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[254]

L. The brutality of “Punch and Judy.”

Whenever the season of picnics and children's excursions draws near, I feel disposed to renew my protest against a performance which has only crossed the Atlantic within some twenty years, and which has in some inexplicable way crept into decent society. I mean “Punch and Judy.” It is an exhibition only fitted to be shown, as it seems to me, before the children of prize-fighters or cock-fighters. It is something that could only have originated, in its present form, among a race of very coarse fibre, which the English stock unquestionably is; and now that a more refined race is being developed from this parent stem, it is a shame to transplant its very coarsest amusements. No sane parent would paper a child's bedroom with representations of murders and executions from the Police Gazette; and yet the exhibition of “Punch and Judy” offers this and nothing more, and does it in the more pernicious form of action instead of picture. From beginning to end the performance has not one redeeming trait. All the fun lies in the fact that

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