April 05, 2006
Bow Down Before Me!
I knew there was some reason for my delusions:
Born in England sometime in the second decade of the nineteenth century, you carved a notable business career, in South Africa and later San Francisco, until an entry into the rice market wiped out your fortune in 1854. After this, you became quite different. The first sign of this came on September 17, 1859, when you expressed your dissatisfaction with the political situation in America by declaring yourself Norton I, Emperor of the USA. You remained as such, unchallenged, for twenty-one years.
Within a month you had decreed the dissolution of Congress. When this was largely ignored, you summoned all interested parties to discuss the matter in a music hall, and then summoned the army to quell the rebellious leaders in Washington. This did not work. Magnanimously, you decreed (eventually) that Congress could remain for the time being. However, you disbanded both major political parties in 1869, as well as instituting a fine of $25 for using the abominable nickname "Frisco" for your home city.
Your days consisted of parading around your domain - the San Francisco streets - in a uniform of royal blue with gold epaulettes. This was set off by a beaver hat and umbrella. You dispensed philosophy and inspected the state of sidewalks and the police with equal aplomb. You were a great ally of the maligned Chinese of the city, and once dispersed a riot by standing between the Chinese and their would-be assailants and reciting the Lord's Prayer quietly, head bowed.
Once arrested, you were swiftly pardoned by the Police Chief with all apologies, after which all policemen were ordered to salute you on the street. Your renown grew. Proprietors of respectable establishments fixed brass plaques to their walls proclaiming your patronage; musical and theatrical performances invariably reserved seats for you and your two dogs. (As an aside, you were a good friend of Mark Twain, who wrote an epitaph for one of your faithful hounds, Bummer.) The Census of 1870 listed your occupation as "Emperor".
The Board of Supervisors of San Francisco, upon noticing the slightly delapidated state of your attire, replaced it at their own expense. You responded graciously by granting a patent of nobility to each member. Your death, collapsing on the street on January 8, 1880, made front page news under the headline "Le Roi est Mort". Aside from what you had on your person, your possessions amounted to a single sovereign, a collection of walking sticks, an old sabre, your correspondence with Queen Victoria and 1,098,235 shares of stock in a worthless gold mine. Your funeral cortege was of 30,000 people and over two miles long.
The burial was marked by a total eclipse of the sun.
Sovereign Yips! to CalTechGirl, who led me to this via another test.
UPDATE: Several commenters have discovered their inner William John Cavendish-Bentinck-Scott. Basil Seal has a post up on this most eccentric 5th Duke of Portland. [Ed. - you know, to distinguish him from all the other 5th Dukes of Portland.] Quiet, you.
YIPS from Steve: This should come as a surprise to no one:
Posted by Robert at April 5, 2006 12:56 PM | TrackBack
Made Bishop of Agagni by Pope Formosus, you became Pope yourself in 896 by putting your immediate predecessor, Boniface VI, to death. Your reign lasted all of fourteen months. However, you firmly assured your place in history by putting the rotting corpse of the aforementioned Formosus on trial in the splendidly named Synod Horrenda. Naturally, Formosus was clad in full papal vestments. Having dug up the stinking remains once already, you proceeded to have them found guilty, reburied, re-exhumed, relieved of the three fingers of the right hand used in consecrations and finally thrown into the Tiber. All ordinations performed by the luckless Formosus were annulled. After this delightful display of gratitude, you were promptly strangled, paving the way for an increasingly short-lived series of successors and the reinstatement, dereinstatement and rereinstatement of Formosus' Papal deeds.