Excerpt from Book:
Her name was Theodora, which means, of course, “the gift of God,” as her sad-eyed Uncle Chandler was in the habit of reminding her. In full, it was Theodora Lydia Lorillard Hayden. But she was usually called Teddie.
She was the kind of girl you couldn’t quite keep from calling Teddie, if you chanced to know her. And even though her frustrated male parent had counted on her being a boy, and even though there were times when Teddie herself wished that she had been a boy, and even though her own Aunt Tryphena—who still reverentially referred to Ward McAllister and still sedulously locked up the manor gates at Piping Rock when that modern atrocity yclept the Horse Show was on—solemnly averred that no nice girl ever had a boy’s name attached to her without just cause, Teddie, you must remember, was not masculine. God bless her adorable little body, she was anything but that! She was merely a poor little rich girl who’d longed all her life for freedom and had only succeeded in bruising, if not exactly her wings, at least the anterior of a very slender tibia, on the bars of a very big and impressive cage.
What she really suffered from, even as a child, was the etiolating restraints of the over-millioned. She panted for an elbow-room which apparently could never be hers. And as she fought for breathing-space between the musty tapestries of deportment she was called intractable and incorrigible, when the only thing that was wrong with her was the subliminal call of the wild in her cloistered little bosom, the call that should have been respected by turning her loose in a summer-camp or giving her a few weeks in the Adirondacks, where she might have straightened out the tangled-up Robinson Crusoe complexes that made her a menace and a trial to constituted authority.
But constituted authority didn’t understand Teddie. It even went so far, in time, as to wash its hands of her. For those passionate but abortive attempts at liberation had begun very early in Teddie’s career.
At the tender age of seven, after incarceration for sprinkling the West Drive with roofing-nails on the occasion of a fête champêtre from which she had been excluded on the ground of youth, she had amputated her hair and purchased appropriate attire from her maturer neighbor and playmate, Gerald Rhindelander West, intent on running away to the Far West and becoming a cowboy.