23 January 2012

Tremendous Caveman Instincts

When the poet and translator Roy Campbell married Mary Garman without his father's consent, he was cut off from the family purse. In the early 1920s the couple moved to North Wales:
The stable they rented cost 1£ 16s a year. Five pounds a month paid for everything else, though books accounted for half of this budget. That left about 12s 6d a week for all their bodily needs -- in other words, next to nothing. [...] The couple settled down in their mud-floored stable to read Dante, Rabelais, Milton and the Elizabethans -- 'living on the continual intoxication of poetry for two years'. Roy, who had tremendous caveman instincts, went trapping for rabbits and game for the pot, and they collected gulls' eggs from the cliff face. He poached and scavenged, and sometimes the locals would bring them gifts of potatoes or fuel. It was a heady life, and cheap.
From Virginia Nicholson's Among the Bohemians (New York: Harper Collins, 2002), pp. 22-3.