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Last of the Great Scouts The Life Story of William F. Cody ["Buffalo Bill" Cody] by Helen Cody Wetmore

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He was an animal of almost human intelligence, extraordinary speed,
endurance, and fidelity. When he was quite young Will rode him on a hunt
for wild horses, which he ran down after a chase of fifteen miles.
At another time, on a wager of five hundred dollars that he could ride
him over the prairie one hundred miles in ten hours, he went the distance
in nine hours and forty-five minutes.

When the "Wild West" was opened at Omaha, Charlie was the star horse,
and held that position at all the exhibitions in this country and
in Europe. In London the horse attracted a full share of attention,
and many scions of royalty solicited the favor of riding him.
Grand Duke Michael of Russia rode Charlie several times in chase
of the herd of buffaloes in the "Wild West," and became quite
attached to him.

On the morning of the 14th Will made his usual visit to Charlie,
between decks. Shortly after the groom reported him sick.
He grew rapidly worse, in spite of all the care he received,
and at two o'clock on the morning of the 17th he died.
His death cast an air of sadness over the whole ship, and no human
being could have had more sincere mourners than the faithful
and sagacious old horse. He was brought on deck wrapped in canvas
and covered with the American flag. When the hour for the ocean
burial arrived, the members of the company and others assembled
on deck. Standing alone with uncovered head beside the dead
was the one whose life the noble animal had shared so long.
At length, with choking utterance, Will spoke, and Charlie
for the first time failed to hear the familiar voice he had
always been so prompt to obey:

"Old fellow, your journeys are over. Here in the ocean you must rest.
Would that I could take you back and lay you down beneath the billows
of that prairie you and I have loved so well and roamed so freely;
but it cannot be. How often at break of day, the glorious sun
rising on the horizon has found us far from human habitation!
Yet, obedient to my call, gladly you bore your burden on, little heeding
what the day might bring, so that you and I but shared its sorrows
and pleasures alike. You have never failed me. Ah, Charlie, old fellow,
I have had many friends, but few of whom I could say that.
Rest entombed in the deep bosom of the ocean! I'll never forget you.
I loved you as you loved me, my dear old Charlie. Men tell me you
have no soul; but if there be a heaven, and scouts can enter there,
I'll wait at the gate for you, old friend."

On this homeward trip Will made the acquaintance of a clergyman returning
from a vacation spent in Europe. When they neared the American coast this
gentleman prepared a telegram to send to his congregation. It read simply:
"2 John i. 12." Chancing to see it, Will's interest was aroused,
and he asked the clergyman to explain the significance of the reference,
and when this was done he said: "I have a religious sister at home who knows
the Bible so well that I will wire her that message and she will not need
to look up the meaning."

He duplicated to me, as his return greeting, the minister's
telegram to his congregation, but I did not justify his high
opinion of my Biblical knowledge. I was obliged to search
the Scriptures to unravel the enigma. As there may be others
like me, but who have not the incentive I had to look up
the reference, I quote from God's word the message I received:
"Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper
and ink; but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face,
that our joy may be full."

CHAPTER XXVII.

RETURN OF THE "WILD WEST" TO AMERICA.

WHEN the "Wild West" returned to America from its first venture
across seas, the sail up the harbor was described by the New York _World_
in the following words:

"The harbor probably has never witnessed a more picturesque scene than
that of yesterday, when the `Persian Monarch' steamed up from quarantine.
Buffalo Bill stood on the captain's bridge, his tall and striking
figure clearly outlined, and his long hair waving in the wind;
the gayly painted and blanketed Indians leaned over the ship's rail;
the flags of all nations fluttered from the masts and connecting cables.
The cowboy band played `Yankee Doodle' with a vim and enthusiasm which
faintly indicated the joy felt by everybody connected with the `Wild West'
over the sight of home."

Will had been cordially welcomed by our English cousins, and had been
the recipient of many social favors, but no amount of foreign flattery could
change him one hair from an "American of the Americans," and he experienced
a thrill of delight as he again stepped foot upon his native land.
Shortly afterward he was much pleased by a letter from William T. Sherman--
so greatly prized that it was framed, and now hangs on the wall of his
Nebraska home. Following is a copy:

"FIFTH AVENUE HOTEL, NEW YORK. "COLONEL WM. F. CODY:

"_Dear Sir_: In common with all your countrymen, I want to let you know
that I am not only gratified but proud of your management and success.
So far as I can make out, you have been modest, graceful, and dignified
in all you have done to illustrate the history of civilization on this
continent during the past century. I am especially pleased with the
compliment paid you by the Prince of Wales, who rode with you in the
Deadwood coach while it was attacked by Indians and rescued by cowboys.
Such things did occur in our days, but they never will again.

"As nearly as I can estimate, there were in 1865 about nine
and one-half million of buffaloes on the plains between
the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains; all are now gone,
killed for their meat, their skins, and their bones.
This seems like desecration, cruelty, and murder, yet they
have been replaced by twice as many cattle. At that date there
were about 165,000 Pawnees, Sioux, Cheyennes, and Arapahoes,
who depended upon these buffaloes for their yearly food.
They, too, have gone, but they have been replaced by twice
or thrice as many white men and women, who have made
the earth to blossom as the rose, and who can be counted,
taxed, and governed by the laws of nature and civilization.
This change has been salutary, and will go on to the end.
You have caught one epoch of this country's history,
and have illustrated it in the very heart of the modern world--
London, and I want you to feel that on this side of the water
we appreciate it.

"This drama must end; days, years, and centuries follow fast;
even the drama of civilization must have an end. All I aim to accomplish
on this sheet of paper is to assure you that I fully recognize your work.
The presence of the Queen, the beautiful Princess of Wales, the Prince,
and the British public are marks of favor which reflect back on America sparks
of light which illuminate many a house and cabin in the land where once you
guided me honestly and faithfully, in 1865-66, from Fort Riley to Kearny,
in Kansas and Nebraska.
Sincerely your friend,
W. T. SHERMAN."

Having demonstrated to his satisfaction that the largest
measure of success lay in a stationary exhibition of his show,
where the population was large enough to warrant it,
Will purchased a tract of land on Staten Island, and here
he landed on his return from England. Teamsters for miles
around had been engaged to transport the outfit across
the island to Erastina, the site chosen for the exhibition.
And you may be certain that Cut Meat, American Bear, Flat Iron,
and the other Indians furnished unlimited joy to the ubiquitous
small boy, who was present by the hundreds to watch
the unloading scenes.

The summer season at this point was a great success.
One incident connected with it may be worth the relating.

Teachers everywhere have recognized the value of the "Wild West"
exhibition as an educator, and in a number of instances public schools
have been dismissed to afford the children an opportunity of attending
the entertainment. It has not, however, been generally recognized
as a spur to religious progress, yet, while at Staten Island, Will was
invited to exhibit a band of his Indians at a missionary meeting given
under the auspices of a large mission Sunday-school. He appeared
with his warriors, who were expected to give one of their religious
dances as an object-lesson in devotional ceremonials.

The meeting was largely attended, and every one, children especially,
waited for the exercises in excited curiosity and interest.
Will sat on the platform with the superintendent, pastor, and others
in authority, and close by sat the band of stolid-faced Indians.

The service began with a hymn and the reading of the Scriptures;
then, to Will's horror, the superintendent requested him to lead
the meeting in prayer. Perhaps the good man fancied that Will
for a score of years had fought Indians with a rifle in one hand and
a prayer-book in the other, and was as prepared to pray as to shoot.
At least he surely did not make his request with the thought
of embarrassing Will, though that was the natural result.
However, Will held holy things in deepest reverence; he had the spirit
of Gospel if not the letter; so, rising, he quietly and simply,
with bowed head, repeated the Lord's Prayer.

A winter exhibition under roof was given in New York, after which the show
made a tour of the principal cities of the United States. Thus passed
several years, and then arrangements were made for a grand Continental trip.
A plan had been maturing in Will's mind ever since the British season,
and in the spring of 1889 it was carried into effect.

