“Let not women’s weapons, water-drops, Stain my man’s cheeks!” In King Lear, Shakespeare didn’t have a very high opinion of women’s weapons. Women, though, have far more in their weapons arsenal than tears. Throughout history, women fought as warriors in many cultures which will be a Rita Bay’s Theme of the Month in the future.
Ladies in Britain’s Regency period (c. 1790-1820) had few weapons at their disposal other than Shakespeare’s tears. Ladies were allowed, however, to practice archery. The print (Buck, 1799) pictured here shows three young ladies practicing archery at the butts.
Another weapon allowed women was the muff pistol. It was designed to be concealed inside a lady’s muff. Early muff pistols were flintlocks with one shot. Muff pistol technology evolved with traditional pistols. The one pictured here also has a detachable dagger. Some of the daggers were spring-loaded to pop into place.
Maybe Regency ladies weren’t so helpless after all.
Tomorrow, Father’s Day. Rita Bay