- Originally published on the Bartitsu.org site on Wednesday, 1st February 2017
From the Pall Mall Gazette of Thursday, 04 May 1899:
It is not often that the London people have such an exhibition of fencing and kindred feats of arms put before them as last evening at Bertrand’s Academy in Warwick-street, W. The main object of the gathering was to give the British public an opportunity of seeing Professor Vigny, of the Geneva Boxing Academy, who comes to us with a very high reputation as an expert in the use of foils, single-sticks, duelling swords, and French and English boxing.
During the evening he appeared no less than six times, and consequently wound up greatly fatigued. His knowledge of stick-play was proved to be a most complete one, his prefatory demonstration bringing forth much applause. In a bout with single-sticks against Professor Anastasie, of Paris, he can only be said to have held his own.
M. Felix Bertrand was to have opposed Vigny with duelling swords, but had unfortunately injured his hand and could not appear, his place being taken by Staff-Sergeant Betts, who, however, was no match for his redoubtable opponent. With the foils Vigny had but few equals, and delighted the audience by his spirited bout with Professor Danguy.
In the French mode of boxing Vigny is also a first-class artist and gave a capital display, but had quite 2 st. advantage in the weights. As to his abilities in the English method of boxing, the less said the better, as any of our best men would smother him. On the whole, he must be classed as a performer of rare merit and, indeed, a first-class all-round athlete. His performances were scarcely up to the standard of his great reputation; but it must be borne in mind that, although in the pink of condition, he was decidedly overworked, and consequently suffered in this respect by comparison with his adversaries.
Other incidents of the evening were an extremely skillful bout with the foils between Mr. Egerton Castle and Mr. John Jenkinson, the former of whom is the most graceful exponent we have seen; and an exhibition of club-swinging by Staff-Sergeant Betts.