D. H. Lawrence's character - "the boy" in 'Kangaroo' - vividly recalls D. H. in that tumultuous time.
John Wade Publishing
John Wade Publishing
Stanley - the boy - is the brother of young William Henry, the handsome young farmer to whom Lawrence is forcefully attracted during the torturous War Years. Here, the poem 'Snake' had its conception.World War I coincided at a crucial time in D.H. Lawrence's life. His marriage was in trouble, and he was tormented by the long lists of casualties from the front, and the mass patriotism around him. It was the end of the old world for him, and he reacted by going back to the land, and by forming an intense relationship with William Henry Hocking, a handsome Cornish farmer who lived nearby. The famer's brother, Stanley Hocking, vividly describes those difficult months in the author's life when the world intrudes. Enemy submarines sink British ships, some in view of Lawrence's cottage, and people begin to talk. This strange bearded man with his German, red-stockinged wife and his immoral unpatriotic books was surely betraying his country. Now, added to the couple's hatred of the war, come suspicion and surveillance and finally, shockingly, explusion.
I had a bottle of port and the recording machine waiting when Hocking arrived at our cottage. For more than two hours I posed questions and he answered them. In the beginning of the intervieww he was aware of the recorder and his responses where somewhat guarded. But the wine and the informal atmosphere soon relaxed him. Occasionally, he would break away from what he was saying to relate an entirely new piece of evidence. His speech rhythms seemed to erase the years for him, and he was back on Tregerthen farm, and Lawrence lived nearby. At times, when held in a sort of trance by his own words, his reactions were those of a sixteen-year-old farm boy. I shall never forget his fascinating reply when I asked him if Lawrence liked Cornwall. "Of course he did. He could do what he wanted. He could go swimming at Wicca Pool, he could walk to St. Ives, he could take a ride in Tom Berryman's cart."-the enviable position of being an adult, as seen by a boy who must spend all day in the harvest field.