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> 9. Lunacy Baby Andrew was three weeks old when he had his first outing; he slept through most of it. Camille dressed him in cotton leggings and swaddled him against the autumn chill in his plaid flannel hooded bunting. She felt his soft breath on her neck as Brooks carefully lined the trunk of his Cadillac with blankets before loading the carriage. “Did you get the umbrella?” she asked. “It’s in the backseat with the picnic basket,” he assured her. “Do you think he’s warm enough?” Brooks opened the passenger door and carefully took the sleeping baby from her arms as she climbed in. “He looks perfectly snug to me.” He smiled and handed him back to his mother.He cranked the car until it sputtered itself into a consistent growl. Opening and closing the door around himself in one deft movement, he landed in the driver’s seat with a bounce. He took his driving cap and gloves from the dash box,checked himself in the rearview mirror,arranged the cap over his arched left brow, pulled the gloves on, and ran his hands around the steering wheel with a dexterous flourish. He expertly released the hand brake and slowly eased his new, sleek black machine backward over the pebbles of the driveway. “I thoughtWooldridge Park was the other direction,” she said, looking up from the sleeping child as Brooks wrestled 53 the steering wheel to the left and aimed the rubber wheels north down the back alley.“Where are we going?” “The lunatic asylum,” he said. “I didn’t ask you where you thought we belonged,” she jested.“I asked you where we are going to picnic.” “Then I answered both questions,” he chided, taking his view from the road just long enough to cast her a wry glance. “Believe it or not, according to my colleagues, the new place to be seen on a Sunday is on the western grounds of the lunatic asylum. I thought it would be fun to rumble over and see what the fuss is about.” “Curious,” she mused. “I’ve not read anything about it in the Statesman, though now that I think about it, Eveline mentioned she had gone to the asylum once or twice. I assumed she went to visit a patient.” “Thomas oversees internships and consults with the caretakers from time to time. He must have taken her to enjoy the scenery and society at some point.” “We should have given them a ring.” “In case you hadn’t noticed,” he waved a black leather hand, “we have no more room.” He honked the horn and slowed to allow a family of three to pass on their mules.“Stay on the side! Damned outsiders,” he mumbled as he resumed his original speed. “Besides, I thought it time we had a real Abernathy family outing.” Camille turned to watch the brown face of the mother reel toward Brooks with pain and vexation.The boy’s black hair tossed every direction as he struggled to stay his burro, and the father waved a fist toward the back of the car. The short spire of Old Main passed on the right.“In the months we’ve been here I’ve never been north of the campus,” she remarked. “You’ve been busy.” He slowed to turn right on Guadalupe and made a quick swerve back to the north on 54 Comfort and Mirth Pearl Street. Andrew jumped, rumpled his lips, and relaxed back into a deep sleep. “The area north of the university is Hyde Park,” he explained. “It was developed by the same gentleman who funded the electric streetcar—Mr. Ship, or Shipe, or something like that. He sold lots at an astounding rate by advertising that the air was more salubrious on this side of the capitol. How asinine is that?” “You’ve been here before?” she asked. “I’ve driven up the Speedway a short distance, but not all the way to the asylum.The neighborhoods are quaint,but not nearly so nice as ours.” He watched the passing street signs closely.“Here it is,” he announced as he turned right onto a wide road, then left onto a gravel drive through a dense canopy of oak branches. The engine sputtered to a stop where deep green lawns rolled backward under the trees to a stately building with three stories and a classical portico. A banner hanging between the Corinthian columns read “Fall Carnival,” and a few...


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