Chapter 5

In the church there was all Moscow, all the friends and relations; and during the ceremony of plighting troth, in the brilliantly lighted church, there was an incessant flow of discreetly subdued talk in the circle of gaily dressed women and girls, and men in white ties, evening dress, and uniform. The talk was principally kept up by the men, while the women were absorbed in watching every detail of the ceremony, which always touches them so much.

In the little group nearest the bride were her two sisters: Dolly, and the younger one, the self-possessed beauty, Madame Lvova, who had just arrived from abroad.

`Why is it Marie's in lilac? It's as bad as black at a wedding,' said Madame Korsunskaia.

`With her complexion, it's her one salvation,' responded Madame Drubetskaia. `I wonder why they had the wedding in the evening? It's like shop people....'

`So much prettier. I was married in the evening too....' answered Madame Korsunskaia, and she sighed, remembering how charming she had been that day, and how absurdly in love her husband was, and how different it all was now.

`They say if anyone is best man more than ten times, he'll never be married. I wanted to be one for the tenth time, but the post was taken,' said Count Siniavin to the pretty Princess Charskaia, who had designs on him.

Princess Charskaia only answered with a smile. She looked at Kitty, thinking how and when she would stand with Count Siniavin in Kitty's place, and how she would remind him then of his joke today.

Shcherbatsky told the old Hoffraulein, Madame Nikoleva, that he meant to put the crown on Kitty's chignon for luck.

`She ought not to have worn a chignon,' answered Madame Nikoleva, who had long ago made up her mind that if the elderly widower she was angling for married her, the wedding should be of the simplest. `I don't like such faste.'

Sergei Ivanovich was talking to Darya Dmitrievna, jestingly assuring her that the custom of going away after the wedding was becoming common because newly married people always felt a little ashamed of themselves.

`Your brother may feel proud of himself. She's a marvel of sweetness. I believe you're envious.'

`Oh, I've got over that, Darya Dmitrievna,' he answered, and a melancholy and serious expression suddenly came over his face.

Stepan Arkadyevich was telling his sister-in-law his joke about divorce.

`The wreath wants setting straight,' she answered, without listening to him.

`What a pity she's lost her looks so,' Countess Nordstone said to Madame Lvova. `Still, he's not worth her little finger, is he?'

`Oh, I like him so - not because he's my future beau-frere,' answered Madame Lvova. `And how well he's behaving! It's so difficult, too, to look well in such a position, not to be ridiculous. And he's not ridiculous, and not affected; one can see he's moved.'

`You expected it, I suppose?'

`Almost. She always cared for him.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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