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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, is part of the Pennsylvania State University, Electronic Classics Series, Jim Manis, Faculty Editor. Neither the Pennsylvania State University, Jim Manis, anyone associated with the Pennsylvania State University, nor Sony Connect Inc. or its affiliates assumes any responsibility for the material contained within the document or for the file as an electronic transmission, in any way.
Copyright © 2007 Sony Connect Inc. All rights reserved. Copyright © 1998 The Pennsylvania State University (for the source electronic book file version). ISBN 978-1-4340-0056-9
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it. Their faithful Friend and Servant, C. D. December, 1843.
Stave 1: Marley's Ghost Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail. Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a doornail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall
not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail. Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don't know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain. The mention of Marley's funeral brings me back to the point I started from. There is no doubt
that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet's Father died before the play began, there would be nothing more remarkable in his taking a stroll at night, in an easterly wind, upon his own ramparts, than there would be in any other middle-aged gentleman rashly turning out after dark in a breezy spot — say Saint Paul's Churchyard for instance — literally to astonish his son's weak mind. Scrooge never painted out Old Marley's name. There it stood, years afterwards, above the warehouse door: Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley.
covetous. nipped his pointed nose. Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone.Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge. his thin lips blue. but he answered to both names. secret. and on his eyebrows. Scrooge! a squeezing. and self-contained. grasping. from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire. shrivelled his cheek. It was all the same to him. and solitary as an oyster. scraping. He carried his own low . and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. wrenching. and his wiry chin. old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint. The cold within him froze his old features. clutching. A frosty rime was on his head. made his eyes red. stiffened his gait. and sometimes Marley.
Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say. No warmth could warm. he iced his office in the dogdays. The heaviest rain. how are you? When will you . with gladsome looks. and sleet. and Scrooge never did. no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose.temperature always about with him. could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. no pelting rain less open to entreaty. no wintry weather chill him. and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas. 'My dear Scrooge. Foul weather didn't know where to have him. External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. and snow. They often 'came down' handsomely. and hail. No wind that blew was bitterer than he.
of Scrooge. and then would wag their tails as though they said. 'No eye at all is better than an evil eye. Once upon a time — of all the . To edge his way along the crowded paths of life. would tug their owners into doorways and up courts. and when they saw him coming on. warning all human sympathy to keep its distance. no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place.come to see me?' No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle. was what the knowing ones call 'nuts' to Scrooge. no children asked him what it was o'clock. dark master!' But what did Scrooge care! It was the very thing he liked. Even the blind men's dogs appeared to know him.
that although the court was of the narrowest. on Christmas Eve — old Scrooge sat busy in his countinghouse. bleak. It was cold. the houses opposite were mere . and stamping their feet upon the pavement stones to warm them. and was so dense without.good days in the year. like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air. The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole. beating their hands upon their breasts. go wheezing up and down. but it was quite dark already — it had not been light all day — and candles were flaring in the windows of the neighbouring offices. The city clocks had only just gone three. biting weather: foggy withal: and he could hear the people in the court outside.
for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room. the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. and tried to warm himself at . The door of Scrooge's countinghouse was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk. one might have thought that Nature lived hard by. But he couldn't replenish it. but the clerk's fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal. Scrooge had a very small fire. who in a dismal little cell beyond. and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel. To see the dingy cloud come drooping down. Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter. obscuring everything. a sort of tank. was copying letters. and was brewing on a large scale.phantoms.
'Merry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be . 'Bah!' said Scrooge. who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach. his face was ruddy and handsome. I am sure?' 'I do. uncle! God save you!' cried a cheerful voice. he failed. 'Humbug!' He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost. 'Christmas a humbug. not being a man of a strong imagination. this nephew of Scrooge's. 'A merry Christmas.' said Scrooge. uncle!' said Scrooge's nephew.the candle. 'You don't mean that. and his breath smoked again. that he was all in a glow. in which effort. his eyes sparkled. It was the voice of Scrooge's nephew.
' 'Don't be cross.' Scrooge having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment.' returned the nephew gaily. uncle!' said the nephew. then. and followed it up with 'Humbug. but not an hour richer.merry? You're poor enough.' returned the uncle.' 'Come. a time for balancing your books and having every item in 'em through a round dozen of months . 'when I live in such a world of fools as this? Merry Christmas! Out upon merry Christmas! What's Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money. a time for finding yourself a year older. said 'Bah!' again. 'What else can I be. 'What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You're rich enough.
' said Scrooge indignantly. 'But you don't keep it. by which I have not profited.' 'Let me leave it alone.' said Scrooge. I dare say. 'every idiot who goes about with "Merry Christmas" on his lips. and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.' returned the nephew. 'keep Christmas in your own way.presented dead against you? If I could work my will. 'Christmas among the rest. and let me keep it in mine. 'Much good may it do you! Much good it has ever done you!' 'There are many things from which I might have derived good. He should!' 'Uncle!' pleaded the nephew. then. should be boiled with his own pudding. . 'Nephew!' returned the uncle sternly.' 'Keep it!' repeated Scrooge's nephew.
I believe that it has done me good. . and I say. forgiving. a kind. though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket. when it has come round — apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin. and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. uncle. in the long calendar of the year. and will do me good. And therefore.But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time. charitable. if anything belonging to it can be apart from that — as a good time. when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely. pleasant time: the only time I know of. and to think of people below them as if they really were fellowpassengers to the grave.
.' Scrooge said that he would see him — yes. turning to his nephew.' 'Don't be angry. sir. uncle. 'and you'll keep your Christmas by losing your situation! You're quite a powerful speaker. and said that he would see him in that extremity first. and extinguished the last frail spark for ever. indeed he did.' he added. 'Let me hear another sound from you. Come! Dine with us tomorrow. 'But why?' cried Scrooge's nephew. 'I wonder you don't go into Parliament.God bless it!' The clerk in the Tank involuntarily applauded. he poked the fire. He went the whole length of the expression. Becoming immediately sensible of the impropriety. 'Why?' 'Why did you get married?' said Scrooge.' said Scrooge.
'I want nothing from you. Why give it as a reason for not coming now?' 'Good afternoon.' said Scrooge.' 'Because you fell in love!' growled Scrooge. with all my heart. 'I am sorry. So A Merry Christmas.' said Scrooge. as if that were the only one thing in the world more ridiculous than a merry Christmas.' said Scrooge. to find you so resolute. We have never had any quarrel. I ask nothing of you. But I have made the trial in homage to Christmas. why cannot we be friends?' 'Good afternoon. 'And A Happy . and I'll keep my Christmas humour to the last. 'Good afternoon!' 'Nay.'Because I fell in love. but you never came to see me beforehappened. uncle. to which I have been a party. uncle!' 'Good afternoon.
who overheard him: 'my clerk. with their hats off. They had books and papers in their hands. I'll retire to Bedlam. in Scrooge's office.' This lunatic. who cold as he was. 'There's another fellow. and a wife and family.' muttered Scrooge. with fifteen shillings a week. and now stood. . They were portly gentlemen.' said Scrooge. He stopped at the outer door to bestow the greetings of the season on the clerk. for he returned them cordially. notwithstanding. His nephew left the room without an angry word. and bowed to him.New Year!' 'Good afternoon. in letting Scrooge's nephew out. pleasant to behold. had let two other people in. was warmer than Scrooge. talking about a merry Christmas.
referring to his list. Mr.' said one of the gentlemen. 'it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for . 'At this festive season of the year. Marley?' 'Mr.' 'We have no doubt his liberality is well represented by his surviving partner. Scrooge. 'He died seven years ago. or Mr. for they had been two kindred spirits. taking up a pen. and shook his head. It certainly was. 'Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. At the ominous word 'liberality. and handed the credentials back. presenting his credentials.'Scrooge and Marley's.' Scrooge frowned. Marley has been dead these seven years. this very night.' said the gentleman.' Scrooge replied. I believe.' said the gentleman. Scrooge.
that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course.' said Scrooge. 'And the Union workhouses?' demanded Scrooge.' 'The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour. sir. who suffer greatly at the present time. laying down the pen again. 'I wish I could say they were not.the Poor and Destitute. then?' said Scrooge.' 'Oh! I was afraid. from what you said at first.' said the gentleman. hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts. 'Plenty of prisons. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries. 'Both very busy. 'Are they still in operation?' 'They are. 'I'm very glad to hear it. Still.' 'Are there no prisons?' asked Scrooge.' returned the gentleman. sir.' 'Under the .
and Abundance rejoices. and means of warmth. of all others. 'You wish to be anonymous?' 'I wish to be left alone. What shall I put you down for?' 'Nothing!' Scrooge replied. I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. 'a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink.impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude. We choose this time. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned — they cost enough. when Want is keenly felt. 'Since you ask me what I wish. gentlemen.' returned the gentleman. that is my answer. because it is a time. and those who are badly off .' said Scrooge.
' Scrooge returned. and many would rather die. gentlemen!' Seeing clearly that it would be useless to pursue their point.' observed the gentleman.' 'If they would rather die.' 'Many can't go there. Scrooge returned his labours with an improved opinion of himself. and in a more facetious temper than was usual with him.' said Scrooge. 'It's enough for a man to understand his own business. Good afternoon. and not to interfere with other people's. Mine occupies me constantly. the gentlemen withdrew.' 'But you might know it. Meanwhile the fog and . 'It's not my business. 'they had better do it. Besides — excuse me — I don't know that.must go there. and decrease the surplus population.
The cold became intense. whose gruff old bell was always peeping slily down at Scrooge out of a Gothic window in the wall. and conduct them on their way.darkness thickened so. In the main street at the corner of the court. with tremulous vibrations afterwards as if its teeth were chattering in its frozen head up there. round which a party of ragged men and boys were gathered: warming their . that people ran about with flaring links. proffering their services to go before horses in carriages. became invisible. The ancient tower of a church. and struck the hours and quarters in the clouds. some labourers were repairing the gas-pipes. and had lighted a great fire in a brazier.
and even the little tailor. a glorious pageant.hands and winking their eyes before the blaze in rapture. The water-plug being left in solitude. made pale faces ruddy as they passed. and turned to misanthropic ice. Poulterers' and grocers' trades became a splendid joke. whom he had fined five . The brightness of the shops where holly sprigs and berries crackled in the lamp heat of the windows. with which it was next to impossible to believe that such dull principles as bargain and sale had anything to do. gave orders to his fifty cooks and butlers to keep Christmas as a Lord Mayor's household should. its overflowing sullenly congealed. in the stronghold of the mighty Mansion House. The Lord Mayor.
instead of using his familiar weapons. while his lean wife and the baby sallied out to buy the beef. stooped down at Scrooge's keyhole to regale him with a Christmas carol: but at the first sound of 'God bless you. stirred up to-morrow's pudding in his garret. and colder! Piercing.shillings on the previous Monday for being drunk and bloodthirsty in the streets. searching. merry gentleman! May nothing you . gnawed and mumbled by the hungry cold as bones are gnawed by dogs. If the good Saint Dunstan had but nipped the Evil Spirit's nose with a touch of such weather as that. biting cold. then indeed he would have roared to lusty purpose. The owner of one scant young nose. Foggier yet.
With an ill-will Scrooge dismounted from his stool. 'If quite convenient. I suppose?' said Scrooge. 'and it's not fair.' 'It's not convenient. leaving the keyhole to the fog and even more congenial frost. At length the hour of shutting up the countinghouse arrived. I'll be bound?' The clerk smiled faintly. 'And yet. and tacitly admitted the fact to the expectant clerk in the Tank. sir. you'd think yourself ill-used.dismay!' Scrooge seized the ruler with such energy of action.' said Scrooge. that the singer fled in terror.who instantly snuffed his candle out. and put on his hat. If I was to stop half-a-crown for it. when I pay a day's wages for no . 'you don't think me ill-used. 'You'll want all day to-morrow.' said Scrooge.
work. to play at blindman's-buff. in honour of its being Christmas Eve.' The clerk observed that it was only once a year. The office was closed in a twinkling. 'A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every twenty-fifth of December!' said Scrooge. Scrooge took . Be here all the earlier next morning. and then ran home to Camden Town as hard as he could pelt. went down a slide on Cornhill. 'But I suppose you must have the whole day. and the clerk. buttoning his great-coat to the chin. with the long ends of his white comforter dangling below his waist (for he boasted no great-coat). and Scrooge walked out with a growl.' The clerk promised that he would. twenty times. at the end of a lane of boys.
and dreary enough. and beguiled the rest of the evening with his banker's-book. and forgotten the way out again.his melancholy dinner in his usual melancholy tavern. and having read all the newspapers. They were a gloomy suite of rooms. The yard was so dark that even Scrooge. playing at hide-and-seek with other houses. went home to bed. It was old enough now. that one could scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house. He lived in chambers which had once belonged to his deceased partner. for nobody lived in it but Scrooge. the other rooms being all let out as offices. where it had so little business to be. . in a lowering pile of building up a yard.
that there was nothing at all particular about the knocker on the door. except that it was very large. that Scrooge had seen it. was fain to grope with his hands. . Let it also be borne in mind that Scrooge had not bestowed one thought on Marley. and livery. night and morning. also that Scrooge had as little of what is called fancy about him as any man in the city of London. that it seemed as if the Genius of the Weather sat in mournful meditation on the threshold. Now. during his whole residence in that place. even including — which is a bold word — the corporation. it is a fact. The fog and frost so hung about the black old gateway of the house. aldermen. It is also a fact.who knew its every stone.
as if by breath or hot air. And then let any man explain to me. how it happened that Scrooge.since his last mention of his seven years' dead partner that afternoon. and. saw in the knocker. like a bad lobster in a dark cellar. It was not angry or ferocious. if he can. having his key in the lock of the door. without its undergoing any intermediate process of change — not a knocker. but looked at Scrooge as Marley used to look: with ghostly spectacles turned up on its ghostly forehead. but had a dismal light about it. they were . but Marley's face. Marley's face. The hair was curiously stirred. though the eyes were wide open. It was not in impenetrable shadow as the other objects in the yard were.
with a moment's irresolution. and he did look cautiously behind it first. turned it sturdily. and its livid colour. but its horror seemed to be in spite of the face and beyond its control. That. as if he half-expected to be terrified with the sight of Marley's . made it horrible. As Scrooge looked fixedly at this phenomenon. rather than a part or its own expression. To say that he was not startled. walked in. before he shut the door. But he put his hand upon the key he had relinquished. or that his blood was not conscious of a terrible sensation to which it had been a stranger from infancy. would be untrue. He did pause. it was a knocker again. and lighted his candle.perfectly motionless.
Every room above.pigtail sticking out into the hall. and up the stairs. pooh!' and closed it with a bang. except the screws and nuts that held the knocker on. slowly too: trimming his candle as he went. But there was nothing on the back of the door. so he said 'Pooh. but I mean to say you might have got a . He fastened the door. The sound resounded through the house like thunder. and every cask in the wine-merchant's cellars below. Scrooge was not a man to be frightened by echoes. or through a bad young Act of Parliament. appeared to have a separate peal of echoes of its own. You may talk vaguely about driving a coach-andsix up a good old flight of stairs. and walked across the hall.
and taken it broadwise.hearse up that staircase. and Scrooge liked it. Darkness is cheap. which is perhaps the reason why Scrooge thought he saw a locomotive hearse going on before him in the gloom. so you may suppose that it was pretty dark with Scrooge's dip. Half a dozen gas-lamps out of the street wouldn't have lighted the entry too well. he walked through his rooms to see that all was right. He had just enough recollection of the face to desire to do . But before he shut his heavy door. not caring a button for that. There was plenty of width for that. and room to spare. Up Scrooge went. with the splinter-bar towards the wall and the door towards the balustrades: and done it easy.
nobody under the sofa. a small fire in the grate. double-locked himself in. nobody in the closet. which was not his custom.t ha t . All as they should be. nobody in his dressinggown. spoon and basin ready. he closed his door. and a poker. Quite satisfied. and locked himself in. he took off his cravat. Lumber-room as usual. bedroom. . which was hanging up in a suspicious attitude against the wall. Nobody under the table. and the little saucepan of gruel (Scrooge had a cold in his head) upon the hob. washingstand on three legs. put on his dressing-gown and slippers. Nobody under the bed. old shoes. Thus secured against surprise. lumberroom. Sitting-room. Old fire-guards. two fish-baskets.
and paved all round with quaint Dutch tiles. The fireplace was an old one. Abrahams. built by some Dutch merchant long ago. It was a very low fire indeed. He was obliged to sit close to it. nothing on such a bitter night. hundreds of figures to attract his thoughts — and yet that face of Marley. . and sat down before the fire to take his gruel. Apostles putting off to sea in butterboats. Angelic messengers descending through the air on clouds like feather-beds.and his nightcap. and brood over it. Belshazzars. Queens of Sheba. designed to illustrate the Scriptures. Pharaohs' daughters. There were Cains and Abels. before he could extract the least sensation of warmth from such a handful of fuel.
that as he looked. came like the ancient Prophet's rod. he . inexplicable dread. with power to shape some picture on its surface from the disjointed fragments of his thoughts.seven years dead. and with a strange. and walked across the room. After several turns. As he threw his head back in the chair. he sat down again. that hung in the room. and communicated for some purpose now forgotten with a chamber in the highest story of the building. and swallowed up the whole. his glance happened to rest upon a bell. If each smooth tile had been a blank at first. 'Humbug!' said Scrooge. a disused bell. It was with great astonishment. there would have been a copy of old Marley's head on every one.
