Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/391

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377
NORTON THE FIRST.

in the most ludicrous demonstrations of politeness towards every body on the street whose attention was drawn to his slightly obese figure, set off by the curiously antiquated costume which he affected.

San Francisco has still another speciality, in the shape of "Norton I, By the Grace of God and the Will of the people, Emperor of the United States, Protector of Mexico, and Sovereign Lord of the Guano Islands," as he styles himself in all his proclamations. You may see him to-day, dressed in a soiled and greasy uniform, cocked hat and feather, carrying a heavy cavalry sword and a huge knotty cane up and down Montgomery street, or peering curiously into the shop windows, examining every work of art, with a critical and appreciative eye.

The cares of state weigh heavily upon Norton the First, and in his advanced age he is becoming subject to certain slight ebulitions of wrath, on the slightest provocation. He daily sends off communications to the different crowned heads of Europe and Asia, commanding them to do this thing or that thing, immediately. His telegraphic dispatches would—and generally do—fill an ordinary waste-basket every week in the year, and the number of proclamations which he sends to the different newspaper offices, with command to publish at once, on penalty of instant death and confiscation of property, is beyond computation. He was a wealthy speculator in breadstuff's, in the early days of San Francisco, and probably receives more or less assistance from his old and more fortunate acquaintances, and possibly also, from a secret order of which he was once a member; but the full secret of his living and maintaining his royal state, is a mystery to most people.