This is the opening paragraph to Anne Bronte's Agnes Grey. It is a story about a girl, from a good family that has fallen into hard times, who takes jobs as a governess to earn her keep and help her parents. With an opening like that, and knowing that Anne herself worked as a governess, one expects some tales of shameful abuse that governesses were sometimes subjected to. It was not the complete expose of the harsh life of a governess that I expected. After the initial horrid family, Agnes is taken on by a new family that is far gentler. She meets the local curate and falls in love with him and has the fairy tale ending of marrying him that eluded Anne herself .(and probably most governesses)
In these days of reality tv and famous people going bottomless for photographers, perhaps her novel does not seem as shocking to me in its revelations about the inner workings of wealthy families and how governesses are treated as it should. Her manner of writing reminded me very much of Jane Austen and I am curious enough to read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.