And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

21 October

Marianne Fortescue,

‘We breakfasted & dined at the same hotel & at six o’clock in the eve’g all set out in a coach to go to Pier Head to Mr S. Page as we heard the Leister packet was to sail at twelve o’clock. We drank tea & supp’d with him. The children lay on a bed there from eight o’clock untill they were waked to go on board, which we all did at about half past twelve. It was a very dark, rainy, windy night. I was not the least bit frighten’d & remain’d quite free from sickness untill about five o’clock on Sunday morn’g the 22d. I was quite delighted between eight & nine at the sight of Holy Head. We had a very rough passage, every thing in the ship falling about & the waves dashing over us every moment. When we came to anchor we all got into the boat to get up to Jacksons House; it was raining very heavy on us, but we did not think much of that, as I was so delighted to get on shore We all breakfasted there and were very much delay’d after as we did not get off from that untill two o’clock.’

The Fortescues go to Bath


Thomas Raikes,

‘I am very much struck with the mania for gossip which now rages in society here. There seems to be no other subject of conversation in the fine company of London. The only topics that afford interest are local ones. This arises, doubtless, from the fact that, diplomacy excepted, London society is entirely national; while that of Paris, being more absolutely cosmopolitan, leads to greater familiarity with subjects of general import, and the resources of conversation are there, consequently, much less limited.’

A mania for gossip


Jane Carlyle,
wife of philosopher

‘Neither my birthday nor newyear’s-day this; anniversaries on which I “feel it my duty,” usually, to bloom out into the best intentions, beginning and ending always with the intention to resume my old journal. But if “carried out” to the extent of a few pages, it has “gone,” even that smallest of good intentions, “to the greater number,” before a week was out! Decidedly I am no longer the little girl who used to say over her most difficult tasks, “I'll gar myself do it”!

The mother of Invention has garred me do so much against the grain, that I am too fatigued now to gar myself do anything I can get let alone. And after all; one may keep a journal very minutely and regularly and still be a great fool! all the greater perhaps for this very labour of selfconsciousness which is so apt to degenerate into a dishonest striving to “make a silk purse out of a sows ear” for posthumous admiration or sympathy - from one’s Executors; or even for present self-complacent mistification of oneself!

I remember Charles Buller saying of the Duchess de Praslin’s murder; “what could a poor fellow do with a wife who kept a journal, but murder her?” There was a certain truth hidden in this light remark. Your Journal “all about feelings” aggravates whatever is factitious and morbid in you; that I have made experience of; and now the only sort of journal I would keep should have to do with what Mr Carlyle calls “the fact of things”. It is very bleak and barren this “fact of things” as I now see it - very! And what good is to result from writing of it in a paper-book is more than I can tell. But I have taken a notion ‘TO’; and perhaps I shall blacken more paper this time, when I begin “quite promiscuously,” without any moral end in view but just, as the Scotch Professor drank whiskey “because I like it, and because it's cheap.” ’

I walked, walked, walked


Charles de Foucauld,

‘This is the war for Europe’s independence of Germany. And the way in which the war is carried on shows how necessary it was, how great was Germany’s power, and how it was time to break the yoke before she became still more formidable; it shows by what barbarians Europe was half enslaved, and near becoming completely so, and how necessary it is once for all to deprive of force a nation which uses it so badly and in such an immoral and dangerous way for others. It is Germany and Austria that wanted war, and it is they who deserved to have it made against them, and who, I hope, will receive a blow that will make them unable to do any harm for centuries.’

From playboy to ascetic


Alexander Berkman,

‘A clear, cold day. The first snow of the season on the ground, Moscow presents a familiar sight, and I feel at home after our long absence.

Eagerly I absorb the news at the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs. The Twelfth Army has precipitately retreated from Warsaw, but the Poles are not pursuing. It is officially realized now what a serious and costly mistake the campaign was, and how baseless the expectations of a revolution in Poland. It is hoped that a quick peace may be patched up without too great sacrifices on the part of Russia.

