From Ibbotson (Madensky Square, 1988, etc.), a collection of lacy, romantic short-short stories--mainly frivolous and as contrived as a decorative petit four, most with a weightless charm that echoes similar light pieces in the popular magazines of the 20's and 30's. Plenty of pictorial atmosphere, sunny hyperbole, and boy-meets-girl. The title tale sets the tone, with a Vienna of chestnut trees, Strauss, and Sacher's--plus Uncle Max's ""Great Love,"" a years-long secret affair that begins with a purchase of gloves. Old Vienna and old Russia reappear in stories of bittersweet loves and heroic partings. Adultery is a dreadful burden: ""making love"" is just that, and he and she had ""given birth to this devastating product"" as solidly and surely as ""manufacturing steel."" There are cheerful yarns spun about true love finding a way--across steppes, in an aquarium, and in the Amazon. Among the 19 stories are two grandly funny ones: an ex-opera singer holds periodic deathbed performances, an orgy of forgiving all, except the husband she's not spoken to for 29 years; and an English governess amends the diaries of some tiresomely confessional Russian aristocrats. Slight, scented, and deliciously dated in style--for those with a sweet tooth.