Title: Jack Plane

Date: October 8, 1892

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THERE was beef, and ham,
And lots of beer, and imported cham.,
So with forks and knives
We worked away, as for our lives,
At Colonel Cody's party.

MR. EDITOR,—It as bin sed that "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, wile some have greatness thrust upon them." I am one of the latter sort, cause I worn't born great, although I was born high (in a Birmingham garret, or wot they would call here in London a top-floor back), and I am sure I ain't done nothin to achieve greatness, and yet just think of wot I am now.

But it don't matter who you are or wot you are, there is allus somebody as don't think much of yer. Why, ony the other night when I was a having a harf a pint of beer with some chaps that I know, I happened to say that "I felt myself a big man," and a feller he says, "Yes, I have noticed it myself," and he looked down at my boots, and then up at my head, and then they all bust out larfin, and one ses, "Big about the feet," and another ses, "And about the head." So I ses, "Some on yer larf at any fool thing," and one ses, "That's wot we am doin now," and then they roared out wus than ever. But as I allus ses, there aint none too much fun in the world, and if anybody can get any out of me, why they am allus welcome to it.

Wot made me feel great that particular night was cause I had just got a letter tellin me I was selected one of the delegates of the "London Working Men's Association" (of which I am a member) to present a beauterfull illumernated address to Colonel Cody (Buffalo Bill) on the occasion of his bein about to leave England and return to America.

Now, I don't care who a feller is, when he is a delergate he carnt help a feeling himself to be somebody. It makes him give his hat a extra brush, and his boots a extra polish, and put his Sunday clothes on (if he has got any), and when he starts out he swells his chest out to such an extent, and throws his head so far back that he carnt hardly see a yard in front on him, and if it wornt as there is a special proverdence that watches over sailors and drunken men, and delegates, lots on em would fall over their own feet, or else get run over at the first street crossing. But anyhow, I got to Earl's Court, alright without any accident.

There was about fifty of us on the depertashun, and Buffalo Bill he asked us in to tea, and a real, good, old-fashioned knife-and-fork affair it was, and arter tea there was cigars and other refreshments, and some of the delergates represented bargemen and watermen, and some represented sailors, and some ship builders, and some engineers, and some iron workers, and some wood workers, and, in fact, almost every bisness and callin was represented, and when you come to sit next a feller wot represents in his own person twenty or thirty thousand other workin men, why you got to be carefull how you go on, I can tell yer.

Well, at the head of the table was the President of our Association, and next to him was Colonel Cody himself, and there was Nate Salsbury and Major Burke, they was close handy, and arter tea the chairman (our president) he presented the address to Buffalo Bill, and a tip-top affair it was in a splendid frame, and we drunk Buffalo Bill's health in musical honors, and then he replied in a neat little speech, and then we drank the health of Nate Salsbury, he in Vice-President and director of the show, and then he replied, and a fust rate speech he made, too, and no mistake about it.

He told us he was of English decent, and he was proud of it, and he spoke ever so nice about our Queen, and said that she had the respect of womanhood all over the world; and he told us that when they performed before her, and carryed the American flag round the ring, she stood up as a mark of respect to the flag, and I liked him cause he liked the Queen.

Then we drunk the health of Major Burke—he is the general manager—and then he replied, and he said he was of Irish decent, and he was proud of it; and he told us (in confidence) that "in the old times" the Burkes was kings in Ireland, and I often think it's wonderful wot a lot of Irish people am decended from kings. I fancy "in the old times" they was all kings in Ireland, just like the Yankee regements, in their Civil War, that must have been all officers. I have been four times to America myself, and talked to any amount of men that was in the war, but I never met with one as was a private.

Major Burke he told us a lot of things that I wouldent have beleved if an Englishman had told em. But I know them Americans of old. You can allus beleve em, cause they all take arter little George Washington, and "they carnt tell a lie." The Major sed as how he went on a visit to that part of Ireland were his fokes used to be kings "in the old times," and arter a lot of trouble he found "the palace of his ancestors," and Nate Salsbury, he sed, that "he put his arm down the palace chimney, and lifted the latch of the door." But of course that was ony his fun.

Arter the speeches was all over, we all went and see the performance, and it was just as good as ever, just as interestin, and just as fresh as the fust time ever I see it, and I have seen it six times in England, and once in Paris, and there is allus summat new, and if I ony have good health and good luck and can scrape the money together, I hope to see it again at Chicago next year, were they intend to have a bigger and better show than ever. Jolly good luck to em, I say, and so say all of us,

Title: Jack Plane

Source: McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody Collection, MS6, MS6.3778.154.02 (1892 London)

Date: October 8, 1892

Topic: Buffalo Bill's Wild West in Britain

Keywords: Exhibitions Fiction Letters to the editor Scrapbooks Traveling exhibitions Wit and humor Working Men's Association World's Columbian Exposition (1893 : Chicago, Ill.)

People: Burke, John M., 1842-1917 Salsbury, Nathan, 1846-1902 Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, 1819-1901

Places: Earl's Court (London, England) 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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