It swung so softly in the outset that it scarcely made a sound.saw this bell begin to swing. The cellar-door flew open with a booming sound. Scrooge then remembered to have heard that ghosts in haunted houses were described as dragging chains. This might have lasted half a minute. The bells ceased as they had begun. as if some person were dragging a heavy chain over the casks in the wine merchant's cellar. then coming up the stairs. or a minute. then coming straight . but it seemed an hour. together. but soon it rang out loudly. They were succeeded by a clanking noise. on the floors below. deep down below. and so did every bell in the house. and then he heard the noise much louder.
The same face: the very same. ledgers. and passed into the room before his eyes. tights and boots. 'I won't believe it. it came on through the heavy door. Upon its coming in.towards his door. like his pigtail. and wound about him like a tail. and heavy purses . and it was made (for Scrooge observed it closely) of cash-boxes. without a pause. the dying flame leaped up. keys.' His colour changed though. when. 'It's humbug still!' said Scrooge. The chain he drew was clasped about his middle. deeds. the tassels on the latter bristling. Marley's Ghost!' and fell again. and the hair upon his head. and his coat-skirts. padlocks. Marley in his pigtail. as though it cried 'I know him. usual waistcoat. It was long.
could see the two buttons on his coat behind. and saw it standing before him. and marked the very texture of the folded kerchief bound about its head and chin. but he had never believed it until now. His body was transparent. observing him. No. he was still incredulous. and looking through his waistcoat. Though he looked the phantom through and through. 'What do you .wrought in steel. though he felt the chilling influence of its deathcold eyes. Scrooge had often heard it said that Marley had no bowels. 'How now!' said Scrooge. and fought against his s e ns e s . which wrapper he had not observed before. nor did he believe it even now. caustic and cold as ever. so that Scrooge.
' He was going to say 'to a shade.' Scrooge asked the question. looking doubtfully at him. no doubt about it.' 'Do it. and felt that in the event of its being impossible. then. 'I can. it might involve the necessity of an embarrassing explanation. 'In life I was your partner. for a shade. can you sit down?' asked Scrooge. Jacob Marley.' 'Can you. because he didn't know whether a ghost so transparent might find himself in a condition to take a chair.' but substituted this. as more appropriate.' 'Who were you then?' said Scrooge.want with me?' 'Much!' Marley's voice. 'Who are you?' 'Ask me who I was. But the ghost sat down on the opposite side of the . 'You're particular. raising his voice.
'What evidence would you have of my reality beyond that of your senses?' 'I don't know. by any means waggish then.' said Scrooge. in his heart. nor did he feel.' observed the Ghost. a fragment of an underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you. 'a little thing affects them. 'Why do you doubt your senses?' 'Because. The truth is. as a means of distracting his .' said Scrooge. whatever you are!' Scrooge was not much in the habit of cracking jokes. that he tried to be smart. a crumb of cheese.' said Scrooge.fireplace. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. a blot of mustard. 'I don't. 'You don't believe in me. You may be an undigested bit of beef. as if he were quite used to it.
were still agitated as by the hot vapour from an oven. To sit. to divert the vision's . in the spectre's being provided with an infernal atmosphere of its own.own attention. the very deuce with him. Scrooge could not feel it himself. and wishing. in silence for a moment. Scrooge felt. for the spectre's voice disturbed the very marrow in his bones. and tassels. and keeping down his terror. but this was clearly the case. would play. though it were only for a second. 'You see this toothpick?' said Scrooge. staring at those fixed glazed eyes. for though the Ghost sat perfectly motionless. for the reason just assigned. its hair. returning quickly to the charge. and skirts. There was something very awful. too.
'You are not looking at it. as if it were too warm to wear indoors.stony gaze from himself. all of my own creation. 'I do. 'notwithstanding.' 'Well!' returned Scrooge. and be for the rest of my days persecuted by a legion of goblins. Humbug. that Scrooge held on tight to his chair. But how much greater was his horror.' said Scrooge. when the phantom taking off the bandage round its head. 'I have but to swallow this. and shook its chain with such a dismal and appalling noise. I tell you! humbug!' At this the spirit raised a frightful cry.' replied the Ghost. to save himself from falling in a swoon. its lower jaw dropped down upon its breast! Scrooge fell upon his . 'But I see it.' said the Ghost.
and clasped his hands before his f a c e . It is doomed to wander through the world — oh. 'do you believe in me or not?' 'I do.knees. and turned to happiness!' Again the spectre raised a cry. 'that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellowmen. 'I must. and travel far and wide.' the Ghost returned. woe is me! — and witness what it cannot share. it is condemned to do so after death. and why do they come to me?' 'It is required of every man. why do you trouble me?' 'Man of the worldly mind!' replied the Ghost. 'Dreadful apparition. but might have shared on earth. 'Mercy!' he said. and if that spirit goes not forth in life. But why do spirits walk the earth. and shook its .' said Scrooge.
since. You have laboured on it. It is a ponderous chain!' Scrooge glanced about him on the floor.' said Scrooge. Is its pattern strange to you?' Scrooge trembled more and more.' pursued the Ghost.chain and wrung its shadowy hands. seven Christmas Eves ago. 'Or would you know. 'I made it link by link. and yard by yard. 'Tell me why?' 'I wear the chain I forged in life. 'You are fettered. and of my own free will I wore it. 'the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this. in the expectation of finding himself surrounded by some fifty or sixty fathoms of iron cable: but he could see . I girded it on of my own free will.' replied the Ghost. trembling.
whenever he became thoughtful.nothing. 'It comes from other regions. Nor can I tell you what I would. is all permitted to me. Ebenezer Scrooge.' he said. Speak comfort to me. tell me more. 'Jacob. and weary journeys lie before me!' It was a habit with Scrooge. to other kinds of men. and is conveyed by other ministers. I cannot linger anywhere. I cannot rest. imploringly. 'Old Jacob Marley. My spirit never walked beyond our counting-house — mark me! — in life my spirit never roved beyond the narrow limits of our money-changing hole. A very little more. Jacob!' 'I have none to give.' the Ghost replied. to put his hands in his breeches pockets. I cannot stay. Pondering on what the .
'Seven years dead. 'You must have been very slow about it. but without lifting up his eyes.' mused Scrooge. 'And travelling all the time!' 'The whole time. no peace. 'You might have got over a great quantity of ground in seven years. though with humility and deference.' said the Ghost. set up another cry.Ghost had said. on hearing this.' replied the Ghost. Incessant torture of r e mo r s e .' Scrooge observed. and clanked its chain so hideously in the dead silence of the night. or getting off his knees. 'No rest. Jacob. 'On the wings of the wind. ' 'You travel fast?' said Scrooge. in a business-like manner. 'Slow!' the Ghost repeated.' said Scrooge. The Ghost. he did so now. that the Ward .
by immortal creatures. that ages of incessant labour. 'not to know. 'Business!' cried the Ghost. bound.' faltered Scrooge. Jacob. 'Oh! captive.would have been justified in indicting it for a nuisance. for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed. will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness. Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life's opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!' 'But you were always a good man of business. who now began to apply this to himself. whatever it may be. Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere. . and double-ironed.' cried the phantom.
my business. all. forbearance. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!' It held up its chain at arm's length. The common welfare was my business. and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode! Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted . and benevolence. mercy.' the spectre said 'I suffer most. 'Mankind was my business. Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down.wringing its hands again. as if that were the cause of all its unavailing grief. charity. 'At this time of the rolling year. and flung it heavily upon the ground again. were.
'I am here to-night to warn you. 'That is no light part of my penance. that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate. and wiped the perspiration from his brow.' 'You were always a good friend to me.' 'I will.' said .' It was not an agreeable idea. Ebenezer. Jacob! Pray!' 'How it is that I appear before you in a shape that you can see. Scrooge shivered.' said Scrooge. 'But don't be hard upon me! Don't be flowery. I may not tell.' pursued the Ghost. and began to quake exceedingly. A chance and hope of my procuring. 'Hear me!' cried the Ghost. I have sat invisible beside you many and many a day.me!' Scrooge was very much dismayed to hear the spectre going on at this rate. 'My time is nearly gone.
Scrooge. 'Thank 'ee!' 'You will be haunted,' resumed the Ghost, 'by Three Spi r i ts .' Scrooge's countenance fell almost as low as the Ghost's had done. 'Is that the chance and hope you mentioned, Jacob?' he demanded, in a faltering voice. 'It is.' 'I — I think I'd rather not,' said Scrooge. 'Without their visits,' said the Ghost, 'you cannot hope to shun the path I tread. Expect the first tomorrow, when the bell tolls One.' 'Couldn't I take 'em all at once, and have it over, Jacob?' hinted Scrooge. 'Expect the second on the next night at the same hour. The third upon the next night when the last stroke of Twelve has ceased to vibrate. Look to see me no more; and look that, for your own sake, you
remember what has passed between us!' When it had said these words, the spectre took its wrapper from the table, and bound it round its head, as before. Scrooge knew this, by the smart sound its teeth made, when the jaws were brought together by the bandage. He ventured to raise his eyes again, and found his supernatural visitor confronting him in an erect attitude, with its chain wound over and about its arm. The apparition walked backward from him; and at every step it took, the window raised itself a little, so that when the spectre reached it, it was wide open. It beckoned Scrooge to approach, which he did. When they were within two paces of each other, Marley's Ghost
held up its hand, warning him to come no nearer. Scrooge stopped. Not so much in obedience, as in surprise and fear: for on the raising of the hand, he became sensible of confused noises in the air; incoherent sounds of lamentation and regret; wailings inexpressibly sorrowful and self-accusatory. The spectre, after listening for a moment, joined in the mournful dirge; and floated out upon the bleak, dark night. Scrooge followed to the window: desperate in his curiosity. He looked out. The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste, and moaning as they went. Every one of them wore chains like Marley's Ghost; some few (they might be guilty governments) were
linked together; none were free. Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives. He had been quite familiar with one old ghost, in a white waistcoat, with a monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle, who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant, whom it saw below, upon a door-step. The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power for ever. Whether these creatures faded into mist, or mist enshrouded them, he could not tell. But they and their spirit voices faded together; and the night became as it had been when he walked home. Scrooge closed the window, and examined the
and the bolts were undisturbed. And being. and fell asleep upon the instant. He tried to say 'Humbug!' but stopped at the first syllable. . It was double-locked. from the emotion he had undergone. or the fatigues of the day. as he had locked it with his own hands. or the lateness of the hour. or the dull onversation of the Ghost. without undressing. much in need of repose.door by which the Ghost had entered. went straight to bed. or his glimpse of the Invisible World.
and from seven to eight. he could scarcely distinguish the transparent window from the opaque walls of his chamber. An icicle must have got into the works. Twelve. that looking out of bed. then stopped. To his great astonishment the heavy bell went on from six to seven. He touched the spring of his repeater. So he listened for the hour.Stave 2: The First of the Three Spirits When Scrooge awoke. It was past two when he went to bed. The clock was wrong. Twelve. and regularly up to twelve. when the chimes of a neighbouring church struck the four quarters. He was endeavouring to pierce the darkness with his ferret eyes. it was so dark. to correct this .
'Why. that it was still very foggy and extremely cold. dull. Light flashed up in the room upon the instant. and could see very little then. melancholy one. it isn't possible. hollow. and this is twelve at noon.most preposterous clock. 'that I can have slept through a whole day and far into another night. and groped his way to the window. All he could make out was. Its rapid little pulse beat twelve: and stopped.' The idea being an alarming one. It isn't possible that anything has happened to the sun. he scrambled out of bed. and that there was no noise of people running to and with a deep. He was obliged to rub the frost off with the sleeve of his dressing-gown before he could see anything. and the .' said Scrooge.
which gave him the appearance of having receded from the view. by a hand. The curtains of his bed were drawn aside. and I am standing in the spirit at your elbow. and being diminished to a child's proportions. starting up into a half-recumbent attitude. Its hair. The curtains of his bed were drawn aside. found himself face to face with the unearthly visitor who drew them: as close to it as I am now to you.curtains of his bed were drawn. viewed through some supernatural medium. Not the curtains at his feet. but those to which his face was addressed. I tell you. nor the curtains at his back. and Scrooge. It was a strange figure — like a child: yet not so like a child as like an old man. which hung .
like those upper members. and yet the face had not a wrinkle in it. It held a branch of fresh green holly in its hand. But the strangest thing about it was. The arms were very long and muscular. It wore a tunic of the purest white. was white as if with age. bare. the hands the same. had its dress trimmed with summer flowers. and round its waist was bound a lustrous belt. most delicately formed. Its legs and feet. by which all this . and the tenderest bloom was on the skin. as if its hold were of uncommon strength. the sheen of which was beautiful. that from the crown of its head there sprung a bright clear jet of light. in singular contradiction of that wintry emblem.about its neck and down its back. and. were.
which it now held under its arm. though. now with one leg. For as its belt sparkled and glittered now in one part and now in another. Even this. now a pair of legs without a head. and which was doubtless the occasion of its using. was not its strangest quality. And in the very wonder of this. it would be .was visible. and what was light one instant. at another time was dark. now a head without a body: of which dissolving parts. when Scrooge looked at it with increasing steadiness. now with twenty legs. so the figure itself fluctuated in its distinctness: being now a thing with one arm. no outline would be visible in the dense gloom wherein they melted away. a great extinguisher for a cap. in its duller moments.
but he had a special desire to see the Spirit in his cap. 'No.' inquired Scrooge: observant of its dwarfish stature. Your past. and what are you.' 'Long Past. Is it not enough that you are . distinct and clear as ever. the light I give. 'Who. ' The voice was soft and gentle.' Scrooge demanded. whose coming was foretold to me. if anybody could have asked him.' exclaimed the Ghost.' asked Scrooge. Scrooge could not have told anybody why.' would you so soon put out. as if instead of being so close beside him. 'What.' Perhaps. it were at a distance. 'I a m. with worldly hands. Singularly low. 'Are you the Spirit. and begged him to be covered. 'I am the Ghost of Christmas Pas t.itself again. sir.
for it said immediately: 'Your reclamation. but could not help thinking that a night of unbroken rest would have been more conducive to that end. then. and clasped him gently by the arm.' said the Ghost.' It put out its strong hand as it spoke. He then made bold to inquire what business brought him there. 'Your welfare. Scrooge expressed himself much obliged. The Spirit must have heard him thinking. and force me through whole trains of years to wear it low upon my brow. 'Rise.' It would . Take heed. and walk with me.' Scrooge reverently disclaimed all intention to offend or any knowledge of having wilfully bonneted the Spirit at any period of his life.one of those whose passions made this cap.
