BOOK XI. CONTAINING ABOUT THREE DAYS.
2. Chapter ii. The adventures which Sophia met with...
The strange lady now laboured under a difficulty which appears almost
below the dignity of history to mention. Her bonnet had been blown
from her head not less than five times within the last mile; nor could
she come at any ribbon or handkerchief to tie it under her chin. When
Sophia was informed of this, she immediately supplied her with a
handkerchief for this purpose; which while she was pulling from her
pocket, she perhaps too much neglected the management of her horse,
for the beast, now unluckily making a false step, fell upon his
fore-legs, and threw his fair rider from his back.
Though Sophia came head foremost to the ground, she happily received
not the least damage: and the same circumstances which had perhaps
contributed to her fall now preserved her from confusion; for the lane
which they were then passing was narrow, and very much overgrown with
trees, so that the moon could here afford very little light, and was
moreover, at present, so obscured in a cloud, that it was almost
perfectly dark. By these means the young lady's modesty, which was
extremely delicate, escaped as free from injury as her limbs, and she
was once more reinstated in her saddle, having received no other harm
than a little fright by her fall.
Daylight at length appeared in its full lustre; and now the two
ladies, who were riding over a common side by side, looking stedfastly
at each other, at the same moment both their eyes became fixed; both
their horses stopt, and, both speaking together, with equal joy
pronounced, the one the name of Sophia, the other that of Harriet.
This unexpected encounter surprized the ladies much more than I
believe it will the sagacious reader, who must have imagined that the
strange lady could be no other than Mrs Fitzpatrick, the cousin of
Miss Western, whom we before mentioned to have sallied from the inn a
few minutes after her.
So great was the surprize and joy which these two cousins conceived at
this meeting (for they had formerly been most intimate acquaintance
and friends, and had long lived together with their aunt Western),
that it is impossible to recount half the congratulations which passed
between them, before either asked a very natural question of the
other, namely, whither she was going?