Anne Radcliffe

A valiant lady battles pirates 1785

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I need to get back to the concepts of Pirate101 Watermoles, but to digress for a moment...

I read a fascinating piece set in the real 'Age of Pirates' concerning not a lady pirate, but rather a lady, a certain Madame du Frenoy, who fought pirates. A lot of people think women from previous eras were not capable of defending themselves, but while not many women and girls were trained in the art of combat, critical circumstances could indeed prove the mettle of females as well as males.

The story goes that Monsieur and Madame du Frenoy were on a small ship sailing to Italy, when the ship was attacked by Barbary Pirates. Not capable of defending themselves from the pirate ship's cannons, and unable to maneuver out of reach, the crew and passengers aboard the smaller vessel prepared a 'reception committee' for when the pirates inevitably boarded them. Monsieur du Frenoy begged his wife to go below decks, where hopefully she would be safer, but the lady firmly refused, taking a saber and being determined to stand by her husband (wise man: he didn't waste a whole lot of breath arguing with her).

The pirates boarded the ship, and they came in force. Facing odds stacked against them, the crew and passengers fought valiantly for their lives. Madame du Frenoy notably yelled encouragement to those fighting the pirates, and she wasn't slow as a fighter either. Her husband was felled by a bullet wound to his leg, but she gallantly stayed right beside him, cutting down at least one pirate who came within range.

Eventually, the pirates decided this was not a profitable venture, so escaped to their own ship, removing the grappling hooks and fleeing, leaving their dead and wounded behind. So a happy ending for the good guys! (Which the Barbary pirates were definitely not) and a thrilling tale of real life adventure. Huzzah for the gallant Madame du Frenoy!

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  1. Mocca82's Avatar
    Wow that's so amazing, I am inspired to do some more in depth research.

    Loved the blog, very interesting indeed....

    ~Observations of a passing stranger