Turning again to the lectern, the priest with some difficulty
took Kitty's little ring, and asking Levin for his hand, put it
on the first joint of his finger. "The servant of God,
Konstantin, plights his troth to the servant of God, Ekaterina."
And putting his big ring on Kitty's touchingly weak, pink little
finger, the priest said the same thing.
And the bridal pair tried several times to understand what they
had to do, and each time made some mistake and were corrected by
the priest in a whisper. At last, having duly performed the
ceremony, having signed the rings with the cross, the priest
handed Kitty the big ring, and Levin the little one. Again they
were puzzled and passed the rings from hand to hand, still
without doing what was expected.
Dolly, Tchirikov, and Stepan Arkadyevitch stepped forward to set
them right. There was an interval of hesitation, whispering, and
smiles; but the expression of solemn emotion on the faces of the
betrothed pair did not change: on the contrary, in their
perplexity over their hands they looked more grave and deeply
moved than before, and the smile with which Stepan Arkadyevitch
whispered to them that now they would each put on their own ring
died away on his lips. He had a feeling that any smile would jar
"Thou who didst from the beginning create male and female," the
priest read after the exchange of rings, "from Thee woman was
given to man to be a helpmeet to him, and for the procreation of
children. O Lord, our God, who hast poured down the blessings of
Thy Truth according to Thy Holy Covenant upon Thy chosen
servants, our fathers, from generation to generation, bless Thy
servants Konstantin and Ekaterina, and make their troth fast in
faith, and union of hearts, and truth, and love...."
Levin felt more and more that all his ideas of marriage, all his
dreams of how he would order his life, were mere childishness,
and that it was something he had not understood hitherto, and now
understood less than ever, though it was being performed upon
him. The lump in his throat rose higher and higher, tears that
would not be checked came into his eyes.