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THE LIFE OF ROXANA

cumstances, he told her she saw him in the highest preferment he had arrived to, or was ever like to arrive to; for, having no friends or acquaintance in France, and, which was worse, no money, he never expected to rise; that he could have been made a lieutenant to a troop of light horse but the week before, by the favour of an officer in the gens d'armes who was his friend, but that he must have found eight thousand livres to have paid for it to the gentleman who possessed it, and had leave given him to sell. 'But where could I get eight thousand livres', says he, 'that have never been master of five hundred livres ready money at a time since I came into France?'

'Oh dear, sir!' says Amy, 'I am very sorry to hear you say so. I fancy, if you once got up to some preferment, you would think of my old mistress again, and do something for her. Poor lady', says Amy, 'she wants it, to be sure'; and then she falls a-crying again. 'It is a sad thing indeed', says she, 'that you should be so hard put to it for money, when you had got a friend to recommend you, and should lose it for want of money.' 'Ay, so it was, Amy, indeed', says he; 'but what can a stranger do that has neither money or friends?' Here Amy puts in again on my account. 'Well', says she, 'my poor mistress has had the loss, though she knows nothing of it. Oh dear! how happy it would have been! To be sure, sir, you would have helped her all you could.' 'Ay', says he, 'Amy, so I would with all my heart; and even as I am, I would send her some relief, if I thought she wanted it, only that then letting her know I was alive might do her some prejudice, in case of her settling, or marrying anybody.'

'Alas', says Amy, 'marry! Who will marry her in the poor condition she is in?' And so their discourse ended for that time.

All this was mere talk on both sides, and words, of course; for, on farther inquiry, Amy found that he had no such offer of a lieutenant's commission, or anything like it; and that he rambled in his discourse from one thing to another; but of that in its place.

You may be sure that this discourse, as Amy at first related it, was moving to the last degree upon me, and I was once going to have sent him the eight thousand livres to purchase the commission he had spoken of; but, as I knew his character better than anybody, I was willing to search a little farther into it, and so I set Amy to inquire of some other of the troop, to see what character he had, and whether there was anything in the story of a lieutenant's commission or no.

But Amy soon came to a better understanding of him, for she presently learnt that he had a most scoundrel character; that there was nothing of weight in anything he said; but that he was, in short, a mere sharper, one that would stick at nothing to get money, and that there was no depending on anything he said; and that, more especially about the lieutenant's commission, she understood that there was nothing at all in it, but they told her how he had often made use of that sham to borrow money, and move gentlemen to pity him and lend him money, in hopes to get him preferment; that he had reported that he had a wife and five children in England, who he maintained out of his pay, and by these shifts had run into debt in several places; and, upon several complaints for such things, he had been threatened to be turned out of the gens d'armes; and that, in short, he was not to be believed in anything he said, or trusted on any account.