BOOK IV. CONTAINING THE TIME OF A YEAR.
13. Chapter xiii. A dreadful accident which befel Sophia.
A dreadful accident which befel Sophia. The gallant behaviour of
Jones, and the more dreadful consequence of that behaviour to the
young lady; with a short digression in favour of the female sex.
Mr Western grew every day fonder and fonder of Sophia, insomuch that
his beloved dogs themselves almost gave place to her in his
affections; but as he could not prevail on himself to abandon these,
he contrived very cunningly to enjoy their company, together with that
of his daughter, by insisting on her riding a hunting with him.
Sophia, to whom her father's word was a law, readily complied with his
desires, though she had not the least delight in a sport, which was of
too rough and masculine a nature to suit with her disposition. She had
however another motive, beside her obedience, to accompany the old
gentleman in the chase; for by her presence she hoped in some measure
to restrain his impetuosity, and to prevent him from so frequently
exposing his neck to the utmost hazard.
The strongest objection was that which would have formerly been an
inducement to her, namely, the frequent meeting with young Jones, whom
she had determined to avoid; but as the end of the hunting season now
approached, she hoped, by a short absence with her aunt, to reason
herself entirely out of her unfortunate passion; and had not any doubt
of being able to meet him in the field the subsequent season without
the least danger.
On the second day of her hunting, as she was returning from the chase,
and was arrived within a little distance from Mr Western's house, her
horse, whose mettlesome spirit required a better rider, fell suddenly
to prancing and capering in such a manner that she was in the most
imminent peril of falling. Tom Jones, who was at a little distance
behind, saw this, and immediately galloped up to her assistance. As
soon as he came up, he leapt from his own horse, and caught hold of
hers by the bridle. The unruly beast presently reared himself an end
on his hind legs, and threw his lovely burthen from his back, and
Jones caught her in his arms.