And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

16 November

Pedro de Alvarado,
explorer and soldier

‘A happier warrior than I cannot be, for the best of fortune has been mine today. My princess Nenetzin has been worshipping at our Christian shrine, and has rejected her former belief in order to accept that of our holy faith.With true reverence and understanding did she permit me to place my chain with crucifix around her next, as a seal to her love for Christ.

Moreover, there is exceedingly great joy among all our company tonight, for the might Moctezuma, successfully coerced by Señor Cortes and his noble companions, now resides in our palace under our protection.’

Conquistador in love


Gilles de Gouberville,

‘I was at the mill and had 2 measures of wheat ground in my presence to see the result, because I distrust the miller.’

I distrust the miller


Charles Crowe,
British soldier

‘Vander and I agreed to reverence the day, and a parade for Divine Service had been ordered. I was to have officiated as Chaplain, but the rain was too heavy to allow any but the sailors working the ship to remain on deck. The Master dined with us. When he left our cabin he foresaw a storm, and gave orders accordingly. Late in the evening the Hatchways were closed, and covered over with tarred purlings and a most awful night ensued. The wind blew great guns, and the sea ran mountains high. Our ship pitched and tossed and reeled most furiously.

Sleep was out of question, especially after midnight, when the table broke from the lashings to the floor, and set at liberty all our trunks stowed beneath, which drove slap bang from side to side as the vessel rolled. Thus Cobbold and myself in the lower berths were alternately in dread of unwelcome intruders. I succeeded in catching hold of and securing my own trunk, and was leaning forward to reach Vander’s when Dr Rice, anxious about his case of instruments, dropped from the berth above, and caught my head between his thighs. At this very juncture, the ship lurched suddenly to narboard, so that the Doctor, being rather short, could but just reach the floor, and by clinging to his own berth, save himself from falling backward.

Thus I remained in a pillory without the possibility of withdrawing my head, to the great amusement of our opposite companions. Pinching and thumping availed me not, for the Doctor could not budge a jot, until the ship righted on its way to falling to starboard, which made the Doctor scramble up to save his legs from the trunks, and thus set me free. All of us now could join the hearty laugh, and joke the Doctor’s nimbleness in saving his shanks. Our glee was however, cut short, for as the ship was rising on a lofty wave and appeared to stand on end, a cross wave struck our stern, made every plank and timber quiver, smashed our dead lights, or storm window shutters, to atoms, and shipped much water.

Cobbold and I had now to change our operations, and were obliged as the vessel rolled to either side, to hold up our bed clothes to prevent the water washing into our berths, and were thus employed until the water by degrees found its way under the cabin door to the ship's waste. All this was bad enough, but in the hold, where men and horses were so closely stowed, the scene was horrible! Three fine horses were suffocated, and falling against those next to them, threw them down, and they by their plunging injured others. When the storm mitigated in the morning, so as to allow the hatchways to be partly opened and fresh air admitted some men fainted.

As soon as practicable the dead horses were drawn out of the hold and thrown overboard. But it was a very difficult undertaking to set the other poor fallen and frightened animals again on their legs, during the continued rolling of the vessel. Other ships also threw their dead horses, the most crowded had, consequently, more casualties. There were very many detachments of Dragoons embarked in the fleet, particularly of the Oxford Blues, who lost a very many of their fine black horses. The sea presented a melancholy scene, covered with floating carcases as far as we could see. Our rigging stood well, but some vessels were greatly shattered, and some two or three were obliged to run before the gale, and returned to Plymouth.

Our convoy scudded about in all directions to collect their scattered charge. We maintained our central position. About 3pm Vander descried a suspicious square rigged ship close in shore hugging the wind under easy sail, for we had crossed the bight of the Bay of Biscay, and could discern the Spanish coast. Our Master pronounced the stranger to be an American Man-of-War. This unwelcome intelligence induced us to go down and muster our men between decks, as well as we could, and make them look to, and prepare their arms and ammunition, in case of an attack during the night.

When we returned on deck our Commodore had the signal flying “Look to the strange sail at Windward.” And away went the Brig of War, our Columbine, dashing and splashing in most gallant style through the lofty billows which seemed all to combine to oppose her progress. We watched her with a lively interest, as long as the daylight lasted, then returned to our cabins, and having made as good a meal as the rolling of the vessel would allow, we laid down, sword in hand, prepared for any alarm. Having however, to make up for lost sleep the night before, we soon forgot our cares and anxieties until the morning.’

Three fine horses


Phebe Orvis,

‘Finished the kersey. put in a Cotton web for Dr. Sprague. he extracted a tooth for me. came very hard, the only one remaining. glad to get rid of it.’