. and the thermometer a long way below freezing.' 'Bear but a touch of my hand there. though gentle as a woman's hand.have been in vain for Scrooge to plead that the weather and the hour were not adapted to pedestrian purposes. that bed was warm. and that he had a cold upon him at that time. The grasp. was not to be resisted. laying it upon his heart. He rose: but finding that the Spirit made towards the window.' said the Spirit. and nightcap.' and you shall be upheld in more than this. 'and liable to fall. 'I am mortal. dressing-gown. they passed through the wall. clasped his robe in supplication.' As the words were spoken. that he was clad but lightly in his slippers.' Scrooge remonstrated.
appeared still present to the old man's sense of feeling. The city had entirely vanished. 'Good Heaven!' said Scrooge. 'Your lip is trembling. and cares long.' The Spirit gazed upon him mildly. each one connected with a thousand thoughts. and hopes. 'I was bred in this place. and joys. though it had been light and instantaneous. Its gentle touch. for it was a clear. He was conscious of a thousand odours floating in the air. I was a boy here. winter day. with snow upon the ground. The darkness and the mist had vanished with it. long. Not a vestige of it was to be seen.' said . forgotten. with fields on either hand. as he looked about him.and stood upon an open country road. clasping his hands together. cold.
' They walked along the road. Some shaggy ponies now were seen trotting towards them with boys upon their backs. its church.' cried Scrooge with fervour. Scrooge recognising every gate. 'You recollect the way.the Ghost. who called to other boys in country gigs and carts.' 'Strange to have forgotten it for so many years. that it was a pimple. and tree. ' Scrooge muttered. 'I could walk it blindfold.' Observed the Ghost. 'Let us go on. until a little market-town appeared in the distance.' inquired the Spirit. with an unusual catching in his voice. 'Remember it. 'And what is that upon your c he e k. and begged the Ghost to lead him where he would. and winding river. and post. . with its bridge.
What was merry Christmas to Scrooge. 'These are but shadows of the things that have been. Why was he rejoiced beyond all bounds to see them.' said the Ghost. 'They have no consciousness of us. Why was he filled with gladness when he heard them give each other Merry Christmas.driven by farmers. until the broad fields were so full of merry music. All these boys were in great spirits.' The jocund travellers came on. Scrooge knew and named them every one. Why did his cold eye glisten. and shouted to each other. that the crisp air laughed to hear it. as they parted at cross-roads and bye-ways. and his heart leap up as they went past. for their several homes. and as they came. Out upon merry .
' said the Ghost. neglected by his friends. their walls were damp and mossy. and soon approached a mansion of dull red brick. and their gates decayed. by a well-remembered lane. It was a large house. They left the high-road. is left there still. on the roof. with a little weathercock-surmounted cupola. and the coachhouses and sheds were over-run with grass. And he sobbed. but one of broken fortunes.Christmas.' Scrooge said he knew it. 'A solitary child. Nor was it more retentive of its . What good had it ever done to him. for the spacious offices were little used. their windows broken. Fowls clucked and strutted in the stables. and a bell hanging in it. 'The school is not quite deserted.
and wept to see his poor forgotten self as he used to be. for entering the dreary hall. to a door at the back of the house. made barer still by lines of plain deal forms and desks. a chilly bareness in the place. and vast. and disclosed a long. melancholy room. which associated itself somehow with too much getting up by candle-light. and Scrooge sat down upon a form. There was an earthy savour in the air. It opened before them. At one of these a lonely boy was reading near a feeble fire. across the hall. bare. the Ghost and Scrooge. Not a . and not too much to eat. and glancing through the open doors of many rooms.ancient state. within. cold. they found them poorly furnished. They went.
not a sigh among the leafless boughs of one despondent poplar. and pointed to his younger self. The Spirit touched him on the arm. 'Why. not a clicking in the fire. and gave a freer passage to his tears. in foreign garments: wonderfully real and distinct to look at: stood outside the window. not a squeak and scuffle from the mice behind the panelling. but fell upon the heart of Scrooge with a softening influence.latent echo in the house. not a drip from the halfthawed water-spout in the dull yard behind. and leading by the bridle an ass laden with wood. with an axe stuck in his belt. it's . intent upon his reading. not the idle swinging of an empty store-house door. no. Suddenly a man.
Poor boy. there he is upon his head.' and his wild brother. asleep.' Scrooge exclaimed in ecstasy. he did come. at the Gate of Damascus. And what's his name. there they go. don't you see him. What business had he to be married to the Princess. in a most extraordinary voice between laughing . And Valentine. yes. who was put down in his drawers. One Christmas time. when yonder solitary child was left here all alone.' To hear Scrooge expending all the earnestness of his nature on such subjects.Ali Baba. Orson. Yes. 'It's dear old honest Ali Baba. I know. Serve him right. for the first time.' said Scrooge. I'm glad of it. just like that. And the Sultan's Groom turned upside down by the Genii.
would have been a surprise to his business friends in the city. 'Green body and yellow tail.' and cried . he said.' The man thought he was dreaming.and crying. when he came home again after sailing round the island. There goes Friday.' cried Scrooge. with a thing like a lettuce growing out of the top of his head. i nd e e d . Hoop. Robin Crusoe.' Then. but he wasn't. there he is. 'Poor boy. It was the Parrot. Halloa. you know. in pity for his former self. running for his life to the little creek. he called him. with a rapidity of transition very foreign to his usual character. Poor Robin Crusoe. where have you been. 'There's the Parrot. Hallo. 'Poor Robin Crusoe. and to see his heightened and excited face.
The panels shrunk. 'I wish. There was a boy singing a Christmas Carol at my door last night. I should like to have given him something: that's all.' The Ghost smiled thoughtfully.again. after drying his eyes with his cuff: 'but it's too late now. and looking about him. 'Nothing.' 'What is the matter. and the naked laths were shown instead. fragments of plaster fell out of the ceiling. and waved its hand: saying as it did so. putting his hand in his pocket.' Scrooge's former self grew larger at the words.' said Scrooge.' asked the Spirit. 'Nothing. the windows cracked. but how all this was . 'Let us see another Christmas. and the room became a little darker and more dirty.' Scrooge muttered.
' 'I have come to bring you home. He was not reading now. Scrooge looked at the Ghost. Scrooge knew no more than you do. 'To bring you . and putting her arms about his neck. when all the other boys had gone home for the jolly holidays. clapping her tiny hands.' said the child. It opened. but walking up and down despairingly. and often kissing him.brought about. and with a mournful shaking of his head. that there he was. glanced anxiously towards the door. alone again. that everything had happened so. and a little girl. much younger than the boy. came darting in. dear brother. He only knew that it was quite correct. dear brother. and bending down to laugh. addressed him as her 'Dear.
He spoke so gently to me one dear night when I was going to bed. 'Yes. home. She clapped her hands and laughed. that home's like Heaven.' said the child. but first.' exclaimed the boy. for ever and ever. 'Home. little Fan. home. and he said Yes. little Fan.' 'You are quite a woman.' and are never to come back here. you should. and . Home. that I was not afraid to ask him once more if you might come home.' 'Home. Father is so much kinder than he used to be. for good and all. we're to be together all the Christmas long. and sent me in a coach to bring you. opening her eyes.home.' said the child. brimful of glee.' returned the boy. And you're to be a man. and have the merriest time in all the world.
and the celestial and terrestrial globes in the windows. and threw him into a dreadful state of mind by shaking hands with him. but being too little. accompanied her.tried to touch his head. who glared on Master Scrooge with a ferocious condescension. and he.' and in the hall appeared the schoolmaster himself. and stood on tiptoe to embrace him. there. were waxy with cold. towards the door. He then conveyed him and his sister into the veriest old well of a shivering best-parlour that ever was seen. Here he . laughed again. A terrible voice in the hall cried. in her childish eagerness. Then she began to drag him.' Bring down Master Scrooge's box. nothing loth to go. where the maps upon the wall.
whom a breath might . and administered instalments of those dainties to the young people: at the same time. he had rather not. sending out a meagre servant to offer a glass of something to the postboy. 'Always a delicate creature. and getting into it. drove gaily down the garden-sweep: the quick wheels dashing the hoar-frost and snow from off the dark leaves of the evergreens like spray. Master Scrooge's trunk being by this time tied on to the top of the chaise. the children bade the schoolmaster goodbye right willingly. but if it was the same tap as he had tasted before.produced a decanter of curiously light wine. who answered that he thanked the gentleman. and a block of curiously heavy cake.
' Scrooge returned.' said the Ghost. where shadowy carts and coaches battle for the way.' 'One child. Spirit. 'You're right.' and had.have withered. where shadowy passengers passed and repassed. and answered briefly. children. they were now in the busy thoroughfares of a city. 'But she had a large heart.' Scrooge seemed uneasy in his mind.' cried Scrooge. that here too it was . 'Your nephew. as I think.' 'She died a woman. 'True. 'Yes. by the dressing of the shops. It was made plain enough. God forbid.' 'So she had.' Although they had but that moment left the school behind them.' said the Ghost. and all the strife and tumult of a real city were. I will not gainsay it.' said the Ghost.
from his shows to his organ of . but it was evening. that if he had been two inches taller he must have knocked his head against the ceiling. 'Know it. laughed all over himself.Christmas time again. and asked Scrooge if he knew it. He rubbed his hands. The Ghost stopped at a certain warehouse door. Bless his heart.' said Scrooge. it's old Fezziwig.' They went in. which pointed to the hour of seven. it's Fezziwig alive again. sitting behind such a high desk. adjusted his capacious waistcoat. and the streets were lighted up. 'Was I apprenticed here.' Old Fezziwig laid down his pen. At sight of an old gentleman in a Welsh wig. Scrooge cried in great excitement: 'Why. and looked up at the clock.
' cried old Fezziwig. Christmas. Let's have the shutters up. Ebenezer.' said Fezziwig. 'Dick Wilkins. dear. to be sure.' Scrooge's former self. There he is. was Dick. Dick. yes.' said Scrooge to the Ghost.benevolence. came briskly in. Poor Dick. and called out in a comfortable. now grown a young man. rich. They charged into the street with the shutters . my boys. 'before a man can say Jack Robinson. accompanied by his fellow-prentice.' 'Yo ho. jovial voice: 'Yo ho. oily.' You wouldn't believe how those two fellows went at it. 'No more work to-night. Dick. Christmas Eve. Ebenezer. with a sharp clap of his hands. 'Bless me. He was very much attached to me. fat. there. Dear.
'Clear away.' Clear away. Dick. two. eight. nine — and came back before you could have got to twelve. and let's have lots of room here. There was nothing they wouldn't have cleared away. Hilliho. the lamps were trimmed.— one. the floor was swept and watered. It was done in a minute. 'Hilli-ho!' cried old Fezziwig. or couldn't have cleared away. with wonderful agility. fuel was heaped . skipping down from the high desk. Chirrup. my lads. as if it were dismissed from public life for evermore. five. six — barred them and pinned then — seven. panting like racehorses. with old Fezziwig looking on. Every movable was packed off. three — had them up in their places — four. Ebenezer.
In came the housemaid. and warm. the milkman. beaming and lovable. In came all the young men and women employed in the business. and dry. In came the three Miss Fezziwigs. the baker. as you would desire to see upon a winter's night. In came Mrs Fezziwig. and went up to the lofty desk. In came the cook. In came a fiddler with a music-book. In came the six young followers whose hearts they broke. and tuned like fifty stomach-aches. and made an orchestra of it. who was suspected of not having board . with her brother's particular friend. In came the boy from over the way. with her cousin.upon the fire. one vast substantial smile. and the warehouse was as snug. and bright a ball-room.
some shyly. in they all came. some pushing. who was proved to have had her ears pulled by her mistress. old .enough from his master. anyhow and everyhow. some gracefully. When this result was brought about. In they all came. hands half round and back again the other way. round and round in various stages of affectionate grouping. new top couple starting off again. old top couple always turning up in the wrong place. twenty couple at once. all top couples at last. some awkwardly. some boldly. and not a bottom one to help them. Away they all went. as soon as they got there. some pulling. one after another. trying to hide himself behind the girl from next door but one. down the middle and up again.
and there was cake.' and the fiddler plunged his hot face into a pot of porter. as if the other fiddler had been carried home. and he were a bran-new man resolved to beat him out of sight. and more dances. and there was a great piece of Cold Roast. and there was negus. or perish. cried out. There were more dances.' Well done. though there were no dancers yet. But scorning rest. clapping his hands to stop the dance. upon his reappearance. and plenty of beer. he instantly began again. But the great effect of the evening came after . on a shutter. especially provided for that purpose.Fezziwig. and there was a great piece of Cold Boiled. and there were forfeits. and there were mince-pies. exhausted.
) struck up Sir Roger de Coverley. when the fiddler (an artful dog. But if they had been twice as many — ah. mind. A . with a good stiff piece of work cut out for them. too. four times — old Fezziwig would have been a match for them.' Then old Fezziwig stood out to dance with Mrs Fezziwig.the Roast and Boiled. If that's not high praise. tell me higher. and had no notion of walking. people who would dance. people who were not to be trifled with. As to her. she was worthy to be his partner in every sense of the term. and I'll use it. Top couple. and so would Mrs Fezziwig.The sort of man who knew his business better than you or I could have told it him. three or four and twenty pair of partners.
and came upon his feet again without a stagger. When the clock struck eleven. what would have become of them next. thread-the-needle. bow and curtsey. at any given time. and back again to your place. and shaking hands with every person .positive light appeared to issue from Fezziwig's calves. that he appeared to wink with his legs. both hands to your partner. You couldn't have predicted. corkscrew. Fezziwig cut — cut so deftly. And when old Fezziwig and Mrs Fezziwig had gone all through the dance. Mr and Mrs Fezziwig took their stations. this domestic ball broke up. They shone in every part of the dance like moons. advance and retire. one on either side of the door.
and with his former self. enjoyed everything. and became conscious that it was looking full upon . wished him or her a Merry Christmas. His heart and soul were in the scene. that he remembered the Ghost. and underwent the strangest agitation. which were under a counter in the back-shop. Scrooge had acted like a man out of his wits. He corroborated everything. When everybody had retired but the two prentices. when the bright faces of his former self and Dick were turned from them. and thus the cheerful voices died away. and the lads were left to their beds.individually as he or she went out. It was not until now. During the whole of this time. remembered everything. they did the same to them.
' 'Small. heated by the remark.' said the Ghost.' said Scrooge. He has the power to render us happy or unhappy. Is it not. a pleasure or a toil. not his latter. Say that his power . said. 'Why. He has spent but a few pounds of your mortal money: three or four perhaps.' 'It isn't that. to make our service light or burdensome. self. who were pouring out their hearts in praise of Fezziwig: and when he had done so.him. and speaking unconsciously like his former. The Spirit signed to him to listen to the two apprentices. Is that so much that he deserves this praise. 'A small matter. Spirit.' echoed Scrooge.' to make these silly folks so full of gratitude. 'It isn't that. while the light upon its head burnt very clear.
' His former self turned down the lamps as he gave utterance to the wish. 'What is the matter.' said Scrooge. I think. 'No.' said Scrooge. and Scrooge and the Ghost again stood side by side in the open air.' the Ghost insisted. in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count them up: what then. or to any one .' No.' This was not addressed to Scrooge.' asked the Ghost. is quite as great as if it cost a fortune. and stopped.lies in words and looks. 'My time grows short. I should like to be able to say a word or two to my clerk just now. 'Quick. 'Something. The happiness he gives. That's all.' observed the Spirit.' He felt the Spirit's glance. 'Nothing in particular.
but sat by the side of a fair young girl in a mourning-dress: in whose eyes there were tears. His face had not the harsh and rigid lines of later years. softly. greedy. Another idol has displaced me. which showed the passion that had taken root. For again Scrooge saw himself. He was not alone. 'It matters little. but it produced an immediate effect. which sparkled in the light that shone out of the Ghost of Christmas Past. but it had begun to wear the signs of care and avarice. and if it can cheer and . There was an eager. restless motion in the eye. a man in the prime of life.' she said. and where the shadow of the growing tree would fall. He was older now. very little. 'To you.whom he could see.
