"by God, D. H. Lawrence was right when he had said there must be a dumb, dark, dull, bitter belly-tension between a man and a woman"
'God! those rhododendron buds had a phallic, urgent look!'
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike'God! those rhododendron buds had a phallic, urgent look!' - Credit: El Grafo, Wikimedia Commons

Stella Gibbons parodies the ideas of D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930), particularly his views on sex, through the character of Mr. Mybug. She has certainly captured something of Lawrence's way of thinking and style of expression in the line quoted, and we see other instances elsewhere in the narrative. For example, when Mr. Mybug is out walking with Flora, he imagines them stepping on seeds 'germinating in the womb of the earth' which makes him feel 'as if he were trampling on the body of a great brown woman' and participating in 'some mighty rite of gestation'.

Compare that to the following example of Laurentian writing from The Rainbow (1915):

And she lay face downwards on the downs, that were so strong, that cared only for their intercourse with the everlasting skies, and she wished she could become a strong mound smooth under the sky, bosom and limbs bared to all winds and clouds and bursts of sunshine.

Another example of Lawrence's sexualised imagery may be seen in his poem "Figs". This poem is very effectively translated into dialogue in a scene from the 1969 film adaptation of Lawrence's novel Women in Love.

Click here to view the scene.