I’ve been researching how women through history have settled quarrels, and interestingly, more than one source reports that women rarely dueled. But it doesn’t take much to surfing on the net to check that claim---and apparently, there are certainly plenty of historical records reporting dueling women. Woman fought, like their male counterparts, over lovers, insults (perceived and real), gossip, and ultimately, for their honor. They fought with all kinds of pistols and a variety of swords and knives. There is a long, long list of dueling women in history.
Check this out: http://www.fscclub.com/history/armed4-e.shtml
Here are a couple of the more notable duels between women:
Lady Almeria Braddock and Mrs. Elphinstone >(1792)A certain Mrs. Elphinstone expected no more than a cup of tea when she paid a social call to Lady Almeria Braddock’s London home in 1792. But the visit veered off into decidedly unladylike territory when the hostess, evidently enraged by a casual comment Mrs. Elphinstone made about her age, challenged her guest to a duel in Hyde Park. According to reports, Mrs. Elphinstone fired her pistol first, knocking Lady Braddock’s hat to the ground. The women then took up swords, and Lady Braddock got her revenge by wounding her opponent in the arm. The “Petticoat Duel,” as it came to be known, ended without further incident when Mrs. Elphinstone agreed to write a letter of apology.
Isabella de Carazzi and Diambra de Pettinella (1552)Fabio de Zeresola may have been the most sought-after bachelor in 16th-century Naples. At a time when many duels were fought between men for a disputed lady’s favor, two young women—Isabella de Carazzi and Diambra de Pettinella—competed for Zeresola’s affection in a public swordfight. Although the outcome is unknown, the sensational event kept gossips’ tongues wagging for decades to come. In 1636, the Spanish artist Jose de Riberta immortalized the story in his famous painting “Duelo de Mujeres” (“Duel of Women”).
And lastly, as I read on another blog, there is the account from The Illustrated Police News an 1886 Victorian tabloid which covered duels of all kinds: between men, animals, boys--- but they particularly liked fighting women. The illustrations depicted most of their lady duellists as fashion plate stunners. In this engraving Madame Astie de Valsayre is duelling with an American, Miss Shelby. They disagreed about the relative merits of French and American doctors. The American girl called the Frenchwomen an idiot. As if to give European doctors (at least) a chance to prove their merit, they agreed to meet and fight it out. The site of the duel was significant: on the field of Waterloo. At first glance, one duellist looks to have been run through, but in actuality Miss Shelby was wounded in the arm. At this point, Madame Valsayre accepted her apology, and then subsequently "warmly eulogised the conduct of the fair American", "and holds her up to the admiration and emulation of her sex".”
That said, I can’t think of a single historical romance where the heroine has dueled with a woman. But there must be some out there.
Has anybody read a historical romance that featured a duelling heroine (who fought another woman)?
Labels: Duelling women