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THE LIFE OF ROXANA

I think I almost cried myself to death for him, for I abandoned myself to all the excesses of grief; and indeed I loved him to a degree inexpressible; and considering what kindness he had shown me at first, and how tenderly he had used me to the last, what could I do less?

Then the manner of his death was terrible and frightful to me, and, above all, the strange notices I had of it. I had never pretended to the secondsight, or anything of that kind, but certainly, if any one ever had such a thing, I had it at this time, for I saw him as plainly in all those terrible shapes as above; first, as a skeleton, not dead only, but rotten and wasted; secondly, as killed, and his face bloody; and, thirdly, his clothes bloody, and all within the space of one minute, or indeed of a very few moments.

These things amazed me, and I was a good while as one stupid. However, after some time I began to recover, and look into my affairs. I had the satisfaction not to be left in distress, or in danger of poverty. On the contrary, besides what he had put into my hands fairly in his lifetime, which amounted to a very considerable value, I found above seven hundred pistoles in gold in his scrutoire, of which he had given me the key; and found foreign bills accepted for about twelve thousand livres; so that, in a word, I found myself possessed of almost ten thousand pounds sterling in a very few days after the disaster.

The first thing I did upon this occasion was to send a letter to my maid, as I still called her, Amy, wherein I gave her an account of my disaster, how my husband, as she called him (for I never called him so), was murdered; and as I did not know how his relations, or his wife's friends might act upon that occasion, I ordered her to convey away all the plate, linen, and other things of value, and to secure them in a person's hand that I directed her to, and then to sell or dispose of the furniture, of the house, if she could, and so, without acquainting anybody with the reason of her going, withdraw; sending notice to his head manager at London that the house was quitted by the tenant, and they might come and take possession of it for the executors. Amy was so dexterous, and did her work so nimbly, that she gutted the house, and sent the key to the said manager, almost as soon as he had notice of the misfortune that befell their master.

Upon their receiving the surprising news of his death, the head manager came over to Paris, and came to the house. I made no scruple of calling myself Madame ——, the widow of Monsieur ——, the English jeweller. And, as I spoke French naturally, I did not let him know but that I was his wife, married in France, and that I had not heard that he had any wife in England, but pretended to be surprised, and exclaim against him for so base an action; and that I had good friends in Poictou, where I was born, who would take care to have justice done me in England out of his estate.

I should have observed that, as soon as the news was public of a man being murdered, and that he was a jeweller, fame did me the favour as to publish presently that he was robbed of his casket of jewels, which he always carried about him. I confirmed this, among my daily lamentations for his disaster, and added that he had with him a fine diamond ring, which he was known to wear frequently about him, valued at one hundred pistoles, a gold watch, and a great quantity of diamonds of inestimable value in his casket, which jewels he was carrying to the Prince of ——,