She didn't like to look at the picture too much. She liked to keep it tucked away in her trinket box, along with her tarnished wedding ring and a small stack of other photographs. Every photograph in the box was special to her, but this one was even more so, and Mrs Lovett had never shown it to anyone, and she wasn't planning to. And so, when she took it out one evening to gaze tearfully at the only faded memory she had from one of the happiest times in her life, she was thrown off guard when she heard a voice speak behind her.
"Who is that?" Sweeney asked.
Mrs Lovett jumped. She thrust the photograph back in to the trinket box and turned around, a furious expression on her face. She had never been angry at Mr Todd before, not properly, and he seemed surprised by her reaction.
"I'm sorry," He said quickly, "I didn't mean to intrude."
Mrs Lovett could feel the snappy retort burning on the tip of her tongue, but she swallowed it. Instead she managed to smile. "Don't be sorry, love. It's fine," She said, though this wasn't completely true. She turned around with hopes of ending the moment, but Sweeney had other plans.
"Was she yours?" He said gently.
"Yes," Mrs Lovett sighed, "My daughter. My Minnie."
She reached down and took the photograph from the box again. Sweeney noticed how her whole face softened when she looked down at the smiling baby propped up on the cushions. Minnie Lovett was dressed in a long white gown, on which pearls and beads had been intricately sewn. She was a pretty little thing, he supposed. She reminded him of a china doll, albeit a chubby one.
"This was took on the day of her christening," Mrs Lovett muttered, frowning now, "The next day she died."
"What happened to her?" Sweeney asked softly.
Mrs Lovett shrugged. "She was perfectly happy when I put her to bed that night. And then, when I went to wake her the next morning, she was gone. I thought she was asleep. I stroked her hair - she had gorgeous hair, lovely and soft - but she didn't stir," By this point she seemed quite tearful, "When she didn't open her eyes I picked her up. I thought surely she'll wake up now, but she didn't. When I looked at her properly her lips were blue. She was like ice in my arms."
Her voice was barely a whisper now. She found herself wiping a tear from her eye. Shakily she tucked the photograph carefully away. She turned around to finish her story, "Albert was dead, long ago. I'd be alone for so long and when Minnie came along I was so happy," Mrs Lovett sighed, "I couldn't afford a funeral, and I regret that. Dearly. I would have liked to know that she was properly at peace. That she's safe."
Sweeney was intruiged to know who's Minnie father was. He wanted to ask what Mrs Lovett had done with her instead, but he knew that it wouldn't be wise to voice this. So he simply rested a hand on her shoulder instead. Mrs Lovett smiled sadly.
"I lost my daughter, Mr Todd. I hope that you don't loose yours, too," She whispered.
She patted his arm consolingly and walked from the room. Sweeney was surprised to feel the tears forming in his eyes.