And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

18 September

John Marrett,

‘Sabbath. Preached at home. Funeral Sermon on the death of my wife.’

Ye largest Funeral


George Byron,

‘Called by my courier; got up. Hobhouse walked on before. A mile from Lausanne, the road overflowed by the lake; got on horseback, and rode till within a mile of Vevay. The colt young, but went very well. Overtook Hobhouse, and resumed the carriage, which is an open one. Stopped at Vevay two hours (the second time I had visited it); walked to the church; view from the churchyard superb; within it General Ludlow (the regicide’s) monument - black marble - long inscription - Latin, but simple; he was an exile two-and-thirty years - one of king Charles’s judges. Near him Broughton (who read King Charles’s sentence to Charles Stuart) is buried, with a queer and rather canting, but still a republican, inscription. Ludlow’s house shown; it retains still its inscription - ‘Omne solum forti patria.’ Walked down to the lake side; servants, carriage, saddle -horses - all set off and left us plantes la, by some mistake, and we walked on after them towards Clarens; Hobhouse ran on before, and overtook them at last. Arrived the second time (first time was by water) at Clarens. Went to Chillon through scenery worthy of I know not whom; went over the Castle of Chillon again. On our return met an English party in a carriage; a lady in it fast asleep - fast asleep in the most anti-narcotic spot in the world - excellent! I remember at Chamouni, in the very eves of Mom Blanc, hearing another woman, English also, exclaim to her party, ‘Did you ever see anything more rural?’ - as if it was Highgate, or Hampstead, or Brompton, or Hayes - ‘Rural!’ quotha? - Rocks, pines, torrents, glaciers, clouds, and summits of eternal snow far above them - and ‘rural!’

After a slight and short dinner we visited the Chateau de Clarens; an English woman has rented it recently (it was not let when I saw it first); the roses are gone with their summer; the family out, but the servants desired us to walk over the interior of the mansion. Saw on the table of the saloon Blair’s Sermons, and somebody else (I forget who’s) sermons, and a set of noisy children. Saw all worth seeing, and then descended to the ‘Bosquet de Julie,’ &c. &c.; our guide full of Rousseau, whom he is eternally confounding with St. Preux, and mixing the man and the book. Went again as far as Chillon to revisit the little torrent from the hill behind it. Sunset reflected in the lake. Have to get up at five to-morrow to cross the mountains on horseback; carriage to be sent round; lodged at my old cottage - hospitable and comfortable; tired with a longish ride on the colt, and the subsequent jolting of the char-a-banc, and my scramble in the hot sun.

Mem. The corporal who showed the wonders of Chillon was as drunk as Blucher; he was deaf also, and thinking every one else so, roared out the legends of the caste so fearfully. However, we saw things from the gallows to the dungeons (the potence and the cachots), and returned to Clarens with more freedom than belonged to the fifteenth century.’

The pleasures of this life


Francis Lieber,
philosopher and teacher

‘Went with Niebuhr and his family to Albano, to the palace of the Consalvi. Beautiful sunset and view of the sea. Marcus already says: “Il tuo caro Mare, il tuo Mare.” Pleasant reception at the palace. From my window a view of the town, Monte Sevello, the plain, and the sea. I thought, during these two weeks in Albano, I could forget everything connected with my experience in Greece, and breathe freely for a short time; and now comes the “Diario di Roma,” confirming the rumor that R. is in Argos.’

Lieber’s Life and Letters


Gideon Mantell,
doctor and scientist

‘To Brighton every day. Miss Langham still very ill. [. . .] Last week performed the operation of trephining, or rather with Hey’s saw removed several portions of skull that had been forced into the brain - a boy 16 years old crushed by a horse, died the next morning.’

Gideon Mantell - geologist


Gideon Mantell,
doctor and scientist

‘Soon after tea was sent for to near Kemp Town to a young man who had just been drowned: an hour had elapsed from the time of the accident till my arrival: I inflated the lungs and assisted in removing the body to the hospital - where the surgeon put it in a warm bath for a few minutes then took it out again and placed it before a fire - then inflated the lungs! and after waiting there nearly two hours I left the place and returned home at near one o’clock very much fatigued.’

Gideon Mantell - geologist


Raja Varma,

‘We visited Mr Nagamiah settlement, Dewan Peshkar, who, it is rumoured is in the running for the next Dewan Peshkarship. We have just finished his old mother’s portrait and he expressed himself highly pleased with it. I gave him the short account I have written of our family for his state manual. He thought that it was rather too short. He wants us to give him as much information as we can relating to the Maharajas court and manner of today.’

Painting with brother


Hugo Ball,

‘The collapse is beginning to take on gigantic dimensions. We will not be able to use the old idealistic Germany as a basis any more either, so we will be completely without any basis. For the devout Protestant-enlightened Germany of the Reformation and the Wars of Liberation produced an authority, and one could say that this authority confused and destroyed the last opposition to the animal kingdom. That whole civilization was ultimately only a sham. It dominated the academic world enough to corrupt the common people too; for even the people approved of Bethmann’s words about necessity knowing no law; in fact, the Protestant pastors were the most unhesitating spokesmen and interpreters of this degrading slogan.’

