In her second collection of engrossing short stories (her first, In the Absence of Angel), this thoughtful author explores the contemporary American's attempts to reconcile himself with his patterned, too often self-defeating civilization and answers with a hopeful reflection: "Every man has some little tale he tells himself in the dark...so as to be able to look at himself in the mirror the next morning." The mirrors here are clear, the tales lucid, and the author's insight and wit as variegated as the thirteen tableaux she presents. From the invasion of an Indian mystic into rusticated Hudson River Valley exurbia (Tale for the Mirror), or the genteel--and genuine-refinement of anachronistic Southern worldliness (Time, Gentlemen!, May-ry), to more bourgeois big-city vignettes (The Coreopsis Kid, The Sea- coast of Bohemia), the narrator escapes implicit sentimentality behind a thin screen of elegant irony and detached directness of description. When Mrs. Fay Dines on Zebra in her capacity as happiness-provider to wealthy patrons, or when Miss Ginevra Leake of the "Southron" Communist Party is accorded a "posthumous rehabilitation" by a non-Party friend, we glimpse an amusingly roguish image in the mirror. Although some stories (So Many Rings to the Show) may tend to ladies' magazine fiction, the majority achieve the finest fascination a traditional short story can offer--in a time when that form is a disappearing art.