An extraordinary ordinary woman


Henry J. Heinz,

‘Maggie Keil called at office for donation of pickles for Grace Church Festival. We supplied her with all they wanted and the church has our best wishes. Bought Clarence a suit for $6.50 and suits for the children and just wonder how some people who have a large family get along on small salary.’

Caught in the mustard mill


Robert Earl Henri,

‘I claim the honour of being the revolutioniser of some parts of the Academy. It was me that persuaded W[hipple] to open the Library - was one of the agitators of the sketch class - of the opening to the Antique [class] of the modeling room, and now of the getting of a cast for the modeling room.’

Make the draperies move


Charles de Foucauld,

‘How good God is to hide the future from us! What a torture life would be were it less unknown to us! and how good He is to make so clearly known to us the heaven thereafter which will follow our earthly time of trial!’

From playboy to ascetic


Hamlin Garland,

‘[Hoover] looked ill, weary and worried. [. . .] I contrasted him with Roosevelt who never allowed work or worry to interfere with his resilient joy in a dinner.’

Cowboys and indians


Anthony Eden,

‘Van came in and talked somewhat hysterically about this alliance being directed against us and not Russia. I fear that he is not balanced and is in such a continual state of nerves that he will end by making would-be aggressors think the more of us as a possible victim!’

The 1st Earl of Avon


Seán Lester,

‘Following the assassination of a Secretary at the German Embassy in Paris by a frenzied Polish-Jewish youth of 17, whose parents had been maltreated, the Nazis launched a pogrom, burning synagogues and destroying houses and shops and imprisoning thousands of poor wretches. Then a fine of 1,000,000,000 marks as a levy on what is left of Jewish property, compulsory restoration of property destroyed, prior to turning it over to Aryans, expulsion from all retail trades, etc, etc. The world has been aghast - horrified once more by the monster. And one looks to see Chamberlain’s difficulties in a policy of appeasement still further increased.’

Seán Lester and the League


Ulrich von Hassell,

‘All Germany is talking about the attempt on Hitler’s life at the Bürgerbräu [8 November]. The press is quite unable to cover up the fact that there is absolutely no ‘fanatical indignation’ described by official propaganda. Rather, an astounding indifference and many people express regret quite openly that the explosion was delayed.

With cold-blooded insolence, immediately after the bomb exploded, the report was put out that suspicion was focussing on Britain. If that was known it is a scandal that it was not prevented. Naturally, it is being whispered that this was another ‘Reichstag fire’ instigated by the Party in order to rouse hatred against Britain. I do not believe this, although the stories circulated by the Gestapo would naturally give rise to this suspicion. Most probably it was a Communist conspiracy or the act of dissatisfied elements within the Party, Otto Strasser supporters. What will be the effect of this attempt on Hitler’s life? I sense that confusion and helplessness are increasing.

I am beginning to believe that the invasion of Belgium and Holland has been given up. For weeks the foreign press has been full of reports on the fears of the Belgians and Dutch and their extensive preparations. The step taken by King Leopold and Queen Wilhelmina was apparently the result of this anxiety and has made matters more difficult for Hitler. If he wanted to do it, he hesitated too long - thank God - and thanks to the opposition of the military. (Misleading rumours amongst the people regarding Italy’s becoming involved in the war, amongst other things.) 

A notable event in foreign affairs was the proclamation by the Comintern on the anniversary of the October Revolution. With remarkable sangfroid they throw us into the same pot with Britain and France as capitalistic slave-traders. The incident demonstrates what they dare say about us, apparently for the purpose of quieting their own party members. Since this proclamation also berates the Italians as future hyenas of the battlefield, who will enter the fray when the victory of one party is assured, the Italian press, on official instructions, has taken the field against Moscow and notes that apparently the accordo between Germany and the Soviets was not quite perfect. The French seized on that as a sign that the Axis is tottering, to which the Italians made a rather tortuous response. New story: ‘The Führer has had his driving licence revoked because he wanders too far into the oncoming lane. His axle [same word in German as Axis] is broken.’

Pietzsch came to see us. Very depressed. Basically he now understands exactly the adventurous and bolshevizing policies with which Hitler is leading us into the abyss. Then in the midst of it all he falls back almost automatically into a state of admiration. He tells awful things about the economic disorganization which makes any rational management impossible.

Without any knowledge of the matter in hand, Hitler interfered for political or military reasons, made altogether impossible demands - for instance on behalf of Italy - and thereby turned the whole apparatus upside down. It appears to me that we ourselves are contributing to the British ‘destruction of the German economy’.