The steamer "Persian Monarch" was again chartered, and this time
its prow was turned toward the shores of France. Paris was
the destination, and seven months were passed in the gay capital.
The Parisians received the show with as much enthusiasm
as did the Londoners, and in Paris as well as in the English
metropolis everything American became a fad during the stay
of the "Wild West." Even American books were read--a crucial test
of faddism; and American curios were displayed in all the shops.
Relics from American plain and mountain--buffalo-robes, bearskins,
buckskin suits embroidered with porcupine quills, Indian blankets,
woven mats, bows and arrows, bead-mats, Mexican bridles and saddles--
sold like the proverbial hot cakes.

In Paris, also, Will became a social favorite, and had he accepted a tenth
of the invitations to receptions, dinners, and balls showered upon him,
he would have been obliged to close his show.

While in this city Will accepted an invitation from Rosa Bonheur
to visit her at her superb chateau, and in return for the honor
he extended to her the freedom of his stables, which contained
magnificent horses used for transportation purposes, and which
never appeared in the public performance--Percherons, of the breed
depicted by the famous artist in her well-known painting
of "The Horse Fair." Day upon day she visited the camp and
made studies, and as a token of her appreciation of the courtesy,
painted a picture of Will mounted on his favorite horse,
both horse and rider bedecked with frontier paraphernalia.
This souvenir, which holds the place of honor in his collection,
he immediately shipped home.

The wife of a London embassy attache relates the following story:

"During the time that Colonel Cody was making his triumphant
tour of Europe, I was one night seated at a banquet next to the
Belgian Consul. Early in the course of the conversation he asked:

" `Madame, you haf undoubted been to see ze gr-rand Bouf-falo Beel?'

"Puzzled by the apparently unfamiliar name, I asked:

" `Pardon me, but whom did you say?'

" `Vy, Bouf-falo Beel, ze famous Bouf-falo Beel, zat gr-reat countryman
of yours. You must know him.'

"After a moment's thought, I recognized the well-known showman's
name in its disguise. I comprehended that the good Belgian thought
his to be one of America's most eminent names, to be mentioned
in the same breath with Washington and Lincoln."

After leaving Paris, a short tour of Southern France was made,
and at Marseilles a vessel was chartered to transport the company
to Spain. The Spanish grandees eschewed their favorite amusement--
the bull-fight--long enough to give a hearty welcome to the
"Wild West." Next followed a tour of Italy; and the visit to Rome
was the most interesting of the experiences in this country.

The Americans reached the Eternal City at the time of Pope Leo's
anniversary celebration, and, on the Pope's invitation,
Will visited the Vatican. Its historic walls have rarely,
if ever, looked upon a more curious sight than was presented
when Will walked in, followed by the cowboys in their buckskins
and sombreros and the Indians in war paint and feathers.
Around them crowded a motley throng of Italians, clad in
the brilliant colors so loved by these children of the South,
and nearly every nationality was represented in the assemblage.

Some of the cowboys and Indians had been reared in the Catholic faith,
and when the Pope appeared they knelt for his blessing.
He seemed touched by this action on the part of those whom
he might be disposed to regard as savages, and bending forward,
extended his hands and pronounced a benediction; then he passed on,
and it was with the greatest difficulty that the Indians were
restrained from expressing their emotions in a wild whoop.
This, no doubt, would have relieved them, but it would,
in all probability, have stampeded the crowd.

When the Pope reached Will he looked admiringly upon the frontiersman.
The world-known scout bent his head before the aged "Medicine Man,"
as the Indians call his reverence, the Papal blessing was again bestowed,
and the procession passed on. The Thanksgiving Mass, with its fine
choral accompaniment, was given, and the vast concourse of people poured
out of the building.

This visit attracted much attention.

"I'll take my stalwart Indian braves
Down to the Coliseum
And the old Romans from their graves
Will all arise to see 'em.
Praetors and censors will return
And hasten through the Forum
The ghostly Senate will adjourn
Because it lacks a quorum.

"And up the ancient Appian Way
Will flock the ghostly legions
From Gaul unto Calabria,
And from remoter regions;
From British bay and wild lagoon,
And Libyan desert sandy,
They'll all come marching to the tune
Of `Yankee Doodle Dandy.'

"Prepare triumphal cars for me,
And purple thrones to sit on,
For I've done more than Julius C.--
He could not down the Briton!
Caesar and Cicero shall bow
And ancient warriors famous,
Before the myrtle-wreathed brow
Of Buffalo Williamus.

"We march, unwhipped, through history--
No bulwark can detain us--
And link the age of Grover C.
And Scipio Africanus.
I'll take my stalwart Indian braves
Down to the Coliseum,
And the old Romans from their graves
Will all arise to see 'em."

It may be mentioned in passing that Will had visited the Coliseum
with an eye to securing it as an amphitheater for the "Wild West"
exhibition, but the historic ruin was too dilapidated to be a safe
arena for such a purpose, and the idea was abandoned.

The sojourn in Rome was enlivened by an incident that created
much interest among the natives. The Italians were somewhat
skeptical as to the abilities of the cowboys to tame wild horses,
believing the bronchos in the show were specially trained for
their work, and that the horse-breaking was a mock exhibition.

The Prince of Sermonetta declared that he had some wild
horses in his stud which no cowboys in the world could ride.
The challenge was promptly taken up by the daring riders
of the plains, and the Prince sent for his wild steeds.
That they might not run amuck and injure the spectators,
specially prepared booths of great strength were erected.

The greatest interest and enthusiasm were manifested by the populace,
and the death of two or three members of the company was as confidently
looked for as was the demise of sundry gladiators in the "brave
days of old."

But the cowboys laughed at so great a fuss over so small a matter,
and when the horses were driven into the arena, and the spectators
held their breath, the cowboys, lassos in hand, awaited the work
with the utmost nonchalance.

The wild equines sprang into the air, darted hither and thither,
and fought hard against their certain fate, but in less time
than would be required to give the details, the cowboys had flung
their lassos, caught the horses, and saddled and mounted them.
The spirited beasts still resisted, and sought in every way
to throw their riders, but the experienced plainsmen had them
under control in a very short time; and as they rode them
around the arena, the spectators rose and howled with delight.
The display of horsemanship effectually silenced the skeptics;
it captured the Roman heart, and the remainder of the stay
in the city was attended by unusual enthusiasm.

Beautiful Florence, practical Bologna, and stately Milan, with its
many-spired cathedral, were next on the list for the triumphal march.
For the Venetian public the exhibition had to be given at Verona,
in the historic amphitheater built by Diocletian, A. D. '90.
This is the largest building in the world, and within the walls
of this representative of Old World civilization the difficulties
over which New World civilization had triumphed were portrayed.
Here met the old and new; hoary antiquity and bounding youth kissed
each other under the sunny Italian skies.

The "Wild West" now moved northward, through the Tyrol, to Munich,
and from here the Americans digressed for an excursion on the "beautiful
blue Danube." Then followed a successful tour of Germany.

During this Continental circuit Will's elder daughter, Arta,
who had accompanied him on his British expedition, was married.
It was impossible for the father to be present, but by cablegram
he sent his congratulations and check.

CHAPTER XXVIII.

A TRIBUTE TO GENERAL MILES.

IN view of the success achieved by my brother, it is remarkable
that he excited so little envy. Now for the first time in his life
he felt the breath of slander on his cheek, and it flushed hotly.
From an idle remark that the Indians in the "Wild West"
exhibition were not properly treated, the idle gossip grew
to the proportion of malicious and insistent slander.
The Indians being government wards, such a charge might easily
become a serious matter; for, like the man who beat his wife,
the government believes it has the right to maltreat the red man
to the top of its bent, but that no one else shall be allowed
to do so.

