The Diarists: This week in history


3 August 1830

Charles Greville Clerk of the Privy Council: "Yesterday to the sale of the late King's wardrobe… There are all the coats he has ever had for 50 years, 300 whips, canes without number, every sort of uniform, the costumes of all the orders in Europe, splendid furs, pelisses, hunting-coats and breeches, and… a dozen pair of corduroy breeches he had made to hunt in… His profusion in these articles was unbounded, because he never paid for them, and his memory was so accurate that one of his pages told me he recollected every article of dress, no matter how old, and that they were always liable to be called on to produce some particular coat of years gone by. It is difficult to say whether in great or little things that man was most odious and contemptible."

4 August 1914

Vera Brittain pacifist-to-be: "Almost too excited to write as I am, I must make some effort to chronicle the stupendous events of this remarkable day… Never before has the war strength of each individual nation been of such great extent, even though all the nations of Europe… have been armed before. It is estimated that when the war begins 14 million… will be engaged in the conflict."

6 August 1962

Noël Coward writer: "Marilyn Monroe committed suicide yesterday. The usual overdose. Poor silly creature. I am convinced that what brought her to that final foolish gesture was a steady diet of intellectual pretentiousness pumped into her over the years by Arthur Miller… She was, to begin with, a fairly normal little sexpot with exploitable curves and a certain natural talent. I am sure that all the idiocies of her last few years, always being late on set etc, were the result of all this constant analysis of every line in every part she had to play, and a desperate longing to be 'intellectual' without the brain to achieve it."