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Laughter in New Hampshire.

the late Democratic State Convention in New Hampshire, considering the fearfully funereal business upon which it met, was decidedly in luck. Remembering that it is, so to speak, a deposed dynasty, we may congratulate the New Hampshire Democracy upon the possession of a certain funny physician, named Bachelder, who introduced his method of cure — a kind of Gigglepathy — to the Convention, and made jokes for the members about the “inevitable bigger,” which were received, we are told, with roars of merriment. Taking into account how small will be their temptations to laughter after the election, perhaps it was merely prudent for the delegates to exercise their diaphragms before that event; for if he laughs who wins, the victims of predestinate defeat must secure [313] their quantum of the amusement before their solemn fate is determined, if they would have it at all. “Tomorrow we may be dying,” --very justly thought these Democrats--“let us be merry while we can.”

Of the pure philosophic school of Democrats, the drearier their destiny, the heartier their guffaws became, under the persuading influences of the droll Doctor, who is, we take it, like one of the old-fashioned quacks who, in other days, were wont to dispense mercury and merriment from a stage at country fairs. We give the Doctor this publicity because we cannot sufficiently admire his pluck in being jolly under circumstances which would have daunted Mark Tapley himself. We must add that we give him credit, too, for an exceeding ingenuity at discovering new materials for laughter in the “nigger;” for we really thought that Buckley and the rest of the lampblack boys had exhausted the fountain of sable farce.

If any of our readers are laboring under that green-and-yellow complaint called melancholy, we cordially recommend them to send fifty cents, and a few locks of their hair, to the New Hampshire Paracelsus. He is “death on gloom,” as other accomplished quacks have been “death on fits.” He is a walking, grinning, giggling, cacchinating, tittering, smiling proof of the excellence of his own theory, and the infallibility of his own practice. Here is the country in the condition of the most cruel anxiety; we are bereaved, we are drafted, we are impoverished; in hundreds of homes there is weeping for the dead, and [314] terrible suspense, and fear of the next news, and sickening anxiety until it shall come; but in spite of all this weary woe, the irrepressible Doctor Bachelder mounts the stage with his budget of quips and quirks, and soon has the grave Democracy of New Hampshire in a roar worthy of any peepshow or penny theatre. The man who could do this should not content himself with peddling pills in the rural districts. He has a right to aspire to metropolitan fame. With a little chalk upon his cheeks, and red ochre on the tip of his nose, he would be invaluable in a traveling circus. We cordially recommend him to our friend Barnum as quite a monster of merriment. With the two dwarfs to make jokes, and the Doctor to laugh at them, we believe it would be necessary to enlarge the cash-box of the museum.

If we are ourselves exhibiting a little ill-timed pleasantry, we must plead the contagion of example. It is impossible to write of this Medical Momus in a serious way. Perhaps if we were to take a few lessons of him in the Art of Laughing — will he be good enough to send us a card of his terms for twelve lessons?--we, too, might see Slavery in a ludicrous light. Who knows but the Doctor might found a new Pro-Slavery sect? Some say that the institution is patriarchal, others affirm it to be ethnological. Others, still, find authority for it in the curse of Canaan. Now, might not Bachelder take the ground that, whereas, “there is a time to laugh,” so God gave us Slavery to laugh at — Slavery with its shames and crimes its cruelties and inconsistencies. When [315] Sambo writhes under the lash, what can be droller? When his wife is cowhided, is there not entertainment in every scream? It is such a joke to part mother and child! It is such a perfection of comedy — this exhibition of human will, utterly depraved, and of human weakness, utterly down-trodden! Roar away, Dr. Bachelder! Roar until your breath fails, and your sides shake! Why should n't you laugh Are there not laughing hyenas?

We believe that the jovial Bachelders of the day should be encouraged to new efforts in laughing at the Blacks, because it really begins to be doubtful whether, after all, the Blacks will not too soon have the laugh against us. We can imagine one of these ebony butts, of ordinary intelligence and a sardonic turn of mind, chuckling in a way that would afford a new study for the Ethiopian Serenaders, at the particularly hot water in which his light-colored superiors are floundering. While he has nothing to lose, and can hardly sink to a lower deep of misery, he has the retributive compensation of observing our wars and our wastes, our bereavements and our bankruptcies, our failures and our fears. The man must be purblind, at least, who does not see that, in all these distractions, the celebrated curse has been mysteriously transferred from the shoulders of Canaan to our own. The New Hampshire doctor does well to laugh while it is possible. He cannot tell whose chance it will be next!

November 28, 1862.

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