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Women duelists fight for love but lose their men

Ladies duel
Frehcn postcard "La rencontre" (Meeting)
Source: Delcampe

Русская версия


Maestro Jacopo Gelli, a local fencing master who has trained many youths in the art of using sword and rapier, asserts that more than a hundred dueles have been fought by women within the last century. And 95 percent of them were for love of a man. This is not the case with male duelists. They do fight for beauty but they as often fight for imaginary of real insults which have nothing to do with their women folk.

Maestro Gelli says that two girls were killed in duels. Litzie Harbova killed her rival, Mary Preaster, in Budapest and Isabella Hernandez killed hers Rosa Gusman, in Mexico. In each case the young man who had the misfortune to be loved too well left the victorious maiden and married a girl who did not know a rapier from a broadsword. Isabella opened a fencing school for women and had a poor opinion of men forever after.

Girls fight; Become Friends

Twenty years ago at Lemberg (Lviv), Poland, two women, both employed in the same business house, fell in love with a certain army captain, known to posterity as Hans. They walked to a wood on the outskirts of the city, each with a case of dueling pistols, and decided it that way. Hans had become engaged to marry both of them. One was slightly wounded; the opponents made friends again and agreed that, after all, Hans was not worth worrying about.

In women's duels, says Maestro Gelli, seconds are rare. The fighters, or "principals" as they are called, either cannot get or do not want help in measuring the distance at which they shoot, giving word to start or finish, calling the surgeon, or if need be carrying on the duel when the principals are too done up to fight any more.

When in Mexico, Marta Duran was killed in a duel by her rival Janna Luna, the young man [and the cause of the duel witnessing the sword fight], Don Rafael Riquelma, was so horrified when he saw poor Marta with a deep sword wound in her bosom that ran away and was never seen again. Much the same thing happened on the south coast of France sixty years ago when one of the gentle duelists was wounded in the right arm. The young man married another [third party] girl.

После эпохи Екатерины II женская дуэль в России претерпела сильные изменения.

Man Interferes; is wounded

In a sixteenth century duel, where the injured girl woke her rival up and handed her a sword, with a court order to "come outside and have it out," the young man, Count di Riom, tried to intervene as the duel was going on, and was wounded for his pains. Both girls lost their heads at the sight of blood. Two Spanish girls, cousins, fought a desperate duel with swords near Valencia some years ago. One was killed, but the young man over whom the duel was fought escaped to the Canary Isles and married somebody else.

Two facts stand out in these duels. One that they were fought in times when girls, especially Spanish ones, were supposed to take no interest in sports of any kind and never went out of the house without an escort. The other, that the man who has directly or indirectly been the cause of the duel marries somebody else. Home life with rapiers at hand would seem to have no charm for the average male.

The Milwaukee Journal - Nov 6, 1928

Staged female duel.


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>> Female Duelists


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