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Anna Karenina 262

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

the rug first. I warned Kitty." "It will make no difference," said Madame Lvova; "were all obedient wives; its in our family." "Oh, I stepped on the rug before Vassily on purpose. And you, Dolly?" Dolly stood beside them; she heard them, but she did not answer. She was deeply moved. The tears stood in her eyes, and she could not have spoken without crying. She was rejoicing over Kitty and Levin; going back in thought to her own wedding, she glanced at the radiant figure of Stepan Arkadyevitch, forgot all the present, and remembered only her own innocent love. She recalled not herself only, but all her women-friends and acquaintances. She thought of them on the one day of their triumph, when they had stood like Kitty under the wedding crown, with love and hope and dread in their hearts, renouncing the past, and stepping forward into the mysterious future. Among the brides that came back to her memory, she thought too of her darling Anna, of whose proposed divorce she had just been hearing. And she had stood just as innocent in orange flowers and bridal veil. And now? "Its terribly strange," she said to herself. It was not merely the sisters, the women-friends and female relations of the bride who were following every detail of the ceremony. Women who were quite strangers, mere spectators, were watching it excitedly, holding their breath, in fear of losing a single movement or expression of the bride and bridegroom, and angrily not answering, often not hearing, the remarks of the callous men, who kept making joking or irrelevant observations. "Why has she been crying? Is she being married against her will?" "Against her will to a fine fellow like that? A prince, isnt he?" "Is that her sister in the white satin? Just listen how the deacon booms out, And fearing her husband." "Are the choristers from Tchudovo?" "No, from the Synod." "I asked the footman. He says hes going to take her home to his country place at once. Awfully rich, they say. Thats why shes being married to him." "No, theyre a well-matched pair." "I say, Marya Vassilievna, you were making out those fly-away crinolines were not being worn. Just look at her in the puce dress--an ambassadors wife they say she is--how her skirt bounces out from side to side!" "What a pretty dear the bride is--like a lamb decked with flowers! Well, say what you will, we women feel for our sister." Such were the comments in the crowd of gazing women who had succeeded in slipping in at the church doors. Chapter 6 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 attention. They prayed: "Endow them with continence and fruitfulness, and vouchsafe that their hearts may rejoice looking upon their sons and daughters." They alluded to Gods creation of a wife from Adams 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 childrens children. "Thats all splendid," thought Kitty, catching the words, "all thats just as it should be," and a smile of happiness, unconsciously reflected in

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