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>27. Formosa Jewel telephoned early one morning in October. “I’m calling everyone!” she shouted. “Have you read the Statesman?” “Not yet,” Camille replied. “I just saw Brooks off to work, and the boys are finishing breakfast.” “You won’t believe it.We did it! We actually did it.” “Did what?” “Mayor Wooldridge has officially closed down the red light district,”she sang.“He told the press at a conference yesterday afternoon, and the bawdy houses have until the end of the month to get their affairs in order and close their doors for good.” “That’s wonderful, Jewel.” “Renfrow and I are hosting a victory party at our home this Saturday evening. I’m counting on you and Brooks to attend for hors d’æuvres and cocktails.” “Of course,” Camille grinned. “Come around seven. Poor Renfrow doesn’t know about the party yet, but he’ll dress up for me at least a couple of times a year—especially for auspicious occasions such as this one. And bring the babies,” Jewel continued. “I’ll have my girls here plan some festivities for them.” “We’ll be delighted,” Camille answered. “Should we bring a bottle of wine?” “Just yourselves,” Jewel said. “I’ve ordered champagne 230 from the LoireValley. But I tell you, Camille, I’m so excited I can’t wait. I need to raise a little celebratory larceny right now.What shall we do?” “Oh, I don’t know,” Camille looked over the breakfast mess in her kitchen.“Would you like to come over for tea? I’ll invite Eveline and we can . . . ” “Tea! What a splendid idea.” Jewel went silent. “Hello?” Camille looked at the receiver. “I was just ruminating,” Jewel said. “We never took our excursion out to Formosa.Wouldn’t it be wonderful to call an impromptu social tea on the grounds just the way Elisabet Ney used to? Do you know what I learned recently?” “No.” Camille shot a desperate look at Coral, who pulled Alexander out of his high chair and carried him into the parlor to play with Andrew. “Years ago, Caruso performed in Austin and visited Formosa to take tea with Ney. Can you believe it? She also entertained all sorts of celebrities and dignitaries, including the last four Texas governors.What a perfect place for us to regale in our triumphs.” “That’s extraordinary,” Camille replied. “Ella Dibrill owns Formosa now,” Jewel chirped.“I’ll call her. She’ll let us in. Can you get away about eleven?” “I don’t know.” Camille closed her eyes. “We can bring your little ones over to stay with my maids,” Jewel offered. “It’s not that,” Camille sighed. “Coral’s here for the day, but I don’t know about Formosa.” “Why not?” Jewel demanded. “I’ve heard,” Camille leaned her head against the side of the telephone,“Mrs. Ney was somewhat eccentric.” “Well, of course, she was,” bantered Jewel. “That’s what made her so remarkable.” 231 Formosa “I mean,” Camille tapped her forehead against the wood, “someone once told me she cremated her own stillborn infant in the fireplace.” “Great god of my mother’s ghost!” Jewel ranted. “Who on earth told you such a thing?” Camille shrugged her shoulders. “Actually, it was Professor Jones.” “Oh, pish! You’re an intelligent woman, Camille Abernathy ; you of all people should know better than to put your confidence into Durwood’s twisted histories.” “I suppose you’re right.” Camille took a deep breath and shook her head. “I have fresh bee balm for tea, and I made some Scotch brownies yesterday.” “Marvelous,”Jewel replied.“We can make it a potluck.I’ll call Ida and the other veterans if you’ll call Eveline.” + Jewel insisted Camille drive to Hyde Park. Since she had watched closely while Eveline learned, she mastered the skills quickly and pulled up in front of the Greek classical limestone studio having suffered only a couple close calls on the way. Ella Dibrill had opened the building and waited for them on the sidewalk under elm trees swaying in the first northern front of the season. “It looks like a fortress,” Eveline commented as she surveyed the stark square architecture,flat roof,and central tower. Jewel did introductions, and they chatted about the news while they waited for Ida and the other AWSA officers. Within a few minutes, everyone arrived and Ella started her guided tour of Elisabet Ney’s sculpture studio.They entered through massive wooden double doors...


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