A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens

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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

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arley 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 door-nail. 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
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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. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley, but he answered to both names. It was all the same to him. Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind- stone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dogdays; and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas. External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No 
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wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn’t know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often ‘came down’ handsomely, and Scrooge never did. Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, ‘My dear Scrooge, how are you? When will you come to see me?’ No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o’clock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the blind men’s dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, ‘No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!’ But what did Scrooge care! It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing ones call ‘nuts’ to Scrooge. Once upon a time — of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve — old Scrooge sat busy in his countinghouse. It was cold, bleak, biting weather: foggy withal: and he could hear the people in the court outside, go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavement stones to warm them. The city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already — it had not been light all day — and candles were flaring in the windows of the neighbouring
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offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air. The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense without, that although the court was of the narrowest, the houses opposite were mere phantoms. To see the dingy cloud come drooping down, obscuring everything, one might have thought that Nature lived hard by, and was brewing on a large scale. The door of Scrooge’s counting-house was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters. Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk’s fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal. But he couldn’t replenish it, for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room; and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel, the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at the candle; in which effort, not being a man of a strong imagination, he failed. ‘A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!’ cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge’s nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach. ‘Bah!’ said Scrooge, ‘Humbug!’ He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost, this nephew of Scrooge’s, that he was all in a glow; his face was ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkled, and his breath smoked again. ‘Christmas a humbug, uncle!’ said Scrooge’s nephew. ‘You don’t mean that, I am sure?’ ‘I do,’ said Scrooge. ‘Merry Christmas! What right have 
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you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You’re poor enough.’ ‘Come, then,’ returned the nephew gaily. ‘What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You’re rich enough.’ Scrooge having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said ‘Bah!’ again; and followed it up with ‘Humbug.’ ‘Don’t be cross, uncle!’ said the nephew. ‘What else can I be,’ returned the uncle, ‘when I live in such a world of fools as this? Merry Christmas! Out upon merry Christmas! What’s Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books and having every item in ‘em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you? If I could work my will,’ said Scrooge indignantly, ‘every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!’ ‘Uncle!’ pleaded the nephew. ‘Nephew!’ returned the uncle sternly, ‘keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine.’ ‘Keep it!’ repeated Scrooge’s nephew. ‘But you don’t keep it.’ ‘Let me leave it alone, then,’ said Scrooge. ‘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, I dare say,’ returned the
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nephew. ‘Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round — apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that — as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!’ The clerk in the Tank involuntarily applauded. Becoming immediately sensible of the impropriety, he poked the fire, and extinguished the last frail spark for ever. ‘Let me hear another sound from you,’ said Scrooge, ‘and you’ll keep your Christmas by losing your situation! You’re quite a powerful speaker, sir,’ he added, turning to his nephew. ‘I wonder you don’t go into Parliament.’ ‘Don’t be angry, uncle. Come! Dine with us tomorrow.’ Scrooge said that he would see him — yes, indeed he did. He went the whole length of the expression, and said that he would see him in that extremity first. ‘But why?’ cried Scrooge’s nephew. ‘Why?’ ‘Why did you get married?’ said Scrooge. ‘Because I fell in love.’ ‘Because you fell in love!’ growled Scrooge, as if that were the only one thing in the world more ridiculous than a mer Sons and Lovers

ry Christmas. ‘Good afternoon!’ ‘Nay, uncle, but you never came to see me before that happened. Why give it as a reason for not coming now?’ ‘Good afternoon,’ said Scrooge. ‘I want nothing from you; I ask nothing of you; why cannot we be friends?’ ‘Good afternoon,’ said Scrooge. ‘I am sorry, with all my heart, to find you so resolute. We have never had any quarrel, to which I have been a party. But I have made the trial in homage to Christmas, and I’ll keep my Christmas humour to the last. So A Merry Christmas, uncle!’ ‘Good afternoon,’ said Scrooge. ‘And A Happy New Year!’ ‘Good afternoon,’ said Scrooge. His nephew left the room without an angry word, notwithstanding. He stopped at the outer door to bestow the greetings of the season on the clerk, who cold as he was, was warmer than Scrooge; for he returned them cordially. ‘There’s another fellow,’ muttered Scrooge; who overheard him: ‘my clerk, with fifteen shillings a week, and a wife and family, talking about a merry Christmas. I’ll retire to Bedlam.’ This lunatic, in letting Scrooge’s nephew out, had let two other people in. They were portly gentlemen, pleasant to behold, and now stood, with their hats off, in Scrooge’s office. They had books and papers in their hands, and bowed to him. ‘Scrooge and Marley’s, I believe,’ said one of the gentleFree eBooks at Planet eBook.com 

’ said Scrooge. laying down the pen again. from what you said at first. We choose this time. ‘And the Union workhouses?’ demanded Scrooge. who suffer greatly at the present time. and shook his head. referring to his list.men. ‘He died seven years ago.’ said the gentleman.’ 10 Sons and Lovers ‘Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude.’ Scrooge frowned. the gentlemen withdrew. ‘Are they still in operation?’ ‘They are. Still. and in a more facetious temper than was usual with him. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned — they cost enough.’ ‘Many can’t go there. Besides — excuse me — I don’t know that. and those who are badly off must go there. Scrooge. or Mr. Marley has been dead these seven years. ‘it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute.’ observed the gentleman. ‘I’m very glad to hear it. Mine occupies me constantly. Scrooge. ‘I wish I could say they were not. It certainly was. Meanwhile the fog and darkness thickened so. ‘You wish to be anonymous?’ ‘I wish to be left alone. and handed the credentials back. Marley?’ ‘Mr.’ ‘Are there no prisons?’ asked Scrooge. when Want is keenly felt.’ ‘But you might know it. sir.’ ‘Oh! I was afraid. ‘Since you ask me what I wish. of all others. this very night. ‘It’s enough for a man to understand his own business.’ said Scrooge. Scrooge returned his labours with an improved opinion of himself. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. Mr.’ said the gentleman. ‘It’s not my business. ‘Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. ‘At this festive season of the year.’ returned the gentleman.’ Scrooge returned. Good afternoon. that peoFree eBooks at Planet eBook. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries. presenting his credentials. for they had been two kindred spirits. sir.’ said the gentleman. that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course.’ ‘The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour. ‘Both very busy. ‘a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink. What shall I put you down for?’ ‘Nothing!’ Scrooge replied. and decrease the surplus population. that is my answer. At the ominous word ‘liberality. ‘they had better do it.’ said Scrooge.’ ‘If they would rather die.com 11 . and many would rather die.’ ‘We have no doubt his liberality is well represented by his surviving partner. gentlemen!’ Seeing clearly that it would be useless to pursue their point. and means of warmth. because it is a time. taking up a pen. hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts.’ Scrooge replied. gentlemen. ‘Plenty of prisons. then?’ said Scrooge.’ returned the gentleman. and not to interfere with other people’s. and Abundance rejoices.

com 1 . whom he had fined five shillings on the previous Monday for being drunk and bloodthirsty in the streets. while his lean wife and the baby sallied out to buy the beef. At length the hour of shutting up the counting. ‘A poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every twentyfifth of December!’ said Scrooge. ‘If quite convenient. The cold became intense. gave orders to his fifty cooks and butlers to keep Christmas as a Lord Mayor’s household should. a glorious pageant. The brightness of the shops where holly sprigs and berries crackled in the lamp heat of the windows. with which it was next to impossible to believe that such dull principles as bargain and sale had anything to do.’ The clerk observed that it was only once a year. stooped down at Scrooge’s keyhole to regale him with a Christmas carol: but at the first sound of ‘God bless you. and struck the hours and quarters in the clouds. then indeed he would have roared to lusty purpose. If the good Saint Dunstan had but nipped the Evil Spirit’s 1 Sons and Lovers nose with a touch of such weather as that. The water-plug being left in solitude. Poulterers’ and grocers’ trades became a splendid joke. The Lord Mayor. when I pay a day’s wages for no work. stirred up to-morrow’s pudding in his garret. became invisible.ple ran about with flaring links.’ said Scrooge. who instantly snuffed his candle out. round which a party of ragged men and boys were gathered: warming their hands and winking their eyes before the blaze in rapture. sir. In the main street at the corner of the court. whose gruff old bell was always peeping slily down at Scrooge out of a Gothic window in the wall. I suppose?’ said Scrooge. ‘and it’s not fair. its overflowing sullenly congealed. and had lighted a great fire in a brazier.house arrived. some labourers were repairing the gaspipes. and put on his hat. ‘You’ll want all day to-morrow. I’ll be bound?’ The clerk smiled faintly. instead of using his familiar weapons. ‘But I suppose you must have the whole day. gnawed and mumbled by the hungry cold as bones are gnawed by dogs. Foggier yet. and even the little tailor.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. leaving the keyhole to the fog and even more congenial frost. merry gentleman! May nothing you dismay!’ Scrooge seized the ruler with such energy of action. and tacitly admitted the fact to the expectant clerk in the Tank. ‘And yet. biting cold. and colder! Piercing. and conduct them on their way. The ancient tower of a church. The owner of one scant young nose. you’d think yourself ill-used.’ ‘It’s not convenient. in the stronghold of the mighty Mansion House. Be here all the earlier next morning. buttoning his great-coat to the chin. with tremulous vibrations afterwards as if its teeth were chattering in its frozen head up there. and turned to misanthropic ice. that the singer fled in terror. searching. With an ill-will Scrooge dismounted from his stool. ‘you don’t think me ill-used.’ said Scrooge. proffering their services to go before horses in carriages. If I was to stop half-a-crown for it. made pale faces ruddy as they passed.

as if he half-expected to be terrified with the sight of Marley’s Free eBooks at Planet eBook. that one could scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house. to play at blindman’s-buff. it is a fact. how it happened that Scrooge.The clerk promised that he would. having his key in the lock of the door. and the clerk. it was a knocker again. and. It was not angry or ferocious. they were perfectly motionless. It is also a fact. and lighted his candle. with a moment’s irresolution. twenty times. and forgotten the way out again. aldermen. though the eyes were wide open. that Scrooge had seen it. To say that he was not startled. where it had so little business to be. the other rooms being all let out as offices. with the long ends of his white comforter dangling below his waist (for he boasted no great-coat).com 1 . without its undergoing any intermediate process of change — not a knocker. and its livid colour. Let it also be borne in mind that Scrooge had not bestowed one thought on Marley. for nobody lived in it but Scrooge. But he put his hand upon the key he had relinquished. He lived in chambers which had once belonged to his deceased partner. rather than a part or its own expression. The yard was so dark that even Scrooge. before he shut the door. was fain to grope with his hands. And then let any man explain to me. The fog and frost so hung about the black old gateway of the house. at the end of a lane of boys. walked in. turned it sturdily. that it seemed as if the Genius of the Weather sat in mournful meditation on the threshold. but had a dismal light about it. made it horrible. as if by breath or hot air. even including — which is a bold word — the corporation. in a lowering pile of building up a yard. went home to bed. also that Scrooge had as little of what is called fancy about him as any man 1 Sons and Lovers in the city of London. As Scrooge looked fixedly at this phenomenon. that there was nothing at all particular about the knocker on the door. went down a slide on Cornhill. Now. since his last mention of his seven years’ dead partner that afternoon. or that his blood was not conscious of a terrible sensation to which it had been a stranger from infancy. saw in the knocker. and livery. Scrooge took his melancholy dinner in his usual melancholy tavern. It was old enough now. but looked at Scrooge as Marley used to look: with ghostly spectacles turned up on its ghostly forehead. They were a gloomy suite of rooms. like a bad lobster in a dark cellar. but Marley’s face. and dreary enough. would be untrue. That. Marley’s face. and having read all the newspapers. and then ran home to Camden Town as hard as he could pelt. and beguiled the rest of the evening with his banker’s-book. who knew its every stone. and he did look cautiously behind it first. during his whole residence in that place. The office was closed in a twinkling. and Scrooge walked out with a growl. The hair was curiously stirred. It was not in impenetrable shadow as the other objects in the yard were. playing at hide-and-seek with other houses. if he can. except that it was very large. but its horror seemed to be in spite of the face and beyond its control. He did pause. in honour of its being Christmas Eve. night and morning.

As he threw his Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and taken it broadwise. It was a very low fire indeed. or through a bad young Act of Parliament. ‘Humbug!’ said Scrooge. he walked through his rooms to see that all was right. so you may suppose that it was pretty dark with Scrooge’s dip. After several turns. Scrooge was not a man to be frightened by echoes. nothing on such a bitter night. put on his dressing-gown and slippers. slowly too: trimming his candle as he went. which was hanging up in a suspicious attitude against the wall. lumber-room. and brood over it. so he said ‘Pooh. 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 that. and the little sauce1 Sons and Lovers pan of gruel (Scrooge had a cold in his head) upon the hob. and locked himself in. There were Cains and Abels. which is perhaps the reason why Scrooge thought he saw a locomotive hearse going on before him in the gloom. Lumber-room as usual. Every room above. He was obliged to sit close to it. If each smooth tile had been a blank at first. came like the ancient Prophet’s rod. There was plenty of width for that. and up the stairs. bedroom. and walked across the hall. nobody in the closet. Up Scrooge went. but I mean to say you might have got a hearse up that staircase. Angelic messengers descending through the air on clouds like feather-beds. two fish-baskets. and Scrooge liked it. he closed his door. and paved all round with quaint Dutch tiles.com 1 . he sat down again. Thus secured against surprise. spoon and basin ready. and walked across the room. and sat down before the fire to take his gruel. The fireplace was an old one. and room to spare. there would have been a copy of old Marley’s head on every one. Half a dozen gas-lamps out of the street wouldn’t have lighted the entry too well. nobody in his dressing-gown. which was not his custom. and a poker. Nobody under the bed. All as they should be. The sound resounded through the house like thunder. and his nightcap. washing-stand on three legs. double-locked himself in. appeared to have a separate peal of echoes of its own. Belshazzars. built by some Dutch merchant long ago. But before he shut his heavy door. before he could extract the least sensation of warmth from such a handful of fuel. Old fireguards. Nobody under the table. Quite satisfied.pigtail sticking out into the hall. He fastened the door. designed to illustrate the Scriptures. and every cask in the wine-merchant’s cellars below. nobody under the sofa. seven years dead. But there was nothing on the back of the door. and swallowed up the whole. a small fire in the grate. Abrahams. hundreds of figures to attract his thoughts — and yet that face of Marley. Apostles putting off to sea in butter-boats. pooh!’ and closed it with a bang. You may talk vaguely about driving a coach-and-six up a good old flight of stairs. with power to shape some picture on its surface from the disjointed fragments of his thoughts. except the screws and nuts that held the knocker on. Pharaohs’ daughters. Queens of Sheba. old shoes. Sitting-room. he took off his cravat. not caring a button for that. Darkness is cheap.

