And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

29 October

John Reresby,

‘A new lord mayor of London was chosen. The King being invited, did him the honour to dine with him at Guildhall. The show and dinner were very great and splendid. I dined that day at the table of my lord mayor.’

The most barbarous murder


Gideon Mantell,
doctor and scientist

‘A dreadful hurricane from the SSW at about eleven AM it was terrific - houses unroofed - trees torn up by the roots: chimney-pots and chimneys blown in every direction - sea mountains high. Went to the Pier, and was present when violent oscillations began to be produced by the hurricane: the whole lines of platforms and chains were thrown into undulations, and the suspension bridges appeared like an enormous serpent writing in agony - at length one of the bridges gave way, and planks, beams, iron rods - all were hurled instantaneously into the boiling surge! The tension of the bridge being thus set at liberty, the remaining bridges gradually became motionless; the damage done to this beautiful structure cannot be much less than £1,000. Some persons were killed by the falling of chimneys and lead blown off the houses.’

Gideon Mantell - geologist


Wilhelm Bleek,

’On October 29th, the cannon sounded thirteen times, announcing the arrival of Sir George Grey, the Governor of the Cape Colony. As usual, his arrival came as a surprise and thus all preparations for a welcome were forestalled. Seldom has so much been expected from a government official, rarely has a government official enjoyed so much confidence and been able to retain his popularity to such an extent as Sir George Grey, even when he had to refuse demands made on him. His position in Natal has been a strange one, since for the last few years Natal has been an independent colony, no longer under the Cape government, but directly linked with the Colonial Office (Dr Petermann adds in a note ‘According to the latest reports, the colony has since July 1856 its own governor in the person of John Scott.’). Sir George Grey is, therefore, not here as Governor, but only as High Commissioner, and as such he has no power to issue proclamations, but only to give advice. However, the Government has been instructed to follow his advice. This mainly concerns the encouragement of immigration of colonists from Europe by leasing property to every married man. Thus a premium has been put on marriage, and many a colonist may have been prompted by a few morgen of land to look around for a wife. Most of the young men do not lack the inclination, but the choice is limited. The labour potential of the colony is to be increased by the importation of Indians. The main problem is what to do with the natives. Sir George decided against the plan of obliging the natives to emigrate into the southern districts. He would prefer to found industrial schools which it would be compulsory for native children to attend. He is going to pay for this out of the £40,000 which he has received from the Ministry and Parliament for the education of the natives.’

Father of African philology


Alfred Domett,
prime minister and poet

‘[John Henry Foley - designer of the Albert Memorial] was very kind and affable and shewed us through his studio. The model of the Statue of Prince Albert for The Hyde Park monument was there. He says when the Queen came to see it, she liked the expression of the face so much that she desired it might not even be touched by him any further, and so, though he had not considered it quite finished he had complied with her request and left it as it was. The statue, to be in bronze gilt, had been so long in execution, because in the hurry to get it done, the molten metal had been poured into the mould before the latter was thoroughly dry, so that the generated steam had exploded and destroyed it. Thus to save a week, they had lost 6 months at least for the extra work required to make a second mould.’

Browning’s friend Domett


James Hannington,

‘(Eighth day’s prison.) I can hear no news, but was held up by Psalm xxx., which came with great power. A hyena howled near me last night, smelling a sick man, but I hope it is not to have me yet.’

The bishop in Buganda


Raja Varma,

‘Last night we witnessed the performance of Sinjit Saubhadra of Kirloskar Dramatic Company at one of the Grant Road Theaters. This is the best Mahratta dramatic troupe. A carriage has been engaged from today at a rate of Rs 3 per day for our use. Its owner is a Parse[e] who had given his carriage on former occasions too. We drove to the Fort, gave Brother’s watch to Charpie & Co. for repairs, ordered Laidlaw & Whiteaway for two long coats for summer weather.’

Painting with brother


Lady Minto,

‘Rolly and I drove to the foot of the hill at Mashobra and rode round by Wild Flower Hall and had tea at the Retreat. Looked round the little house and garden for the last time, where we have spent so many happy days. We left the old mali in tears and walked by our favourite walk down the hill to the Mashobra bazaar, where the carriage awaited us. We felt very sentimental driving along the winding road for the last time with the overhanging rocks and pine trees lit up with the reflected gold from the setting sun.’