'There is nothing on which it is so hard as poverty. 'All your other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of its sordid reproach. Gain. gently.' she answered.' he said. engrosses you. as I would have tried to do. what then. Have I not.' he rejoined. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one. until the master-passion.' 'This is the even-handed dealing of the world. 'Even if I have grown so much wiser. I have no just cause to grieve.' 'What Idol has displaced you.' he retorted. and there is nothing it professes to condemn with such severity as the pursuit of wealth.comfort you in time to come. I am not changed towards .' 'What then.' 'You fear the world too much. 'A golden one.
' she returned. 'I am. is fraught with misery now that we are two. When it was made. you were another man.you.' 'In what. we could improve our worldly fortune by our patient industry. It is enough that I have thought of it. until. and can release you. 'Your own feeling tells you that you were not what you are. That which promised happiness when we were one in heart.' 'In a changed nature. How often and how keenly I have thought of this. 'Am I.' 'Have I ever sought release.' 'I was a boy. then.' 'In words. You are changed.' 'Our contract is an old one.' he said impatiently. in good season. I will not say. No.' She shook her head. It was made when we were both poor and content to be so. in an altered . Never.
Ah. in spite of himself. yesterday. would you seek me out and try to win me now.' said the girl. 'Heaven knows.' she answered. But he said with a struggle.' You think not.spirit. can even I believe that you would choose a dowerless girl — you .' tell me. When I have learned a Truth like this. looking mildly. in another atmosphere of life. no. another Hope as its great end. upon him. In everything that made my love of any worth or value in your sight. I know how strong and irresistible it must be. But if you were free to-day. If this had never been between us.' He seemed to yield to the justice of this supposition.' 'I would gladly think otherwise if I could. but with steadiness. to-morrow.
if for a moment you were false enough to your one guiding principle to do so. With a full heart. from which it happened well that you awoke. and I release you. May you be happy in the life you have chosen. I do. very brief time. and you will dismiss the recollection of it. but with her head turned from him. A very.' He was about to speak. do I not know that your repentance and regret would surely follow. in your very confidence with her. she resumed. weigh everything by Gain: or. . choosing her. for the love of him you once were. and they parted. 'You may — the memory of what is past half makes me hope you will — have pain in this. gladly.who.' She left him. as an unprofitable dream.
Near to the winter fire sat a beautiful young girl. 'No more.' But the relentless Ghost pinioned him in both his arms. than Scrooge in his . Why do you delight to torture me. The noise in this room was perfectly tumultuous.' show me no more.' said Scrooge.' exclaimed the Ghost.' cried Scrooge. until he saw her.'Spirit. for there were more children there. Conduct me home. a room.' 'One shadow more. but full of comfort. so like that last that Scrooge believed it was the same. Show me no more. 'No more. I don't wish to see it. now a comely matron. sitting opposite her daughter. not very large or handsome. and forced him to observe what happened next. They were in another scene and place.
no. unlike the celebrated herd in the poem. on the contrary. and. The consequences were uproarious beyond belief. I wouldn't for the wealth of all the world have crushed that braided hair. they were not forty children conducting themselves like one. got pillaged by the young brigands most ruthlessly. Though I never could have been so rude. but no one seemed to care. and the latter. no. soon beginning to mingle in the sports. What would I not have given to one of them. but every child was conducting itself like forty. I wouldn't have . the mother and daughter laughed heartily. and torn it down. and for the precious little shoe.agitated state of mind could count. and enjoyed it very much.
plucked it off. and yet to have been man enough to know its value. As to measuring her waist in sport. an inch of which would be a keepsake beyond price: in short. to have let loose waves of hair. to have had the lightest licence of a child. To save my life. to have looked upon the lashes of her downcast eyes. I do confess. that she might have opened them. and never raised a blush. But now a knocking at . and never come straight again. And yet I should have dearly liked. as they did. bold young brood. I own. I should have liked. to have questioned her. I couldn't have done it. to have touched her lips. I should have expected my arm to have grown round it for a punishment. God bless my soul.
despoil him of brown-paper parcels. hold on tight by his cravat. just in time to greet the father. pommel his back. The shouts of wonder and delight with which the development of every package was . and such a rush immediately ensued that she with laughing face and plundered dress was borne towards it the centre of a flushed and boisterous group. hug him round his neck. and the onslaught that was made on the defenceless porter. who came home attended by a man laden with Christmas toys and presents. The scaling him with chairs for ladders to dive into his pockets.the door was heard. and kick his legs in irrepressible affection. Then the shouting and the struggling.
having his daughter leaning fondly on him. And now Scrooge looked on more attentively than ever. where they went to bed. and ecstasy. glued on a wooden platter. and was more than suspected of having swallowed a fictitious turkey. and so subsided. It is enough that by degrees the children and their emotions got out of the parlour. and when he thought . The terrible announcement that the baby had been taken in the act of putting a doll's frying-pan into his mouth. and gratitude.received. and by one stair at a time. The immense relief of finding this a false alarm. The joy. sat down with her and her mother at his own fireside. when the master of the house. up to the top of the house. They are all indescribable alike.
that such another creature. I could scarcely help seeing him. and he had a candle inside. and there he sat alone.' 'Who was it.' said Scrooge in a . might have called him father. I hear. and been a spring-time in the haggard winter of his life. Quite alone in the world. His partner lies upon the point of death. and as it was not shut up.' 'Guess.' 'How can I.' said the husband.' I saw an old friend of yours this afternoon. I passed his office window. don't I know. 'Mr Scrooge.' she added in the same breath. Tut. turning to his wife with a smile. his sight grew very dim indeed. 'Belle. quite as graceful and as full of promise.' 'Mr Scrooge it was. I do believe. laughing as he laughed.' 'Spirit.
and seeing that it looked upon him with a face. Haunt me no longer. Scrooge observed that its light was burning high and bright. 'Leave me.' Scrooge exclaimed. Take me back. if that can be called a struggle in which the Ghost with no visible resistance on its own part was undisturbed by any effort of its adversary.' I cannot bear it.' He turned upon the Ghost.broken voice. wrestled with it. in which in some strange way there were fragments of all the faces it had shown him.' 'I told you these were shadows of the things that have been. do not blame me. and dimly connecting that with its influence . 'That they are what they are.' said the Ghost.' In the struggle.' 'Remove me.' remove me from this place.
further. The Spirit dropped beneath it. he seized the extinguisher-cap. . and had barely time to reel to bed. He gave the cap a parting squeeze. in which his hand relaxed. and. and overcome by an irresistible drowsiness. so that the extinguisher covered its whole form. he could not hide the light. of being in his own bedroom. and by a sudden action pressed it down upon its head.over him. before he sank into a heavy sleep. He was conscious of being exhausted. which streamed from under it. in an unbroken flood upon the ground. but though Scrooge pressed it down with all his force.
he put them every one aside with his own hands. and lying down again. He felt that he was restored to consciousness in the right nick of time. for the especial purpose of hold ing a conference with the second messenger despatched to him through Jacob Marley's intervention. Scrooge had no occasion to be told that the bell was again upon the stroke of One. and sitting up in bed to get his thoughts together. finding that he turned uncomfortably cold when he began to wonder which of his curtains this new spectre would draw back.Stave 3: The Second of the Three Spirits Awaking in the middle of a prodigiously tough snore. But. established a sharp look-out all .
round the bed. For. I don't mind calling on you to believe that he was ready for a good broad field of strange . Gentlemen of the free-and-easy sort. he wished to challenge the Spirit on the moment of its appearance. express the wide range of their capacity for adventure by observing that they are good for anything from pitch-and-toss to manslaughter. who plume themselves on being acquainted with a move or two. there lies a tolerably wide and comprehensive range of subjects. and made nervous. no doubt. and being usually equal to the time-of-day. and did not wish to be taken by surprise. Without venturing for Scrooge quite as hardily as this. between which opposite extremes.
All this time. the very core and centre of a blaze of ruddy light. when the Bell struck One. he was taken with a violent fit of trembling. being only light. which streamed upon it when the clock proclaimed the hour. and no shape appeared.appearances. as he was powerless to make out what it meant. and was sometimes apprehensive that he . Now. being prepared for almost anything. and which. Five minutes. or would be at. consequently. was more alarming than a dozen ghosts. he was not by any means prepared for nothing. he lay upon his bed. a quarter of an hour went by. yet nothing came. and. ten minutes. and that nothing between a baby and rhinoceros would have astonished him very much.
At last. The moment Scrooge's hand was on the lock. This idea taking full possession of his mind. it seemed to shine. he began to think that the source and secret of this ghostly light might be in the adjoining room. on further tracing it. for it is always the person not in the predicament who knows what ought to have been done in it. however. and would unquestionably have done it too at last. he got up softly and shuffled in his slippers to the door. he began to think as you or I would have thought at first. without having the consolation of knowing it. I say.might be at that very moment an interesting case of spontaneous combustion. a strange voice called him by his . from whence.
that it looked a perfect grove. to form a kind of throne. He obeyed. game. The crisp leaves of holly. and such a mighty blaze went roaring up the chimney. geese. brawn. The walls and ceiling were so hung with living green. as if so many little mirrors had been scattered there. poultry. were turkeys. But it had undergone a surprising transformation. and ivy reflected back the light. as that dull petrification of a hearth had never known in Scrooge's time. or for many and many a winter season gone. There was no doubt about that. and bade him enter.name. or Marley's. Heaped up on the floor. mistletoe. great joints . from every part of which. It was his own room. bright gleaming berries glistened.
long wreaths of sausages. there sat a jolly Giant. mince-pies. luscious pears. man. and seething bowls of punch. cherry-cheeked apples. and know me better.' Scrooge entered timidly. 'Come in. glorious to see:. barrels of oysters. In easy state upon this couch. that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam. in shape not unlike Plenty's horn. and held it up. high up.of meat. to shed its light on Scrooge. and hung his head before this Spirit. He was not the dogged Scrooge he had been. immense twelfth-cakes. juicy oranges. sucking-pigs. red-hot chestnuts. 'Come in. who bore a glowing torch. and though the Spirit's eyes . as he came peeping round the door. plum-puddings.' exclaimed the Ghost.
Its dark brown curls were long and free. observable beneath the ample folds of the garment. and on its head it wore no other covering than a holly wreath. This garment hung so loosely on the figure. its open hand. its sparkling eye. 'Look upon me. its cheery voice. and its joyful . It was clothed in one simple green robe. free as its genial face. that its capacious breast was bare. bordered with white fur. he did not like to meet them. its unconstrained demeanour. as if disdaining to be warded or concealed by any artifice. or mantle.' Scrooge reverently did so. set here and there with shining icicles. 'I am the Ghost of Christmas Present. were also bare.were clear and kind. Its feet.' said the Spirit.
Have you had many brothers. Girded round its middle was an antique scabbard. meaning (for I am very young) my elder brothers born in these later years. 'Never. The Ghost of Christmas Present rose. 'I don't think I have. 'A tremendous family to provide for.' Exclaimed the Spirit.' Scrooge made answer to it.air. 'Have never walked forth with the younger members of my family.' pursued the Phantom. 'I am afraid I have not. 'You have never seen the like of me before. Spirit. 'Spirit.' conduct me .' said the Ghost. and the ancient sheath was eaten up with rust.' said Scrooge.' said Scrooge submissively. but no sword was in it.' muttered Scrooge.' 'More than eighteen hundred.
ivy. To-night. fruit. and from the tops of their houses. if you have aught to teach me.where you will. and held it fast. whence it . where (for the weather was severe) the people made a rough. puddings. mistletoe. all vanished instantly. poultry. let me profit by it. and I learnt a lesson which is working now. but brisk and not unpleasant kind of music. the hour of night.' 'Touch my robe. red berries. and they stood in the city streets on Christmas morning. oysters. the fire. brawn. the ruddy glow. in scraping the snow from the pavement in front of their dwellings. geese. sausages. I went forth last night on compulsion. and punch. pigs. game. Holly. meat. turkeys.' Scrooge did as he was told. So did the room. pies.
contrasting with the smooth white sheet of snow upon the roofs. half frozen. hard to trace in the thick yellow mud and icy water.was mad delight to the boys to see it come plumping down into the road below. and splitting into artificial little snow-storms. and the windows blacker. and the shortest streets were choked up with a dingy mist. whose heavier .which last deposit had been ploughed up in deep furrows by the heavy wheels of carts and waggons. furrows that crossed and recrossed each other hundreds of times where the great streets branched off. The sky was gloomy. and with the dirtier snow upon the ground. and made intricate channels. The house fronts looked black enough. half thawed.
and were blazing away to their dear hearts' content. and yet was there an air of cheerfulness abroad that the clearest summer air and brightest summer sun might have endeavoured to diffuse in vain.particles descended in shower of sooty atoms. There was nothing very cheerful in the climate or the town. caught fire. the people who were shovelling away on the housetops were jovial and full of glee. calling out to one another from the parapets. and now and then exchanging a facetious snowball—better-natured missile far than many a wordy jest — laughing heartily if it went right and not less heartily if it went wrong. by one consent. For. The . as if all the chimneys in Great Britain had.
that people's mouths might water gratis as they .poulterers' shops were still half open. and the fruiterers' were radiant in their glory. brownfaced. There were great. made. broad-girthed Spanish Friars. there were bunches of grapes. shaped like the waistcoats of jolly old gentlemen. round. and tumbling out into the street in their apoplectic opulence. in the shopkeepers' benevolence to dangle from conspicuous hooks. and winking from their shelves in wanton slyness at the girls as they went by. lolling at the doors. There were pears and apples. and glanced demurely at the hung-up mistletoe. There were ruddy. potbellied baskets of chestnuts. clustered high in blooming pyramids.
there were piles of filberts. setting off the yellow of the oranges and lemons. squab and swarthy. set forth among these choice fruits in a bowl. though members of a dull and stagnant-blooded race.passed. The very gold and silver fish. urgently entreating and beseeching to be carried home in paper bags and eaten after dinner. mossy and brown. appeared to know that there was something going on. in their fragrance. to a fish. ancient walks among the woods. and. recalling. and pleasant shufflings ankle deep through withered leaves. and. in the great compactness of their juicy persons. went gasping round and round their little world in slow and . there were Norfolk Biffins.
or that the twine and roller parted company so briskly. oh the Grocers'. but through those gaps such glimpses. the candied fruits so caked and spotted with molten sugar as to make the coldest lookers-on feel faint and subsequently bilious. or even that the raisins were so plentiful and rare. the sticks of cinnamon so long and straight. The Grocers'. the almonds so extremely white. or even that the blended scents of tea and coffee were so grateful to the nose. nearly closed.passionless excitement. or one. Nor . It was not alone that the scales descending on the counter made a merry sound. or that the canisters were rattled up and down like juggling tricks. with perhaps two shutters down. the other spices so delicious.
worn outside for . and left their purchases upon the counter. and came running back to fetch them. but the customers were all so hurried and so eager in the hopeful promise of the day. in the best humour possible. or that the French plums blushed in modest tartness from their highlydecorated boxes. that they tumbled up against each other at the door. while the Grocer and his people were so frank and fresh that the polished hearts with which they fastened their aprons behind might have been their own.was it that the figs were moist and pulpy. or that everything was good to eat and in its Christmas dress. and committed hundreds of the like mistakes. crashing their wicker baskets wildly.
sprinkled incense on their dinners from his torch. lanes. The sight of these poor revellers appeared to interest the Spirit very much. But soon the steeples called good people all. carrying their dinners to the baker' shops. and taking off the covers as their bearers passed. and with their gayest faces. And it was a very uncommon kind of torch.general inspection. to church and chapel. for once or twice when . and for Christmas daws to peck at if they chose. and away they came. flocking through the streets in their best clothes. and nameless turnings. for he stood with Scrooge beside him in a baker's doorway. And at the same time there emerged from scores of bye-streets. innumerable people.
