AMERICAN SCENE: Taking a Last, Gaudy Fling

Oil with the dance! Let joy be unconfined:

No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet

To chase the glowing Hours with flying feet.

—Lord Byron

In their swallow-tailed coats and frilly shirts, their long summer gowns and free-flowing hairdos, they look like characters from a bacchanal in Byron's own early 19th century London. They rival one another not only in elegance and extravagance but in sheer stamina, for the evening is likely to begin with dinner at a chic restaurant and end with a stylish breakfast at dawn. The revelers are...

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