Title: "Wild West," Kensington

Date: May 7, 1892

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"Wild West," Kensington.

I AM afraid that exhibition at Earl's Court will not be in a very forward condition on Saturday, to judge by the state in which I found it on Monday last. At the same time it is wonderful what can be done in a few days with energetic hands; and, besides, these exhibitions invariably open before they are ready. The main building was a wilderness peopled by painters and paint cans, whilst even the arena had not received the final touches. So far, however, as one can judge of things in so unfinished a state, the Horticultural Exhibition will prove extremely attractive. The lower half of the main building near the grounds has been turfed and gravelled, and now rises and falls in graceful swells. Home and foreign trees have been planted, with beds of azaleas and other flowers. The diorama was remarkably done; it was difficult to distinguish where the natural objects ended and the artificial began. These fine pleasure grounds under covering will make the Earl's Court management independent of the capricious weather, as people will be able to stroll in and out of the flowers and fountains, and listen to the bands however violent the rain may be outside.

THE grounds are also being renovated, and the scenic effects are very striking; in particular, there is a distant view of Windsor Castle, with a broad gravel path leading up to it, which is a marvellous piece of perspective drawing. Close to the Welcome Club there is open colonnade, behind which is represented Gibraltar, a very realistic open air effect. I can, therefore, state with confidence that when the exhibition is complete, the public will have as pretty and as pleasant a place to lounge in as in any previous exhibition. I may add that the grounds and buildings above referred to are being laid out by the most eminent gardeners, who have made up their minds to beat the record in this particular matter.

BUT what, after all, Londoners will chiefly want to see is their old favourite Buffalo Bill. He has returned to this country looking no older than he did in 1887, but with fresh honours on his shoulders, having taken a prominent part in the stirring incidents of the Indian War of 1891. As he put it himself, "Not only is the old man himself here but the old horse as well," and his admirers will be able to see him on that fine grey Arab which attracted so much attention on previous occasions. The cowboys, the buffaloes, and the Indians will be again to the fore, and I can vouch for it that the bucking horses will buck with as much energy as they ever showed at their best. A short display was given for the benefit of the gentlemen of the Press quite on the spur of the moment. Perhaps the feats were the more striking from the entire want of stage effect. Buffalo Bill was in blue serge, the cowboys in their everyday dress, and the Indians in a species of bathing costume, which may be taken to be their undress uniform.

AMONGST those present I noticed Mr. Edgar Bruce, the well-known lessee of the Prince of Wales' Theatre, and also the jovial features of Colonel North, who was at luncheon by the side of Buffalo Bill, and seemed to have plenty to say to him. I must say that we were most hospitably entertained. The lunch was capital, the waiting was good, the liquors were exceptional, and, above all, the speeches were short and to the point. The genial manager, Mr. Burke, was all over the place acting as host. Not content with this preliminary luncheon, the Committee of the Exhibition have been good enough to invite me again to the inauguration ceremony on Saturday next, an event which I shall certainly attend, so that my readers my except in next week's England a full account of the new Wild West Show.

I WAS surprised to hear that Buffalo Bill was such a heavy man. He assured us, in the course of conversation, that he weighed fifteen stone, although to the outward eye he has not an ounce of superfluous flesh on his body. He has brought with him as captives of his spear and bow several Indian chiefs concerned in the recent disturbances, on whom, no doubt, he will wage mimic warfare in the arena. The music-hall artists may thank their stars at his return, for he was a perfect god-send to them in 1887. Both J. W. Rowley and Tom Squire, who, poor fellow, died some few months ago, hit the mark with a couple of funny songs; one of them had the refrain "In the Wild West of Kensington they hunt the buffalo," whilst the other asked, "Why don't Buffalo Bill come home?"

Note: Publication information unknown.

Title: "Wild West," Kensington

Source: McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody Collection, MS6, MS6.3778.008.01 (1892 London)

Date: May 7, 1892

Topics: Buffalo Bill's Wild West in Britain

Keywords: Alcoholic beverages American bison American Indians Arabian horse Bands (Music) Botanical gardens Clothing and dress Cowboys Exhibitions Flora Historical reenactments Horses Indians of North America--Wars Indians of North America Scrapbooks Traveling exhibitions Wild horses Windsor Castle

People: Burke, John M., 1842-1917

Places: Earl's Court (London, England) Kensington (London, England) London (England) Prince of Wales Theatre (London, England)

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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