And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

29 October

1681
John Reresby,
politician

‘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

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1855
Wilhelm Bleek,
scientist

’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

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1873
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

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1885
James Hannington,
priest

‘(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

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1910
Lady Minto,
philanthropist

‘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

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1923
Mikhail Bulgakov,
writer

‘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

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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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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, usually several every week. The blog has been publishing for over five years, and is the secondary source for the diary extracts in this online anthology.