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 in here. Don't go near the window," said
Anna, trying the paint to see if it were dry. "Alexey, the
paint's dry already," she added.
From the reception room they went into the corridor. Here
Vronsky showed them the mechanism for ventilation on a novel
system. Then he showed them marble baths, and beds with
extraordinary springs. Then he showed them the wards one after
another, the storeroom, the linen room, then the heating stove
of a new pattern, then the trolleys, which would make no noise as
they carried everything needed along the corridors, and many
other things. Sviazhsky, as a connoisseur in the latest
mechanical improvements, appreciated everything fully. Dolly
simply wondered at all she had not seen before, and, anxious to
understand it all, made minute inquiries about everything, which
gave Vronsky great satisfaction.
"Yes, I imagine that this will be the solitary example of a
properly fitted hospital in Russia," said Sviazhsky.
"And won't you have a lying-in ward?" asked Dolly. "That's so
much needed in the country. I have often..."
In spite of his usual courtesy, Vronsky interrupted her.