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Building a House - Respecting Art and How They Were Modified

A fair copy on a small scale of all this was soon made, to be sent to Madame Marie N--, that they might know what she thought of it, and might proceed to execute the plan as soon as her reply was received.

Paul was beginning to perceive some of the difficulties accompanying even the most modest architectural under taking, and to ask himself how Master Branchu, who could but just manage to write and cipher, had been able to build the Mayor's house, which was not such a bad one to look at.

How to Build a Houst.

His cousin, to whom he referred the question, replied as follows : "Branchu has a practical knowledge of his business; he is a good country mason, who began by carrying the hod : he is the son of a mason, and does what he has seen his father do before him. Besides this, he is intelligent, laborious, and honest. By practice alone he has succeeded in building as well as is usual in the country - perhaps a little better, because he sets himself to work to reason about what he is doing. He observes; he is no simple ton, nor is he vain; he avoids faults, and copies excellences wherever he sees them. You shall see him at work, and you will sometimes be surprised at the justness of his observations, the persistency with which he defends his opinions, and the practical methods of which he is master. If you give him instructions, and he does not quite un derstand them, he says nothing, but comes again next day to explain to you what he supposes was intended; thus obliging you to repeat one by one all the doubtful points, and to complete what seemed to him incomplete or vague in your statements. I like Branchu because of his persis tent determination to understand the orders given him; and what makes him seem troublesome to some appears to me a virtue; for if you have to do with him, you must have foreseen everything, have an answer to every objec tion, and know exactly what you wish in every particular.

He gave up working for Count, your neighbour, because he had to undo next day what he had been ordered to do the day before. Ask him about it - the story is worth hearing. This good man, who has had only the most elementary experience in his business, but is thoroughly master of it so far, who knows the materials of the district well, and how to make use of them, will tell you that the architect of that interminable cluitetzu is an ignoramus, and will prove it to you, after his fashion.

Yet it is evident that the architect in question is a much more learned man than Master Branchu.

"As a general rule, in giving an order, you should have thought seven times of the objections to which it is liable, otherwise some Master Branchu may start up who, with a single word will demonstrate your thoughtlessness. An architect may, indeed, if he chooses, stop the mouth of objectors when placed under his authority; but to impose silence on people is not to prove that they are wrong, espe cially if a few days afterwards the director of the works gives contrary orders. Every one has his share of amour propre, which must not be disregarded. As a subordinate takes kindly and is flattered by the attention you give to his observations when they are well founded, so, on the other hand, he is disposed to doubt your capability if you reject them without examination; especially if a short time afterwards, facts seem to rove that he might have been right. There is only one means of establishing discipline among a body of workmen; and that is proving to all that you know more about matters than they do, and that you have duly taken account of difficulties."

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