A wish or a curse


Maurice Hankey,
civil servant

‘Lunched at 10 Downing St. P.M. has definitely made up his mind in favour of voluntary service and not compulsory service, and has written to Balfour asking him to stand by him on the question. Completed paper on winter arrangements at Dardanelles.’

Dreadful meetings


Douglas Haig,

‘I spoke to Admiral Bacon regarding preparations for landing on Belgian coast. In view of the successes obtained by the ‘Tanks’, I suggested that he should carry out experiments with special flat bottomed boats for running ashore and landing a line of Tanks on the beach with object of breaking through wire and capturing Enemy’s defences. This is to be done in cooperation with troops from Lombartzyde, attacking eastwards.

The Admiral was delighted with the idea, and is to go to Admiralty with a view to having special boats made.

I asked him also to urge the loan of personnel from Navy for manning 100 ‘Tanks’ . . .

Trenchard reported on work of Flying Corps . . . By taking the offensive and carrying the war in the air beyond the Enemy’s lines, our artillery airoplanes are free to carry on their important duties of observation and photography unmolested. Our communications too on which so much depends are undisturbed.’

Haig’s ‘unique’ WWI diaries


Blanche Dugdale,

‘To Zionist Office. Lewis and Chaim both away. Had long talk with Locker and Ben-Gurion, who arrived from Palestine while I was away. Both of them deeply pessimistic about the chances of His Majesty’s Government agreeing to a Jewish Army now, after so many postponements. But they are as strong as ever that the claim to fight must not be abandoned. David Ben-Gurion feels that the pressure must come from Palestine now. There is no more political work to be done here he thinks, only publicity and propaganda. It may be that he is right. I shall believe him if the P.M.’s answer to a letter Chaim has written to him is evasive or discouraging. In that case the relations of the Agency with His Majesty’s Government would be altered, and it might be that we ought to publish all the records of the Army negotiations of the past two years . . .’

Baffy on Edward’s abdication


George Seferis,

‘To Mr. and Mrs. Lachovaris’ place. They always have company with them. A spindly Englishwoman, saying nothing, knitting. She’s going to teach Maro the language. An Englishman with fair hair and the look of an intellectual - he looks younger than he is in reality - is fairly quiet too, then bursts into speech. We discuss the life of the Arabs, old houses in Cairo, the tales of the Thousand and One Nights. He says the Egyptians don’t like it if you talk to them about this book. They think it “indecent”: they’re almost ashamed of it. But when it comes down to it, they re ashamed of everything.

Outside, it sounds like the end of the world, with shouting and soldiers singing. By now the nights are very cool, almost cold. Exhaustion every evening. Not real tiredness, more from nerves. Impression of swimming through mud. Perhaps, of course, all this may pass. Above all, there’s a lack of people. And among the few who remain, most are mad.’

A bath in fish-glue


Guy Liddell,
intelligence officer

‘The enquiry may relate to an individual known as “The Luminous Man”, a man who has been working in one of our atomic energy establishments and has become radio-active. Apparently he shines in the dark. If this is so, it is difficult to see why there should be so much secrecy - in fact I cannot imagine how the Press have not already got on to this extraordinary case, since it is clearly a matter that cannot be kept in the dark!’

He shines in the dark


Cecil Beaton,

‘I felt I must try to get a new picture of the Queen [. . .] Martin Charteris rang from Balmoral to say the Queen was not averse to my taking some new pictures of her. Later the phrase changed to ‘would be pleased’ and it was added that I should take some pictures specially for new stamps to be issued in the Channel Islands.

I suppose I’ve forgotten that in earlier days I would get ‘nerves’ before an important sitting, but certainly this time I felt quite anxious. The difficulties are great. Our points of view, our tastes are so different. The result is a compromise between two people and the fates play a large part. One does not know if things will conspire against me, or if the sun should shine.

There have been so many pictures of the queen in tiara, orders and crinoline that I felt I must try something different. I asked Martin if a deerstalker cloak would be suitable. No, he didn’t think so, but what about an admiral’s cloak? Nave-blue serge. That sounded great and when I saw the cape in his office, felt this would be an enormous asset. . . Martin telephoned to say the Queen had agreed to wear the cloak, was rather giggly about the whole thing, and said it didn’t matter what she wore underneath it as it wouldn’t show if she had nothing on. ‘Oh, the saucy thing!’ Eileen said when I relayed this piece of information to her.’

Nerves before a sitting


Han Feng,

‘Stayed at the dormitory during the morning. Went to Guoda Hotel and got a room in the hotel. Went back to the office. Yong Rixian and others came. They are taking the test to become commissioners tomorrow. Drank a lot of red wine with them that evening. Returned to Guoda Hotel after 11am. Xiao Tan was already there. Her menstrual period was here, so she used her mouth on me.’

. . . and 50,000 yuan


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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.