A winter campaign of the "Wild West" had been contemplated,
but the project was abandoned and winter quarters decided on.
In the quaint little village of Benfield was an ancient nunnery
and a castle, with good stables. Here Will left the company in charge
of his partner, Mr. Nate Salisbury, and, accompanied by the Indians
for whose welfare he was responsible, set sail for America,
to silence his calumniators.

The testimony of the red men themselves was all that was required to refute
the notorious untruths. Few had placed any belief in the reports,
and friendly commenters were also active.

As the sequel proved, Will came home very opportunely.
The Sioux in Dakota were again on the war-path, and his help was needed
to subdue the uprising. He disbanded the warriors he had brought
back from Europe, and each returned to his own tribe and people,
to narrate around the camp-fire the wonders of the life abroad,
while Will reported at headquarters to offer his services for the war.
Two years previously he had been honored by the commission
of Brigadier-General of the Nebraska National Guard, which rank
and title were given to him by Governor Thayer.

The officer in command of the Indian campaign was General Nelson A. Miles,
who has rendered so many important services to his country,
and who, as Commander-in-Chief of our army, played so large a part
in the recent war with Spain. At the time of the Indian uprising
he held the rank of Brigadier-General.

This brilliant and able officer was much pleased when he learned that
he would have Will's assistance in conducting the campaign, for he knew
the value of his good judgment, cool head, and executive ability,
and of his large experience in dealing with Indians.

The "Wild West," which had served as an educator to the people
of Europe in presenting the frontier life of America,
had quietly worked as important educational influences
in the minds of the Indians connected with the exhibition.
They had seen for themselves the wonders of the world's civilization;
they realized how futile were the efforts of the children of the
plains to stem the resistless tide of progress flowing westward.
Potentates had delighted to do honor to Pa-has-ka, the Long-haired Chief,
and in the eyes of the simple savage he was as powerful
as any of the great ones of earth. To him his word was law;
it seemed worse than folly for their brethren to attempt to cope
with so mighty a chief, therefore their influence was all for peace;
and the fact that so many tribes did not join in the uprising
may be attributed, in part, to their good counsel and advice.

General Miles was both able and energetic, and managed
the campaign in masterly fashion. There were one or two
hard-fought battles, in one of which the great Sioux warrior,
Sitting Bull, the ablest that nation ever produced, was slain.
This Indian had traveled with Will for a time, but could not be
weaned from his loyalty to his own tribe and a desire to avenge
upon the white man the wrongs inflicted on his people.

What promised at the outset to be a long and cruel frontier
war was speedily quelled. The death of Sitting Bull
had something to do with the termination of hostilities.
Arrangements for peace were soon perfected, and Will attributed
the government's success to the energy of its officer
in command, for whom he has a most enthusiastic admiration.
He paid this tribute to him recently:

"I have been in many campaigns with General Miles, and a
better general and more gifted warrior I have never seen.
I served in the Civil War, and in any number of Indian wars;
I have been under at least a dozen generals, with whom I
have been thrown in close contact because of the nature
of the services which I was called upon to render.
General Miles is the superior of them all.

"I have known Phil Sheridan, Tecumseh Sherman, Hancock, and all
of our noted Indian fighters. For cool judgment and thorough
knowledge of all that pertains to military affairs, none of them,
in my opinion, can be said to excel General Nelson A. Miles.

"Ah, what a man he is! I know. We have been shoulder to shoulder
in many a hard march. We have been together when men find out
what their comrades really are. He is a man, every inch of him,
and the best general I ever served under."

After Miles was put in command of the forces, a dinner was given
in his honor by John Chamberlin. Will was a guest and one of
the speakers, and took the opportunity to eulogize his old friend.
He dwelt at length on the respect in which the red men held the general,
and in closing said:

"No foreign invader will ever set foot on these shores as long
as General Miles is at the head of the army. If they should--
just call on me!"

The speaker sat down amid laughter and applause.

While Will was away at the seat of war, his beautiful home
in North Platte, "Welcome Wigwam," burned to the ground.
The little city is not equipped with much of a fire department,
but a volunteer brigade held the flames in check long enough
to save almost the entire contents of the house, among which were
many valuable and costly souvenirs that could never be replaced.

Will received a telegram announcing that his house was ablaze,
and his reply was characteristic:

"Save Rosa Bonheur's picture, and the house may go to blazes."

When the frontier war was ended and the troops disbanded,
Will made application for another company of Indians to take
back to Europe with him. Permission was obtained from
the government, and the contingent from the friendly tribes
was headed by chiefs named Long Wolf, No Neck, Yankton Charlie,
and Black Heart. In addition to these a company was recruited
from among the Indians held as hostages by General Miles at
Fort Sheridan, and the leaders of these hostile braves were such
noted chiefs as Short Bull, Kicking Bear, Lone Bull, Scatter,
and Revenge. To these the trip to Alsace-Lorraine was a revelation,
a fairy-tale more wonderful than anything in their legendary lore.
The ocean voyage, with its seasickness, put them in an
ugly mood, but the sight of the encampment and the cowboys
dissipated their sullenness, and they shortly felt at home.
The hospitality extended to all the members of the company
by the inhabitants of the village in which they wintered was
most cordial, and left them the pleasantest of memories.

An extended tour of Europe was fittingly closed by a brief
visit to England. The Britons gave the "Wild West"
as hearty a welcome as if it were native to their heath.
A number of the larger cities were visited, London being reserved
for the last.

Royalty again honored the "Wild West" by its attendance, the Queen requesting
a special performance on the grounds of Windsor Castle. The requests of
the Queen are equivalent to commands, and the entertainment was duly given.
As a token of her appreciation the Queen bestowed upon Will a costly
and beautiful souvenir.

Not the least-esteemed remembrance of this London visit was an illuminated
address presented by the English Workingman's Convention. In it the American
plainsman was congratulated upon the honors he had won, the success
he had achieved, and the educational worth of his great exhibition.
A banquet followed, at which Will presented an autograph photograph
to each member of the association.

Notwithstanding tender thoughts of home, English soil was left regretfully.
To the "Wild West" the complacent Briton had extended a cordial welcome,
and manifested an enthusiasm that contrasted strangely with his usual disdain
for things American.

A singular coincidence of the homeward voyage was the death of Billy,
another favorite horse of Will's.

CHAPTER XXIX.

THE "WILD WEST" AT THE WORLD'S FAIR.

EUROPEAN army officers of all nationalities regarded my brother
with admiring interest. To German, French, Italian, or British
eyes he was a commanding personality, and also the representative
of a peculiar and interesting phase of New World life.
Recalling their interest in his scenes from his native land,
so unlike anything to be found in Europe to-day, Will invited
a number of these officers to accompany him on an extended
hunting-trip through Western America.

All that could possibly do so accepted the invitation.
A date was set for them to reach Chicago, and from there arrangements
were made for a special train to convey them to Nebraska.

When the party gathered, several prominent Americans were of the number.
By General Miles's order a military escort attended them from Chicago,
and the native soldiery remained with them until North Platte was reached.

Then the party proceeded to "Scout's Rest Ranch," where they were hospitably
entertained for a couple of days before starting out on their long trail.

At Denver ammunition and supplies were taken on board the train.
A French chef was also engaged, as Will feared his distinguished
guests might not enjoy camp-fare. But a hen in water is no
more out of place than a French cook on a "roughing-it" trip.
Frontier cooks, who understand primitive methods, make no attempt
at a fashionable cuisine, and the appetites developed by open-air
life are equal to the rudest, most substantial fare.

Colorado Springs, the Garden of the Gods, and other places in Colorado
were visited. The foreign visitors had heard stories of this wonderland
of America, but, like all of nature's masterpieces, the rugged
beauties of this magnificent region defy an adequate description.
Only one who has seen a sunrise on the Alps can appreciate it.
The storied Rhine is naught but a story to him who has never looked upon it.
Niagara is only a waterfall until seen from various view-points, and
its tremendous force and transcendent beauty are strikingly revealed.
The same is true of the glorious wildness of our Western scenery;
it must be seen to be appreciated.

