The Moss Conundrum

I have been reading ‘In Tearing Haste: Letters Between Deborah Devonshire and Patrick Leigh-Fermor’ (2008), edited by Charlotte Mosley. It is really quite good and gets better as Debo writes more often to Paddy; she is very funny.

On page 22 of my paperback version in a letter from Paddy written on 26 August 1956 he writes:

“I was asked by W.S.M. (William Stanley Moss – his partner in the Kreipe kidnap escapade – see Ill Met by Moonlight) to a meal of reconciliation and amends, where we met as affable strangers. It was really a gasbag’s penance and I, having learnt the hard way, vouchsafed little more than a few safe monosyllables.”

Well what does this mean? It is clear something had caused a breakdown in what was once a good friendship. They had been through a lot together and to feel like this, there must have been something terrible to cause such a rift. Was it the way Moss portrayed the events of the Kreipe kidnap? The fact that Moss married Sophie? Who knows?

If anyone knows please add a comment to this article.

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2 thoughts on “The Moss Conundrum

  1. B Walker

    I feel sure that WSM on page 22 does not refer to William Stanley Moss but to W Somerset Maugham.
    See page 21 and Paddy’s unfortunate encounter with the author.

    Reply
    1. proverbs6to10 Post author

      and re-reading those pages I think you are probably right as well! It all makes sense in context. I had WSM (Moss) on the brain. Conundrum solved. Although I have heard from parties that have been in contact with Paddy that relations between the two may not have been great, but then it was a long time ago.

      Reply

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