And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

24 October

François de Bassompierre,

‘Saturday, 24th. I was to see the queen where the king came, with whom she pick’d a quarrel. The king took me to his chamber, and talked a great deal with me, making me complaints of the queen, his wife.’

Bassompierre in London


Elizabeth Smith,

‘The Doctor was quite agitated yesterday in telling us of a most shocking piece of negligence - worse - neglect of positive duty in our Vicar and Curate. A girl thirteen years of age, for whom they are receiving an annuity from the County, allowed to live among papists, unacquainted with the nature of an oath, remembered two years ago to have said some prayers, etc. This shocks him and others because it came before them in a Court of Justice, where her testimony could not be received by the magistrates on account of her ignorance; but I could rake up fifty such cases or such like, where the total inattention of our clergy is every day increasing evils that a generation of better care will not eradicate. And people wonder that the reformed religion does not spread here. I wonder it is tolerated - it seems to fail to produce even in gentlemen an idea of their duty. What effect can it have on the poor. Mr. Moore is greatly more culpable than Mr. Foster - he knows his duty, which the other poor creature really does not - poor Ireland!’

A Highland diarist in Ireland


John Everett Millais,

‘Another day, exactly similar to the previous. Felt disinclined to work. Walked with Hunt to his place, returned home about eleven, and commenced work myself, but did very little. Read Tennyson and Patmore. The spot very damp. Walked to see Charlie about four, and part of the way to meet Hunt, feeling very depressed. After dinner had a good nap, after which read Coleridge - some horrible sonnets. In his Life they speak ironically of ‘Christabel,’ and highly of rubbish, calling it Pantomime.

At work on Ophelia


William Daunt,

‘The stir we have made about Irish fiscal wrongs has compelled the Government to issue a tract in self-defence. This is a report to the Viceroy by Dr Neilson Hancock on the public accounts between Great Britain and Ireland, and it is precisely such a combination of balderdash, falsehood and impudence as might have been expected, reply. . .’

The Irish Difficulty


Heinrich Hertz,

‘The weather was so bad I could not go out. I read, mostly Wüllner’s Physics, and since I had previously known little about hydrostatics, I found it very interesting.’

Hertz and his radio waves


Friedrich von Holstein,
civil servant

‘In the enclosed letter, Radolinski bids me state that the Crown Princess has expressed the wish to see Hatzfeldt before his departure for London. She wants to win him over to supporting Battenberg, and will probably promise to receive and reinstate Countess Hatzfeldt provided Hatzfeldt keeps Battenberg in Bulgaria. His official duty will more likely be the exact opposite. The Chancellor is perfectly prepared to oblige the Russians by supporting their policy in Bulgaria; on the other hand he will not be at all sorry if the English adopt a stiffer attitude which involves them in a quarrel with the Russians. Hatzfeldt can to that extent oblige both sides, however odd that may sound.

In my reply to Radolinski I said I was a man of too little account to pass on such a request, and anyway I thought it probable that Hatzfeldt would in any case be recalled to Berlin to receive his instructions. I shall take care not to get my finger crushed between these two millstones; I saw in the spring where that leads to. But the Crown Prince and Princess seem to have picked on me for that very purpose. Besides Radolinski, Sommerfeld also reproached me recently for not making any advances to the Crown Prince and Princess and said I owed it to my position. We shall see which side is the more obstinate.

The Crown Princess told Radolinski that Battenberg could perfectly well become King of Bulgaria now, which would make things easier for the marriage. Had he not behaved magnificently and heroically? And the young Princess had confessed to her mother in Venice that if anything happened to him she would jump into a canal. ‘Fancy my poor child jumping into a canal’, said her mother to Radolinski, with tears in her eyes.

The whole thing is rather amusing. Far more serious is Herbert’s increasingly apparent inclination towards Russia and aversion to Austria. The son is not a trapeze artist like his father, who constantly kept the balance between them. Whereas the father’s preferences may privately lie with Russia, the son makes no attempt to conceal his feelings. If this is not changed we shall in a couple of years have not a Three Emperors’ Alliance, but a Two Emperors’ Alliance, and Austria will seek support elsewhere. That will certainly not accord with the Crown Prince’s policy.

I fail to understand the Chancellor at the moment. Three months ago, when the Kaiser was so feeble. His Highness spoke of the need for a political volte-face, and consequently dropped France and turned to England. But if we now consistently ill-treat Austria to please Russia, that will hardly be a change of policy which will suit the next Kaiser.

I heard again yesterday how completely out of favour Herbert is with the Crown Prince and Princess. Two days ago they gave a dance for Princess Wilhelm. When Their Imperial Highnesses saw Herbert’s name on the list of guests, they said: ‘Oh no, we don’t want him; we’d better just invite people from Potsdam.’ ’

The Gray Eminence


Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko,
writer and director

‘We continued reading Camilla. We observed how a short love scene between Barrymore and Marceline Day was shot. The usual cliché: on her part - self-admiration and pleasant smiles; on his part - banal operatic gestures and movements (and he seems to feel uncertain and awkward inside).

The set is ultrarealistic. A piece of stone castle, a real stone staircase and landing leading to it; below there is a large garden and a pool with a fountain. The garden is a huge hedgerow made up of natural greenery, pruned in the style of Versailles. The entire garden is laid out with pieces of live green turf, and among this grass there are artificial trees with paper rose camellias. Paper roses decorate the branches of the bushes, fringing the castle windows. They persuade that in a photograph the artificial will brilliantly merge with the natural and will give quite a real picture. The arrangement of this garden demanded no less than two days of the most thorough work and lots of money.

