Maryland: The Spinsters' Ball

Holly trees arch gracefully over the neat white fences that line the dirt road leading to the brick mansion at West Hatton, the 630-acre Zantzinger farm-estate in southern Maryland. The mansion's colonnaded porch faces the somnolent Wicomico River, which flows past a placid pond and a white summerhouse. Also on the estate is an austere farmhouse from which William Devereux Zantzinger, 24, runs one of the most prosperous tobacco operations in Charles County.

The setting befits William Zantzinger's status as a rural aristocrat. His father, a former member of the Maryland house of delegates and...

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