And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

27 September

James Fenimore Cooper,

‘The news is more favorable this morning, from Brussels. The Dutch defeated, with loss. . .’

The news from Belgium


James Robert Hope-Scott,

‘Being uncertain as to the relative position of the two Communions, I resolved to attend both, not, however, designing more than to hear the sermons. Went accordingly at 9 A.M. to the Frauen-kirche (the only R. C. Church, and that, I was told, only conceded about A.D. 1817). Some previous service was unfinished when I went in, but soon after, preparation was made for the service. The church filled rapidly, and a priest appeared in the high stone pulpit. He began in the name of the Blessed Trinity, and declared the need in which we all stood of the help of God’s Holy Spirit, which he therefore prayed us to invoke. This was done in an hymn accompanied by the organ. After this, he read the first eleven verses of Luke xiv., and then proceeded to preach upon the subject of the first six, viz. the observance of the Sabbath. He then traced its first origin to the rest after the creation; its confirmation and full establishment to the law; its present day and character to the apostles, showing the selections of the day to have arisen from the Resurrection and the Descent of the Spirit. He pointed out its beneficial purposes both for soul and body, giving a priority to the latter as (in their kind) most necessary, but insisting on the impossibility of safely following them, without some countervailing spiritual discipline. The mode of observing the Sunday, he said, resulted from its purposes, a mixture of religious exercises and innocent amusement. The former, he showed, should be chiefly, though not solely, carried on in church, and spoke eloquently of the claims which that holy place has upon us - our baptism, our communions, absolutions, marriages, &c.; and then of the distinct blessing, attendant on the meetings of the Church, the living Presence of Our Lord under the form of bread; the authority of the priesthood; the brotherly sympathies of one assembled family; and urged these against the pretence of prayer at home. (It put me in mind of S. Chrysost. ap. Bingh. 20, c. 2, s. 11.) He also alluded to the practice which he said existed of master-manufacturers carrying on trade either the whole or half of Sunday, and warned them that God would not give His honour to another. The whole was well arranged, and, with the exception of those passages relating to Transubstantiation, such as I would gladly often hear in England. The language was more generally sensible and manly than eloquent; the manner was artificial, but not very disagreeably so, and was dignified. The preacher was some thirty-eight years old, or less. While actually preaching, he wore the clerical cap, but put it off when he paused, and (I think) did not wear it while reading the text. After the sermon, he announced the hours of mass, prayers, &c., published banns, and then recorded the deaths which had taken place during the week, commending the deceased persons to our prayers, adding (as I understood him) a particular reference to the ensuing mass. After this, the consecration of the Host ensued. I could not see the high altar, but joined in the hymns, which I read from a neighbour’s book, and which related to different parts of the service. These were in German, and of a wholesome, devotional kind. The same book contained German prayers. I followed in general the attitudes of those among whom I was, though there seemed a want of uniformity as to kneeling or standing. Bowing the head at Our Lord’s name and using the sign of the cross are surely better than Popish.

The singing was general and manly; the people fairly attentive. In the chancel the stalls were occupied by women of a higher rank. There was a full proportion of men present. The church was not large, but has a good deal of beauty about it, as well as curiosity. Alms were collected during mass.

At 21/2 P.M. went to St. Laurence, which (with the remaining churches) is Lutheran. It is a very fine church, as is St. Sebald’s - and in both of them painted glass, pictures, crucifixes, figures of saints, side-altars, &c., have been preserved. Indeed, it would appear that crucifixes are a Lutheran ornament, for one, at least, seemed new. On the high altar, candles were lighted (as I had seen at St. Sebald’s in the morning), and continued so during the service. The congregation was small, and clustered round the pulpit (Do. at St. Egidien’s Kirche). The service - a hymn, a sermon with a prayer and the Lord’s Prayer, another hymn, and a blessing. An old lady lent me a book, but I could not follow the singing; it was apparently in short verses, with the organ alone between, but the latter was too loud to allow the voices to be distinctly heard. The hymns, of which I read several, were not so much to my mind as the R. C. The preacher was a middle-aged man with a good many rings on his fingers. His dress a black gown with full sleeves close at the wrist. He preached an earnest and fair sermon from the end of ch. 5 and beginning of ch. 6 of the Galatians. His manner also artificial, but inferior to the priest’s. The congregation attentive. The head bowed (at least by some) at Our Lord’s name. The names of sick persons mentioned to be prayed for.

Apparently a new pulpit and altar, both richly carved in stone. English Protestants would stare at the decorations of this church.’

Comparing church services


Henri-Frédéric Amiel,

‘To-day I complete my thirty-first year. [. . .]

