A Look Back at the Months to Come

Compiled by John Phipps

February 21

A very wet morning. Snowdrops quite out, but cold and winterly; yet, for all this, a thrush that lives in our orchard has shouted and sung its merriest all day long.

Dorothy Wordsworth


February 25

Lay long in bed, talking with pleasure with my poor wife how she used to make coal fires and wash my foul clothes with her own hand for me, poor wretch, in our little room at my Lord Sandwiches; for which I ought ever to love and admire her, and do, and persuade myself she would do the same thing again if God should reduce us to it ... So at the office late very busy, and much business with great joy despatched; and so home to supper and to bed.

Samuel Pepys


February 29

I saw some blessed purple walls against sunshine among the farms, and seemed to find my life again on the green banks.

John Ruskin


March 1

It was a sweet morning, and the bushes were full of nightingales.

John Evelyn


March 7

My 35th birthday. Actually I have lied so much about my age that I forget how old I really am. I think I look 28, and know I feel 19.

‘Chips’ Channon


March 11

The frogs have begun to croak and spawn in the ponds and dykes.

John Clare


March 12

Clive [Bell] gave me dinner at the Café Royal, which did not much interest me as a show, rather to his disappointment. However towards the end of dinner a woman of doubtful character dining alone with a man threw her glass on the floor, made a rattle of knives and plates, upset the mustard pot and marched out like an indignant Turkey cock. Was this moment, with the eyes of the diners upon her, what repaid her? Was it for this that she protested? Anyhow, she left her man very crestfallen, trying to appear nonchalant; and I daresay that was what she wanted. I couldn't help thinking of the dreary scene in the flat next morning – the tears, the recriminations, the reconciliation – and next Sunday they'll dine, I suppose, at another restaurant.

Virginia Woolf


March 20

Miserable news from Paris. Another revolution, barricades, the troops of the line fraternizing with the insurgent National Guards, two Generals shot, two more in the hands and tender mercies of the beastly cowardly Paris mob. Those Parisians are the scum of the earth, and Paris is the crater of the volcano, France, and a bottomless pit of revolution and anarchy.

Rev. Francis Kilvert


March 26

[In a letter to John Hobhouse]

I have sent Fletcher to Cambridge for various purposes, & he bears this dispatch for you.––I am still living with my Dalilah, who has only two faults, unpardonable in a woman,––she can read and write.––Greet in my name the Bilious Birdmore, if you journey this way, I shall be glad to furnish you with Bread and Salt.––The university still chew the Cud of my degree, please God they shall swallow it, though Inflammation be the Consequence.––

I am leading a quiet through debauched life.

Lord Byron


March 30

It is snowing now, large loose watery flakes; they fall straight; there is no wind. Muddy water is in the evening sky, and we began summer time last Sunday, so the evening sky is prolonged.

Virginia Woolf


April 5

I conscientiously read all the newspapers. Everything is so frightening – the war and the famine; there’s menace in the air.

Sophia Tolstoy


April 8

The ashtree growing in the corner of the garden was felled. It was lopped first: I heard the sound and looking out and seeing it maimed there came at that moment a great pang and I wished to die and not to see the inscapes of the world destroyed any more.

Gerard Manley Hopkins


April 11

This night were glorious fireworks at the Palace of Cardinal Medici before the gate, and lights of several colours all about the windows through the city, which they contrive by setting the candles in little paper lanterns dyed with various colours, placing hundreds of them from story to story; which renders a gallant show.

John Evelyn


April 17

Magnetic weather, sunlight soft and bright, colours of fells and fields far off seeming as if dipped in watery blue.

Gerard Manley Hopkins


April 20

[In a letter to her husband, John Paston I]

I pray you that ye will do your cost on me against Whitsuntide, that I may have something for me neck. When the Queen was here I borrowed my cousin Elisabeth Clere's device, for I durst not for shame go with my beads among so many fresh gentlewomen as here were at that time.

Margaret Paston


April 21

A bitter windy rainy day. There is no blue, no red, no green in this detestable spring. Furs are in the shops. Life is either too empty or too full.

Virginia Woolf


April 23

Charles II's Coronation

I sat from past 4 till 11 before the King came in ... The crowne being put upon his head, a great shout begun. And he came forth to the throne and there passed more ceremonies ... But so great a noise, that I could make but little of the Musique; and endeed [sic], it was lost to everybody. But I had so great a list to pisse, that I went out a little while before the King had done all his ceremonies and went round the abby [sic] to Westminster hall, all the way within the rayles, and 10000 people, with the ground covered with blue cloth – and Scaffolds all the way. Into the hall I got – where it was very fine with hangings and scaffolds, one upon another, full of brave ladies. And my wife in one little one on the right hand.

Samuel Pepys


April 26