So, I’ve mentioned this before but I don’t remember if it was on tumblr (and I’m too lazy to find the post even if it was) so let me start fresh.
We know the paternoster gang has irregulars, its stated explicitly in ‘Deep Breath’ and we know that Vastra/Jenny are supposed to be Holmes/Watson whom also had informants scattered around London.
Now the question is: what sort of people are these ‘irregulars’ ?
I imagine the irregulars are a menagerie of men, women, aliens, previous clients whom owe a debt, and many children.
It is obvious the gang has connections with the Doctor, and since it is clear some higher ups know about both Vastra and Jenny… it would be safe to say the paternoster gang has contacts with Torchwood/U.N.I.T.
I’m unsure how much sway they would have (or, in fact, want) with these organizations, but I’m sure they have means of contacting them and at the very least a civil relationship with some of their members.
I imagine Vastra has contacts within various circles of higher Victorian society… such as bank officials, art/museum gallery owners or attendants, and most assuredly persons within the mathematics/science/technology professions (though I imagine she avoids those whom have made a name for themselves and prefers the more eclectic variety and those that others of the time prefer to call charlatans) while I doubt she met these individuals at parties, I am sure many have sought her out and owe her a debt, and she uses this to her advantage.
She would call on these individuals for surface information, often to confirm her suspicions… or on occasion asking them to look into the specifics of things she knows are beyond her present capabilities (yes, she can and will admit she doesn’t know everything, but she does what she can to remedy this as soon as the case is over). These are people that Vastra will not be required to socialize with. Certainly there will be times when she must engage them in Victorian pleasantries, but only because Jenny insists it gets them ‘to loosen their tongues’ (as the cockney woman likes to say) quicker. For the most part she can write them and inquire about specifics and avoid dancing around and making personal ties with them (because honestly, she doesn’t want to make ties with most of them. They are tools for the most part. Very few are acquaintance and even fewer are tolerable enough to be considered associates).
Jenny, I’m sure, is in charge of the more shady individuals. She’s the one in charge of making connections with the pickpockets/thieves, servants, carriage drivers, costermongers, women of the night and, of course, London’s street urchins.
She the only obvious choice as we know Vastra really finds very few ‘apes’ tolerable and she is at a disadvantage when working with the intricate nature that is Victorian customs. Jenny knows these things, and she has connections from her life before her employ/relationship with Vastra. She takes care of how much one should be paid for how much work they are being asked to do… she handles the deal making and knows when someone is cheating them or has alternative motives. Jenny can speak in terms that are mutually understood by those in the lower class (while those like Vastra or who aren’t in the know struggle to understand a handful of words between them). Jenny knows how to pick locks, when to bribe and how much it will cost her… she knows how to talk with the people to gain information. She can read a room (Vastra still struggles with human expressions on occasion) and find the unnerved barmaid or disgruntled merchant and obtain information from them.
Most important of all, Jenny knows what it is like to live on the streets of London. She knows what it is like to be starving and cold, and understands… even sympathies with just how invisible a child of London can become. It is for this reason that she is especially good at locating this forgotten population and earning their trust in return for news and information.
Jenny never tires to pretend that she can care for them all… knows that for the large part Vastra ignores these children (not out of malice, its more that Silurians aren’t exactly maternal in the way that Apes and mammals are.. sure they’d keep watch over their eggs until their brood hatched, but Silurian youths are born already prepared to fend for themselves… so the notion of rearing ones young is foreign) but on occasions when it is bitterly cold Jenny may have been known to let one… or five… or perhaps several more of the urchins inside the sanctity of 13 Paternoster Row. She may have prepared a warm bowl of oatmeal for those seeking refuge and allowed them to sleep by the kitchen hearth with a few spare blankets.
By morning the older youths and teens are typically gone, their blankets folded neatly and the door closed tight behind them, but the younger ones, (younger then even Jenny was when she met Vastra) have been known to sleep in.
Vastra is typically… wary on these occasions. As mentioned before, she isn’t outright spiteful to the young of the species, but she is altogether unfamiliar with how to handle children.
Her experiences in the past largely based upon her time in the Monstre Gathering… where in the children often screamed at the mere sight of her. Of those that did not flee immediately while in her presence often tried to prove their bravery by getting as close as they dared to her person. Vastra found herself comforted that a well meaning hiss was generally all that was needed to get them to scatter… but then there were those few children (often infants and toddlers) that merely stared at her in awe. These where the sort of gazes the street urchin youths gave her on the mornings when they stayed long.
