Jedrington has lost his wife and children (or so he thinks) and feels a bit emotional, poor chap. But this is Victorian England, in which it is illegal (or so we’re told) for a man to express emotion. His manservant comes to the rescue by smuggling him into a sordid, backstreet den – a sort of opium den or speakeasy – in which he can weep freely, away from the prying eyes of the law. But he’s out of practice and needs illicit images to excite the necessary juices. This dingy, disreputable establishment provides them, viewed through a hole in a black curtain.
First, there’s a cute little doggie sitting on a stool. Then there’s a sad little boy who scratches a few notes, badly, on a violin before keeling over. And then there’s the clincher – the piece de resistance – an oversize headstone on which is writ ‘Some Orphans,’ with the cute little doggie sitting next to it.
Jedrington gets his cry; I get my laugh; and The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff is highly recommended to anybody with a slightly odd sense of humour.