1792: Name Your Weapons

Petticoat Duellists - Carlton House Magazine (1792)

One afternoon in 1792, Lady Almeria Braddock and a certain Mrs. Elphinstone were having tea when the following exchange occurred:

Mrs Elphinstone: “You have been a very beautiful woman.”

Lady Almeria: “Have been? What do you mean by ‘have been’?”

Mrs Elphinstone: “You have a very good autumn face, even now . . . The lilies and roses are somewhat faded. Forty years ago I am told a young fellow could hardly gaze on you with impunity.”

Lady Almeria: “Forty years ago! Is the woman mad? I had not existed thirty years ago!”

Mrs Elphinstone: “Then Arthur Collins, the author of the British Peerage has published a false, scandalous and seditious libel against your ladyship. He says you were born the first of April 1732.”

Lady Almeria: “Collins is a most infamous liar; his book is loaded with errors; not a syllable of his whole six volumes is to be relied on.”

Mrs Elphinstone: “Pardon me. He asserts that you were born in April 1732 and consequently are in your sixty first year.”

Lady Almeria: “I am but turned of thirty.”

Mrs Elphinstone: “That’s false, my lady!”

Lady Almeria: “This is not to be borne; you have given me the lie direct . . . I must be under the necessity of calling you out . . . ”

Mrs Elphinstone: “Name your weapons. Swords or pistols?”

Lady Almeria: “Both!”

The two met at Hyde Park and drew pistols. Mrs Elphinstone shot a hole through Lady Almeria’s hat, knocking it to the ground. When swords were drawn, Lady Almeria  wounded the arm of her opponent, who then agreed to compose a letter of apology. (source)

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