The most beautiful thing about the Garden of the Gods is
the entrance known as the Gateway. Color here runs riot.
The mass of rock in the foreground is white, and stands out in
sharp contrast to the rich red of the sandstone of the portals,
which rise on either side to a height of three hundred feet.
Through these giant portals, which in the sunlight glow
with ruddy fire, is seen mass upon mass of gorgeous color,
rendered more striking by the dazzling whiteness of Pike's Peak,
which soars upward in the distance, a hoary sentinel of the skies.
The whole picture is limned against the brilliant blue of
the Colorado sky, and stands out sharp and clear, one vivid
block of color distinctly defined against the other.

The name "Garden of the Gods" was doubtless applied because
of the peculiar shape of the spires, needles, and basilicas
of rock that rise in every direction. These have been
corroded by storms and worn smooth by time, until they present
the appearance of half-baked images of clay molded by human hands,
instead of sandstone rocks fashioned by wind and weather.
Each grotesque and fantastic shape has received a name.
One is here introduced to the "Washerwoman," the "Lady of
the Garden," the "Siamese Twins," and the "Ute God," and besides
these may be seen the "Wreck," the "Baggage Room," the "Eagle,"
and the "Mushroom." The predominating tone is everywhere red,
but black, brown, drab, white, yellow, buff, and pink rocks add
their quota to make up a harmonious and striking color scheme,
to which the gray and green of clinging mosses add a final
touch of picturesqueness.

At Flagstaff, Arizona, the train was discarded for the saddle
and the buckboard. And now Will felt himself quite in his element;
it was a never-failing pleasure to him to guide a large party
of guests over plain and mountain. From long experience
he knew how to make ample provision for their comfort.
There were a number of wagons filled with supplies, three buckboards,
three ambulances, and a drove of ponies. Those who wished to ride
horseback could do so; if they grew tired of a bucking broncho,
opportunity for rest awaited them in ambulance or buckboard.
The French chef found his occupation gone when it was a question
of cooking over a camp-fire; so he spent his time picking himself
up when dislodged by his broncho. The daintiness of his menu
was not a correct gauge for the daintiness of his language on
these numerous occasions.

Through the Grand Canon of the Colorado Will led the party,
and the dwellers of the Old World beheld some of the rugged magnificence
of the New. Across rushing rivers, through quiet valleys, and over lofty
mountains they proceeded, pausing on the borders of peaceful lakes,
or looking over dizzy precipices into yawning chasms.

There was no lack of game to furnish variety to their table;
mountain sheep, mountain lions, wildcats, deer, elk, antelope,
and even coyotes and porcupines, were shot, while the rivers
furnished an abundance of fish.

It seemed likely at one time that there might be a hunt of bigger game than
any here mentioned, for in crossing the country of the Navajos the party
was watched and followed by mounted Indians. An attack was feared, and had
the red men opened fire, there would have been a very animated defense;
but the suspicious Indians were merely on the alert to see that no trespass
was committed, and when the orderly company passed out of their territory
the warriors disappeared.

The visitors were much impressed with the vastness and the undeveloped
resources of our country. They were also impressed with the climate,
as the thermometer went down to forty degrees below zero while they were
on Buckskin Mountain. Nature seemed to wish to aid Will in the effort
to exhibit novelties to his foreign guests, for she tried her hand
at some spectacular effects, and succeeded beyond mortal expectation.
She treated them to a few blizzards; and shut in by the mass of whirling,
blinding snowflakes, it is possible their thoughts reverted with a homesick
longing to the sunny slopes of France, the placid vales of Germany,
or the foggy mildness of Great Britain.

On the summit of San Francisco Mountain, the horse of
Major St. John Mildmay lost its footing, and began to slip on the ice
toward a precipice which looked down a couple of thousand feet.
Will saw the danger, brought out his ever-ready lasso,
and dexterously caught the animal in time to save it and its rider--
a feat considered remarkable by the onlookers.

Accidents happened occasionally, many adventures were met with,
Indian alarms were given, and narrow were some of the escapes.
On the whole, it was a remarkable trail, and was written about under
the heading, "A Thousand Miles in the Saddle with Buffalo Bill."

At Salt Lake City the party broke up, each going his separate way.
All expressed great pleasure in the trip, and united in the opinion
that Buffalo Bill's reputation as guide and scout was a well-deserved one.

Will's knowledge of Indian nature stands him in good
stead when he desires to select the quota of Indians for
the summer season of the "Wild West." He sends word ahead
to the tribe or reservation which he intends to visit.
The red men have all heard of the wonders of the great show;
they are more than ready to share in the delights of travel,
and they gather at the appointed place in great numbers.

Will stands on a temporary platform in the center of the group.
He looks around upon the swarthy faces, glowing with all the eagerness
which the stolid Indian nature will permit them to display.
It is not always the tallest nor the most comely men who are selected.
The unerring judgment of the scout, trained in Indian warfare,
tells him who may be relied upon and who are untrustworthy.
A face arrests his attention--with a motion of his hand
he indicates the brave whom he has selected; another wave
of the hand and the fate of a second warrior is settled.
Hardly a word is spoken, and it is only a matter of a few moments'
time before he is ready to step down from his exalted position
and walk off with his full contingent of warriors following
happily in his wake.

The "Wild West" had already engaged space just outside the
World's Fair grounds for an exhibit in 1893, and Will was desirous
of introducing some new and striking feature. He had succeeded
in presenting to the people of Europe some new ideas, and, in return,
the European trip had furnished to him the much-desired novelty.
He had performed the work of an educator in showing to Old World
residents the conditions of a new civilization, and the idea
was now conceived of showing to the world gathered at the arena
in Chicago a representation of the cosmopolitan military force.
He called it "A Congress of the Rough Riders of the World." It is
a combination at once ethnological and military.

To the Indians and cowboys were added Mexicans, Cossacks, and South Americans,
with regular trained cavalry from Germany, France, England, and the
United States. This aggregation showed for the first time in 1893,
and was an instantaneous success. Of it Opie Read gives a fine description:

"Morse made the two worlds touch the tips of their fingers together.
Cody has made the warriors of all nations join hands.

"In one act we see the Indian, with his origin shrouded in history's
mysterious fog; the cowboy--nerve-strung product of the New World;
the American soldier, the dark Mexican, the glittering soldier of Germany,
the dashing cavalryman of France, the impulsive Irish dragoon,
and that strange, swift spirit from the plains of Russia, the Cossack.

"Marvelous theatric display, a drama with scarcely a word--
Europe, Asia, Africa, America in panoramic whirl, and yet
as individualized as if they had never left their own country."

In 1893 the horizon of my brother's interests enlarged.
In July of that year I was married to Mr. Hugh A. Wetmore,
editor of the Duluth _Press_. My steps now turned to the North,
and the enterprising young city on the shore of Lake Superior
became my home. During the long years of my widowhood my brother
always bore toward me the attitude of guardian and protector;
I could rely upon his support in any venture I deemed a promising one,
and his considerate thoughtfulness did not fail when I remarried.
He wished to see me well established in my new home; he desired
to insure my happiness and prosperity, and with this end in view
he purchased the Duluth _Press_ plant, erected a fine brick
building to serve as headquarters for the newspaper venture,
and we became business partners in the untried field of press work.

My brother had not yet seen the Zenith City. So in January of 1894
he arranged to make a short visit to Duluth. We issued invitations
for a general reception, and the response was of the genuine Western kind--
eighteen hundred guests assembling in the new Duluth _Press_ Building
to bid welcome and do honor to the world-famed Buffalo Bill.

His name is a household word, and there is a growing demand for
anecdotes concerning him. As he does not like to talk about himself,
chroniclers have been compelled to interview his associates,
or are left to their own resources. Like many of the stories told
about Abraham Lincoln, some of the current yarns about Buffalo Bill
are of doubtful authority. Nevertheless, a collection of those
that are authentic would fill a volume. Almost every plainsman
or soldier who met my brother during the Indian campaigns can tell
some interesting tale about him that has never been printed.
During the youthful season of redundant hope and happiness many
of his ebullitions of wit were lost, but he was always beloved
for his good humor, which no amount of carnage could suppress.
He was not averse to church-going, though he was liable even in church
to be carried away by the rollicking spirit that was in him.
Instance his visit to the little temple which he had helped to build
at North Platte.

