Page:Moll Flanders (1906 edition).djvu/457

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THE LIFE OF ROXANA

ring, on which the women were all taken up, and committed to the house of correction; but the young ones are now at liberty, and keep about the town.' 'Pray', said I, 'what may have become of the old beast that could be the ruin of those young creatures?' 'Why, I do not well know', says she; 'but I have heard that, as all her goods were seized upon, she was sent to the poor-house; but it soon after appearing that she had the French disease to a violent degree, was removed to a hospital to be taken care of, but I believe she will never live to come out; and if she should be so fortunate, the gentleman that was robbed, finding that she was the guilty person, intends to prosecute her to the utmost rigour of the law.'

I was sadly surprised to hear this character of Amy; for I thought whatever house she might keep, that the heyday of her blood had been over. But I found that she had not been willing to be taken for an old woman, though near sixty years of age; and my not seeing or hearing from her for some time past was a confirmation of what had been told me.

I went home sadly dejected, considering how I might hear of her. I had known her for a faithful servant to me, in all my bad and good fortune, and was sorry that at the last such a miserable end should overtake her, though she, as well as I, deserved it several years before.

A few days after I went pretty near the place I had heard she was, and hired a poor woman to go and inquire how Amy —— did, and whether she was likely to do well. The woman returned, and told me that the matron, or mistress, said, the person I inquired after died in a salivation two days before, and was buried the last night in the cemetery belonging to the hospital.

I was very sorry to hear of Amy's unhappy and miserable death; for when she came first into my service she was really a sober girl, very witty and brisk, but never impudent, and her notions in general were good, till my forcing her, as it were, to have an intrigue with the jeweller. She had also lived with me between thirty and forty years, in the several stages of life as I had passed through; and as I had done nothing but what she was privy to, so she was the best person in the universal world to consult with and take advice from, as my circumstances now were.

I returned to my lodgings much chagrined, and very disconsolate; for as I had for several years lived at the pinnacle of splendour and satisfaction, it was a prodigious heart-break to me now to fall from upwards of £3000 per annum to a poor £500 principal.

A few days after this I went to see my son, the Earl of Wintselsheim. He received me in a very courteous (though far from a dutiful) manner. We talked together near an hour upon general things, but had no particular discourse about my late lord's effects, as I wanted to have. Among other things he told me that his guardians had advised him to go to the university for four years longer, when he would come of age, and his estate would be somewhat repaired; to which he said he had agreed; and for that purpose all the household goods and equipages were to be disposed of the next week, and the servants dismissed. I immediately asked if it would be looked upon as an encroachment upon his father's will if I took Isabel (who had been my waiting-maid ever since I came from England) to live with me. 'No, my lady', very readily replied he; 'as she will be dismissed from me, she is certainly at liberty and full freedom to do for herself as soon and in the best manner she possibly can.' After this I stayed about a quarter of an hour with him, and then I sent for Isabel,