And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

9 November

Ralph Josselin,
priest and farmer

‘Dr Pullein sent mee an offer to procure mee the schoole, if I would helpe him to his living; I had no desire thereto.’

A boisterous yeare


James Cook,

‘Variable light breezes and Clear weather. As soon as it was daylight the Natives began to bring off Mackrell, and more than we well know what to do with; notwithstanding I order’d all they brought to be purchased in order to encourage them in this kind of Traffick. At 8, Mr. Green and I went on shore with our Instruments to observe the Transit of Mercury, which came on at 7 hours 20 minutes 58 seconds Apparent time, and was observed by Mr. Green only. [Mr. Green satirically remarks in his Log, “Unfortunately for the seamen, their look-out was on the wrong side of the sun.” This probably refers to Mr. Hicks, who was also observing. It rather seems, however, as if Cook, on this occasion, was caught napping by an earlier appearance of the planet than was expected.] I, at this time, was taking the Sun’s Altitude in order to Ascertain the time. The Egress was observed as follows:-
By Mr. Green: Internal Contact at 12 hours 8 minutes 58 seconds Afternoon. External Contact at 12 hours 9 minutes 55 seconds Afternoon.
By myself: Internal Contact at 12 hours 8 minutes 45 seconds Afternoon. External Contact at 12 hours 9 minutes 43 seconds Afternoon.
Latitude observed at noon 36 degrees 48 minutes 28 seconds, the mean of this and Yesterday’s observation gives 36 degrees 48 minutes 5 1/2 seconds South; the Latitude of the Place of Observation, and the Variation of the Compass was at this time found to be 11 degrees 9 minutes East.

While we were making these observations 5 Canoes came alongside the Ship, 2 Large and 3 Small ones, in one were 47 People, but in the other not so many. They were wholy strangers to us, and to all appearance they came with a Hostile intention, being compleatly Arm’d with Pikes, Darts, Stones, etc.; however, they made no attempt, and this was very probable owing to their being inform’d by some other Canoes (who at this time were alongside selling fish) what sort of people they had to Deal with. When they first came alongside they begun to sell our people some of their Arms, and one Man offer’d to Sale a Haahow, that is a Square Piece of Cloth such as they wear. Lieutenant Gore, who at this time was Commanding Officer, sent into the Canoe a piece of Cloth which the Man had agreed to Take in Exchange for his, but as soon as he had got Mr. Gore’s Cloth in his Possession he would not part with his own, but put off the Canoe from alongside, and then shook their Paddles at the People in the Ship. Upon this, Mr. Gore fir’d a Musquet at them, and, from what I can learn, kill’d the Man who took the Cloth; after this they soon went away. I have here inserted the account of this Affair just as I had it from Mr. Gore, but I must own it did not meet with my approbation, because I thought the Punishment a little too severe for the Crime, and we had now been long Enough acquainted with these People to know how to Chastise Trifling faults like this without taking away their Lives.’

The journals of James Cook


Marianne Fortescue,

‘Fortescue is this day infinitely better, he got up early, so did I and walk’d to the Pump Room. There were not many there tho’ an uncommon fine day. He drank a glass of water & we were home at half past nine to breakfast. He has eat much heartier & I am in great hopes he is now in a fair way of recovering. He dined at home. J.F. & I dined at Mrs Fosters, there were just eight of us at dinner & about thirty came to cards in the eve’g. Jack came home to Fortescue before nine. I did not untill ten o’clock.’

The Fortescues go to Bath


Thomas Creevey,
lawyer and politician

‘Yesterday was the last day of the Prince’s stay at this place, and, contrary to my expectation, I was invited to dinner. We did not sit down till half-past seven, tho’ I went a little past six. [. . .] We were about sixteen altogether. The Prince was very merry and seemed very well. He began to me with saying very loud that he had sent for Mrs Creevey’s physic to London. . . At dinner I sat opposite to him, next to Ossulston, and we were the only persons there at all marked by opposition to his appointment of his brother the Duke of York, or to the Government generally, since he has been Regent. [. . .] We did not drink a great deal, and were in the drawing-room by half-past nine or a little after; no more state, I think, than formerly - ten men out of livery of one kind or other, and four or five footmen. At night everybody was there and the whole closed about one, and so ended the Regent’s visit to Brighton.

