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April 18, 2007

TT: Pat Buckley, R.I.P.

Pat Buckley died on Sunday. She is said to have been one of the models for the "social X-rays" portrayed in Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities. I knew her slightly, but not as a New York socialite--I don't move in those circles. Our acquaintance was of a different kind: Pat was the wife of William F. Buckley, Jr., whose National Review-related dinner parties she superintended. We met twenty years ago at one of those gatherings, an experience I wrote about for National Review Online's condolence page, which also contains links to various other tributes posted on NRO:

The first time I sat at Pat Buckley's dinner table, I found her...well, more than a little bit intimidating. I was fresh out of the Midwest and had never met anyone quite like her. She seemed to have stepped out of a Louis Auchincloss novel. No sooner were we introduced than I started wondering whether my socks matched--but then she went out of her way to make me feel at ease, and before I knew it, I'd lost my heart. Was the elaborate hauteur of her public manner a game she played to amuse herself and her loved ones? I've no idea--I didn't know her well enough--but to me she was never anything but charming, caring, and wonderfully kind, and I adored her. I can no more imagine a world without Pat than I can imagine a world without champagne.

Her New York Times obituary is here.

Posted April 18, 2007 12:00 AM

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