And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

15 October

François de Bassompierre,

‘Thursday the 15th, on which the Earl of Britswater came with the king’s coaches to fetch me to Hampton Court; then the duke shewed me into a gallery, where the king was waiting for me, who gave me a long audience and well disputed. He put himself into a great passion, and I, without losing my respect to him, replied to him in such wise, that, at last, yielding him something, he conceded a great deal to me. I witnessed there an instance of great boldness, not to say impudence, of the Duke of Boukinkam, which was, that when he saw us the most warmed, he ran up suddenly and threw himself between the king and me, saying, “I am come to keep the peace between you two.” Upon which I took off my hat, and as long as he staid with us I would not put it on again, notwithstanding all the intreaties of the king and of himself to do so; but when he went I put it on without the king’s desiring me. When I had done, and that the duke could speak to me, he asked me why I would not put on my hat while he was by, and that I did so, so freely, when he was gone. I answered that I had done it to do him honour, because he was not covered and that I should have been, which I could not suffer; for which he was much pleased with me, and often mentioned it in my praise. But I had also another reason for doing so, which was, that it was no longer an audience, but a private conversation, since he had interrupted us, by coming in, as a third, upon us. After my last audience was over, the king brought me through several galleries to the queen’s apartments, where he left me, and I her, after a long conversation; and I was brought back to London by the same Earl of Britswater.’

Bassompierre in London


Jonathan Swift,

‘I sat at home till four this afternoon to-day writing, and ate a roll and butter; then visited Will Congreve an hour or two, and supped with Lord Treasurer, who came from Windsor to-day, and brought Prior with him. The Queen has thanked Prior for his good service in France, and promised to make him a Commissioner of the Customs. Several of that Commission are to be out; among the rest, my friend Sir Matthew Dudley. I can do nothing for him, he is so hated by the Ministry. Lord Treasurer kept me till twelve, so I need not tell you it is now late.’

Live ten times happier


Ralph Jackson,

‘In the forenoon Mr Presswick came up, & I went to the Hill for some potatoes & Horseradish. In the Evening Mr Charlton & the Master that he had built the Ship called the Fame for, sat the Evening. I gave on the Ship for Tamfields Coals, when the were gone we retired to bed betwixt Ten and Eleven.’

Apprentice Hostman and squire


Thomas Turner,

‘This is the day on which I was married, and it is now three years since. Doubtless many have been the disputes which have happened between my wife and myself during the time, and many have been the afflictions which it has pleased GOD to lay upon us, and which we have justly deserved by the many anemosityes and desentions which have been continually fermented between us and our friends, from allmost the very day of our marriage; but I may now say with the holy Psalmist, ‘It is good for us that we have been afflicted;’ for, thanks be to GOD, we now begin to live happy; and I am thoroughly persuaded, if I know my own mind, that if I was single again, and at liberty to make another choice, I should do the same - I mean, make her my wife who is so now.’

Of briars, thorns and an angel


Count de Benyovszky,
soldier and explorer

‘On the 15th, the associates met by my order. I informed them, that I was assured that a number among them were discontented with me; for which reason 1 thought proper to declare to them, that all those who were desirous of seeking their fortune elsewhere, were at liberty to quit me; and that as they had all received a retribution at my hands at the island of Formosa, I thought myself acquitted from them. I had scarcely made an end, before Mr. Stephanow loaded me with invectives, and charged me with an intention of depriving the company of their share of the advantages I was about to receive, from the knowledge I had acquired during the voyage; and that the moderation I had shewn at Formosa, in delivering my share of the presents of Prince Huapo, was merely a scheme to deprive them of greater advantages. He then excited the companions to throw off my authority, by assuring them that he would secure them a large fortune the instant they should determine to put my papers in his hands, and follow his party. The infamous plot of this wretch was nothing extraordinary; hut when I understood that he was supported by Sir. Wynbladth, my ancient Major, the companion of my exile, and my friend, I was incapable of setting bounds to my indignation, and could not avoid declaring, that their proceedings were highly disgraceful; and to confound them, I displayed their secret projects to the company, and justified my words by shewing Mr. Jackson’s letter, which convinced them that Messrs. Stephanow and Wynbladth, under pretence of serving the company, were desirous of securing the five thousand pounds to their own use. They were highly irritated, and threatened them; but Stephanow preserved a party of eleven, with whom he went to my lodgings; and while I remained in conversation with my friends, he seized my box, in which he supposed my papers were deposited. As soon as I heard of this outrage, I went to his chamber, followed by twenty associates; and as he refused to open the door, I broke it down. On my entrance he fired a pistol at me, which missed. In consequence of this attempt, I gave orders for seizing and keeping him in strict confinement; and as it was necessary likewise to secure Mr. Wynbladth, I went to his chamber; but he had retired into the garden, armed with a pair of pistols and a sabre. I determined to shut him in, being convinced that he could not get over the walls on account of their great height. This whole affair passed without the least alarm without, as the doors of the house were shut.’

