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Building a House - What Architecture Is


Eugene expected Paul to return to the discussion of the previous evening, and in fact, when they were going early in the morning to visit the works, Paul did not fail to throw out hints about it. But he did not know how to give his curiosity a definite shape. His cousin would not help him, but wished to give him full leisure to bring his ideas to a focus.

"Is M. Durosay a judge of architecture?"said Paul, at last.

"Well, he talks about it like a person who has some acquaintance with the art." "But yet you did not seem disposed to accede to what he asked." "What did he ask?" "Why you know very well what I mean - . He would have liked Marie's house to be - more - ."" More what?" "More less severe; that it should have a portico and a loggia. What is a loggia?" "It is a wide covered balcony, most frequently closed on the two sides, but opening in front - whether on the ground floor or the upper stories - to the high road or the country." "And why should not a loggia be added to Marie's house?" "We might make one, or several." "Well, then?" "Why then it must be placed in front of one of the apartments - the drawing-room, for example, on the ground floor, in the middle of the garden front, or if on the first floor, in front of the best bedroom." "And would not that have a good effect?" "Perhaps it might : but the apartment next to it, open ing upon this loggia, would be dark and gloomy, as the windows would be shaded by its ceiling." "Ah ! yes, that is true; but in fact we have loggias at the end of the drawing-room, the billiard-room, and the dining-room." "Yes; only they are closed, instead of being.open to wards the outside, and these apartments gain in area through them. These loggias are therefore recesses - what they formerly called bays.' We have thus all the advan tages of a loggia without the inconveniences which in our climate it would entail." "Why did you not say so to M. Durosay?" "He could see it well enough; there was no need to mention it to him." "He would have liked a portico, too." "For what purpose?" "I do not know - . He said it would be pretty - that my sister and her children would form a group under it, and that this would have a pretty effect at a distance." "And would it be very agreeable to your sister to pro duce a very pretty effect' at a distance?" "Oh, I don't think she would care about it." "But who are we building the house for?" "Why, for my sister."

"Not for strolling idlers, therefore. But the portico in question would have the same inconveniences as the log gias; it would make the apartments opening under the arcades or colonnades dark and gloomy. Since then, in L 2 our country we spend more of our time in rooms than under porticos, we should have to pay rather dearly for the pleasure of forming groups for the gratification of passing strangers." "Doubtless we should. Besides, in front of the billiard room we have a conservatory, with steps down to the garden, which may serve for a portico without darkening the room, as it will be glazed." "Certainly." "Perhaps M. Durosay did not observe this." "Oh ! I daresay he did; but it has nothing imposing about it. He would have liked a real covered portico, in the style of the Italian porticos." "He seems to be very fond of Italian architecture."" Which?" "Why, that he was talking about." "But there are many kinds of architecture in Italy, be longing to different ages and latitudes, and varying with the habits of the peoples who inhabit the peninsula." "You did not call his attention to that." "He must have known it." "I see that you don't think M. Durosay earnest in his opinions." "M. Durosay is an excellent man; his opinions are sin cere, and therefore I regard them as serious; but he and I look at things from a different point of view. He judges questions of art as a man of the world, on a ground of sentiment, while I think we artists ought to decide them by reasoning. Sentiment does not reason; it is like faith; so it is impossible for us to understand one another, since we speak a different language." Paul's views on the subject were as yet far from clear. Hitherto he had thought that architecture could be learned as we learn grammar and spelling; and here was his cousin telling him that it found expression in several languages, one of which might be known, while the other remained quite unintelligible. He could not understand what reasoning could have to do with a matter entirely relating to form and appearance; yet he did not even know how to put questions to his cousin on the subject with a view to gaining light upon it. He was going along, therefore, with his head bent, striking down with his stick the withered thistles that encumbered the side of the path - Eugene, on his side, not seeming desirous of breaking the silence. They arrived thus at the works; they were almost deserted.

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durosay, loggia, front, portico and floor