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THE LIFE OF ROXANA

You are now to suppose me about seven years come to town, and that I had not only suffered the old revenue, which I hinted was managed by Sir Robert Clayton, to grow, as was mentioned before, but I had laid up an incredible wealth, the time considered; and, had I yet had the least thought of reforming, I had all the opportunity to do it with advantage that ever woman had. For the common vice of all whores, I mean money, was out of the question, nay, even avarice itself seemed to be glutted; for, including what I had saved in reserving the interest of £14,000, which, as above, I had left to grow, and including some very good presents I had made to me in mere compliment upon these shining masquerading meetings, which I held up for about two years, and what I made of three years of the most glorious retreat, as I call it, that ever woman had, I had fully doubled my first substance, and had near £5000 in money which I kept at home, besides abundance of plate and jewels, which I had either given me or had bought to set myself out for public days.

In a word, I had now five-and-thirty thousand pounds estate; and as I found ways to live without wasting either principal or interest, I laid up £2000 every year at least out of the mere interest, adding it to the principal, and thus I went on.

After the end of what I call my retreat, and out of which I brought a great deal of money, I appeared again, but I seemed like an old piece of plate that had been hoarded up some years, and comes out tarnished and discoloured; so I came out blown, and looked like a cast-off mistress; nor, indeed, was I any better, though I was not at all impaired in beauty, except that I was a little fatter than I was formerly, and always granting that I was four years older.

However, I preserved the youth of my temper, was always bright, pleasant in company, and agreeable to everybody, or else everybody flattered me; and in this condition I came abroad to the world again. And, though I was not so popular as before, and indeed did not seek it, because I knew it could not be, yet I was far from being without company, and that of the greatest quality (of subjects I mean), who frequently visited me, and sometimes we had meetings for mirth and play at my apartments, where I failed not to divert them in the most agreeable manner possible.

Nor could any of them make the least particular application to me, from the notion they had of my excessive wealth, which, as they thought, placed me above the meanness of a maintenance, and so left no room to come easily about me.

But, at last, I was very handsomely attacked by a person of honour, and (which recommended him particularly to me) a person of a very great estate. He made a long introduction to me upon the subject of my wealth. 'Ignorant creature?' said I to myself, considering him as a lord, 'was there ever woman in the world that could stoop to the baseness of being a whore, and was above taking the reward of her vice! No, no, depend upon it, if your lordship obtains anything of me, you must pay for it; and the notion of my being so rich serves only to make it cost you the dearer, seeing you cannot offer a small matter to a woman of £2000 a year estate.'

After he had harangued upon that subject a good while, and had assured me he had no design upon me, that he did not come to make a prize of me, or to pick my pocket, which, by the way, I was in no fear of, for I took too much care of my money to part with any of it that way, he then turned his discourse to the subject of love, a point so ridiculous to