29 3 / 2012
The Petticoat Duel
While duels between women were not as common, they were not unheard of. In 1792, Lady Almeria Braddock and a Mrs. Elphinstone fought what came to be known as “the petticoat duel.”
Mrs. Elphinstone made a social call to Lady Almeria’s house and while there paid her ladyship a very backhanded compliment, saying:
“You have been a very beautiful woman. You have a good… face even now but you must acknowledge that the lilies and roses are somewhat faded. Forty years ago, I am told, a young fellow could hardly gaze upon you with impunity.”
When Braddock insisted she was not even 30 years old, Mrs. Elphinstone retorted by saying her age was officially recorded as sixty-one. Enraged by this (probably accurate) accusation, the Lady challenged Elphinstone to a duel.
The two met in Hyde Park. They first shot with pistols at ten paces, but when no bullet hit its mark, ignoring the pleas of their friends to stop, they continued dueling with swords. Elphinstone eventually took a small injury to the arm and the ladies curtsied to each other and considered their honor restored.
Read More: 5 Silly Reasons People Decided to Duel
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