It was impossible, somewhere as remote as this and another man had reached the summit first.
He furiously stamped through the snow to the tall figure.
“How did you get here? I am the Prince of Moscowa and should have been the first man to climb Vignemale.”
The figure turned, he gasped it wasn’t a man but a woman in a long black dress.
Anne Lister smiled. “You may be the Prince of Moscowa, but here an Englishwoman takes precedence. As for how, my wife advised me to bring crampons.”
She nodded, turned, and left him gasping in anger.
This is loosely based on a real story. On the 7th of August 1838, Anne Lister, diarist, landowner and traveller (also known as Gentleman Jack) made the first ascent of Vignemale in the Pyrenees, her wife, Anne Walker, had insisted she take her crampons which proved essential in the ascent (Anne Lister is also described as ‘the first modern lesbian).
The Prince of Moscowa, son of Napoleon’s Marshall Ney, climbed the mountain on the 11th, and immediately claimed in the press to have made the first ascent. It took the threat of legal action for him to back down and grudgingly admit she had been the first to the summit.
I don’t know if the phrase, ‘an Englishwoman takes precedence.’ Was actually said by Anne Lister, but I think it should have been.
This is in response to Charlie Mills flash fiction challenge, in 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that features somewhere remote. I thought about a wonderful true story concerning a remarkable lady.
3 responses to “An Englishwoman takes Precedence”
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Good one Curious Archaeologist! So many conquests in one 99 word tale and the reminder to keep some crampons handy.
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