Happier is the news from other fronts. Eastern Siberia has been cleared of the last remnants of Kolchak’s army under Ataman Semyonov. In the Crimea Wrangel is almost entirely crushed, not the least share of credit admittedly belonging to Makhno. Far from aiding the counter-revolutionary forces, as had been reported, the povstantsi joined the fight against the White general. This development was the result of a politico-military agreement between the Bolsheviki and Makhno, the main condition of the latter being the immediate liberation of the imprisoned Anarchists and Makhnovtsi, and a guarantee of free speech and press for them in the Ukraina. The telegram sent at the time by Makhno requesting the presence of Emma Goldman and myself at the conferences did not reach us. It was not forwarded by the Foreign Office.

Our anxiety about Henry Alsberg is, relieved: he is now safely in Riga, having been permitted to leave Russia after his forced return from the south. Albert Boni and Pat Quinlan are in the Tcheka, no definite reason for their detention being assigned. Mrs. Harrison, my erstwhile neighbor in the Kharitonensky, is held as a British spy. Nuorteva, Soviet representative in New York, was deported from the States and is now at the head of the British-American bureau in the Foreign Office. Rosenberg, the bad-tempered and ill-mannered confidential secretary of Tchicherin, all-powerful and cordially disliked, is about to leave for the Far East, “on an important mission,” as he informs me. Incidentally, as if by afterthought, he refers to the “funeral tomorrow,” and with a shock I learn of the death of John Reed. The Expedition is to leave this evening for Petrograd, but we decide to postpone our departure in order to pay the last tribute to our dead friend.

A fresh grave along the Kremlin wall, opposite the Red Square, the honored resting place of the revolutionary martyrs. I stand at the brink, supporting Louise Bryant who has entirely abandoned herself to her grief. She had hastened from America to meet Jack after a long separation. Missing him in Petrograd, she proceeded to Moscow only to learn that Reed had been ordered to Baku to the Congress of Eastern Peoples. He had not quite recovered from the effects of his imprisonment in Finland and he was unwilling to undertake the arduous journey. But Zinoviev insisted; it was imperative, he said, to have America represented, and like a good Party soldier Jack obeyed. But his weakened constitution could not withstand the hardships of Russian travel and its fatal infections. Reed was brought back to Moscow critically ill. In spite of the efforts of the best physicians he died on October 16.

The sky is wrapped in gray. Rain and sleet are in the air. Between the speakers’ words the rain strikes Jack’s coffin, punctuating the sentences as if driving nails into the casket. Clear and rounded like the water drops are the official eulogies falling upon the hearing with dull meaninglessness. Louise cowers on the wet ground. With difficulty I persuade her to rise, almost forcing her to her feet. She seems in a daze, oblivious to the tribute of the Party mourners. Bukharin, Reinstein, and representatives of Communist sections of Europe and America praise the advance guard of world revolution, while Louise is desperately clutching at the wooden coffin. Only young Feodosov, who had known and loved Jack and shared quarters with him, sheds a ray of warmth through the icy sleet. Kollontay speaks of the fine manhood and generous soul that was Jack. With painful sincerity she questions herself - did not John Reed succumb to the neglect of true comradeship . . .’

Exhibition of intolerance


John Rupert Colville,
civil servant

‘It was a day like summer, and although the leaves were by no means off the trees we could scarcely have had a better shoot. Pheasants were plentiful, the shooting was good, and we killed well over 250.

At lunch I sat next to an American girl called Gracia Nevill, who gave me a description of an hour’s conversation she had had with Hitler at Berchtesgaden and described the complete difference in him when he was talking of politics and when he was talking of other matters. In the former case he was a fanatic, in the latter a quiet and very impressive conversationalist.’

My first day at No. 10


William Lyon Mackenzie King,
prime minister

‘Arrived at the Parliament Buildings at noon had a really interesting afternoon as a consequence. In the Railway Committee room met Shirley Temple, her mother and father, and some of the repatriated boys. . . I was greatly attracted by Shirley Temple - a young girl of great charm, very pretty, very natural; I liked her father and mother, both of whom were quiet, pleasant people. . . I have seldom found anyone more natural than Shirley Temple was, or quicker to adapt herself to every situation. We walked out together to the platform facing Parliament Hill and I sat to her right, and St Laurent to her left. It was quite interesting to watch her methods to rouse the boys to cheer. Very self-possessed, full of joyous freedom and expression in every way. . .

