18 JANUARY 1957, Page 31

The Diarist's Day

A prize of six guineas was offered for the most characteristic diary entry for the First of January, 1957, as it might have been written by any one of the following : Samuel Pepys, Daniel Defoe, Dean Swift, Celia Fiennes, Henry Teonge, Parson Kilvert. Mine d'Arblay. Thomas Creevey. the Goncourts, Dorthy Wordsworth. Sir Walter Scott. Arnold Bennett or W. N. P. Barbellion.

I HAD thought it fairly obvious in setting this competition that I expected the parodies sub- mitted to contain some reference to current events, otherwise it would have lacked point. Most competitors realised this, but I had to dis- qualify one or two very good and poetic Dorothy Wordsworths, and an excellent Barbellion, because these entries might have been written at almost any time. I need not say that Pepys was the favourite choice: Pepys entries numbered nearly three times as many as the next in favour —surprisingly enough, Dorothy Wordsworth. Kilvert came next, and all the others had their champions, except Teonge and the Goncourts. Annie Allen sent a good. topical Dean Swift; Leslie Johnson's Defoe was good imitation, but a rather too obvious and commonplace theme; Desmond Pye-Smith's Kilvert deserves honour- able mention, and I should also like to commend L. L. Clarke (Defoe). A. W. Dicker (Words- worth), J. A. Lindon (Barbellion), N. Hodgson (Pepys), H. A. C. Evans (Barbellion), G. J. Blundell (Pepys), the Rev. C. L. S Linnell (Kilvert) and M. Pye-Smith (Wordsworth). I sug- gest the prize be equally divided among the fol- lowing: I. B. Allan (for a lively and characteristic Swift); Geoffrey W. S. Childs (on the whole, the best of the Pcpyses); Alberick (Kilvert to the life);

and J. R. Greenwood (a Dorothy Wordsworth with only minor faults).


JAN. I. Morning. A merry New-year to both of you, with good cheer and pleasures new, and be careful what you do. I wish that I was there with you. or you were here, sirrahs. Last night I dined with some company and sat up pretty late. They were tipsy, but not I. for I mist water with my wine: drink little at a time, put water with your wine. I walked from the city: the lack of petrol is no hindrance to poor Presto, for he takes all occasions of walking. As for the Ministry, some say its future is in doubt after the late affair in the East. Faith. I almost forgot to ask these naughty young women, have they yet seen anything of the new Spectators? 'Tis not a shaving day, so I shall get out early and scape all my Duns.


I JAN. Lay long after the Caledonian junketings over- night. Then to even mine accompts and find me worth £2.000 more (hap a year ago by my timely taking of the advice of Isaac the Goldsmith to adven- ture with the Trinidad Oil Company: blessed he Almighty God for it. But I know not yet if the Treasurer do allow of my hospitality bill, to what a pass are we come. To the office where in the Board room find my Lord with the Sea Officers where high words over the Suez salvage. So slipped away to the Bunch of Grapes for a posset where a saucy wench did please me mightily with a sprig of white heath et rounds pa avoir sueces.s avec elk but the place thronged with Navy Board clerks, so did risk nothing.


TUESDAY, NEW YEAR'S Day. 1957. A cold foggy morning, and only three parishioners at the early service. At luncheon with the Archdeacon. the talk was all of the Suez affair, and the shortcomings of the Government. I paid little heed. for opposite me sat the sweetest, loveliest girl imaginable. My good resolution about not falling in love was broken at first sight. My dear sweet Annie Laurie. when shall I sec you again! After luncheon we walked across to the Cathedral. There was a magnificent Christmas Tree. glittering with coloured lights, and in a side- chapel a Crib with figures of the Holy Family and the Shepherds. This moved me greatly, and when a sweet fair-haired child came up and whispered, 'On Sunday the three Kings will come too.' I could not refrain from embracing het. She returned my kiss with loving, innocent warmth, and we knelt down and repeated the Lord's Prayer together.



Rydal Mount.

Dark with heavy low clouds all day. John lit a great bonfire for the children; it made a cheerful Bight flaring against the sombre background of grave trees. The children jumping and shouting around it in the winter silence. This lovely silence—what a joy it is; selfishly. I bless the petrol shortage! Wm. still depressed and worried about 'The Aftermath'; he worked on it all yesterday, and latt: into the night. Mary typed the first stanzas for him after breakfast. Wm. still indignant that a fortune in stamps should be made out of such a mistake; he dictated a letter to the Postmaster-General, but did not send it.

Wrote to Coleridge. Walked to Grasmere to discuss the Italian lecture for the W.I. with Winifred: met the Pattinson twins delightfully tucked-up in small duffle coats, their faces glowing and quite lighting up this dark afternoon