In Daniel Defoe's Roxana, Amy, the fervently loyal servant of Roxana, refuses to leave her side in times of desperation and starvation. Amy is so loyal to Roxana, that she is willing to prostitute herself to various males, in order to gain 'financial independence' for Roxana (and thus indirectly, also for herself). As Amy says to Roxana, "Why look you, Madam, if he would but give you enough to live easie upon, he should lie with me for it with all my heart... if I will starve for your sake, I will be a Whore, or anything, for your sake." 17 This may sound like the ramblings of a conventionally devoted and humble servant, however, Amy is describing a mutual commitment or type of partnership in which both will undeniably starve unless one of them becomes a whore.
There are several allusions to possible lesbian activity within the text. At one point, Roxana reveals that "Amy and I went to Bed that Night (for Amy lay with me) pretty early, but lay chatting almost all Night about it, and the Girl was so transported, that she got up two or three times in the Night, and danc'd about the Room in her Shift; in short, the Girl was half distracted with the Joy of it; a Testimony still of her violent Affection for her Mistress, in which no servant ever went beyond her." 18 The fact that Defoe uses the words "violent affection" to describe Amy's feelings toward Roxana, goes beyond what one would imagine to be more commonly used when describing relations between a servant and her mistress, or even that of a relationship between two friends. The words imply a more intimate relationship, one that goes beyond a relationship that would be described as being platonic. It is also important to consider the ambiguous use of the words "Amy and I went to Bed that Night (for Amy lay with me)". After an initial reading of this text, one might not even stop to consider the possible implications of those words. However, when taking into consideration the somewhat bizarre description of Amy having "violent affections" toward her mistress, "in which no servant ever went beyond her", it is impossible to dismiss the possibility of some sort of an intimate relationship between the two females.
from Roxana by Daniel Defoe
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