Agnes’s mother marries his father, Richard Grey, against the wishes of her friends and father, a squire. Mr. Grey, the clergyman of the north of England, is a fine man with modest income to make ends meet for the family of four. Agnes and Mary are the children of the overall six ones who survive in infancy and early childhood. Agnes’s mother is a very spirited woman, clever and smart, the kind of woman who knows how to keep his husband in a good spirit even if their lives turn sour after Mr. Grey’s property investment fails. Since then, his health becomes faltering, his mood easily gets sober.
It’s time for Agnes and Mary help financing the household. Mary uses her drawing skills to earn money while Agnes, despite initial rejections from her parents, opts to work as a governess. With all of her fine education taught by her mother, she is certain she can be a good one. So her mother gets her the first job as a governess in the Bloomfields family in the Wellwood mansion with a fair amount of payment. Agnes is nearly 19 year old when she leaves the house.
Their children are Tom Bloomfield, a boy of seven; Mary Ann, Fanny who will be four years old, and Harriet, a boy of two. Overall, Agnes finds it difficult not only to provide them proper education but also to tame their wild behaviors. She even feels she is treated just like a servant in the family. She doesn’t get along with the kids’ grandmother and especially their uncle who loves enslaving animals, which later influence them to do the same thing. Agnes gets more and more uncomfortable but she stays on her promise that she won’t give up amidst the hard times.
Until, she gets fired because the employers think her presence does not significantly improve their kids’ attitude for their manners uncultivated and their tempers unruly. So she goes back home with a belief that not all parents are like Mr. and Mrs. Bloomfield and not all children are like theirs. She has been seasoned by the adversity, and tutored by the experience, and she longs to redeem her lost honor in the eyes of those whose opinion is more than that of all the world to her (Agnes Grey page 38).
For a couple of months, Agnes enjoys her free time at home with the love from the family. Her father’s health is better than the last time she sees him and now she can entertain him by singing his favorite songs. No one is joyful with the failure she makes while working for the Bloomfield family. All are happy to receive her back and shower her with even more care and tenderness. Mary gets so well with her drawings.
Her mother tries to discourage Agnes when she touches the subject of becoming a governess again. But the latter firmness makes her mother gives up then advises her to advertise herself on her skills — music, singing, drawing, French, Latin and German. Soon the advertisement is written then dispatched. There are two parties that are interested in using Agnes’s service but her mother suggests the party who is willing to pay fifty pounds. She then departs for Horton Lodge, the place where the Murray family, her second employer, lives.
Miss Matilda, about 14 years old, is among the first who firstly sees her arriving at the family. Her sister, Miss Murray, or Rosalie, is about 16 when Agnes comes to the house. She is a very beautiful girl, tall and slender. She is lively, light-hearted and can be very agreeable (Agnes Grey, page 49). Miss Rosalie respects Agnes and the latter likes the former, too. What lacks in Miss Rosalie’s manner is her uncivil manners to nurses, governesses and servants. She has not been taught to moderate her desires or control her temper. She is often testy and capricious and is scornful.
Matilda is a tomboy girl, careless and cares so little about her appearance unlike her older sister. Matilda likes riding horses, headstrong and violent, and so unladylike.
John is about 11 years old who unfortunately grows up as an unruly, unprincipled, untaught boy. Charles, the mother’s particular darling, is a year younger than John, a selfish little fellow, naughty boy who brings only nuisance to Agnes. She completely has to be very patient to live with him peaceably and teach him.
The mansion is located almost two miles from the village church thus the family regularly attends the preaching. The kids’ arrogance really tests Agnes’s temper. She sometimes feels her life is foolish for she cares a lot for them but receives negligence in return. But her patience pays off. The kids slowly little less insolent and begin to show some symptoms of esteem (Agnes Grey page 55).
Miss Murray is now 18 years old and it’s time for her to come out by attending a ball. And after she returns from the party, she can’t help talking to Agnes the names of the gentlemen who admire her beauty; Sir Thomas Ashby, whom she calls as a young, rich but a beast. Then, she mentions Sir Hugh Meltham and Sir Broadley Wilson. Henry Meltham, a rather good-looking, a pleasant fellow to flirt with. Mr. Green, too, is among one of her fans whom she says a rich fellow but of no family. Mr. Hatfield, a rector, falls under her humble admirer.
One bright day in the last week of February while Miss Murray pays a morning call with her mother and Miss Matilda goes her daily ride, Agnes visit Nancy Brown, a widow whose son spends all day long working in the fields. Nancy has an inflammation in her eyes that make it difficult for reading. Agnes feels joyful to spend her brief with Nancy. She finds her days no longer lonely and even sees her life wiser and happier after talking with Nancy. Plus, she gets to know about Mr. Edward Weston, the curator of the church she often attends to. The two becomes better acquainted from which Agnes gradually has a crush on him.
On the other hand, Miss Murray enjoys the admirations from the gentlemen previously mentioned. She regularly attends the church just to enjoy what her fans say about her. Mr. Hatfield persistently approaches her only to later learn that Miss Murray plays with his heart.
Miss Murray eventually marries with Sir Thomas Ashby then becomes Lady Ashby. Not long after that, Agnes’s father passes away. She decides to leave the Murray family, return to her hometown for helping her mother setting up a school. While the school runs well, Agnes once pays a visit to Lady Ashby, who is now pregnant, when the family is in Horton Lodge. Lady Ashby completely greets Agnes like a great guest, providing her with a very comfortable room, a nice library and a very warm companionship. Although on the surface, Lady Ashby enjoys a luxurious life she admits that she is a bit unhappy. Her husband sometimes acts uncivilly while her mother-in-law is like a spy. From her, Agnes finds out that Mr. Weston is no longer at the Horton Lodge. She then returns home while feeling clueless on the whereabouts of the man who has made her unwilling to eat and has caused her mind not feeling at ease.
Before the clock strikes at six on a bright, beautiful morning, Agnes goes out of home. She walks toward the beach, enjoys whatever it has in store for her. She meets Mr. Weston there. They spend the morning together for the first time after her departure from Horton Lodge. He tells her that he now works nearby the place where she lives. He often looks for her but fruitless for Agnes rarely leaves her house and the school. All in all, Mr. Weston wants to meet her mother and eventually asks for her consent to marry Agnes. After he gets the approval, Mr. Weston expresses his wishes to marry Agnes and she definitely agrees to be his forever partner in life. The couple is later blessed with three children.
thank you to http://www.pinterest.com for the picture.