4 APRIL 1958, Page 7

THE SPECTACLE of two stout, elderly men waving swords at

each other for the benefit of a large crowd of publicity agents, press photographers, reporters, doctors, `umpires,' seconds' and assorted spectators, pausing every now and then to have their blood pressure taken, may have done the advance booking for their next ballet seasons a lot of good, but it still reminded me of professional wrestling. The Marquis de Cuevas is noted for his parties; Serge Lifar for having been, a good many years ago, a fine dancer. This pathetic episode can hardly have added much to the reputation of either; squealing of 'honour' damaged by some commercial dispute (and repaired, apparently, by a very slight scratch on. the forearm of one of the contestants), they have succeeded only in making themselves a nine-days' laughing-stock. Duelling—even if it had been real duelling—should really be left, in this day and age, to German students and other such primitive peoples.

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