Vladimir Ivanovich sent Mary Pickford a bouquet of flowers. He was greatly impressed with her artistry.’

Vladimir Ivanovich in Hollywood


Husayn Fakhri al-Khalidi,

‘Fuad left for church with Westergreen this morning and Yacoub went to the Rockies. I remained alone. Breakfast as usual and writing my diary.

How long are we staying on this island? Jumeau tells me that the general impression of the Seychellois public - he also heard it from our advocate - is that we will leave before the end of December 1937. It is good after all to hear the local gossip and I usually have a talk with our guards on local affairs. For example, I had a talk with him on labour. He informs me that a black person and his family employed on a plantation by the whites get from 5-6 rupees a month, i.e. 42 piasters as an average of 1.5 piasters a day. Isn’t that sheer slavery? They speak about cheap labour in Palestine and what government and the Jews have done to raise their wages and standard of living. And the rascals call Seychelles a Crown Colony and yet look at labour wages here; I would like to see Ben Zvia and tell him all about it. And these wages are paid in Victoria - the capital. What about the outlying islands? I am sure they get only half those wages.

I was told that as the first of January is a national feast to the Seychellois, many of the inhabitants economize all the year round as everybody must have plenty to eat on the first three days of every new year. There is a lot of feasting - eating and booze. Dancing, singing and plenty tom-tom beating. If we stay till January, we will watch this rather interesting occasion.

When I told Jumeau that the wage of an unskilled Arab labourer was over two rupees - three sometimes - and the Jewish labourer from 5-6 rupees per day he was astonished. A labourer in Jerusalem gets in one day what an African gets even in a month; and they dare say that slavery is abolished.

Yacoub was imprisoned today at the Rockies on account of the rain and I had lunch alone with Fuad.’

My trip to Seychelles


Thomas Merton,

‘A visit to the Narendrapur-Ramakrishna Mission Ashram. College, agricultural school, poultry farm, school for the blind, and orphanage. Ponds, palms, a water tower in a curious style, a monastic building, and guesthouse. Small tomato and cucumber sandwiches, flowers, tea. We drove around in a a dark green Scout. Villages. Three big, blue buffaloes lying in a patch of purple, eating the flowers. Communists arguing under a shelter. Bengali inscriptions on every wall; they have an extraordinary visual quality. Large and small cows. Goats, calves, millions of children.

The Temple of Understanding Conference has been well organised considering the problems which developed. It could not be held in Darjeeling, as planned, because of the floods. Instead it has been put on at the Birla Academy in South Calcutta. It is more than half finished now. I spoke yesterday morning, but did not actually follow my prepared text. There were good papers by two rabbis, one from New York and one from Jerusalem, and by Dr. Wei Tat, on the I Ching. Also by Sufis, Jains and others.’

Befriending the Dalai Lama


Peter Clark,

‘I am in the office very early. The Hurd visit has been seen as a success. A tide is moving in our favour, an enhancement of Syria-British relations. Meanwhile the situation in Algeria gets grimmer by the day. The country is slipping into confusion and foreigners are being kidnapped and assassinated. At this rate the British Council will withdraw and there may be extra funds for Syria. Every cloud has a silver lining.’

Damascus diaries


Joan Collins,

‘Meet Sacha and Erin at The Ivy. Supposed to be joined by Gary Pudney, but he doesn’t call or show. That’s Hollywood folks. At the next table is Jennifer Aniston, the current crème de la crème heartthrob of Friends on TV. I’ve never seen such slender arms. Also at the next table is an unrecognisable Cheryl Tiegs. Why do women over forty think they can go around wearing no make-up. I looked at Erin and say, “No woman over thirty should ever go out without make-up - you’re a girl after my own heart.” Jeffrey joins us and we discuss Sacha’s upcoming Vanity Fair layout, and his exhibition which he is planning on 1 February. We swap Polaroids from our various shoots yesterday. His is absolutely fabulous from Vanity Fair and for the first time in a photograph I can see the incredible combination of Tony and me in his face.

Dine with Jeffrey, Debbie Miller and Chris Barrett, my agents, and Mark Paresio, a new literary agent at Metropolitan. Drai’s restaurant is buzzing. Thursday night must be the night to be here. Joanie Schnitzer is sitting with Boaz. Plus the usual suspects. We have a fun dinner in which yet another television idea is pitched to me by Mark. This one I really like more than anything else. It’s a one-hour drama called ‘Georgetown’, set in Washington with all its political plottings and plannings. I would play a Pamela Harriman type. It sounds fabulous. I would make a good Pamela Harriman, although I don’t think that I possess her Machiavellian way and manipulative spirit. The usual paparazzi are outside. I am wearing my new simple look. Since Hollywood has embraced this in a big way, you leave the pearls and the glitz and the diamonds and the big hair at home. This is a bit difficult for me as I rather like it. I notice Joanie Schnitzer hasn’t left hers at home.’

What is the answer? Money!


Tomaž Humar,

‘I start out with my friend Jagat Limbu. We cross the glacier and weave our way through mixed rock and ice pillars under the main wall at 5800m. We stage our first bivy on a small ice platform at 5800 meters.’

Inside the ice hole


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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.