"Nikolay Ivanitch was struck," she said, meaning Sviazhsky, "at
the progress the new building had made since he was here last;
but I am there every day, and every day I wonder at the rate at
which it grows."
"It's first-rate working with his excellency," said the architect
with a smile (he was respectful and composed, though with a sense
of his own dignity). "It's a very different matter to have to do
with the district authorities. Where one would have to write out
sheaves of papers, here I call upon the count, and in three words
we settle the business."
"The American way of doing business," said Sviazhsky, with a
"Yes, there they build in a rational fashion..."
The conversation passed to the misuse of political power in the
United States, but Anna quickly brought it round to another
topic, so as to draw the steward into talk.
"Have you ever seen a reaping machine?" she said, addressing
Darya Alexandrovna. "We had just ridden over to look at one when
we met. It's the first time I ever saw one."
"How do they work?" asked Dolly.
"Exactly like little scissors. A plank and a lot of little
scissors. Like this."
Anna took a knife and fork in her beautiful white hands covered
with rings, and began showing how the machine worked. It was
clear that she saw nothing would be understood from her
explanation; but aware that her talk was pleasant and her hands
beautiful she went on explaining.
"More like little penknives," Veslovsky said playfully, never
taking his eyes off her.
Anna gave a just perceptible smile, but made no answer. "Isn't
it true, Karl Fedoritch, that it's just like little scissors?"
she said to the steward.
"Oh, ja," answered the German. "Es it ein ganz einfaches Ding,"
and he began to explain the construction of the machine.