And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

26 September

Robert Woodford,

‘I would give some present to new Mr Maior but want some money. Lord I pray thee increase my estate in thy due time for the Lords sake Amen.’

I pray increase my estate


Thomas Raikes,

‘Clanwilliam mentioned this evening an incident, which proves the wonderful celerity of the railroads. M. Isidore, the Queen’s coiffeur, who receives 200l. a year for dressing Her Majesty’s hair twice a day, had gone to London in the morning, meaning to return to Windsor in time for her toilet; but on arriving at the station he was just five minutes too late, and saw the train depart without him. His horror was great, as he knew that his want of punctuality would deprive him of his place, as no train would start for the next two hours. The only resource was to order a special train, for which he was obliged to pay 18l.; but the establishment feeling the importance of his business, ordered extra steam to be put on, and conveyed the anxious hairdresser eighteen miles in eighteen minutes, which extricated him from all his difficulties.’

A mania for gossip


William Daunt,

‘Arthur O’Connor came here. It seems that his Uncle Feargus made a will leaving Arthur everything he had. The legatee is slightly puzzled to discover whether everything means anything or nothing. I incline to the latter interpretation. . . When I was about six or seven years old, a certain countess, whom my mother took me to visit, pronounced me to be “a handsome boy with a bad countenance.” I do not name her ladyship, who was said to have scared Lord C_ into marrying her, by threatening to stab herself in the event of his refusing to accompany her into Hymen’s temple. She was a very clever woman . . . could be very captivating and very disagreeable. In old age she still clung to the vanities of youth. I have seen her, when more than fourscore, with a bare neck, an enormous sable wig, curled into multitudinous ringlets, and surmounted by a fantastic little pink satin hat, that contrasted strongly with her old, withered, wrinkled, toothless, haggard visage. . .’

The Irish Difficulty


John Milton Hay,

‘Last night September 25 the President and I were riding to Soldiers Home; he said he had heard of an officer who had said they did not mean to gain any decisive victory but to keep things running on so that they the army might manage things to suit themselves. He said he should have the matter examined and if any such language had been used, his head should go off.

I talked a great deal about the McClellan conspiracy but he would make no answer to anything. He merely said that McC. was doing nothing to make himself either respected or feared.’

The witty, dapper Mr. Hay


Kido Takayoshi,

‘Cloudy. I was at home all day, ill in bed. In the afternoon Shunkō came to talk; and we discussed times past as we have done for several days, especially matters relating to the suspicions about me at home. Since the beginning of the year we have encountered problems over both domestic and foreign affairs; and we have been unable to achieve our purposes. But when I think of the inconstancy of my friends, I am deeply grieved. I sometimes console myself a bit by the thought that bearing this misfortune is part of the hard lot of being a man. Hearing Shunkō’s inmost thoughts dispelled my doubts a bit. Indeed, privately I was delighted for the sake of the country.

A confidential message arrived from Deputy Chancellor Iwakura in regard to the disclosure of the conspiracy of Prince Innomiya. We have been investigating this carefully in recent days; and, discovering the Prince’s secret messenger was being sent to the East, we arranged to arrest him en route. I suppose that the mission has been accomplished.

Unsen arrived in Kyoto today. Baiei and Shōhin came at night; and Seiho, Unsen, and I did a joint project of calligraphy and inkpainting.’

An absurd thing to do


Grove Karl Gilbert,

‘The gravel that underlies Fortification Rock and Table Mountain, is newer than Black Canon lavas and older than the basalt of those peaks. The river bluffs above are of more recent gravels. Think the lower (red) bed of Table Mountain is lava - the yellow above gravel. The same beds north of the river bear the same relation to the basalt that forms the Table Mountain there.

At Fortification Rock were pictured the Butte itself the sculptured gravel opposite and some sand-worn rocks. We left the spot at about 1 P.M. and to Vegas Wash - 2 or 3 miles - had to tow up a steep hill made by the debris from the wash. The slack water above this dam gave us easy work nearly to Callville, a distance of ten miles(?). All the way the banks show gravel bluffs of coarse and fine material, half consolidated so as to give rough semi-castellated forms.’

