Tag Archives: Wickham Steed. Mary Cady

The Dirty Habit

Max would have to  choose for Mary – Ed or Ted? She couldn’t have them both but how could she give one up since she loved them both in equal measure. Easy – send Ed to France and leave Ted the happy chore of singing and executing the song “Come Josephine in My Flying Machine.” Ted takes Mary in his Curtiss triplane on a sight-seeing trip over London and 100 miles down the Thames to a 300-year-old Inn called the Dirty Habit (grease spots on a Monk’s habit). Mary succumbs; it will be Ted.

Max did not invent The Dirty Habit; he and Liddy lunched there in 2001 as part of their Great Cities of Europe cruise. Who knew it would turn up in a novel?

As Ted and Mary frolic in Kent, Ed and Steed are mucking through the mud in Flanders Fields – the Ypres salient, the most dangerous place in the 1917 world; Ed has convinced Steed that there is a story to be told of Mary’s brothers, Tommy and Ian, manning an observation post in no-man’s land.

The first half of THE WAR GUILT CLAUSE winds to a calamitous end as Ted flies with the Lafayette Escadrille, and Ed loses an eye in the final 30,000 man infantry charge at Pilckem  Ridge in southern Belgium.

A journalist can function nicely with only one eye as Ed Frederick demonstrates in the second half of THE WAR GUILT CLAUSE.