“To Defy the Hooligan: Advice to Ladies” (1905)

A satirical self-defence article from the Bristol Magpie of February 2, 1905:

NOTWITHSTANDING there are already numberless systems of self defence extensively advertised and practiced, Magpie hopes to be excused for bringing before his readers just one more, “The Magpie System,” which has been devised by a brainy professor, specially for ladies, in this respect filling a great and crying need.

To get to business; we will commence with railway assaults as these are the most common and the most dreaded. In the first place, dear ladies, you must never travel alone without a copy of the Magpie and a trusty life preserver, which latter can easily be concealed conveniently to hand, in the byways of your skirt. If you find yourself in a railway carriage, the only other occupant of which is one of those terrifying objects – a man – you will, after having reviewed in your mind all the crimes you can remember committed under similar circumstances, readily see that you are in a critical position and will prepare to act accordingly.

Wait till your natural enemy is buried in the latest phase of the fiscal problem, looking out of the window, or otherwise engaged, and then give him a tap over the “brayne panne” with the aforesaid weapon. One blow is usually sufficient, and all that remains is to throw the body through the window far into the night, or day as the case may be. Of course the man might have been as innocent and free from guilt as Mr. Balfour or E. T. Hooley, but that is a side issue and you cannot afford to take any risks in this strenuous life.

Let us take another view of the case. Suppose that by some means or other, you allow the man to get the best of the early exchanges, and find yourself apparently in his power, you must, whilst appearing to accede to the hooligan’s demands, stealthily disengage one of your hatpins, which are, I understand, like your troubles always with you, and plunge it into any tender spot which your assailant leaves exposed. A very slight knowledge of anatomy is of advantage here, as it will help you to decide where to strike, but it may be laid down as a safe rule, that if the pin sinks in the flesh to a depth of seven or eight inches without reaching bottom, you have, so to speak, touched the spot, and your man is at once placed hors de combat. You now recover your hat pin, adjust your toilet, and turn to the pages of this journal for further information.

We now come to the ordinary footpad, the common or garden form of Hooliganitus. Should you find yourself in a dirty street, commanded by a dirty Dick Turpin to “stand and deliver” you must use that sense of tact with which the gods have so liberally endowed your sex. Throw your bulging purse heavily on the pavement. The clink of the filthy lucre will generally cause Turpin to lose all caution, and as he stoops to pick up the spoils, you spring with all possible force on to his back. This will send him sprawling face downwards, and you can either sit on his head till the police arrive — which will be from one to twenty-four hours — or punish him yourself by seizing his ears and bumping his face in the gutter ad lib.

Sometimes, however the rascal is too wary to be had by the purse bait, and then a hand to hand struggle is inevitable. Close with him. Put your right arm somewhere around his neck, your left arm somehow around his waist, knock his feet from under him anyhow, and if you are as strong as Sandow you will be able to walk away victorious. But if, by some strange chance, you are bested, and find yourself on the ground with the man on top of you, then the hat pin trick is the correct thing.

Other tricks may be described briefly. Face your man squarely. Soozle round him a bit and then if you are able to reach so high, kick him in the wind. If you cannot soar to such heights, the shins of man are very sensitive and make a good substitute. Here again, a superficial acquaintance with the science of anatomy is most desirable.

Of all attacks whether in love or war, that which comes from the rear is acknowledged by every competent authority to be the most dangerous. We are pleased to be able to give a word of advice on this point. Whenever you find yourself in a difficult locality, WALK BACKWARDS. This will completely confound your enemy, as he cannot tell whether you are coming or going, and will effectually guard against an attack from behind. Those ladies who are skilled in the mysteries of the cake walk will find no difficulty in carrying out this part of our system, but we admit it has its disadvantages, (see sketch) and a little practice is highly recommended. For this purpose we cannot suggest a better place than Magpie Park during the dinner hour, and to that lady who proves herself most adapt we will award suitable recognition.

Everyone will agree that our methods are most effective and easily mastered, but should private lessons be desired, the editor will be pleased to send terms and particulars on receipt of stamped addressed envelope.

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