The king of Madagascar


Henry Crabb Robinson,

‘Journey to London. Incledon the singer was in the coach, and I found him just the man I should have expected. Seven rings on his fingers, five seals on his watch-ribbon, and a gold snuff-box, at once betrayed the old beau. I spoke in terms of rapture of Mrs. Siddons. He replied, “Ah! Sally’s a fine creature. She has a charming place on the Edgeware Road. I dined with her last year, and she paid me one of the finest compliments I ever received. I sang “The Storm” after dinner. She cried and sobbed like a child. Taking both of my hands, she said, ‘All that I and my brother ever did is nothing compared with the effect you produce!’ ”

Her genius triumphed


Lafcadio Hearn,
writer and teacher

‘To-day I witnessed the annual athletic contests of all the schools in Shimane Ken. These games were celebrated in the broad castle grounds of Ninomaru. Yesterday a circular race-track had been staked off, hurdles erected for leaping, thousands of wooden seats prepared for invited or privileged spectators, and a grand lodge built for the Governor, all before sunset. The place looked like a vast circus, with its tiers of plank seats rising one above the other, and the Governor’s lodge magnificent with wreaths and flags. School children from all the villages and towns within twenty-five miles had arrived in surprising multitude. Nearly six thousand boys and girls were entered to take part in the contests. Their parents and relatives and teachers made an imposing assembly upon the benches and within the gates. And on the ramparts over-looking the huge enclosure a much larger crowd had gathered, representing perhaps one third of the population of the city.

The signal to begin or to end a contest was a pistol-shot. Four different kinds of games were performed in different parts of the grounds at the same time, as there was room enough for an army; and prizes were awarded for the winners of each contest by the hand of the Governor himself.

There were races between the best runners in each class of the different schools; and the best runner of all proved to be Sakane, of our own fifth class, who came in first by nearly forty yards without seeming even to make an effort. He is our champion athlete, and as good as he is strong, so that it made me very happy to see him with his arm full of prize books. He won also a fencing contest decided by the breaking of a little earthenware saucer tied to the left arm of each combatant. And he also won a leaping match between our older boys.

But many hundreds of other winners there were too, and many hundreds of prizes were given away. There were races in which the runners were tied together in pairs, the left leg of one to the right leg of the other. There were equally funny races, the winning of which depended on the runner’s ability not only to run, but to crawl, to climb, to vault, and to jump alternately. There were races also for the little girls, pretty as butterflies they seemed in their sky-blue hakama and many-coloured robes, races in which the contestants had each to pick up as they ran three balls of three different colours out of a number scattered over the turf. Besides this, the little girls had what is called a flag-race, and a contest with battledores and shuttlecocks.

Then came the tug-of-war. A magnificent tug-of-war, too, one hundred students at one end of a rope, and another hundred at the other. But the most wonderful spectacles of the day were the dumb-bell exercises. Six thousand boys and girls, massed in ranks about five hundred deep; six thousand pairs of arms rising and falling exactly together; six thousand pairs of sandalled feet advancing or retreating together, at the signal of the masters of gymnastics, directing all from the tops of various little wooden towers; six thousand voices chanting at once the “one, two, three,” of the dumb-bell drill: “Ichi, ni, - san, shi, - go roku, - shichi, hachi.”

