And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

9 May

Samuel Pepys,
civil servant

‘Thence with Mr Salisbury, who I met there, into Covent Garden to an alehouse, to see a picture that hangs there, which is offered for 20s., and I offered fourteen - but it is worth much more money - but did not buy it, I having no mind to break my oath. Thence to see an Italian puppet play that is within the rayles there, which is very pretty, the best that ever I saw, and great resort of gallants. So to the Temple and by water home, and so walk upon the leads, and in the dark there played upon my flageolette [a woodwind musical instrument], it being a fine still evening, and so to supper and to bed.’

In celebration of Pepys


Anthony Wood,

‘At 7 in the morning the King’s crowne endeavoured to be taken away by (Thomas) Blood and his son and 3 others out of the Tower of London, but 3 of them were taken. The said Bloud and his son, who call themselves by the name of Hunt, were 2 of those 6 that set upon the duke of Ormond a little before last Xtmas, and they now confess that they had a designe to sell him to the Turks, because that by his meanes they had lost their estates in Ireland while he was Lord Deputy.’

A cold clownish woman

George Whitefield,

‘Waited at Noon upon the honourable Trustees fro Georgia. They received me with the utmost civility, agreed to every Thing I asked, and gave me a Grant of Five hundred Acres of Land to me and Successors for ever, for the Use of the Orphan-house.’

Preaching with power


Thomas Gyll,

‘Sir Ralph Milbank of Halnaby in Yorkshire, baronet, died at London in the 60th year of his age, and was some short time after buried with much funeral pomp in the family vault of Croft church. He left six sons by Ann, his wife, daughter of Edward Delaval of Dissington in Northumberland, esq.; and one daughter, Bridget, by his first wife, Elizabeth, sister to Robert, earl of Holderness, whose daughter was first married to Sir Butler Wentworth, baronet, and secondly to John Murray, esq., of the Isle of Man.’

Who died the last week


Thomas Raikes,

‘Sefton’s face was a true barometer. The King has refused to make the peers, and this morning the ministers have given in their resignations, which have been accepted. Still they attended at the levee, and the King appeared cheerful. Brookes’s Club is full of weeping and gnashing of teeth, so little was the party prepared for this sudden catastrophe. No one knows to whom the King will turn for his new advisers.’

A mania for gossip


Miguel de Unamuno,
writer and philosopher

‘How is it suddenly, today, the 9th May, 1899, in the midst of my studies, I am overcome by a craving to pray? I have had to lay down my book and retire to my room to say a brief prayer and to read in the Imitation the prayer asking for light for the spirit.’

Go and wash and see


Thomas Cobden-Sanderson,

‘I have just seen Swinburne pass through the [British] library into the Large Room preceded by a lady and Watts-Dunton. Swinburne had on a grey, large, soft felt hat. His head, too, seemed vast, his shoulders, on the other hand, seemed slight and very sloping, and his figure plump but small. He walked without moving his body, or arms, which were held down straight at his sides. So passed our greatest living poet. I rose from my seat to see him, and pondered upon the insignificance and significance of things. The library remained as undisturbed as the surface of a lake and its whole body of water by the entrance of an undistinguishable pebble.’

Innumerable ripples; countless diamonds


Mahadev Desai,
political aide

‘Bapu had asked me to write something to be sent to the Ashram. I therefore wrote five scenes of a play which I had projected in Nasik prison. But Bapu remarked that such things could not be sent from jail. The authorities would not allow them to pass, but if they did, they would make themselves liable to censure. The play might be written out in jail and printed after I was released.

Bapu has been observing the behaviour of the cats. His letter to the Ashram today is devoted to that subject. The cat’s concentration in observing the lizard was perhaps not noticed by our sages, or else they would have suggested that we must concentrate on God in the same manner. Yesterday a lizard was coming near the cat, which began to shake its tail, but then it turned back and went away in the opposite direction. The cat began to cry as if asking it to be good enough to enter its own mouth and not to go away like that. Englishmen who honestly believe that India should continue to be a British possession remind me of this cat. The cat is their prototype, not the snake.’

