Adm. Walter Innis and his wife, Pauline, celebrated eagles, elephants and swans at a Watergate penthouse dinner this week and one of the guests walked off (legally) with a six-foot Hangkow willow that Pauline rooted from her old willow that lives in the tub on the terrace.

Of course the doorman at Watergate is pretty well used to anything, including Burnham Wood advancing from the elevator.

Back on the roof, the Greek ambassador, Melenas Alexandrakis, admired the garden, which reminded him of his parents who like flowers. Of all the things he has missed, he said, in Paris, London, Washington, the sea is worst.

Once you're used to it, nothing quite makes up for the absence of the blue Ionian, and the dry air of Skyros or Delos with the distillations of thyme and rosemary . . .

The sliding doors let all the air conditioning out but the Innises didn't seem to mind. William Miller, Federal Reserve chairman, was not necessarily alluding to the lost air conditioning when he said American extravagance and waste is shocking. His wife was born in China, where economy is a fine art. Where she grew up, in Mongolia, there were no cars for kids, but they all walked home after a neighborhood dance, singing at the top of their lungs.

Admiral Innis said "senator" and "senile" have the same Latin root, meaning old. Martin Jean Huddleston wondered if senators are therefore supposed to be senile. (Her husband, Sen. Walter D. Huddleston (D-Ky.) was out of earshot). The admiral said of course not, and talked his way out, somehow.

Sen. Clifford P. Hansen (R-Wyo.) got to the dinner at 10 p.m., which is bedtime in this capital, but his wife, Martha Elizabeth, arrived early. No point missing everything just because the Senate is in session.

Paul Perrot spoke of Kathmandu and the need to preserve it against a westernized development that would interfere with all the cultural values of Nepal. I gathered that city does not need a Burger Beauty carry-out in the Buddha Arms luxury high-rise.

It is only we who need these things.

It was not fully clear how the eagles, swans and elephants got together. Pauline Innis worked it all up for the Smithsonian, but was not about to lecture her dinner guests on her own projects. Zues was both an eagle and a swan, and Coolidge was an elephant - the three creatures are an obvious trilogy, when you come to think of it. A while.