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THE LIFE OF ROXANA

She began only in general with telling where she lived, what a place she had of it, how gallant a company her lady had always had in the house; how they used to sit up all night in the house gaming and dancing; what a fine lady her mistress was, and what a vast deal of money the upper servants got; as for her, she said, her whole business was in the next house, so that she got but little, except one night that there was twenty guineas given to be divided among the servants, when, she said, she got two guineas and a half for her share.

She went on, and told them how many servants there was, and how they were ordered; but, she said, there was one Mrs Amy who was over them all; and that she, being the lady's favourite, got a great deal. She did not know, she said, whether Amy was her Christian name or her surname, but she supposed it was her surname; that they were told she got threescore pieces of gold at one time, being the same night that the rest of the servants had the twenty guineas divided among them.

I put in at that word, and said it was a vast deal to give away. 'Why', says I, 'it was a portion for a seivant.' 'O madam!', says she, 'It was nothing to what she got afterwards; we that were servants hated her heartily for it; that is to say, we wished it had been our lot in her stead.' Then I said again, 'Why, it was enough to get her a good husband, and settle her for the world, if she had sense to manage it.' 'So it might, to be sure, madam', says she, 'for we were told she laid up above £500; but, I suppose, Mrs Amy was too sensible that her character would require a good portion to put her off.'

'Oh', said I, 'if that was the case it was another thing.' Nay', says she, 'I don't know, but they talked very much of a young lord that was very great with her.'

'And pray what came of her at last?' said I, for I was willing to hear a little (seeing she would talk of it) what she had to say, as well of myself. 'I don't know, madam', said she; 'I never heard of her for several years, till t'other day I happened to see her.'

'Did you indeed?' says I (and made mighty strange of it); 'what! and in rags, it may be' said I; 'that's often the end of such creatures.' 'Just the contrary, madam' says she. 'She came to visit an acquaintance of mine, little thinking, I suppose, to see me, and, I assure you, she came in her coach.'

'In her coach!' said I; 'upon my word, she had made her market then; I suppose she made hay while the sun shone. Was she married, pray?' 'I believe she had been married, madam', says she, 'but it seems she had been at the East Indies; and if she was married, it was there, to be sure. I think she said she had good luck in the Indies.'

'That is, I suppose', said I, 'had buried her husband there.' 'I understood it so, madam', says she, 'and that she had got his estate.'

'Was that her good luck?' said I; 'it might be good to her, as to the money indeed, but it was but the part of a jade to call it good luck.'

Thus far our discourse of Mrs Amy went, and no farther, for she knew no more of her; but then the Quaker unhappily, though undesignedly, put in a question, which the honest good-humoured creature would have been far from doing if she had known that I had carried on the discourse of Amy on purpose to drop Roxana out of the conversation.

But I was not to be made easy too soon. The Quaker put in, 'But I think thou saidst something was behind of thy mistress; what didst thou call her? Roxana, was it not? Pray, what became of her?'