Last came the curious game called “Taking the Castle.” Two models of Japanese towers, about fifteen feet high, made with paper stretched over a framework of bamboo, were set up, one at each end of the field. Inside the castles an inflammable liquid had been placed in open vessels, so that if the vessels were overturned the whole fabric would take fire. The boys, divided into two parties, bombarded the castles with wooden balls, which passed easily through the paper walls; and in a short time both models were making a glorious blaze. Of course the party whose castle was the first to blaze lost the game.

The games began at eight o’clock in the morning, and at five in the evening came to an end. Then at a signal fully ten thousand voices pealed out the superb national anthem “Kimi ga yo,” and concluded it with three cheers for their Imperial Majesties, the Emperor and Empress of Japan.

The Japanese do not shout or roar as we do when we cheer. They chant. Each long cry is like the opening tone of an immense musical chorus: A-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a!’

Lafcadio Hearn in Japan


Arthur Hamilton Baynes,

‘As no one had asked me to preach to-day, I thought I might have a day off, especially as I know there are plenty of clergy about from the Transvaal and Newcastle. However, when I went to the early service at the Garrison Church, Twemlow asked me if I would preach to the men at 11, as he was asked to preach to the Imperial Light Horse at a special parade at St Saviour’s at 9.30. I felt rather guilty in doing nothing, so I said “Yes,” though it was rather short notice. The Rifles were there - the 2nd Battalion, which has just come out. I preached to them from the words in the second lesson, “With singleness of heart, fearing the Lord.” Things are very quiet to-day. I suppose the Boers would not choose Sunday for operations unless they were obliged. After luncheon I went in for a little chat with the Governor.

We live in a state of feverish excitement, waiting for each scrap of news and surrounded by startling rumours which turn out as a rule to be pure inventions. We rush for the morning paper and hail everyone we meet for news. There are rumours to-day of various kinds, but all untrue as it turns out. We cannot tell, and probably shall not know for some days, what is happening on the western border, about Mafeking and Kimberley. There are rumours of fighting, and we know that they are more or less isolated.’

On the look out for Boers


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi,

‘Four weeks have ended today since the tapasya of the fast for 21 days was begun. I had ended that chapter with a description of Bapu’s mental struggle and of the happy ending of the fasting vow. It seems that the painful duty of having to write about the fourth and even the fifth week will fall upon me, because it will take Gandhiji at least a fortnight to be up and doing. After a long fast a man may usually feel dull and listless, may not relish new food or may even be tempted to be a glutton, as a reaction from his long abstinence. Bapu has suffered from none of these. He has now begun to take ordinary food with the same ease and cheerfulness as those with which he had begun the fast. The vow ended at 12 noon, but because of the prayer etc. the fruit juice could be taken at about 12.45 p. m. Two days later he began to take milk and gradually increase its quantity - 2 ozs., 3, 4 and so on - and today he has come to 25 ozs. of milk and a few oranges. Before the end of the fast, quite a number of Jain munis (sages) had written to him specially to send their blessings and felicitations as well as detailed suggestions as to how to taper off the fast. The letters revealed inordinate love for Bapu, but owing to his vow to take only five articles of food in a meal, he has not been able to follow in practice anyone of these instructions except that of taking fruit. Even with the diet he is taking at present, everything - sleep etc. - goes on with clock-work regularity. [. . .]

Bapu is generally open to visitors at all hours of daytime except this period of prayers etc. A friend urged: “Now, please, enough of such a terrible vow! Wickedness is certain to persist to some degree in this world.” Immediately Bapu countered with a laugh: “Don’t you suppose I am vain enough to think I possess the power to remove the wickedness of the world! If I fasted, it was only for my own purification. It was my religious duty to undergo that much penance. That has been done. The fruit rests with God.”

