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THE LIFE OF ROXANA

this new meeting. 'And, madam', says he, 'there are some in this assembly who it is worth your while to oblige.'

I bowed to my Lord ——, and immediately withdrew. While I was above, a-dressing in my new habit, two ladies, perfectly unknown to me, were conveyed into my apartment below, by the order of a noble person, who, with his family, had been in Persia; and here, indeed, I thought I should have been outdone, or perhaps balked.

One of these ladies was dressed most exquisitely fine indeed, in the habit of a virgin lady of quality of Georgia, and the other in the same habit of Armenia, with each of them a woman slave to attend them.

The ladies had their petticoats short to their ankles, but plaited all round, and before them short aprons, but of the finest point that could be seen. Their gowns were made with long antique sleeves hanging down behind, and a train let down. They had no jewels, but their heads and breasts were dressed up with flowers, and they both came in veiled.

Their slaves were bareheaded, but their long, black hair was braided in locks hanging down behind to their waists, and tied up with ribands. They were dressed exceeding rich, and were as beautiful as their mistresses; for none of them had any masks on. They waited in my room till I came down, and all paid their respects to me after the Persian manner, and sat down on a safra—that is to say, almost crosslegged, on a couch made up of cushions laid on the ground.

This was admirably fine, and I was indeed startled at it. They made their compliment to me in French, and I replied in the same language. When the doors were opened, they walked into the dancing-room, and danced such a dance as indeed nobody there had ever seen, and to an instrument like a guitar, with a small low-sounding trumpet, which indeed was very fine, and which my Lord —— had provided.

They danced three times all alone, for nobody, indeed, could dance with them. The novelty pleased, truly, but yet there was something wild and bizarre in it, because they really acted to the life the barbarous country whence they came; but as mine had the French behaviour under the Mahometan dress, it was every way as new, and pleased much better indeed.

As soon as they had shown their Georgian and Armenian shapes, and danced, as I have said, three times, they withdrew, paid their compliment to me (for I was queen of the day), and went off to undress.

Some gentlemen then danced with ladies all in masks; and, when they stopped, nobody rose up to dance, but all called out 'Roxana, Roxana!'. In the interval, my Lord —— had brought another masked person into my room, who I knew not, only that I could discern it was not the same person that led me out before. This noble person (for I afterwards understood it was the Duke of ——), after a short compliment, led me out into the middle of the room.

I was dressed in the same vest and girdle as before, but the robe had a mantle over it, which is usual in the Turkish habit, and it was of crimson and green, the green brocaded with gold; and my tyhiaai, or head-dress, varied a little from that I had before, as it stood higher, and had some jewels about the rising part, which made it look like a turban crowned.

I had no mask, neither did I paint, and yet I had the day of all the ladies that appeared at the ball, I mean of those that appeared with faces on. As for those masked, nothing could be said of them, no doubt there