And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

14 November

Elizabeth Freke,

‘I was privately married to Mr Percy Frek by Doctter Johnson in Coven Garden, my Lord Russells chaplain, in London, to my second cosine, eldest son to Captain Arthur Frek and grandson to Mr William Frek, the only brother of Sir Thomas Frek of Dorsettshiere, who was my grandfather, and his son Mr Ralph Frek my deer father. And my mother was Sir Thomas Cullpepers daughter of Hollingburne in Kentt; her name was Cicelia Cullpeper. Affter being six or 7 years engaged to Mr Percy Freke, I was in a most grievous rainy, wet day married without the knowledg or consent of my father or any friend in London, as above.’

Elizabeth Freke’s misfortunes


Cotton Mather,

‘What an Occasion, what an Incentive, to have PIETY, more than ever quicken’d and shining in my Family, have I this morning been entertained withal!

My Kinsman, the Minister of Roxbury, being Entertained at my House, that he might there undergo the Small-Pox Inoculated, and so Return to the Service of his Flock, which have the Contagion begun among them;

Towards three a Clock in the Night, as it grew towards Morning of this Day, some unknown Hands, threw a fired Granado into the Chamber where my Kinsman lay, and which uses to be my Lodging-Room. The Weight of the Iron Ball alone, had it fallen upon his Head, would have been enough to have done Part of the Business designed. But the Granado was charged, the upper part with dried Powder, the lower Part with a Mixture of Oil of Turpentine and Powder and what else I know not, in such a Manner, that upon its going off, it must have splitt, and have probably killed the Persons in the Room, and certainly fired the Chamber, and speedily laid the House in Ashes. But, this Night there stood by me the Angel of the GOD, whose I am and whom I serve; and the merciful Providence of GOD my SAVIOUR, so ordered it, that the Granado passing thro’ the Window, had by the Iron in the Middle of the Casement, such a Turn given to it, that in falling on the Floor, the fired Wild-fire in the Fuse was violently shaken out upon the Floor, without firing the Granado. When the Granado was taken up, there was found a Paper so tied with String about the Fuse, that it might out-Live the breaking of the Shell, which had these words in it; Cotton Mather, You Dog, Dam you: I’ll inoculate you with this, with a Pox to you.’

Cotton Mather, You Dog


George Byron,

’If this had been begun ten years ago, and faithfully kept!!! - heigho! there are too many things I wish never to have remembered, as it is. Well, - I have had my share of what are called the pleasures of this life, and have seen more of the European and Asiatic world than I have made a good use of. They say ‘virtue is its own reward,’ - it certainly should be paid well for its trouble. At five-and-twenty, when the better part of life is over, one should be something; - and what am I? nothing but five-and-twenty - and the odd months. What have I seen? the same man all over the world, - ay, and woman too. Give me a Mussulman who never asks questions, and a she of the same race who saves one the trouble of putting them. But for this same plague - yellow-fever - and Newstead delay, I should have been by this time a second time close to the Euxine. If I can overcome the last, I don’t so much mind your pestilence; and, at any rate, the spring shall see me there, - provided I neither marry myself nor unmarry any one else in the interval. I wish one was - I don’t know what I wish. It is odd I never set myself seriously to wishing without attaining it - and repenting. I begin to believe with the good old Magi, that one should only pray for the nation, and not for the individual; - but, on my principle, this would not be very patriotic.

No more reflections. - Let me see - last night I finished ‘Zuleika,’ my second Turkish Tale. I believe the composition of it kept me alive - for it was written to drive my thoughts from the recollection of -

“Dear, sacred name, rest ever unreveal’d.”

At least, even here, my hand would tremble to write it. This afternoon I have burned the scenes of my commenced comedy. I have some idea of expectorating a romance, or rather a tale, in prose; - but what romance could equal the events - [. . .]

To-day Henry Byron called on me with my little cousin Eliza. She will grow up a beauty and a plague; but, in the mean time, it is the prettiest child! dark eyes and eyelashes, black and long as the wing of a raven. I think she is prettier even than my niece, Georgina, - yet I don’t like to think so neither; and, though older, she is not so clever. [. . .]

I have declined presenting the Debtor’s Petition, being sick of parliamentary mummeries. I have spoken thrice ; but I doubt my ever becoming an orator. My first was liked; the second and third - I don’t know whether they succeeded or not. I have never yet set to it con amore; one must have some excuse to oneself for laziness, or inability, or both, and this is mine. ‘Company, villanous company, hath been the spoil of me;’ - and then, I have ‘drunk medicines,’ not to make me love others, but certainly enough to hate myself.

