An envisioning . . . August of 1926 . . a trunk full of Fortuny and a steamship bound for Europe. . .

Oh to go back and be here.

1925. Maiden voyage of the newest liner on the New York to Southampton run.

First class vestibule in those magic hours after shuffleboard on the back deck and a few chapters read over tea on a deck chair starboard by the ladies’ lounge after luncheon. Cocktails and then dinner but first a meandering through to see and be seen.

Gay chatter with the couples in the corner and then again with another group under the skylight with its pearly light above. Waves up to a friend on the first balcony up and then another on the second.

A European prince and a rush to his side. Very rich and out to find an American girl. New York, no doubt. They swarm there in season.

But perhaps here or at any rate, fun to try. Better a Princess of anything no matter how small than a plain Mrs.

But a chance. France and that boring young man Uncle William found. Three chateaux and who knows what else.

But not like anyone here. No. Gentlemen all in white tie from the best tailors anyone can find. The French not so much.

Their wine such a bore. No hip flasks filled with gin to take to the races either.

Uncle having tried to make Cousin Eustacia marry another one last year. No beaver coat, she had said. Funny. Every Princeton boy with one but none over there. Almost no one fit to Charleston with and not one with a bootlegger romantic or otherwise in the bunch.

Maybe yes or maybe no. Mother’s mind up and all those tiaras they say, a different one every New Year’s Eve for the rest of one’s life.

But a new green Vionnet cocktail frock and a pair of the highest heels in all of New York. Free till Paris and a flirtation for now at least.

First class vestibule on the SS Ile de France.  1926 Artist's impression.
First class vestibule on the SS Ile de France. 1926 Artist’s impression. Source: via

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