Vandover and the Brute eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 370 pages of information about Vandover and the Brute.

There was a vast shuffling of thousands of feet and a subdued roar of conversation like the noise of a great mill; mingled with these were the purring of distant machinery, the splashing of a temporary fountain and the rhythmic clamour of a brass band, while in the piano exhibit the hired performer was playing a concert-grand with a great flourish.  Nearer at hand one could catch ends of conversation and notes of laughter, the creaking of boots, and the rustle of moving dresses and stiff skirts.  Here and there groups of school children elbowed their way through the crowd, crying shrilly, their hands full of advertisement pamphlets, fans, picture cards, and toy whips with pewter whistles on the butts, while the air itself was full of the smell of fresh popcorn.

Ellis and Bessie were in the Art Gallery upstairs.  Mrs. Wade, Ida’s mother, who gave lessons in hand painting, had an exhibit there which they were interested to find; a bunch of yellow poppies painted on velvet and framed in gilt.  They stood before it some little time hazarding their opinions and then moved on from one picture to another; Ellis bought a catalogue and made it a duty to find the title of every picture.  Bessie professed to be very fond of painting; she had ’taken it up’ at one time and had abandoned it, only because the oil or turpentine or something was unhealthy for her.  “Of course,” she said, “I’m no critic, I only know what I like.  Now that one over there, I like that.  I think those ideal heads like that are lovely, don’t you, Bandy?  Oh, there’s Van!”

“Hello!” said Vandover, coming up.  “Where’s Ida?”

“Hello, Van!” answered Bessie.  “Ida wouldn’t come.  Isn’t it too mean?  She said she couldn’t come because she had a cold, but she was just talking through her face, I know.  She’s just got kind of a streak on and you can’t get anything out of her.  You two haven’t had a row, have you?  Well, I didn’t think you had.  But she’s worried about something or other.  I don’t believe she’s been out of the house this week.  But isn’t it mean of her to throw cold water on the procession like this?  She’s been giving me a lecture, too, and says she’s going to reform.”

“Well,” said Vandover, greatly relieved, “that’s too bad.  We could have had a lot of fun to-night.  I’m awfully sorry.  Well, what are you two going to do?”

“Oh, I guess we’ll follow out our part of the programme,” said Ellis.  “You are kind of left out, though.”

“I don’t know,” answered Vandover.  “Maybe I’ll go downtown, and see if I can find some of the boys.”

“Oh, Dolly Haight is around here somewheres,” said Ellis.  “We saw him just now over by the chess machine.”

“I guess I’ll try and find him, then,” responded Vandover.  “Well, I hope you two enjoy yourselves.”  As he was turning away Bessie Laguna came running back, and taking him a little to one side said: 

“You’d better go round and see Ida pretty soon if you can.  She’s all broke up about something, I’m sure.  I think she’d like to see you pretty well.  Honestly,” she said, suddenly very grave, “I never saw Ida so cut up in my life.  She’s been taking on over something in a dreadful way, and I think she’d like to see you.  She won’t tell me anything.  You go around and see her.”

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Vandover and the Brute from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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