Much as Ostermann importuned her, often as her own husband warned her, Anna nevertheless refused; she would not banish Field-Marshal Munnich to Siberia, but remained firm in her determination to leave him in possession of his liberty and his dignities.
But when Munnich himself, excited and fatigued with these never-ending annoyances, and moreover believing that Anna could not do without him, and therefore would not grant his request, finally demanded his dismission, Anna granted it with joy; and Munnich, deceived in all his ambitious plans and expectations, angrily left the court to betake himself to his palace beyond the Neva.
Anna now breathed easier; she now felt herself powerful and free, for Munnich was as least removed farther from her; his residence was no longer separated from hers only by a wall, she had no longer to fear his breaking through in the night—ah, Munnich dwelt beyond the Neva, and a whole regiment guarded its banks and bridges by night! Munnich could no longer fall upon her by surprise, as she could have him always watched.
Anna no longer trembled with fear; she could yield to her natural indolence, and if she sometimes, from fear of Munnich, troubled herself about state affairs and labored with her ministers, she now felt it to be an oppressive burden, to which she could no longer consent to subject herself.
Satiated and exhausted, she in some measure left the wielding of the sceptre to her first and confidential minister, Count Golopkin. He ruled in her name, as Count Ostermann was generalissimo in the name of her husband the Prince of Brunswick. Why trouble themselves with the pains and cares of governing, when it was permitted them to only enjoy the pleasures of their all-powerful position?
The minister might flourish the knout and proclaim the Siberian banishment over the trembling people; the scourged might howl, and the banished might lament, the great and powerful might dispose of the souls and bodies of their serfs; rare honesty might be oppressed by consuming usury; offices, honors, and titles might be gambled for; justice and punishment might be bought and sold; vice and immorality might universally prevail—Anna would not know it. She would neither see nor hear any thing of this outside world! The palace is her world, in which she is happy, in which she revels!
Ah, that charming, silent little boudoir, with is soft Turkish carpet, with its elastic divans and heavily curtained windows and doors—that little boudoir is now her paradise, the temple of her happiness! In it she lingers, and in it is she blessed. There she reposes, dreaming of past delightful hours, or smiling with the intoxication of the still more delightful present in the arms of the one she loves.
See how her eyes flash, how her heart beats—how beautiful she is in the warm glow of excitement, this beautiful Anna Leopoldowna.