven feet] from our vessel they stopped. One of them rose and gesticulating wildly, pronounced a loud speech. We understood nothing of course of what he was talking, and I answered with the universally accepted signs of peace and friendship. I waved a white flag and asked them to approach. The islanders consulted among themselves and at last approached our vessel. I invited the old man who had delivered the speech, and who appeared to be their chief, to come on board. He came trembling and seemed quite lost. I treated him in an amiable manner, made him a present of a few trifles, such as glass beads, a mirror, printed linen, a knife. He was greatly delighted with these presents. I then explained to him that I wanted some fish, pronouncing the word in New Zealandese (giyka) fish. He at once understood me, laughed aloud and communicated my request to his comrades, pronouncing the word giyka. All the men in the boat seemed very pleased at it, they also repeated the same word and clearly expressed their readiness to serve us. When it grew dark they hastened on shore.

All the men were clad in a garment made of a tissue, reaching down to the knees and buttoned over the chest with a bone or a basalt. They were all girt with a rope and had a piece of tissue thrown over the shoulder by way of a felt cloak. Their garments were woven of the New Zealand flax which grew in large quantities on the shore. Their faces were tattooed with regular figures of a dark blue colour, but these ornaments were evidently the privilege of the elder or distinguished people. Their knees were rather thin which was due to the fact that they are sitting with their legs underneath them.

The sloop Mirny made only a moderate course and could not manage to run into the Sound before dark. She was therefore compelled to manoeuvre with all her sails in unfavourable wind. When it had grown dark I gave orders to raise two lanterns, one above the other, on the sloop Wostok, and also to raise blue lights from time to time, so that M. Lazarew should not mistake the shore, where the inhabitants had lit fires, for the sloop Wostok toward which he was regulating his tacks.

The current coming from the Sound had hindered them a great deal, and when it changed he made several tacks and cast anchor at eleven o'clock, near the sloop Wostok in a depth of about 11 sazhens, the ground consisting of green slime.

I gave orders that the sailors standing on watch should have loaded firearms, and that they should be ready for action. These measures were absolutely necessary in consequence of the well-known cowardly attacks of the New Zealanders, who were waging a constant war among themselves, and were known to eat the flesh of their enemies.’

Of Antartica; and enemy flesh


Polly Lavinia Crandall Coon,

‘We have all felt much distressed today at witnessing a scene truly heartrending. About noon we came by a Camp where yesterday all were well & today one man was buried - another dying & still another sick. The disease was Diareah which which they had not medicine to check & the result from death. The man that was buried left a young wife to either return through a savage country or go on alone and heartbroken. Many of our Company are complaining but none very sick.’

We hope for better times


Victor Trump,

‘Last men ran us about. Mitchell made 44, 3 hrs and gave 4 chances. I made 86 . . . wanted double century [i.e. two centuries for match]. Left for Birmingham.’

Ran about all day


Eva Braun,

‘I have just sent him the crucial letter. Question: will he attach any importance to it?

We’ll see. If I don’t get an answer before this evening, I’ll take 25 pills and gently fall asleep into another world.

He has so often told me he is madly in love with me, but what does that mean when I haven’t had a good word from him in three months?

So he has had a head full of politics all this time, but surely it is time he relaxed a little. What happened last year? Didn’t Roehm and Italy give him a lot of problems, but in spite of all that he found time for me.

Maybe the present situation is incomparably more difficult for him, nevertheless a few kind words conveyed through the Hoffmanns would not have greatly distracted him.

I am afraid there is something behind it all. I am not to blame. Absolutely not.

Maybe it is another woman, not the Valkyrie - that would be hard to believe. But there are so many other women.

Is there any other explanation? I can’t find it.

God, I am afraid he won’t give me his answer today. If only somebody would help me - it is all so terribly depressing.

Perhaps my letter reached him at an inopportune moment. Perhaps I should not have written. Anyway, the uncertainty is more terrible than a sudden ending of it all.

I have made up my mind to take 35 pills this time, and it will be “dead certain.” If only he would let someone call.” ’

He loves me so much


Edmund Hillary,

‘Position getting a bit desperate when Tenzing did a lead out over deep unstable snow to the left and finally to a somewhat more flattish spot beneath a rock bluff. We decided to camp here at approx. 27,900ft. gave others some oxygen and sent them down. It was 2.30pm. T & I took off O2 and set to work making campsite - a frightful job. Chopped out frozen rubble with iceaxes and tried to level area. By 5pm had cleared a site large enough for tent but on two levels. Decided it would have to do so pitched tent on it. Had no effective means of tying tent down so hitched some ropes and O2 bottles sunk in snow and hoped for the best.