. And so it was. My own.there were angry words between some dinner-carriers who had jostled each other. in the thawed blotch of wet above each baker's oven.' asked Scrooge. and yet there was a genial shadowing forth of all these dinners and the progress of their cooking. 'Is there a peculiar flavour in what you sprinkle from your torch. where the pavement smoked as if its stones were cooking too. For they said. 'There is. he shed a few drops of water on them from it. and the bakers were shut up.' asked Scrooge.' 'Would it apply to any kind of dinner on this day. so it was. In time the bells ceased. God love it. and their good humour was restored directly. it was a shame to quarrel upon Christmas Day.
'Because it needs it most. 'Wouldn't you. It has been done in your name.' 'I.' exclaimed the Spirit.' said Scrooge. 'You seek to close these places on the Seventh Day. To a poor one most.' said Scrooge. after a moment's thought.' 'I seek.' said Scrooge.' 'Why to a poor one most.' 'Spirit.' asked Scrooge.' cried the Spirit. 'And it comes to the same thing. 'Forgive me if I am wrong.'To any kindly given.' 'I. 'You would deprive them of their means of dining every seventh day. often the only day on which they can be said to dine at all. or .' cried the Spirit. should desire to cramp these people's opportunities of innocent enjoyment.' I wonder you. of all the beings in the many worlds about us.
ill-will. 'There are some upon this earth of yours. not us. invisible.at least in that of your family. bigotry. hatred. and they went on.' said Scrooge. pride. and who do their deeds of passion. he could accommodate himself to any place with ease. as they had been before.' Scrooge promised that he would. and that he stood beneath a . Remember that. who are as strange to us and all out kith and kin.' returned the Spirit. that notwithstanding his gigantic size. into the suburbs of the town.' who lay claim to know us. and selfishness in our name. as if they had never lived. envy. and charge their doings on themselves. It was a remarkable quality of the Ghost (which Scrooge had observed at the baker's).
and yet the Ghost of Christmas Present . And perhaps it was the pleasure the good Spirit had in showing off this power of his. or else it was his own kind. and stopped to bless Bob Cratchit's dwelling with the sprinkling of his torch. as it was possible he could have done in any lofty hall. and on the threshold of the door the Spirit smiled.low roof quite as gracefully and like a supernatural creature. generous. hearty nature. holding to his robe. Think of that. and his sympathy with all poor men. and took Scrooge with him. for there he went. that led him straight to Scrooge's clerk's. Bob had but fifteen bob a-week himself. he pocketed on Saturdays but fifteen copies of his Christian name.
and getting the corners of his monstrous shirt collar (Bob's private property. assisted by Belinda Cratchit. and yearned to show his linen in the fashionable Parks.blessed his four-roomed house. boy and girl. rejoiced to find himself so gallantly attired. dressed out but poorly in a twice-turned gown. and she laid the cloth. Cratchit's wife. which are cheap and make a goodly show for sixpence. screaming that outside . And now two smaller Cratchits. also brave in ribbons. Then up rose Mrs Cratchit. second of her daughters. while Master Peter Cratchit plunged a fork into the saucepan of potatoes. came tearing in. but brave in ribbons. conferred upon his son and heir in honour of the day) into his mouth.
and known it for their own. appearing as she spoke.' said Mrs Cratchit. Tiny Tim.' . although his collars nearly choked him) blew the fire. until the slow potatoes bubbling up.' said a girl. There's such a goose.' 'Here's Martha. 'What has ever got your precious father then. while he (not proud. 'And your brother.' cried the two young Cratchits. mother. 'Here's Martha. knocked loudly at the saucepan-lid to be let out and peeled. And Martha warn't as late last Christmas Day by half-an-hour. 'Hurrah. mother.the baker's they had smelt the goose. and basking in luxurious thoughts of sage and onion. and exalted Master Peter Cratchit to the skies. Martha. these young Cratchits danced about the table.
' said Mrs Cratchit. bless your heart alive. the father.' cried the two young Cratchits. mother. Martha. no. who were everywhere at once. Lord bless ye.' said Mrs Cratchit. how late you are. kissing her a dozen times. 'We'd a deal of work to finish up last night.'Why. my dear.' and had to clear away this morning. and taking off her shawl and bonnet for her with officious zeal.' 'No. hide. There's father coming.' replied the girl. and his . hanging down before him. Never mind so long as you are come.' 'Well. and in came little Bob. 'Hide. 'Sit ye down before the fire. and have a warm. with at least three feet of comforter exclusive of the fringe. my dear.' So Martha hid herself.
and ran into his arms. if it were only in joke. for he had been Tim's blood horse all the way from church. 'Not coming upon Christmas Da y. and had his limbs supported by an iron frame.' said Bob. ' Martha didn't like to see him disappointed. 'Why. and bore him off into the . and Tiny Tim upon his shoulder. to look seasonable. with a sudden declension in his high spirits. Alas for Tiny Tim.' said Mrs Cratchit. looking round. 'Not coming. so she came out prematurely from behind the closet door. he bore a little crutch.' cried Bob Cratchit.threadbare clothes darned up and brushed. where's our Martha. while the two young Cratchits hustled Tiny Tim. and had come home rampant. 'Not coming.
who made lame beggars walk. Somehow he gets thoughtful.' said Bob. coming home. that he might hear the pudding singing in the copper. He told me. that he hoped the people saw him in the church. and Bob had hugged his daughter to his heart's content. 'As good as gold. and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day. when she had rallied Bob on his credulity. because he was a cripple.' Bob's voice was tremulous when he told them this.' and better. and blind men see.wash-house. sitting by himself so much. asked Mrs Cratchit. and trembled more when he said that Tiny Tim was growing strong and . and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. 'And how did little Tim behave.
they were capable of being made more shabby — compounded some hot mixture in a jug with gin and lemons. Master Peter. and stirred it round and round and put it on the hob to simmer. and the two ubiquitous young Cratchits went to fetch the goose. to which a black swan was a matter of course — and in . Such a bustle ensued that you might have thought a goose the rarest of all birds. escorted by his brother and sister to his stool before the fire. poor fellow. turning up his cuffs — as if. with which they soon returned in high procession.hearty. His active little crutch was heard upon the floor. and back came Tiny Tim before another word was spoken. a feathered phenomenon. and while Bob.
as Mrs Cratchit. Mrs Cratchit made the gravy (ready beforehand in a little saucepan) hissing hot. not forgetting themselves. It was succeeded by a breathless pause.truth it was something very like it in that house. Bob took Tiny Tim beside him in a tiny corner at the table. looking slowly all along the carving- . Miss Belinda sweetened up the apple-sauce. Master Peter mashed the potatoes with incredible vigour. and mounting guard upon their posts. the two young Cratchits set chairs for everybody. and grace was said. crammed spoons into their mouths. Martha dusted the hot plates. lest they should shriek for goose before their turn came to be helped. At last the dishes were set on.
and feebly cried Hurrah. prepared to plunge it in the breast. Eked out by apple-sauce and mashed potatoes. and when the long expected gush of stuffing issued forth. indeed. and even Tiny Tim. were the themes of universal admiration. one murmur of delight arose all round the board. Its tenderness and flavour. size and cheapness. There never was such a goose. it was a sufficient dinner for the whole family. Bob said he didn't believe there ever was such a goose cooked. as Mrs Cratchit said with great delight (surveying one small atom of a bone upon the dish). they hadn't ate it all at . excited by the two young Cratchits. beat on the table with the handle of his knife.knife. but when she did.
A smell like a washing-day. while they were merry with the goose — a supposition at which the two young Cratchits became livid. Yet every one had had enough. A great deal of steam. All sorts of horrors were supposed. and the youngest Cratchits in particular. were steeped in sage and onion to the eyebrows. The pudding was out of the copper. Mrs Cratchit left the room alone — too nervous to bear witnesses — to take the pudding up and bring it in. Suppose it should break in turning out. the plates being changed by Miss Belinda. Suppose it should not be done enough. That was the cloth.last. Suppose somebody should have got over the wall of the back-yard. and stolen it. Hallo. But now. .
like a speckled cannon-ball. and calmly too. that he regarded it as the greatest success achieved by Mrs Cratchit since their marriage. Oh. so hard and firm. In half a minute Mrs Cratchit entered — flushed. but smiling proudly — with the pudding. a wonderful pudding. she would confess she had had her doubts about the quantity of flour. Mrs Cratchit said that now the weight was off her mind. Everybody had something to say about it. That was the pudding. with a laundress's next door to that. and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top. blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy. Bob Cratchit said. .A smell like an eating-house and a pastrycook's next door to each other.
meaning half a one. At last the dinner was all done. the cloth was cleared. apples and oranges were put upon the table. and a custard-cup without a handle. The compound in the jug being tasted. as well as golden . These held the hot stuff from the jug. Any Cratchit would have blushed to hint at such a thing. Two tumblers.but nobody said or thought it was at all a small pudding for a large family. and the fire made up. and a shovelfull of chestnuts on the fire. the hearth swept. however. Then all the Cratchit family drew round the hearth. It would have been flat heresy to do so. and considered perfect. and at Bob Cratchit's elbow stood the family display of glass. in what Bob Cratchit called a circle.
' said Scrooge.' 'I see a vacant seat. God bless us. and dreaded that he might be taken from him. 'tell me if Tiny Tim will live. the last of all. and a crutch without an owner. and wished to keep him by his side. 'Spirit.goblets would have done. my dears. while the chestnuts on the fire sputtered and cracked noisily. 'in the poor chimneycorner. and Bob served it out with beaming looks. as if he loved the child. 'God bless us every one.' Which all the family reechoed. Then Bob proposed: 'A Merry Christmas to us all.' replied the Ghost. . Bob held his withered little hand in his. with an interest he had never felt before. He sat very close to his father's side upon his little stool.' said Tiny Tim.
What then.' 'If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future. If he be like to die. 'will find him here. and was overcome with penitence and grief.' returned the Ghost. no. 'if man you be in heart. none other of my race. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future. forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered what the surplus is.' Scrooge hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit. kind Spirit. 'Man. 'Oh. It may be. the child will die.' said the Ghost. that in the sight of Heaven.' said Scrooge. he had better do it. say he will be spared. and where it is. no. Will you decide what men shall live. Oh . not adamant. and decrease the surplus population.carefully preserved. what men shall die.' 'No. you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man's child.
' said Bob. reddening. and trembling cast his eyes upon the ground.' said Bob.' Scrooge bent before the Ghost's rebuke.' 'My dear.' 'It should be Christmas Day. 'Mr Scrooge. 'I'll give you Mr Scrooge.' said she. the Founder of the Feast. unfeeling man as . But he raised them speedily. to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust. I'd give him a piece of my mind to feast upon.' 'The Founder of the Feast indeed. 'I wish I had him here. 'the children. 'on which one drinks the health of such an odious. Christmas Day. stingy. hard. and I hope he'd have a good appetite for it. I am sure.' cried Mrs Cratchit.God. on hearing his own name.
which was not dispelled for full five minutes. 'not for his. It was the first of their proceedings which had no heartiness.' was Bob's mild answer.' 'I'll drink his health for your sake and the Day's. Robert. poor fellow. but he didn't care twopence for it. You know he is. 'Christmas Day. Tiny Tim drank it last of all. they were ten times merrier than .' The children drank the toast after her.' 'My dear.' said Mrs Cratchit. The mention of his name cast a dark shadow on the party.Mr Scrooge. He'll be very merry and very happy. I have no doubt. Long life to him. After it had passed away. A merry Christmas and a happy new year. Scrooge was the Ogre of the family. Nobody knows it better than you do.
and Peter himself looked thoughtfully at the fire from between his collars. from the mere relief of Scrooge the Baleful being done with.before. Martha. The two young Cratchits laughed tremendously at the idea of Peter's being a man of business. as if he were deliberating what particular investments he should favour when he came into the receipt of that bewildering income. which would bring in. full five-andsixpence weekly. and how she meant to lie abed to- . if obtained. then told them what kind of work she had to do. who was a poor apprentice at a milliner's. and how many hours she worked at a stretch. Bob Cratchit told them how he had a situation in his eye for Master Peter.
Also how she had seen a countess and a lord some days before. They were not a handsome family. about a lost child travelling in the snow. who had a plaintive little voice. and by-and-bye they had a song.morrow morning for a good long rest. and sang it very well indeed. they were not well dressed. their shoes were far from being water-proof.' at which Peter pulled up his collars so high that you couldn't have seen his head if you had been there. from Tiny Tim. All this time the chestnuts and the jug went round and round. tomorrow being a holiday she passed at home. There was nothing of high mark in this. and Peter might have . their clothes were scanty. and how the lord was much about as tall as Peter.
By this time it was getting dark.known. the brightness of the roaring fires in kitchens. and all sorts of rooms. and contented with the time. and snowing pretty heavily. until the last. with hot plates baking through and through before the fire. they were happy. Here. parlours. Scrooge had his eye upon them. and as Scrooge and the Spirit went along the streets. the flickering of the blaze showed preparations for a cosy dinner. grateful. ready to . and deep red curtains. and looked happier yet in the bright sprinklings of the Spirit's torch at parting. was wonderful. and when they faded. and especially on Tiny Tim. But. and very likely did. the inside of a pawnbroker's. pleased with one another.
all hooded and fur-booted. and be the first to greet them. woe upon the single man who saw them enter — artful witches. you might have thought that no one was at home to give them welcome when they got there.be drawn to shut out cold and darkness. uncles. and all chattering at once. But. There all the children of the house were running out into the snow to meet their married sisters. tripped lightly off to some near neighbour's house. where. . Here. again. well they knew it — in a glow. and there a group of handsome girls. if you had judged from the numbers of people on their way to friendly gatherings. aunts. were shadows on the window-blind of guests assembling. brothers. cousins.
they stood upon a bleak and desert moor. who ran on before. How it bared its breadth of breast. with a generous hand. and who was dressed to spend the evening somewhere. without a word of warning from the Ghost. The very lamplighter. where monstrous masses of rude stone were . though little kenned the lamplighter that he had any company but Christmas. and opened its capacious palm. outpouring. how the Ghost exulted.instead of every house expecting company. and floated on. And now. laughed out loudly as the Spirit passed. Blessings on it. its bright and harmless mirth on everything within its reach. and piling up its fires halfchimney high. dotting the dusky street with specks of light.
and coarse rank grass. or would have done so. and water spread itself wheresoever it listed. Down in the west the setting sun had left a streak of fiery red. lower. 'What place is this.' asked Scrooge. was lost in the thick gloom of darkest night. and frowning lower. who labour in the bowels of the earth. lower yet.' Alight shone from the window of a hut. but for the frost that held it prisoner. as though it were the burialplace of giants. 'But they know me. which glared upon the desolation for an instant.' returned the Spirit. and swiftly they advanced towards it. See. Passing through the wall of mud and . and nothing grew but moss and furze. like a sullen eye.cast about. 'A place where Miners live.
in a voice that seldom rose above the howling of the wind upon the barren waste. Not .stone. but bade Scrooge hold his robe. sped ¾ whither. The Spirit did not tarry here. with their children and their children's children. was singing them a Christmas song — it had been a very old song when he was a boy — and from time to time they all joined in the chorus. and another generation beyond that. and so surely as they stopped. old man and woman. So surely as they raised their voices. the old man got quite blithe and loud. The old man. and passing on above the moor. all decked out gaily in their holiday attire. An old. they found a cheerful company assembled round a glowing fire. his vigour sank again.
he saw the last of the land. a frightful range of rocks. looking back.to sea. some league or so from shore. as it rolled and roared. But even here. Built upon a dismal reef of sunken rocks. . Great heaps of sea-weed clung to its base. and fiercely tried to undermine the earth. and raged among the dreadful caverns it had worn. as sea-weed of the water — rose and fell about it. and stormbirds — born of the wind one might suppose. and his ears were deafened by the thundering of water. like the waves they skimmed. the wild year through. on which the waters chafed and dashed. behind them. To Scrooge's horror. two men who watched the light had made a fire. there stood a solitary lighthouse. To sea.