Jenny was always sure to let Vastra know when she’d let the urchins spend the night (as if Vastra couldn’t smell them) and so the Silurian was careful to keep herself covered… but this did nothing to help keep their house-guests curious stares away.
Vastra supposed the biggest annoyance about these hatchlings was that they were utterly unafraid of her. She knew her wife would be on her like Reapers to a Time Paradox if a single hair on their furry little bodies was harmed while under their stay (Strax knew this too, and often elected to sleep out with the horses to ensure he would not experience The Boys wrath).
Again, it was not that she wished to do them harm… but when one is so used to experiencing nervous glances and fearful/wary stares… it is almost unsettling (and perhaps a little bit pride wounding) to be openly watched with eyes that hold nothing but amazement and wonder. She was a proud Silurian warrior and a mighty predator… these hatchlings should be, if not afraid, at least wary of her person, yet they attempt to show their affection by asking non-ending-questions and prattering on at a rate that would even make the Doctors head spin.
Jenny was always sure to have them properly fed and out of the home by noon… by which point Vastra would be utterly drained and considerably irritable (and Jenny would provide her with a considerable amount of not-red-wine to drink and affection and or sparring to settle her lizard back down).
There were, however, two of these street urchins that managed to worm their way into the family.
The first was Thomas Thomas. After the Crimson Horror incident; Strax lead Jenny and Vastra back to their carriage which was, much to their surprise, still where they had left it!
As it turned out, Strax had ordered young Thomas to ‘Stay with the carriage Boy or you will be obliterated!’ and the young lad had done just that. In fact, he’d fallen asleep at his post but was quick to snap back to attention under Strax’s command. Vastra explained how the young boy had helped given them directions to Sweetville. It didn’t need to be mentioned that if they’d shown up a few minutes later Jenny and the Doctor might not have been fairing quite so well…
Jenny gave the boy a simple glance over which, combined with the fact that he’d been alone so late at night, gave her enough information to gleam that the boy was in a bad situation; homeless and quite likely an orphan. Oh sure, he was fine now when it was summer and warm and plenty of food to nick… but come winter and he’d be in real trouble.
They offered Thomas a meal as payment for his service and while the boy road up front with Strax, Jenny addressed her suspicions with Vastra before suggesting that… well that they might consider taking him in under their employ!
Jenny further explained her idea by listing the points in Thomas’ favor: he had seen them in action and not been afraid, he’d helped out at a moments notice without the promise of reward (though one was probably expected), was good with directions, seemed to accept all their peculiarities and didn’t seem to be afraid of Vastra’s appearance [taking liberties here to assume he saw Vastra uncovered/without perception filter].
With all this put together, Jenny suggested that (assuming the boy was willing) they take Thomas back to London with them. He’d make a good stable boy or mail carrier (not to mention he would give Strax someone to talk to… and they DID seem to get along) and he wouldn’t be out of place when it came to their image as well off toffs – in fact it might help to have another ‘human’ around.
Jenny would not, however, force the matter. She knew Vastra was uncomfortable around most humans and this entire idea had come up quite suddenly. She let her wife think it over for the rest of the ride and during their meal. When the meal was complete Vastra had seemed to make up her mind. Jenny treated Thomas to a sweet bun from a vender outside and that was when Vastra offered him the job.
Thomas had thought it over while finishing his treat before asking a few intelligent questions about how much he’d be paid, what he’d be expected to do, and what exactly… did they do?
Talks were had… arrangements made, and eventually Thomas agreed to come back with them.
Time passed and Thomas Thomas (now called Tom or Tommy by all but Vastra whom always used his full first (or perhaps last?) name) wormed his way into their lives. He became more then just a servant and ended up being part of their extended family. Jenny and Strax both took to the boy immediately and though it took a few years Vastra warmed to him… especially after he’d aided them on a number of cases and proved to be quite the cartographer with a little training (in fact, they often sent him ahead and he’d draw up maps for their more elaborate cases or stakeouts).
Everything changed one afternoon when Tom was about age 13.
Vastra: “Thomas can you draw up a map of that coal factory we investigated the other day?”
Tom: “Yeah, sure thing mom.”
Jenny (smirking): “Ya just called Vastra… Mom.’
Tom: “What?! No I didn’t! I called her MA'AM”
Vastra (teasing): “Do you see me as a mother figure Thomas?”
Tom: “No! YER A LIZARD FOR GODS SAKE!”
Jenny: “DONT YOU TALK TA YER MA LIKE THAT!”
Strax: “Does that make me a father?”
This post, of course, fails to mention how they found their daughter… but that’s a story for another time.