Annie Oakley Poster

THE PRESSMAN’S PRIVILEGE.

   Marvellous as are the spectacle served up to the patrons of the Wild West, they became subsidiary items in the view of those who are privileged to pry into the inner workings of the establishment. It is a masterpiece of organisation. Of the 800 persons connected with the show, every one knows his appointed place, and automatically, it would almost seem, performs his allotted task. There is no friction, no duplicating of work or authority. Time is money, and is conserved as such.

The exhibition is transported in three trains, aggregating in length over three-quarters of a mile. Attached to the first 19 coaches, luxuriously furnished, and forming the permanent abode, if the term in the circumstances is applicable, of the whole staff. The other vehicles are utilised for conveying the horses and paraphernalia.

On arrival at Dundee yesterday morning an immediate start was made with the erection of the canvas, little more than a couple of hours being required to complete the task. This accomplished, the staff sat down to a sumptuous breakfast in the dining marquee. How many purveyors would undertake to set up premises and prepare substantial meals for 800 hungry men in two short hours? The cooking is done in a large wagon, equipped on each side with American ranges. Such edibles as potatoes and vegetables, however, are made ready by steam supplied from a boiler constructed on the fire principle, with forced draught capable of generating the requisite heat in about five minutes. Tubes from this boiler also supply the tea and coffee urns, which sit within the marquee. The food is excellent.

Colonel Cody himself takes a seat at the head of the table, and partakes the same rations as the humblest member of his staff. A visit to the stables is something to remember. The performing horses are tethered in a marquee quite apart from the draught animals, which, it may be mentioned in passing, are magnificent specimens of their kind. When the reporters passed through the ranks yesterday forenoon the horses were being groomed. Six tons of straw and six of hay, the guide explained, were used per diem. Not less interesting than the mounts themselves were the saddles and riding appurtenances, every variety of which was illustrated. Suspended from a rack hung a beautifully-ornamented bridle, presented to Colonel Cody by His Majesty the King when he was Prince of Wales, and a silver-mounted saddle, the gift of General Myles, of the United States Army.

The wigwams of the Indians, pronounced by experts in hygiene to be the most healthful habitations known, were objects of pardonable curiosity. Most interesting of all, however, proved the dressingroom, a spacious marquee, wherein squatted types of every race attending to their toilette and polishing their accoutrements. Such a babel of languages it is seldom the lot of the average mortal to hear. The relations of this cosmopolitan company to each other are friendly in the extreme, the representatives of the several nations consorting without the slightest restraint.

A number of intelligent young Japs were observed eagerly perusing the war news in the columns of the “Dundee Advertiser,” while close at hand a group of Cossacks, who, of course, were completely ignorant of English, chatted and laughed with characteristic vivacity. In passing the press representatives called at the private apartments of Colonel Cody, and expressed their good wishes. The management generate their own electric current, the dynamos being driven by an adaptation of the heavy American fire engine. All jobbing and repairs are performed by a special staff of tradesmen.

The exhibition has its own police, amongst whom is numbered one of the most famous and most successful of New York detectives. Colonel Cody in matters pertaining to the discipline of the men is supreme judge, and fines are levied, when necessary to accord with the nature of the offence. It is seldom, however, that the chief is called upon to exercise his judicial functions.