His wife and sister were in the congregation, and this ought not
only to have kept him awake, but it should have insured perfect
decorum on his part. The opening hymn commenced with the words,
"Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing," etc. The organist,
who played "by ear," started the tune in too high a key to be
followed by the choir and congregation, and had to try again.
A second attempt ended, like the first, in failure.
"Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing, my blest--"
came the opening words for the third time, followed by a
squeak from the organ, and a relapse into painful silence.
Will could contain himself no longer, and blurted out:
"Start it at five hundred, and mebbe some of the rest of us
can get in."

Another church episode occurred during the visit of the "Wild West"
to the Atlanta Exposition. A locally celebrated colored preacher
had announced that he would deliver a sermon on the subject of
Abraham Lincoln. A party of white people, including my brother,
was made up, and repaired to the church to listen to the eloquent address.
Not wishing to make themselves conspicuous, the white visitors took
a pew in the extreme rear, but one of the ushers, wishing to honor them,
insisted on conducting them to a front seat. When the contribution
platter came around, our hero scooped a lot of silver dollars
from his pocket and deposited them upon the plate with such force
that the receptacle was tilted and its contents poured in a jingling
shower upon the floor. The preacher left his pulpit to assist
in gathering up the scattered treasure, requesting the congregation
to sing a hymn of thanksgiving while the task was being performed.
At the conclusion of the hymn the sable divine returned to the pulpit
and supplemented his sermon with the following remarks:

"Brudderen an' sisters: I obsahve dat Co'nel and Gen'l Buflo Bill
am present. [A roar of "Amens" and "Bless God's" arose from the
audience.] You will wifhold yuh Amens till I git froo. You all owes
yuh freedom to Abraham's bosom, but he couldn't hab went an' gone an'
done it widout Buflo Bill, who he'ped him wid de sinnoose ob wah!
Abraham Lincum was de brack man's fren'--Buflo Bill am de fren'
ob us all. ["Amen!" screamed a sister.] Yes, sistah, he am yo'
fren', moreova, an' de fren' ob every daughtah ob Jakup likewise.
De chu'ch debt am a cross to us, an' to dat cross he bends his
back as was prefigu'd in de scriptu's ob ol', De sun may move,
aw de sun mought stan' still, but Buflo Bill nebba stan's still--
he's ma'ching froo Geo'gia wid his Christian cowboys to sto'm de
Lookout Mountain ob Zion. Deacon Green Henry Turner will lead us
in prayah fo' Buflo Bill."

The following is one of Will's own stories: During the first years
of his career as an actor Will had in one of his theatrical companies
a Westerner named Broncho Bill. There were Indians in the troupe,
and a certain missionary had joined the aggregation to look after
the morals of the Indians. Thinking that Broncho Bill would bear
a little looking after also, the good man secured a seat by his side
at the dinner-table, and remarked pleasantly:

"This is Mr. Broncho Bill, is it not?"

"Yaas."

"Where were you born?"

"Near Kit Bullard's mill, on Big Pigeon."

"Religious parents, I suppose?"

"Yaas."

"What is your denomination?"

"My what?"

"Your denomination?"

"O--ah--yaas. Smith & Wesson."

While on his European tour Will was entertained by a great many potentates.
At a certain dinner given in his honor by a wealthy English lord, Will met
for the first time socially a number of blustering British officers,
fresh from India. One of them addressed himself to the scout as follows:
"I understand you are a colonel. You Americans are blawsted fond
of military titles, don't cherneow. By gad, sir, we'll have to come
over and give you fellows a good licking!"

"What, again?" said the scout, so meekly that for an instant
his assailant did not know how hard he was hit, but he realized
it when the retort was wildly applauded by the company.

Before closing these pages I will give an account of an episode which
occurred during the Black Hills gold excitement, and which illustrates
the faculty my hero possesses of adapting himself to all emergencies.
Mr. Mahan, of West Superior, Wisconsin, and a party of adventurous
gold-seekers were being chased by a band of Indians, which they
had succeeded in temporarily eluding. They met Buffalo Bill at
the head of a squad of soldiers who were looking for redskins.
The situation was explained to the scout, whereupon he said:

"I am looking for that identical crowd. Now, you draw up in line,
and I will look you over and pick out the men that I want to go
back with me."

Without any questioning he was able to select the men
who really wanted to return and fight the Indians. He left
but two behind, but they were the ones who would have been
of no assistance had they been allowed to go to the front.
Will rode some distance in advance of his party, and when the Indians
sighted him, they thought he was alone, and made a dash for him.
Will whirled about and made his horse go as if fleeing
for his life. His men had been carefully ambushed.
The Indians kept up a constant firing, and when he reached
a certain point Will pretended to be hit, and fell from his horse.
On came the Indians, howling like a choir of maniacs.
The next moment they were in a trap, and Will and his men
opened fire on them, literally annihilating the entire squad.
It was the Indian style of warfare, and the ten "good Indians"
left upon the field, had they been able to complain, would have
had no right to do so.

Will continued the march, and as the day was well advanced,
began looking for a good place to camp. Arriving at the top
of a ridge overlooking a little river, Will saw a spot where he had
camped on a previous expedition; but, to his great disappointment,
the place was in possession of a large village of hostiles,
who were putting up their tepees, building camp fires, and making
themselves comfortable for the coming night.

Quick as a flash Will decided what to do. "There are too many of them
for us to whip in the tired condition of ourselves and horses,"
said our hero. Then he posted his men along the top of the ridge,
with instructions to show themselves at a signal from him, and descended
at once, solitary and alone, to the encampment of hostiles.
Gliding rapidly up to the chief, Will addressed him in his own
dialect as follows:

"I want you to leave here right away, quick! I don't want to kill
your women and children. A big lot of soldiers are following me,
and they will destroy your whole village if you are here when they come."

As he waved his hand in the direction of the hilltop, brass buttons
and polished gun-barrels began to glitter in the rays of the setting sun,
and the chief ordered his braves to fold their tents and move on.

CHAPTER XXX.

CODY DAY AT THE OMAHA EXPOSITION.

SINCE 1893 the "Wild West" exhibitions have been restricted to the
various cities of our own land. Life in "Buffalo Bill's Tented City,"
as it is called, is like life in a small village.
There are some six hundred persons in the various departments.
Many of the men have their families with them; the Indians have
their squaws and papooses, and the variety of nationalities,
dialects, and costumes makes the miniature city an interesting
and entertaining one.

The Indians may be seen eating bundles of meat from their
fingers and drinking tankards of iced buttermilk. The Mexicans,
a shade more civilized, shovel with their knives great quantities
of the same food into the capacious receptacles provided by nature.
The Americans, despite what is said of their rapid eating,
take time to laugh and crack jokes, and finish their repast
with a product only known to the highest civilization--ice-cream.

When the "Wild West" visited Boston, one hot June day the parade
passed a children's hospital on the way to the show-grounds.
Many of the little invalids were unable to leave their couches.
All who could do so ran to the open windows and gazed eagerly
at the passing procession, and the greatest excitement prevailed.
These more fortunate little ones described, as best they could,
to the little sufferers who could not leave their beds the wonderful
things they saw. The Indians were the special admiration
of the children. After the procession passed, one wee lad,
bedridden by spinal trouble, cried bitterly because he had not seen it.
A kind-hearted nurse endeavored to soothe the child, but words
proved unavailing. Then a bright idea struck the patient woman;
she told him he might write a letter to the great "Buffalo Bill"
himself and ask him for an Indian's picture.

