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Agnes

She is an Agnes
( elle fait l'Agnès)

i.e., she is a sort of female “Verdant Green,” who is so unsophisticated that she does not even know what love means. It is a character in Molière's L'école des Femmes.

St. Agnes

is represented by Domenichino as kneeling on a pile of fagots, the fire extinguished, and the executioner about to slay her with the sword. The introduction of a lamb (agnus) is a modern innovation, and play on the name. St. Agnes is the patron of young virgins.

“St. Agnes was first tied to a stake, but the fire of the stakes went out; whereupon Aspasius, set to watch the martyrdom, drew his sword, and cut off her head.”

St. Agnes Day

21st January. Upon St. Agnes' night, you take a row of pins, and pull out every one, one after another. Saying a pater-noster, stick a pin in your sleeve, and you will dream of him or her you shall marry. —Aubrey: Miscellany, p. 136.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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