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THE LIFE OF ROXANA

To divert ourselves, we took a walk, after we had dined, round about the town, and coming to the garrison, and being somewhat thirsty, all went into the sutler's for a glass of wine. A pint was called for and brought; but the man of the house came in with it raving like a madman, saying, 'Don't you think you are a villain, to ask for a pot of ale when I know you have spent all your money, and are ignorant of the means of getting more, without you hear of a place, which I look upon to be very unlikely?' 'Don't be in such a passion, landlord 'said my husband. 'Pray, what is the matter?' 'Oh, nothing, sir', says he; 'but a young fellow in the sutling room, whom I find to have been a gentleman's servant, wants a place; and having spent all his money, would willingly run up a score with me, knowing I must get him a master if ever I intend to have my money.' 'Pray, sir', said my husband, 'send the young fellow to me; if I like him, and can agree with him, it is possible I may take him into my service.' The landlord took care we should not speak to him twice, he went and fetched him in himself, and my husband examined him before he spoke, as to his size, mien, and garb. The young man was clean dressed, of a middling stature, a dark complexion, and about twenty-seven years old.

'I hear, young man', says he to him, 'that you want a place; it may perhaps be in my power to serve you. Let me know at once what education you have had, if you have any family belonging to you, or if you are fit for a gentleman's service, can bring any person of reputation to your character, and are willing to go and live in Holland with me: we will not differ about your wages.'

The young fellow made a respectful bow to each of us, and addressed himself to my husband as follows: 'Sir', said he, 'in me you behold the eldest child of misfortune. I am but young, as you may see; I have no comers after me, and having lived with several gentlemen, some of whom are on their travels, others settled in divers parts of the world, besides what are dead, makes me unable to produce a character without a week's notice to write to London, and I should not doubt but by the return of the post to let you see some letters as would satisfy you in any doubts about me. My education', continued he, 'is but very middling, being taken from school before I had well learnt to read, write, and cast accounts and, as to my parentage, I cannot well give you any account of them: all that I know is, that my father was a brewer, and by his extravagance ran out a handsome fortune, and afterwards left my poor mother almost penniless, with five small children, of which I was the second, though not above five years old. My mother knew not what to do with us, so she sent a poor girl, our maid, whose name I have forgot this many years, with us all to a relation's, and there left us, and I never saw or heard of or from them any more. Indeed, I inquired among the neighbours, and all that I could learn was that my mother's goods were seized, that she was obliged to apply to the parish for relief, and died of grief soon after. For my part', says he, 'I was put into the hands of my father's sister, where, by her cruel usage, I was forced to run away at nine years of age; and the numerous scenes of life I have since gone through are more than would fill a small volume. Pray, sir', added he, 'let it satisfy you that I am thoroughly honest, and should be glad to serve you at any rate; and although I cannot possibly get a good character from anybody at present, yet I defy the whole world to give me an ill one, either in public or private life.'