Punch and Judy.

Upon this, Jack Ketch shows him, and Punch pulls the rope tight and hangs the hangman.

Enter the Merry Clown, who says "You've hung some one."
"Yes," says Punch;" he had been out in the rain and I hung him up to dry."
"But you've hung him dead."
"That's lucky ! He won't catch cold no more from his damp clothes. "

Then they pack up Jack Ketch's body in a coffin, which Punch calls the coffce-box, only they can't get his head in because it is too large.
"Then," said the showman, "the fun and frolic begins. Joey, that's the clown, joins with Punch, and they get up to all sorts of larks. Then Scaramouch, or Shallaballa, comes and plagues him. Scaramouch used to have a chalk head, and Punch used to hit him a crack and break it to bits, but that's gone out now cause of the expense and the trouble. Everybody comes in again, the ghost and everything, and Punch lays about him and kills the lot; and then there's Old Nick arrives, only we leave him out mostly when we're performing to families that don't like him, and sometimes we've called him something else, such as Big Bogey, or the Emperor of Prussia, or the Russian bear (but that's old now), and he tries get hold of Punch, and they have a up and down, and Punch kills him and says 'Old Nick's done for, so now we can all do just what we like;' and that's the finish."

I reminded him that he had said nothin', about the dog, or the part of the performance in which he appeared.
"What, Toby, there," said the man, and the poor animal looked up at us wistfully, and gave a very feeble wag of his tail.

We bring him in mostly at the end. He's a bit of a star, but don't draw as he used to. There's more than one Toby in some of shows, but that's a mistake, as it seems to me. Once it was only a stuffed dog used, but that wouldn't do now. He's clever, but don't take to the business with no sperit. I rather think he fancies Punch is alive; there's no love lost atween 'em. He knows the others is dolls; I've seen him sniff at 'em, and sneeze contemptuous like, and walk away; but Punch puzzles him. I've never let him come across Punch except when I've been working I think he
ain 't quite decided in his what Punch is made of. It's better that way."

And this is all that my Punch showman had to tell me, and some of the information I received from him, I take it, must be only half relied upon.

 

A writer in the "Cornhill " in November says Punch is so called, because it is the play of five personages - Punch, Judy, his dog, and two others. Punjaub means the country of five waters, and Punch the drink, is composed of five ingredients. The word Paunch is Indostan for five, and in Fryers' Travels to the East Indies, 1672, there is mention made of Nerule near Goa, where is made the best arach, " With which the English on this coast make that enervating liquor called Paunch." But it would appear from the statement of a writer in "Notes and Queries," that Punch and Judy is a corruption both in word and deed of Pontius cum Judaeis, one of the old mysteries. the subject of which was Pontius Pilate with the Jews.

Other authorities tell us that Punch is of Italian origin. Porsini's first show, we are informed, was called Punchinello's, and afterwards Punch's opera. It was at first a more serious and sentimental performance than it is now, or rather it was intended to be so, for It seems rather difficult to attach sentiment to the antics of wooden dolls.

Steele and Addison celebrated the "skill in motions " of Powell, whose place of exhibition was under the Arcade in Covent Garden, where a pig danced a minuet with Punch. About that time, the tragedy of Jane Shore was advertised for representation at Punch's Theatre, in Hickford's Room, James Street, Haymarket. The Strand Theatre too; a few years ago, was called Punch's playhouse.

The Punch show I have seen in the Champs Elysees was very unlike our street exhibition, and the figures were worked in a different way to the English puppets, with sticks instead of with the fingers. I once went to a show called Punchinello, at a fair in a French country, where they played a four act piece, The Temptations of Saint Anthony. It was meant to be serious, and two boys' schools attended the performance at which I was present, but it was one of the funniest and most absurd things I ever saw in my life.

And now I think I have told you all I know about Punch and Judy, and perhaps have tried your patience not a little as it is. This is now the time for me to send round my hat. What, all going, eh? You there, sir, who have been listening so attentively. And you! and you! Come, come, this is too bad. You are treating me like the folks do the poor Punchman. I don't mind it, but they do. Mr. Routledge will take care of my hat, but the showman has to look to his own, and there's no supper to-night.


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