MARTHA: LIFE AFTER ERNEST

After Martha and Ernest separated, Martha continued with her successful journalism career, although her relationship with Ernest remained embittered for the rest of their lives. A narrowing of the eyes was delivered to anyone who dared to utter his name in interviews. “A man must be a very great genius,” she said, “to make up for being such a loathsome human being.” (However, in an interview with the Paris Review Martha did say more warmly that he “was no more boring than we all are the rest of the time.”) She wrote only once about Hemingway in Travels With Myself and Another, referring to him only as “UC” – Unwilling Companion.

In 1949 Martha adopted a son from an Italian orphanage. Later, she met TS Matthews, editor-in-chief at Time magazine, in 1953: Caroline Moorehead writes that “Martha was not in love, nor did she pretend to be” and liked Tom Matthews for the fact that he was much kinder than Hemingway, and did not “bugger up” her work. Their marriage lasted nine years. Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, Martha wrote and published much fiction, though it never garnered as much acclaim as her journalism.

A wanderer all of her life, Martha lived in London, Washington DC, Mexico, Africa, and Wales. Martha went on to cover the wars in Vietnam, Israel and Central America, and, at the age of eighty-five, she went to Brazil to investigate the deaths of street-children. After a long struggle with cancer, and nearly totally blind, Martha decided to commit suicide in February 1998. She was 89. Her ashes, as requested, were committed to the Thames for her “last travels”.

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