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<p>princess, conscious that Agafea Mihalovna's wrath must be chiefly
directed against her, as the person responsible for the raspberry
jam-making, tried to appear to be absorbed in other things and
not interested in the jam, talked of other matters, but cast
stealthy glances in the direction of the stove.
"I always buy my maids' dresses myself, of some cheap material,"
the princess said, continuing the previous conversation. "Isn't
it time to skim it, my dear?" she added, addressing Agafea
Mihalovna. "There's not the slightest need for you to do it, and
it's hot for you," she said, stopping Kitty.
"I'll do it," said Dolly, and getting up, she carefully passed
the spoon over the frothing sugar, and from time to time shook
off the clinging jam from the spoon by knocking it on a plate
that was covered with yellow-red scum and blood-colored syrup.
"How they'll enjoy this at tea-time!" she thought of her
children, remembering how she herself as a child had wondered how
it was the grown-up people did not eat what was best of all--the
scum of the jam.
"Stiva says it's much better to give money." Dolly took up
meanwhile the weighty subject under discussion, what presents
should be made to servants. "But..."
"Money's out of the question!" the princess and Kitty exclaimed
with one voice. "They appreciate a present..."
"Well, last year, for instance, I bought our Matrona Semyenovna,
not a poplin, but something of that sort," said the princess.
"I remember she was wearing it on your nameday."
"A charming pattern--so simple and refined,--I should have liked
it myself, if she hadn't had it. Something like Varenka's. So
pretty and inexpensive."
"Well, now I think it's done," said Dolly, dropping the syrup
from the spoon.</p>