Title: Are English Wives the Best in the World?

Date: September 30, 1892

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This is the question which one of the dailies recently devoted its columns to asking. Some people think so. Some of the savages of the fiery untamed prairie think so. One of Buffalo Bill's tip-top Indians thinks so. His professional name, when on the war-path is "Blackheart," which somehow seems to suggest either one of the villains in a Pettie melodrama, of a popular breed of cherry. It is quite a little romance. Regardez-vouz!

When the last cartridge is fired in Buffalo Billiam's arena, when the red and blue fires have flickered and finally died out, then darkness falls over the little Indian and Gaucho and Don Cossack encampment. A blue-black darkness, coupled with silence, except for the rumble of distant trains. Then the red and yellow-ochred Indians steal silently forth from their tents. They do not fold their tents like the Arabs—they simply leave their tents and come out on the impassive and dignified mash. They glide through the dark avenues in the neighbourhood of their encampment, wrapped in their dignity and their blankets. They wander, generally in companies of three, along those dark, dull streets of huge stucco houses near the Earl's Court-road. The solitude here is as intense for them, as they glide along in their mocassins and their ghostly blankets, as if they had already passed to the happy hunting grounds of their fathers. You cannot hear them coming; they are upon you before you know where you are. Save for one thing. The British female is for ever on the track of the poor Indian, as you shall shortly hear. It is worthy of any that is published.

"Blackheart"—the melodramatic villian or the cherry—wrapped his blanket around him and took his walks abroad. Blackheart is a Sioux chief, and goodness knows how many people he has scalped, and burned, and tortured in the ordinary practice of his profession. But he was amenable to the love of a pure English girl, as the female correspondents of the "Delirium Tremens" might put it. Whether he wooed her, and discussed 'neath the moon previous experiences in the torture department, or whether she wooed him and mashed him as only English girls can woo and mash, I can't say. But the Sioux chief and the English girl have now been man and wife for over a year, the English girl living all the time in a tent with her ochre-bedaubed husband. "And how do they get on together?" I asked of my friend, Dr. Maitland Coffin, who is the medical attendant to the whole Wild West Show. "Splendidly," he replied. "The young wife has learnt the Sioux tongue and can speak it perfectly, and she seems devoted to her Indian husband. And if you will come this way, I, having the entree to the tent, will show you a happy smiling papoose."

It is a roundabout way of pointing a moral; but the moral is that, in the opinion of even a Sioux chief, a true-hearted English wife is the best after all. Let all the unappreciated young women who write to the papers to complain that they can't get married, make early application to the dusky coloured chiefs of the Indian tribes attached to the Buffalo Billeries, and they had better make haste, for the dusky ones will be shortly returning to their own country.

Title: Are English Wives the Best in the World?

Source: McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody Collection, MS6, MS6.3778.154.05 (1892 London)

Date: September 30, 1892

Also appeared as:

  Title: Untitled [Are English wives the best in the world?] |

  Periodical: Umpire

  Date: September 18, 1892

Topics: Buffalo Bill's Wild West in Britain

Keywords: American Indians Arabs Don Cossacks Exhibitions Gauchos Indian men Indians of North America Lakota dialect Marriage Scrapbooks Spouses Traveling exhibitions Women--Great Britain

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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