New York, USA
13 January 1893
A Memphis Clergyman Narrowly Escaped Death.
"I had an adventure in London last spring of a very unpleasant nature," said Rev. Theodore Swain, a Memphis minister, now a guest of the Laclode. "I was wandering about the city sight seeing on day, and finally found myself near the notorious Whitechapel district. I was approached by a beggar who appeared to be a complete physical wreck. I questioned him, and his story was so pitiful that I concluded to investigate it. He said that he lodged in the next block, and thither we went. He led me into a gloomy old building and up three pairs of rickety stairs to a little stuffy room, lit only by a dirty skylight. Once in there he locked the door, laid aside his crutches, pulled off his gray wig and stood up a powerful six footer in the prime of life. "Well," said I, "I see that you are a fraud; what do you want with me?" He replied that he wanted my purse, watch and chain, and to enforce his claim produced an ugly looking knife. "It will do you no good to cry out," he said, "for you cannot be heard in the street, and no one in this building will come to your aid." I had sized him up pretty close and concluded that he was bluffing - that he would not dare kill me in the very heart of London, so I assumed a careless air and told him that if he robbed me he would have to kill me first, and that he might just as well get at it. "Oh, I know that you have a pistol, but I'm not afraid of it," he said. "Most Americans carry pistols for just such cattle as you," I replied, with all the coolness I could assume. "Now, if you are not afraid of it, why don't you get to work?" I saw that he was cowed, and, throwing my hand to my hip pocket, I steeped forward and said firmly, "Give me that knife." He handed it to me without a word, unlocked the door and held it open for me to pass out. No, I had no pistol - never carry one - but I made no more visits to the dens of London beggars without a burly officer at my elbow."