Some of the alumni of Charterhouse School (established 1611), Godalming, Surrey, include Crashaw, Lovelace, Addison, Steele, Thackeray, Vaughan Williams, and Max Beerbohm. Graves found life at Charterhouse intolerable. Predatory bullying existed. His German sounding middle name ‘von Ranke’ did not help.
Immersion in poetry, which by fifteen was his ruling passion, did. Another effective coping mechanism was that he feigned madness, taking his cue from Chapter 21, verses 12 and 13 in Samuel I. As he wrote:
‘Soon nobody troubled about me except to avoid any contact with me.’