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THE LIFE OF ROXANA


an uncle-in-law, though all along much against his wife's consent, who was of a disposition not so tender and compassionate as her husband.

You may believe I heard this with the same pleasure which I now feel at the relating it again; for I was terribly affrighted at the apprehensions of my children being brought to misery and distress, as those must be who have no friends, but are left to parish benevolence.

I was now, however, entering on a new scene of life. I had a great house upon my hands, and some furniture left in it; but I was no more able to maintain myself and my maid Amy in it than I was my five children; nor had I anything to subsist with but what I might get by working, and that was not a town where much work was to be had.

My landlord had been very kind indeed after he came to know my circumstances; though, before he was acquainted with that part, he had gone so far as to seize my goods, and to carry some of them off too.

But I had lived three-quarters of a year in his house after that, and had paid him no rent, and, which was worse, I was in no condition to pay him any. However, I observed he came oftener to see me, looked kinder upon me, and spoke more friendly to me, than he used to do, particularly the last two or three times he had been there. He observed, he said, how poorly I lived, how low I was reduced, and the like; told me it grieved him for my sake; and the last time of all he was kinder still, told me he came to dine with me, and that I should give him leave to treat me; so he called my maid Amy, and sent her out to buy a joint of meat; he told her what she should buy; but naming two or three things, either of which she might take, the maid, a cunning wench, and faithful to me as the skua to my back, did not buy anything outright, but brought the butcher along with her, with both the things that she had chosen, for him to please himself. The one was a large, very good leg of veal; the other a piece of the fbres-ibs of roasting beef. He looked at them, but made me chaffer with the butcher for him, and I did so, and came back to him and told him what the butcher had demanded for either of them, and what each of them came to. So he pulls out eleven shillings and threepence, which they came to together, and bade me take them both; the rest, he said, would serve another time.

I was surprised, you may be sure, at the bounty of a man that had but a little while ago been my terror, and had torn the goods out of my house like a fury; but I considered that my distresses had mollified his temper, and that he had afterwards been so compassionate as to give me leave to live rent free in the house a whole year.

But now he put on the face, not of a man of compassion only, but of a man of friendship and kindness, and this was so unexpected that it was surprising. We chatted together, and were, as I may call it. cheerful, which was more than I could say I had been for three years before. He sent for wine and beer too, for I had none; poor Amy and I had drank nothing but water for many weeks, and indeed I have often wondered at the faithful temper of the poor girl, for which I but ill requited her at last.

When Amy was come with the wine, he made her fill a glass to him, and with the glass in his hand he came to me and kissed me, which I was, I confess, a little surprised at, but more at what followed; for he told me, that as the sad condition which I was reduced to had made him pity me, so my conduct in it, and the courage I bore it with, had given