by Allanson-Winn, and Phillipps-Wolley
As a weapon of modern warfare this implement has not been given a fair place. It has, indeed, too often been spoken of with contempt and disdain, but there is no doubt that, even in the hands of a strong and angry old woman, a gamp of solid proportions may be the cause of much damage to an adversary. Has not an umbrella, opened suddenly and with good flourish, stopped the deadly onslaught of the infuriated bull, and caused the monarch of the fields to turn tail? Has it not, when similarly brought into action, been the means of stopping a runaway horse, whose mad career might otherwise have caused many broken legs and arms?
It is, of course, an extremely risky operation prodding a fellow-creature in the eye with the point of an umbrella ; and I once knew a man who, being attacked by many roughs, and in danger of losing his life through their brutality, in a despairing effort made a desperate thrust at the face of one of his assailants. The point entered the eye and the brain, and the man fell stone dead at his feet. I would therefore only advocate the thrusting when extreme danger threatens – as a dernier resort, in fact, and when it is a case of who shall be killed, you or your assailant.
There are two methods of using the umbrella, viz. holding it like a fencing foil – and for this reason umbrellas should always be chosen with strong straight handles – for long thrusts when at a distance – PHOTOS 1 & 2 – or grasping it firmly with both hands, as one grasps the military rifle when at bayonet exercise. In the latter case one has a splendid weapon for use against several assailants at close quarters. Both the arms should be bent and held close to the body, which should be made to work freely from the hips, so as to put plenty of weight into the short sharp prods with which you can alternately visit your opponents’ faces and ribs. – PHOTOS 3 & 4 -.
If you have the handle in your right hand, and the left hand grasps the silk (or alpaca), not more than a foot from the point, it will be found most effective to use the forward and upward strokes be made very quickly and forcibly, for when it comes to such close work as this your danger lies in being altogether overpowered, thrown down, and possibly kicked to death ; and, as I have before hinted, when there is a choice of evils, choose the lesser, and don’t be the least squeamish about hurting those who will not hesitate to make a football of your devoted head should it unfortunately be laid low.
Then again, there is no better weapon for guarding a heavy blow aimed at you with a thick bludgeon than an umbrella, which, with its wire ribs and soft covering, is almost unbreakable, when all its ribs are held tightly with both hands ; it is also, for the same reason, when thus grasped with both hands, an excellent defence against the attack of a large powerful dog, which may spring at your throat, but, in this case, remember to get one of your legs well behind the other so as to bring most of the weight of your body on the foremost leg, and, if you are lucky, you may have the satisfaction of throwing the animal on its back.
Thrusting, prodding, and guarding then, may be called the strong points of the gamp ; it has no use for hitting purposes, and invariably tumbles to pieces, comes undone, and gets into a demoralised condition when one tries to make it fulfil all the conditions of the unclothed walking stick. Besides which, the handles are never made strong enough for hitting, and the hittee is protected by the folds of silk. Hitting, then, is the weak point of the gamp. Try to remember this when you feel inclined to administer a castigation to man or beast, and bear in mind that a comic scene may ensue, when, hot and angry, you stand with your best umbrella broken and half open, with the silk torn and the ribs sticking out in all directions.
Sometimes umbrellas have been made even more effective weapons by what is called a spring dagger, which consists of a short, strong knife or dirk let into the handle, and is readily brought into play by a sudden jerk, or by touching a spring. This may be all very well for travellers in the out-of-the-way regions of Spain, Sicily, or Italy, but I don’t like these dangerous accessories for English use, as they may be unfortunately liable to abuse by excitable persons.
In the environs of our big cities there is always a chance of attack by some fellow who asks the time, wants a match to light his cigar, or asks the way to some place. When accosted never stop, never draw out watch or box of lights, and never know the way anywhere. Always make a good guess at the time, and swear you have no matches about you. It is wonderful to notice kind-hearted ladies stopping to give to stalwart beggars who are only waiting for an opportunity to snatch purses, and it would be interesting to know how many annually lose their purses and watches through this mistaken method of distributing largess.
Let me conclude by saying that, if you want to be as safe as possible in a doubtful neighbourhood, your best friends are a quick ear, a quick eye, a quick step, and a predilection for the middle of the road. The two former help you to detect, as the two latter may enable you to avoid a sudden onslaught.
Counter To a Rear Shoulder Grab
If grabbed from the rear aim a blow under the chin, in the solar plexus or into the groin. Follow this up with a kick to the shin – knee region, step forward and strike upward into the attacker’s face.