caustic and cold as ever. keys. ‘It’s humbug still!’ said Scrooge. ‘Who are you?’ ‘Ask me who I was. and marked the very texture of the folded kerchief bound about its head and chin. for a shade. and it was made (for Scrooge observed it closely) of cash-boxes. Jacob Marley. observing him. looking doubtfully at him. and the hair upon his head. Scrooge had often heard it said that Marley had no bowels.’ His colour changed though. then. that as he looked. as though it cried ‘I know him. and fought against his senses. because he didn’t know Free eBooks at Planet eBook. as if some person were dragging a heavy chain over the casks in the wine merchant’s cellar. no doubt about it. No. then coming up the stairs. It swung so softly in the outset that it scarcely made a sound. deeds. which wrapper he had not observed before. the dying flame leaped up. Upon its coming in. he saw this bell begin to swing. and passed into the room before his eyes. usual waistcoat.’ ‘Can you — can you sit down?’ asked Scrooge. Though he looked the phantom through and through. and so did every bell in the house.com 1 . without a pause. and communicated for some purpose now forgotten with a chamber in the highest story of the building. tights and boots. together. ‘How now!’ said Scrooge. and heavy purses wrought in steel. ‘What do you want with me?’ ‘Much!’ — Marley’s voice. and his coat-skirts.’ ‘Who were you then?’ said Scrooge. The bells ceased as they had begun. raising his voice. The same face: the very same. This might have lasted half a minute.’ ‘Do it. inexplicable dread. though he felt the chilling influence of its death-cold eyes.head back in the chair. but it seemed an hour. that hung in the room. so that Scrooge. as more appropriate. his glance happened to rest upon a bell.’ Scrooge asked the question. on the floors below. and saw it standing before him.’ He was going to say ‘to a shade. nor did he believe it even now. The chain he drew was clasped about his middle. Marley’s Ghost!’ and fell again. 1 Sons and Lovers It was long. ‘You’re particular. a disused bell. His body was transparent. and wound about him like a tail. padlocks. or a minute. like his pigtail. he was still incredulous. but he had never believed it until now. ‘I won’t believe it. but soon it rang out loudly. ‘In life I was your partner. ‘I can. and with a strange. and then he heard the noise much louder. Scrooge then remembered to have heard that ghosts in haunted houses were described as dragging chains. It was with great astonishment. the tassels on the latter bristling. then coming straight towards his door. when.’ but substituted this. and looking through his waistcoat. They were succeeded by a clanking noise. Marley in his pigtail. ledgers. could see the two buttons on his coat behind. deep down below. The cellar-door flew open with a booming sound. it came on through the heavy door.

and keeping down his terror. too. in silence for a moment. it might involve the necessity of an embarrassing explanation. ‘a little thing affects them. ‘do you believe in me or not?’ ‘I do. There was something very awful. it is condemned to do so after death. all of my own creation. as if it were too warm to wear indoors.’ said Scrooge.’ the Ghost returned. ‘I must. I tell you! humbug!’ At this the spirit raised a frightful cry.’ said Scrooge. ‘I have but to swallow this. But the ghost sat down on the opposite side of the fireplace. that he tried to be smart. to divert the vision’s stony gaze from himself. nor did he feel.’ said Scrooge. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you. though it were only for a second. returning quickly to the charge. for the reason just assigned. staring at those fixed glazed eyes. But how much greater was his horror. and tassels. It is doomed to Free eBooks at Planet eBook.com 1 .’ said Scrooge. and felt that in the event of its being impossible. and skirts. ‘You don’t believe in me. the very deuce with him. You may be an undigested bit of beef. in his heart. Humbug. when the phantom taking off the bandage round its head. ‘But I see it. The truth is. and wishing. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. a fragment of an underdone potato. but this was clearly the case. to save himself from falling in a swoon.’ ‘Well!’ returned Scrooge.’ replied the Ghost. as a means of distracting his own attention. To sit. and if that spirit goes not forth in life. But why do spirits walk the earth. whatever you are!’ Scrooge was not much in the habit of cracking jokes.’ said the Ghost. why do you trouble me?’ ‘Man of the worldly mind!’ replied the Ghost. ‘You are not looking at it. a blot of mustard. its hair. 0 Sons and Lovers ‘You see this toothpick?’ said Scrooge. and travel far and wide. Scrooge could not feel it himself. ‘Dreadful apparition. a crumb of cheese. ‘What evidence would you have of my reality beyond that of your senses?’ ‘I don’t know. and why do they come to me?’ ‘It is required of every man. ‘Why do you doubt your senses?’ ‘Because. for the spectre’s voice disturbed the very marrow in his bones. Scrooge felt.’ observed the Ghost. that Scrooge held on tight to his chair. would play.’ said Scrooge. ‘I do. and be for the rest of my days persecuted by a legion of goblins.whether a ghost so transparent might find himself in a condition to take a chair. and clasped his hands before his face. ‘Mercy!’ he said. and shook its chain with such a dismal and appalling noise. ‘notwithstanding. for though the Ghost sat perfectly motionless. as if he were quite used to it. were still agitated as by the hot vapour from an oven. its lower jaw dropped down upon its breast! Scrooge fell upon his knees. ‘I don’t. in the spectre’s being provided with an infernal atmosphere of its own. ‘that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellowmen. by any means waggish then.

to put his hands in his breeches pockets.wander through the world — oh. Speak comfort to me.’ the Ghost replied.’ said Scrooge. in the expectation of finding himself surrounded by some fifty or sixty fathoms of iron cable: but he could see nothing. ‘Oh! captive. Jacob!’ ‘I have none to give.’ cried the phantom. ‘not to know. 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!’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Jacob. ‘You are fettered. or getting off his knees. whatever it may be.com  . and turned to happiness!’ Again the spectre raised a cry. whenever he became thoughtful. and yard by yard. that ages of incessant labour.’ said the Ghost.’ pursued the Ghost.’ replied the Ghost. seven Christmas Eves ago. The Ghost. and of my own free will I wore it. ‘Old Jacob Marley. is all permitted to me. ‘the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this. You have laboured on it. ‘Slow!’ the Ghost repeated. on hearing this. I girded it on of my own free will. I cannot rest. but without lifting up his eyes. imploringly. Pondering on what the Ghost had said. trembling.’ Scrooge observed.’ said Scrooge. Jacob. by immortal creatures.’ he said.’ ‘You travel fast?’ said Scrooge. bound. and clanked its chain so hideously in the dead silence of the night. and double-ironed. no peace. ‘It comes from other regions. ‘You might have got over a great quantity of ground in seven years. to other kinds of men. ‘Or would you know.’ mused Scrooge. It is a ponderous chain!’ Scrooge glanced about him on the floor. that the Ward would have been justified in indicting it for a nuisance. though with humility and deference. since. ‘On the wings of the wind. Nor can I tell you what I would. and is conveyed by other ministers. set up another cry. ‘No rest. he did so now. I cannot stay. I cannot linger anywhere. ‘I made it link by link. and weary journeys lie before me!’  Sons and Lovers It was a habit with Scrooge. 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. in a business-like manner. and shook its chain and wrung its shadowy hands. ‘And travelling all the time!’ ‘The whole time. A very little more.’ replied the Ghost. for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed. ‘You must have been very slow about it. but might have shared on earth. Incessant torture of remorse. will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness. ‘Tell me why?’ ‘I wear the chain I forged in life. Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere. Ebenezer Scrooge. woe is me! — and witness what it cannot share. ‘Seven years dead. tell me more. Is its pattern strange to you?’ Scrooge trembled more and more.

so that when the spectre reached it.’ ‘You were always a good friend to me. and wiped the perspiration from his brow. all. 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 me!’ Scrooge was very much dismayed to hear the spectre going on at this rate. by the smart sound its teeth made. The apparition walked backward from him.  Sons and Lovers ‘Thank ‘ee!’ ‘You will be haunted. and benevolence. It beckoned Scrooge to Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Look to see me no more. I have sat invisible beside you many and many a day. who now began to apply this to himself.’ faltered Scrooge. The common welfare was my business.’ the spectre said ‘I suffer most.’ Scrooge’s countenance fell almost as low as the Ghost’s had done. for your own sake. charity. were. when the bell tolls One. and found his supernatural visitor confronting him in an erect attitude.‘But you were always a good man of business. ‘I am here to-night to warn you. in a faltering voice. Jacob. ‘It is. my business.’ ‘I — I think I’d rather not. ‘At this time of the rolling year. ‘That is no light part of my penance. when the jaws were brought together by the bandage. that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate. Scrooge shivered. ‘Without their visits.’ ‘I will. ‘Expect the second on the next night at the same hour. 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. wringing its hands again. ‘Is that the chance and hope you mentioned. as if that were the cause of all its unavailing grief. the window raised itself a little. and flung it heavily upon the ground again. Jacob?’ hinted Scrooge. the spectre took its wrapper from the table. Ebenezer. forbearance.’ It was not an agreeable idea. ‘Business!’ cried the Ghost. ‘But don’t be hard upon me! Don’t be flowery. ‘My time is nearly gone. A chance and hope of my procuring. The third upon the next night when the last stroke of Twelve has ceased to vibrate. I may not tell. and at every step it took. ‘by Three Spirits. Jacob! Pray!’ ‘How it is that I appear before you in a shape that you can see. and look that. you remember what has passed between us!’ When it had said these words. with its chain wound over and about its arm.’ said Scrooge. it was wide open.com  . ‘Hear me!’ cried the Ghost. and began to quake exceedingly.’ ‘Couldn’t I take ‘em all at once.’ said Scrooge. He ventured to raise his eyes again.’ pursued the Ghost. Jacob?’ he demanded. mercy. ‘Mankind was my business.’ resumed the Ghost. Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down. and have it over. Expect the first tomorrow.’ said Scrooge. and bound it round its head.’ said the Ghost. as before. ‘you cannot hope to shun the path I tread. Scrooge knew this.

or the dull conversation of the Ghost. But they and their spirit voices faded together. And being. Not so much in obedience. or the fatigues of the day. incoherent sounds of lamentation and regret. wailings inexpressibly sorrowful and self-accusatory. He looked out. with a monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle. or his glimpse of the Invisible World.approach. dark night. The spectre. and floated out upon the bleak. When they were within two paces of each other. wandering hither and thither in restless haste. It was double-locked. or the lateness of the hour. upon a door-step. Scrooge followed to the window: desperate in his curiosity. as he  Sons and Lovers had locked it with his own hands. whom it saw below. he could not tell. Scrooge stopped. The misery with them all was. after listening for a moment. Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives. joined in the mournful dirge. and fell asleep upon the instant.com  . in a white waistcoat. He tried to say ‘Humbug!’ but stopped at the first syllable. none were free. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. in human matters. Scrooge closed the window. and the night became as it had been when he walked home. which he did. without undressing. from the emotion he had undergone. as in surprise and fear: for on the raising of the hand. He had been quite familiar with one old ghost. or mist enshrouded them. Marley’s Ghost held up its hand. who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant. and examined the door by which the Ghost had entered. Whether these creatures faded into mist. and the bolts were undisturbed. and moaning as they went. some few (they might be guilty governments) were linked together. Every one of them wore chains like Marley’s Ghost. and had lost the power for ever. he became sensible of confused noises in the air. much in need of repose. went straight to bed. for good. The air was filled with phantoms. clearly. warning him to come no nearer. that they sought to interfere.

and groped his way to the window. The more he thought. then stopped. At length it broke upon his listening ear. He resolved to lie awake until the hour was passed. and thought. and this is twelve at noon. it isn’t possible. ‘that I can have slept through a whole day and far into another night. and that there was no noise of people running to and fro. It isn’t possible that anything has happened to the sun.com  . He was endeavouring to pierce the darkness with his ferret eyes. after mature inquiry that it was all a dream. as there unquestionably would have been if night had beaten off bright day. Twelve. he scrambled out of bed. because ‘Three days after sight of this First of Exchange pay to Mr. the more he thought. Ebenezer Scrooge on his order. and thought it over and over. and could make nothing of it. it was so dark. and regularly up to twelve. and taken possession of the world. to its first position. that the Ghost hadwarned him of a visitation when the bell tolled one. his mind flew back again. this was. and thought. dong!’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. on a sudden. Its rapid little pulse beat twelve: and stopped. This was a great relief. considering that he could no more go to sleep than go to heaven. when he remembered. Every time he resolved within himself. He was obliged to rub the frost off with the sleeve of his dressing-gown before he could see anything. ‘Why. An icicle must have got into the works. when the chimes of a neighbouring church struck the four quarters. He touched the spring of his repeater. to correct this most preposterous clock.’ and so forth. It was past two when he went to bed.Stave 2: The First of the Three Spirits W hen Scrooge awoke. Marley’s Ghost bothered him exceedingly. and could see very little then. The quarter was so long. and missed the clock. andpresented the same problem to be worked all through. ‘Was it a dream or not?’ Scrooge lay in this state until the chime had gone threequarters more. that it was still very foggy and extremely cold. and. Twelve. he could scarcely distinguish the transparent window from the opaque walls of his chamber. the more perplexed he was. To his great astonishment the heavy bell went on from six to seven. the wisest resolution in his power. The clock was wrong. that he was more than once convinced he must have sunk into a doze unconsciously. and from seven to eight. and making a great stir. perhaps.’ The idea being an alarming one. would have become a mere United States security if there were no days to count by. like a strong spring released. and. Scrooge went to bed again. All  Sons and Lovers he could make out was. that looking out of bed. So he listened for the hour. ‘Ding. the more he endeavoured not to think.’ said Scrooge.

though. It was a strange figure — like a child: yet not so like a child as like an old man. a great extinguisher for a cap. For as its belt sparkled and glittered now in one part and now in another. ‘Are you the Spirit. ‘Ding. and. as if instead of being so close beside him. which it now did with a deep. now with one leg. 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 in the very wonder of this. The arms were very long and muscular. as if its hold were of uncommon strength. which gave him the appearance of having receded from the view. and what was light one instant. melancholy ONE. in its duller moments.’ said Scrooge. ‘Who. dull. ‘Ding. it were at a distance. now a pair of legs without a head. Light flashed up in the room upon the instant. the sheen of which was beautiful. starting up into a half-recumbent attitude. now with twenty legs. and being diminished to a child’s proportions. and what are you. The curtains of his bed were drawn aside. was white as if with age.’ asked Scrooge. but those to which his face was addressed. which it now held under its arm. It held a branch of fresh green holly in its hand. and I am standing in the spirit at your elbow. hollow. by which all this was visible. had its dress trimmed with summer flowers.’ said Scrooge. and which was doubtless the occasion of its using.com 1 . and round its waist was bound a lustrous belt. counting. ‘I am. dong!’ ‘Half past. were. now a head without a body: of which dissolving parts.’ inquired Scrooge: observant of its dwarfish Free eBooks at Planet eBook. by a hand. ‘Ding. and the tenderest bloom was on the skin. I tell you. But the strangest thing about it was. was not its strangest quality.‘A quarter past. ‘and nothing else!’ He spoke before the hour bell sounded.’ said Scrooge. nor the curtains at his back. no outline would be visible in the dense gloom wherein they melted away. like those upper members. bare.’ said Scrooge triumphantly. The curtains of his bed were drawn aside. ‘I am the Ghost of Christmas Past. which hung about its neck and down its back. it would be itself again. sir. and the curtains of his bed were drawn. Even this. and yet the face had not a wrinkle in it. Its legs and feet. that from the crown of its head there sprung a bright clear jet of light. the hands the same. distinct and clear as ever. dong!’ ‘The hour itself. viewed through some supernatural medium. so the figure itself fluctuated in its distinctness: being now a thing with one arm. at another time was dark.’ Scrooge demanded. Singularly low. when Scrooge looked at it with increasing steadiness. whose coming was foretold to me. It 0 Sons and Lovers wore a tunic of the purest white.’ ‘Long Past. Its hair. most delicately formed. and Scrooge. dong!’ ‘A quarter to it. in singular contradiction of that wintry emblem.’ The voice was soft and gentle.

