Bright Young Things, Part I

They did not intend to distinguish between the essence Of wit and wallpaper trellis. What they cared Was how the appointments of the age appeared Under the citron gaslight incandescence.

Virtue was vulgar, sin a floral passion And death a hansom at the door, while they Kept faith with a pomaded sense of history In their fashion.

Behind the domino, those fringed and fanned Exclusive girls, prinked with the peacock’s eye Noted, they believed, the trickle of a century Like a thin umbrella in a black-gloved hand.

Yellow Book, Muriel Spark, c. 1951 (photograph, One More, by Mariczka, Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine)