One more look back at last week's "for $3,500 you can meet Princess Diana" fund-raising ball. In the end, as one of the ballgoers said yesterday, most people were embarrassed that with only some 250 attending anyway, those paying $2,500 each were still not going to get to meet the Princess of Wales. "In fact," added the ballgoer, who had paid the top admission price, "most of the people there thought it was a dumb idea." It wasn't clear whether it was Diana herself or Lady Jennifer Acland, the wife of the British ambassador, who finally overruled the organizing committee and allowed everyone in to shake hands with the visiting royal.

Diana spent 1 1/2 hours meeting with all of the ballgoers. She posed for photographs with the higher-paying guests and then spent about a half-hour dancing. She danced for almost 10 minutes with FBI Director William Sessions, whose wife, Alice, later commented with some amusement that her husband had learned to dance only about a year ago. Then Diana danced almost as long with Washington interior decorator Victor Shargai, who is active with the Washington Ballet, one of the three organizations benefiting from Thursday's white-tie gala at the Departmental Auditorium. Out and About

When President Reagan selected George Bush as his running mate in 1980, he went against his own feelings and those of his closest friend, Sen. Paul Laxalt. Bush, according to Sidney Blumenthal in his new book, "Pledging Allegiance," was the one candidate Laxalt couldn't stand. Reagan had promised Laxalt that he wouldn't select Bush, Blumenthal writes. In fact, Reagan's first choice for sharing the ticket was Laxalt, but they were too similar and that did not make political sense. Reagan pollster Richard Wirthlin tested three names: Gerald Ford, Howard Baker and George Bush, three choices, according to Blumenthal, Reagan didn't like. He selected Bush, however, because Wirthlin said Bush was the strongest. Then, writes Blumenthal, a New Republic senior editor and former Washington Post reporter, "one of Reagan's aides was dispatched with the unpleasant task of informing the volcanic Laxalt that the pledge had been broken" ...

Editor and author Norman Cousins is to be awarded this year's Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism for his work on behalf of innovative approaches to physical and emotional healing. The $10,000 prize is presented annually by the Alexander von Humbolt Foundation. The 75-year-old Cousins, who is the fourth winner of the award, edited the Saturday Review for 35 years and has written 25 books, including "Anatomy of an Illness," an account of his successful battle against cancer. He will receive the prize at John Hopkins University on Oct. 18, and will deliver a lecture, "Resources for Survival." Past recipients of the prize include civil rights leader Marian Wright Edelman, former president Jimmy Carter, the National Parks and Conservation Association, and Sister Isolina Ferre, a Puerto Rican missionary ...

There is an art lover out there who thinks more of a watercolor by Katharine Hepburn than the actress does herself. Hepburn painted a scene of Beverly Hills and the Pacific Ocean sometime in the 1960s while staying at John Barrymore's house and donated it to the North American Wildlife Association for its benefit auction Saturday night. When she gave the association the painting, she said, "I do hope it will bring a price, although I wouldn't give you a nickel for it." It brought a little more than that -- it sold for $5,000 ...