At 6pm moved into the tent. Tenzing had his lilo along bottom level overhanging slope. I sat on top level with my feet on bottom and was able to brace the whole tent against the quarter hourly huge gusts of wind. The primus worked like a charm and we consumed large amounts of very sweet lemon water, soup and coffee and ate with relish sardines on biscuits, a tin of apricots, dates, biscuits on jam.

I had made an inventory of our oxygen supplies necessarily low due to the reduced lift and found that we only had 1 3/4 LAs (2000 litres) left for the assault. By relying on the two 1/3 full bottles left by Tom and Charles about 500 ft below South Summit I thought we could make an attack using about 3 litres a minute (I had adjustments for this and fortunately Tenzing’s set on 4 litres was really only a true 3 litres).

We also had a little excess O2 in three nearly empty bottles and this would give us about 4 hours sleeping O2. Although the thermometer registered -27 °C it was not unpleasantly cold as the wind was confined to casual strong gusts.

I spread the oxygen into two t hour periods and although I was sitting up I dozed reasonably well. Between O2 sessions we brewed up and had lemon juice and lemon juice and biscuits.

It was very noticeable that though we had no O2 from 2.30 until about 9pm that we were only slightly breathless and could work quite hard.’

On top of Mount Everest


Bill Haley,

‘Left Miami at 9.30am on Eastern Railroad for Savannahm Georgia where we are tonight. Arrived Savannah at 7.25pm Sports Arena, Savannah, Georgia $1,420. 2,500 people here. Segregation problem is strong here as we expected. This time the negroes refused to come to the second show. Results: 2,500 people first show, second show cancelled. This race problem is not mine. I’ll be glad to finish this tour and let the south alone for now.’

The rock and roll life


Edward Abbey,

‘ATTENTION: Aaron Paul Abbey is born today. My second son. May he, like my first, be blessed by Heaven and Earth, grow straight and strong in the joyous sunlight.

If the world of men is truly as ugly, cruel, trivial, unjust and stinking with fraud as it usually appears, and if it is really impossible to make it pleasant and decent, then there remains only one alternative for the honest man: stay home, cultivate your own garden, look to the mountains. (Withdraw! Withdraw! Withdraw!)’

As big as the West


Maria Colvin,

‘Today I went HS in shorts. So did everyone else. But mine were v short and v tight. Wore a vest and sandals too. When we got back was mommy mad. We had a mother to daughter talk about why I was doing this. She told me how provocative I looked.’

Like being an upended turtle


Ulick O’Connor,

‘Horrors on horror’s head accumulate. Hear at four o'clock that the Northern Ireland Assembly has been dissolved. Faulkner has resigned as Chief Executive. It seems the bullies have won. I go down to the Dail to see Jack Lynch. Meet Eugene Timmons TD in the hall. He seems to accept the news with equanimity. Then I see David Andrews. He does not seem as downcast as he should be (I wonder has he something up his sleeve?). Brian Lenihan passes us with a cheery smile. Then I go into the Dail chamber. Afterwards I meet Jack Lynch. Exhausted. He looks like an old man, shrunk. He puts off our meeting until Thursday. I go to discuss what’s happened with George Colley (former Minister for Finance). He says we were closer to trouble in 1969. I point out that then the British Army were regarded as peacekeepers by the Nationalists, now this is not so. Therefore the situation is significantly worse. Rory Brugha TD who is also with us remarks that the British will always suit themselves. George Colley says he thinks the real danger is unilateral declaration of independence by the Unionists. I suggest that we should consider sending in the Irish Army as a protective force with a view to getting the UN to come in at a later stage. The general feeling is that the Irish Army should have gone into Northern Ireland in 1969 after Lynch had said that the South would not ‘stand idly by’ when the Nationalist population in Northern Ireland were being attacked and burned out of their homes. If they had gone across the border at Derry then to protect civilians they could have remained in situ and refused to evacuate until the UN came in with a peacekeeping force.

My thinking. The British will now get very tough with the Unionists. They may cut Harland & Wolff’s subsidy and that of other industrial jewels in the British Crown.’

Pulsing like a python


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And so made significant . . .
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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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