Gandhi and the cat


Alan Bennett,
playwright and actor

‘Vanity: my sixty-second birthday. Someone behind me in M&S says: ‘Are you all right, young man? I look round.’

A place for my asides


Lionel Robbins,

‘A short spell in an earthly paradise. I cannot understand why the Americans, who certainly do sometimes boast, do not boast about the Pennsylvanian countryside. It is quite as lovely as the best of Buckinghamshire (which in some respects it resembles) but the greater richness and varieties of the trees and flowering shrubs and the quiet distinction of the domestic architecture give it a character all of its own - a mature and kindly setting plucking curiously at the heartstrings.

Three and a half years accumulated gossip and the presence of extremely vivacious companions left little time for talk of a kind worth entering in this record. For a brief period however, away from her other guests, my sister did allow herself to expatiate a little on the politics of her adopted country. She is a woman of great commonsense and sobriety of judgement and the two main points she made seem to me to have considerable importance.

The first thing she emphasised was the gravity of the food situation. By this, of course, she meant the politics, not the economics, of the matter. In her view the administration have so bungled the handling of price control and rationing that this purely local issue is likely to be one of the dominating influences in next year’s elections. She goes so far as to think that there is even a chance that indignation on this matter may bring back not merely the Republicans but the diehard Republicans. She is not inclined to suggest the existence of a wider degree of anglophobia than we usually assume. But she thinks that we vastly underestimate the potential strength of the Republican comeback.

As I listened to her elaboration of the causes of the irritation about food, I suddenly realised what I think is an illuminating comparison. To understand the American attitude to food rationing we have to think of our own experience not of food but of coal. Food at home is shipping: Englishmen understand shipping, they therefore understand food rationing. But coal, that is another matter. The stuff is there in the ground. How can we be short of it? Well food in America is like our coal. How can this great food producing country have to go short of food? Someone has blundered ... Of course someone has blundered. But that is not the whole story.

The second point that my sister made was more encouraging. She asserts that nine out of ten Americans, however anglophile, believe in their hearts that we are going to let them down over the war with Japan. If this is so - and I have heard it before from one or two people I trust - it is a great opportunity. For we shall not let them down. We are just as interested in the Far East as they are.

Sitting alone with my sister and her husband when the week-end party had dissolved, listening to a Glyndeboume [production of Mozart’s] ‘Don Giovanni Act IV’ [sic] and making a supper of bread, Pennsylvanian cheese and good red wine, I suddenly thought ‘I haven’t thought about the war all day’. Of course I had talked about it, told stories, exchanged wisecracks, rejoiced in the fall of Tunis and Bizerte, weighed soberly the prospects of struggles to come. But it had all happened somewhere else. There was no continuing presence. And that is, and I think must be, one of the central difficulties of the American situation. It all happens somewhere else; and though it may be very exciting, and indeed moving, it is exciting and moving like a film at the cinema rather than life itself.’

Tergiversations of policy


E. M. Forster,

‘During the last six or five months, Johnny Simpson has died, Agnes has died, Ivor Ramsay threw himself from the top of the chapel on mother’s birthday, Stephen Glanville (Provost here) died a fortnight back in a twinkling, Sydney Wilkinson has not recovered from her operation, Patrick (she told me yesterday) has injured his hip-socket and will be permanently lame, Kenneth Harrison’s father is going dotty so that K (my best friend in King’s) may have to leave Cambridge to look after him.

None of the above people I dislike, most of them I love, and the cumulative reaction on me is not sadness, but indifference to the young. It has come on me suddenly and might have anyhow. I have lost the quick warmth that used to accompany their approach or the expression of their opinions. I do not find this in Bob, whom I have mummified for my self preservation.’

