Sara Mayfield was part of H. L. Mencken's ""constant circle"" of friends--in fact he became her surrogate father while he married another Sara who was her friend and instructor at Goucher. There has been very little in book form about the gregarious, obstreperous Sage, except for his American Mercury assistant Charles Angoff's 1956 portrait, a Judas sneer. This one, omitting all the tasteless incidentals of Angoff's, is all affection and admiration, perhaps occasionally lapsing into Southern Belle Lettrism (""Zelda Fitzgerald""--""beautiful, vivacious, fascinating--made for love""). But in any ease you will meet Mencken and his many, many friends, from Baltimore to Greenwich Village to Hollywood, from the soirees of the Jazz Age which were sprawling brawls to the soberer, sobering later years. And of course Sara Haardt, a gentle, independent intellectual whom he met in 1923, married in 1930 (""If I ever marry it will be on a sudden impulse, as a man shoots himself""--it was not) and who died in 1935 of tubercular meningitis. . . . While a feminine memoir to be sure, it is very alive--it could hardly be otherwise--in between Mencken, that ""phenomenon somewhere between electricity and influenza"" and the prodigal talent of the period.