And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

27 November

John Evelyn,

The effects of the hurricane and tempest of wind, rain, and lightning, through all the nation, especially London, were very dismal. Many houses demolished, and people killed. As to my own losses, the subversion of woods and timber, both ornamental and valuable, through my whole estate, and about my house the woods crowning the garden mount, the growing along the park meadow, the damage to my own dwelling, farms, and outhouses, is almost tragical, not to be paralleled, with anything happening in our age. I am not able to describe it; but submit to the pleasure of Almighty God.

A most excellent person


Thomas Hearne,

‘Mr. Tompion of London, one of the most eminent persons for making clocks and watches, that have been produced in the last age, dyed last week. Indeed he was the most famous, and the most skillfull person at this art in the whole world, and first of all brought watches to any thing of perfection. He was originally a blacksmith, but a gentleman imploying him to mend his clock, he did it extraordinary well, and told the gentleman that he believed he could make such another himself. Accordingly he did so, and this was his first beginning, he living then in Buckinghamshire. He afterwards got a great name, lived in London, was acquainted with the famous Dr. Hooke, grew rich, and lived to a great age. He had a strange working head, and was well seen in mathematicks.’

Remarks and collections


Aldo Leopold,

‘Arrived Van Buren 9 a.m. and hit the river at 10:30. A fine sunny morning. The river is very fast for a mile or so below town, then calms down somewhat. About noon we had our first excitement when 30 mallards came up the river and began to circle the timber a hundred yards to our left, settling down in a little backwater. We sneaked them, only I going all the way. I got within 30 yards but got only one on the rise; alibi: dark background and brush. They circled and came over us. Everybody missed; alibi: too far. Just as we were leaving five came back, but seeing our boat they went on. We landed again to wait when eight got out unexpectedly below us, one big drake passing within easy range of Carl and me. Alibi: none. We named this Bungle Bay.’

The sweetest fish ever eaten


Frances Stevenson,

‘Had a marvellous morning hunting for holly with D. in the woods behind Old Bam. It was a divinely beautiful day, the little mauve clouds in a sunny blue sky reminding one of early spring rather than late November. But the woods were autumnal, the larches dropping gold from their boughs, the birches looking more ethereal than ever in their slender bareness, the hollies almost vulgar in their wealth of red berries. D. knew exactly where to seek for the holly treasure: he seemed to have marked down at some time or other every holly tree on the estate, & made for them unerringly. It is the same instinct which made him when a boy mark down wild cherry trees in the woods at Llanystumdwy, or a fern in the river bank, & then come back to it again & again & watch & note its progress. I think these rambles through the woods for a definite treasure take him back to his childhood: in fact, he is the boy D. again, with all the eagerness and enjoyment of boyhood.

This afternoon he went through the speech with me that he intends to make in the House of Commons tomorrow, on defence. He is very nervous. He says it is a speech which will please neither one side nor the other, but I think it is a very good one. It all depends on his mood & how he will deliver it. He has not been feeling very well the last day or two.’

We had great fun


Ivan Chistyakov,

‘This is how we live: in a cramped room furnished with a trestle bed and straw mattress, a regulation issue blanket, a table with only three out of four legs and a creaky stool with nails you have to hammer back in every day with a brick. A paraffin lamp with a broken glass chimney and lampshade made of newspaper. A shelf made from a plank covered with newspaper. Walls partly bare, partly papered with cement sacks. Sand trickles down from the ceiling and there are chinks in the window frames, door, and gaps in the walls. There’s a wood-burning stove, which, while lit, keeps one side of you warm. The side facing towards the stove is like the South Pole, the side facing away from it is like the North Pole. The amount of wood we burn would make a normal room as warm as a bathhouse, but ours is colder than a changing room.

Will they find me incompetent, not up to the job. and kick me out? Why should I be sacrificed like so many others? You become stultified, primitive, you turn into a bully and so on. You don’t feel you’re developing, either as a commander or a human being. You just get on with it.’

The general emptiness


Wilhelm Reich,

‘I wonder about the Midwest of the U.S.A. Different human beings?

Should I step into the open, into the masses?

Am I sitting like a crab on its hind legs? Should I wait for invitations to lecture or arrange them myself? West Coast wanted lectures. There is this deadly deadlock between people’s wanting and not being capable of doing.

I must wait until they come to me, socially, and not only sexologically.’

The existence of orgnity


Christopher Isherwood,

‘What I chiefly have to give thanks for, this Thanksgiving, is that I’m still alive. The night before yesterday, bored after a long, long evening [. . ,] and somewhat though not really drunk, I fell asleep at the wheel driving home and ran smash into a parked car. I guess I was knocked out. I remember nothing - until there was this very furious man, the owner of the parked car, yelling at me that he’d like to bash me to pulp - ‘And I’d do it too,’ he said, ‘if you hadn’t got blood on your face already.’ I had, as a matter of fact, hit the steering wheel, which was twisted up, cut myself between the eyes, bruised both eyes, maybe broken my nose, cut one knee and maybe hurt some ribs. The furious man [. . .] was eagerly expecting my arrest on a drunk, driving charge. But the police were very nice and sent me home in a taxi after I’d been fixed up at an emergency dressing station.

The other think to be thankful for is that Don and I have finished the rough draft of our play The Monsters, also the day before yesterday. We are cautiously starting the rewrite.

Don has hit a new high of sweetness. He is very happy about the play.’

Isherwood giving thanks


Richard Crossman,

‘I got to the Ministry fresh and hearty and spent the day on office meetings, staff meetings, progress meetings, dealing with the routine of the Private Office as well. They seem to have a better idea of what my policy is and I have got them to agree to an elaborate programme of informal consultations and discussions on the content of the Rent Bill. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday will be totally allocated to discussions in two groups, one headed by myself and Arnold Goodman, and the other headed by Jim MacColl and Donnison. These two groups will study one paper prepared by the Department. I am really pleased I have got this fixed.

I caught the train to Coventry on Friday evening where I had to make the first speech I had ever made in my life at a public dinner. I suppose I provided what was required. Then I motored home to find Anne lying upstairs in bed listening to the new B.B.C. programme which has now been put on instead of TW3, and finding how vacuous it was.’

My room is like a padded cell


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