The Diarists: This week in history


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30 June 1827

FE Witts, author of 'Diary of a Cotswold Parson': "We took a drive to call on Lady Elcho at Stanway, who had been arrived from London some days, but unfortunately her Ladyship had gone to Cheltenham… so it is that the fashionable people desert their country seats, their rich parks and lovely gardens in the finest season and live there only in the gloomiest months of the year; for when the London season is over, fashion dictates a second edition on an inferior scale at some sea-bathing or watering place or some rambling tour in search of ever-eluding pleasure."

30 June 1955

Evelyn Waugh, novelist: "The television people came today… An excruciating day. They filmed everything, including the poultry. The impresario kept producing notes from his pocket. 'Mr Waugh, it is said that you are irascible and reactionary. Will you please say something offensive?' So I said: 'The man who has brought this apparatus to my house asks me to be offensive. I am sorry to disappoint him.' 'Oh Mr Waugh, please, that will never do. I have a reputation. You must alter that.' I said later, not into the machine, 'You expect rather a lot for $100.' 'Oh, I don't think there is any question of payment.'"

5 July 1943

Joan Wyndham, memoirist: "Leaving the Café Royal we linked arms and charged up the narrow staircase leading to the Arts Theatre Club. We were instantly spotted by reception and it was a right turn, down the stairs and out into St Martin's Lane… It seems it is not, 'Ah, here comes Dylan Thomas, that promising young poet!' but, 'Watch out, here comes that crashing old bore Dylan.' We hailed a taxi. As soon as I'd sunk into my seat, Dylan smothered me in wet beery kisses, his blubbery tongue forcing my lips apart. It was rather like being embraced by an intoxicated octopus." 1