Levin saw it was a joke, but he could not smile.
"Well, how's it to be then?--unlighted or lighted candles? that's
"Yes, yes, unlighted."
"Oh, I'm very glad. The question's decided!" said Stepan
Arkadyevitch, smiling. "How silly men are, though, in this
position," he said to Tchirikov, when Levin, after looking
absently at him, had moved back to his bride.
"Kitty, mind you're the first to step on the carpet," said
Countess Nordston, coming up. "You're a nice person!" she said
"Aren't you frightened, eh?" said Marya Dmitrievna, an old aunt.
"Are you cold? You're pale. Stop a minute, stoop down," said
Kitty's sister, Madame Lvova, and with her plump, handsome arms
she smilingly set straight the flowers on her head.
Dolly came up, tried to say something, but could not speak, cried
and then laughed unnaturally.
Kitty looked at all of them with the same absent eyes as Levin.
Meanwhile the officiating clergy had got into their vestments,
and the priest and deacon came out to the lectern, which stood in
the forepart of the church. The priest turned to Levin saying
something. Levin did not hear what the priest said.
"Take the bride's hand and lead her up," the best man said to
It was a long while before Levin could make out what was expected
of him. For a long time they tried to set him right and made him
begin again--because he kept taking Kitty by the wrong arm or
with the wrong arm--till he understood at last that what he had
to do was, without changing his position, to take her right hand
in his right hand. When at last he had taken the bride's hand in
the correct way, the priest walked a few paces in front of them
and stopped at the lectern. The crowd of friends and relations
moved after them, with a buzz of talk and a rustle of skirts.
Someone stooped down and pulled out the bride's train. The
church became so still that the drops of wax could be heard
falling from the candles.