Again the Ghost sped on. the officers who had the watch. They stood beside the helmsman at the wheel. being far away.that through the loophole in the thick stone wall shed out a ray of brightness on the awful sea. as the figure-head of an old ship might be: struck up a sturdy song that was like a Gale in itself. and one of them: the elder. too. with his face all damaged and scarred with hard weather. the look-out in the bow. on — until. from any shore. Joining their horny hands over the rough table at which they sat. above the black and heaving sea — on. they lighted on a ship. they wished each other Merry Christmas in their can of grog. ghostly figures in their several . dark. as he told Scrooge.
stations. or had a Christmas thought. but every man among them hummed a Christmas tune. and had known that they delighted to remember him. and had remembered those he cared for at a distance. had had a kinder word for another on that day than on any day in the year. or spoke below his breath to his companion of some bygone Christmas Day. good or bad. It was a great surprise to Scrooge. whose depths . waking or sleeping. And every man on board. and had shared to some extent in its festivities. with homeward hopes belonging to it. and thinking what a solemn thing it was to move on through the lonely darkness over an unknown abyss. while listening to the moaning of the wind.
noble adjustment of things. 'Ha. and looking at that same nephew with approving affability. I should like to know him too. h a .' laughed Scrooge's nephew. 'Ha. Introduce him to me. dry. to know a man more blest in a laugh than Scrooge's nephew. all I can say is. that while there is infection in disease . It is a fair. by any unlikely chance. ha. ' If you should happen. to hear a hearty laugh. while thus engaged. even-handed. gleaming room. and I'll cultivate his acquaintance. It was a much greater surprise to Scrooge to recognise it as his own nephew's and to find himself in a bright.were secrets as profound as Death: it was a great surprise to Scrooge. with the Spirit standing smiling by his side. ha.
They are always in earnest. and twisting his face into the most extravagant contortions: Scrooge's niece. indignantly. And their assembled friends being not a bit behindhand. ha.and sorrow. She was very pretty: exceedingly pretty. ha. they never do anything by halves. ha. When Scrooge's nephew laughed in this way: holding his sides. as I live. Fred. h a . there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour. by marriage. roared out lustily. laughed as heartily as he. rolling his head. Ha.' Cried Scrooge's nephew. ' 'He said that Christmas was a humbug.' 'More shame for him. With a . Bless those women. 'Ha.' said Scrooge's niece. 'He believed it too.
capital face. his offences carry their own punishment. you know.' 'I'm sure he is very rich. and I have nothing to say against him. Altogether she was what you would have called provoking. that melted into one another when she laughed. and the sunniest pair of eyes you ever saw in any little creature's head. Fred.' 'What of that. all kinds of good little dots about her chin.dimpled.' hinted Scrooge's niece. that seemed made to be kissed — as no doubt it was.' said Scrooge's nephew.' said Scrooge's nephew. a ripe little mouth. 'At least you always tell me so. surprised-looking. my dear. but satisfactory. 'He's a comical old fellow. 'His . However.' that's the truth: and not so pleasant as he might be.
wealth is of no use to him. Who suffers by his ill whims. I couldn't be angry with him if I tried. expressed the same opinion. 'I am sorry for him. What's the consequence. he takes it into his head to dislike us. ha — that he is ever going to benefit us with i t . and all the other ladies. He don't do any good with it. Here. and he won't come and dine with us.' said Scrooge's nephew. Scrooge's niece's sisters. ha. 'Oh. He hasn't the satisfaction of thinking — ha. ' 'I have no patience with him. always.' interrupted Scrooge's .' observed Scrooge's niece. Himself.' 'Indeed. I think he loses a very good dinner. He don't lose much of a dinner. He don't make himself comfortable with it. I have.
because they had just had dinner. who had no right to express an opinion on the subject. for he answered that a bachelor was a wretched outcast.niece.' said Scrooge's niece. 'Well. by lamplight. Topper. clapping . Whereat Scrooge's niece's sister — the plump one with the lace tucker: not the one with the roses — blushed. 'because I haven't great faith in these young housekeepers. were clustered round the fire. I'm very glad to hear it. with the dessert upon the table.' Topper had clearly got his eye upon one of Scrooge's niece's sisters. Everybody else said the same.' said Scrooge's nephew. Fred. What do you say. and they must be allowed to have been competent judges. and. 'Do go on.
that he loses some pleasant moments. as I think. though the plump sister tried hard to do it with aromatic vinegar.' said Scrooge's nephew. is. He is such a ridiculous fellow.' Scrooge's nephew revelled in another laugh. I am sure he loses pleasanter companions than he can find in his own thoughts. either in his mouldy old office. 'I was only going to say. whether he .her hands.' that the consequence of his taking a dislike to us. which could do him no harm. and as it was impossible to keep the infection off. or his dusty chambers. 'He never finishes what he begins to say. and not making merry with us. his example was unanimously followed. I mean to give him the same chance every year.
After tea. and not much caring what they laughed at.' It was their turn to laugh now at the notion of his shaKing Scrooge. and knew what they were about. For they were a musical family. so that they laughed at any rate. year after year. that's something. and saying Uncle Scrooge. when they . and passed the bottle joyously. but he can't help thinking better of it — I defy him — if he finds me going there. they had some music. and I think I shook him yesterday. If it only puts him in the vein to leave his poor clerk fifty pounds. But being thoroughly goodnatured. in good temper.likes it or not. how are you. he encouraged them in their merriment. for I pity him. He may rail at Christmas till he dies.
who could growl away in the bass like a good one.sung a Glee or Catch. years ago. all the things that Ghost had shown him. which had been familiar to the child who fetched Scrooge from the boardingschool. and never swell the large veins in his forehead. I can assure you: especially Topper. When this strain of music sounded. he might have . he softened more and more. came upon his mind. Scrooge's niece played well upon the harp. or get red in the face over it. and played among other tunes a simple little air (a mere nothing: you might learn to whistle it in two minutes). as he had been reminded by the Ghost of Christmas Past. and thought that if he could have listened to it often.
that it was a done thing between him and Scrooge's nephew. After a while they played at forfeits. My opinion is. when its mighty Founder was a child himself. Stop. for it is good to be children sometimes. Of course there was. The way he went after that plump sister in the lace tucker. and never better than at Christmas. And I no more believe Topper was really blind than I believe he had eyes in his boots. and that the Ghost of Christmas Present knew it. There was first a game at blindman's buff. But they didn't devote the whole evening to music. without resorting to the sexton's spade that buried Jacob Marley.cultivated the kindnesses of life for his own happiness with his own hands. was .
he would have made a feint of endeavouring to seize you. he caught her. If you had fallen up against him (as some of them did). She often cried out that it wasn't fair. Knocking down the fire-irons. tumbling over the chairs.an outrage on the credulity of human nature. He wouldn't catch anybody else. there went he. He always knew where the plump sister was. and it really was not. wherever she went. smothering himself among the curtains. when. on purpose. and would instantly have sidled off in the direction of the plump sister. But when at last. in spite of all her silken rustlings. which would have been an affront to your understanding. bumping against the piano. and her rapid .
his pretending that it was necessary to touch her head-dress. No doubt she told him her opinion of it. they were so very confidential together. another blind-man being in office. where the Ghost and Scrooge were close behind . monstrous. then his conduct was the most execrable. behind the curtains. but was made comfortable with a large chair and a footstool. Scrooge's niece was not one of the blind-man's buff party. in a snug corner. when. and further to assure himself of her identity by pressing a certain ring upon her finger. was vile. For his pretending not to know her.flutterings past him. he got her into a corner whence there was no escape. and a certain chain about her neck.
Likewise at the game of How. that his voice made no sound in their ears. for the sharpest needle.her. as could have told you. and so did Scrooge. and Where. too. but they all played. best Whitechapel. was not sharper than Scrooge. and loved her love to admiration with all the letters of the alphabet. But she joined in the forfeits. he sometimes came out with his guess quite loud. for. warranted not to cut in the eye. and to the secret joy of Scrooge's nephew. beat her sisters hollow: though they were sharp girls too. When. There might have been twenty people there. and very often guessed quite right. wholly forgetting the interest he had in what was going on. . young and old. she was very great.
' It was a Game called Yes and No. and looked upon him with such favour.' said Scrooge. The Ghost was greatly pleased to find him in this mood. that he begged like a boy to be allowed to stay until the guests departed. where Scrooge's nephew had to think of something. he only answering to their questions yes or no. an animal that growled and . a live animal. a savage animal. 'One half hour.blunt as he took it in his head to be. 'Here is a new game. and the rest must find out what. rather a disagreeable animal. only one. elicited from him that he was thinking of an animal. Spirit. But this the Spirit said could not be done. as the case was. The brisk fire of questioning to which he was exposed.
and walked about the streets. this nephew burst into a fresh roar of laughter. and was never killed in a market. or a cat.' 'What is it.' cried Fred. or an ass. 'It's your Uncle Scrooge. that he was obliged to get up off the sofa and stamp. At last the plump sister. falling into a similar state.' Which it certainly was. I know what it is. and talked sometimes. or a bear. and wasn't made a show of. and lived in London. I know what it is. or a tiger. At every fresh question that was put to him. Fred. and wasn't led by anybody. or a bull. . or a cow. and was not a horse. or a pig. or a dog.grunted sometimes. and didn't live in a menagerie. cried out: 'I have found it out. and was so inexpressibly tickled.
' they cried. and I say. Uncle Scrooge.' said Scrooge's nephew. supposing they had ever had any tendency that way. 'A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to the old man.Admiration was the universal sentiment. nevertheless. whatever he is. Uncle Scrooge. 'He has given us plenty of merriment. "Uncle Scrooge."' 'Well. I am sure.' said Fred. but may he have it. 'He wouldn't take it from me.' ought to have been 'Yes.' inasmuch as an answer in the negative was sufficient to have diverted their thoughts from Mr Scrooge.' Uncle . though some objected that the reply to 'Is it a bear.' and it would be ungrateful not to drink his health. Here is a glass of mulled wine ready to our hand at the moment.
The Spirit stood beside sick beds. but always with a happy end. and they were cheerful. and jail. and many homes they visited. if the Ghost had given him time. and it was rich. But the whole scene passed off in the breath of the last word spoken by his nephew. and thanked them in an inaudible speech. In almshouse. that he would have pledged the unconscious company in return. and he and the Spirit were again upon their travels.Scrooge had imperceptibly become so gay and light of heart. and they were close at home. by poverty. on foreign lands. where vain man in . and far they went. in misery's every refuge. and they were patient in their greater hope. Much they saw. by struggling men. hospital.
It was strange. when. clearly older. It was a long night. looking at the Spirit as they stood together in an open place.' asked Scrooge. and taught Scrooge his precepts. but never spoke of it. he noticed that its hair was grey. he left his blessing. that while Scrooge remained unaltered in his outward form. Scrooge had observed this change. but Scrooge had his doubts of this. the Ghost grew older. until they left a children's Twelfth Night party. if it were only a night. 'Are spirits' lives so short. 'My life upon this .his little brief authority had not made fast the door and barred the Spirit out. because the Christmas Holidays appeared to be condensed into the space of time they passed together. too.
' The chimes were ringing the three quarters past eleven at that moment.' was the Spirit's sorrowful reply.' From the foldings of its robe.' 'It might be a claw. miserable.' cried Scrooge. 'To-night at midnight. is very brief. Is it a foot or a claw. frightful. 'Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask.' said Scrooge. 'It ends to-night.' replied the Ghost. protruding from your skirts. 'Look here. and not belonging to yourself. hideous. They knelt down at its feet. and clung upon the outside of its . for the flesh there is upon it. wretched.' 'To-night. The time is drawing near. it brought two children. Hark.globe.' but I see something strange. looking intently at the Spirit's robe. abject.
devils lurked. and pulled them into shreds. Man. Having them shown to him in . meagre. too. like that of age.garment. down here. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out. and touched them with its freshest tints. 'Oh. They were a boy and a girl. and twisted them. no perversion of humanity. had pinched. through all the mysteries of wonderful creation. wolfish. Scrooge started back. scowling. and glared out menacing. has monsters half so horrible and dread. in their humility. Look. but prostrate. ragged. a stale and shrivelled hand. in any grade. no degradation. look here. Yellow. No change.' exclaimed the Ghost. look. appalled. Where angels might have sat enthroned.
' cried the Spirit. appealing from their fathers. unless the writing be erased.this way. are they yours. looking down upon them. And abide the end. Beware them both. and make it worse.' Scrooge could say no more. 'They are Man's. for on his brow I see that written which is Doom. Deny it. This girl is Want. stretching out its hand towards the city.' said the Spirit. Admit it for your factious purposes.' 'Have they no refuge or . rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude. but the words choked themselves. and all of their degree. but most of all beware this boy. This boy is Ignorance. 'And they cling to me. 'Spirit. 'Slander those who tell it ye. he tried to say they were fine children.
and saw it not. 'Are there no prisons. coming.resource. . towards him. beheld a solemn Phantom. As the last stroke ceased to vibrate.' cried Scrooge. and lifting up his eyes. he remembered the prediction of old Jacob Marley. 'Are there no workhouses. turning on him for the last time with his own words. draped and hooded.' The bell struck twelve. like a mist along the ground.' said the Spirit. Scrooge looked about him for the Ghost.
But for this it would have been difficult to detach its figure from the night. gravely. which concealed its head. silently approached. and that its mysterious presence filled him with a solemn dread.Stave 4: The Last of the Spirits The Phantom slowly. its form. and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. its face. When it came. for the . and separate it from the darkness by which it was surrounded. It was shrouded in a deep black garment. Scrooge bent down upon his knee. for in the very air through which this Spirit moved it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery. He felt that it was tall and stately when it came beside him. He knew no more.
but will happen in the time before us. Scrooge feared the silent shape so much that his legs trembled beneath him. That was the only answer he received.' The upper portion of the garment was contracted for an instant in its folds.Spirit neither spoke nor moved.' Scrooge pursued. and he found that he could hardly stand when he prepared to follow it. The Spirit pauses a moment. but pointed onward with its hand. as if the Spirit had inclined its head. 'I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. as . The Spirit answered not. Spirit. 'You are about to show me shadows of the things that have not happened. 'Is that so.' said Scrooge. Although well used to ghostly company by this time.
But as I know your purpose is to do me good. there were ghostly eyes intently fixed upon him. But Scrooge was all the worse for this. It thrilled him with a vague uncertain horror. and as I hope to live to be another man from what I was.' It gave him no reply. could see nothing but a spectral hand and one great heap of b l a c k .' he exclaimed. though he stretched his own to the utmost. while he. to know that behind the dusky shroud. 'Ghost of the Future. I am prepared to bear you company. The hand was pointed straight . and do it with a thankful heart. and giving him time to recover.observing his condition. Will you not speak to me.' I fear you more than any spectre I have seen.
and conversed in groups. 'Lead on. on Change. who hurried up and down. But there they were. and chinked the money in their pockets. and so forth. They scarcely seemed to enter the city. and carried him along. 'Lead on. The night is waning fast.' said Scrooge. which bore him up.' The Phantom moved away as it had come towards him. for the city rather seemed to spring up about them. Scrooge followed in the shadow of its dress. as Scrooge had seen them . Spirit. amongst the merchants. and trifled thoughtfully with their great gold seals.and it is precious time to me. I know. and looked at their watches. he thought. and encompass them of its own act.before them. Lead on. in the heart of it.
The Spirit stopped beside one little knot of business men. 'I thought he'd never die.often.' 'Why.' asked a third.' said the first. I believe. with a yawn. either way. that shook like the gills of a turkeycock.' 'God knows. what was the matter with him.' I don't know much about it.' asked a red-faced gentleman with a pendulous excrescence on the end of his nose. 'What has he done with his money.' inquired another. 'I haven't heard. 'No. I only know he's dead.' said the man with .' said a great fat man with a monstrous chin. Observing that the hand was pointed to them. 'Last night. taking a vast quantity of snuff out of a very large snuff-box. Scrooge advanced to listen to their talk.' 'When did he die.
