Greek bookmakers, who are no less cynical than professional gamblers anywhere, were said to be offering handsome odds yesterday against a long marriage between Christina Onassis and her new Russian husband, Sergei Kauzov.
But most Athenians - seemingly more romantically inclined and less concerned about the politics of the union - greeted news of onassis' wedding more charitably.
"It's love, love. Who can argue with that," said a grandfatherly Greek barber. "If they are in love, whose business is it.?"
In an Omonia Square bar, a saucy cocktail waitress named Sophia, said, "I think she's crazy if she wants to live in Russia, but maybe she loves him."
John Scaltas, a kiosh operator in Syntagma Square shrugged his shoulders and spread his palms upward, saying in halting English, "Half okay, half not okay. To Greek people, she's more American and not so Greek, but it doesn't matter if they love."
For more than a month - ever since the London Daily Express trumpeted rumors of the marriage in a "world exclusive" - Greece has been blitzed with a running media account of the romance between the poor little rich girl and the Bolshevik.
Some of it raised serious and legitimate questions, such as what influence would Kauzov, a former official of the Soviet Union Marine Trading Agency, exert on Onassis' decisionmaking, assuming she can maintain a role in the operation of the $500 million shipping, banking and industrial empire founded by her father, Aristotle Onassis.
Questions have also been raised - and as yet not answered - about how Russian-born offspring of the couple could inherit the Onassis wealth in a country founded on the principle of state ownership of everything.
Onassis presumably could settle that question by disposing of her property, either in a trust or by some other means, but she has not Publicly addressed the question.
Some thorny questions were answered, including the legal status of the couple in Greece after their marriage in Moscow. The answer was that Greek law does not recognize civil marriages, so the couple will technically not be considered married when they are in Greece.
Some questions that were raised strained credulity, like the reported suggestions by unidentified Greek security officials, who were said to have worried that the Onassis island of Skorpios could become a haven for Russian spies.
Throughout all the speculation and media fretting, however, Athenians seem to have instinctively concluded thta Onassis' principal wish all along was to get away from the Paparazzi and the hoopla of a public personal life and, as Onassis said herself in Moscow Monday, "To be somewhere where it's quiet."
Greeks have followed the personal tragedies that have beset Onassis throughout her life, including her father's unhappy marriages and her own divorces and the deaths of close relatives. As a result, the politics of the marriage to Kauzov seemed to have been eclipsed on her wedding day by hopes that - at age 27 - Christina Onassis would at last be happy.
"I don't know if they will be happy, but let them try," said Scaltas. "What does it matter to anyone?"