Hou Ching now staged the usual spectacle: he put a puppet on the imperial throne, deposed him eighteen months later and made himself emperor.
It is the Nec plus ultra of Marionettism, in which Signer Girolamo, the proprietor, has made a revolution, which will form an epoch in the annals of puppetry; having driven from the stage entirely the graziosissima maschera d'Arlecchino, who used to be the hero of all the pieces represented by the puppets and substituted himself, or rather a puppet bearing his name, in the place of Harlequin, as the principal farceur of the performance.
This is a puppet theatre, but puppets so well contrived and so well worked as to make the spectacle well worth the attention of the traveller.
patronizing puppetshows, seizing conspicuous seats, and withholding the sunshine of their smiles from commoners allied to older nobility than their own!
You will have read no more than the opening pages (descriptive of the terrible Sunday evening supper which the pair took at the Vicarage--a supper of cold meat and a ground-rice mould, whereat four jaded and parish-worn persons lacerated one another's nerves) before you will have realised gratefully that the story and its characters are going to be alive with a very refreshing and unpuppetlike vitality.