Shrugging off the exhaustion of a 100-party weekend, Inaugural Washington pulled its furs back on yesterday and dashed once more into tight-scheduled celebration. Intimate it was not, as 8,000 Distinguished Ladies were feted at the Kennedy Center, Vice President-elect Bush and his family made 15,000 new acquaintances at a museum on the Mall and the scent of 1,000 bratwurst floated elewhere over commingled ladies and gentlemen of the presidential transition. Gala, it was.
"Hi," lilted Nancy Thurmond (political wife, R-S.C.). "You look so pretty! We're so glad you could come!"
"Hi," drawled Barbara Pryor (political wife, (D-ark.). "It's so nice to see you! We're so glad you could come!"
The Senate wives, national soroity numero uno (not counting Nancy Reagan's chums), surged -- over 60 strong -- into the Motion Picture Association yesterday for a screening of "The Mirror Crack'd," starring Elizabeth Taylor Warner (political wife and actress, R-Va.). The new Cabinet wives were there, too.
"Liz is wonderful," said Thurmond. "And so humble."
"And so generous with her time," said Pryor.
She was also late.
"Liz is on her way," said John Warner, who arrived first. "She's on time. Her time."
The minutes passed. Outside, a crowd gathered on the sidewalk. One white limo went by. The crowd got up on tiptoe for a glimpse. No, wrong white limo. A black limo passed. Could it be? A leg emerged from the car. But, alas, it was a mere mortal, and not even a brunette. The blond smiled appealingly, but the crowd was cool.
At last. While a blink of her violet eyes, Elizabeth Taylor Warner parted the crowd, and swept into the reception. She plucked a champagn glass from a tray and performed a private, but well-observed, toast with her husband. fShe wore a scarlet suit and purple scarf, and looked very, very glamorous, which made everyone else look like what was, until just recently, very, very Washington.
"Oh, Mrs. Warner, I'm just your biggest fan in South Carolina," said Cathryn Hook, a friend of Nancy Thurmond's.
"Mmmmm," smiled the star.
After the film:
"I loved it!" -- Nancy Thurmond;
"Adorable!" -- Helen Jackson;
"A double whammy!" -- Patricia Humphrey.
Rex Reed, move over.