Two nights ago, I saw the tigers sup at Exeter ‘Change, Except Veli Pacha’s lion in the Morea, - who followed the Arab keeper like a dog, - the fondness of the hyaena for her keeper amused me most. Such a conversazione! There was a ‘hippopotamus,’ like Lord ____ in the face; and the ‘Ursine Sloth’ hath the very voice and manner of my valet - but the tiger talked too much. The elephant took and gave me my money again - took off my hat - opened a door - trunked a whip - and behaved so well, that I wish he was my butler. The handsomest animal on earth is one of the panthers; but the poor antelopes were dead. I should hate to see one here: - the sight of the camel made me pine again for Asia Minor. “Oh quando te aspiciam?” ’

The pleasures of this life


John Buckley Castieau,
civil servant

‘Went to the main Gaol with some ordinary business papers. Dr Youl called at my Gaol while I was absent. Went to the Railway Station to see Fox, arranged with him for rehearsal at the Station in the evening.

Received a lunatic from Sandhurst. Went with Neild to look over a collection of old books that had been purchased by one of his friends, bought two volumes of Elegant Extracts, a French Dictionary, Bacon’s Essays & two odd volumes tor 7/6.

Attended Rehearsal in the evening made a great deal of noise, but read the Play throughout. Got home about a quarter to eleven o clock.

Dr Webster paid ordinary visit to the Gaol. The lunatics have been very troublesome during the day.’

Barricading the gaol


Nicholas II,

‘Today was the 23rd anniversary of our wedding! At 12 o’clock services were held; the choir got confused and went astray. It must be that they had not been practicing. The weather was sunny, warm and with gusts of wind. After tea, I re-read my last diary. It was a pleasant occupation.’

Hope remains above all


Seán Lester,

‘Mother died on November 7th, just over 86 years of age. I had been with her a week before, but had returned to Geneva. She was the sweetest, the most unselfish, and most Christian soul, I have known. Her kindness and charity, unswerving faith, devotion, and love made her shine like a lamp in darkness.’

Seán Lester and the League


Wilhelm Reich,

‘Apparatus returned by Einstein. His behavior is inexplicable. 1. He is a coward? 2. He doesn't want to get involved. 3. He was turned against me.’

The existence of orgonity


Joseph Goebbels,

‘I had a heavy set-to with Ribbentrop about our propaganda section in France. Ribbentrop claims that France must be regarded as a foreign country and not as a defeated state because it has a chief of state and a prime minister. Consequently, only the Foreign Office has a right to political activity there. I opposed this standpoint violently and Field Marshal General Keitel joined in my protest. For, after all, we have defeated France and there is a military occupation force in France. The Embassy in Paris is only, so to speak, an outside sub-bureau of the Foreign Office, but it can in no way be considered a diplomatic representation of the Reich in a free and sovereign France. The argument went back and forth. Ribbentrop is trying to solve the situation by a fait accompli, by-passing the Fuehrer. But I shall in no circumstances agree to this. It is amazing with what fanaticism the Foreign Office, and especially Ribbentrop, deal with points of such subsidiary importance.’

The Nuremberg ten


William Burroughs,

‘Thursday This is November 14. 1996

November 10, Calico was killed at 19th and Learnard. I heard about it the 12th from Jose. Tom had seen the cat by side of the road.

In the empty spaces where the cat was, that hurt physically. Cat is part of me. Mornings since, I break into uncontrollable sobbing and crying when I remember [where] she used to be - sit - move, etc. No question of histrionics. It just happens.

So dream remembered:
Oh, it was also a cat. I wasn’t sure it could find its way.’

Beat writer‘s last months


Paul Gambaccini,
writer and broadcaster

‘Out of the blue, I receive a phone call from Conservative MP Nigel Evans, who had been arrested and forced to relinquish his position as Deputy Speaker of the Commons.

He wants me to know what, based on his experience, lies in store for me. ‘They will listen to every phone call you make,’ he warns me. ‘They will read every email. They will try to turn your Facebook friends against you.’

This sounds pretty extreme. He must be having a rough time. At least I got off Facebook months ago.’

Happy birthday, Gambaccini


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.