In 1922, Wyndham Lewis, the novelist and painter, recalls the wedding of the poet Roy Campbell: “It was in the Old ‘Harlequin’ night-cafe in Beak Street. He married the very beautiful Miss Garman. The marriage-feast was a distinguished gathering, if you are prepared to admit distinction to the Bohemian, for it was almost gipsy in its freedom from the conventional restraints. It occurred in a room upstairs. In the middle of it Campbell and his bride retired. The guests then became quarrelsome. Jacob Kramer and Augustus John were neighbours at table and I noticed that they were bickering. Kramer was a gigantic Polish Jew and he was showing John his left bicep. ‘I’m just as strong as you are John!’ he kept vociferating. John shrugged his shoulders and looked down… at his spoons.
“At this moment Roy Campbell entered in his pyjamas. There was a horrid hush. Someone had slipped out to acquaint Campbell with the fact of this threat to the peace.
“‘What’s this, Kramer?’ barked Roy. He pointed his hand at his guest and began wagging it about as if he might box his ears or chop him on the neck with it.
‘Nothing, Roy! I’m not doing anything!’
‘Could I throw you out of that window?’
‘I know you could, Roy.’
“‘Well then let my guest alone, Jacob. You let my guest alone. Don’t let me hear you’ve interfered with John again. Mind I’m only just upstairs, Jacob. I’ll come down to you!’”
In October 1950, Barbara Skelton marries the critic Cyril Connolly: “After a year’s talk of marriage, we have decided that this is to be the day. Cyril very slow in getting up, has even talked of putting it off on the pretext of having time to find another witness. Later, tells me I am nagging him into it. We have to pick up PC Boot, who is to be the main witness, and as soon as we leave the house we immediately start quarrelling. We arrive late at the Registry. Announce ourselves, then Cyril suddenly disappears. ‘Is he a nervous type?’ Boot asks. Cyril reappears looking harassed, laden with glasses, a bottle of champagne and a second witness he has picked up on the street…
“Cyril is asked to repeat the necessary words with great…