The idea was taken up with delight, and the child spent an eager
hour in penning the letter. It was pathetic in its simplicity.
The little sufferer told the great exhibitor that he was sick in bed,
was unable to see the Indians when they passed the hospital,
and that he longed to see a photograph of one.

The important missive was mailed, and even the impatient little
invalid knew it was useless to expect an answer that day.
The morning had hardly dawned before a child's bright eyes were open.
Every noise was listened to, and he wondered when the postman would
bring him a letter. The nurse hardly dared to hope that a busy
man like Buffalo Bill would take time to respond to the wish
of a sick child.

"Colonel Cody is a very busy man," she said. "We must be patient."

At perhaps the twentieth repetition of this remark
the door opened noiselessly. In came a six-foot Indian,
clad in leather trousers and wrapped in a scarlet blanket.
He wore a head-dress of tall, waving feathers, and carried
his bow in his hand.

The little invalids gasped in wonder; then they shrieked with delight.
One by one, silent and noiseless, but smiling, six splendid warriors
followed the first. The visitors had evidently been well trained,
and had received explicit directions as to their actions.

So unusual a sight in the orderly hospital so startled the nurse that she
could not even speak. The warriors drew up in a line and saluted her.
The happy children were shouting in such glee that the poor woman's
fright was unnoticed.

The Indians ranged themselves in the narrow space between the cots,
laid aside their gay blankets, placed their bows upon the floor,
and waving their arms to and fro, executed a quiet war-dance.
A sham battle was fought, followed by a song of victory.
After this the blankets were again donned, the kindly red men went away,
still smiling as benignly as their war paint would allow them to do.
A cheer of gratitude and delight followed them down the broad corridors.
The happy children talked about Buffalo Bill and the "Wild West"
for weeks after this visit.

North Platte had long urged my brother to bring the exhibition there.
The citizens wished to see the mammoth tents spread over the ground where
the scout once followed the trail on the actual war-path; they desired
that their famous fellow-citizen should thus honor his home town.
A performance was finally given there on October 12, 1896, the special car
bearing Will and his party arriving the preceding day, Sunday. The writer
of these chronicles joined the party in Omaha, and we left that city
after the Saturday night performance.

The Union Pacific Railroad had offered my brother every inducement to make
this trip; among other things, the officials promised to make special time
in running from Omaha to North Platte.

When we awoke Sunday morning, we found that in some way the train had
been delayed, that instead of making special time we were several hours late.
Will telegraphed this fact to the officials. At the next station
double-headers were put on, and the gain became at once perceptible.
At Grand Island a congratulatory telegram was sent, noting the gain in time.
At the next station we passed the Lightning Express, the "flyer,"
to which usually everything gives way, and the good faith of the company
was evidenced by the fact that this train was side-tracked to make way
for Buffalo Bill's "Wild West" train. Another message was sent over
the wires to the officials; it read as follows:

"Have just noticed that Lightning Express is side-tracked to make way
for Wild west. I herewith promote you to top seat in heaven."

The trip was a continued ovation. Every station was thronged, and Will was
obliged to step out on the platform and make a bow to the assembled crowds,
his appearance being invariably greeted with a round of cheers.
When we reached the station at North Platte, we found that the entire
population had turned out to receive their fellow-townsman. The "Cody Guards,"
a band to which Will presented beautiful uniforms of white
broadcloth trimmed with gold braid, struck up the strains of "See,
the Conquering Hero Comes." The mayor attempted to do the welcoming
honors of the city, but it was impossible for him to make himself heard.
Cheer followed cheer from the enthusiastic crowd.

We had expected to reach the place some hours earlier, but our late
arrival encroached upon the hour of church service. The ministers
discovered that it was impossible to hold their congregations;
so they were dismissed, and the pastors accompanied them to the station,
one reverend gentleman humorously remarking:

"We shall be obliged to take for our text this morning `Buffalo Bill and his
Wild West,' and will now proceed to the station for the discourse."

Will's tally-ho coach, drawn by six horses, was in waiting
for the incoming party. The members of his family seated
themselves in that conveyance, and we passed through the town,
preceded and followed by a band. As we arrived at the home residence,
both bands united in a welcoming strain of martial music.

My oldest sister, Julia, whose husband is manager of "Scout's Rest Ranch,"
when informed that the "Wild West" was to visit North Platte,
conceived the idea of making this visit the occasion of a family reunion.
We had never met in an unbroken circle since the days of our first separation,
but as a result of her efforts we sat thus that evening in my brother's home.
The next day our mother-sister, as she had always been regarded,
entertained us at "Scout's Rest Ranch."

The "Wild West" exhibition had visited Duluth for the first time that
same year. This city has a population of 65,000. North Platte numbers
3,500. When he wrote to me of his intention to take the exhibition
to Duluth, Will offered to make a wager that his own little town
would furnish a bigger crowd than would the city of my residence.
I could not accept any such inferred slur upon the Zenith City,
so accepted the wager, a silk hat against a fur cloak.

October 12th, the date of the North Platte performance, dawned bright
and cloudless. "To-day decides our wager," said Will. "I expect
there will be two or three dozen people out on this prairie.
Duluth turned out a good many thousands, so I suppose you think
your wager as good as won."

The manager of the tents evidently thought the outlook a forlorn one.
I shared his opinion, and was, in fancy, already the possessor
of a fine fur cloak.

"Colonel, shall we stretch the full canvas?" asked the tentman.

"Every inch of it," was the prompt response. "We want to show North Platte
the capacity of the `Wild West,' at any rate."

As we started for the grounds Will was evidently uncertain over the outcome,
in spite of his previous boast of the reception North Platte would give him.
"We'll have a big tent and plenty of room to spare in it," he observed.

But as we drove to the grounds we soon began to see indications
of a coming crowd. The people were pouring in from all directions;
the very atmosphere seemed populated; as the dust was nearly a foot
deep on the roads, the moving populace made the air almost too
thick for breathing. It was during the time of the county fair,
and managers of the Union Pacific road announced that excursion
trains would be run from every town and hamlet, the officials
and their families coming up from Omaha on a special car.
Where the crowds came from it was impossible to say. It looked
as if a feat of magic had been performed, and that the stones
were turned into men, or, perchance, that, as in olden tales,
they came up out of the earth.

Accustomed though he is to the success of the show, Will was dumfounded
by this attendance. As the crowds poured in I became alarmed about my wager.
I visited the ticket-seller and asked how the matter stood.

"It's pretty close," he answered. "Duluth seems to be dwindling away
before the mightiness of the Great American Desert."

This section of the country, which was a wilderness only a few years ago,
assembled over ten thousand people to attend a performance of the "Wild West."

Omaha, where the opening performance of this exhibition was given,
honored Will last year by setting apart one day as "Cody Day." August 31st
was devoted to his reception, and a large and enthusiastic crowd gathered
to do the Nebraska pioneer honor. The parade reached the fair-grounds
at eleven o'clock, where it was fittingly received by one hundred and fifty
mounted Indians from the encampment. A large square space had been
reserved for the reception of the party in front of the Sherman gate.
As it filed through, great applause was sent up by the waiting multitude,
and the noise became deafening when my brother made his appearance on a
magnificent chestnut horse, the gift of General Miles. He was accompanied
by a large party of officials and Nebraska pioneers, who dismounted to seat
themselves on the grand-stand. Prominent among these were the governor
of the state, Senator Thurston, and Will's old friend and first employer,
Mr. Alexander Majors. As Will ascended the platform he was met by
General Manager Clarkson, who welcomed him in the name of the president
of the exposition, whose official duties precluded his presence.
Governor Holcomb was then introduced, and his speech was a brief
review of the evolution of Nebraska from a wilderness of a generation
ago to the great state which produced this marvelous exposition.
Manager Clarkson remarked, as he introduced Mr. Majors: "Here is the father
of them all, Alexander Majors, a man connected with the very earliest
history of Nebraska, and the business father of Colonel Cody."

