"Rules and schools are tools for fools. I don't give two mules for rules!" ~ A poem by Constance, "The Mysterious Benedict Society"
Constance Contraire is a very stubborn and intelligent toddler. She is the youngest and most bothersome member of the Mysterious Benedict Society. Though she is naughty, she plays a very big role in the group. She is known for her poems, hardheadedness, and never-ending complains. Nicholas Benedict, the very man who formed the clique, adopted her and welcomed her to his home.
Constance has yellow hair and blue eyes; if she were any taller she might resemble Kate enough to be related. She is allegedly very chubby and, in the first book and all illustrations, seen wearing a red raincoat with enough pockets to hold thirty-seven pencils. She is three years old and looks it, but because of her intellect the others assume she is older.
The name "Constance Contraire" could be a play off "constantly contrary" or "consistently contrary," referring to Constance's stubborn attitude. In fact, it's her stubborn attitude that saves the Society in the first book!
Constance is, in general terms, a genius and can read, write, and speak intelligently from an extremely early age. (She is about two and six months in the first book.) She constantly is spouting rhymes on the spot, usually insults directed at whoever's closest to her, so much that Kate comes up with a retaliating rhyme. Unfortunately, we never get to hear it.
In the second book it's shown that Constance can tell who's where just by the pattern of his footsteps. This proves useful to the children on many occasions; such as when they are talking and Constance alerts them that Captain Noland is coming down the hall.
In the third book, this ability has heightened to the point of almost psychic-appearing power. Constance can predict the weather by sensing patterns in the air, and likely predict behavior as well by mood patterns and knowledge of a person's general behavior. She can also communicate through images telepathically, communicating her location to Reynie in form of a call number at the library.
With Sticky, she made him believe for an instant that he didn't like vanilla ice cream, giving it to her, though this caused an immense headache and stomach flu-like symptoms for a couple days.
Mr. Benedict tells the children that Constance is highly sensitive to patterns, making her appear psychic. However, she isn't psychic in that she can predict the future without any previous information. She is especially sensitive and can hear the Messengers' voices.
Constance is like any other three-year-old except for the happy, innocent and cheerful part. The annoyance factor is enhanced to make up for the lack. She is constantly grumpy and contrary to anything anyone has to say; she insists on having the last word and will do almost anything to get it.
Because of her more advanced intellect conflicting with her natural instincts, it's definitely difficult for her to relate to children her own age; thereby making her friends the only people whom she can really relate to. Constance seems to favor Reynie, but it's also quite possible she considers herself close to Sticky as well. Her behavior towards Kate is very sisterly.
Constance does, however, have toddler instincts and food is one of her main concerns, especially candies and desserts. And, like a three-year-old, if anything's not exactly her way she can get very frustrated. At first Kate is extremely reluctant to have anything to do with her.
History (before the series)Edit
Constance, about a year previous to the beginning of the series, lived in an orphanage. However, when two Ten Men expressed interest in her because Mr. Curtain had instructed them to take her to the L.I.V.E, she crawled out of her crib, grabbed the files containing her personal information, and ran away to a library. She lived there for a considerable amount of time before she saw Mr. Benedict's ad and took the tests, becoming a member of the Mysterious Benedict Society and its adventures.
It was revealed in The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma that Constance escaped her orphanage because she didn't want to be taken away by McCracken, who wanted to recruit her to L.I.V.E upon discovering her supreme intelligence.
In The Mysterious Benedict Society Edit
Constance arrives later than the rest of the children, and makes a fuss. Later, when Reynie tells Mr. Benedict of her behavoir, he tells Reynie that she is very gifted. Near the end, she goes into the Whisperer to confuse it. She can hear the Messenger's voices from the broadcasts. She is then rescued and has her birthday 1 month early. Her cake, however, only has 3 candles on it; She is only two years old through the whole book.
The Mysterious Benedict SocietyEdit
"Milligan! Come and tell us why you're so dreadfully glum!"
"Rules and schools are tools for fools-I don't care two mules for rules!''
"Now we have waited for thirty consecutive minutes to see some old dirty Executive, thirty long minutes I could have been sleeping, but she doesn't find her appointments worth keeping!"
The Prisoner's Dilemma Edit
"I'm an orphan! I'm an orphan!"
Behind the ScenesEdit
- Constance is the youngest member of the Society.
- Constance's poems are often used for comic relief.
- Many of Mr. Curtain's henchmen are wary of Constance's special ability.
- Constance's friends do not know that she is only 3 until the beginning of the second novel in the trilogy.