Characteristic of the deceptive methods of the press barons I was told by an editor that the newspapers were permitted recently to mention the anniversary of the death of Johanna von Bismarck [wife of Chancellor Bismarck, died 27 November 1894] but were strictly forbidden to mention her Christian piety. Moreover, all magazines and periodicals must publish something adverse about Britain in each issue. The Comintern proclamation was of course suppressed and so are railway accidents. The French and British replies to King Leopold and Queen Wilhelmina were reviled, but not published.

I met Guttenberg in Munich. His brother-in-law Revertera has been released suddenly without explanation. At heart Guttenberg remains of course a Bavarian monarchist and would like to build bridges for the House of Wittelsbach now it is clear that the era of independent German monarchical states is over. He is right to worry about Habsburg ideas of dividing things up in the case of defeat, and says this must be resisted. It appears that Gessler has the confidence of the Wittelsbachs. Interesting conversation with General Geyr von Schweppenburg who had commanded a panzer division in Poland. He must have seen some terrible things and become so strongly affected by them that he is now to be found in a sanatorium with a heart condition.

Among other things he recounted was the order at the Bug river not to permit thousands of fleeing Poles, who were streaming back to us in terrible fear of the Bolsheviks, to cross the river. Of course wherever possible he allowed it anyhow.

During his time as military attaché in London the Party had attacked him violently for maintaining that Britain was not bluffing, but that once a certain point was reached they would fight. As late as June Reichenau had asked him with a sneer whether he still believed Britain would go to war. Reichenau, of course, thinks differently now. The only ones who believed Geyr were Beck and Fritsch. I remember in Rome, after the reoccupation of the Rhineland, how Goring assailed the service attachés in London for ‘losing their nerve’. Geyr (at the time military attaché in London) said that the three of them jointly had sent a very straight telegram to the effect that the probability of ‘war’ stood fifty-fifty. He said that ever since the re-occupation of the Rhineland [7 March 1936] the British had been distrusting and had begun to prepare for war. The top military officers friendly to Germany had been replaced by Francophiles throughout.’

Astounding indifference


Theodore M. Hesburgh,
priest and administrator

‘Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Shortly after 5:30 A.M. we celebrated our last Mass in Rio. We arrived at the airport around seven and after an hour’s delay were in Brasilia by 9:30. As usual, we were met by someone from Coca-Cola, a driver named Jonas, who spoke only Portuguese, but understood my Spanish perfectly. I told him that this was Ned’s first visit to Brasilia, and I think Jonas tried extra hard to make sure that Ned saw everything.

First we went up in the TV tower in the middle of town so that Ned could get a look at the whole government setup, which runs on north-south and east-west axes. Once we had grasped the layout, we did a quick drive-by tour of all the main buildings. These included the cathedral, the Senate, the House of Deputies, all sixteen ministries, the Supreme Court, the Presidential Palace, and, later on, the president’s residence.

The city has grown a great deal since I was last here. It now has about 1.2 million inhabitants. That makes it much smaller than either Rio or Sao Paulo, but it must be remembered that Brazilia [sic] was carved out of the jungle from scratch. When I was here the first time more than twenty years ago, it was just a barren plain and everything was full of red dust. Today, there are lawns and flowers and greenery everywhere. Because the city was planned, it has much better buildings, housing, roads, and general organization than either Rio or Sao Paulo. The buildings were designed by Oscar Niemeyer, perhaps the most famous architect in Brazil.

For lunch we had currasco [sic], a first experience for Ned. This typical Brazilian dish is a combination of pork, lamb, chicken, beef, and sausages, all barbecued. It’s served with rice and farina, a coarse flour concoction, and, of course, cold beer. I remembered the restaurant from my last visit. It had a reputation then for the best currasco [sic] in town, and it was apparent to both of us that the quality had not diminished. Ned was hooked immediately.

After lunch, we made quick stops at the Coca-Cola office, the university, where we spent a few minutes with the rector, Dr. Cristovan, and the American Embassy, where we stayed just long enough to find out from the Marine guard that Notre Dame had beaten Alabama last Saturday. Then it was on to the airport for our flight to Sao Paulo, where we will stay just long enough to have a chat with Chris Lund, a Notre Dame alumnus from the States.

Chris and his daughter Carmen, a Notre Dame student, met us at the Sao Paulo airport and took us to the family home on the outskirts of town. We had a long talk, mainly about the scholarship that he is setting up for Latin American students, especially those here in Brazil. After that, it was off to bed in the guesthouse.’

To smell the roses


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.