This old pioneer was accorded a reception only a shade less enthusiastic
than that which greeted the hero of the day. He said:

"_Gentlemen, and My Boy, Colonel Cody_: [Laughter.] Can I say
a few words of welcome? Friend Creighton and I came down here
together to-day, and he thought I was not equal to the occasion.
Gentlemen, I do not know whether I am equal to the occasion
at this time, but I am going to do the best for you that I can.
Give me your hand, Colonel. Gentlemen, forty-three years
ago this day, this fine-looking physical specimen of manhood
was brought to me by his mother--a little boy nine years old--
and little did I think at that time that the boy that was standing
before me, asking for employment of some kind by which I could
afford to pay his mother a little money for his services,
was going to be a boy of such destiny as he has turned out to be.
In this country we have great men, we have great men in Washington,
we have men who are famous as politicians in this country; we have
great statesmen, we have had Jackson and Grant, and we had Lincoln;
we have men great in agriculture and in stock-growing, and in the
manufacturing business men who have made great names for themselves,
who have stood high in the nation. Next, and even greater,
we have a Cody. He, gentlemen, stands before you now,
known the wide world over as the last of the great scouts.
When the boy Cody came to me, standing straight as an arrow,
and looked me in the face, I said to my partner, Mr. Russell,
who was standing by my side, `We will take this little boy,
and we will pay him a man's wages, because he can ride a pony
just as well as a man can.' He was lighter and could do service
of that kind when he was nine years old. I remember when we
paid him twenty-five dollars for the first month's work.
He was paid in half-dollars, and he got fifty of them.
He tied them up in his little handkerchief, and when he got
home he untied the handkerchief and spread the money all
over the table."

Colonel Cody--"I have been spreading it ever since."

A few remarks followed indicative of Mr. Majors's appreciation of
the exhibition, and he closed with the remark, "Bless your precious heart,
Colonel Cody!" and sat down, amid great applause.

Senator Thurston's remarks were equally happy. He said:

"Colonel Cody, this is your day. This is your exposition.
This is your city. And we all rejoice that Nebraska is your state.
You have carried the fame of our country and of our state
all over the civilized world; you have been received and
honored by princes, by emperors and by kings; the titled
women in the courts of the nations of the world have been
captivated by your charm of manner and your splendid manhood.
You are known wherever you go, abroad or in the United States,
as Colonel Cody, the best representative of the great and
progressive West. You stand here to-day in the midst of a
wonderful assembly. Here are representatives of the heroic
and daring characters of most of the nations of the world.
You are entitled to the honor paid you to-day, and especially entitled
to it here. This people know you as a man who has carried this
demonstration of yours to foreign lands, and exhibited it at home.
You have not been a showman in the common sense of the word.
You have been a great national and international educator of men.
You have furnished a demonstration of the possibilities of our
country that has advanced us in the opinion of all the world.
But we who have been with you a third, or more than a third,
of a century, we remember you more dearly and tenderly than others do.
We remember that when this whole Western land was a wilderness,
when these representatives of the aborigines were attempting
to hold their own against the onward tide of civilization,
the settler and the hardy pioneer, the women and the children,
felt safe whenever Cody rode along the frontier; he was their
protector and defender.

"Cody, this is your home. You live in the hearts of the people of our state.
God bless you and keep you and prosper you in your splendid work."

Will was deeply touched by these strong expressions from his friends.
As he moved to the front of the platform to respond, his appearance
was the signal for a prolonged burst of cheers. He said:

"You cannot expect me to make adequate response for the honor which you
have bestowed upon me to-day. You have overwhelmed my speaking faculties.
I cannot corral enough ideas to attempt a coherent reply in response
to the honor which you have accorded me. How little I dreamed in the long
ago that the lonely path of the scout and the pony-express rider would
lead me to the place you have assigned me to-day. Here, near the banks
of the mighty Missouri, which flows unvexed to the sea, my thoughts revert
to the early days of my manhood. I looked eastward across this rushing
tide to the Atlantic, and dreamed that in that long-settled region all men
were rich and all women happy. My friends, that day has come and gone.
I stand among you a witness that nowhere in the broad universe are men
richer in manly integrity, and women happier in their domestic kingdom,
than here in our own Nebraska.

"I have sought fortune in many lands, but wherever I have wandered,
the flag of our beloved state has been unfurled to every breeze:
from the Platte to the Danube, from the Tiber to the Clyde, the emblem
of our sovereign state has always floated over the `Wild West.' Time goes
on and brings with it new duties and responsibilities, but we `old men,'
we who are called old-timers, cannot forget the trials and tribulations
which we had to encounter while paving the path for civilization
and national prosperity.

"The whistle of the locomotive has drowned the howl of the coyote;
the barb-wire fence has narrowed the range of the cow-puncher;
but no material evidence of prosperity can obliterate our contribution
to Nebraska's imperial progress.

"Through your kindness to-day I have tasted the sweetest fruit
that grows on ambition's tree. If you extend your kindness
and permit me to fall back into the ranks as a high private,
my cup will be full.

"In closing, let me call upon the `Wild West, the Congress
of Rough Riders of the World,' to voice their appreciation
of the kindness you have shown them to-day."

At a given signal the "Wild West" gave three ringing cheers
for Nebraska and the Trans-Mississippi Exposition. The cowboy
band followed with the "Red, White, and Blue," and an exposition
band responded with the "Star-Spangled Banner." The company fell
into line for a parade around the grounds, Colonel Cody following
on his chestnut horse, Duke. After him came the officials and
invited guests in carriages; then came the Cossacks, the Cubans,
the German cavalry, the United States cavalry, the Mexicans,
and representatives of twenty-five countries.

As the parade neared its end, my brother turned to his friends and suggested
that as they had been detained long past the dinner-hour in doing him honor,
he would like to compensate them by giving an informal spread.
This invitation was promptly accepted, and the company adjourned
to a cafe, where a tempting luncheon was spread before them.
Never before had such a party of pioneers met around a banquet-table,
and many were the reminiscences of early days brought out.
Mr. Majors, the originator of the Pony Express line, was there.
The two Creighton brothers, who put through the first telegraph line,
and took the occupation of the express riders from them, had seats
of honor. A. D. Jones was introduced as the man who carried the first
postoffice of Omaha around in his hat, and who still wore the hat.
Numbers of other pioneers were there, and each contributed his share
of racy anecdotes and pleasant reminiscences.

CHAPTER XXXI.

THE LAST OF THE GREAT SCOUTS.

THE story of frontier days is a tale that is told.
The "Wild West" has vanished like mist in the sun before
the touch of the two great magicians of the nineteenth century--
steam and electricity.

The route of the old historic Santa Fe trail is nearly followed by
the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, which was completed in 1880.
The silence of the prairie was once broken by the wild war-whoop of the Indian
as he struggled to maintain his supremacy over some adjoining tribe;
the muffled roar caused by the heavy hoof-beats of thousands of
buffaloes was almost the only other sound that broke the stillness.
To-day the shriek of the engine, the clang of the bell, and the clatter
of the car-wheels form a ceaseless accompaniment to the cheerful hum
of busy life which everywhere pervades the wilderness of thirty years ago.
Almost the only memorials of the struggles and privations of the hardy
trappers and explorers, whose daring courage made the achievements
of the present possible, are the historic landmarks which bear the names
of some of these brave men. But these are very few in number.
Pike's Peak lifts its snowy head to heaven in silent commemoration of
the early traveler whose name it bears. Simpson's Rest, a lofty obelisk,
commemorates the mountaineer whose life was for the most part passed
upon its rugged slopes, and whose last request was that he should

{illust. caption = {signature of} W. F. Cody} be buried on its summit.
Another cloud-capped mountain-height bears the name of Fisher's Peak,
and thereby hangs a tale.

