Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Handing it to the Diarists


July 26 – it’s a day in the middle of the hot summer, when people may be twiddling their fingers more than other
days.  James Boswell found an entry Samuel Johnson had made in his diary, regarding his finger nails:
 ‘In one of his manuscript Diaries, there is the following entry, which marks his curious minute attention:
 'July 26, 1768.  I shaved my nail by accident in whetting the knife, about an eighth of an inch
 from the bottom, and about a fourth from the top.  This I measure that I may know the growth
 of nails; the whole is about five eighths of an inch.'

We find Sir Walter Scott referred to nails on July 26 as well:

July 26 [1827].—Wrote till one o'clock, and finished the first volume of Tales—about six leaves. To-morrow I resume the Chronicles, tooth and nail.

Two rather mundane entries, but they say a lot about the two authors in a few words.

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