‘would you so soon put out. He rose: but finding that the Spirit made towards the window. forgotten. and begged the Ghost to lead him where he would. as he looked about him. ‘Your lip is trembling. that bed was warm. ‘Remember it. and that he had a cold upon him at that time. Scrooge could not have told anybody why. ‘I could walk Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and walk with me. Take heed. The Spirit must have heard him thinking.’ Scrooge muttered. and cares long.’ Scrooge reverently disclaimed all intention to offend or any knowledge of having wilfully bonneted the Spirit at any period of his life.com  . ‘I am mortal. dressing-gown. appeared still present to the old man’s sense of feeling. The grasp.’ said the Ghost. He was conscious of a thousand odours floating in the air.’ cried Scrooge with fervour.’ and you shall be upheld in more than this. winter day. Not a vestige of it was to be seen. if anybody could have asked him. Its gentle touch. Your past. that it was a pimple.’ It put out its strong hand as it spoke. ‘Good Heaven!’ said Scrooge. they passed through the wall.’ Perhaps. was not to be resisted. each one connected with a thousand thoughts. ‘Rise. and joys. for it was a clear. clasping his hands together. and stood upon an open country road. but could not help thinking that a night of unbroken rest would have been more conducive to that end. and force me through whole trains of years to wear it low upon my brow. clasped his robe in supplication. and hopes. I was a boy here. The city had entirely vanished.’ The Spirit gazed upon him mildly.’ It would have been in vain for Scrooge to plead that the weather and the hour were not adapted to pedestrian purposes. though it had been light and instantaneous. Scrooge expressed himself much obliged. that he was clad but lightly in his slippers.’ exclaimed the Ghost. ‘I was bred in this place. ‘And what is that upon your cheek. The darkness and the mist had vanished with it. long.’ said the Spirit.’ As the words were spoken. ‘You recollect the way. ‘No.’ Scrooge remonstrated. with snow upon the ground. with worldly hands.’ ‘Bear but a touch of my hand there. though gentle as a woman’s  Sons and Lovers hand. for it said immediately: ‘Your reclamation. cold. and begged him to be covered. Is it not enough that you are one of those whose passions made this cap. then. He then made bold to inquire what business brought him there. ‘What. and clasped him gently by the arm. the light I give.’ said the Ghost. with fields on either hand. with an unusual catching in his voice. ‘Your welfare. and nightcap. ‘and liable to fall.’ inquired the Spirit. and the thermometer a long way below freezing. but he had a special desire to see the Spirit in his cap.stature. laying it upon his heart.

and pointed to his younger self. a chilly bareness in the place. until the broad fields were so full of merry music. and gave a freer passage to his tears. ‘These are but shadows of the things that have been. Scrooge recognising every gate. who called to other boys in country gigs and carts. bare. driven by farmers.’ They walked along the road. Why was he rejoiced beyond all bounds to see them. and Free eBooks at Planet eBook. for the spacious offices were little used. neglected by his friends. not a clicking in the fire. for their several homes. Suddenly a man. It was a large house. they found them poorly furnished. Nor was it more retentive of its ancient state. with a little weathercock-surmounted cupola. not a squeak and scuffle from the mice behind the panelling.it blindfold. and the coach-houses and sheds were over-run with grass. ‘A solitary child. no. and vast. The Spirit touched him on the arm. They went. and Scrooge sat down upon a form. their walls were damp and mossy.’ said the Ghost. Some shaggy ponies now were seen trotting towards them with boys upon their backs. They left the high-road. and winding river. made barer still by lines of plain deal forms and desks.’ said the Ghost. in foreign garments: wonderfully real and distinct to look at: stood outside the window. by a well-remembered lane. and their gates decayed. intent upon his reading. their windows broken. until a little market-town appeared in the distance.’ observed the Ghost. its church. and glancing through the open doors of many rooms. and not too much to eat. ‘The school is not quite deserted. but one of broken fortunes. ‘Let us go on. cold. Why did his cold eye glisten. with an axe stuck in his belt. and wept to see his poor forgotten self as he used to be. on the roof. and as they came. There was an earthy savour in the air. Why was he filled with gladness when he heard them give each other Merry Christmas. Scrooge knew and named them every one. to a door at the back of the house. not a drip from the half-thawed water-spout in the dull yard behind. and a bell  Sons and Lovers hanging in it. and disclosed a long. the Ghost and Scrooge. It opened before them. with its bridge. as they parted at cross-roads and bye-ways. but fell upon the heart of Scrooge with a softening influence.com  . and his heart leap up as they went past. and shouted to each other. and soon approached a mansion of dull red brick. which associated itself somehow with too much getting up by candle-light. is left there still. within. Fowls clucked and strutted in the stables. not the idle swinging of an empty store-house door. not a sigh among the leafless boughs of one despondent poplar. melancholy room. and post. What good had it ever done to him. and tree.’ ‘Strange to have forgotten it for so many years. And he sobbed. ‘They have no consciousness of us.’ Scrooge said he knew it. Out upon merry Christmas. Not a latent echo in the house.’ The jocund travellers came on. across the hall. that the crisp air laughed to hear it. What was merry Christmas to Scrooge. for entering the dreary hall. At one of these a lonely boy was reading near a feeble fire. All these boys were in great spirits.

fragments of plaster fell out of the ceiling.’ The man thought he was dreaming. but walking up and down despairingly. clapping her tiny hands. And Valentine. ‘Let us see another Christmas. ‘Why. and looking about him.’ said the child.com  . and bending down to laugh.’ Scrooge muttered. The panels shrunk. and to see his heightened and excited face. don’t you see him. Home.’ said the child.’ ‘I have come to bring you home. you know. Father is so much kinder than Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Poor boy. Robin Crusoe. Serve him right.’ said Scrooge. the windows cracked. ‘Home.’ Then.’ asked the Spirit. dear brother.’ and cried again. who was put down in his drawers. for the first time. it’s Ali Baba. He only knew that it was quite correct.’ The Ghost smiled thoughtfully. he said. ‘Nothing. ‘I wish. ‘Nothing. Halloa. Hallo. but how all this was brought about. and waved its hand: saying as it did so. glanced anxiously towards the door. Hoop. and a little girl. he called him. Orson. It was the Parrot. and the naked laths were shown instead. Poor Robin Crusoe. and often kissing him. that there he was. ‘Poor Robin Crusoe. asleep. alone again. indeed. just like that. ‘Yes.’ To hear Scrooge expending all the earnestness of his nature on such subjects. ‘Green body and yellow tail.’ said Scrooge. There goes Friday. brimful of glee. with a rapidity of transition very foreign to his usual character. there they go.’ Scrooge’s former self grew larger at the words.’ and his wild brother. he did come. yes. Scrooge knew no more than you do. at the Gate of Damascus. would have been a surprise to his business friends in the city. home. for ever and ever. came darting in. I should like to have given him something: that’s all. and the room became a little darker and more dirty. dear brother. for good and all. I know. and putting her arms about his neck.’ ‘Home. There was a boy singing a Christmas Carol at my door last night.’ cried Scrooge. And the Sultan’s Groom turned upside down by the Genii.’ returned the boy. when he came home again after sailing round the island. And what’s his name. One Christmas time. there he is. in a most extraordinary voice between laughing and crying. running for his life to the little creek. ‘It’s dear old honest Ali Baba. after drying his eyes with his cuff:  Sons and Lovers ‘but it’s too late now. with a thing like a lettuce growing out of the top of his head. when all the other boys had gone home for the jolly holidays. Yes. but he wasn’t. little Fan. when yonder solitary child was left here all alone.leading by the bridle an ass laden with wood. where have you been. Poor boy. that everything had happened so. What business had he to be married to the Princess. much younger than the boy. putting his hand in his pocket. It opened. in pity for his former self. addressed him as her ‘Dear. ‘There’s the Parrot. there he is upon his head. home. I’m glad of it. ‘To bring you home.’ ‘What is the matter. and with a mournful shaking of his head.’ Scrooge exclaimed in ecstasy. Scrooge looked at the Ghost. He was not reading now.

and he said Yes. and tried to touch his head. He then conveyed him and his sister into the veriest old well of a shivering bestparlour that ever was seen. that here too it was Christmas time again. And you’re to be a man. where shadowy passengers passed and repassed.’ ‘So she had. ‘True. and asked Scrooge if he knew it. laughed again. children. sending out a meagre servant to offer a glass of something to the postboy. but being too little.’ Scrooge seemed uneasy in his mind.’ ‘One child. but first. as I think. nothing loth to go. and answered briefly. ‘I was apprenticed here. we’re to be together all the Christmas long. ‘But she had a large heart. Master Scrooge’s trunk being by this  Sons and Lovers time tied on to the top of the chaise. who answered that he thanked the gentleman. The Ghost stopped at a certain warehouse door. where shadowy carts and coaches battle for the way. ‘Know it. ‘Bring down Master Scrooge’s box. and administered instalments of those dainties to the young people: at the same time. She clapped her hands and laughed. that home’s like Heaven. the children bade the schoolmaster good-bye right willingly. but if it was the same tap as he had tasted before. he had rather not. accompanied her.com  . He spoke so gently to me one dear night when I was going to bed. they were now in the busy thoroughfares of a city.’ They went in. sitting behind such a high desk.’ Although they had but that moment left the school behind them. and all the strife and tumult of a real city were.’ Scrooge returned. and getting into it. It was made plain enough. there.’ and are never to come back here. were waxy with cold. by the dressing of the shops.’ cried Scrooge. God forbid.’ said the Ghost. that if he had been two inches taller he must have knocked his head against the Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ said the Ghost. and stood on tiptoe to embrace him. Here he produced a decanter of curiously light wine. whom a breath might have withered. ‘You’re right. Then she began to drag him. and threw him into a dreadful state of mind by shaking hands with him.’ and in the hall appeared the schoolmaster himself. Spirit.’ exclaimed the boy. and a block of curiously heavy cake. and have the merriest time in all the world. towards the door. At sight of an old gentleman in a Welsh wig. little Fan.’ ‘She died a woman. ‘Your nephew. A terrible voice in the hall cried. in her childish eagerness. but it was evening. opening her eyes.’ said the Ghost. 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. and sent me in a coach to bring you. ‘and had. that I was not afraid to ask him once more if you might come home.’ said Scrooge.’ ‘You are quite a woman. ‘Yes.he used to be. who glared on Master Scrooge with a ferocious condescension. you should. and the celestial and terrestrial globes in the windows. where the maps upon the wall. ‘Always a delicate creature. and the streets were lighted up. and he.’ said the child. I will not gainsay it.

com 1 . trying to hide himself behind the girl from next door but one. In they all came. or couldn’t have cleared away.’ said Fezziwig. In came the three Miss Fezziwigs. some gracefully.’ You wouldn’t believe how those two fellows went at it. one after another. round and round in various stages of affectionate grouping. which pointed to the hour of seven. with old Fezziwig looking on. old top couple always turning up in the wrong place. Let’s have the shutters up. Poor Dick. some awkwardly. it’s Fezziwig alive again. In came the six young followers whose hearts they broke. three — had them up in their places — four.’ cried old Fezziwig. hands half round and back again the other way. Ebenezer. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Hilli-ho. Bless his heart. In came the housemaid. fat. Chirrup. There he is. and tuned like fifty stomach-aches.’ ‘Yo ho. There was nothing they wouldn’t have 0 Sons and Lovers cleared away. laughed all over himself. twenty couples at once. Scrooge cried in great excitement: ‘Why. Christmas. with her cousin. my lads. was Dick.’ Scrooge’s former self. and called out in a comfortable. ‘No more work to-night. some pulling. some pushing. Away they all went. Every movable was packed off. and looked up at the clock. now grown a young man. They charged into the street with the shutters — one.’ before a man can say Jack Robinson. Dick. came briskly in. some shyly. adjusted his capacious waistcoat.ceiling. It was done in a minute. and not a bottom one to help them. the milkman. and dry. In came Mrs Fezziwig. In came a fiddler with a music-book. with her brother’s particular friend. the lamps were trimmed. new top couple starting off again. ‘Clear away. fuel was heaped upon the fire. anyhow and everyhow. and made an orchestra of it. who was suspected of not having board enough from his master. and went up to the lofty desk. ‘Bless me. In came the cook. as you would desire to see upon a winter’s night. nine — and came back before you could have got to twelve. it’s old Fezziwig. yes. He rubbed his hands. Christmas Eve. ‘Dick Wilkins. who was proved to have had her ears pulled by her mistress. Ebenezer. to be sure. down the middle and up again.’ Old Fezziwig laid down his pen. all top couples at last. jovial voice: ‘Yo ho. there. and let’s have lots of room here. In came all the young men and women employed in the business. with wonderful agility. as soon as they got there. Dick. some boldly. one vast substantial smile. dear. Ebenezer. and bright a ball-room. rich. He was very much attached to me. as if it were dismissed from public life for evermore. six — barred them and pinned then — seven. and warm. with a sharp clap of his hands. oily. Dick. ‘Hilli-ho!’ cried old Fezziwig. In came the boy from over the way. and the warehouse was as snug. beaming and lovable. the baker. accompanied by his fellow-prentice. from his shows to his organ of benevolence. two. Dear. the floor was swept and watered. panting like race-horses. skipping down from the high desk. eight. When this result was brought about. old Fezziwig. in they all came. my boys.’ Clear away. five.’ said Scrooge to the Ghost.

Mr and Mrs Fezziwig took their stations. that he appeared to wink with his legs.’ Then old Fezziwig stood out to dance with Mrs Fezziwig.’ echoed Scrooge. But the great effect of the evening came after the Roast and Boiled. tell me higher. and back again to your place. she was worthy to be his partner in every sense of the term. The Spirit signed to him to listen to the two apprentices. and came upon his feet again without a stagger. and plenty of beer. Is it not.’ said the Ghost. he instantly began again. both hands to your partner. You couldn’t have predicted. said. people who would dance. and there was a great piece of Cold Roast. and shaking hands with every person individually as he or she went out. and he were a bran-new man resolved to beat him out of sight. ‘A small matter. who were pouring out their hearts in praise of Fezziwig: and when he had done so. as if the other fiddler had been carried home.’ ‘Small. ‘Why. too. bow and curtsey. this domestic ball broke up. advance and retire. It was not until now. and had no notion of walking. exhausted. and the lads were left to their beds. four times — old Fezziwig would have been a match for them. As to her. when the bright faces of his former self and Dick were turned from them. corkscrew. and became conscious that it was looking full upon him. and thus the cheerful voices died away.clapping his hands to stop the dance.’ Well done. at any given time. His heart and soul were in the scene. But scorning rest. Top couple. wished him or her a Merry Christmas. and so would Mrs Fezziwig. they did the same to them. and there was cake. and there were forfeits. They shone in every part of the dance like moons. three or four and twenty pair of partners. and I’ll use it.com  . that he remembered the Ghost. A positive light appeared to issue from Fezziwig’s calves. upon his reappearance.) struck up Sir Roger de Coverley. and there was a great piece of Cold Boiled. Fezziwig cut — cut so deftly. or perish. what would have become of them next. though there were no dancers yet. while the light upon its head burnt very clear. enjoyed everything. ‘to make these silly folks so full of gratitude. with a good stiff piece of work cut out for them. especially provided for that purpose. which were under a counter in the back-shop. people who were not to be trifled with. thread-the-needle. when the fiddler (an artful dog. When everybody had retired but the two prentices. and with his former self. on a shutter. He corroborated everything. and underwent the strangest agitation. During the whole of this time. Scrooge had acted like a man out of his wits. and there was negus. cried out. remembered everything. If that’s not high praise. There were more dances. When the clock struck eleven. And when old Fezziwig and Mrs Fezziwig had gone all through the  Sons and Lovers dance. one on either side of the door.’ and the fiddler plunged his hot face into a pot of porter. and more dances. The sort of man who knew his business better than you or I could have told it him. mind. He has spent but a few pounds of your Free eBooks at Planet eBook. But if they had been twice as many — ah. and there were mince-pies.

