Around 2:30 a.m., Mr. Rushdie and Ms. Wilde were mingling together again, this time in a dark, lavish conservatory deep in the grounds of the Costa Rican embassy. A young lady named Christina pushed herself forward and asked for a picture with Mr. Rushdie; several more followed. Ms. Wilde half-watched the bevy of female interlopers, displeasure creeping across her pretty face.
Ms. Amanpour had already parachuted off to “the Hitch,” the apartment of Christopher Hitchens, just up the street. “Just five minutes, 10 minutes, darling,” she said to her friend, on the way in.
Mr. Hitchens has more than one room devoid of furniture, 28 volumes by Gore Vidal and “the smoothest elevator,” according to B. J. Novak of The Office. Mr. Hitchens has also quit smoking, shaved his beard and begun to remodel his figure.
“Nobody wants to be Jayne Mansfield,” said Roxanne Roberts, Washington Post gossip columnist, on why the women in D.C. do not bare their chests. “The only trouble here tonight will be a spirited conversation about pullout in Iraq,” she said.
There wasn’t any trouble at all.