The bluff to Old Snuffy


Lady Aberdeen,

‘Here again after another week of “progress” as it is called, through Ontario - that is, being bucketed from one place to another by night & going through the round of being received at the station, addresses presented, a procession round the town, reception at the Fair grounds, an attempt to go round the exhibits in the midst of a huge crowd, a long luncheon with nothing possible to eat, & visits to various schools, hospitals, convents & other institutions. We live our days to the tune of God save the Queen, from the moment the train stops till it departs, & one sometimes wonders inwardly whether the moment will not arrive when instead of keeping up an inane smile, we will not seize someone & turn then round & shake them or do something desperate to make at least a change.

I fear this is all horridly ungrateful, for everybody has been most kind & people have vied one with another to see who could do most for us. I think there has been a general desire to show that the feeling of the country was not with Sir Charles in his attack on H.E.

The long talked of debate come off last Monday evening, just when we were leaving. Everybody was prepared for a long evening of it - the old gentleman made a carefully prepared speech & kept himself mostly within bounds & was only pulled up twice, by the Speaker for speaking disrespectfully of H.E. Capt. Sinclair who was present, thought he spoke better than Laurier, who seemed rather taken unawares. Several of the Liberal leaders were ready with speeches, but when Laurier sat down, no one on the Opposition side got up & to the amazement of everybody, the debate collapsed. Neither Foster, Haggart or Ives were even present & the Conservative party generally had made up its mind not to support their leader in this. So he has made rather a mess of his great constitutional question. It seems rather a pity that the opinions of some of those most interested in the matter & also the despatches to & from the Colonial Office should not be put on record so as to ensure the same line being kept for the future. But doubtless there is safety in allowing the subject to drop now & we at least may be amply satisfied with the result.

Our tour this week comprised Peterborough, Stratford-on-Avon, Goderich, Tavistock, Brantford, Woodstock & Lindsay. The Shows have been very good & the fruit superb, especially the apples over which the proprietor of Coldstream is apt to linger considerably. The English market is found to be far away the best & for the best apples from Goderich they have been getting 17/- a barrel.

The local authorities are not quite sufficiently alive to the danger of crowds trying to converge on one centre & we have had several escapes from accidents owing to platforms etc. being not sufficiently strong. At Peterborough the platform was fairly stormed & it collapsed - it was not high, & no one was hurt, not even an old gentleman of over 90 who was precipitated down. At Stratford we had to pass from the Rink (where the addresses were presented & where there was a great crowd, although it was but 9.30 a.m.) back to our carriage across a wooden bridge some 20 feet high. The crowd got flurried & would not move on - more & more came pressing on from the Rink & the bridge began cracking & swaying in horrible style with all these people on it. However the cracking frightened them on happily in time - next day another platform began to crack & at the evening reception at Goderich, the crowd became utterly unmanageable & fought with the militia who had been brought in by Capt. Wilberforce’s request to help keep the passage way. The mayor sent for the police & threatened to arrest any more who gave trouble, but there was great discomfort & the poor wretches who struggled through to the so-called “reception” & to present addresses looked decidedly dishevelled & irritable. The Irish gave a nice address there about Home Industries. To make things better, the electric light went out & we finished our entertainment by the light of a single oil lamp. The militia did very well that night. We were ensconced in a retreat consecrated to Mr Walker of Walkerville’s whiskey & ale. It was bitterly cold for two days & I have succeeded in bring back a baddish cold. H.E. has kept very well, I am thankful to say & we have slept on the car throughout, the Grand Trunk kindly lending us another car. At Tavistock I found myself suddenly announced by H.E. to make a German speech at 9 a.m. without any meditation, as he had been told that the inhabitants were mainly German. I don’t believe.’

God save the Queen


Edmund Ironside,

‘About 12 o’clock about 20 cars came up the road. In the leading one, an enormous open grey six-wheeler, sat the Führer in light brown - almost biscuit colour - with a cap with a brown leather peak. On his right was Mussolini in his greyish field kit, almost a light blue. His great black face and big jaw stuck out fiercely. Then he raised his hand in a Fascist salute as did Hitler with his. The German seems less theatrical. Mussolini gave one the impression of trying to look fierce. He stalked up the hill with the Führer almost hurrying beside him. Neither of them big men in size. . . .