When it was made.’ he rejoined. ‘Nothing in particular. It was made when we were both poor and content to be so. which showed the passion that had taken root. Is that so much that he deserves this praise. and if it can cheer and comfort you in time to come. greedy. until the master-passion.’ His former self turned down the lamps as he gave utterance to the wish. ‘It isn’t that. There was an eager. to make our service light or burdensome. I have no just cause to grieve. Have I not. not his latter.mortal money: three or four perhaps.’ he said. ‘Even if I have grown so much wiser. or to any one whom he could see. what then. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one. which sparkled in the light that shone out of the Ghost of Christmas Past. you were another man. For again Scrooge saw himself. Spirit.’ he said impatiently.’ the Ghost insisted. a pleasure or a toil. Gain. The happiness he gives. ‘No.’ ‘This is the even-handed dealing of the world. ‘To you. and where the shadow of the growing tree would fall. self. and speaking unconsciously like his former.’ said Scrooge. ‘A golden one. ‘Am I. engrosses you. we could improve our worldly fortune by our patient industry. I think. He has the power to render us happy or unhappy. You are changed.’ ‘What then.’ He felt the Spirit’s glance. but sat by the side of a fair young girl  Sons and Lovers in a mourning-dress: in whose eyes there were tears. and stopped. restless motion in the eye. gently.’ ‘Our contract is an old one. He was not alone. That’s all. a man in the prime of life. softly. ‘It matters little. until.’ said Scrooge. I am not changed towards you. and there is nothing it professes to condemn with such severity as the pursuit of wealth. ‘Quick. I should like to be able to say a word or two to my clerk just now. Another idol has displaced me. He was older now.com  . ‘What is the matter. and Scrooge and the Ghost again stood side by side in the open air. but it had begun to wear the signs of care and avarice.’ he retorted. very little.’ She shook her head.’ ‘It isn’t that.’ she said.’ asked the Ghost.’ No. ‘Something. is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.’ ‘I was a boy. ‘All your other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of its sordid reproach. but it produced an immediate effect. ‘My time grows short.’ This was not addressed to Scrooge. in good season. ‘Your own feeling tells you that you were not what you Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘What Idol has displaced you.’ observed the Spirit. in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count them up: what then. ‘There is nothing on which it is so hard as poverty. Say that his power lies in words and looks.’ said Scrooge. His face had not the harsh and rigid lines of later years. as I would have tried to do.’ ‘You fear the world too much.’ she answered. heated by the remark.

very brief time. sitting opposite her daughter. upon him. How often and how keenly I have thought of this.’ she returned. Near to the winter fire sat a beautiful young girl.’ She left him. I will not say. for the love of him you once were. and.’ said the girl.are. until he saw her. The noise in this room was perfectly tumultuous.’ ‘Have I ever sought release. if for a moment you were false enough to your one guiding principle to do so. would you seek me out and try to win me now.com  .  Sons and Lovers ‘You may — the memory of what is past half makes me hope you will — have pain in this. and enjoyed it very much. do I not know that your repentance and regret would surely follow. ‘No more. A very. for there were more children there. got pillaged by the young brigands most ruthlessly. With a full heart. When I have learned a Truth like this. But he said with a struggle. ‘No more. on the contrary. ‘Heaven knows.’ ‘In a changed nature. in your very confidence with her.’ ‘In what. gladly. Never. but full of comfort. from which it happened well that you awoke. in another atmosphere of life. May you be happy in the life you have chosen. now a comely matron. the mother and daughter laughed heartily. and they parted. and forced him to observe what happened next. I do. but with steadiness. looking mildly. If this had never been between us. Conduct me home. she resumed. not very large or handsome.’ said Scrooge. yesterday. a room. In everything that made my love of any worth or value in your sight. so like that last that Scrooge believed it was the same. Why do you delight to torture me. No. then.’ cried Scrooge. That which promised happiness when we were one in heart. The consequences were uproarious beyond belief. but every child was conducting itself like forty. Though I never could have been so rude.’ He was about to speak. is fraught with misery now that we are two.’ ‘One shadow more. Ah. It is enough that I have thought of it.’ she answered.’ He seemed to yield to the justice of this supposition. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. I know how strong and irresistible it must be. no. unlike the celebrated herd in the poem. they were not forty children conducting themselves like one. another Hope as its great end. choosing her. and can release you. to-morrow.’ ‘I would gladly think otherwise if I could. as an unprofitable dream.’ But the relentless Ghost pinioned him in both his arms. than Scrooge in his agitated state of mind could count. can even I believe that you would choose a dowerless girl — you who. ‘I am. What would I not have given to one of them. in spite of himself. but with her head turned from him. but no one seemed to care. But if you were free to-day. soon beginning to mingle in the sports.’ ‘In words. no. and the latter.’ show me no more. in an altered spirit.’ You think not.’ tell me. Show me no more. and you will dismiss the recollection of it.’ exclaimed the Ghost. They were in another scene and place. weigh everything by Gain: or. I don’t wish to see it. and I release you. ‘Spirit.

’ ‘I told you these were shadows of the things that have been. I wouldn’t for the wealth of all the world have crushed that braided hair. Then the shouting and the struggling. to have had the lightest licence of a child. and ecstasy. as they did. and torn it down. The joy. pommel his back. And yet I should have dearly liked. and the onslaught that was made on the defenceless porter. I should have liked. His partner lies upon the point of death. might have called him father. and gratitude.’ ‘Mr Scrooge it was. and been a spring-time in the haggard winter of his life. God bless my soul.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. It is enough that by degrees the children and their emotions got out of the parlour. and never raised a blush. to save my life. I do confess. to have questioned her.’ said the Ghost. I wouldn’t have plucked it off. and never come straight again. who came home attended by a man laden with Christmas toys and presents. ‘That they are what they are. I passed his office window. hug him round his neck. I should have expected my arm to have grown round it for a punishment. an inch of which would be a keepsake beyond price: in short.’ said the husband. and was more than suspected of having swallowed  Sons and Lovers a fictitious turkey.no. quite as graceful and as full of promise. They are all indescribable alike.’ ‘Who was it. I could scarcely help seeing him. and as it was not shut up. laughing as he laughed. do not blame me.’ said Scrooge in a broken voice. hold on tight by his cravat.’ I saw an old friend of yours this afternoon. glued on a wooden platter. The scaling him with chairs for ladders to dive into his pockets. where they went to bed.’ ‘Spirit. And now Scrooge looked on more attentively than ever. and kick his legs in irrepressible affection. and there he sat alone. to have let loose waves of hair. his sight grew very dim indeed. The immense relief of finding this a false alarm.’ ‘Guess. when the master of the house. I own. despoil him of brown-paper parcels. to have touched her lips. and when he thought that such another creature. I hear. having his daughter leaning fondly on him.’ ‘How can I.’ remove me from this place. and yet to have been man enough to know its value. and for the precious little shoe. and so subsided. The terrible announcement that the baby had been taken in the act of putting a doll’s frying-pan into his mouth. and by one stair at a time. up to the top of the house. Quite alone in the world. But now a knocking at the door was heard. that she might have opened them. ‘Belle. sat down with her and her mother at his own fireside. As to measuring her waist in sport. turning to his wife with a smile. I couldn’t have done it.’ she added in the same breath.com  . and he had a candle inside. 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. Tut. don’t I know. to have looked upon the lashes of her downcast eyes. I do believe. just in time to greet the father. ‘Mr Scrooge. bold young brood. The shouts of wonder and delight with which the development of every package was received.

wrestled with it. For. in which his hand relaxed. 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.’ In the struggle. Without venturing for Scrooge quite as hardily as this. there lies a tolerably wide and comprehensive range of subjects. But. and had barely time to reel to bed. and seeing that it looked upon him with a face. for the especial purpose of holding 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.’ I cannot bear it. and by a sudden action pressed it down upon its head. Scrooge observed that its light was burning high and bright. who plume themselves on being acquainted with a move or two. and made nervous. he wished to challenge the Spirit on the moment of its appearance. he could not hide the light. finding that he turned uncomfortably cold when he began to wonder which of his curtains this new spectre would draw back. The Spirit dropped beneath it. ‘Leave me. Scrooge had no occasion to be told that the bell was again upon the stroke of One. He gave the cap a parting squeeze.‘Remove me. Gentlemen of the free-and-easy sort. I don’t mind calling Free eBooks at Planet eBook. of being in his own bedroom. and being usually equal to the time-of-day. between which opposite extremes. express the wide range of their capacity for adventure by observing that they are good for anything from pitch-and-toss to manslaughter. which streamed from under it. Stave 3: The Second of the Three Spirits A waking in the middle of a prodigiously tough snore. he put them every one aside with his own hands. but though Scrooge pressed it down with all his force.’ He turned upon the Ghost.com 1 0 Sons and Lovers . he seized the extinguisher-cap. Haunt me no longer. Take me back. in which in some strange way there were fragments of all the faces it had shown him. established a sharp look-out all round the bed. and overcome by an irresistible drowsiness.’ Scrooge exclaimed. He was conscious of being exhausted. no doubt. and did not wish to be taken by surprise. so that the extinguisher covered its whole form. and lying down again. in an unbroken flood upon the ground. and dimly connecting that with its influence over him. and. further. before he sank into a heavy sleep. and sitting up in bed to get his thoughts together.

Five minutes. All this time. which streamed upon it when the clock proclaimed the hour. sucking-pigs. man. he was taken with a violent fit of trembling. and bade him enter. and no shape appeared. Heaped up on the floor. cherry-cheeked apples. and though the Spirit’s eyes were clear and kind. He obeyed. or for many and many a winter season gone. and. bright gleaming berries glistened. luscious pears. being prepared for almost anything.’ exclaimed the Ghost. Now. game.’ Scrooge entered timidly. But it had undergone a surprising transformation. mince-pies. there sat a jolly Giant. The crisp leaves of holly. or would be at. ‘Look upon me. being only light. when the Bell struck One. plum-puddings. I say. bordered with white fur. yet nothing came. as if so many little mirrors had been scattered there. from whence. consequently. and was sometimes apprehensive that he might be at that very moment an interesting case of spontaneous combustion. he began to think that the source and secret of this ghostly light might be in the adjoining room. as that dull petrification of a hearth had never known in Scrooge’s time. glorious to see. The moment Scrooge’s hand was on the lock. It was his own room. a quarter of an hour went by. This idea taking full possession of his mind. and seething bowls of punch. the very core and centre of a blaze of ruddy light. and hung his head before this Spirit. from every part of which. he got up softly and shuffled in his slippers to the door. a strange voice called him by his name. He was not the dogged Scrooge he had been. At last. There was no doubt about that. immense twelfth-cakes. as he came peeping round the door. without having the consolation of knowing it. were turkeys. This garment hung so loosely on the figure. mistletoe. he was not by any means prepared for nothing. on further tracing it. and which. was more alarming than a dozen ghosts. poultry. he lay upon his bed. geese. to form a kind of throne. to shed its light on Scrooge. for it is always the person not in the predicament who knows what ought to have been done in it. great joints of meat.’ Scrooge reverently did so. that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam.’ said the Spirit. ‘Come in. red-hot chestnuts. and held it up. in shape not unlike Plenty’s horn. it seemed to shine. ‘Come in. barrels of oysters. he did not like to meet them. that it looked a perfect grove. or Marley’s. high up. however. ten minutes. who bore a glowing torch. juicy oranges. and that nothing between a baby and rhinoceros would have astonished him very much. It was clothed in one simple green robe. ‘I am the Ghost of Christmas Present. and ivy reflected back the light.com  . as he was powerless to make out what it meant. and would unquestionably have done it too — at last. The walls  Sons and Lovers and ceiling were so hung with living green. In easy state upon this couch. and know me better.on you to believe that he was ready for a good broad field of strange appearances. he began to think — as you or I would have thought at first. that its capacious breast Free eBooks at Planet eBook. long wreaths of sausages. or mantle. and such a mighty blaze went roaring up the chimney. brawn.

hard to trace in the thick yellow mud and icy water. game. set here and there with shining icicles. The sky was gloomy. and were blazing away to their dear hearts’ content. ‘Never. but brisk and not unpleasant kind of music. furrows that crossed and recrossed each other hundreds of times where the great streets branched off. and they stood in the city streets on Christmas morning. were also bare. observable beneath the ample folds of the garment. caught fire. half frozen. pigs. poultry. 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.’ conduct me where you will.was bare. as if all the chimneys in Great Britain had.’ ‘Touch my robe. but no sword was in it. red berries.’ exclaimed the Spirit. To-night.’ ‘More than eighteen hundred. and its joyful air. and with the dirtier snow upon the ground. There was nothing very cheerful in the climate or the town.com  . Its dark brown curls were long and free. where (for the weather was severe) the people made a rough. Spirit. The Ghost of Christmas Present rose. oysters.’ Scrooge made answer to it. whose heavier particles descended in shower of sooty atoms. the people who were shovelling away on the housetops were jovial and full of glee. ‘Spirit. ivy. which last deposit had been ploughed up in deep furrows by the heavy wheels of carts and waggons. brawn. mistletoe. half thawed. if you have aught to teach me. its cheery voice. sausages. geese. Its feet. and the windows blacker. calling out to one another from the parapets. and on its head it wore no other covering than a holly wreath. ‘Have never walked forth with the younger members of my family. free as its genial face. whence it was mad delight to the boys to see it come plumping down into the road below. Have you had many brothers. ‘You have never seen the like of me before.’ Scrooge did as he was told. and punch. pies. the ruddy glow. meaning (for I am very young) my elder brothers born in these later years. and I learnt a lesson which is working now. and now and then exchanging a facetious snowball — better-natured missile far than many a Free eBooks at Planet eBook. contrasting with the smooth white sheet of snow upon the roofs. So did the room. I went forth last night on compulsion. the hour of night. turkeys. its open hand. in scraping the snow from the pavement in front of their dwellings. ‘I don’t think I have.’ said Scrooge.’ said the Ghost. puddings. and the shortest streets were choked up with a dingy mist. fruit. and from the tops of their houses. The house fronts looked black enough. Girded round its middle was an antique scabbard. and held it fast. For. let me profit by it. and the ancient sheath was eaten up with rust. and made intricate channels.’ said Scrooge submissively. all vanished instantly. as if disdaining to be warded or concealed by any artifice.  Sons and Lovers the fire. Holly.’ pursued the Phantom. ‘A tremendous family to provide for. by one consent. ‘I am afraid I have not. its sparkling eye.’ muttered Scrooge. and splitting into artificial little snow-storms. meat. its unconstrained demeanour.

It was not alone that the scales descending on the counter made a merry sound. made. and winking from their shelves in wanton slyness at the girls as they went by. and. And at the same time there emerged from scores of bye-streets. and glanced demurely at the hung-up mistletoe. and tumbling out into the street in their apoplectic opulence. though members of a dull and stagnant-blooded race. and committed hundreds of the like mistakes. or even that the blended scents of tea and coffee were so grateful to the nose. or that the French plums blushed in modest tartness from their highlydecorated boxes. or that everything was good to eat and in its Christmas dress. to church and chapel.wordy jest — laughing heartily if it went right and not less heartily if it went wrong. There were pears and apples. and left their purchases upon the counter. or one. nearly closed. Nor was it that the figs were moist and pulpy. squab and swarthy. the candied fruits so caked and spotted with molten sugar as to make the coldest lookers-on feel faint and subsequently bilious. there were Norfolk Biffins. but the customers were all so hurried and so eager in the hopeful promise of the day. lolling at the doors. or that the canisters were rattled up and down like juggling tricks. appeared to know that there was something going on. ancient walks among the woods. mossy and brown. and. went gasping round and round their little world in slow and passionless excitement. broad-girthed Spanish onions. The poulterers’ shops were still half open. with perhaps two shutters down. The very gold and silver fish. There were ruddy. worn outside for general inspection. and pleasant shufflings ankle deep through withered leaves. the almonds so extremely white. flocking through the streets in their best clothes. brown-faced.com  . 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. crashing their wicker baskets wildly. and away they came. urgently entreating and beseeching to be carried home in paper bags and eaten after dinner. setting off the yellow of the oranges and lemons. shining in the fatness of their growth like Spanish Friars. and nameless turnings. and with their gayest faces. and came running back to fetch them. there were piles of filberts. oh the Grocers’. clustered high in blooming pyramids. the sticks of cinnamon so long and straight. set forth among these choice fruits in a bowl. round. in their fragrance. in the great compactness of their juicy persons. or that the twine and roller parted company so briskly. lanes. shaped like the waistcoats of jolly old gentlemen. The Grocers’. There were great. to a fish. recalling. carrying their Free eBooks at Planet eBook. But soon the steeples called good people all. the other spices so delicious. in the shopkeepers’ benevolence to dangle from conspicuous hooks. or even that the raisins were so plentiful and rare. pot-bellied baskets of chestnuts. and for Christmas daws to peck at if they chose. innumerable people. there were bunches of grapes. round. that they tumbled up against each other at the door. and the fruiterers’ were radiant in their glory. that people’s mouths might water gratis as they passed. but through those gaps  Sons and Lovers such glimpses. in the best humour possible.

