The Capital: Keep Smiling

To some scoffers, the nation's capital is the city of the hard nose, the tough work and the political thumb in the eye. But last week it became, for a few exalted hours, something much different. This was the occasion of the unveiling of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, lent by France to the U.S. for a few precious weeks.* It required something special—and that was what it got.

The evening began in the candlelit dining room at the French embassy. There, Ambassador and Madame Hervé Alphand were hosts at a dinner and a...

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