Perhaps 20 years ago (when this candy-cotton gumbo takes place) someone might have found some marginal charm in the pompous, asinine bluster of Philadelphia banker Nicholas Romney, whose longterm wife leaves him (""the irresponsible bitch leaves me!!""), reducing him to looking up old N.Y. flames (""Is every unaccountable damn' woman I want to see up to something else by god?""). Relocating to his Manhattan townhouse, Nicholas does manage to reseduce one of the chic-er matrons, but the big news is that some young gal (who ""might be his own daughter"") fancies him--so there's lots of ""by-god""-ing and italicizing and exclamation-pointing about that. Also about phone-calling son Nickie (""what the devil are you rutting around after some mincing girl for when as I understand it by god haven't you got exams?""). This is one of those airy but airless cocktail-parties-in-print where all women simper, gossip, flirt, and whine. . . and no one goes to work. . . and it's erudite without being intelligent . . . and dated without conjuring up nostalgia.