After the proceedings we had a very exciting time. I walked with her to the car, allowed her father and mother to get in, and sat on a small seat myself. We were not more than started when crowds gathered in front of the car and on all sides. It was such that it was impossible for us to move. This kept up all the way to the hotel. Police arrangements not good. . . I expected to find it easy once in the hotel, but there the situation was worse than ever. There was no police, except a big man, who had gone in first and another who joined in later. The Chateau was crowded with children. Young people squeezed in around us. Shirley’s father and I tried to protect her but Mrs Temple got lost in the crowd to one side. To my amazement we had to crash through all the way, to one of elevator doors, leaving Mrs Temple behind. . .

When we came up together everyone was pretty well fatigued. I found my heart beating very fast, and finding it difficult to get my breath. I had not realised how considerable the strain had been. I was really fearful at one stage that the little girl would be crushed. Certainly, if anyone had slipped there would have been a terrible situation. It was quite shocking, having no police, and to have to have let the crowds indoors. I literally had to carry her along from the front door through the gathering to the elevator.’

A real companion and friend


Lee Harvey Oswald,

‘(mor) Meeting with single offial. Balding stout, black suit fairly. good English, askes what do I want?, I say Sovite citizenship, he ask why I give vauge answers about ‘Great Soviet Union’ He tells me ‘USSR only great in Literature wants use to go back home’ I am stunned I reiterate, he says he shall check and let me know weather my visa will be (exteaded it exipiers today) Eve. 6.00 Recive word from police official. I must leave country tonight at. 8.00 P.M. as visa expirs. I am shocked!! My dreams! I retire to my room. I have $100. left. I have waited for 2 year to be accepted. My fondest dreams are shattered because of a petty offial; because of bad planning I planned to much!’

‘7.00 P.M. I decide to end it..[1] Soak rist in cold water to numb the pain. Than slash my left wrist. Than plunge wrist into bathtub of hot water. I think ‘when Rimma comes at 8. to find me dead it wil be a great shock. somewhere, a violin plays, as I watch my life whirl away. I think to myself, ‘how easy to die’ and ‘a sweet death,’ (to violins) wacth my life whirl away. I think to myself. ‘how easy to die’ and a sweet death, (to violins ) about 8.00 Rimma finds my unconcious (bathtub water a rich red color) she screams (I remember that) and runs for help. Amulance comes, am taken to hospital where five stitches are put in my wrist. Poor Rimmea stays by side as interrpator (my Russian is still very bad) far into the night, I tell her ‘go home’ (my mood is bad) but she stays, she is my ‘friend’ She has a strong will only at this moment I notice she is preety’

JFK’s assassin in Moscow


George W Bush,

‘Am I running away from something?’; ‘Am I leaving what with inflation, incivility in the press and Watergate and all the ugliness?’; ‘Am I taking the easy way out?’ The answer I think is ‘no’, because of the intrigue and fascination that is China. I think it is an important assignment; it is what I want to do; it was what I told the President [Gerald Ford] I want to do; and all in all, in spite of the great warnings of isolation, I think it is right - at least for now.’

Poindexter, Reagan and Bush


Paul K Lyons,

‘I [. . .] bus out to the university it’s fairly modern, with a nice hilly setting in the forest-covered hills around Penang. In 1980, I learn, the main language will change to Malay. I bus a bit further out to the snake temple - a small Chinese temple which, a long time ago, became a refuge for snakes. A few are now kept on twigs inside the temple - poisonous pit vipers - hardly worth the trip except maybe to see a tourist with snakes on his head and a photographer looking happy.’

The fascination that is China


Peter Hall,

‘Read Howard Brenton’s new play The Romans in Britain. It’s very exciting, and shattering in its power. The sequence where Caesar and his hordes suddenly turn into modem British troops in Northern Ireland sent shivers down my back. It sounds an obvious parallel, and cheap, but it’s not, and Howard takes no sides. But there is a lot of work on the play still to be done.’

You feel like a knife


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.