1 Jul 2009

Comtesse de Saint-Ridier

I found the strangest thing when I arrived home the other day - a letter from the British Museum informing me of an archaeological artifact uncovered near my ancient ancestral home in Hampshire.

Being a fervent feminist-Marxist-occasional Maoist (as a teen), I naturally shy away from my patrician roots. However owing to the exciting content of the letter in question I feel obliged to equip you with a short her-story of my great ancestoress the Comtesse de Saint-Ridier, aka the Amazonian of Hampshire.

The Comtesse was a bold woman who lived between 1638-1684 - that's right - during the English Civil War. Her husband the Comte de Ridier (of French origin) was sent into battle and perished in the ballads of dead men's cries on the field of battle (N.B. great creative description - use in prose). Naturally the two had been Republicans who strictly adhered to the codes of the Bible, so that each time they whipped, pillaged or ate a servant they would instantly to the priest confess their sins and be most joyously accepted back into the fold of sheep.

When the Irish launched an unprecedented attack upon the family castle in 1642 the Comtesse defended the fortress for at least two days. She became know as the Amazonian of Hampshire and called upon her maids to take to arms. They wore bright bronze helmets and nothing but bloomers, boots and facepaint (painting to the right is an artist's impression).

The Irish surrounded the mighty Ridier battlement and resolved to starve her out, but following reports from her chambermaid of a secret tunnel running between the grand ball room and a nearby dairy farm the Comtesse proceeded to defy the enemy by tipping the castle's entire supply of potatoes over their lepricorn heads. However, after celebrating their clever coup the Comtesse asked to be shown the tunnel in question and was most agitated to discover that she had misheard: the maid had actually said 'fairy charm'. It turned out the young gal was having her period at the time and had turned quite quite mad. The Comtesse swore never to trust in the sisterhood again.

Needless to say the poor maid was whipped and exchanged with the Irish for five potatoes that were soon consumed and twelve hours later the Comtesse most willingly surrendered to the brutes. She later retired to Herefordshire, where her legend preceded her, never again to trust women. How very different the Riders are today indeed.

And now the most exciting news! The British Museum have unearthed the original feather-plumed hemet in which she fought the Irish. Of course I was most flattered by the prospect of seeing my great ancestress' head regalia stand alongside the Rosetta stone, however the museum seem to consider it "of relatively little histroical value" and so have offered it to moi!

This is fantastic news, although it has come somewhat late: I must now wait an entire year for Ascot. Can a lady still wear a giant girl-skull hat of pure bronze and ruby ostrich pearl to such events? No, maybe a mere woman could not but a feminist can!

So glad to be home. Toodles xx

PS must have a matching one made for Emmeline Pankhurst - she gets awful frock envy ...

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