’ returned the Spirit. and the bakers were shut up. not us. invisible. in the thawed blotch of wet above each baker’s oven. ‘You seek to close these places on the Seventh Day.’ who lay claim to know us. God love it. for once or twice when there were angry words between some dinner-carriers who had jostled each other.’ said Scrooge.’ cried the Spirit. that notwithstanding his gigantic size. or else it was his own kind. sprinkled incense on their dinners from his torch. envy. It has been done in your name. and selfishness in our name. And perhaps it was the pleasure the good Spirit had in showing off this power of his. ‘Forgive me if I am wrong. for he stood with Scrooge beside him in a baker’s doorway. pride. For they said. and charge their doings on themselves. for there he went. And it was a very uncommon kind of torch.’ said Scrooge.’ Scrooge promised that he would.dinners to the baker’ shops. ‘Is there a peculiar flavour in what you sprinkle from your torch. of all the beings in the many worlds about us. and yet there was a genial shadowing forth of all these dinners and the progress of their cooking. and took Scrooge with him. he shed a few drops of water on them from it. ‘There is. or at least in that of your family.’ asked Scrooge. ‘Wouldn’t you. that led him straight to Scrooge’s clerk’s.’ said Scrooge. as it was possible he could have done in any lofty hall.’ cried the Spirit.’ ‘Would it apply to any kind of dinner on this day. and his sympathy with all poor men. The sight of these poor revellers appeared to interest the Spirit very much. and they went on. into the suburbs of the town. and stopped Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘There are some upon this earth of yours. who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin.’ I wonder you. bigotry. where the pavement smoked as if its stones were cooking too. ‘To any kindly given. so it was. often the only day on which they can be said to dine at all. In time the bells ceased.’ ‘I seek.’ asked Scrooge. ‘Because it needs it most. and on the threshold of the door the Spirit smiled.’ exclaimed the Spirit. ill-will. And so it was. and that he stood beneath a low roof quite as gracefully and like a supernatural creature. as they had been before. and their good humour was restored directly. To a poor one most.’ ‘Why to a poor one most.  Sons and Lovers ‘You would deprive them of their means of dining every seventh day. Remember that. ‘And it comes to the same thing. hearty nature.com  . it was a shame to quarrel upon Christmas Day. holding to his robe.’ ‘I. It was a remarkable quality of the Ghost (which Scrooge had observed at the baker’s). hatred. after a moment’s thought. My own.’ asked Scrooge. he could accommodate himself to any place with ease.’ said Scrooge. generous. and taking off the covers as their bearers passed.’ ‘Spirit. as if they had never lived. should desire to cramp these people’s opportunities of innocent enjoyment. and who do their deeds of passion.’ ‘I.

‘Why. with at least three feet of comforter exclusive of the fringe. which are cheap and make a goodly show for sixpence. conferred upon his son and heir in honour of the day) into his mouth.’ ‘Well.’ said Bob. mother. There’s such a goose. these young Cratchits danced about the table. kissing her a dozen times. also brave in ribbons. and yet the Ghost of Christmas Present blessed his four-roomed house. ‘Hurrah.’ So Martha hid herself. And Martha warn’t as late last Christmas Day by half-an-hour. and have a warm. Martha. until the slow potatoes bubbling up. And now two smaller Cratchits. Never mind so long as you are come.’ said a girl. to look seasonable. but brave in ribbons. knocked loudly at the saucepan-lid to be let out and peeled. ‘Hide. screaming that outside the baker’s they had smelt the goose. no. ‘Sit ye down before the fire. second of her daughters.’ said Mrs Cratchit. ‘We’d a deal of work to finish up last night. rejoiced to find himself so gallantly attired.’ said Mrs Cratchit.’ ‘Here’s Martha. and his threadbare clothes darned up and brushed. who were everywhere at once. bless your heart alive.’ cried the two young Cratchits. for he had been Tim’s blood horse all the way from church.’ ‘No.’ said Mrs Cratchit.’ ‘Why. and she laid the cloth. boy and girl. and basking in luxurious thoughts of sage and onion. dressed out but poorly in a twice-turned gown. Cratchit’s wife. ‘And your brother. and exalted Master Peter Cratchit to the skies. my dear. appearing as she spoke. if it were only in joke. mother. how late you are. Alas for Tiny Tim.’ and had to clear away this morning. and Tiny Tim upon his shoulder.’ Martha didn’t like to see him disappointed.’ replied the girl. Lord bless ye. ‘Not coming upon Christmas Day.com 1 . while Master Peter Cratchit plunged a fork into the saucepan of potatoes. with a sudden declension in his high spirits. came tearing in. hide. and yearned to show his linen in the fashionable Parks. and had his limbs supported by an iron frame.’ cried the two young Cratchits. Martha. and getting the corners of his monstrous shirt collar (Bob’s private property.to bless Bob Cratchit’s dwelling with the sprinkling of his torch. hanging down before him.’ said Mrs Cratchit. ‘What has ever got your precious father then. looking round. 0 Sons and Lovers ‘Here’s Martha. my dear. Then up rose Mrs Cratchit. Tiny Tim. and ran into his arms. although his collars nearly choked him) blew the fire. ‘Not coming. he bore a little crutch. ‘Not coming. he pocketed on Saturdays but fifteen copies of his Christian name. so she came out prematurely from behind the closet door. where’s our Martha. and taking off her shawl and bonnet for her with officious zeal.’ cried Bob Cratchit. assisted by Belinda Cratchit. while the two young Cratchits Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Bob had but fifteen bob a-week himself. the father. Think of that. mother. and in came little Bob. There’s father coming. while he (not proud. and known it for their own. and had come home rampant.

’ said Bob. But now. the plates being changed by Miss Belinda. He told me. Suppose it should not be done enough. who made lame beggars walk. and grace was said. ‘As good as gold. it was a sufficient dinner for the whole family. size and cheapness. and while Bob. and when the long expected gush of stuffing issued forth. one murmur of delight arose all round the board. as Mrs Cratchit said with great delight (surveying one small atom of a bone upon the dish). ‘And how did little Tim behave. and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. At last the dishes were set on. Bob took Tiny Tim beside him in a tiny corner at the table. Eked out by apple-sauce and mashed potatoes. a feathered phenomenon.’ and better. were the themes of universal admiration. and Bob had hugged his daughter to his heart’s content. Miss Belinda sweetened up the apple-sauce.com  . escorted by his brother and sister to his stool before the fire. with which they soon returned in high procession. Mrs Cratchit left the room alone — too nervous to bear witnesses — to take the pudding up and bring it in. and back came Tiny Tim before another word was spoken. His active little crutch was heard upon the floor. to which a black swan was a matter of course — and in truth it was something very like it in that house. excited by the two young Cratchits. and feebly cried Hurrah. Martha dusted the hot plates. coming home. It was succeeded by a breathless pause. were steeped in sage and onion to the eyebrows. poor fellow. beat on the table with the handle of his knife. that he hoped the people saw him in the church. and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day. sitting by himself so much. and trembled more when he said that Tiny Tim was growing strong and hearty. and mounting guard upon their posts. the two young Cratchits set chairs for everybody. turning up his cuffs — as if. not forgetting themselves. asked Mrs Cratchit. and stirred it round and round and put it on the hob to simmer. indeed. looking slowly all along the carving-knife. Such a bustle ensued that you might have thought a goose the rarest of all birds. Somehow he gets thoughtful. and bore him off into the wash-house. but when she did. and even Tiny Tim. Mrs Cratchit made the  Sons and Lovers gravy (ready beforehand in a little saucepan) hissing hot.’ Bob’s voice was tremulous when he told them this.hustled Tiny Tim. that he might hear the pudding singing in the copper. and the two ubiquitous young Cratchits went to fetch the goose. Suppose it should Free eBooks at Planet eBook. crammed spoons into their mouths. when she had rallied Bob on his credulity. and blind men see. because he was a cripple. There never was such a goose. Its tenderness and flavour. as Mrs Cratchit. Master Peter mashed the potatoes with incredible vigour. Master Peter. Yet every one had had enough. prepared to plunge it in the breast. they were capable of being made more shabby — compounded some hot mixture in a jug with gin and lemons. they hadn’t ate it all at last. lest they should shriek for goose before their turn came to be helped. and the youngest Cratchits in particular. Bob said he didn’t believe there ever was such a goose cooked.

and Bob served it out with beaming looks. he had better do it. and decrease the surplus population.com  . and the fire made up.’ said the Ghost.’ replied the Ghost. and a custard-cup without a handle. All sorts of horrors were supposed. and a shovel-full of chestnuts on the fire. she would confess she had had her doubts about the quantity of flour. no. A great deal of steam. ‘Oh. ‘if man you be in heart. and dreaded that he might be taken from him.’ ‘I see a vacant seat. but nobody said or thought it was at all a small pudding for a large family. while the chestnuts on the fire sputtered and cracked noisily. and wished to keep him by his side. but smiling proudly — with the pudding. with a laundress’s next door to that. and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top. while they were merry with the goose — a supposition at which the two young Cratchits became livid. ‘in the poor chimney-corner.’ Which all the family re-echoed. Everybody had something to say about it. God bless us.’ Scrooge hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit. Bob Cratchit said. as well as golden goblets would have done.’ ‘If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future. At last the dinner was all done.’ said Scrooge. ‘God bless us every one. The pudding was out of the copper. a wonderful pudding. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future. That was the cloth. kind Spirit. the cloth was cleared. meaning half a one. Hallo.break in turning out. A smell like an eating-house and a pastrycook’s next door to each other. the hearth swept. These held the hot stuff from the jug. ‘will find him here. apples and oranges were put upon the table. the last of all. and was overcome with penitence and grief. none other of my race. ‘Man. Suppose somebody should have got over the wall of the back-yard. not adamant. Bob held his withered little hand in his.’ returned the Ghost. with an interest he had never felt before. and stolen it.’ said Scrooge. Oh. that he regarded it as the greatest success achieved by Mrs Cratchit since their marriage. my dears. A smell like a washing-day. Mrs Cratchit said that now the weight was off her mind. however. like a speckled cannon-ball. Then all the Cratchit family drew round the hearth.  Sons and Lovers and at Bob Cratchit’s elbow stood the family display of glass. What then. Then Bob proposed: ‘A Merry Christmas to us all. and a crutch without an owner. as if he loved the child. and considered perfect. Any Cratchit would have blushed to hint at such a thing. That was the pudding.’ ‘No. The compound in the jug being tasted. carefully preserved. If he be like to die. Two tumblers. ‘tell me if Tiny Tim will live. and calmly too. in what Bob Cratchit called a circle. It would have been flat heresy to do so. He sat very close to his father’s side upon his little stool. say he will be spared. the child will die. blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy. In half a minute Mrs Cratchit entered — flushed. ‘Spirit. forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered What Free eBooks at Planet eBook. no.’ said Tiny Tim. so hard and firm.

I am sure. what men shall die.’ said Bob. He’ll be very merry and very happy. if obtained. that in the sight of Heaven. they were happy. You know he is. their clothes were scanty. on hearing his own name. It may be. There was nothing of high mark in this. and very likely did.com  . ‘I’ll give you Mr Scrooge. Christmas Day. After it had passed away. Bob Cratchit told them how he had a situation in his eye for Master Peter. which was not dispelled for full five minutes. as if he were deliberating what particular investments he should favour when he came into the receipt of that bewildering income. Scrooge was the Ogre of the family. grateful. ‘on which one drinks the health of such an odious. full five-and-sixpence weekly. ‘Christmas Day. Also how she had seen a countess and a lord some days before. about a lost child travelling in the snow. and I hope he’d have a good appetite for it. 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. to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust. Tiny Tim drank it last of all. you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child. to-morrow being a holiday she passed at home. But he raised them speedily. poor fellow. but he didn’t care twopence for it. which would bring in. Martha. It was the first of their proceedings which had no heartiness.’ said Mrs Cratchit.’ The children drank the toast after her. ‘the children. then told them what kind of work she had to do. A merry Christmas and a happy new year.’ cried Mrs Cratchit. and Peter himself looked thoughtfully at the fire from between his collars. the inside of a pawnbroker’s. The two young Cratchits laughed tremendously at the idea of Peter’s being a man of business.the surplus is. and Peter might have known.’ said she. pleased Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and sang it very well indeed. and trembling cast his eyes upon the ground. ‘not for his. and Where it is. They were not a handsome family. All this time the chestnuts and the jug went round and round. they were not well dressed.’ ‘My dear. Nobody knows it better than you do. Will you decide what men shall live. unfeeling man as Mr Scrooge. reddening. Long life to him. the Founder of the Feast.’ ‘It should be Christmas Day. and how she meant to lie abed to-morrow morning for a good long rest. from the mere relief of Scrooge the Baleful being done with. their shoes were far from being water-proof. and by-and-bye they had a song. ‘I wish I had him here. they were ten times merrier than before.’ was Bob’s mild answer. The mention of his name cast a dark  Sons and Lovers shadow on the party. and how the lord was much about as tall as Peter. who had a plaintive little voice. Robert.’ ‘The Founder of the Feast indeed. ‘Mr Scrooge. Oh God. But. and how many hours she worked at a stretch. hard. who was a poor apprentice at a milliner’s.’ said Bob. I have no doubt.’ ‘My dear.’ Scrooge bent before the Ghost’s rebuke. stingy. I’d give him a piece of my mind to feast upon.’ ‘I’ll drink his health for your sake and the Day’s.

lower yet.com  . but for the frost that held it prisoner. and water spread itself wheresoever it listed. instead of every house expecting company. and all sorts of rooms. But. parlours. The very lamplighter.’ A light shone from the window of a hut. was lost in the thick gloom of darkest night. By this time it was getting dark. Scrooge had his eye upon them. they found a cheerful company assembled round a glowing fire. who labour in the bowels of the earth. How it bared its breadth of breast. ‘A place where Miners live. and as Scrooge and the Spirit went along the streets. as though it were the burial-place of giants. its bright and harmless mirth on everything within its reach. Here. all decked out gaily in their holiday attire. and swiftly they advanced towards it. Here. without a word of warning from the Ghost. where monstrous masses of rude stone were cast about. and especially on Tiny Tim. were shadows on the window-blind of guests assembling. and be the first to greet them. The old man. ready to be drawn to shut out cold and darkness. aunts. cousins. you might have thought that no one was at home to give them welcome when they got there. like a sullen eye. lower. and opened its capacious palm. and looked happier yet in the bright sprinklings of the Spirit’s torch at parting. the flickering of the blaze showed preparations for a cosy dinner. and floated on. until the last. Blessings on it. tripped lightly off to some near neighbour’s house. or would have done so. and all chattering at once. dotting the dusky street with specks of light. outpouring. and contented with the time.’ asked Scrooge. woe upon the single man who saw them enter — artful witches. and when they faded. and there a group of handsome girls. and another generation beyond that. old man and woman. the brightness of the roaring fires in kitchens. with their children and their children’s children. and so surely as they stopped. and coarse rank grass. An old. and deep red curtains. all hooded and fur-booted. the old man got quite blithe and loud. was wonderful. laughed out loudly as the Spirit passed. his vigour Free eBooks at Planet eBook. brothers. how the Ghost exulted.with one another. and snowing pretty heavily. where. and nothing grew but moss and furze. though little kenned the lamplighter that he had any company but Christmas. again. and piling up its fires half-chimney high. and who was dressed to spend the evening somewhere. they stood upon a bleak and desert moor. There all the children of the house were running out into the snow to meet their married sisters. 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 hot plates baking through and through before the fire. See. Down in the west the setting sun had left a streak of fiery red. And now. who ran on  Sons and Lovers before. if you had judged from the numbers of people on their way to friendly gatherings. well they knew it — in a glow. in a voice that seldom rose above the howling of the wind upon the barren waste. uncles.’ returned the Spirit. with a generous hand. Passing through the wall of mud and stone. So surely as they raised their voices. and frowning lower. ‘But they know me. which glared upon the desolation for an instant. ‘What place is this.

