They enjoyed hearing the epistle read, and the roll of the head
deacon's voice at the last verse, awaited with such impatience by
the outside public. They enjoyed drinking out of the shallow cup
of warm red wine and water, and they were still more pleased when
the priest, flinging back his stole and taking both their hands
in his, led them round the lectern to the accompaniment of bass
voices chanting "Glory to God."
Shtcherbatsky and Tchirikov, supporting the crowns and stumbling
over the bride's train, smiling too and seeming delighted at
something, were at one moment left behind, at the next treading
on the bridal pair as the priest came to a halt. The spark of
joy kindled in Kitty seemed to have infected everyone in the
church. It seemed to Levin that the priest and the deacon too
wanted to smile just as he did.
Taking the crowns off their heads the priest read the last prayer
and congratulated the young people. Levin looked at Kitty, and
he had never before seen her look as she did. She was charming
with the new radiance of happiness in her face. Levin longed to
say something to her, but he did not know whether it was all
over. The priest got him out of his difficulty. He smiled his
kindly smile and said gently, "Kiss your wife, and you kiss your
husband," and took the candles out of their hands.
Levin kissed her smiling lips with timid care, gave her his arm,
and with a new strange sense of closeness, walked out of the
church. He did not believe, he could not believe, that it was
true. It was only when their wondering and timid eyes met that
he believed in it, because he felt that they were one.
After supper, the same night, the young people left for the