And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

10 June

John Evelyn,

‘We went, after dinner, to see the formal and formidable camp on Blackheath, raised to invade Holland; or, as others suspected for another design. Thence, to the Italian glass-house at Greenwich, where glass was blown of finer metal than that of Murano, at Venice.’

A most excellent person


Thomas Robert Malthus,

‘To Ghent by the Grand Barque. Passage 5½ francs each, dinner included, wine excluded. Vin de Bordeaux ordinaire 3 f. Claret at 4 f. not better. - rather approaching to the wine at 1½ f.’

For a great part of the way the banks were so high that the country was not visible - wood on each side - chiefly poplar of different kinds, and beech - Latter part of way banks lower - neat houses - good deal of rye the main food of the common people. Labour 14 sous, 28 French Sous. White bread 3½ pounds for 4 Sous or pence.’

The cost of men and food


Phebe Orvis,

‘Pleasant. Mr. Converse[’s] son died of the measles today, yet we go on to sin[.]’

An extraordinary ordinary woman


Wilhelm Bleek,

‘On Tuesday 10th June I set off to climb the u Mpofu mountain north-east of the station. I tried to sketch the outline of the mountain, but as I am not skilled I was only moderately successful. I am enclosing the rough sketch, as it may give an idea of the formation of the mountain. [The sketch was sent to Dr Petermann; there is no copy in the Ms.]

The course which I had chosen was to ascend the u Mpofu on the southern side, as I considered that slope of the mountain as the most gentle. The range runs horizontally, dividing the i Noemane from the streams on the other side. Before I reached the summit, I came across a kraal which was just being built. It was a double kraal with narrow doorways facing one another. Nothing but the outer frame, and a hut in each of them, had been completed. Only two men and a few boys were present. One of the men was a strange sight, as the bone of his nose had the appearance of being cloven in twain. Right in the middle was an ugly ulcer. The Zulus say he looks like a hyena (a Mpisi). I wanted the other man to come with me up the mountain to tell me the names of the mountains and rivers in the neighbourhood, but he declined, being too busy building huts. From then on the path was no longer straight, but wound around the western side of the mountain, so that I reached the summit from the north. On top of the mountain there were quite a few kaffer gardens. The view was only fair; generally the view is only clear immediately after the rain. Riding down the eastern slope of the mountain, I arrived at a kraal, or rather three kraals grouped together, called u Ndabepambile, and their u Mnumzana (master of the kraal), u Mcaguza. The doors were so low and narrow that my horse could only squeeze through in a bent position. How cattle, especially those with big horns, can get through remains a mystery to me. I had the same dinner as the previous day. While I was there, the man whom I had wanted to take as a guide appeared suddenly in full splendour, he had dressed himself smartly and had followed me, but had missed me on the mountain. Though he was of no use to me now, I was touched by his eagerness. On my way back, I climbed the summit again and descended the steep southern slope towards the huts in construction, and then home the same way. I sketched the outline of the u Mandawe mountain from a spot above the spring of the i Noemane. This little river runs towards the north-east and then winds northwards round the slopes of the Mpafu.’

Father of African philology


Barbara Bodichon,

‘Wendell Phillips came in the evening. He was enchanting. He told me that the W. R. Movement had made immense progress since 1850. He knows twenty women at least who can gain their living by lecturing in Lyceums. He says Lyceums in debt very often get women to come and lecture on W.R. even when they do not agree with her, because they know she will attract a paying audience. Gentlemen who were dead set against the W.R. now advocate it. A Governor of Ohio was obliged to apologize to the ladies of Ohio and recant because he refused to hear female delegates to some Society, etc. etc.

Wendell Phillips himself says when Lyceums come to him he says, “Yes, I will lecture for you: 50 dollars for Literature or Abolition, or WR for nothing.” ’

Campaigning for women’s rights


John Dearman Birchall,

‘Had long conversations with partners. Mr Webb in particular who gave us a most interesting description of his American experiences. No improvement at the Mill. Average this year 86 pieces a week, 2230 pieces value £18,900. Trade getting much flatter. Today we had separate interviews with Cheetham. He first privately told me of his sorrows, father dead, sister insane, brother wretched, uncle unkind, wife ill at Scarborough - fears for her brain. I suggested Oswald spend half his days at the Mill till the end of the year, as a support to Cheetham to make more sympathy between the departments. Webb, Campbell and Oswald agreed to do away with cheviots and confine themselves to certain specified makes - at present with all their patterns they are getting few orders.’

The tricycle diaries


Aleš Hrdlička,

‘Alaska. Arrive at Cordova, a former native and Russian settlement of some importance, now a pretty little town when the sun shines, protected by islands. Will stay here large part of the day and so go to see about Indians, old sites, burials, and specimens. The local forester takes me out along a lake some miles into the rugged volcanic back country, where there are still plenty of bear and mountain goat. After that Dr. Chase drives me to an old Russian and Indian cemetery nearer the town. There are numerous graves here, mostly Indians, but also few whites and even a Chinaman. Russian crosses still common. Hear of skulls and bones on a “mummy” island in Prince William Sound, but no chance now to visit.

See quite a few living natives in the outskirts of the town, but most appear mixed. Two adult men evidently fullbloods - Indian type of the short-headed form.

The ship makes three more stops before Seward, the main one at Valdez. These permit to see some fish canneries. They employ Japanese, Philippine, and Chinese labor, and I find it is quite a task to distinguish these one from the other, and to tell some of them from the coast Indians. The Chinaman can be singled out most often, though not always, the Japanese less so, while the Filipino in many cases cannot be told from the Indian even by an expert. A striking lesson in relationships.’

Hrdlička’s Alaska diary


Iris Origo,

‘The third anniversary of Italy’s entry into the war. No celebrations. A rumour had spread that there were to be air-raids all over Italy, and all day many mothers have kept their children at home. Nothing, however, occurred until six pm, when a few enemy planes flew over the town - and a few more during the night. The air-raid warnings in the hospital (even though nothing happens) are rather uncomfortable, owing to one’s enforced immobility and the jumpiness of some of the patients.’

La Foce is liberated


Viktor Petrovich Savinykh,

‘Today is the first time I have managed to write a few words. Inside the station it is cold, the viewports have frost on them, like windows in wintertime in the country. There is frost on the metal parts, near the hull. We sleep in the living quarters compartment of the ship in sleeping bags, it is not cold there. We work in warm overalls and down hats borrowed from home. Our feet freeze in our flight boots and so do our hands if we don’t have any gloves on. Within the station it is quiet and dark. We work in the light and at night we use lamps. Our health is good. Hope has emerged.’

Holiday on our Earth


Christopher McCandless,

‘Butchering extremely difficult. Fly and mosquito hordes. Remove intestines, liver, kidneys, one lung, steaks. Get hindquarters and leg to stream.’

Beautiful blueberries


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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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