Captain Moonlight: Martha Gellhorn: small claim

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The Independent Online
MARTHA Gellhorn, redoubtable in the way that only a woman war correspondent and a wife of Ernest Hemingway can be, celebrated her 85th birthday with a grand party at the Groucho Club in Soho on Monday.

During the speechifying, there was mention of a guest who had mysteriously been 'disinvited' by Ms Gellhorn, and an oblique reference to the contesting of a small claim in court at Chepstow, near Ms Gellhorn's home. Step forward Bill Buford, American editor of Granta, purveyor of fancy journalism to the discerning, and commissioner of Ms Gellhorn. Buford's crime was not to have replied to his invitation until a week before the event. Ms Gellhorn is a stickler for punctuality, which brings us to Chepstow, whither she repaired when a cheque from Buford for a piece she had written for him failed to materialise in what she considered good time.

Another claim concerning rights was included in the action; Buford settled up before it came to court. This is said to be all part of a 'baiting' relationship enjoyed by the pair. Buford is still perplexed about the party disinvitation. The Captain, for his part, is glad to see someone taking a stand against the social laxities all too prevalent among the modern literary classes.

(Photograph omitted)