' This pleasantry was received with a general laugh.' for I never wear black gloves.' said the same speaker. I'm not at all sure that I wasn't . if I make one.' 'I don't mind going if a lunch is provided. after all.the large chin. 'But I must be fed. and I never eat lunch. That's all I know.' said the first speaker. if anybody else will. He hasn't left it to me.' observed the gentleman with the excrescence on his nose. 'It's likely to be a very cheap funeral.' Another laugh. yawning again.' for upon my life I don't know of anybody to go to it. perhaps. 'Left it to his company. 'Well. Suppose we make up a party and volunteer. But I'll offer to go. I am the most disinterested among you. When I come to think of it.
that is. and mixed with other groups.' said the first.' said one. . for we used to stop and speak whenever we met. and looked towards the Spirit for an explanation. The Phantom glided on into a street. also. 'How are you. ' Speakers and listeners strolled away. strictly in a business point of view. Scrooge listened again. Bye.his most particular friend. Scrooge knew the men. and of great importance. He had made a point always of standing well in their esteem: in a business point of view. 'How are you. They were men of aye business: very wealthy.' returned the other. perfectly. b ye . 'Well. Its finger pointed to two persons meeting. thinking that the explanation might lie here. He knew these men.
for that was Past. No. Good morning. Scrooge was at first inclined to be surprised that the Spirit should attach importance to conversations apparently so trivial. They could scarcely be supposed to have any bearing on the death of Jacob. he set himself to consider what it was likely to be. Something else to think of. isn't it. his old partner.'Old Scratch has got his own at last. their conversation. Nor .' 'Seasonable for Christmas time. hey.' returned the second.' 'No.' Not another word. You're not a skater. and this Ghost's province was the Future. and their parting. 'Cold. That was their meeting.' 'So I am told. but feeling assured that they must have some hidden purpose. I suppose.
and would render the solution of these riddles easy. For he had an expectation that the conduct of his future self would give him the clue he missed. But nothing doubting that to whomsoever they applied they had some latent moral for his own improvement. He looked about in that very place for his own image. he saw no likeness of himself .could he think of any one immediately connected with himself. he resolved to treasure up every word he heard. to whom he could apply them. and especially to observe the shadow of himself when it appeared. but another man stood in his accustomed corner. and though the clock pointed to his usual time of day for being there. and everything he saw.
that the Unseen Eyes were looking at him keenly. however. and its bad . with its outstretched hand. Quiet and dark. he fancied from the turn of the hand. and its situation in reference to himself. and thought and hoped he saw his newborn resolutions carried out in this. where Scrooge had never penetrated before. for he had been revolving in his mind a change of life. and went into an obscure part of the town. although he recognised its situation. It gave him little surprise. They left the busy scene.among the multitudes that poured in through the Porch. beside him stood the Phantom. When he roused himself from his thoughtful quest. It made him shudder. and feel very cold.
with filth. Far in this den of infamous resort.repute. upon the straggling streets. ugly. like so many cesspools. disgorged their offences of smell. files. and greasy offal. chains. were bought. The ways were foul and narrow. nails. were piled up heaps of rusty keys. there was a low-browed. bottles. and life. drunken. the people half-naked. slipshod. where iron. Upon the floor within. and misery. weights. and refuse iron of all kinds. old rags. hinges. the shops and houses wretched. scales. and dirt. Alleys and archways. below a pent-house roof. and the whole quarter reeked with crime. Secrets that few would like to scrutinise were bred and hidden in mountains of . bones. beetling shop.
was a grey-haired rascal. just as a woman with a heavy bundle slunk into the shop. masses of corrupted fat. and sepulchres of bones. came in too. by a charcoal stove. similarly laden. nearly seventy years of age. made of old bricks. who was no less startled by the sight of them. hung upon a line. Scrooge and the Phantom came into the presence of this man. and smoked his pipe in all the luxury of calm retirement. But she had scarcely entered. Sitting in among the wares he dealt in. when another woman. than they had been .unseemly rags. who had screened himself from the cold air without. and she was closely followed by a man in faded black. by a frousy curtaining of miscellaneous tatters.
removing his pipe from his mouth. Ah. they all three burst into a laugh.' 'You couldn't have met in a better place.' cried she who had entered first.' said old Joe. and the other two an't strangers. There an't such a rusty bit of metal in the .upon the recognition of each other. How it skreeks. 'Let the laundress alone to be the second. If we haven't all three met here without meaning it. in which the old man with the pipe had joined them. 'Come into the parlour. 'Let the charwoman alone to be the first. here's a chance. Look here. After a short period of blank astonishment. you know. and let the undertaker's man alone to be the third. old Joe. Stop till I shut the door of the shop. You were made free of it long ago.
The old man raked the fire together with an old stair-rod. crossing her elbows on her knees.' The parlour was the space behind the screen of rags. the woman who had already spoken threw her bundle on the floor.' said the woman. Come into the parlour. put it in his mouth again. and looking with a bold defiance at the other two. we're well matched. We're all suitable to our calling. 'What odds then. as mine. and having trimmed his smoky lamp (for it was night). While he did this. Ha. I believe.place as its own hinges. and sat down in a flaunting manner on a stool. Come into the parlour. 'Every person . What odds. and I'm sure there's no such old bones here. with the stem of his pipe. ha. Mrs Dilber.
' said Mrs Dilber. laughing.' 'No. indeed.' said the laundress. 'why wasn't he natural in his lifetime. 'If he wanted to keep them after he was dead. indeed. don't stand staring as if you was afraid. 'No man more so. then. Who's the worse for the loss of a few things like these.' 'Why then. We're not going to pick holes in each other's coats. he'd have had somebody to look after him when he was struck with . I suppose. 'We should hope not.' said Mrs Dilber and the man together.' 'Very well. a wicked old screw. I suppose. If he had been. woman. 'That's enough.' 'No. indeed.' 'That's true.' cried the woman. who's the wiser.' pursued the woman. He always did. Not a dead man.has a right to take care of themselves.
nor afraid for them to see it. you may depend upon it. mounting the breach first.' and it should have been.' said Mrs Dilber. 'It's a judgment on him. Speak out plain.' 'It's the truest word that ever was spoke. We know pretty well that we were helping ourselves. Open the bundle.Death. Joe. produced his plunder. before we met here.' But the gallantry of her friends would not allow of this. and let me know the value of it. It's no sin. instead of lying gasping out his last there. and the man in faded black. I'm not afraid to be the first. old Joe. It was not . I believe. Open that bundle. if I could have laid my hands on anything else.' replied the woman. alone by himself.' 'I wish it was a little heavier judgment.
extensive. and added them up into a total when he found there was nothing more to come. A seal or two.' and I wouldn't give another sixpence. if I was to be boiled for not doing it. were all. a pencil-case. a little wearing apparel. and that's . 'That's your account. It's a weakness of mine. Her account was stated on the wall in the same manner. 'I always give too much to ladies. two oldfashioned silver teaspoons. a pair of sugar-tongs. who chalked the sums he was disposed to give for each. They were severally examined and appraised by old Joe. and a few boots. upon the wall. Who's next. a pair of sleeve-buttons. and a brooch of no great value.' said Joe.' Mrs Dilber was next. Sheets and towels.
'What do you call this. 'Bed-curtains.' 'And now undo my bundle. dragged out a large and heavy roll of some dark stuff.' 'You don't mean to say you took them down.' 'You were . If you asked me for another penny.curtains. 'Yes I do. 'That's your account.' said Joe.' said old Joe.' said the first woman. and having unfastened a great many knots.' said Joe.the way I ruin myself. laughing and leaning forward on her crossed arms. Joe. rings and all. 'Why not. 'Bed. Joe went down on his knees for the greater convenience of opening it. with him lying there.' 'Ah. I'd repent of being so liberal and knock off half-a-crown.' returned the woman. and made it an open question.' replied the woman.
for the sake of such a man as he was. 'Don't drop that oil upon the blankets. I promise you. Ah. when I can get anything in it by reaching it out. 'I an't so fond of his company that I'd loiter about him for such things.' 'His blankets. you may look through that shirt till your eyes ache. now. . 'Don't you be afraid of that.' said Joe. Eh. 'Whose else's do you think.' returned the woman coolly. but you won't find a hole in it.' asked Joe.' Said old Joe. if he did. 'He isn't likely to take cold without them.' 'I hope he didn't die of any thing catching. I dare say.born to make your fortune. stopping in his work. and looking up.' 'I certainly shan't hold my hand. Joe.' replied the woman.' returned the woman.' and you'll certainly do it.
They'd have wasted it. it isn't good enough for anything. If calico an't good enough for such a purpose. which could hardly have been greater. though they demons. . and a fine one too.nor a threadbare place. It's quite as becoming to the body. to be sure. if it hadn't been for me. in the scanty light afforded by the old man's lamp. 'Putting it on him to be buried in.' replied the woman with a laugh.' 'What do you call wasting of it. As they sat grouped about their spoil. 'Somebody was fool enough to do it. but I took it off again. He can't look uglier than he did in that one. he viewed them with a detestation and disgust.' asked old Joe.' Scrooge listened to this dialogue in horror. It's the best he had.
Ha. The case of this unhappy man might be my own. announced itself in awful . now. told out their several gains upon the ground. beneath a ragged sheet. and now he almost touched a bed: a bare. 'This is the end of it. 'Ha. when old Joe. My life tends that way. to profit us when he was dead. Merciful Heaven. 'I see. ha. I see. shuddering from head to foot. uncurtained bed: on which. He frightened every one away from him when he was alive. producing a flannel bag with money in it.' laughed the same woman. what is this.' said Scrooge.marketing the corpse itself. ha. which. ha.' He recoiled in terror. there lay a something covered up. for the scene had changed. you see.' 'Spirit. though it was dumb.
uncared for. fell straight upon the bed. and longed to do it. felt how easy it would be to do. Its steady hand was pointed to the head. and on it. Scrooge glanced towards the Phantom. The cover was so carelessly adjusted that the slightest raising of it. The room was very dark. but had no more power to withdraw the veil than to . too dark to be observed with any accuracy. would have disclosed the face. rising in the outer air. the motion of a finger upon Scrooge's part. plundered and bereft. though Scrooge glanced round it in obedience to a secret impulse. A pale light.language. was the body of this man. unwept. He thought of it. anxious to know what kind of room it was. unwatched.
and true. warm.dismiss the spectre at his side. and honoured head. dreadful Death. and yet he heard them when he . rigid. Strike. cold. But of the loved. set up thine altar here. to sow the world with life immortal. and tender. and dress it with such terrors as thou hast at thy command: for this is thy dominion. strike. revered. and the pulse a man's. It is not that the hand is heavy and will fall down when released. or make one feature odious. the heart brave. And see his good deeds springing from the wound. Oh cold. generous. Shadow. it is not that the heart and pulse are still. No voice pronounced these words in Scrooge's ears. but that the hand was open. thou canst not turn one hair to thy dread purposes.
I shall not leave its lesson. He thought. with not a man. and for the memory of one kind word I will be kind to him. 'Spirit.looked upon the bed. Scrooge did not dare to think. He lay. In leaving it. What they wanted in the room of death. or a child. and why they were so restless and disturbed.' he said. in the dark empty house. truly. a woman. if this man could be raised up now. Let us go. A cat was tearing at the door. trust me. Avarice. hard-dealing. 'this is a fearful place.' Still the Ghost . to say that he was kind to me in this or that. what would be his foremost thoughts. and there was a sound of gnawing rats beneath the hearth-stone. They have brought him to a rich end. griping cares.
for she walked up and down the room. She was expecting some one. like a wing. looked out from the window. I have not the power.' Again it seemed to look upon him.' and I would do it. and with anxious eagerness. 'show that person to me. if I could. revealed a room by daylight. Spirit.' said Scrooge quite agonised. 'I understand you. and withdrawing it.' The Phantom spread its dark robe before him for a moment. Spirit.pointed with an unmoved finger to the h e a d . who feels emotion caused by this man's death. I beseech you. started at every sound. glanced at the .' Scrooge returned. But I have not the power. where a mother and her children were. 'If there is any person in the town.
and when she asked him faintly what news (which was not until after a long silence). 'We are quite . 'Bad.clock. He sat down to the dinner that had been boarding for him by the fire. There was a remarkable expression in it now. he appeared embarrassed how to answer. At length the long-expected knock was heard. but in vain. and which he struggled to repress. 'Is it good. though he was young. a kind of serious delight of which he felt ashamed.' he answered. to work with her needle. and met her husband. She hurried to the door. 'or bad?' — to help him. a man whose face was careworn and depressed. and could hardly bear the voices of the children in their play.' she said. tried.
with clasped hands. 'there is. when I tried to see him and obtain a week's delay. She prayed forgiveness the next moment. but the first was the emotion of her heart. amazed. turns out to have been quite true.' 'If he relents. if such a miracle has happened.' she said. 'What the half-drunken woman whom I told you of last night.' 'He is past relenting. ' 'No. but dying. Caroline. and what I thought was a mere excuse to avoid me. and was sorry. and she said so.' said her husband.' She was a mild and patient creature if her face spoke truth. There is hope yet. said to me. but she was thankful in her soul to hear it.' 'To whom will . then. He was not only very ill.r ui ne d . Nothing is past hope. 'He is dead.
which we left just now. their hearts were lighter.' said Scrooge.our debt be transferred. will be for ever present to . But before that time we shall be ready with the money. and even though we were not. hushed and clustered round to hear what they so little understood. caused by the event. and it was a happier house for this man's death.' 'I don't know. it would be a bad fortune indeed to find so merciless a creditor in his successor. The only emotion that the Ghost could show him. 'Let me see some tenderness connected with a death.' Yes.' or that dark chamber. The children's faces. Spirit. Caroline. We may sleep to-night with light hearts. Soften it as they would. was one of pleasure. were brighter.
He had not dreamed them. But surely they were very quiet.me. the dwelling he had visited before. but nowhere was he to be seen. as he and . and found the mother and the children seated round the fire.' The Ghost conducted him through several streets familiar to his feet. The boy must have read them out. They entered poor Bob Cratchit's house. 'And he took a child. The mother and her daughters were engaged in sewing. and as they went along. Very quiet. and set him in the midst of them. The noisy little Cratchits were as still as statues in one corner. Scrooge looked here and there to find himself.' Where had Scrooge heard those words. and sat looking up at Peter. who had a book before him. Quiet.
' 'Past it rather. The mother laid her work upon the table. 'The colour hurts my eyes. 'They're better now again.' said Cratchit's wife. and I wouldn't show weak eyes to your father when he comes home. 'But I think he has walked a little slower than he used. 'It makes them weak by candle-light. that only faltered once: 'I have known him walk with — I have known him walk with Tiny Tim upon his . these few last evenings. It must be near his time. and in a steady.' Peter answered. Ah. for the world. poor Tiny Tim. shutting up his book. and put her hand up to her face. mother.the Spirit crossed the threshold. The colour. cheerful voice. Why did he not go on.' she said. At last she said.' They were very quiet again.
each child a little cheek. 'But he was very light to carry.' and his father loved him so. that it was no trouble: no trouble. Don't be grieved. father. against his face. as if they said. and they all tried who should help him to it most.' exclaimed another. poor fellow — came in.' Bob was very cheerful with them.' 'And so have I. And there is your father at the door.' Don't mind it. Then the two young Cratchits got upon his knees and laid.' She hurried out to meet him. His tea was ready for him on the hob.' cried Peter. intent upon her work.shoulder. So had all. very fast indeed.' 'And so have I. and spoke pleasantly to all the . 'Often.' she resumed. and little Bob in his comforter — he had need of it.
he said. and praised the industry and speed of Mrs Cratchit and the girls. little child. But you'll see it often.family. 'My little child.' said his wife. my dear. then. If he could have helped it. he and his child would have been farther apart perhaps than they were. and went up-stairs into the room above.' returned Bob. He looked at the work upon the table. He left the room. 'Yes. They would be done long before Sunday.' cried Bob. Robert. He couldn't help it. You went to-day. .' He broke down all at once. 'Sunday. I promised him that I would walk there on a Sunday. My little. which was lighted cheerfully. 'I wish you could have gone. It would have done you good to see how green a place it is.
