When the ceremony of plighting troth was over, the beadle spread
before the lectern in the middle of the church a piece of pink
silken stuff, the choir sang a complicated and elaborate psalm,
in which the bass and tenor sang responses to one another, and
the priest turning round pointed the bridal pair to the pink silk
rug. Though both had often heard a great deal about the saying
that the one who steps first on the rug will be the head of the
house, neither Levin nor Kitty were capable of recollecting it,
as they took the few steps towards it. They did not hear the
loud remarks and disputes that followed, some maintaining he had
stepped on first, and others that both had stepped on together.
After the customary questions, whether they desired to enter upon
matrimony, and whether they were pledged to anyone else, and
their answers, which sounded strange to themselves, a new
ceremony began. Kitty listened to the words of the prayer,
trying to make out their meaning, but she could not. The feeling
of triumph and radiant happiness flooded her soul more and more
as the ceremony went on, and deprived her of all power of
They prayed: "Endow them with continence and fruitfulness, and
vouchsafe that their hearts may rejoice looking upon their sons
and daughters." They alluded to God's creation of a wife from
Adam's rib "and for this cause a man shall leave father and
mother, and cleave unto his wife, and they two shall be one
flesh," and that "this is a great mystery"; they prayed that God
would make them fruitful and bless them, like Isaac and Rebecca,
Joseph, Moses and Zipporah, and that they might look upon their
children's children. "That's all splendid," thought Kitty,
catching the words, "all that's just as it should be," and a
smile of happiness, unconsciously reflected in everyone who
looked at her, beamed on her radiant face.
"Put it on quite," voices were heard urging when the priest had
put on the wedding crowns and Shtcherbatsky, his hand shaking in
its three-button glove, held the crown high above her head.
"Put it on!" she whispered, smiling.
Levin looked round at her, and was struck by the joyful radiance
on her face, and unconsciously her feeling infected him. He too,
like her felt glad and happy.