Captain Fisher commanded a battery in the army engaged in the conquest
of New Mexico. His command encamped near the base of the mountain which
now bears his name. Deceived by the illusive effect of the atmosphere,
he started out for a morning stroll to the supposed near-by elevation,
announcing that he would return in time for breakfast. The day passed
with no sign of Captain Fisher, and night lengthened into a new day.
When the second day passed without his return, his command was
forced to believe that he had fallen a prey to lurking Indians,
and the soldiers were sadly taking their seats for their evening
meal when the haggard and wearied captain put in an appearance.
His morning stroll had occupied two days and a night; but he set
out to visit the mountain, and he did it.

The transcontinental line which supplanted the Old Salt Lake
trail, and is now known as the Union Pacific Railroad,
antedated the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe by eleven years.
The story of the difficulties encountered, and the obstacles
overcome in the building of this road, furnishes greater marvels
than any narrated in the Arabian Nights' Tales.

This railroad superseded the Pony Express line, the reeking,
panting horses of which used their utmost endeavor and carried
their tireless riders fifteen miles an hour, covering their
circuit in eight days' time at their swiftest rate of speed.
The iron horse gives a sniff of disdain, and easily traverses
the same distance, from the Missouri line to the Pacific Coast,
in three days.

Travelers who step aboard the swiftly moving, luxurious cars
of to-day give little thought to their predecessors; for the
dangers the early voyagers encountered they have no sympathy.
The traveler in the stagecoach was beset by perils without
from the Indians and the outlaws; he faced the equally
unpleasant companionship of fatigue and discomfort within.
The jolting, swinging coach bounced and jounced the unhappy
passengers as the reckless driver lashed the flying horses.
Away they galloped over mountains and through ravines,
with no cessation of speed. Even the shipper pays the low rate
of transportation asked to-day with reluctance, and forgets
the great debt he owes this adjunct of our civilization.

But great as are the practical benefits derived from the railways, we cannot
repress a sigh as we meditate on the picturesque phases of the vanished era.
Gone are the bullwhackers and the prairie-schooners! Gone are the
stagecoaches and their drivers! Gone are the Pony Express riders!
Gone are the trappers, the hardy pioneers, the explorers, and the scouts!
Gone is the prairie monarch, the shaggy, unkempt buffalo!

In 1869, only thirty years ago, the train on the Kansas Pacific-road
was delayed eight hours in consequence of the passage of an
enormous herd of buffaloes over the track in front of it.
But the easy mode of travel introduced by the railroad brought
hundreds of sportsmen to the plains, who wantonly killed this
noble animal solely for sport, and thousands of buffaloes were
sacrificed for their skins, for which there was a widespread demand.
From 1868 to 1881, in Kansas alone, there was paid out
$2,500,000 for the bones of this animal, which were gathered up
on the prairie and used in the carbon works of the country.
This represents a total death-rate of 31,000,000 buffaloes
in one state. As far as I am able to ascertain, there remains
at this writing only one herd, of less than twenty animals,
out of all the countless thousands that roamed the prairie so short
a time ago, and this herd is carefully preserved in a private park.
There may be a few isolated specimens in menageries and shows,
but this wholesale slaughter has resulted in the practical
extermination of the species.

As with the animal native to our prairies, so has it been with the race
native to our land. We may deplore the wrongs of the Indian, and sympathize
with his efforts to wrest justice from his so-called protectors.
We may admire his poetic nature, as evidenced in the myths and
legends of the race. We may be impressed by the stately dignity
and innate ability as orator and statesman which he displays.
We may preserve the different articles of his picturesque garb as relics.
But the old, old drama of history is repeating itself before the eyes of
this generation; the inferior must give way to the superior civilization.
The poetic, picturesque, primitive red man must inevitably succumb
before the all-conquering tread of his pitiless, practical,
progressive white brother.

Cooper has immortalized for us the extinction of a people in
the "Last of the Mohicans." Many another tribe has passed away,
unhonored and unsung. Westward the "Star of Empire" takes its way;
the great domain west of the Mississippi is now peopled by
the white race, while the Indians are shut up in reservations.
Their doom is sealed; their sun is set. "Kismet" has been spoken
of them; the total extinction of the race is only a question of time.
In the words of Rudyard Kipling:

"Take up the White Man's burden--
Ye dare not stoop to less--
Nor call too loud on freedom
To cloke your weariness.
By all ye will or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your God and you."

Of this past epoch of our national life there remains
but one well-known representative. That one is my brother.
He occupies a unique place in the portrait gallery of famous
Americans to-day. It is not alone his commanding personality,
nor the success he has achieved along various lines, which gives
him the strong hold he has on the hearts of the American people,
or the absorbing interest he possesses in the eyes of foreigners.
The fact that in his own person he condenses a period
of national history is a large factor in the fascination
he exercises over others. He may fitly be named the "Last
of the Great Scouts." He has had great predecessors.
The mantle of Kit Carson has fallen upon his shoulders, and he wears
it worthily. He has not, and never can have, a successor.
He is the vanishing-point between the rugged wilderness of the past
in Western life and the vast achievement in the present.

When the "Wild West" disbands, the last vestige of our frontier life passes
from the scene of active realities, and becomes a matter of history.

"Life is real, life is earnest," sings the poet, and real and earnest it
has been for my brother. It has been spent in others' service. I cannot
recall a time when he has not thus been laden with heavy burdens.
Yet for himself he has won a reputation, national and international.
A naval officer visiting in China relates that as he stepped ashore
he was offered two books for purchase--one the Bible, the other a "Life
of Buffalo Bill."

For nearly half a century, which comprises his childhood,
youth, and manhood, my brother has been before the public.
He can scarcely be said to have had a childhood, so early was
he thrust among the rough scenes of frontier life, therein to play
a man's part at an age when most boys think of nothing more
than marbles and tops. He enlisted in the Union army before
he was of age, and did his share in upholding the flag during
the Civil War as ably as many a veteran of forty, and since then
he has remained, for the most part, in his country's service,
always ready to go to the front in any time of danger.
He has achieved distinction in many and various ways.
He is president of the largest irrigation enterprise in the world,
president of a colonization company, of a town-site company,
and of two transportation companies. He is the foremost scout
and champion buffalo-hunter of America, one of the crack
shots of the world, and its greatest popular entertainer.
He is broad-minded and progressive in his views, inheriting from
both father and mother a hatred of oppression in any form.
Taking his mother as a standard, he believes the franchise is
a birthright which should appertain to intelligence and education,
rather than to sex. It is his public career that lends an
interest to his private life, in which he has been a devoted
and faithful son and brother, a kind and considerate husband,
a loving and generous father. "Only the names of them
that are upright, brave, and true can be honorably known,"
were the mother's dying words; and honorably known has his
name become, in his own country and across the sea.

With the fondest expectation he looks forward to the hour when he shall
make his final bow to the public and retire to private life.
It is his long-cherished desire to devote his remaining years to the
development of the Big Horn Basin, in Wyoming. He has visited every country
in Europe, and has looked upon the most beautiful of Old World scenes.
He is familiar with all the most splendid regions of his own land,
but to him this new El Dorado of the West is the fairest spot on earth.

He has already invested thousands of dollars and given much thought
and attention toward the accomplishment of his pet scheme.
An irrigating ditch costing nearly a million dollars now
waters this fertile region, and various other improvements
are under way, to prepare a land flowing with milk and honey
for the reception of thousands of homeless wanderers.
Like the children of Israel, these would never reach the promised
land but for the untiring efforts of a Moses to go on before;
but unlike the ancient guide and scout of sacred history,
my brother has been privileged to penetrate the remotest
corner of this primitive land of Canaan. The log cabin he has
erected there is not unlike the one of our childhood days.
Here he finds his haven of rest, his health-resort, to which he hastens
when the show season is over and he is free again for a space.
He finds refreshment in the healthful, invigorating atmosphere
of his chosen retreat; he enjoys sweet solace from the cares
of life under the influence of its magnificent scenery.

And here, in the shadow of the Rockies, yet in the very "light of things,"
it is his wish to finish his days as he began them, in opening up for
those who come after him the great regions of the still undeveloped West,
and in poring over the lesson learned as a boy on the plains:

"That nature never did betray
The heart that loved her."

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