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THE LIFE OF ROXANA

What! consent to lie with him for bread? Amy', said I, 'how can you talk so!'

'Nay, madam', says Amy, 'I don't think you would for anything else; it would not be lawful for anything else, but for bread, madam; why, nobody can starve, there's no bearing that, I'm sure.'

'Ay', says I, 'but if he would give me an estate to live on, he should not lie with me, I assure you.'

'Why, look you, madam; if he would but give you enough to live easy upon, he should lie with me for it with all my heart.'

'That's a token, Amy, of inimitable kindness to me', said I, 'and I know how to value it; but there's more friendship than honesty in it, Amy.'

'Oh, madam', says Amy, 'I'd do anything to get you out of this sad condition; as to honesty, I think honesty is out of the question when starving is the case. Are not we almost starred to death?'

'I am indeed', said I, 'and thou art for my sake; but to be a whore, Amy!'; and there I stopped.

'Dear madam', says Amy, 'if I will starve for your sake, I will be a whore or anything for your sake; why, I would die for you if I were put to it.'

'Why, that's an excess of affection, Amy', said I, 'I never met with before; I wish I may be ever in condition to make you some returns suitable. But, however, Amy, you shall not be a whore to him, to oblige him to be kind to me; no, Amy, nor I won't be a whore to him, if he would give me much more than he is able to give me or do for me.’

'Why, madam', says Amy, 'I don't say I will go and ask him; but I say, if he should promise to do so and so for yon, and the condition was such that he would not serve you unless I would let him lie with me, he should lie with me as often as he would, rather than you should not have his assistance. But this is but talk, madam; I don't see any need of such discourse, and you are of opinion that there will be no need of it.'

'Indeed, so I am, Amy; but', said I, 'if there was, I tell you again, I'd die before I would consent, or before you should consent for my sake.'

Hitherto I had not only preserved the virtue itself, but the virtuous inclination and resolution; and had I kept myself there I had been happy,' though I had perished of mere hunger; for, without question, a woman ought rather to die than to prostitute her virtue and honour, let the temptation be what it will.

But to return to my story? he walked about the garden, which was, indeed, all in disorder, and overrun with weeds, because I had not been able to hire a gardener to do anything to it, no, not so much as to dig up ground enough to sow a few turnips and carrots for family use. After he had viewed it, he came in, and sent Amy to fetch a poor man, a gardener, that used to help our man-servant, and carried him into the garden, and ordered him to do several things in it, to put it into a little order; and this took him up near an hour.

By this time I had dressed me as well as I could; for though I had good linen left still, yet I had but a poor head-dress, and no knots, but old fragments; no necklace, no earrings; all those things were gone long ago for mere bread.

However, I was tight and clean, and in better plight than he had seen me in a great while, and he looked extremely pleased too see me so; for, he said, I looked so disconsolate and so afflicted before, that it grieved