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The Xenophile Historian

K. U. P.

(Kimball's Unauthorized Perversion)

The Tears of a Clown

People often say that deep down, clowns aren't really happy people. I don't know about the other stories, but the one concerning Joe Grimaldi (1779-1837) is true:

One evening in 1808, a gaunt, sad-faced man entered the offices of Dr. James Hamilton in Manchester. The doctor was struck by the melancholy appearance of his visitor. He inquired:

"Are you sick?"
"Yes, doctor, sick of a mortal malady."
"What malady?"
"I am frightened of the terror of the world around me. I am depressed by life. I can find no happiness anywhere, nothing amuses me, and I have nothing to live for. If you can't help me, I shall kill myself."
"The malady is not mortal. You only need to get out of yourself. You need to laugh; to get some pleasure from life."
"What shall I do?"
"Go to the circus tonight to see Grimaldi, the clown. Grimaldi is the funniest man alive. He'll cure you."
"Doctor," said the sad-faced man, "I am Grimaldi."

(I believe Grimaldi got over his bout of depression, as the dates suggest he lived twenty-nine more years after that.)

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