being far away. and twisting his face into the most extravagant contortions: Scrooge’s niece. and passing on above the moor. there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour. by marriage. When Scrooge’s nephew laughed in this way: holding his sides. two men who watched the light had made a fire. Again the Ghost sped on. ha. while listening to the moaning of the wind. The Spirit did not tarry here. rolling his head. Built upon a dismal reef of sunken rocks. and had known that they delighted to remember him. by any unlikely chance. while thus engaged. Introduce him to me. and looking at that same nephew with approving affability. from any shore. a frightful range of rocks. the wild year through. I should like to know him too. gleaming room. and had shared to some extent in its festivities.com 1 . But even here. They stood beside the helmsman at the wheel. they wished each other Merry Christmas in their can of grog.’ laughed Scrooge’s nephew. some league or so from shore. ha. To sea. Joining their horny hands over the rough table at which they sat. the officers who had the watch. ‘Ha. to know a man more blest in a laugh than Scrooge’s nephew. dry. ghostly figures in their several stations. on which the waters chafed and dashed. To Scrooge’s horror. ‘Ha. as the figure-head of an old ship might be: struck up a sturdy song that was like a Gale in itself. with his face all damaged and scarred with hard weather. Great heaps of sea-weed clung to its base. all I can say is. and thinking what a solemn thing it was to move on through the lonely darkness over an unknown abyss. dark. they lighted on a ship.’ If you should happen. to hear a hearty laugh. as he told Scrooge. and his ears were deafened by the thundering of water. ha. but bade Scrooge hold his robe. and had remembered those he cared for at a distance. and one of them: the elder. And every man on board. even-handed. It was a great surprise to Scrooge. and storm-birds — born of the wind one might suppose. as it rolled and roared. on — until. the look-out in the bow. like the waves they skimmed. behind them. And their assembled Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he saw the last of the land. laughed as heartily as he. with homeward hopes belonging to it. whose depths were secrets as profound as Death: it was a great surprise to Scrooge. above the black and heaving sea — on. that through the loophole in the thick stone wall shed out a ray of brightness on the awful sea. too. It is a fair. good or bad. Not to sea.sank again. noble adjustment of things. looking back. as sea-weed of the water — rose and fell about it. and fiercely tried to undermine the earth. but every man among them hummed a Christmas tune. waking or sleeping. and raged among the dreadful caverns it had worn. and I’ll cultivate his acquaintance. It was a much greater surprise to Scrooge to recognise it as his own nephew’s and to find himself in a bright. had had a kinder word for another on that day than on any day in the year. there stood a solitary lighthouse. or spoke be0 Sons and Lovers low his breath to his companion of some bygone Christmas Day. that while there is infection in disease and sorrow. with the Spirit standing smiling by his side. sped — whither. or had a Christmas thought.

‘I am sorry for him. for he answered that a bachelor was a wretched outcast.’ ‘He said that Christmas was a humbug. though the plump sister tried hard to do it with aromatic vinegar. He don’t do any good with it. by lamplight.’ ‘I’m sure he is very rich. He don’t lose much of a dinner. as I live.’ said Scrooge’s niece. and he won’t come and dine with us. they never do anything by halves. all kinds of good little dots about her chin. ‘He never finishes what he begins to say. Here. ‘Do go on. who had no right to express an opinion on the subject. ha. He is such a ridiculous fellow. and not making merry with us. ‘At least you always tell me so.’ said Scrooge’s nephew. and I have nothing to say against him.’ said Scrooge’s niece. ha. ha.’ that the consequence of his taking a dislike to us. — that he is ever going to benefit us with it.’ that’s the truth: and not so pleasant as he might be. my dear. ha. Altogether she was what you would have called provoking. you know. which could do him no harm.com  . his offences carry their own punishment. ‘He’s a comical old fellow. They are always in earnest. and as it was impossible to keep the infection off.’ ‘More shame for him. roared out lustily. ha.’ said Scrooge’s nephew. because they had just had dinner. capital face. Fred.’ Topper had clearly got his eye upon one of Scrooge’s niece’s sisters. She was very pretty: exceedingly pretty. and all the other ladies.friends being not a bit behindhand.’ Scrooge’s nephew revelled in another laugh. he takes it into his head to dislike us. a ripe little mouth. He don’t make himself comfortable with it. I have. I couldn’t be angry with him if I tried. Bless those women.  Sons and Lovers ‘Oh. with the dessert upon the table.’ said Scrooge’s nephew. Everybody else said the same. were clustered round the fire. With a dimpled. that seemed made to be kissed — as no doubt it was. I’m very glad to hear it. indignantly. that he loses some pleasant moments.’ hinted Scrooge’s niece. Scrooge’s niece’s sisters. that melted into one another when she laughed. However. ‘Ha. Ha. I am sure he loses Free eBooks at Planet eBook. What’s the consequence. is. and they must be allowed to have been competent judges. What do you say. Fred. I think he loses a very good dinner. expressed the same opinion. ‘I was only going to say. ‘because I haven’t great faith in these young housekeepers. ‘Well.’ ‘I have no patience with him.’ cried Scrooge’s nephew. but satisfactory.’ said Scrooge’s nephew. and the sunniest pair of eyes you ever saw in any little creature’s head. his example was unanimously followed. He hasn’t the satisfaction of thinking — ha. surprised-looking. ‘His wealth is of no use to him.’ observed Scrooge’s niece. and.’ interrupted Scrooge’s niece. always. ‘He believed it too. as I think.’ ‘What of that.’ ‘Indeed. Fred. ha. Whereat Scrooge’s niece’s sister — the plump one with the lace tucker: not the one with the roses — blushed. Topper.’ said Scrooge’s nephew. Himself. clapping her hands. Who suffers by his ill whims.

After tea. whether he likes it or not. If it only puts him in the vein to leave his poor clerk fifty pounds. and would instantly have sidled off in the direction of the plump sister. they had some music. Scrooge’s niece played well upon the harp. and not much caring what they laughed at. But being thoroughly good-natured. If you had fallen up against him (as some of them did). then his conduct was the most execrable. for it is good to be children sometimes. his pretending that it was necessary to touch her head-dress. But when at last. There was first a game at blind-man’s buff. he encouraged them in their merriment. and never swell the large veins in his forehead.com  . was Free eBooks at Planet eBook. when its mighty Founder was a child himself. there went he. but he can’t help thinking better of it — I defy him — if he finds me going there. how are you. and that the Ghost of Christmas Present knew it. smothering himself among the curtains. who could growl away in the bass like a good one. bumping against the piano. My opinion is. and her rapid flutterings past him. when. I mean to give him the same chance every year. The way he went after that plump sister in the lace tucker. and a certain chain about her neck. After a while they played at forfeits. or his dusty chambers. which had been familiar to the child who fetched Scrooge from the boarding-school. in spite of all her silken rustlings. and played among other tunes a simple little air (a mere nothing: you might learn to whistle it in two minutes). in good temper. and I think I shook him yesterday. for I pity him. on purpose. he might have cultivated the kindnesses of life for his own happiness with his own  Sons and Lovers hands. that it was a done thing between him and Scrooge’s nephew. When this strain of music sounded. without resorting to the sexton’s spade that buried Jacob Marley. years ago. I can assure you: especially Topper. when they sung a Glee or Catch. and further to assure himself of her identity by pressing a certain ring upon her finger. and never better than at Christmas. he softened more and more. Knocking down the fire-irons. For his pretending not to know her. and passed the bottle joyously. He wouldn’t catch anybody else. He may rail at Christmas till he dies. For they were a musical family. so that they laughed at any rate.’ It was their turn to laugh now at the notion of his shaking Scrooge. either in his mouldy old office. came upon his mind. Stop. all the things that Ghost had shown him. or get red in the face over it. She often cried out that it wasn’t fair. wherever she went. And I no more believe Topper was really blind than I believe he had eyes in his boots. he caught her. He always knew where the plump sister was. was an outrage on the credulity of human nature. But they didn’t devote the whole evening to music.pleasanter companions than he can find in his own thoughts. and it really was not. and thought that if he could have listened to it often. and knew what they were about. which would have been an affront to your understanding. as he had been reminded by the Ghost of Christmas Past. he got her into a corner whence there was no escape. Of course there was. and saying Uncle Scrooge. that’s something. he would have made a feint of endeavouring to seize you. year after year. tumbling over the chairs.

No doubt she told him her opinion of it. as could have told you. though some objected that the reply to ‘Is it a bear. I know what it is. and the rest must find out what. falling into a similar state. elicited from him that he was thinking of an animal.’ It was a Game called Yes and No. behind the curtains. and so did Scrooge. a live animal. and wasn’t led by anybody. she was very great. and Where. ‘A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to the old man. and looked upon him with such favour. ‘It’s your Uncle Scrooge. and was not a horse. or a bull. young and old. and wasn’t made a show of. or a bear. whatever he is. But she joined in the forfeits. Fred. I am sure. was not sharper than Scrooge. The brisk fire of questioning to which he was ex Sons and Lovers posed. and loved her love to admiration with all the letters of the alphabet.’ Which it certainly was. or a dog. I know what it is. wholly forgetting the interest he had in what was going on. But this the Spirit said could not be done. he sometimes came out with his guess quite loud. or an ass. beat her sisters hollow: though they were sharp girls too. for the sharpest needle. Uncle Scrooge. ‘Here is a new game.vile. supposing they had ever had any tendency that way. Here is a glass of mulled wine ready to our hand at the moment. where the Ghost and Scrooge were close behind her. At last the plump sister. that he begged like a boy to be allowed to stay until the guests departed. and didn’t live in a menagerie. and very often guessed quite right. rather a disagreeable animal. The Ghost was greatly pleased to find him in this mood. that his voice made no sound in their ears. Admiration was the universal sentiment. for. in a snug corner.’ ‘What is it. When. Scrooge’s niece was not one of the blind-man’s buff party.’ ought to have been ‘Yes. and I say. he only answering to their questions yes or no.’ said Scrooge’s nephew. best Whitechapel.’ said Scrooge. and was so inexpressibly tickled. Spirit. but was made comfortable with a large chair and a footstool. or a cow. ‘He has given us plenty of merriment. when.’ cried Fred. There might have been twenty people there. that he was obliged to get up off the sofa and stamp. ‘One half hour. and was never killed in a market. and walked about the streets.‘‘ ‘Well. but they all played. cried out: ‘I have found it out. and to the secret joy of Scrooge’s nephew. monstrous. only one. and talked sometimes. a savage animal. an animal that growled and grunted sometimes. ‘Uncle Scrooge. or a pig. where Scrooge’s nephew had to think of something. or a tiger.’ they cried.’ said Fred. At every fresh question that was put to him. Likewise at the game of How. this nephew burst into a fresh roar of laughter.com  . another blind-man being in office. ‘He wouldn’t Free eBooks at Planet eBook. too. warranted not to cut in the eye. or a cat.’ inasmuch as an answer in the negative was sufficient to have diverted their thoughts from Mr Scrooge.’ and it would be ungrateful not to drink his health. and lived in London. blunt as he took it in his head to be. as the case was. they were so very confidential together.

but always with a happy end. and clung upon the outside of its garment. Scrooge had observed this change. because the Christmas Holidays appeared to be condensed into the space of time they passed together. wolfish. and it was rich. and he and the Spirit were again upon their travels. and taught Scrooge his precepts. that he would have pledged the unconscious company in return. in any grade.’ Uncle Scrooge had imperceptibly become so gay and light of heart. but Scrooge had his doubts of this. no degradation. and they were patient in their greater hope.’ said Scrooge. look here. devils lurked. But the whole scene passed off in the breath of the last word spoken by his nephew.’ asked Scrooge. but never spoke of it. ‘It ends to-night. ‘To-night at midnight. but the words choked themselves.’ The chimes were ringing the three quarters past eleven at that moment. and jail. in their humility. frightful. ‘Are spirits’ lives so short. had pinched. if the Ghost had given him time. by struggling men. appalled.’ ‘It might be a claw. scowling. Scrooge started back. until they left a children’s Twelfth Night party. and touched them with its freshest tints. he noticed that its hair was grey.’ exclaimed the Ghost. too. and glared out menacing. Man. and they were cheerful. They knelt down at its feet. and far they went. but prostrate. in misery’s every refuge. ‘Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask. abject. when. looking intently at the Spirit’s robe. The Spirit stood beside sick beds. ragged. and pulled them into shreds. looking at the Spirit as they stood together in an open place. nevertheless. and they were close at home. it brought two children. and not belonging to yourself. that while Scrooge remained unaltered in his outward form.’ was the Spirit’s sorrowful reply. miserable. Look.’ replied the Ghost. In almshouse. down here. hideous. protruding from your skirts. Uncle Scrooge. and thanked them in an inaudible speech. ‘Look here. rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude. Much they saw. Yellow.’ From the foldings of its robe. They were a boy and a girl. for the flesh there is upon it. he left his blessing. no perversion of humanity. by poverty. clearly older. has monsters half so horrible and dread. a stale and shrivelled hand. on foreign lands.’ but I see something strange. Hark.com  . the Ghost grew older. The time is drawing near. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out. It was strange. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. through all the mysteries of wonderful creation.’ cried Scrooge. hospital. Where angels might have sat enthroned. ‘My life upon this globe. Having them shown to him in this way. and twisted them. he tried to say they were fine children. and many homes they visited. meagre.’  Sons and Lovers ‘To-night. It was a long night. look. ‘Oh. like that of age. if it were only a night. is very brief.take it from me. wretched. but may he have it. No change. Is it a foot or a claw. too. where vain man in his little brief authority had not made fast the door and barred the Spirit out.

and that its mysterious presence filled him with a solemn dread. turning on him for the last time with his own words. silently approached. looking down upon them. draped and hooded. The Spirit answered not. like a mist along the ground. he remembered the prediction of old Jacob Marley. and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. are they yours. ‘I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. Admit it for your factious purposes. and make it worse. and all of their degree. Deny it. for in the very air through which this Spirit moved it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery. It was shrouded in a deep black garment. and saw it not. stretching out its hand towards the city.’ said the Spirit. but most of all beware this boy. ‘They are Man’s. As the last stroke ceased to vibrate. coming. Spirit. and lifting up his eyes. unless the writing be erased. its form. but pointed onward with its hand. ‘Are there no workhouses. When it came. Stave 4: The Last of the Spirits T he Phantom slowly. ‘Is that so.’ ‘Have they no refuge or resource. ‘Slander those who tell it ye. but will happen in the time before us. and separate it from the darkness by which it was surrounded. for on his brow I see that written which is Doom.com 1 0 Sons and Lovers . ‘Are there no prisons.’ said Scrooge.’ The bell struck twelve. its face. towards him. This girl is Want. Scrooge bent down upon his knee.’ cried the Spirit. But for this it would have been difficult to detach its figure from the night.’ The upper portion of the garment was contracted for an instant in its folds. Scrooge looked about him for the Ghost. This boy is Ignorance. And abide the end. for the Spirit neither spoke nor moved.’ Scrooge could say no more. ‘And they cling to me. That Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ said the Spirit. Beware them both. beheld a solemn Phantom. as if the Spirit had inclined its head. He knew no more.‘Spirit. appealing from their fathers. ‘You are about to show me shadows of the things that have not happened. gravely. He felt that it was tall and stately when it came beside him.’ cried Scrooge. which concealed its head.’ Scrooge pursued.

