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TODAY: Births: Sir Francis Carruthers Gould, caricaturist and politician, 1844; Georges-Pierre Seurat, painter, 1859; Maria Anna Cecilia Sofia Callas (Kalogeropoulos), operatic soprano, 1923. Deaths: Margaret of Angouleme, Queen of Henry II of Navarre, 1549; Donatien-Alphonse Francois, Marquis de Sade, writer and philosopher, 1814; John Brown, abolitionist, executed 1859; Philip Arthur Larkin, poet, 1985. On this day: the new St Paul's Cathedral was opened, 1697; Napoleon was crowned Emperor in Paris by Pope Pius VII, 1804; Birkbeck College, London, was founded, 1823; King Camp Gillette patented the first safety razor, 1901; the first atomic pile started operating, in Chicago, 1942. Today is the Feast Day of St Bibiana or Viviana, St Chromatius of Aquilea, St Nonnus and St Silvanus of Constantinople.

TOMORROW: Births: Nicolo Amati, violin-maker, 1596; Samuel Crompton, inventor of the spinning mule, 1753; Sir Rowland Hill, originator of the penny post, 1795; Joseph Conrad (Jsef Teodor Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski), novelist, 1857. Deaths: St Francis Xavier, missionary, 1552; Alessandro Farnese, third Duke of Parma, military commander, 1592; Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson, novelist, 1894; Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science, 1910; Pierre-Auguste Renoir, painter, 1919; Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, Fascist leader, 1980. On this day: the newly built Alhambra Theatre opened in London, 1883; the Home Guard "stood down" with a parade of 7,000 in Hyde Park, London, 1944; Dr Christiaan Barnard performed the first heart transplant, South Africa, 1967. Tomorrow is the First Sunday in Advent and Feast Day of St Cassian of Tangier, Saints Claudius, Hilaria and their Companions, St Francis Xavier and St Lucius of Britain.