And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

30 September

1724
Jonathan Edwards,
theologian

‘It has been a prevailing thought with me, to which I have given place in practice, that it is best sometimes to eat or drink, when it will do me no good, because the hurt that it will do me, will not be equal to the trouble of denying myself. But I have determined to suffer that thought to prevail no longer. The hurries of commencement and diversion of the vacancy, has been the occasion of my sinking so exceedingly, as in the last three weeks.’

Sinking so exceedingly

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1864
William Daunt,
politician

‘The Times has published four letters of mine. The last was in reply to a Mr W. J. Lawson, who attacked some of my statements on Irish finance and its mismanagement. . .’

The Irish Difficulty

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1909
Arnold Bennett,
writer

‘After much rain, an exquisite morning. The views of the Seine as I came up to Paris were exceedingly romantic. I came without a sketchbook, and my first desire was to sketch. So I had to buy a book. M. and I then went to the Aviation Exposition at the Grand Palais. Startled by the completeness of the trade organization of aviation; even suits for aviators, and rolls of stuffs for ’planes. We first remarked the Farman aeroplane. Vast, and as beautiful as a yacht. Same kind of beauty. Yet a new creation of form, a new ‘style’; that is newly stylistic. I had been reading Wilbur Wright’s accounts of his earlier experiments as I came up in the train, and I wanted to write a story of an aviator, giving the sensations of flight. I left M, and went to the Salon d’Automne. But I found it was the vermissage and so I didn’t enter. Crowds entering.

My first vague impression was here at last defined, of Paris. Namely, the perversity and corruption of the faces. The numbers of women more or less chic also impressed me. A few, marvellous. It was ideal Paris weather. I saw what a beautiful city it is, again. The beauty of this city existence and its environment appealed to me strongly. Yet the journey from the Gare de Lyon on the Métro. had seemed horrible. Also, I had waited outside the bureau de location of the Français, for it to open, and had watched the faces there which made me melancholy. Particularly a woman of 60 or so, and her virgin daughter 30 or 33. The latter with a complexion spoilt, and a tremendously bored expression, which changed into a mannered, infantile, school-girlish, self-conscious, uneasy smile, when a punctilious old gentleman came up and saluted and chatted, The fading girl’s gums all showed. She was a sad sight. I would have preferred to see her initiated and corrupt. She was being worn out by time, not by experience. The ritual and sterility and futility of her life had devitalized her. The mother was making a great fuss about changing some tickets. This ticket-changing had a most genuine importance for her. The oldish girl, mutely listening, kept her mouth at the mannered smile for long periods. But I think she was not essentially a fool.’

A half-crown public

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1939
Marielle Bennett,
actor

‘I met my friend, who is at present touring in a comedy, we did some shopping. I discovered that stockings are up 1/-, my usual 3/11 cost 4/11. The colours were not good either and little selection. The assistant told me that their usual 1/6½ ones will soon be sold at 2/11 and are not fashioned (fully). [. . .]

After tea I went with my family to the pictures. I carried a gas mask for the first time as I did not know whether I could get in the films and I knew my father would not want me to have a long argument, which I should have done had I been alone. The films were “Hound of the Baskervilles” and another with Jackie Cooper and Freddie Bartholomew. Very patriotic and upholding of the military tradition in American. Very obvious and silly film, I thought.’

The cost of stockings

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1967
Richard Burton,
actor

‘At about 12 noon this same day I did something beyond outrage. I bought Elizabeth the jet plane we flew in yesterday. It costs, brand new, $960,000. She was not displeased.’

I bought her a jet plane

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1948
Joe Randolph Ackerley,
writer

‘Today Queenie bit my hand. I do believe she was horrified as soon as the accident occurred. She grovelled on the pavement before I had rebuked her; no doubt she both tasted and smelt the blood that was dripping from my hand. I was angry and upset and gave her a number of cuts from the lead. Then I took her back to the flat so that I could bathe and bandage the wound. She went straight down the passage into my dark bedroom and stayed there, not coming out again for some time, which she would ordinarily have done, hearing me moving about (in search of bandages, scissors, etc.) outside. It was only when I had finished attending to my wound and, feeling slightly faint, sat down for a moment on the stool in the bathroom to rest, that she came in, looking very unhappy, and, gently putting her front paws on my lap, rose up, smelt my face and then licked it. I petted her and said it didn't matter. I felt awfully sorry I'd hit her. After that I took her down the towing path a short way, so that she could do her shits. There were dogs about so I put her on the lead, but they followed us back to my front door, Queenie barking at them and then looking up into my face as though to say, ‘That’s what you want, isn’t it?’ Indeed, she loves me so much, it must have been dreadful for her to have hurt me.’

Ackerley and his women

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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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