A frank and lively diarist


Pikle - The Diary Review - The Diary Junction - Contact

And so made significant . . .
and its companion websites -
The Diary Review
and The Diary Junction - are maintained privately without any funding or advertising. Please consider supporting their author/editor by purchasing one or more of his books: the memoir, Why Ever Did I Want to Write, and the Not a Brave New World trilogy.
Thank you.

Why Ever Did I Want to Write is a patchwork of themed stories about one man’s early life, embracing highs and lows but driven by a desire to make the most of being alive, to experience, to feel, and above all to understand. Reminiscent of Karl Knausgaard’s A Death in the Family and Theodore Zeldin’s An Intimate History of Humanity, this memoir, often based on diaries, sees Lyons reflecting on a repressed childhood, exploring the world through years of travelling, and searching for meaning and excitement in the arts and love affairs – an archetype of the counterculture in the 1970s and 1980s.

Not a Brave New World is an extraordinary fictional memoir, a trilogy in three wives, spanning the whole of the 21st century: one man’s - Kip Fenn’s - frank account, sometimes acutely painful and sometimes surprisingly joyful, of his three partners, and his career in international diplomacy working to tackle the rich-poor divide.

GILLIAN - Book 1 - Amazon (US/UK)
Kip Fenn’s first love is in a coma. His father suddenly isn’t his father. After formative trips to Brussels and Brazil, Kip wins a civil service job. Unfortunately, a media baron discovers his sexual weakness and is blackmailing him for government secrets. If only Kip could find solace in his wife’s arms or joy in his children.

DIANA - Book 2 - Amazon (US/UK)
Kip Fenn is a success: his career has taken off within a major UN agency trying to spread wealth from the rich to the poor. But all is not well with the world - the golden age of oil and chips is now over, and unsustainable development is leading to social turmoil, and to world war. Kip has found love and a new family, but he can find no way to stop his older children self-destruct; nor does he realise his partner’s deceit.

LIZETTE - Book 3 - Amazon (US/UK)
Third time lucky - Kip Fenn finds true love. His UN career though is ending with a whimper. Another terrible war is cut short by the devastating Grey Years, and while nations rebuild many individuals turn Notek. In restless retirement, Kip’s lifelong passion for vintage photos sees him launching a new arts institution. But who is the mysterious visitor by his bedside, and how will she affect his planned deathday?


And so made significant . . .
is the world’s greatest online anthology of diary extracts. It is presented in the same way as popular books like The Assassin’s Cloak and The Faber Book of Diaries, i.e. by calendar day, but contains more, and many longer, extracts than is possible in published books. Moreover, for each quoted extract there’s a link to a Diary Review article with some or all of the following: further extracts, biographical information, contexts, a portrait, and links to online sources/etexts. Furthermore, new extracts are added on a regular basis.

in diary days



Notes and Cautions
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.

For any other use of these diary extracts other than browsing please refer to the original sources.

Any author, publisher or other copyright holder who takes the view that I am unacceptably breaching their copyright please let me know. I have tried to remain sensitive to copyright rules (using far fewer quotes, for example, when a book, by an author still alive, remains in print and popular), but it is not practical for me to seek authorisation for every quote and article, since I maintain these websites without any funding or advertis-ing. I take the view that publicity for the source books is a quid pro quo for my use of the extracts, but I am more than happy to remove the extracts if asked.

SITE DEVISED by Paul K Lyons

The Diary Junction is one of those wonderful privately maintained public resources for which the Internet is justly celebrated: a database of information about celebrated and obscure diaries[over 500] from all historical periods, with referrals to the dates the diaries cover, where the originals are held and bibliographic information on published versions.’ Laura Miller, Salon

The Diary Review, hosted by Blogger, publishes magazine-style articles on diaries and diarists, several times a week. Now over ten years old, The Diary Review is the secondary source for the extracts in this online anthology.