Woman As She Should Be

Mary E. Herbert
Woman As She Should Be

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Title: Woman As She Should Be or, Agnes Wiltshire
Author: Mary E. Herbert
Release Date: June 4, 2005 [EBook #15982]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
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WOMAN AS SHE SHOULD BE;
OR,
AGNES WILTSHIRE.
BY
MARY E. HERBERT,
AUTHOR OF "├ćOLIAN HARP," "SCENES IN THE LIFE OF A
HALIFAX BELLE," &c.

I saw her on a nearer view, A Spirit, yet a Woman, too; Her household

motions light and free,-- And steps of virgin liberty; A countenance in
which did meet Sweet records, promises as sweet; A creature not too
bright or good, For human nature's daily food, For transient pleasures,
artless wiles, Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.
--WORDSWORTH.
HALIFAX, N.S.: PUBLISHED BY MARY E. HERBERT. 1861.
CAMBRIDGE, MASS.: MILES & DILLINGHAM. Printers and
Stereotypers

CHAPTER I.
The Sabbath day was drawing to a close, as Agnes Wiltshire sat at her
chamber window, absorbed in deep and painful thought. The last rays
of the sun lighted up the garden overlooked by the casement,--if garden
it could be called,--a spot that had once been most beautiful, when
young and fair hands plucked the noxious weed, and took delight in
nursing into fairest life, flowers, whose loveliness might well have vied
with any; but, long since, those hands had mouldered into dust, and the
spot lay neglected; yet, in spite of neglect, beautiful still. There was no
enclosure to mark it from the fields beyond, that stretched, far as the
eye could discern, till lost in a rich growth of woods, but a few
ornamental trees and graceful shrubs, with here and there a plot, now
gay, with autumn flowers, alone kept alive, in the heart of the beholder,
a remembrance of its purpose. A quiet scene of rural beauty it was, and
so thought the maiden, as, rousing from her reverie, she gazed on
garden, fields, and distant woods, but more lovingly and lingeringly
dwelt her glance on a lake that lay embosomed between the meadow
and the grove, partly skirted by trees that grew even to its edge, and
partly by the rich grass, whose vivid color betrayed the influence of
those placid waters, that now reflected every glowing tint, and every
delicate hue of the peerless sunset sky.
Quiet at all times, the stillness of the scene was now unbroken, save by
the twittering of some belated swallow, the chirp of the cricket, or the
evening hymn of the forest songsters, ere they sank to grateful rest. All
was peace without, but troubled and anxious was the heart of the
solitary occupant of that apartment, who, though for a moment aroused

from deep, and, as it appeared from the expression of her countenance,
painful thought, by the beauty of the landscape, again summoned her
wandering thoughts, and returned to the theme which had so deeply
engrossed her.
A slight tap at the door once more aroused her, and in answer to her
invitation, "Walk in," a lady entered the room, and affectionately
addressed the young girl.
"Forgive my intrusion, my dear Miss Wiltshire, but I feared, from your
remaining so long in your room, that you were not well, and have come
to ascertain whether I am correct or not."
"I am much obliged for your kindness, but I am quite well, in body, at
least," was the reply, while the lips quivered, and the eyes were
suffused with tears.
There was silence for a few moments between them, for Mrs. Gordon
was too delicate to allude to emotions, which her companion evidently
strove to conceal, and with the nature of which she was totally
unacquainted. At length, however, she broke the quiet that had reigned
for some moments in the apartment, by an observation on the service
they had both that day attended.
"Accustomed, as you are, to city churches and city congregations, it
could scarcely be expected that our unpretending house of prayer, with
its humble worshippers, could have found much favor in your eyes,
Miss Wiltshire?"
"And yet, strange to say," exclaimed Agnes, lifting her fine dark eyes to
Mrs. Gordon's sweet, though pensive face, "that unpretending church,
those earnest worshippers, and, above all, that simple, faithful
discourse, affected me far more deeply than any heard from the
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