'And a governess?'

Category: People | Type: Historical | Title: David Copperfield (in Context) | Author: Charles Dickens | Ch: I Am Born

(Search Austen and the Brontës.)

A governess is one of the few acceptable occupations open to an unmarried middle-class woman without a dowry.  Governesses often were the daughters of impoverished clergy, for though penniless the governess had the advantage of education, manners, and a respectable family. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë were the daughters of an impecunious curate. Jane Eyre and other governess-heroines occupy a sort of purgatory between the servants and the master and mistress. Mr. Weston in Emma, Rochester in Jane Eyre, and David Copperfield Senior marry governesses, but such marriages were far more the province of fiction. 

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