It was a warm October evening in 1976 with the distant skyscrapers sparkling in the dusk as Zoey glanced through the limousine window at the familiar New York skyline. She had chosen this route for the view. Now, in the discreet, hushed comfort of the Lincoln Continental, they stood stuck in traffic on the Triboro Bridge. Never mind, she told herself, there was plenty of time before the meeting. And the view was worth it---like diamonds sprinkled across the sky.
Her neatly folded silk coat lay beside the maroon Crocodile Jewel case she had chosen to take with her while leaving the house this morning, the case secured shut to ensure the safety of the items inside. The nine maroon leather suitcases---all stamped in gold with tiny coronet and the enitials Z ri M---were stacked beside the chauffeur or stowed in the trunk. Zoey traveled with very little fuss and enormous expense, usually someone else's. She took absolutely no notice of luggage allowances; she would say, with a simple shrug of the shoulders, that she liked comfort; so one suitcase contained her pink silk sheets, her special down-filled pillow, and the baby's shawl, delicate as a cream lace cobweb, that she used instead of a bed 'jacket'.
Although most of the suitcases clothes (beautifully packed between crisp sheets of tissue paper), one case was fitted as a small maroon-leather office, another one carrying a large medicine box packed with pills, creams, douches, ampoules, and disposable syringes for her vitamin injections and the various suppositories (that are considered normal treatment in France but frowned upon by Anglo-Saxons. Zoey had once tried to buy syringes in Detroit---mon Dieu, could they not tell the difference between a drug addict and a French countess? One had to look after one's body, it was the only one you were going to get and you had to be careful what you put on, and in, for that matter, it. Zoey saw no reason to force terrible food on her stomach just because the majority of the people around her insisted on doing so.