54 great opening lines: 9

All true histories contain instruction; though, in some, the treasure may be hard to find, and when found, so trivial in quantity that the dry, shrivelled kernel scarcely compensates for the trouble of cracking the nut.

Agnes Grey, Anne Brontë

*****

Agnes Grey is trying to be independent and earn an income, albeit to help her poor parents.  It is the 1840s and she has little choice but to work as a governess.  Although she has no trouble finding a couple of jobs, her charges, the children, are unmanageable and their families unexpectedly scorn her.

I empathised with Agnes as she struggled to tutor pupils in their own homes, who feel free to run around the room or sit under the table or go into the garden and kill innocent chicks in a nest.

The opening line of Agnes Grey is a great piece of Brontë wisdom.

 

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