Memoirs are often more interesting than accounts written by historians. I've been reading Bryher's "Days of Mars," a memoir of her years in London during the Blitz, when she shared a flat at 49 Lowndes Square with the American poet, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). (The rent was two hundred and fifty pounds a year.) The chapter, "1944," begins with a story:
"Norman Pearson returned towards the end of January, after an absence in Spain and Portugal, bearing two bananas, two oranges and a pineapple. The bananas and oranges were simple, Hilda and I had one each. Apart from a few green apples and some berries in Cornwall, it was the first fruit that we had tasted for two years. It seemed so unreal that we hardly liked to touch it. The pineapple was different. Even Hilda, the recluse, agreed that we could not eat it alone and that, wartime or not, it called for a party."
"By the time that I had telephoned, written notes or gone round in person with the invitations, we managed to collect about twenty people and how we all got into our little sitting room at Lowndes remains a mystery. First we looked respectfully at the pineapple, then with infinite solemnity it was sliced into tiny mouthfuls."
Bryher writes; "It was the Puritan element, a matter of conscience and principle, that had now kept Hilda in London. 'It was here that people first read my poetry,' she said. 'I am staying with them.'"
Here is a poem by HD: