be avoided on the same principle.
It seems impossible that such a show should not insensibly vulgarize a child's pure mind.
The last time I took a child to see it — its detestable features having grown dim in my mind — I found by comparison that all the parents present felt very much as I did, and only consoled themselves with the thought that the little things “did not understand.”
But they did understand.
A child under five narrated the whole thing with animation after reaching home — the only things she did not comprehend, from never having seen or heard of them before, being the ghost, the hangman, and the demon.
Should she go again --which she will not if I can help it-she will soon be coarsely introduced to those also, and begin to dream about them, perhaps, in the slumbers that follow.
I do not wish to put all the blame of “Punch and Judy
” on our English ancestors, for it is much older than they.
The very figure of this hero was familiar on the Roman
stage, and an ancient statuette has been found which represents him essentially as now. The play is not much coarser than some of the old mystery plays of the Middle Ages
; and the very name is by some supposed to have come from Pontius cum Judaeis
--Pontius Pilate with the Jews.
The drama itself is Italian
, and belongs to the seventeenth century, where it had a highly spiritual