The Spirit pauses a moment.’ said the man with the large chin. and so forth. ‘Lead on. I am prepared to bear you company. while he. and chinked the money in their pockets.’ ‘I don’t mind going if a lunch is provided. ‘Last night. that shook like the gills of a turkey-cock. amongst the merchants. and conversed in  Sons and Lovers groups. and encompass them of its own act. Although well used to ghostly company by this time. The hand was pointed straight before them. ‘Well. taking a vast quantity of snuff out of a very large snuff-box. to know that behind the dusky shroud. ‘I haven’t heard.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. as observing his condition. Scrooge advanced to listen to their talk. what was the matter with him. Suppose we make up a party and volunteer. and as I hope to live to be another man from what I was. ‘Ghost of the Future. and giving him time to recover.’ I fear you more than any spectre I have seen.’ asked a red-faced gentleman with a pendulous excrescence on the end of his nose. and looked at their watches. on Change. yawning again. and it is precious time to me.’ ‘Why.’ he exclaimed.’ asked a third. ‘I thought he’d never die. though he stretched his own to the utmost. Observing that the hand was pointed to them. if I make one. there were ghostly eyes intently fixed upon him.’ said the first. for the city rather seemed to spring up about them. I only know he’s dead.’ for upon my life I don’t know of anybody to go to it.’ ‘When did he die. and trifled thoughtfully with their great gold seals. I believe.’ observed the gentleman with the excrescence on his nose. I know. with a yawn. He hasn’t left it to me. as Scrooge had seen them often. perhaps. in the heart of it. which bore him up. and he found that he could hardly stand when he prepared to follow it.’ said a great fat man with a monstrous chin. Scrooge followed in the shadow of its dress. who hurried up and down.’ said Scrooge.’ This pleasantry was received with a general laugh. could see nothing but a spectral hand and one great heap of black.’ It gave him no reply. ‘It’s likely to be a very cheap funeral. and do it with a thankful heart.com  .’ I don’t know much about it. ‘Lead on.’ ‘God knows. and carried him along. But there they were.’ The Phantom moved away as it had come towards him. Spirit.’ said the same speaker. ‘But I must be fed. The Spirit stopped beside one little knot of business men. The night is waning fast.’ Another laugh. ‘No. either way. I am the most disinterested among you. It thrilled him with a vague uncertain horror. he thought.’ inquired another. But Scrooge was all the worse for this. after all. Lead on. Scrooge feared the silent shape so much that his legs trembled beneath him.was the only answer he received. Will you not speak to me. ‘Left it to his company. They scarcely seemed to enter the city. But as I know your purpose is to do me good. That’s all I know. ‘What has he done with his money.

Good morning. For he had an expectation that the conduct of his future self would give him the clue he missed.’ said the first. that the Unseen Eyes were looking at him keenly. He had made a point always of standing well in their esteem: in a business point of view. Scrooge was at first inclined to be surprised that the Spirit should attach importance to conversations apparently so trivial. and its bad repute. and their parting. isn’t it. and went into an obscure part of the town.’ ‘No. and its situation in reference to himself. You’re not a skater. ‘Old Scratch has got his own at last. But nothing doubting that to whomsoever they applied they had some latent moral for his own improvement.’ returned the other. beside him stood the Phantom. ‘Cold. ‘Well.com  . and everything he saw. also.said the first speaker.’ said one. The Phantom glided on into a street. he saw no likeness of himself among the multitudes that poured in through the Porch. He looked about in that very place for his own image. for we used to stop and speak whenever we met.’ returned the second. Scrooge knew the men. It gave him little surprise. although he recognised its situation. It made him shudder.’ Not another word. and this Ghost’s province was the Future. strictly in a business point of view. that is. I’m not at all sure that I wasn’t his most particular friend. but another man stood in his accustomed corner. and would render the solution of these riddles easy. Something else to think of. Its finger pointed to two persons meeting.’ ‘So I am told. When I come to think of it.’ Speakers and listeners strolled away. and of great importance. where Scrooge had never penetrated before. and though the clock pointed to his usual time of day for being there. hey. He knew these men. When he roused himself from his thoughtful quest. and looked towards the Spirit for an explanation. thinking that the explanation might lie here. ‘How are you. he resolved to treasure up every word he heard. bye. ‘How are you. but feeling assured that they must have some hidden  Sons and Lovers purpose. and thought and hoped he saw his new-born resolutions carried out in this. perfectly. No. They were men of aye business: very wealthy. They left the busy scene.’ for I never wear black gloves. Quiet and dark. and feel very cold. Nor could he think of any one immediately connected with himself. Scrooge listened again. I suppose. The Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Bye. and I never eat lunch. their conversation. for he had been revolving in his mind a change of life. he fancied from the turn of the hand. and especially to observe the shadow of himself when it appeared. But I’ll offer to go. to whom he could apply them.’ ‘Seasonable for Christmas time. and mixed with other groups. They could scarcely be supposed to have any bearing on the death of Jacob. his old partner. with its outstretched hand. for that was Past. That was their meeting. however. he set himself to consider what it was likely to be. if anybody else will.

He always did. We’re all suitable to our calling. upon the straggling streets.’ ‘Why then. put it in his mouth again. were bought. Scrooge and the Phantom came into the presence of this man. I believe. hung upon a line. ‘Come into the parlour. and I’m sure there’s no such old bones here. hinges. and sat down in a flaunting manner on a stool.’ ‘You couldn’t have met in a better place. the shops and houses wretched. and having trimmed his smoky lamp (for it was night). ‘Let the charwoman alone to be the first. Come into the parlour.’ said the laundress. weights. old Joe.com  . Ah. crossing her elbows on her knees. and smoked his pipe in all the luxury of calm retirement.’ cried she who  Sons and Lovers had entered first. woman. The old man raked the fire together with an old stair-rod. as mine.ways were foul and narrow. they all three burst into a laugh.’ ‘That’s true. Alleys and archways. and greasy offal. Look here. Mrs Dilber. and the other two an’t strangers. Far in this den of infamous resort. Secrets that few would like to scrutinise were bred and hidden in mountains of unseemly rags. with the stem of his pipe. Ha. removing his pipe from his mouth. masses of corrupted fat. here’s a chance. ‘No man more so. How it skreeks. slipshod. While he did this. bottles. when another woman. don’t stand staring as if you was afraid. chains. who’s the wiser. like so many cesspools. Come into the parlour. I suppose. scales. You were made free of it long ago. the people half-naked. and let the undertaker’s man alone to be the third. drunken. and life. Upon the floor within. Stop till I shut the door of the shop. was a grey-haired rascal. there was a lowbrowed. nearly seventy years of age. and sepulchres of bones. by a frousy curtaining of miscellaneous tatters. Sitting in among the wares he dealt in. ugly. ha. There an’t such a rusty bit of metal in the place as its own hinges. and looking with a bold defiance at the other two. nails. who had screened himself from the cold air without. made of old bricks. came in too. by a charcoal stove. than they had been upon the recognition of each other. and refuse iron of all kinds. indeed. we’re well matched. who was no less startled by the sight of them. and misery. But she had scarcely entered. files. old rags.’ said the woman.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. bones. After a short period of blank astonishment. ‘Every person has a right to take care of themselves. and she was closely followed by a man in faded black. beetling shop.’ said old Joe.’ The parlour was the space behind the screen of rags. below a pent-house roof. you know. in which the old man with the pipe had joined them. What odds. and the whole quarter reeked with crime. disgorged their offences of smell. with filth. ‘Let the laundress alone to be the second. just as a woman with a heavy bundle slunk into the shop. the woman who had already spoken threw her bundle on the floor. We’re not going to pick holes in each other’s coats. where iron. ‘What odds then. If we haven’t all three met here without meaning it. and dirt. were piled up heaps of rusty keys. similarly laden.

’ But the gallantry of her friends would not allow of this.’ pursued the woman.’ said Mrs Dilber and the man together.’ said Joe.’ said Mrs Dilber. I’m not afraid to be the first. he’d have had somebody to look after him when he was struck with Death.’ and I wouldn’t give an Sons and Lovers other sixpence. Joe went down on his knees for the greater convenience of opening it. Open that bundle. I suppose. when I can get anything in it by reaching it out. If he had been.’ returned the woman.’ and it should have been.‘No. They were severally examined and appraised by old Joe. two old-fashioned silver teaspoons. Joe. ‘I always give too much to ladies.’ ‘His blankets. for the sake of such a man as he was. and made it an open question. Not a dead man.’ said the first woman.’ ‘I wish it was a little heavier judgment. ‘That’s your account. laughing. alone by himself. ‘Bed-curtains. ‘What do you call this. then. before we met here.’ said Joe. if I could have laid my hands on anything else.’ ‘It’s the truest word that ever was spoke. ‘That’s your account. you may depend upon it. indeed. ‘That’s enough. now. ‘If he wanted to keep them after he was dead.’ replied the woman.’ said Joe.’ and you’ll certainly do it.’ cried the woman. ‘Bed-curtains. ‘It’s a judgment on him. produced his plunder.’ said Mrs Dilber. a wicked old screw. I promise you. and the man in faded black.’ ‘You don’t mean to say you took them down.’ asked Joe. Joe.’ ‘Very well. and that’s the way I ruin myself.com  . indeed. I believe. If you asked me for another penny. Her account was stated on the wall in the same manner.’ ‘I certainly shan’t hold my hand. nor afraid for them to see it.’ ‘No. a pair of sugartongs. Sheets and towels. I’d repent of being so liberal and knock off half-a-crown. We know pretty well that we were helping ourselves.’ returned the woman coolly. ‘Why not. old Joe. ‘We should hope not. and a few boots.’ said old Joe. Joe. ‘Whose else’s do you think. laughing and leaning forward on her crossed arms. and added them up into a total when he found there was nothing more to come. rings and all.’ ‘Ah.’ Mrs Dilber was next. It’s a weakness of mine. and having unfastened a great many knots. It was not extensive. A seal or two. Who’s next.’ replied the woman. upon the wall. ‘Don’t drop that oil upon the blankets.’ ‘You were born to make your fortune. a little wearing apparel.’ replied the woman. Who’s the worse for the loss of a few things like these. who chalked the sums he was disposed to give for each. Open the bundle. ‘Yes I do. mounting the breach first. with him lying there. dragged out a large and heavy roll of some dark stuff.’ ‘And now undo my bundle. were all. a pair of sleeve-buttons. and a brooch of no great value.’ why wasn’t he natural in his lifetime. and let me know the value of it. instead of lying gasping out his last there. ‘He isn’t Free eBooks at Planet eBook. if I was to be boiled for not doing it. Speak out plain. a pencil-case. It’s no sin.’ said Joe.

or make one feature odious. revered. announced itself in awful language. and now he almost touched a bed: a bare. He can’t look uglier than he did in that one. but had no more power to withdraw the veil than to dismiss the spectre at his side. He frightened every one away from him when he was alive. the motion of a finger upon Scrooge’s part. you may look through that shirt till your eyes ache. and true. fell straight upon the bed. now. and tender. but that the hand was open. ‘Ha. Scrooge glanced towards the Phantom. set up thine altar here. uncurtained bed: on which. Oh cold. plundered and bereft. to profit us when he was dead. ‘Don’t you be afraid of that. A pale light. for the scene had changed. it is not that the heart and pulse are still. you see. when old Joe.’ ‘What do you call wasting of it. Ha. unwatched. producing a flannel bag with money in it. As they sat grouped about their spoil. though the demons. and dress it with such terrors as thou hast at thy command: for this is thy dominion. there lay a something covered up. ha. Strike. stopping in his work.’ ‘Spirit. too dark to be observed with any accuracy. ‘I see. marketing the corpse itself. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The case of this unhappy man might be my own. told out their several gains upon the ground. was the body of this man. Eh. It’s the best he had. which could hardly have been greater. nor a threadbare place. if it hadn’t been for me. The cover was so carelessly adjusted that the slightest raising of it. They’d have wasted it.’ laughed the same woman. thou canst not turn one hair to thy dread purposes. Ah. and the pulse a man’s. and honoured head. though it was dumb. and looking up. generous. and longed to do it. dreadful Death. felt how easy it would be to do. uncared for. it isn’t good enough for anything.’ returned the woman. which. though Scrooge glanced round it in obedience to a secret impulse. beneath a ragged sheet. if he did. I dare say. I see. to sow the world with life immortal.’ asked old Joe. ha. It is not that the hand is heavy and will fall down when released. Its steady hand was pointed to the head.’ 0 Sons and Lovers He recoiled in terror. what is this. ha. My life tends that way.’ replied the woman with a laugh. would have disclosed the face. ‘This is the end of it. It’s quite as becoming to the body. cold. ‘I an’t so fond of his company that I’d loiter about him for such things. ‘Somebody was fool enough to do it. rising in the outer air. unwept. But of the loved. If calico an’t good enough for such a purpose. anxious to know what kind of room it was.’ Scrooge listened to this dialogue in horror. to be sure.’ said Scrooge. strike. he viewed them with a detestation and disgust. but I took it off again. The room was very dark. Shadow. rigid.com 1 . and on it. ‘Putting it on him to be buried in. Merciful Heaven. warm. He thought of it. but you won’t find a hole in it. shuddering from head to foot.likely to take cold without them. And see his good deeds springing from the wound.’ ‘I hope he didn’t die of any thing catching. and a fine one too.’ said old Joe. in the scanty light afforded by the old man’s lamp. the heart brave.

’ this is a fearful place. ‘He is dead. and why they were so restless and disturbed. ‘We are quite ruined. In leaving it. but the first was the emotion of her heart. like a wing. he appeared embarrassed how to answer. ‘Bad. and could hardly bear the voices of the children in their play. who feels emotion caused by this man’s death. and when she asked him faintly what news (which was not until after a long silence). ‘show that person to me.’ said her husband. to say that he was kind to me in this or that.’ Again it seemed to look upon him. and what I thought was a mere excuse to avoid me. I shall not leave its lesson. to work with her needle. Spirit. when I tried to see him and obtain a week’s delay. ‘Is it good. or a child. if I could. revealed a room by daylight. looked out from the window. He lay. then. and for the memory of one kind word I will be kind to him. glanced at the clock. They have brought him to a rich end. for she walked up and down the room. started at every sound. ‘Spirit. said to me.’ ‘No. She hurried to the door.’ The Phantom spread its dark robe before him for a moment. a woman.’ he answered. a man whose face was careworn and depressed. trust me. ‘What the half-drunken woman whom I told you of last night. and she said so.’ Still the Ghost pointed with an unmoved finger to the head. and was sorry. She was expecting some one. ‘I understand you. griping cares. There is hope yet.’ Scrooge returned.’ he said.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and which he struggled to repress. Scrooge did not dare to think. truly.’ ‘He is past relenting.  Sons and Lovers tried. Avarice. turns out to have been quite true. ‘there is. a kind of serious delight of which he felt ashamed. hard-dealing. where a mother and her children were. ‘or bad?’ — to help him. I beseech you. I have not the power. and with anxious eagerness.com  .’ she said.’ and I would do it.’ She was a mild and patient creature if her face spoke truth. and met her husband. He thought.’ she said. and withdrawing it. What they wanted in the room of death. but she was thankful in her soul to hear it. though he was young. A cat was tearing at the door. if such a miracle has happened. He was not only very ill. but in vain.’ said Scrooge quite agonised. if this man could be raised up now. but dying. Spirit. She prayed forgiveness the next moment. with not a man.’ ‘If he relents. At length the long-expected knock was heard. But I have not the power.No voice pronounced these words in Scrooge’s ears. There was a remarkable expression in it now. and yet he heard them when he looked upon the bed. with clasped hands. in the dark empty house. and there was a sound of gnawing rats beneath the hearth-stone. Nothing is past hope. amazed. what would be his foremost thoughts. Let us go. He sat down to the dinner that had been boarding for him by the fire. ‘If there is any person in the town. Caroline.

