Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
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
"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
"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
"_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
"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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