Lady Minto’s Indian diary


Bronisław Malinowski,

‘Yesterday morning got up fairly late; I had engaged Omaga [a Mailu informant and village constable] who waited for me below the veranda. After breakfast I went to the village where Omaga met me near a group of women making pottery. My talk with him was rather unsatisfactory. . . [In] the middle of the street a woman was making drawings. Papari joined us; we talked again about the names of the months, which Papari did not know. I was discouraged. After dinner I read the Golden Legend, then took a nap. I got up at 4, took a dip in the sea (I tried to swim), had tea; at about 5 I went to the village. Talk with Kavaka about funeral rites; we sat under palm trees at the end of the village. In the evening talked with Saville about the southern coast of England from Ramsgate to Brighton. This got me. Cornwall. Devonshire. Digression on the nationalities and character of the population (natives of Cornwall, Devonshire, the Scots). I was depressed. Read a few pages of Cherbuliez’s Vlad. Boltkif - a sketch of a spiritually unusual woman; she reminded me of Zenia. Elated, humming a tune, I walked to the village. Fairly fruitful talk with Kavaka. Watched lovely poetic dances and listened to Suau [an island to the east] music. A small ring of dancers; two dancers facing each other with raised drums. The melody reminded me of Kubain laments. Went back home where I wasted time leafing through Punch. Vision of T. Occasionally I think of Staé with real friendliness; principally the melody he composed on the way to Ceylon.’

Dreaming of New Guinea


Mikhail Bulgakov,

‘The heating went on for the first time today. I spent the entire evening sealing the windows. This first day of heating was marked by the fact that the notorious Annushka left the kitchen window wide open all night. I positively don’t know what to do with the swine who inhabit this [communal] apartment. Because of my illness my nerves have really gone to pieces, and these sorts of things drive me to distraction.’

Manuscripts don’t burn


Mikhail Bulgakov,

‘The heating was on for the first time today. Spent the entire evening sealing the windows. This first day of heating was especially noteworthy for the fact that the famous Annushka left the kitchen window wide open all night. I really don’t know what to do with the wretches who live in this apartment.

I have a severe nervous disorder connected with my illness, and such things drive me mad.

The new furniture from yesterday is now in my room. In order to pay on time we had to borrow five chervonets from Mozalevsky.

Mitya Stonov and Gaidovsky came round this evening, invited me to join the journal Town and Country. Then Andrei. He was reading my ‘Diaboliad’ and said that I had created a new genre and an unusually fast-moving plot.

It had only been the Moscow Agricultural Pavilion on fire at the Exhibition, and it had been quickly put out. Definitely arson, in my opinion.’

Manuscripts don’t burn


Galeazzo Ciano,

‘This morning medals were awarded to the widows of those who died in Spain. A successful ceremony. But, to see so many people in mourning, and to look into so many red eyes, I had to examine my conscience, and I ask myself if this blood had been spilled for a just cause. Yes: that is the answer. At Malaga, at Guadalajara, at Santander, we defended our civilization and our Revolution. And sacrifice is necessary when bold and strong spirits must be forged within nations. The wounded were very proud. One of them who had lost both hands and one eye, said: “I ask only for another hand so that I may return to Spain.” It sounds like a reply from an anthology, and I heard it from a boy of twenty, struck down by enemy weapons, who was happy because the Duce paused with him for a moment. The Germans that were with us learned something.

The Duce does not believe that I should go to Brussels. All things considered, he is right. The unprepared meeting with Eden, would be useless and perhaps damaging for the disappointment that it would create. If it is to be, the occasion can always we found later on. I spoke to Perth about it. He was not very convinced by my arguments. Personally he wanted the meeting, which, according to him, would have clarified the situation a lot.’

I like Mussolini, very much


Hugh Dalton,

‘Today we hold one of our ‘Secret Meetings’ of the National Executive and the Labour War Cabinet Ministers at Howard’s Hotel. As usual most are quite sensible. Our Declaration that we shall fight the next election as an independent Party has had soothing effects everywhere. Bevin coming in, as usual, very late, says that he can hardly believe his ears. He thought ministers were all supposed to be chained to the Coalition ‘and captives of the Tories’, but here today everyone is saying we must not hurry the election or the break-up of the Government and everyone, except Shinwell, says that we ought to get the Social Insurance Bill through before the Parliament ends. And this, indeed, is the general mood. I say I also want to get a Location of Industry Bill through. Unless we get Social Insurance through, the Tories will use it as bait for the electors; if we do get it through we can say that, but for us, nothing nearly so good would have been put forward; and in any case it is right to get it through, regardless of party politics.’

Uproar in Parliament


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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.

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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.