' said Bob. inquired what had happened to distress him. whom he had scarcely seen but once. and there were signs of some one having been there.' said Bob. and who.' for he is the . There was a chair set close beside the child. Bob told them of the extraordinary kindness of Mr Scrooge's nephew. 'On which. They drew about the fire. meeting him in the street that day. He was reconciled to what had happened. and went down again quite happy.and hung with Christmas. the girls and mother working still. lately. Poor Bob sat down in it. he kissed the little face. and seeing that he looked a little — 'just a little down you know. and when he had thought a little and composed himself. and talked.
'and heartily sorry for your good wife. it wasn't.' cried Bob. Mr Cratchit.' replied Bob.' cried Bob.' he said. that this was quite delightful. how he ever knew that.' said Peter.' for the sake of anything he might be able to do for us.' 'Why.' 'Knew what. I told him. 'Everybody knows that. 'that's where I live. By the bye. that you were a good wife.pleasantest-spoken gentleman you ever heard. 'I hope they do.' he said. I don't know.' Now. my dear. It really seemed as if he had known our . 'for your good wife. so much as for his kind way. Pray come to me. If I can be of service to you in any way.' he said. my boy. giving me his card. 'Heartily sorry. 'I am heartily sorry for it. 'Very well observed.
I shouldn't be at all surprised — mark what I say. I am sure we shall none of us forget poor Tiny Tim — shall we — or this first parting that there was . — if he got Peter a better situation. my dear.' said Mrs Cratchit. and setting up for himself. 'You would be surer of it.' said Bob.' Peter will be keeping company with some one.' retorted Peter.' said Mrs Cratchit.' cried one of the girls.' returned Bob. But however and when ever we part from one another. and felt with us. my dear.' 'Only hear that. 'And then.' 'Get along with you. grinning. 'if you saw and spoke to him. Peter. 'It's just as likely as not. though there's plenty of time for that.' 'I'm sure he's a good soul. 'one of these days.Tiny Tim.
my dears. I know it. little child. 'And I know. the two young Cratchits kissed him.' I know. that when we recollect how patient and how mild he was. 'something informs me that our parting moment is at hand. father. and forget poor Tiny Tim in doing it. Tell me what man that was whom we saw . 'Spectre. but I know not how. 'I am very happy. father.' Mrs Cratchit kissed him. thy childish essence was from God.' 'Never.' I am very happy. and Peter and himself shook hands.' said little Bob. never.among us.' 'No.' said Scrooge.' said Bob. Spirit of Tiny Tim. although he was a little. we shall not quarrel easily among ourselves.' they all cried again.' cried they all. his daughters kissed him.
but showed him not himself.is where my place of occupation is. the hand was pointed el sew her e. as before — though at a different time. the Spirit did not stay for anything. Let me behold what I shall be. I see the house.' said Scrooge.' through which we hurry now. as to the end just now desired.' The Spirit stopped.' .lying dead. in days to come. and has been for a length of time. but went straight on. he thought: indeed. Indeed. 'This courts.' The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come conveyed him. there seemed no order in these latter visions. save that they were in the Future — into the resorts of business men. until besought by Scrooge to tarry for a moment. 'The house is yonder.
accompanied it until they reached an iron gate. Here. The Phantom pointed as before. A churchyard. the growth of vegetation's death. It was an office still. choked up . He paused to look round before entering. It was a worthy place. the wretched man whose name he had now to learn. but not his. Scrooge hastened to the window of his office. not life. He joined it once again. lay underneath the ground. and the figure in the chair was not himself. overrun by grass and weeds. then. Walled in by houses. 'Why do you point away. The furniture was not the same.' The inexorable finger underwent no change.Scrooge exclaimed. and looked in. and wondering why and whither he had gone.
with too much burying. A worthy place. 'But if the courses be departed from. but he dreaded that he saw new meaning in its solemn shape. Are these the shadows of the things that Will be. 'Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends. only. they must lead. The Spirit stood among the graves.' Still the Ghost pointed downward to the grave by which it stood. to which. Say it is thus . 'answer me one question. He advanced towards it trembling. The Phantom was exactly as it had been.' said Scrooge.' said Scrooge. fat with repleted appetite. the ends will change. 'Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point. and pointed down to One. if persevered in. or are they shadows of things that May be.
read upon the stone of the neglected grave his own name. as down upon the ground he fell before it:' Your nature . if I am past all hope.' he pursued. Spirit. trembling as he went.' he cried. tight clutching at its robe.' The finger still was there.' hear me. Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge crept towards it. no. 'Good Spirit. 'Spirit. 'Am I that man who lay upon the bed. I am not the man I was. upon his knees.' he cried. I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse. The finger pointed from the grave to him. 'No.' For the first time the hand appeared to shake.with what you show me. and back again. Why show me this. and following the finger.' The Spirit was immovable as ever. Oh no.
he caught the spectral hand. I will live in the Past. The Spirit. by an altered life. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. and .' In his agony. Holding up his hands in a last prayer to have his fate aye reversed. 'I will honour Christmas in my heart.' The kind hand trembled.intercedes for me. but he was strong in his entreaty. and pities me. repulsed him. and try to keep it all the year. he saw an alteration in the Phantom's hood and dress. It sought to free itself. collapsed. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me. the Present. tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone. It shrunk. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. stronger yet. Oh. and the Future. and detained it.
.dwindled down into a bedpost.
the Present. . old Jacob. The bed was his own. and the Christmas Time be praised for this. I say it on my knees. and the Future.' Scrooge repeated. Heaven.' He was so fluttered and so glowing with his good intentions. on my knees. Best and happiest of all. the room was his own. as he scrambled out of bed. He had been sobbing violently in his conflict with the Spirit. 'The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. Oh Jacob Marley. that his broken voice would scarcely answer to his call. to make amends in! 'I will live in the Past. the Time before him was his own.Stave 5: The End of It Yes! and the bedpost was his own. and his face was wet with tears.
'They are not torn down. may be dispelled. turning them inside out. making them parties to every kind of extravagance. They are here — I am here — the shadows of the things that would have been.' cried Scrooge. putting them on upside down. laughing and crying in the same breath. I am as merry as a schoolboy. A merry .' cried Scrooge.' they are not torn down. 'I don't know what to do. They will be. I am as happy as an angel. tearing them. folding one of his bed-curtains in his arms. I am as giddy as a drunken man.' His hands were busy with his garments all this time. 'I am as light as a feather. mislaying them. rings and all. and making a perfect Laocoon of himself with his stockings. I know they will.
There's the corner where the Ghost of Christmas Present. A happy New Year to all the world. The father of a long. Whoop. 'I don't . Ha ha ha. 'There's the door. it's all true. sat. starting off again. a most illustrious laugh. for a man who had been out of practice for so many years. 'There's the saucepan that the gruel was in. by which the Ghost of Jacob Marley entered. long line of brilliant laughs.Christmas to everybody. and going round the fireplace. It's all right.' cried Scrooge. and was now standing there: perfectly winded.' He had frisked into the sitting-room. There's the window where I saw the wandering Spirits. Hallo here.' Really. Hallo. it all happened. it was a splendid laugh.
bright. Hallo here. Clash.know what day of the month it is. 'What's today. and put out his head. Oh. 'I don't know how long I've been among the Spirits. clang. sweet fresh air. Glorious. bell. stirring. Oh. hammer. glorious. cold. hammer. Golden sunlight. clash. clear.' said Scrooge. jovial. no mist. he opened it. clang. dong. I'd rather be a baby. Hallo. I'm quite a baby. Heavenly sky. ding. calling downward . Whoop. No fog. piping for the blood to dance to. Never mind. merry bells. Bell. ding.' He was checked in his transports by the churches ringing out the lustiest peals he had ever heard. I don't know anything. glorious. glorious. dong. I don't care.' cried Scrooge. cold. Running to the window.
to a boy in Sunday clothes, who perhaps had loitered in to look about him. 'Eh.' returned the boy, with all his might of wonder. 'What's to-day, my fine fellow.' said Scrooge. 'To-day.' replied the boy. 'Why, Christmas Day.' 'It's Christmas Day.' said Scrooge to himself. 'I haven't missed it. The Spirits have done it all in one night. They can do anything they like. Of course they can. Of course they can. Hallo, my fine fellow.' 'Hallo.' returned the boy. 'Do you know the Poulterer's, in the next street but one, at the corner.' Scrooge inquired. 'I should hope I did,' replied the lad. 'An intelligent boy.' said Scrooge. 'A remarkable boy. Do you know whether they've sold the prize Turkey that was
hanging up there? — Not the little prize Turkey: the big one.' 'What, the one as big as me.' returned the boy. 'What a delightful boy.' said Scrooge. 'It's a pleasure to talk to him. Yes, my buck.' 'It's hanging there now,' replied the boy. 'Is it.' said Scrooge. 'Go and buy it.' 'Walk-er.' exclaimed the boy. 'No, no,' said Scrooge, 'I am in earnest. Go and buy it, and tell them to bring it here, that I may give them the direction where to take it. Come back with the man, and I'll give you a shilling. Come back with him in less than five minutes and I'll give you half-a-crown.' The boy was off like a shot. He must have had a steady hand at a trigger who could have got a shot off half so fast. 'I'll send it to Bon
Cratchit's.' whispered Scrooge, rubbing his hands, and splitting with a laugh. 'He shan't know who sends it. It's twice the size of Tiny Tim. Joe Miller never made such a joke as sending it to Bob's will b e . ' The hand in which he wrote the address was not a steady one, but write it he did, somehow, and went downstairs to open the street door, ready for the coming of the poulterer's man. As he stood there, waiting his arrival, the knocker caught his eye. 'I shall love it, as long as I live.' cried Scrooge, patting it with his hand. 'I scarcely ever looked at it before. What an honest expression it has in its face. It's a wonderful knocker. — Here's the Turkey. Hallo. Whoop. How are you. Merry Christmas.' It was a
Turkey. He never could have stood upon his legs, that bird. He would have snapped them short off in a minute, like sticks of sealing-wax. 'Why, it's impossible to carry that to Camden Town,' said Scrooge. 'You must have a cab.' The chuckle with which he said this, and the chuckle with which he paid for the Turkey, and the chuckle with which he paid for the cab, and the chuckle with which he recompensed the boy, were only to be exceeded by the chuckle with which he sat down breathless in his chair again, and chuckled till he cried. Shaving was not an easy task, for his hand continued to shake very much; and shaving requires attention, even when you don't dance
sir. He looked so irresistibly pleasant. in a word. The people were by this time pouring forth. But if he had cut the end of his nose off. that three or four good-humoured fellows said. Scrooge regarded every one with a delighted smile.' And Scrooge said often afterwards.while you are at it. He dressed himself all in his best. and at last got out into the streets. . A merry Christmas to you. that of all the blithe sounds he had ever heard.' Good morning. He had not gone far. he would have put a piece of sticking-plaister over it.as he had seen them with the Ghost of Christmas Present. and walking with his hands behind him. and been quite satisfied. those were the blithest in his ears.
And will you have the goodness' . sir.' said Scrooge. I hope you succeeded yesterday. 'My dear sir. I believe.' It sent a pang across his heart to think how this old gentleman would look upon him when they met. and I fear it may not be pleasant to you. 'How do you do.' Scrooge and Marley's. quickening his pace. who had walked into his counting-house the day before. 'That is my name.' 'Mr Scrooge. but he knew what path lay straight before him.' said Scrooge. and taking the old gentleman by both his hands. and said. and he took it. Allow me to ask your pardon. A merry Christmas to you.when coming on towards him he beheld the portly gentleman. It was very kind of you.' 'Yes.
And it was clear he meant to do it. 'Come and see me. and walked about the streets.' said Scrooge. as if his breath were taken away. 'Lord bless me.' cried the gentleman. I thank you fifty times. shaking hands with him. Will you come and see me.' 'I will.' said Scrooge. 'Thank you. 'I am much obliged to you.' He went to church.— here Scrooge whispered in his ear. 'My dear Mr Scrooge.' 'My dear sir. are you serious.' 'Don't say anything please. I assure you.' 'If you please.' cried the old gentleman. Will you do me that favour. Bless you.' said the other. A great many back-payments are included in it. 'I don't know what to say to such munificence. and .' retorted Scrooge. 'Not a farthing less.
before he had the courage to go up and knock. and found that everything could yield him pleasure.' said Scrooge to the girl.watched the people hurrying to and fro. 'Yes. if you please.' said Scrooge. He . and did it: 'Is your master at home. my love. He passed the door a dozen times. sir.' 'Where is he. and up to the windows. But he made a dash. and looked down into the kitchens of houses. In the afternoon he turned his steps towards his nephew's house. Very. and questioned beggars. along with mistress. 'He's in the dining-room.' 'Thank you. my dear. and patted children on the head. I'll show you up-stairs. Nice girl. He had never dreamed that any walk — that anything — could give him so much happiness. sir.
' He turned it gently. and sidled his face in.knows me. how his niece by marriage started. It is a mercy he didn't shake his arm . 'Why bless my soul. Scrooge had forgotten.' Let him in. 'I'll go in here. I have come to dinner. or he wouldn't have done it. Will you let me in. Fred.' said Scrooge. for these young housekeepers are always nervous on such points. on any account. Dear heart alive. about her sitting in the corner with the footstool. They were looking at the table (which was spread out in great array). for the moment.' 'It's I. round the door. and like to see that everything is right. Your uncle Scrooge. with his hand already on the dining-room lock.' cried Fred.' who's that. 'Fred. my dear.' said Scrooge.
wonderful unanimity. The clock struck nine. So did the plump sister when she came. His hat was off. His niece looked just the same. No Bob. wonderful games. Scrooge sat with his door wide open. that he might see him come into the Tank. Nothing could be heartier. he was early there. Oh. and catch Bob Cratchit coming late. he did. Wonderful party. So did Topper when he came. wonderful happiness. That was the thing he had set his heart upon. He was at home in five minutes. But he was early at the office next morning. He was full eighteen minutes and a half behind his time. yes. .off. A quarter past. No Bob. So did every one when they came. If he could only be there first. And he did it.
' 'It's only once a year. my friend. 'What do you mean by coming here at this time of day. 'Hallo. sir. 'I am behind my time. sir. 'It shall not be repeated. as if he were trying to overtake nine o'clock. He was on his stool in a jiffy.' said Bob. and . I think you are.' said Scrooge. And therefore. leaping from his stool. in his accustomed voice. Step this way.' 'I am very sorry.' he continued.' growled Scrooge. sir. driving away with his pen. appearing from the Tank.' 'Now. I'll tell you what. sir. as near as he could feign it.before he opened the door.' repeated Scrooge. 'Yes.' pleaded Bob. I was making rather merry yesterday.' 'You are.' I am not going to stand this sort of thing any longer. his comforter too. if you please.
over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop. with an earnestness that could not be mistaken. my good fellow. Bob. He had a momentary idea of knocking Scrooge down with it. and got a little nearer to the ruler. 'A merry Christmas. and calling to the people in the court for help and a strait-waistcoat. 'A merrier Christmas. Bob.' said Scrooge. as he clapped him on the back.' and therefore I am about to raise your salary. than I have given you for many a year. I'll raise your salary. Bob. and endeavour to assist your struggling family. and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon. holding him.' Bob trembled. .giving Bob such a dig in the waistcoat that he staggered back into the Tank again.
and as good a man. in the good old world. town. and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway. and little heeded them. as good a master. or any other good old city. as the good old city knew. at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset.Make up the fires.' Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all. He became as good a friend. but he let them laugh. and infinitely more. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him. who did not die. he was a second father. and buy another coalscuttle before you dot another i. Bob Cratchit. and to Tiny Tim. or borough. he thought it quite as well . for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe. for good.
God bless Us.that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins. May that be truly said of us. if any man alive possessed the knowledge. and it was always said of him. as have the malady in less attractive forms. that he knew how to keep Christmas well. as Tiny Tim observed. He had no further intercourse with Spirits. and all of us! And so. Every One! The End . but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him. ever afterwards.
Contents Stave 1: Marley's Ghost Stave 2: The First of the Three Stave 3: The Second of the Three Spirits Stave 4: The Last of the Spirits Stave 5: The End of It .
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