The Old Curiosity Shop (Charles Dickens, 1841)

A slightly mad old man has lost all his money gambling in the vain attempt to win his granddaughter a fortune. Fleeing from their debts and from the chance that the old man might be institutionalized, they disappear into the countryside. Meanwhile, they’re pursued both by a devious dwarf who was the old man’s moneylender and by the man’s brother, who comes to deliver them a large inheritance.¬† Both are too late: the dwarf accidentally drowns himself evading the police and the granddaughter succumbs to illness and exhaustion before the brother finds them.

Inscription: Pasted on the inside front cover is an off-the-shelf ex libris plate showing an owl perched atop a clutch of pine cones. Neatly typewritten in the blank space beneath is the name Muriel Louise Kemp.

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