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Anna Karenina 357


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find a subject of conversation. Even though she supposed that, through his pride, praise of his house and garden would be sure to be disagreeable to him, she did all the same tell him how much she liked his house. "Yes, its a very fine building, and in the good old-fashioned style," he said. "I like so much the court in front of the steps. Was that always so?" "Oh, no!" he said, and his face beamed with pleasure. "If you could only have seen that court last spring!" And he began, at first rather diffidently, but more and more carried away by the subject as he went on, to draw her attention to the various details of the decoration of his house and garden. It was evident that, having devoted a great deal of trouble to improve and beautify his home, Vronsky felt a need to show off the improvements to a new person, and was genuinely delighted at Darya Alexandrovnas praise. "If you would care to look at the hospital, and are not tired, indeed, its not far. Shall we go?" he said, glancing into her face to convince himself that she was not bored. "Are you coming, Anna?" he turned to her. "We will come, wont we?" she said, addressing Sviazhsky. "_Mais il ne faut pas laisser le pauvre Veslovsky et Tushkevitch se morfondre la dans le bateau._ We must send and tell them." "Yes, this is a monument he is setting up here," said Anna, turning to Dolly with that sly smile of comprehension with which she had previously talked about the hospital. "Oh, its a work of real importance!" said Sviazhsky. But to show he was not trying to ingratiate himself with Vronsky, he promptly added some slightly critical remarks. "I wonder, though, count," he said, "that while you do so much for the health of the peasants, you take so little interest in the schools." "_Cest devenu tellement commun les ecoles,_" said Vronsky. "You understand its not on that account, but it just happens so, my interest has been diverted elsewhere. This way then to the hospital," he said to Darya Alexandrovna, pointing to a turning out of the avenue. The ladies put up their parasols and turned into the side path. After going down several turnings, and going through a little gate, Darya Alexandrovna saw standing on rising ground before her a large pretentious-looking red building, almost finished. The iron roof, which was not yet painted, shone with dazzling brightness in the sunshine. Beside the finished building another had been begun, surrounded by scaffolding. Workmen in aprons, standing on scaffolds, were laying bricks, pouring mortar out of vats, and smoothing it with trowels. "How quickly work gets done with you!" said Sviazhsky. "When I was here last time the roof was not on." "By the autumn it will all be ready. Inside almost everything is done," said Anna. "And whats this new building?" "Thats the house for the doctor and the dispensary," answered Vronsky, seeing the architect in a short jacket coming towards him; and excusing himself to the ladies, he went to meet him. Going round a hole where the workmen were slaking lime, he stood still with the architect and began talking rather warmly. "The front is still too low," he said to Anna, who had asked what was the matter. "I said the foundation ought to be raised," said Anna. "Yes, of course it would have been much better, Anna Arkadyevna," said the architect, "but now its too late." "Yes, I take a great interest in it," Anna answered Sviazhsky, who was expressing his surprise at her knowledge of architecture. "This new building ought to have been in harmony with the hospital. It was an afterthought, and was begun without a plan." Vronsky, having finished his talk with the architect, joined the ladies, and led them inside the hospital. Although they were still at work on the cornices outside and were painting on the ground floor, upstairs almost all the rooms were finished. Going up the broad cast-iron staircase to the landing, they walked into the first large room. The walls were stuccoed to look like marble, the huge plate-glass windows were already in, only the parquet floor was not yet finished, and the carpenters, who were planing a block of it, left their work, taking off the bands that fastened their hair, to greet the gentry. "This is the reception room," said Vronsky. "Here there will be a desk, tables, and benches, and nothing more." "This way; let us go

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