Parenting And/Or Killing Birds (Agnes Grey, Ch. 5-7)

In this quite unfortunate chapter of Agnes’ life, she tells us how she works as a governess for some children, whose father spoils them, mother doesn’t discipline them, and whose uncle applauds their mischief.

“You daren’t.  You daren’t touch them for your life!  because you know papa and mamma, and uncle Robson would be angry.  Ha, ha! I’ve caught you there, Miss!”

“I shall so what I think is right in a case of this sort, without cnsulting anyone.  If your papa and mamma don’t happen to approve of it, I shall be sorry to offend them, but your uncle Robson’s opinions, of course, are nothing to me.’

So saying – urged by a sense of duty – at the risk of both making myself sick, and incurring the wrath of my employers – I got a large flat stone, that had been reared up for a mouse trap by the gardener, then, having once more vainly endeavored to persuade the little tyrant to let the birds be carried back, I asked what he intended to do with them.  With fiendish glee he commenced a list of torments, and while he was busied in the relation, I dropped the stone upon his intended victims, and crushed them flat beneath it.

Loud were the outcries

After this, the uncle is mad to Agnes, and she has a talk about it with their more or less apathetic mother.

I think that Agnes did the right thing in her circumstances.

Obviously, nowadays, there are places where you can bring the baby birds to be raised and cared for, but at that time Agnes’ solution was probably the best one.  I do feel like it must have been a little graphic for the kids though.

Then again, they have done worse to birds before.

I am really proud of Agnes for taking the initiative in attempting to raise these kids.  It is obviously really hard, and there is most likely only a 5% chance they will become what she wants them to, but I hope they learn something from Miss Grey.



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