Blush, blush. The faces are red at the Other Paper, we hear. It turns out that the OP ran a teensyweensy item in a gossip column about a Washington shoe salesman. Although the biggies at the OP are keeping mum about all this, we hear - and those trendy court records prove - that they have settled out of court with the salesman.

It seems the OP published an item, according to a shoe salesman's suit, saying that a shoe salesman at a "classy department store" had been fired for "making book among the boxes."

A former salesman at Saks, Richard T. Joy of Olney, had just left htat department store, darlings, to open his own place, and he promptly filed suit. He contended that the item in the OP was "false and defamatory," which is legalese for an outright lie. The suit just dragged on and on.

Then a funny thing happened. The OP's gossip column, had one of those sexy little items back in December. You may not have noticed it, if you were wintering in Palm Springs or the Bahamas, but le toui Washington caught on quickly. There, in that snazzy print they use, was an item about lovable Dick Joy. The very inside info was that Joy had not been fired, but had simply left to open his own shoe salon. The correction began "Grovel to the shoe-tips . . ." No more need be said - n'est ce pas?

Then, wonder of wonder, the same edition had a story about the very same Dick Joy's new shoe store. Quel scoop - the skinny on Dick Joy's line of spring shoes.

On Jan. 4, les bureaucrats at the court filed un petit piece of paper saying that the OP and Joy hand reached a secret agreement - no mention of apologies or money.