Before Bohemia began to get foundation and university financing, monied matrons doled out dots to artists such as D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein and Isadora Duncan. Mr. Rogers presents a colorful clutch of patronesses in a series of light essays memorializing their generosity. It's more than some of the writers who benefited ever did: Lawrence specialized in biting the hands that fed him, while Joyce used and abused a whole batch of Ladies Bountiful. Mr. Rogers makes the point that artists are to be granted their egoism and ingratitude, but goes on to uncover it with zest. The ladies here are an interesting mixture of dedicated old maids and sexual revolutionaries, the first taking an intellectual satisfaction in serving art, the other taking that plus a clear biological interest. The stars of the collection are the libidinous Mabel Dodge Luban; the pioneer of lesbian love, Natalie Clifford Barney; and the tacky, intellectual Lady Ottoline Morrell. Seltzy as gossip.