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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 158 pages of information about Van Bibber and Others.
In appearance she had been variously likened by Trevelyan, who was painting her portrait, to a druidess, a vestal virgin, and a Greek goddess; and Lady Arbuthnot’s friends, who thought to please the girl, assured her that no one would ever suppose her to be an American—­their ideas of the American young woman having been gathered from those who pick out tunes with one finger on the pianos in the public parlors of the Metropole.  Miss Egerton was said to be intensely interested in her lover’s career, and was as ambitious for his success in the House as he was himself.  They were both very much in love, and showed it to others as little as people of their class do.  The others at the table were General Sir Henry Kent; Phillips, the novelist; the Austrian Minister and his young wife; and Trevelyan, who painted portraits for large sums of money and figure pieces for art; and some simply fashionable smart people who were good listeners, and who were rather disappointed that the American explorer was no more sun-burned than other young men who had stayed at home, and who had gone in for tennis or yachting.

The worst of Gordon was that he made it next to impossible for one to lionize him.  He had been back in civilization and London only two weeks, unless Cairo and Shepheard’s Hotel are civilization, and he had been asked everywhere, and for the first week had gone everywhere.  But whenever his hostess looked for him, to present another and not so recent a lion, he was generally found either humbly carrying an ice to some neglected dowager, or talking big game or international yachting or tailors to a circle of younger sons in the smoking-room, just as though several hundred attractive and distinguished people were not waiting to fling the speeches they had prepared on Africa at him, in the drawing-room above.  He had suddenly disappeared during the second week of his stay in London, which was also the last week of the London season, and managers of lecture tours and publishers and lion-hunters, and even friends who cared for him for himself, had failed to find him at his lodgings.  Trevelyan, who had known him when he was a travelling correspondent and artist for one of the great weeklies, had found him at the club the night before, and had asked him to his wife’s impromptu dinner, from which he had at first begged off, but, on learning who was to be there, had changed his mind and accepted.  Mrs. Trevelyan was very glad he had come; she had always spoken of him as a nice boy, and now that he had become famous she liked him none the less, but did not show it before people as much as she had been used to do.  She forgot to ask him whether he knew his beautiful compatriot or not; but she took it for granted that they had met, if not at home, at least in London, as they had both been made so much of, and at the same houses.

The dinner was well on its way towards its end, and the women had begun to talk across the table, and to exchange bankers’ addresses, and to say “Be sure and look us up in Paris,” and “When do you expect to sail from Cowes?” They were enlivened and interested, and the present odors of the food and flowers and wine, and the sense of leisure before them, made it seem almost a pity that such a well-suited gathering should have to separate for even a summer’s pleasure.

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