BOOK XVII. CONTAINING THREE DAYS.
4. Chapter iv. An extraordinary scene...
An extraordinary scene between Sophia and her aunt.
The lowing heifer and the bleating ewe, in herds and flocks, may
ramble safe and unregarded through the pastures. These are, indeed,
hereafter doomed to be the prey of man; yet many years are they
suffered to enjoy their liberty undisturbed. But if a plump doe be
discovered to have escaped from the forest, and to repose herself in
some field or grove, the whole parish is presently alarmed, every man
is ready to set his dogs after her; and, if she is preserved from the
rest by the good squire, it is only that he may secure her for his own
I have often considered a very fine young woman of fortune and
fashion, when first found strayed from the pale of her nursery, to be
in pretty much the same situation with this doe. The town is
immediately in an uproar; she is hunted from park to play, from court
to assembly, from assembly to her own chamber, and rarely escapes a
single season from the jaws of some devourer or other; for, if her
friends protect her from some, it is only to deliver her over to one
of their own chusing, often more disagreeable to her than any of the
rest; while whole herds or flocks of other women securely, and scarce
regarded, traverse the park, the play, the opera, and the assembly;
and though, for the most part at least, they are at last devoured, yet
for a long time do they wanton in liberty, without disturbance or
Of all these paragons none ever tasted more of this persecution than
poor Sophia. Her ill stars were not contented with all that she had
suffered on account of Blifil, they now raised her another pursuer,
who seemed likely to torment her no less than the other had done. For
though her aunt was less violent, she was no less assiduous in teizing
her, than her father had been before.