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 elsewhere over commingled ladies and gentlemen of the presidential transition. Gala, it was.

The problem with a party Maureen Reagan had at Trader Vic's for the Republican senators last night was that she left before 6 p.m. and the senators, due to a late session on the floor, arrived a good while afterward. But nobody seemed particularly upset. In fact, after several Mai Tais, everybody generally took the attitude that, well, these things happen.

From Alabama came Sen. Jeremiah Denton, and from the state of Washington, Sen. Slade Gordon. And that was it. About a dozen other people hovered near the hors d'oeuvres table, snacking on deep-fried shrimp. A good number of them were hungry reporters.

"You're the only senator here," somebody said to Denton.

"Sorry about that," he replied.

Then Gorton arrived.

"I suppose the mark of a beginner," he said, "is not knowing what invitations to accept, and what to reject." Then he too went to the hors d'oeuvres table. His wife accompanied him, eyeing the ribs.

"Now remember," he told her before diving in, "we still have four more parties to go to."