Although the English were the oldest inhabitants, it would seem they were not to hold their new possessions undisputed.
The fame of the fledgeling continent spread abroad, and people all over the world packed up their loins and girdled their traveling bags for a journey hither. Even France was suddenly seized with the emigrating fever, and soon became England’s principal rival in the new country.
She had heard of the American bull-frog as being the largest in the world, and ere 86long the banks of the Mississippi from its source to the Gulf were studded with huts whose owners had left their homes in sunny France in quest of frogs and freedom in a foreign clime.
Perched on yonder oscillating snag in midstream, or wading waist deep in the dismal bayou, armed with fishing tackle, his bronzed forehead furrowed with care and his hook baited with red flannel, the sanguine Gaul sought to tempt the sonorous bull-frog from his native lair. Too often, alas! he surprised the aggressive alligator in his native lair, fatally mistaking him for a first-class bull-frog of some rare species. Many an unwary Frenchman was taken in thus, but frogs were hunted with unabated vigor, and every day brought ship-loads of enthusiastic adventurers from the sunny land of France.
87So long as the Frenchmen confined themselves to the frogs, (and the alligators confined themselves to the Frenchmen,) their English brethren tolerated them; but when it came to starting opposition corner groceries, and organizing competitive horse-railway companies, (which the French occasionally stepped aside from their legitimate pursuits to do,) they became a positive nuisance, you know. Besides the alligators did not always discriminate between English and French diet. If anything, the epicures of the species seemed to give preference to the former when any train of fortuitous circumstances threw an occasional Englishman in their way.
The duty of the English seemed plainly indicated to them, and they, being in the majority, were not slow in acting up to it, by bringing to bear upon their rivals what may be termed an alligator policy. But we leave the rest to our artist, who with a few dashes of his pencil on page 88 has saved us reams of manuscript and barrels of ink. He merely wishes us to explain that the parties on the wharf in the last picture are English, with one exception.