The editor of The Creevey Papers, Sir Herbert Maxwell, concludes this section of diary entries with a short comment: ‘And so, it may be added, ended Creevey’s intimacy with the Regent. Henceforward he acted in constant opposition to his future monarch’s schemes.’

Dining at the Pavilion


Lewis Carroll,

‘Received from Macmillan a copy of the impression of Alice, very far superior to the old, and in fact a perfect piece of artistic printing.’

Dodgson in wonderland


Raja Varma,

‘Today we have severed all connection with our press known as ‘The Ravi Varma Fine Art Lithographic Press’ selling it to Mr Fritz Schleicher for a consideration of Rs 25,000 over and above paying all the debts connected with the establishment amounting to Rs 5 or 6 thousand. Out of this amount Rs 12,000 has been invested on fixed deposit in my name with Messrs Arbuthnoth & Co. bearing interest at 5 percent. The proprietorship of the Press was in my name though it was called after Brother.’

Painting with brother


Hamlin Garland,

‘Constance informed me today that she and Joe, after eight years of wedded life, had agreed to separate, and so I, who have stood for decency and loyalty in social life, find myself with two daughters seeking divorces! There is every prospect that my final years of life will be clouded by these daughters who were for nearly thirty years my pride and joy. There is nothing to be done. They are both grown women and have all the character Zulime and I could give them. If they elect to see “freedom” in the way of the women of today, I cannot prevent them. I am too old and, at this moment, too sick to even argue the matter with them.

All this, as I said to Zulime, is just more evidence that our world is disintegrating. Lorado’s death and this sudden declaration of purpose on our daughters’ part coming together while we are both weakened and disheartened is almost more than we can surmount. However, we shall probably go on very much as usual.’

A son of the middle border


Friedrich Kellner,
civil servant

‘At the Bürgerbräukeller beer hall in Munich yesterday, Hitler gave a speech to his Party members - the usual glorification of members of the “Movement” who were killed. The German government of 1923 failed to act decisively against this political movement, and so it must be said the 1923 government bears a huge responsibility for the graves in Germany. The NSDAP clearly showed at the beginning it intended to create a tremendous general disturbance. Every fanatic and every brutal egoist was accepted into its ranks with open arms: charmers, con men, convicted criminals, and murderers. Everyone against the government then, whether in words or with deeds, was called a revolutionary and held up as a “hero.” The worst sort of criminals, fools, and position seekers became known in time as the “Old Fighters,” whose self-glorification brought them into the highest government positions - or into important Party positions - with a virtuoso’s ease. Here they could be let loose on the unfortunate people. Today we are seized by a distinct sadness over the development of this terrible Party - today, when thinking itself has become dangerous [...].’ 

Nazis are the misfortune


Rodney Foster,

‘A strong south-westerly gale. In morning Captain Fuller drove me up to Saltwood and I walked all over the village distributing greatcoats. About 1 o’clock, two Huns flew over Hythe and dropped (some say ten) bombs on Cheriton. The London Division leaves today and a new Division comes in. The roads everywhere were full of troops and lorries and buses and there were pom-poms [AA guns] out on the ranges, in our allotments and in Sandling guarding against dive-bombers. Alarm 6 pm to 10:30 pm. I again got soaked mounting the guard. Neville Chamberlain died today.’

Huns flew over Hythe


Paul K Lyons,

‘Lawrence Durrell has died. One of my few heroes. He was 78 years old. The newspapers find a news story in his death as well as giving him a reasonable obituary. I am delighted to discover that he had written yet one more book, about Provence, which is due to come out any day now. His style of writing is so completely out of fashion but I still love it and may now be tempted to reread a novel or two.’

A book out of these scraps


Richard Holbrooke,

‘It’s increasingly unlikely we will have a peace agreement here, although it’s not impossible. There’s too much work to be done and too little time left. We don’t have enough support from Washington, and the Europeans are whining and moaning the whole time that they’re not being adequately consulted. But above all, the Bosnians are refusing to give us serious positions on any of the major issues. Without those positions, it’s impossible to negotiate.’

We’re going for broke


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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.