14 Sep 2009

The curious case of the Bluestocking Pony and a warning to us all...

Can you believe it? ANOTHER one of my great ancestors has been written about AGAIN in terribly important historical work. This time it's about the bluestockings and my great great Auntie Polly Constance Rider.

She features in a wonderful book by the author Jane Robinson called Bluestockings - The Remarkable Story of the First Women to Fight for an Education. I read about it on the F-word. Although my great great auntie is not directly mentioned a dear anecdote pointed me in the right direction:

... the story of Constance Maynard, for example, appears across several chapters and eventually the mention of her name is like rediscovering an old friend. That Maynard’s father tried to bribe her out of accepting a university place by offering her a pony seems to tickle Robinson in particular, as she brings it up repeatedly. You can almost see her eyes rolling.

Well indeed, because my great great Auntie Polly Constance Rider, was indeed that very Constance! She later married a Maynard and dropped the Polly (she went on to work for Mi5 in Moscow and they thought it was a bit of a giveaway). But what Robinson doesn't know, and what history books won't tell you, is that she accepted that pony with eager joy: and do not roll your eyes Robinson! For she used that pony to become a highway robber, which gave her financial independence, the kind an education could never buy.

Indeed as feminists we must step outside of these pre conceived 'notions' of 'education'. It's very small minded. The whole of life is an erudite force cleaning the tunnels of our minds like a lavender-scented aromatherapy candle (divine!). In this respect one has to conclude that you are either born highly intelligent or just plain dumb, and I think we all know what category the Riders fall into.

Hugs and Pugs!

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