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THE LIFE OF ROXANA

when he retired to the rest of the masks. When he left me at the drawing-room door, I did not go in, as he thought I would have done, but turned about and showed myself to the whole room, and, calling my woman to me, gave her some directions to the music, by which the company presently understood that I would give them a dance by myself. Immediately all the house rose up and paid me a kind of a compliment by removing back every way to make me room, for the place was exceedingly full. The music did not at first hit the tune that I directed, which was a French tune, so I was forced to send my woman to them again, standing all this while at my drawing-room door; but, as soon as my woman spoke to them again, they played it right, and I, to let them see it was so, stepped forward to the middle of the room. Then they began it again, and I danced by myself a figure which I learnt in France, when the Prince de —— desired I would dance for his diversion. It was, indeed, a very fine figure, invented by a famous master at Paris, for a lady or a gentleman to dance single; but, being perfectly new, it pleased the company exceedingly, and they all thought it had been Turkish; nay, one gentleman had the folly to expose himself so much as to say, and I think swore too, that he had seen it danced at Constantinople, which was ridiculous enough.

At the finishing the dance, the company clapped, and almost shouted; and one of the gentlemen cried out, 'Roxana! Roxana! by ——', with an oath; upon which foolish accident I had the name of Roxana presently fixed upon me all over the court end of town as effectually as if I had been christened Roxana. I had, it seems, the felicity of pleasing everybody that night to an extreme; and my ball, but especially my dress, was the chat of the town for that week; and so the name of Roxana was the toast at and about the court; no other health was to be named with it.

Now things began to work as I would have them, and I began to be very popular, as much as I could desire. The ball held till (as well as I was pleased with the show) I was sick of the night; the gentlemen masked went off about three o'clock in the morning, the other gentlemen sat down to play; the music held it out, and some of the ladies were dancing at six in the morning.

But I was mighty eager to know who it was danced with me. Some of the lords went so far as to tell me I was very much honoured in my company; one of them spoke so broad as almost to say it was the king, but I was convinced afterwards it was not; and another replied if he had been his Majesty he should have thought it no dishonour to lead up a Roxana; but to this hour I never knew positively who it was; and by his behaviour I thought he was too young, his Majesty being at that time in an age that might be discovered from a young person, even in his dancing.

Be that as it would, I had five hundred guineas sent me the next morning, and the messenger was ordered to tell me that the persons who sent it desired a ball again at my lodgings on the next Tuesday, but that they would have my leave to give the entertainment themselves. I was mighty well pleased with this, to be sure, but very inquisitive to know who the money came from; but the messenger was silent as death as to that point, and bowing always at my inquiries, begged me to ask no questions which he could not give an obliging answer to.

I forgot to mention, that the gentlemen that played gave a hundred guineas to the box, as they called it, and at the end of their play they asked for my gentlewoman of the bedchamber, as they called her (Mrs.