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À HUNT FOR Å SOVEREIGN.
of Nicaragua, nor was her claim to this coast ever disputed. Great Britain, in her superior wisdom, however, decided that as Nicaragua had no particular use for seaports, they would be better in other hands, even if she herself should be compelled to assume the protectorate. The first step necessary to accomplish this magnanimous object was to find a suitable sovereign. She is supposed to have embarked in the search with her characteristic zeal and energy; it is presumed that the first inquiries were made at San Juan. At first the prospect of success was not flattering, but fortunately inquiries were made of a native Indian, who very innocently informed Her Britannic Majesty's agent that his chief was sojourning along the “Mosquito Coast.”
What could have been more opportune? This was precisely the individual sought; here was a great man, a chief, in actual possession of the country, i. e., he had actually hunted 'possums there for a period of six months! The matter was immediately decided upon, and arrangements made to pay the monarch a
, visit on the following day, preparatory to his coronation. Artizans were employed in the manufacture of presents suitable for one who seemed pointed out by the finger of Providence to wear the "purple and ermine." Tin pans were immediately transformed into crowns and collars, sardine boxes into breastplates and stars, pill-boxes into ear and finger-rings, and "extinguishers” into ornaments for the nose. These, after a revision by chamois and soap-stone, were safely boxed, that they might not be tarnished by the touch of vulgar hands. A demijohn was filled with rum—as was supposed, to prevent his Majesty from fainting under the operation of putting on his first pair of pantaloons.
Early on the following morning, the ship having been ordered to drop along down the coast, the party were in motion under the pilotage of the Indian above mentioned. What momentous results sometimes attend the acts of individuals in the humble walks of life! This poor Indian, having been driven to the shore by hunger, had, while making a meal of raw fish, imparted a word, which single word was the means of bringing forth to the world a full-grown king. What were the feelings of this native, as he cut his way through the chaparrals ? Had he aspirations? No doubt he had! In his wild delirium of plea
sure, he, no doubt, dreamed of a canoe of his own, and a raw hide to sleep on; instead of going naked, as he had done all his life, he might have a red bandana to tie around his neck; he thought of abundance of broiled lizard, with plantain cooked in 'possum fat for dessert. With such bright visions in the future, it is not astonishing that, in wading swamps and cutting through chaparrals, he distanced those under his pilotage.
Nor was there a want of zeal on the part of Her Britannic Majesty's agent. He too had aspirations. He was on a mission which, if successful, must result in incalculable benefit to the world in general, and to Her Britannic Majesty's government in particular. If successful, knighthood was the least he could expect, with the prospect of a niche, eventually, in Westminster Abbey.
Never were mortals more eager for immortality, nor was it ever more clearly within their reach; for even now, at this point in the drama, the very dogs of his Majesty seemed to proclaim it-the royal encampment was in sight. The party deployed into a single file, and prepared to approach the presence. They took the monarch by surprise; he was stretched out at full length, on a “highly-scented” raw hide, under the shade of a palm-tree, as naked as he came into the world. He was amusing himself by trying to "get up” a fight between a parrot and a young monkey; his squaw was broiling a couple of lizards or guanas, and roasting plantains for dinner.
The interview was at first embarrassing, but after consulting the demijohn, they seemed imbued with a more fraternizing spirit, and commenced conversation on the subject of empire, and the prerogative of kings. Her Britannic Majesty's agent felt himself a man of importance, and at first seemed somewhat patronizing; but the monarch had consulted the demijohn too often to be outdone, and, as a proof of his invincibility, he exhibited a huge turtle, which had fallen a victim to his machet; he had climbed a tree that none of his men could climb, and caught sixteen "'possums," all hanging by the same tail from the same limb; he had taken his biggest dog by the tail, and swung him around his head three times, and declared he would do it again for their amusement. “Carlo" was immediately seized by the tail, but feeling a little sensitive, he curled up, bit