Marietta Peabody Tree, from the cover of No Regrets.
My mother has been on somewhat of a socialite kick lately. For a while, when I talked to her, she was reading No Regrets: The Life of Marietta Tree. “Someone who ought to have had a lot of regrets,” was her acid review. From there, she moved on to a biography of the famous Cushing sisters.
“They were great beauties,” I observed.
“They weren’t really that beautiful,” she declared.
“Okay,” I said.
Her feelings about her subjects seemed to change from day to day. “Silly women,” she said one day. But soon thereafter, she was philosophical. “You know, these women may seem superficial with their obsessions with clothes and grooming, but at the end of the day, they do a lot of material good. More than those of us who sit by with pursed lips, judging.”
Sadie Stein is contributing editor of The Paris Review, and the Daily’s correspondent.
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