RM: When you came to Paris, how much were you living on, exactly?
PL: I lived on 50 francs a month.
RM: That was very little.
PL: I never noticed, I do not know what poverty is. I do know know what it is! The word poverty itself has never come to my mind for me to use it.
RM: You do not...
PL: Poverty, I do not think about it, I have never suffered from it. I have never suffered from it!
RM: But still, one must have a minimum on which to live.
PL: For eight years I lived on a sort of cheese they call Bondon, I don't know if you are familiar with it.
RM: Yes, it's the cheese from Neufchâtel-en-Bray.
PL: This cheese cost four sous. Well, for eight years, I lunched and dined on four-sous cheese, a piece of bread, a glass of water, a little coffee, and I never suffered from it!
13 January 2015
Paul Léautaud, first conversation with Robert Mallet, Entretiens avec Rober Mallet (Paris: Mercure de France, 1951), pp. 27-28 (my translation):