poor Tiny Tim. very fast indeed. and found the mother and the children seated round the fire. cheerful voice. and even though we were not. for the world. and I wouldn’t show weak eyes to your father when he comes home.’ She hurried out to meet him. their hearts were lighter. We may sleep to-night with light hearts. he said. His tea was ready for him on the hob. Scrooge looked here and there to find himself. which we left just now.’ ‘Past it rather.’ and his father loved him so. The noisy little Cratchits were as still as statues in one corner. He looked at the work upon the table. At last she said. Soften it as they would. The boy must have read them out. and as they went along. as he and the Spirit crossed the threshold. shutting up his book. But before that time we shall be ready with the money. father.’ or that dark chamber. and sat looking up at Peter.’ said Cratchit’s wife.’ she resumed. that only faltered once: ‘I have known him walk with — I have known him walk with Tiny Tim upon his shoulder. Then the two young Cratchits got upon his knees and laid. Why did he not go on. ‘Let me see some tenderness connected with a death.’ exclaimed another. ‘It makes them weak by candle-light.’ Don’t mind it. Caroline.’ said Scrooge.’ They were very quiet again. but nowhere was he to be seen.‘To whom will our debt be transferred. hushed and clustered round to hear what they so little understood. and praised the industry and speed of Mrs Cratchit and the girls. You went to-day. The colour. The mother laid her work upon the table. were brighter. ‘And he took a child. and in a steady. as if they said. Spirit.’ Yes. Ah. then. Very quiet. and little Bob in his comforter — he had need of it. ‘But I think he has walked a little slower than he used. the dwelling he had visited before.’ ‘And so have I. ‘But he was very light to carry.  Sons and Lovers ‘The colour hurts my eyes. and it was a happier house for this man’s death. They entered poor Bob Cratchit’s house. and put her hand up to her face. intent upon her work. poor fellow — came in. who had a book before him. So had all. will be for ever present to me. And there is your father at the door. He had not dreamed them. ‘Sunday. Don’t be grieved.’ she said. and spoke pleasantly to all the family. It must be near his time. But surely they were very quiet. Quiet.’ ‘And so have I.’ Where had Scrooge heard those words. The mother and her daughters were engaged in sewing. mother.’ Peter answered. and they all tried who should help him to it most.com  . against his face. it would be a bad fortune indeed to find so merciless a creditor in his successor. that it was no trouble: no trouble.’ ‘I don’t know. Robert.’ The Ghost conducted him through several streets familiar to his feet. these few last evenings.’ said his wife. They would be done long before Sunday. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Often.’ cried Peter.’ Bob was very cheerful with them. The children’s faces. and set him in the midst of them. The only emotion that the Ghost could show him. each child a little cheek. ‘They’re better now again. was one of pleasure. caused by the event.

never.’ replied Bob.’ said Mrs Cratchit. He couldn’t help it.’ said Mrs Cratchit. and hung with Christmas. he kissed the little face. ‘You would be surer of it.’ cried one of the girls. and Peter and himself Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ Now.mark what I say. But however and when ever we part from one another.’ said Bob. But you’ll see it often.’ retorted Peter. my dear. which was lighted cheerfully.’ ‘Never. his daughters kissed him.’ cried Bob.’ He broke down all at once. and forget poor Tiny Tim in doing it. little child.’ returned Bob.’ returned Bob. ‘My little child. It really seemed as if he had known our Tiny Tim. and seeing that he looked a little -’ just a little down you know. so much as for his kind way. I don’t know.’ ‘Why.’ ‘Get along with you. we shall not quarrel easily among ourselves. the two young Cratchits kissed him.’ for he is the pleasantest-spoken gentleman you ever heard.’ said Bob. meeting him in the street that day.’ By the bye.com  .‘Yes.’ I know. ‘And then. my boy. and who.’ Mrs Cratchit kissed him. and when he had thought a little and composed himself. Bob told them of the extraordinary kindness of Mr Scrooge’s nephew. that you were a good wife.  Sons and Lovers ‘Heartily sorry. ‘I am heartily sorry for it. that when we recollect how patient and how mild he was.’ cried Bob. and felt with us. I promised him that I would walk there on a Sunday.’ that’s where I live. — if he got Peter a better situation.’ for your good wife. ‘I hope they do.’ said Bob. ‘Everybody knows that. They drew about the fire. my dears.’ cried Bob. Peter.’ cried they all. ‘I wish you could have gone. he and his child would have been farther apart perhaps than they were.’ ‘Knew what.’ for the sake of anything he might be able to do for us.’ ‘No. that this was quite delightful. father.’ one of these days. I shouldn’t be at all surprised .’ if you saw and spoke to him. little child. grinning. Poor Bob sat down in it. my dear.’ they all cried again. whom he had scarcely seen but once. It would have done you good to see how green a place it is. the girls and mother working still.’ I am very happy. ‘Very well observed. father. I am sure we shall none of us forget poor Tiny Tim — shall we — or this first parting that there was among us. Mr Cratchit. ‘And I know. There was a chair set close beside the child. inquired what had happened to distress him. how he ever knew that.’ he said. If he could have helped it. and talked. ‘On which.’ he said. My little. If I can be of service to you in any way. He was reconciled to what had happened. and went down again quite happy. giving me his card. and setting up for himself. though there’s plenty of time for that.’ said little Bob.’ said Peter.’ he said. He left the room. lately. although he was a little.’ ‘Only hear that. it wasn’t.’ ‘I’m sure he’s a good soul.’ said Bob. I told him.’ Peter will be keeping company with some one. my dear. and went up-stairs into the room above. ‘It’s just as likely as not.’ and heartily sorry for your good wife. Pray come to me. and there were signs of some one having been there. ‘I am very happy. my dear.

The finger pointed from the grave to him. Scrooge crept towards it. then. Tell me what man that was whom we saw lying dead. ‘But if the courses be departed from. he thought: indeed. A worthy place.’ The Spirit was immovable as ever. but went straight on. and the figure in the chair was not himself. ‘answer me one question. ‘This courts. but I know not how. Ebenezer Scrooge.’ Scrooge exclaimed. as before — though at a different time. overrun by grass and weeds. and looked in. and back again. until besought by Scrooge to tarry for a moment.’ said Scrooge.’ The finger still was there. I see the house. and wondering why and whither he had gone. upon his knees. The Phantom pointed as before. to which. choked up with too much burying. Oh no.shook hands. ‘Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends. if persevered in. The Phantom was exactly as it had been. save that they were in the Future — into the resorts of business men. Let me behold what I shall be. I am Free eBooks at Planet eBook. thy childish essence was from God. they must lead. there seemed no order in these latter visions. I know it. fat with repleted appetite. but showed him not himself. but he dreaded that he saw new meaning in its solemn shape. A churchyard. not life. tight clutching at its robe. ‘Am I that man who lay upon the bed.’ said Scrooge.’ said Scrooge. the Spirit did not stay for anything. the wretched man whose name he had now to learn. the ends will change. He joined it once again.’ he cried. ‘Spectre. accompanied it until they reached an iron gate.com  . as to the end just now desired. the hand was pointed elsewhere. no. He paused to look round before entering.’ through which we hurry now. but not his. Are these the shadows of the things that Will be. Spirit of Tiny Tim. The furniture was not the same.’ The inexorable finger underwent no change. and has been for a length of time. the growth of vegetation’s death.’ The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come conveyed him. ‘Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point. It was a  Sons and Lovers worthy place. Here. Say it is thus with what you show me. is where my place of occupation is. ‘The house is yonder. ‘Why do you point away. Scrooge hastened to the window of his office. Indeed. read upon the stone of the neglected grave his own name. The Spirit stood among the graves. trembling as he went.’ hear me. Spirit.’ Still the Ghost pointed downward to the grave by which it stood. ‘Spirit. He advanced towards it trembling.’ The Spirit stopped. and pointed down to One. and following the finger. Walled in by houses. ‘No. lay underneath the ground.’ something informs me that our parting moment is at hand.’ said Scrooge. only. or are they shadows of things that May be. in days to come.’ he cried. It was an office still.

but he was strong in his entreaty. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me. It shrunk. The bed was his own. The Spirit.’ In his agony. Best and happiest of all. rings and all. They are here — I am here — the shadows of the things that would have been. the Present. I know they will.’ he pursued. He had been sobbing violently in his conflict with the Spirit. and dwindled down into a bedpost. if I am past all hope. to make amends in! ‘I will live in the Past.’ The kind hand trembled. he caught the spectral hand. repulsed him. as he scrambled out of bed. may be dispelled. and the Future. ‘They are not torn down. mislaying them. and his face was wet with tears. Stave 5: The End of It Y es! and the bedpost was his own. ‘I don’t know what to do. I am Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ cried Scrooge. ‘The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. on my knees. he saw an alteration in the Phantom’s hood and dress. as down upon the ground he fell before it:’ Your nature intercedes for me. and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. collapsed. It sought to free itself. ‘I will honour Christmas in my heart. They will be. and pities me. Heaven. and making a perfect Laocoon of himself with his stockings.’ For the first time the hand appeared to shake. turning them inside out. I say it on my knees. tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. and detained it.’ He was so fluttered and so glowing with his good intentions. ‘Good Spirit.’ they are not torn down. making them parties to every kind of extravagance.’ cried Scrooge. Oh Jacob Marley. by an altered life. and try to keep it all the year. the Present.’ His hands were busy with his garments all this time. tearing them. that his broken voice would scarcely answer to his call.not the man I was. I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse. putting them on upside down. old Jacob. stronger yet. Why show me this. I will live in the Past. the room was his own. ‘I am as light as a feather.com 101 100 Sons and Lovers . folding one of his bed-curtains in his arms. the Time before him was his own. Oh. Holding up his hands in a last prayer to have his fate aye reversed. laughing and crying in the same breath. and the Christmas Time be praised for this.’ Scrooge repeated.

‘What’s to-day.’ exclaimed the boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. with all his might of wonder.’ ‘Walk-er. long line of brilliant laughs. a most illustrious laugh. he opened it. bright. that I may give them the direction where to take it. No fog. and going round the fireplace.’ returned the boy. cold. clear. ‘An intelligent boy. I’m quite a baby. dong. ding. ‘Is it.’ cried Scrooge. ‘To-day.’ returned the boy.’ replied the boy. no. The father of a long. Of course they can. ‘I should hope I did. There’s the window where I saw the wandering Spirits. merry bells. ‘Eh. in the next street but one. Of course they can. piping for the blood to dance to. He must have had a steady Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ He was checked in his transports by the churches ringing out the lustiest peals he had ever heard. and I’ll give you a shilling. no mist. Hallo. There’s the corner where the Ghost of Christmas Present. Oh.’ said Scrooge. Oh. ‘Why. and was now standing there: perfectly winded. Running to the window. Christmas Day. glorious. dong. They can do anything they like. Come back with him in less than five minutes and I’ll give you half-a-crown. A merry Christmas to everybody. ‘I don’t know what day of the month it is.’ said Scrooge. Hallo. at the corner.’ replied the boy. it was a splendid laugh.’ said Scrooge to himself.’ The boy was off like a shot. ‘There’s the saucepan that the gruel was in. Hallo. Bell.’ Scrooge inquired. and put out his head. Whoop. Do you know whether they’ve sold the prize Turkey that was hanging up there — Not the little prize Turkey: the big one. A happy New Year to all the world. ‘Go and buy it. sweet fresh air. calling downward to a 10 Sons and Lovers boy in Sunday clothes.’ returned the boy. Heavenly sky. clang. Never mind. starting off again. Ha ha ha. ‘A remarkable boy. hammer.’ ‘Hallo. It’s all right. sat. by which the Ghost of Jacob Marley entered. ‘Do you know the Poulterer’s. stirring. it all happened.’ said Scrooge.’ said Scrooge. The Spirits have done it all in one night. ‘It’s a pleasure to talk to him. bell. ding.as happy as an angel. Hallo here. my fine fellow. Golden sunlight. glorious. clash. Clash. clang. I am as merry as a schoolboy. ‘What’s to-day. Glorious. who perhaps had loitered in to look about him. my fine fellow.’ ‘It’s hanging there now.’ replied the lad. ‘I am in earnest. Come back with the man.’ said Scrooge. jovial. ‘There’s the door. Whoop. it’s all true. Go and buy it. hammer.’ ‘What.’ He had frisked into the sitting-room.’ cried Scrooge. I don’t care. Yes. I’d rather be a baby. glorious. the one as big as me.’ ‘It’s Christmas Day. ‘No. ‘I don’t know how long I’ve been among the Spirits. I don’t know anything. and tell them to bring it here. ‘I haven’t missed it. for a man who had been out of practice for so many years. Hallo here.’ Really. ‘What a delightful boy.’ said Scrooge.com 10 . cold. my buck.

— Here’s the Turkey. ‘That is my name. He would have snapped them short off in a minute. and the chuckle with which he paid for the cab.’ Scrooge and Marley’s. those were the blithest in his ears. but he knew what path lay straight before him.hand at a trigger who could have got a shot off half so fast. ‘My dear Mr Scrooge. sir. ready for the coming of the poulterer’s man. The people were by this time pouring forth. quickening his pace. Scrooge regarded every one with a delighted smile.’ The hand in which he wrote the address was not a steady one. Shaving was not an easy task. are you serious. and went down-stairs to open the street door. rubbing his hands.’ cried Scrooge. ‘I’ll send it to Bon Cratchit’s. patting it with his hand. It’s twice the size of Tiny Tim.’ ‘Yes.’ It sent a pang across his heart to think how this old gentleman would look upon him when they met. as if his breath were taken away.’ ‘Mr Scrooge. and chuckled till he cried. like sticks of sealing-wax. But if he had cut 10 Sons and Lovers the end of his nose off. the knocker caught his eye. ‘I scarcely ever looked at it before. Whoop. ‘I shall love it. and said.’ whispered Scrooge. ‘My dear sir. somehow. in a word. And will you have the goodness’ — here Scrooge whispered in his ear. and splitting with a laugh. Joe Miller never made such a joke as sending it to Bob’s will be. waiting his arrival. sir. when coming on towards him he beheld the portly gentleman. Allow me to ask your pardon.’ And Scrooge said often afterwards. It’s a wonderful knocker. and shaving requires attention.’ Good morning. ‘Lord bless me. he would have put a piece of stickingplaster over it. as long as I live. that bird. and the chuckle with which he paid for the Turkey. He never could have stood upon his legs. As he stood there.’ said Scrooge.’ said Scrooge. but write it he did. He dressed himself all in his best. and walking with his hands behind him. I believe. and taking the old gentleman by both his hands. ‘How do you do. I hope you succeeded yesterday.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ said Scrooge. for his hand continued to shake very much. He looked so irresistibly pleasant. A merry Christmas to you. and at last got out into the streets.’ The chuckle with which he said this. even when you don’t dance while you are at it. it’s impossible to carry that to Camden Town. ‘Why. and I fear it may not be pleasant to you. What an honest expression it has in its face.’ It was a Turkey. It was very kind of you. Merry Christmas. He had not gone far. and the chuckle with which he recompensed the boy. as he had seen them with the Ghost of Christmas Present.’ cried the gentleman. and been quite satisfied. How are you. and he took it. A merry Christmas to you. were only to be exceeded by the chuckle with which he sat down breathless in his chair again.com 10 . that three or four good-humoured fellows said. that of all the blithe sounds he had ever heard. Hallo. who had walked into his counting-house the day before. ‘He shan’t know who sends it. ‘You must have a cab.

‘He’s in the dining-room. Nice girl. But he made a dash. Bless you. before he had the courage to go up and knock.’ ‘Thank you. A great many back-payments are included in it.’ said Scrooge. I’ll show you up-stairs. sir. and questioned beggars.’ 10 Sons and Lovers . He had never dreamed that any walk — that anything — could give him so much happiness.’ ‘Where is he. and looked down into the kitchens of houses. and watched the people hurrying to and fro.’ ‘Don’t say anything please.’ ‘My dear sir. In the afternoon he turned his steps towards his nephew’s house. shaking hands with him.’ retorted Scrooge. sir. He passed the door a dozen times. along with mistress. ‘Yes.’ said Scrooge to the girl.’ cried the old gentleman. I assure you.‘If you please. and found that everything could yield him pleasure. ‘Come and see me. I thank you fifty times. Very.’ ‘I will.’ said the other. Will you come and see me. my dear.’ said Scrooge. ‘Thank you. and did it: ‘Is your master at home. ‘I am much obliged to you. with his hand already on the dining-room lock. ‘I’ll go in here. my dear. if you please.’ said Scrooge.’ said Scrooge.’ He went to church. And it was clear he meant to do it. ‘Not a farthing less. Will you do me that favour. ‘I don’t know what to say to such munificence. and patted children on the head. He knows me. and walked about the streets. my love. and up to the windows.

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