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THE LIFE OF ROXANA

last she pulled me and teased me. 'Come, come', says she, 'be thyself, and rouse up. I must go down again to him; what shall I say to him?' 'Say', said I, 'that you have no such body in the house.' 'That I cannot do', says she; 'because it is not the truth. Besides, I have owned thou art above. Come, come, go down with me.' 'Not for a thousand guineas' said I. 'Well', says she, 'I'll go and tell him thou wilt come quickly.' So, without giving me time to answer her, away she goes.

A million of thoughts circulated in my head while she was gone, and what to do I could not tell; I saw no remedy but I must speak with him, but would have given £500 to have shunned it; yet had I shunned it, perhaps then I would have given £500 again that I had seen him. Thus fluctuating and unconcluding were my thoughts, what I so earnestly desired, I declined when it offered itself; and what now I pretended to decline was nothing but what I had been at the expense of £40 or £50 to send Amy to France for, and even without any view, or, indeed, any rational expectation of bringing it to pass; and what for half a year before I was so uneasy about that I could not be quiet night or day till Amy proposed to go over to inquire after him. In short, my thoughts were all confused and in the utmost disorder. I had once refused and rejected him, and I repented it heartily; then I had taken ill his silence, and in my mind rejected him again, but had repented that too. Now I had stooped so low as to send after him into France, which if he had known, perhaps, he had never come after me; and should I reject him a third time? On the other hand, he had repented too, in his turn, perhaps, and, not knowing how I had acted, either in stooping to send in search after him or in the wickeder part of my life, was come over hither to seek me again; and I might take him, perhaps, with the same advantages as I might have done before, and would I now be backward to see him? Well, while I was in this hurry my friend the Quaker comes up again, and perceiving the confusion I was in, she runs to her closet, and fetched me a little pleasant cordial; but I would not taste it. 'Oh', says she, 'I understand thee. Be not uneasy; I'll give thee something shall take off all the smell of it; if he kisses thee a thousand times he shall be no wiser.' I thought to myself, 'Thou art perfectly acquainted with affairs of this nature; I think you must govern me now'; so I began to incline to go down with her. Upon that I took the cordial, and she gave me a kind of spicy preserve after it, whose flavour was so strong, and yet so deliciously pleasant, that it would cheat the nicest smelling, and it left not the least taint of the cordial on the breath.

Well, after this, though with some hesitation still, I went down a pair of back-stairs with her, and into a dining-room, next to the parlour in which he was; but there I halted, and desired she would let me consider of it a little. 'Well, do so', says she, and left me with more readiness than she did before. 'Do consider, and I'll come to thee again.'

Though I hung back with an awkwardness that was really unfeigned, yet, when she so readily left me, I thought it was not so kind, and I began to think she should have pressed me still on to it; so foolishly backward are we to the thing which, of all the world, we most desire; mocking ourselves with a feigned reluctance, when the negative would be death to us. But she was too cunning for me; for while I, as it were, blamed her in my mind for not carrying me to him, though, at the same time, I appeared backward to see him, on a sudden she unlocks the folding-doors,