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THE LIFE OF ROXANA

was; but that thus much she had learned from good hands, that he had committed a crime, in being concerned in a design to rob a rich banker at Paris; and that he was fled, and had not been heard of there for above six years.

IV. For that of my husband, the brewer, she learned, that, being commanded into the field upon an occasion of some action in Flanders, he was wounded at the battle of Mons, and died of his wounds in the Hospital of the Invalids; so there was an end of my four inquiries, which I sent her over to make.

This account of the prince, and the return of his affection to me, with all flattering great things which seemed to come along with it; and especially as they came gilded and set out by my maid Amy I say this account of the prince came to me in a very unlucky hour, and in the very crisis of my affair.

The merchant and I had entered into close conferences upon the grand affair. I had left off talking my platonics, and of my independency, and being a free woman, as before; and he, having cleared up my doubts too, as to his circumstances and the misfortunes he had spoken of, I had gone so far that we had begun to consider where we should live, and in what figure, what equipage, what house, and the like.

I had made some harangues upon the delightful retirement of a country life, and how we might enjoy ourselves so effectually without the encumbrances of business and the world; but all this was grimace, and purely because I was afraid to make any public appearance in the world, for fear some impertinent person of quality should chop upon me again, and cry out 'Roxana, Roxana, by ——!' with an oath, as had been done before.

My merchant, bred to business and used to converse among men of business, could hardly tell how to live without it; at least it appeared he should be like a fish out of water, uneasy and dying. But, however, he joined with me; only argued that we might live as near London as we could, that he might sometimes come to 'Change and hear how the world should go abroad, and how it fared with his friends and his children.

I answered, that if he chose still to embarrass himself with business, I supposed it would be more to his satisfaction to be in his own country, and where his family was so well known, and where his children also were.

He smiled at the thoughts of that, and let me know that he should be very willing to embrace such an offer; but that he could not expect it of me, to whom England was, to be sure, so naturalised now as that it would be carrying me out of my native country, which he would not desire by any means, however agreeable it might be to him.

I told him he was mistaken in me; that as I had told him so much of a married state being a captivity, and the family being a house of bondage, that when I married I expected to be but an upper servant; so, if I did notwithstanding submit to it, I hoped he should see I knew how to act the servant's part, and do everything to oblige my master; that if I did not resolve to go with him wherever he desired to go, he might depend I would never have him. 'And did I not', said I, 'offer myself to go with you to the East Indies?'

All this while this was indeed but a copy of my countenance; for, as my circumstances would not admit of my stay in London, at least not so as to appear publicly, I resolved, if I took him, to live remote in the country, or go out of England with him.