And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

15 November

William Whiteway,

‘This day about 10 a clocke at night Squire Williams stabd the Tapster of the George to the heart and killd him. Whereupon he fled into Holland, and from thence to France, where he lived at Caen. Some 8 moneths after he returned, have a pardon for £1500.’

The towne took on fire


Roger Lowe,

‘Lord’s day. It was a very rainy day day [sic] and Mr. Blakebume came not to chappell, but sent Mr. Barker to read, and I was som what troubled. Old Roger Naylor came and sate with me all aftemoone. This day was not well spent, I must confesse. The Lord humble me for it.’

In church, at the alehouse


John Evelyn
, writer

‘Being the Queen’s birthday, there were fireworks on the Thames before Whitehall, with pageants of castles, forts, and other devices of girandolas, serpents, the King and Queen’s arms and mottoes, all represented in fire, such as had not been seen here. But the most remarkable was the several fires and skirmishes in the very water, which actually moved a long way, burning under the water, now and then appearing above it, giving reports like muskets and cannon, with grenades and innumerable other devices. It is said it cost £1,500. It was concluded with a ball, where all the young ladies and gallants danced in the great hall. The court had not been seen so brave and rich in apparel since his Majesty’s Restoration.’

A most excellent person


John Evelyn,

‘There happened this week so thick a mist and fog, that people lost their way in the streets, it being so intense that no light of candles, or torches, yielded any (or but very little) direction. I was in it, and in danger. Robberies were committed between the very lights which were fixed between London and Kensington on both sides, and while coaches and travelers were passing. It began about four in the afternoon, and was quite gone by eight, without any wind to disperse it. At the Thames, they beat drums to direct the watermen to make the shore.’

A most excellent person


Mary Clavering Cowper,

‘I came into Waiting. I was ill when I came in, and continued so the whole Week. The Princess told me she had seen the Treatise on the State of Parties, already mentioned, and complimented me mightily upon it. In the Evening I played at Basset as low as I could, which they rallied me for; but I told my Mistress I played out of Duty, not Inclination, and having four Children, Nobody would think ill of me if for their Sakes I desired to save my Money, when I did not do Anything that was mean, dishonest, or dishonourable; for which she commended me, and said she thought the principal Duty of a Woman was to take care of her Children.’

All sorts of colours


John Thomlinson,

‘Uncle Robert says uncle John cares not how soon I was married - thinks of John Ord’s daughter - the eldest; she is a religious, good natured woman, not so handsome as the second who is a proud, conceiting herself to be a witt, etc. Neither the mother nor the eldest daughter are women of parts, or extraordinary sense, but enough to manage a house, etc. They think John may gett me this living, being acquainted with Mr Sharp’s brother, the lawyer, and he will do brother Richard business about the mill.’

In search of a rich wife


Harman Blennerhassett,
lawyer and aristocrat

‘I am much mortified by my detention here - thro’ the probably delusive hopes Burr has held out to me of the possible success of his efforts to raise money. I have almost let slip the season for descending the Ohio, for there is much appearance of an early winter: and thus will another item be probably added to the long account of my sufferings by this man.’

Breaking with Burr


William Bray,
lawyer and antiquary

‘This day I completed my 72nd year; and thanks to God’s mercies I find myself in as perfect health as I ever enjoyed in my life, and the only perceivable difference in any of my senses that I am aware of is a little degree of deafness in my right ear, but as the other is perfect, I do pretty well. My left eye I think has not perfectly recovered the severe inflammation which I had two or three years ago, but the other being sound, I read and write as well and as much as ever. My teeth remain perfect in front and without any additional loss to those which decayed some years ago.’

A good state of health


Edward Pease,

‘The Stockton and Darlington Railway are now opening some iron foundry works at Middlesbrough, and several Friends are about to be employed as managers and workmen so that the erection of a Meeting-house is spoken of, . . . Except the Lord, build, keep and watch the city, vain is all human effort.’

Father of the Railways


Aniela Strakacz,

’In a few minutes we shall leave for PaderewskI’s concert in Albert Hall which holds six thousand people. I thought this evening would never come. How different everything is on the day Paderewski is scheduled to play. Of course I haven’t even seen him today, nobody has. There is no lunch, everyone eats on his own. We all know that the President suffers dreadfully from stagefright before every concert and never touches food until after the recital.

Today is a particularly important occasion. A London concert and in the largest hall in Europe to boot. I’ve caught the President’s nervousness myself. It’s silly to be scared about the way Paderewski will play, but I can’t help it. I’m worried sick. I even went to church to offer a little prayer for the success of the concert.


Well, it’s all over. I couldn’t even say what Albert Hall looks like. All my amazed eyes could make out was a sea of human heads thousands upon thousands of them. The boxes were bulging with standees. When I looked for the stage, I couldn’t find it; a second look located a small black dot - the piano. But how was the President to get to it? What was supposed to be the stage was so tightly packed with chairs seating part of the overflow audience that those closest to the piano could have reached out and touched it.

The lights dimmed and Paderewski walked in slowly as if trying to fit into the narrow passage that had been left for him. Everybody rose spontaneously and there was prolonged applause. Finally Paderewski sat down at the piano. He began to play only when the silence grew so deep you could have heard the buzzing of a fly.

It was so quiet I didn’t dare look at my program to see what the President was playing for fear the paper would rustle. Gradually I fell under the spell of the music and no longer felt any need to consult the program. The unearthly beauty of that music transported me to another world where neither time nor space existed, and where everything was fine, noble, and sublime.

A lady fainted during the second part of the concert and was carried out without the slightest noise. It couldn’t have taken more than a minute altogether. Still, after the concert the President asked me: “What happened during the concert, did someone faint?” It’s beyond me how the President saw, heard, or sensed the incident because it occurred in an obscure comer of one of the balconies behind him. Sylwin says the President always notices everything that goes on while he is playing.

What a concert that was! The President gave eight encores.

Following the recital there was a tremendous supper for some twenty-odd guests in a private reception room of the Hotel Carlton. The President attacked the food with a healthy appetite. He was in excellent humor and very gallant toward the ladies.

The supper was fit for a king, deliberately so for the benefit of Jancio H., who has the reputation of being the greatest gourmet in Paris. Rumor has it that a chef at the Ritz fainted when he heard that Count H. was in the restaurant.

Paderewski showed no sign of strain or fatigue. On the contrary, he was bubbling over with fun.’

Bubbling over with fun


Han Feng,

‘After breakfast, Mo Kun accompanied us to see the ‘Upper/Lower Nine’. It is still quite well-preserved without a lot of changes. I stayed in the hotel room in the afternoon. Went out to eat in the evening and went back to the room. Ah Fang came to my room to fuck. After fucking five times, she returned to her own room.’

. . . and 50,000 yuan


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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.

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.

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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.