He was to the British what Jerry Lewis is to the French–much to the amusement of The Nation.
Nothing can well be odder than the attention paid in England to “Buffalo Bill,” or, as he is there known, “Colonel the Hon. William F. Cody.” He is literally the great lion of the season in London. He is an honored guest at the fashionable parties, invited out to dinner everywhere, and passes a good deal of his time in the company of royal personages. In fact, he has had a far more flattering reception than any foreigner without official rank or antecedents to help him. Garibaldi was much less favorably received; although be was, when he went to England, one of the most famous and romantic heroes of the day. Cody’s social success, like that of Fred Archer the jockey, marks the enormous space which pure amusement now occupies in the life of the well-to-do classes in England. The number of people who follow amusement as a business has probably increased tenfold during the last forty years, and the place of people who furnish amusement has been correspondingly exalted. Americans of any grade or species who can do this are especially successful in London society. Their stories, their jokes, their songs, their new card tricks, their skill in poker and euchre, sometimes supply the place, in giving them social consideration, of nearly everything else which makes a human being respectable. We by no means wish to underrate Buffalo Bill’s character or capacity in his line, but it seems very odd to see the highest circles of a civilized nation paying to the proprietor of an equestrian show all the honor it could bestow, and far more than the honor it would bestow, on a great author, or inventor, or statesman. A large number of those who are fêting Buffalo Bill are, in fact, taking pains to inflict slights and insults on Mr. Gladstone whenever they get an opportunity.