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THE LIFE OF ROXANA

cular subject, and, among other things, sent her this particular news, that my extraordinary friend, my real husband, who rode in the gens d'armes, was dead, that he was killed in a rencounter, as they call it, or accidental scuffle among the troopers; and so the jade congratulated me upon my being now a real free woman. 'And now, madam', says she at the end of her letter, you have nothing to do but to come hither and set up a coach and a good equipage, and if beauty and a good fortune won't make you a duchess, nothing will.' But I had not fixed my measures yet. I had no inclination to be a wife again. I had had such bad luck with my first husband, I hated the thoughts of it. I found that a wife is treated with indifference, a mistress with a strong passion; a wife is looked upon as but an upper servant, a mistress is a sovereign; a wife must give up all she has, have every reserve she makes for herself be thought hard of, and be upbraided with her very pin-money, whereas a mistress makes the saying true, that what the man has is hers, and what she has is her own; the wife bears a thousand insults, and is forced to sit still and bear it, or part, and be undone; a mistress insulted helps herself immediately, and takes another.

These were my wicked arguments for whoring, for I never set against them the difference another way—I may say, every other way; how that, first, a wife appears boldly and honourably with her husband, lives at home, and possesses his house, his servants, his equipages, and has a right to them all, and to call them her own; entertains his friends, owns his children, and has the return of duty and affection from them, as they are here her own, and claims upon his estate, by the custom of England, if he dies and leaves her a widow.

The whore skulks about in lodgings, is visited in the dark, disowned upon all occasions before God and man; is maintained, indeed, for a time, but is certainly condemned to be abandoned at last, and left to the miseries of fate and her own just disaster. If she has any children, her endeavour is to get rid of them, and not maintain them; and if she lives, she is certain to see them all hate her, and be ashamed of her. While the vice rages, and the man is in the devil's hand, she has him; and while she has him, she makes a prey of him; but if he happens to fall sick, if any disaster befalls him, the cause of all lies upon her. He is sure to lay all his misfortunes at her door; and, if once he comes to repentance, or makes but one step towards a reformation, he begins with her leaves her, uses her as she deserves, hates her, abhors her, and sees her no more; and that with this never-failing addition, namely, that the more sincere and unfeigned his repentance is, the more earnestly he looks up, and the more effectually he looks in, the more his aversion to her increases, and he curses her from the bottom of his soul; nay, it must be a kind of excess of charity if he so much as wishes God may forgive her.

The opposite circumstances of a wife and whore are such and so many, and I have since seen the difference with such eyes, as I could dwell upon the subject a great while; but my business is history. I had a long scene of folly yet to run over. Perhaps the moral of all my story may bring me back again to this part, and if it does I shall speak of it fully.

While I continued in Holland I received several letters from my friend (so I had good reason to call him) the merchant in Paris, in which he gave me a farther account of the conduct of that rogue the Jew, and how he acted after I was gone; how impatient he was while the said merchant