The most beautiful poem there is, is life - life which discerns its own story in the making, in which inspiration and self-consciousness go together and help each other, life which knows itself to be the world in little, a repetition in miniature of the divine universal poem. Yes, be man; that is to say, be nature, be spirit, be the image of God, be what is greatest, most beautiful, most lofty in all the spheres of being, be infinite will and idea, a reproduction of the great whole. And be everything while being nothing, effacing thyself, letting God enter into thee as the air enters an empty space, reducing the ego to the mere vessel which contains the divine essence. Be humble, devout, silent, that so thou mayest hear within the depths of thyself the subtle and profound voice; be spiritual and pure, that so thou mayest have communion with the pure spirit. Withdraw thyself often into the sanctuary of thy inmost consciousness; become once more point and atom, that so thou mayest free thyself from space, time, matter, temptation, dispersion, that thou mayest escape thy very organs themselves and thine own life. That is to say, die often, and examine thyself in the presence of this death, as a preparation for the last death. He who can without shuddering confront blindness, deafness, paralysis, disease, betrayal, poverty; he who can without terror appear before the sovereign justice, he alone can call himself prepared for partial or total death. How far am I from anything of the sort, how far is my heart from any such stoicism! But at least we can try to detach ourselves from all that can be taken away from us, to accept everything as a loan and a gift, and to cling only to the imperishable - this at any rate we can attempt. To believe in a good and fatherly God, who educates us, who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb, who punishes only when he must, and takes away only with regret; this thought, or rather this conviction, gives courage and security. Oh, what need we have of love, of tenderness, of affection, of kindness, and how vulnerable we are, we the sons of God, we, immortal and sovereign beings! Strong as the universe or feeble as the worm, according as we represent God or only ourselves, as we lean upon infinite being, or as we stand alone.

The point of view of religion, of a religion at once active and moral, spiritual and profound, alone gives to life all the dignity and all the energy of which it is capable. Religion makes invulnerable and invincible. Earth can only be conquered in the name of heaven. All good things are given over and above to him who desires but righteousness. To be disinterested is to be strong, and the world is at the feet of him whom it cannot tempt. Why? Because spirit is lord of matter, and the world belongs to God. “Be of good cheer,” saith a heavenly voice, “I have overcome the world.”

Lord, lend thy strength to those who are weak in the flesh, but willing in the spirit!’

The most beautiful poem


Ethel Turner,

‘Went with solicitor to the Supreme Court, it was all so strange; we had the paper registered. Then Lil and I went to see Mr William Cope and he said the same as he always does. I don’t like him much

now. Then Lil, Mother and I went shopping to David Jones. Bought Rex two suits, etc. a lovely little drawing-room chair, new door mats, stair cloth, liberty silk, etc. etc. At night I corrected proofs and did Parthenon work. Lottie our new servant came, she is a bright English girl.’

Seven Little Australians


Arthur Graeme West,

‘The French came up behind us in large numbers, very active and talkative. Daylight showed a fearful lot of dead Germans round the trench and an appalling shambles in the dug-outs.

A fairly quiet day, sunny. The French moved about all over the valley regardless of anything. We had two good meals. We were relieved at night by the French.’

Shambles in the dug-outs


André Gide,

‘Reread, before giving them to be typed, some notebooks of my prewar journal. What interests me most in them today is finding, over so long a period of time and so late, moral constraint and effort. How long I had to struggle! What dull steppes I have crossed!

I have rather well (and very happily) noted down certain conversations with Claudel. I send a copy of them to Groethuysen, with whom, just yesterday, I spoke at great length about Claudel. The latter is going to found and edit a review, it appears: a Thoinist and orthodox review, which will print only the purest representatives of Catholic literature of today. There will remain, for the N.R.F., only the free-thinking elements. After which people will be surprised that it seems tendentious! . . .

I felt extraordinarily well yesterday, cheerful, and fit for work. Had forgotten my age. This is just what I had gone to the baths for.

But I let myself slip into smoking too much.

The ugliness, the vulgarity of the people in the metro covers me with gloom. Oh, to go back among the Negroes! . . .

Hardly did a thing all day worth mentioning. Sat dazed before the pile of copies of Un Esprit non prévenu, which I received four days ago already and which I ought to send out. Courage fails me in the face of the dedications to write.’

Gide’s self-scrutiny


Hugh Casson,
architect and designer

‘In lovely weather - warm sun, cold breeze, clear blue days and Mediterranean nights - the week passes crammed with sightseeing. At our request we eschew factories and clinics, mines and blast-furnaces. For us, day after day, are spread out the delights of temples and gardens, of palaces and lakes, of secret courtyards and absurd pavilions with delicious elegant names: ‘The Palace of Pleasant Sounds’, ‘The Studio of Pure Fragrance’, ‘The Hall of Last Virtue’, ‘The Pavilion for Watching the Spring’. All are beautifully kept, affectionately restored, crowded with visitors - soldiers strolling with linked fingers, old ladies tottering on misshapen feet, pale-faced Europeans hung with light-meters and scribbling in notebooks, parties of school-children in scarlet scarves.

