The Diarists: This week in history


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The Independent Culture

27 July 1892

Beatrix Potter author: "Got The Scotsman and also copy of the preceding day's issue with caustic comments on Carnegie's strike. Scotch papers are refreshingly acrimonious and spiteful… They make The Times leaders appear ponderous in comparison. Exceedingly well written and doubtless well informed, or they could not be so versatile in argument, but they concern themselves more with the cut and thrust argument of party politics than with fundamental principles and the evolution of politics."

29 July 1841

Barclay Fox a member of the influential Quaker Fox family, visits the distinguished Oxford naturalist Professor Buckland:

"Buckland learnedly suggested something about snails which he discovered at the bottom of some extensive limestone borings near Boulogne. This led to a learned discussion on snails, as to how they bored & where they bored, & why they bored & whether they really bored or no. Thought I, if they don't, I know who does."

2 August 1916

Siegfried Sassoon poet, invalided home from the Western Front: "Lying in a hospital train on his way to London he looks out at the hot August landscape of Hampshire… the advertisements of Lung Tonic and Liver Pills, the cows near villas and sluggish waterways, all these came on him in an irresistible delight, at the pale gold of the wheat-field and the faded green of the hazy muffled woods on the low hills. People wave to the Red Cross train – grateful stay-at-homes – even a middle-aged man, cycling along a dusty road in straw hat and blue serge clothes, takes one hand off the handlebars to wave feeble and jocular gratitude. And the soul of the officer glows with fiery passion as he thinks, 'All this I've been fighting for… now I'm home again I begin to think it was worth while.' And he wondered how he could avoid being sent out again."