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