Is it worse to sleep away our lives here than to be taken into England as a raree show for men to laugh at and women to pity?
“Nay, but my garb scarce befits the raree show,” said Ridley, looking at his russet gown.
Well-dressed ladies walked about great part of the night staring as at a raree show.
"peep show contained in a box," 1680s, so called "in imitation of the foreign way of pronouncing rare show" [Johnson]. "Johnson's statement is prob. correct; the early exhibitors of peep-shows appear to have been usually Savoyards, from whom the form was no doubt adopted" [OED]. Early "peep shows" were more innocent than what usually was meant later by that word.