And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

23 September

Hester Thrale,
writer and philanthropist

‘This Morning my Curiosity was abundantly gratified by visiting two Convents of Religious Woman. The first were Gravelines or poor Claires into whose House however I was not permitted to enter further than the Chapel through the Grate of which I conversed quite at my Ease with them - the more as they were all my Countrywomen, & some still retained a strong Provincial Northern Dialect. They were truly wretched indeed, wore only Petticoat, and that of the coarsest Stuff, they were bare legged and bare footed, & had no Linnen about them except a sort of Band, which was very dirty though I had Reason to think I was expected. The Sister at the Speak House [. . .] smelt very offensive when I saluted her, which I find is the Custom at all Convents. [. . .] Their Fingers all seem knotted at the Joynts, their Nails broken & miserably disfugured, they are extremely lean too.’

Hester Thrale in France


James Fenimore Cooper,

‘The news from Belgium this morning still more serious. This contest will draw on the war which, in some shape or other, must grow out of the late revolution. The Dutchmen seem very obstinate, and the Belgians very spirited. The hatred of all elevations of the lower classes, among the European aristocracy, is so intense, that fight they must, to their own certain destruction.

At a little before 6, Thorne stopped for me, and we took up Mr McLane, on our way to the Palais Royal. We had little ceremony in the reception. Our names were taken, and checked off, on the list of the company, when we were shown to an ante-chamber. The King soon opened the folding-doors himself, and we entered. Not half the guests had yet come. All the royal family, with a few attendants, were there. General La Fayette and family soon arrived. Dinner was soon announced. The King led Madame La Fayette, and La Fayette the Queen. Mademoiselle d’Orleans was seated on the right of the King, Madame La Fayette on his left; La Fayette on the right of the Queen, and M Augustin Périer on her left. Here was an oversight in French courtesy. This seat should have been assigned to McLane. I am inclined to think the arrangement was not pre- meditated, for the French rarely fail in politeness.

The dinner-service was plate, the table large, and the servants very numerous. Beyond this, with the décorations of the guests, and the liveries, one might have fancied himself at a Washington dinner. There was a little order in the entrances and exits of the courses, but no proclaiming of the service of the King, as before. Both the King and Queen helped more than is common at good French tables. I saw no embarrassment, or pretension of any sort, during dinner. When the Queen rose, the ladies turned, and the finger-bowls were handed them by servants, the gentlemen using them at the side-tables. We then withdrew into the wing of the Palace, opposite the Théâtre Francais. Here coffee was served. Mrs and Miss T_ soon entered, and were presented by La Fayette. The Queen then went into an inner drawing-room, which was very large and magnificent, with a billiard-room communicating. Here the ladies seated themselves round a large table, a lady of the family working, rather premeditatedly, at another. I presume this lady, who had the air of a governess, was so placed to give the reception an informal character.

In a few minutes, Mrs R_ entered, followed by Mrs M_ and a dozen more of our ladies. They were met by the Queen, who advanced some little distance, and Mrs R_ presented them all, in succession. Two or three more parties arrived, and were presented in the same manner, the whole seating themselves, by invitation. In about twenty minutes, the Queen arose and made the tour of the circle; afterwards the ladies retired, followed by most of the gentlemen. Mr Rives, Mr Middleton, and eight or ten gentlemen, came in with the ladies. The whole passed off very well, and without the least gaucherie, and our women, though with two or three exceptions no longer in the bud, looked uncommonly well. I scarcely remember to have seen so many women in a set, that looked so uniformly genteel and pretty. I suspect but one of being rouged. Two or three were really beautiful. This little exhibition convinces me of what I have often thought, that we only want Parisian mantua-makers and milliners, to carry off the palm in female grace and beauty; for it will be remembered that the effect was produced in a strong theatrical light, without the aid of rouge.

I was surprised to see the uniform grace of their courtesies, which were simple, easy, and dignified.

I wish I could say as much for all the men; though the gentlemen behaved, as such, with modesty, aplomb, and quiet.

I thought the French looked a little surprised.

All the children were present, the little Duc de Montpensier racing round the rooms, though not in a noisy manner, with great gouût. The others were more tranquil, though thoroughly at their ease. It struck me there was a little too much affectation of simplicity for a reception that was necessarily short and formal; and on the part of our women, a little too much dress. After all, it is difficult to hit the true medium in a case of this sort. The court sacrificed a little too much to republicanism, and we, a little too much to royalty. If there was to be a mistake, both erred on the right side.’

The news from Belgium


John Milton Hay,

‘The President wrote the Proclamation on Sunday morning carefully. He called the Cabinet together on Monday made a little talk to them and read the momentous document. Mr. Blair and Mr. Bates made objections, otherwise the Cabinet was unanimous. The next day Mr. Blair who had promised to file his objections, sent a note stating that as his objections were only to the time of the act he would not file them, lest they should be subject to misconstruction.

I told the President of the Serenade that was coming and asked if he would make any remarks. He said, no, but he did say half a dozen words, & said them with great grace and dignity. I spoke to him about the editorials in the leading papers. He said he had studied the matter so long that he knew more about it than they did.

At Governor Chase’s there was some talking after the Serenade. Chase and Clay made speeches and the crowd was in a glorious humor. After the crowd went away, to force Mr. Bates to say something, a few old fogies staid at the Governor’s and drank wine. Chase spoke earnestly of the Proclamation. He said “this was a most wonderful history of an insanity of a class that the world had ever seen. If the Slaveholders had staid in the Union they might have kept the life in their institution for many years to come. That what no party and no public feeling in the North could ever have hoped to touch they had madly placed in the very path of destruction.” They all seemed to feel a sort of new and exhilarated life; they breathed freer; the Prest. Procn had freed them as well as the slaves. They gleefully and merrily called each other and themselves abolitionists, and seemed to enjoy the novel accusation of appropriating that horrible name.’