The air attack and the tank attack was then launched with a lot of popping and banging. Rows and rows of them coming in waves . . . It showed what a force Germany has created in such a short time, even though it is at the moment in many ways an experimental one. They still require a long time to perfect this great instrument of theirs.

Just after the attack commenced Goering came up in Air Force uniform and walked up the hill. A youngish but immensely fat man, with simply enormous legs. A fair unlined face, and a few longish hairs hanging down under his cap. I should say that his life is not a very good one, for he panted badly coming up the hill and was obviously distressed. He was surrounded by a small band of his party, all frightfully enthusiastic at being in the train of so great a man.

After the attack had been going along for nearly an hour, we, the British delegation, were ushered up towards the tent and introduced to the Führer. He came walking down to us in his long coat and I was at once struck by his vacuous-looking grin - one can hardly call it a smile - and his watery, weak-looking eye. . . Reichenau told Hitler that I could speak German, and I chatted for a minute with him in German. He complimented me and told me I spoke it like a German.

The man struck me not at all. His voice was soft and his German of the south. He made no more impression on me than would have a somewhat mild professor whom I rather suspected of having a drop too much on occasions.

I must say that I was disappointed. The man must have the stuff in him, but he didn’t make any impression upon me. Then, a minute later, Goering came gracefully as an elephant down to us . . . I thought Goering a nasty creature . . . a harsh and domineering voice.

One almost wishes that our rulers could have seen this show. They would have been impressed by the pace at which these people are working, by their obvious earnestness, their sincerity. The more I look at it the more do I think that they will pull off what they are after. The French want us to join with them in an offensive the minute that Germany turns eastwards and attacks her [i. e. France’s] allies there. Can their Army carry out an offensive? I should much doubt if the French soldiers will fight an offensive battle in support of any Ally so far away. . . An offensive against Germany from the West must penetrate very deeply and would be a question of an enormous invading force. It would mean something that France couldn’t, in my opinion, sustain for a minute.

C.I.G.S. worrying himself about little details instead of thinking of the big things. . . Manoeuvres are definitely off.’

A new phase of history


Galeazzo Ciano,

‘I am on my way to Berlin. On Hitler’s order the train is stopped at Munich. Attacks by the Royal Air Force endanger the area, and the Führer does not wish to expose me to the risk of a long stop in open country. I sleep in Munich and will continue by air.’

I like Mussolini, very much


Arthur C. Clarke,

‘Stanley gave me Joseph Campbell’s analysis of the myth The Hero with a Thousand Faces to study. Very stimulating.’

Dreamed I was a robot


Mohammed Ayub Khan,
soldier and politician

‘The deputy foreign minister of the Soviet Union, Nikolai Pavlovich Firyubin, came to see me in Swat. His objective was to gain support on the stand they are taking on different world problems in the current General Assembly. Problems like disarmament, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, Vietnam, decolonisation, future of Southwest Africa, etc. are involved. Our views are not dissimilar.

I brought up the question of more economic aid, supply of arms and the danger of arming India to such an extent. He took note of these things and promised to convey my views to his government. The general impression one gets is that the Soviets are happy about the manner in which our relations arc developing and so are we. It is in our interest that our relations with the Soviets should gain depth. We can then develop greater leverage with the USA and India.

The Soviets seem to be hesitant in supplying us arms even though Kosygin had repeatedly promised to me. I am sending him a letter of reminder.’

Diaries of a Pakistan leader


Tony Benn,

‘The papers today reported the admission by the FBI that they had engaged in over 250 domestic burglaries for political and other purposes. There was also a report in the New York Times that the CIA was again giving money to West European socialist parties to intervene in Portugal. Just before the Executive at 10 I had a word with Bryan Stanley of the POEU [Post Office Engineering Union] and I mentioned my concern about telephone-tapping.”Oh yes,” he said, “there’s no question about it. I believe the Tories were engaged in a widespread surveillance campaign involving the telephone-tapping of activists in the trade union movements and the Labour Party, as well as the Communist Party. The aim was to prepare a general dossier and, in the run-up to an Election, blacken the character of political opponents.” ’

The hopes of the Left


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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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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.