There can be few more visually exciting experiences than to wander through the courts of the Forbidden City as though through the rooms of some vast roofless mansion. First the great approach, paved and straight, that even within living memory was lined every day at dawn by kneeling elephants who guarded the approach of Court officials and mandarins. . . Then through the Great Gateway with the court yards set about with halls of state designed for splendid ceremonials. Each hall is surrounded with smaller halls and pavilions, with terraces, bridges, staircases and ramps all in marching, rhythmic perspective. Every column, every roof, every silhouette and every colour is the same - yet all are different because each time they are viewed from a slightly different aspect or different level. Courts give way to temples, to stairways, to courts again. Everywhere roofs are golden, ceilings blue, green and gold, walls and columns blood-red. The floors inside and out are carefully paved, great marble slabs, diagonally tooled along the main pathways - elsewhere grey rectangular bricks or stones. Balustrades are of white marble, richly carved. Great bronze vessels as high as your hat stand sentinel beneath trees every branch of which has been studied and, if necessary, twisted in growth to create the required effect. Within the State rooms are set out the furniture, the silks, the bronzes and porcelains that once belonged to the Imperial Court - some beautiful, some strangely hideous - carved monkeys made out of what looks like chocolate spaghetti; cranes in coloured cloisonné; clocks let into the bellies of elephants. Owing to the risk of fire, buildings are not fitted with electric lighting, and in the scarlet twilight of these great halls the atmosphere is sinister and smells of tyranny.

But once outside in the gardens and grottoes of the surrounding parks the magic returns. [. . .]

Day after delightful day we stroll along beautifully patterned pathways past the agonised rocks and twisted cypresses of the Winter Palace where an old man, white-masked against the dust, sits silently appraising the goldfish. We descend through a dark twisted cave in the Peilhai Park to reach a canopied ferry in which we are carried across a lake to the Emperor’s fishing pavilion. We drink tea in the shade of the Temple of Heaven, eat a picnic lunch among the yet unrestored ruins of the Summer Palace, doze in the sun beside the hulk of the old iron steam yacht (a present from the Emperor of Japan to the Dowager Empress of China) that lies mildewing and desolate upon a marble quay. We watch butterflies by silent pools, and listen to magpies in the bamboo groves. We are taken to see Mr Ching Chin-yi, who, in the shade of a little pavilion, is busy engraving the Stockholm Peace Appeal upon a grain of rice.’

Red Lacquer Days


David Ben-Gurion,

‘This morning we held a consultation - Golda [Meir], [Peretz| Naftali, Pinhas Sapir, Moshe D[ayan] . . . Shimon Peres and myself - regarding the French proposed. . . I made three negative assumptions: (1) We shall not be the ones to open [hostilities]. (2) We shall not participate unless there is British agreement and their agreement must also include our defence against a Jordanian and Iraqi attack. (We on our part will promise not to attack either Jordan or Syria.) (3) That no action will be taken contrary to U.S. opinion and without it being informed. Our final decision will be made here following their return [from France] . . .

Upon the conclusion of the Eden-Selwyn Lloyd talks in Paris with the French Government a communiqué was issued saying that both governments hold the same views as to the steps that must be taken in the present crisis. Have they really reached an agreement on an ‘operation’ and did they also discuss the plan of our participation?. . .

Next Sunday things will become clearer following the departure of our delegation.

Tonight, the last ship bringing French arms is due to arrive. On it are the last 20 Super-Shermans, accessories and ammunition.

Following my disclosure of this ‘military secret’, several weeks ago, the newspaper editors, who were true to their word, were taken today to watch the unloading of this precious ‘merchandise’.’

We must not budge


Waguih Ghali,

‘Thanks God [sic] for this Diary again, because, being the way I am I must pour out my heart somewhere or other. But I don’t feel as bad as yesterday this morning. Certainly harder and not as soft and as repulsive as yesterday. [. . . ] What is good with this girl, is that I know it is finished, know I shall not see her anymore, so that eliminates a whole lot of ramifications of pain. And strangely, I don’t really love her this morning anymore, in the sense that it is not love, but something I possessed and have lost. I shall try very very hard not to think of her at all. What frightens me most of all, is the period between 5.30 and 8.30 at home. When I return from work, I dread being alone in my flat and suddenly hate the flat itself and everything in it. I do not know what I shall do about money. The whole picture is terribly hopeless.’

Death in my heart


Mohammed Ayub Khan,
soldier and politician

‘Went to the Kalam Valley at the head of Swat Valley for a day. In fact, there are two main valleys from the village of Kalam with beautiful rivers flowing through them. We motored up these valleys part of the way. The scenery was fantastic. The roads have made all the difference to the life of the people. They can get their products out and get their requirements in so cheaply. All villages are connected by a bus service. They hardly had any winter crop in the past. Now the agriculture department has developed a strain of wheat for them which does well on those heights. All this has remobilised the life of the people. There are schools, dispensaries and rest houses in all places of note.

On the way to Kalam, we found many signs of progress and prosperity. The Wali has done a lot for his people. There is a great influx of tourists, especially in the summer. Small hotels and rest houses are, therefore, springing up everywhere. The trouble with the Wali is that he is not interested in agriculture and horticulture and is not prepared to take advice or learn. If he did, a lot of development could take place increasing the income of the people and the state manifold.

The drive up the valley of Swat is by itself soul satisfying, but the beauty of the side valleys, which are many, is fantastic and breathtaking. There are good shingle roads to practically all of them.’

Diaries of a Pakistan leader


Paul K. Lyons,

‘Durrell lives and moulds our lives. I’m not given to hero worship but it’s fun to try.’

A book out of these scraps


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.