The witty, dapper Mr. Hay


Apolinario Mabini,
lawyer and politician

‘Yesterday, at past eleven in the morning, there was a very strong earthquake, the strongest and longest that I have felt in my life. This was followed by others of lesser intensity, occurring at intervals of 15 to 20 until this morning.

They say the tremor destroyed the following: The two stone houses of the Filipino proprietor, Don Eulogio de la Cruz, which were completely destroyed; the house occupied by Messrs. Gerona and Dimayuga; another one occupied by Messrs. Trías and Simón Tecson; the new civil hospital; two stone houses occupied by the club; and the tribunal-house presently occupied by the Court.

Also destroyed were a portion of the house occupied by the owner, Mr. Dungca; the walls of the stone house which served as a government-house; the house of the Fiscal (roofing and the garden fence); the big college and the public school which had cracks; one side of the house that was occupied by Don Pablo Ocampo and Mauricio; the roofing and walls of the convent; and the tower which was split from top to bottom.

It is said that of the total houses in the whole town, only three or four remain habitable.

Big holes were formed in front of the Protestant church and in various areas. A long crack on the ground, starting from the sea cuts through the different parts of the town. Water gushed forth from some of these holes, inundating a street. Fortunately, there were no personal casualties.’

Philippine’s first prime minister


Raja Varma,

‘We went this morning to the temple of Lalu Kavu to worship the Goddess, since this is the second day of the Navrathrie-Dusserah. On my return home I remitted two money orders one for Rs 6 to the manager of the Malayale Manorama and the other for Rs 4 to the Manorama at Calicut, the former being the last year’s subscription to it and the latter this year’s subscription.’

Painting with brother


Nella Last,

‘Such a lovely day, and when we went to Spark Bridge I could hardly realise the year was so far advanced, for all is so lovely and green. We called at Greenodd to see Cousin Mary and her two evacuees - they have settled down wonderfully. A chance remark of one of them made me think. Their mother, who with the baby is living a little distance away, called to take them nutting, and as Mary was getting them ready she made some remarks about ‘when we get home again’. A startled look came over the younger boy (about seven) and his eyes filled as he said rather pitifully, ‘Aren’t we going to stay here always?’ I saw the look on the mother’s face, and my heart ached as I thought how I would have felt if my family had been scattered.’

Carrying their gas masks


Guy Liddell,
intelligence officer

‘The preliminaries to this meeting are quite fantastic. SHAG is to look for a chalk Z which will be placed on a telegraph post near his home. This will mean that if he can manage it he is to attend a meeting at that spot at a given hour on the same day. To confirm he will be there, he has to turn the Z into an H. The man meeting him will be smoking a cigarette and have a rubber band on his little finger. SHAG will bring out his snuffbox and take a pinch of snuff - no conversation will pass. The second meeting will take place at a different rendezvous with another person, when the same pantomime will be gone through. The visitor will ask for a light, then offer SHAG a cigarette, when the latter will reply that he takes snuff. This will be the all clear for further conversation.’

He shines in the dark


Ferdinand Marcos,

‘Things have moved according to plan although out of the total 200 target personalities in the plan only 52 have been arrested, including the three senators, Aquino, Diokno and Mitra and Chino Roces and Teddy Locsin.

At 7:15 PM I finally appeared on a nationwide TV and Radio broadcast to announce the proclamation of martial law, the general orders and instructions.

I place them in Envelope XXXV-C

I was supposed to broadcast at 12:00AM but technical difficulties prevented it. We had closed all TV stations. We had to clear KBS which broadcast it live. VOP and PBS broadcast it by radio nationwide.

The broadcast turned out rather well and Mons. Gaviola as well as the [illegible] friends liked it. But my most exacting critic, Imelda, found it impressing. I watched the replay at 9:00 PM.’

Purpose into my life


Michael Palin,
comedian and writer

‘Squash with Terry Jones at five. Beaten again. I’m afraid. Then up to the Flask for a drink. Tell Terry J that I shall be writing the novel (hereinafter called ‘the work’) until Christmas. He doesn’t sound disappointed. Says that it will suit him, as he has further work to do on Chaucer, now his book has found a publisher. He’s just finished a translation of ‘The Prologue’, which TJ says he’s more excited about than the book.

Off to Abbotsley tomorrow for a quick burst of countryside, then back to London and the novel on Monday. A strange feeling - not knowing quite what will come out. I keep wanting to start - waking up in bed and composing cracking first six lines, then controlling myself.

Will I be able to keep the diary up? Will I choke on a surfeit of writing? Will the malfunctioning, non-reversing ribbon on my typewriter cut short a promising career? Watch these spaces . . .’

Cleese, also in a bikini


Alastair Campbell,
journalist and political aide

‘Cherie’s 40th birthday party at Frederick’s. Odd kind of do. Didn’t feel right being photographed going in, by Alan Davidson [celebrity photographer] of all people, and I couldn’t quite work out the guest mix. Family, a bit of politics, law, and friends that didn’t always seem like Tony’s kind of people. Maybe he is a lot more eclectic than we are. Cherie had certainly been given a makeover. She looked great, but it was an odd do.’

Call me Cherie


Jan Kenneth Eliasson,

‘If I do not have the confidence of the Russians. I need to consider whether I should terminate my own role, or Sweden’s role, as a mediator in this mission. However, first we need to know whether CSCE is ready to give a substantial contribution to the security of the region. If not, we should probably leave. To give our blessings to a solution that the parties do not want should not be a Swedish concern.’

Eliasson the go-between


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.