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Mr. John Clay, whose blood runs a royal red, can also be seen in these previous issues of Electro-Graphic Monthly courtesy of her literary agent David McAllister:

January 2004 . . .
His letter of introduction

 

A Letter From Mr. John Clay
Regarding Beggars

Dear Mr. McCallister,

I usually don't associate with beggers, although there's not much to choose between outright beggers and some of the idlers that I've employed at times in various of my charitable endeavors. However, might I point out that my Cornish orphanage project, for example, has kept many who otherwise would have led a miserable life on the street from such a fate. Although I often refer to my charges as "The Little Beggers", it is closer to the truth to say that they are as my dear to me as if they were my own darling children. That doesn;t mean that they don't have to earn their keep, mind you. The Young Ladies division, for example, provides, for a nominal sum, the services of formerly wayward young ladies to various country houses for weekends as parlour maids, chamber maids, kitchen maids, etc. Having been introduced to the rigid discipline of the orphanage (according to my own system of strict personal instruction and development), they are particularly suited to a supervisory role. Thus, anyone desiring a maiden-head of household should apply to Clay's House of Compassionate Correction and Culture, Penzance, Cornwall.

Returning to matters in London, I have also a nodding acquaintance with the class of person who frequents pawn shops. While these persons are not technically beggers, some are a week away from the poorhouse, and have developed a perpetual cycle of pawn and redemption of various items, particularly items of clothing.It pains me to say it, but sometimes an entire family will have but one set of clothes that must be traded amongst themselves and which is in and out of pawn frequently.This aspect of the pawn trade has been written about, but I'm sorry, I'don't have the reference quite to hand.

I do have a slight acquaintance with persons who are actual beggers as well. As the League members may know, I am invoved in banking in an underground way, and I have had occasion to frequent the Bank of England. On my visits there, I have made the acquaintance of a neigboring entrepreneur on Threadneedle Street, one Hugh Boone, who, while pretending to sell Vestas (which I gladly purchase for my afternoon cheroot), is really a begger- he can't fool me. But I like the fellow, as he appears very clever, often chaffing me about my blaze. He seems to be some sort of wounded veteran of sorts (an honorable wound to his leg and face, I gather; not like that malingerer, Jackie Watson, whose wounds, I suspect from the vagueness of their description, are merely a subterfuge to double-dip on his Army pension, paid for by honest ratepayers such as myself). Perhaps I will be able to make use of Mr. Boone's services in connection with some enterprise in the future. I understand furthermore that there is an organization that might have great interest for me, called the Amateur Mendicant Society. If any of the League members are acquainted with such a club; from what I've heard, I might be interested in such a congenial atmosphere. Sometimes the DLL can get a little oppressive. Perhaps we can speak of this further.

Yours, J. Clay, Esq.