Title: Interviews with Notorious People

Periodical: Life

Date: June 4, 1892

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PASSING through a gate that utters a merry clicking sound as it admits you, you find yourself in a long and lofty hall, hung with garlands and festoons of blood-red blossoms, ending in a garden at the further end, and branching off to left and right into a gallery of sculpture and a room whose halls are hung with rare works of art by unknown masters. You make your way to a flunkey dressed in a handsome dark-blue livery with dull steel buttons, and mention the object of your visit—a short conversation with Colonel Down de Roady, of the United States Cape Constabulary, better known as Prairie-Oyster Pete. Informing you that his master is to be found in the paddock exercising a new horse which he has just purchased, the servant ushers you up a broad and noble flight of stairs, through a long corridor decorated with many a curious legend and quaint device, and into the paddock, where, lasso slung on his shoulder, sombrero covering his leonine hyacinthine locks, long boots on legs, cigar in mouth, sits Prairie-Oyster Pete, caracolling over the field on the back of as fine and fractious a mustang as you would not care to meet with in a day's march.

Inserting the tip of your right forefinger in your mouth, you give vent to the cry which is as music to the ears of your genial host: "Halloo-woo-woo-woo-woo!"

"Halloo-woo-woo-woo-woo!" the cheery cry echoes back; and before you can say, "Hail Columbia!" the lasso has whizzed through the air and caught you round the waist, and you find yourself flying through space with a velocity which approaches the uncomfortable, until you suddenly find yourself seated behind the Colonel on his recalcitrant steed.

"Well, stranger," asks your host, with the accent on the "ger," handing you a cigar, "and what can I do for you?" You ask for a little time in which to recover your breath, to whicb he concurs, and, recommending you to "sit tight," digs his spurs into the spirited beast that bears your double weight, and you find yourself careering round the arena at a rapid rate, while the Colonel hums to you the ditties of his native land "I guess I'll have wine, said Mary;
You'd best guess again, said John;
I guess I'll have wine, said Mary;
But she'd nothing but beer from John."

You interrupt your host to ask him how he came by the name of Prairie-Oyster Pete. "Because I've captured so many of the succulent little chaps in my time," he replies. "Out in Nevada there are bars full of them. Bars full," he continues, reflectively, "of Prairie-Oysters and Cocktails. Do you know the Cocktail? Ah! noble game, noble game. I've got some specimens here that we can have a look at presently. Sit tight there!" and as again he urges on his wild career, he bursts forth once more into song; "I take my cocktail in the mo-orning,
I take my cocktail in the day!"


"You have a number of Indians over with you again this summer," you suggest. "Any amount, any amount—from the Wild West of the Sister Island. Sioux from Clare County, Pawnees from the Sierra Connemara, a whole branch of the Donegal tribe. They've set up their cabins over yonder, and hold a sort of Donnybrook Fair there—that's why there's such a lot of wigwams upon the green."

"And you yourself, Colonel? Do you like London as of old?" "Rather" (with the accent on the "ther"), "I've shown my circus at Rome before the Pope of Rome, and at Constantinople before the Sultan of Constantinople, and at Berlin before the Emperor of Berlin, but give me London—sit tight there!—and Regent-street." And humming gently to himself—

"For its O, my little Regent-street,
Regent-street, Regent-street
O, my little Regent-street,
Regent-street, O!
There's the Strand and Piccadilly,
Oxford-street and Leicester-square,
But, give me my little Regent-street,
Regent-street, O!"

he dashes you up to a huge Wild West bar, at the sight of which the snorting mustang rears itself on to its haunches, and slides you both gently but firmly off its back. "Now, then, which will you look at?" asks your host. 'You may look, but you mustn't squint
Mustn't squint . . . .

"Which is it to be—a Prairie Oyster, or a Cocktail?"

By the time you have found your way into the street, you are quite incapable of remembering which it was—a Prairie Oyster, or a Cocktail—or how many of each. P. P. C.

The Derby has been lost and won, and many will rejoice that Lord Bradford's Sir Hugo—a horse against which fifty to one was staked on Tuesday—is the winner, Baron Hirsch's La Flêche coming in second. The day was fine and fresh, the attendance large, and though money has been lost and won by those who did not expect it, a large number will rejoice that the Blue Ribbon of the Turf has been won by Lord Bradford.

The Flower Show, at Earl's Court, was a decided success, the flowers were magnificent, all the well-known growers, sending splendid exhibits. The French Republicaine band, which appeared for the first time, was a great and popular attraction. One of the finest bands in Europe, it is no wonder that their magnificent rendering of well-selected music won enthusiastic acceptance and appreciation. The building, in this weather, is rather warm, but there is always a breeze in the gardens, where many gather to enjoy the music, and the refreshing coolness. The French band plays every day from five to six in the West Gardens. I think if Dan Godfrey's band occupied the stand at the end of the building, out of doors, between three and five, it would draw many visitors, who cannot stay late, but want some entertainment, while the ever popular Buffalo Bill Show is going on. Season ticket holders don't want to visit even the attractive Wild West every day, and not every one is able to enjoy the wild excitement of the Switchback Railway. All, however, should gather at the Western Gardens from five to six when the French Band plays, and those who enjoy afternoon tea will find it excellently served in the large luxurious pavilion opposite the Band Stand. It does not seem to be generally known that there is an exit on this side the gardens, which is very convenient for those who do not wish to walk all the way back to the grand entrance.

Title: Interviews with Notorious People

Periodical: Life

Source: McCracken Research Library, MS6.3778.050.02

Date: June 4, 1892

Topics: Buffalo Bill's Wild West in Britain

Keywords: American Indians Band of the Grenadier Guards (Great Britain) Scrapbooks Turkey Wigwams Bands (Music) Horse racing Horticultural exhibitions Indians of North America Lasso Cocktails Exhibitions Mustang Sioux Nation

People: Godfrey, Dan. (Daniel), 1831-1903 Leo XIII, Pope, 1810-1903 William II, German Emperor, 1859-1941

Places: Berlin (Germany) Earl's Court (London, England) London (England) Rome (Italy) Pawnee Indians

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

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