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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 348 pages of information about The Daughter of an Empress.

The princess looked up with a dreamy smile.  “Do I love him!” she then murmured low.  “Oh, my God, Thou knowest how truly, how glowingly my heart clings to him.  Thou knowest that of all the world I have never loved any other man than him alone!  And you, Julia, you who know every emotion and palpitation of my heart, you yet ask me if I love him—­when he stood before me in all his proud manly beauty, with his conquering glance, his heart-winning smile?  Ah, my whole heart already then flew to meet him.  I revelled in the sight of him, I thought only of him, I spoke to him in my thoughts, and my prayers, I loved only when I saw him; and that happy, that never-to-be-forgotten day when he confessed his love, when he lay at my feet and swore eternal truth to me—­ah, why could I not have died on that day?  I was then so happy!”

“Poor Princess Anna,” said Julia, sympathetically, “they soon grudged you that happiness!”

“Yes,” continued Anna with a bitter smile, “yes, the virtuous Empress Anna blushed in the arms of her lover, Biron, at this aberration of her sold and coupled niece.  She found it very revolting that the poor sixteen-year-old Anna Leopoldowna dared to have a heart of her own and to feel a real love.  They must therefore rob her of the only happiness Heaven had vouchsafed her.  Consequently, they wrote to Warsaw, asking, nay, commanding the recall of the ambassador, and Lynar was compelled to leave me.”

“Ah, I well know how unhappy you were at that time,” said Julia, pressing the hand of the princess to her bosom; “how you wept, how you wrung your hands—­”

“And how I nowhere found mercy or commiseration,” interposed Anna, with bitterness, “neither on earth nor in heaven.  I was and remained deserted and solitary, and was compelled to marry this Prince Ulrich of Brunswick, for whom I felt nothing but a chilling, mortal indifference.  But you must know, Julia, that when I stood with this man at the altar, and was compelled to become his wife, I thought only of him I loved; I vowed eternal love only to Lynar, and when the prince folded me in his arms as his wife, then was my God gracious to me, and in a happy deception it seemed to me that it was my lover who held me in his arms—­I thought only of him and breathed only his name, and loved him, kissed him, and became his wife, although he was far, alas, so immeasurably far from me!  And when I felt a second self under my heart, I then loved with redoubled warmth the distant one whom I had not seen for years; and when Ivan was born, it seemed to me that the eyes of my lover looked at me through his, and blessed my son whose spiritual father he was!  And, my child, what think you gave me the courage to overthrow Biron and assume the regency?  Ah, it was only that I might have the power to recall Lynar to my side!  I would and must be regent, that I might demand the return of Lynar as ambassador from Warsaw.  That gave me courage and decision; that enabled me to overcome all timidity and anxiety.  I thought only of him, and when the end was attained, when I was declared regent, the first exercise of my power was to recall Lynar to Court.  Julia, what a happy day was that when I saw him again!”

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