Title: The Wild West Show | Buffalo Bill Interviewed

Periodical: Scottish Leader

Date: December 30, 1891

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In response to an invitation from Colonel Cody, a representative of the "Scottish Leader" waited on Buffalo Bill in his sanctum at the Wild West Show grounds, Glasgow, yesterday. The interviewer was ushered into the noted scout's apartment by his Singhalese [1] attendant, and here, the morning's correspondence having been disposed of, the Colonel was ready for a chat.

How came you by the cognomen of "Buffalo Bill?" was the query which the Colonel received with a good-humoured smile.—On the principle that nicknames have generally more meaning than one's proper name. I was so dubbed because of my reputation for hunting buffaloes.

That title was not assumed?—Oh, no, it was bequeathed, so to speak, as a legacy from the Wild West, and I suppose my real name has now been practically supplanted by it. Nicknaming, you know, is a universal habit in our country, and there is not a general in the American army, or a governor in any place of business, but is known amongst his soldiers or employees by some name of which he himself probably never heard.

Conversation turned upon the Wild West Show, and the interviewer expressed some curiosity to know what induced Colonel Cody to enter upon so great an enterprise.

"When I was acting as a Colonel in the National Guard of the State of Nebraska," he said, "my income was scarcely proof against pecuniary embarrassments, as my domestic establishment went on increasing, and I was obliged to consider some means of augmenting my revenue. The result of my cogitations was that I determined to try my hand at representing the scenes of Wild West life, since the introduction of the white man to America. When I gave my first performance, which resembled the present only in kind, and by no means in degree, Mr Henry Irving and Miss Ellen Terry favoured me with their patronage. After the performance, I enquired at Mr Irving what he thought of my visiting England with my show, and the great tragedian said the project would be an unqualified success. I asked him if I should equip the company with fine new dresses, tinselled and spangled gloriously, but Mr Irving said, 'No; come as you are, and Englishmen will like your show all the better for the genuineness of it.'" Then, with a smile, the Colonel added, "I came, I saw, I conquered."

Major Burke, general manager, and Mr Crager, interpreter on behalf of the Sioux Indian members of the staff, having joined the party, the interviewer proceeded.

This is, I believe, your first visit to Scotland, Colonel. I hope your impressions of it are such as to constitute you an admirer of the country for life.—Unquestionably that result has been effected, sir. My visit to Glasgow has so far been a splendid success. We have been here six weeks now, and in all probability will continue some weeks after New Year.

You have not tried Edinburgh yet.—No, I do not think I will this time. I have visited Edinburgh for sight-seeing purposes lately, and, by Jove,



There is not, I make bold to say, even on my limited acquaintance with her charms, any city in the world like your capital. I was overwhelmed with the spectacle from the Calton Hill, and must treat myself to another view before leaving Scotland.

When you appeared before the Queen, did Her Majesty evince great interest in your show? —Oh, yes, and stayed much longer than she intended. Before going, she favoured the Indians with a special visit behind the stage, and conversed with them by Mr Crager, the interpreter, displaying great interest in their young children, so that the Indians have always spoken of her since as the Great Mother, just as they call the President of America the Great Father.

By the way, Colonel, do I see the Prince of Wales' feather represented on your scarf-pin?—Yes, that was a gift from His Highness some time ago, and I wear it constantly as one of my proudest complimental possessions, constituting as it does an unmistakeable mark of Royal favour.

The hour of afternoon performance having arrived, our representative was indebted to the good offices of Mr Crager in the task of


Two Indians seated in the dressing-room had strongly-marked Scottish countenances, and on this being pointed out to Mr Crager, he endorsed the opinion as one he had always entertained. "Not only in that respect, but in many others do the Indians show resemblances to the Scottish character, for," said he, "their liking for highly coloured shawls is a parallel to the custom of the ancient Highland Scot. As a matter of fact," he continued, "many of the Indians have taken quite a fancy for the kilt, and some of them have possessed themselves of that garb, both as presents for their friends out yonder, and for their own wear."

No Neck, chief of the Ogallallas Sioux, and Short Bull, high priest of the recent Messiah craze among the Indians, were introduced, and other members of the troupe were Sitting Bull, [2] Kicking Bear, Scatter, Revenge, Bear Lays Down, and so forth. There are now about 260,000 Indians left in America, and, said Major Burke, "this number is increasing annually, and was likely to go on increasing when it is borne in mind that every encouragement is supplied them by the American Government, who have adopted them as the subjects of their peculiar care."

Note 1: "Singhalese" people were originally from North India and later inhabited the island of Sri Lanka. [back]

Note 2: Sitting Bull appeared with Buffalo Bill's Wild West for only four months during the 1885 season. Sitting Bull was killed by Indian reservation police at Standing Rock reservation (South Dakota) December 15, 1890. [back]

Title: The Wild West Show | Buffalo Bill Interviewed

Periodical: Scottish Leader

Source: McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West , MS6.3772.019.01 (Crager scrapbook)

Date: December 30, 1891

Topics: Buffalo Bill's Wild West in Britain

Keywords: American bison American bison hunting American Indians Nicknames Oglala Indians Scots Sioux Nation Sri Lankans United States. Army

People: Burke, John M., 1842-1917 Edward VII, King of Great Britain, 1841-1910 Irving, Henry, Sir, 1838-1905 Kicking Bear, 1853-1904 No Neck (Tahu Wanica) Short Bull, -1915 Sitting Bull, 1831-1890 Terry, Ellen, Dame, 1847-1928 Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, 1819-1901

Places: Edinburgh (Scotland) England Glasgow (Scotland) Nebraska Scotland

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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