Gandhi was also a star character in the diary kept by the French writer and idealist Romain Rolland. Indeed, in 1976, the Indian government published a volume of Rolland’s writings concerning Gandhi: Romain Rolland And Gandhi Correspondence (Letters, Diary Extracts, Articles, Etc.), this too is available at Internet Archive. (NB: An earlier Diary Review article on Rolland - Love of humanity - stated that the only published extracts from Rolland’s diaries in English concerned Herman Hesse. However, this was clearly incorrect as the Gandhi book contains many extracts from his diaries translated into English.) Here are several extracts.

Gandhi’s London diary


Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko,
writer and director

‘We had a tour of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio. It is a huge institution, located on fourteen acres of land. Everything here is large scale: the wardrobe - a four-story house, the storage of props and furniture - a four-story building as well, and it has enough furniture to furnish approximately 250 apartments. On a permanent basis they have thirty-four directors, fifteen “stars,” a group of actors (fifty people), 1,200 technical staff members, and 250 administrative people. The work is simultaneously carried out on seven to eight stages. They produce thirty movies a year, among them such big productions as Ben Hur, The Big Parade, and others.

We were shown the stores, set installations of entire streets and even towns, a huge set with a pool into which a submarine dives (this has been prepared for the new production of The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne), fragments of different shootings (for instance, the scene where a huge live boa constrictor is winding around the body of a half naked girl). During one of the shootings Vladimir Ivanovich was photographed together with the “stars” Alice Terry and Ramon Navarro.

Upon completion of the tour, we were introduced to the director of the studio, Thalberg.

We had to wait for him for about ten minutes. Thalberg is a young man; he is not yet thirty, but his authority is absolutely unlimited, and he receives an enormous salary plus a royalty from the completed movies. He is said to be exceptionally smart and good at business. We stayed with him for just a few minutes and left with a strong impression that the whole organization was hallmarked with bad taste. As if after visiting the backstage of the Moscow Art Theatre you happen to visit the backstage of a provincial theater. If at Schenck’s studio there is not enough artistic atmosphere, here you do not feel such atmosphere at all. This is just a big and perfectly arranged factory.’

Vladimir Ivanovich in Hollywood


Mary Berg,

‘We are again in Lodz. We found our store and our apartment completely looted; the thieves had cut the larger pictures out of their frames. My father is miserable over the loss of the Poussin and the Delacroix he bought in Paris for a considerable sum only a few weeks before the outbreak of the war. We have been here in Lodz for only two days, but we know now that it was a mistake to return here. The Nazis are beginning to intensify their acts of terrorism against the native population, especially the Jews. Last week they set fire to the great synagogue, the pride of the Lodz community. They forbade the Jews to remove the sacred books, and the “shames,” or beadle, who wanted to save the holy relics was locked up inside the temple and died in the flames. My mother cannot forgive herself for having persuaded my father to bring us back here.’

The Germans are here


Charles McMoran Wilson,

‘After breakfast I called on the P.M. and found that he had diarrhoea. He was, however, in good spirits, and very hopeful about the way things are going. This afternoon his temperature went up to 101. He is quite certain now that he is beginning another attack of pneumonia.

“I am in your clutches once more, my friend. What about getting Bedford? I wouldn’t wait. The Cabinet will be getting fussed. Clemmie would like to come out, I am sure.”

He buried his head in his hands and moaned. Then Sawyers did something wrong and the P.M. flew at him. I fancy that his temperature is associated with the diarrhoea, but he won’t accept this, because the diarrhoea stopped at noon, and now, seven hours later, the temperature is still up. Nothing is gained in such circumstances by arguing. If, on our journeys, I were to send for specialists and nurses every time the P.M. runs a temperature we might as well add them to our travelling establishment. However, I sent a message to Cairo asking Pulvertaft and Scadding and two nurses to stand by; it would take them twelve hours to get here. Time enough tomorrow to send a telegram to Clemmie.’

A third dose of pneumonia


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.