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A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

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Published by Sneha Patel

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Published by: Sneha Patel on Nov 06, 2011
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  • Stave 1: Marley’s Ghost
  • Stave 2: The First of the Three Spirits
  • Stave 3: The Second of the Three Spirits
  • Stave 4: The Last of the Spirits
  • Stave 5: The End of It

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. 

Sons and Lovers

Stave 1: Marley’s Ghost


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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If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet’s Father died before the play began. External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. shrivelled his cheek. and his wiry chin. Scrooge never painted out Old Marley’s name. He carried his own low temperature always about with him. and sometimes Marley. A frosty rime was on his head. he iced his office in the dogdays. but he answered to both names. from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire. and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. secret. Scrooge! a squeezing. and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas. old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint. wrenching. in an easterly wind. made his eyes red. 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. nipped his pointed nose. no wintry weather chill him. No  Sons and Lovers . The cold within him froze his old features. his thin lips blue. It was all the same to him. or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. There it stood. and solitary as an oyster. and self-contained. and on his eyebrows. No warmth could warm. clutching. above the warehouse door: Scrooge and Marley. Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind.be distinctly understood. upon his own ramparts. years afterwards. covetous. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. stiffened his gait. scraping.stone. grasping. there would be nothing more remarkable in his taking a stroll at night. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge.

but it was quite dark already — it had not been light all day — and candles were flaring in the windows of the neighbouring Free eBooks at Planet eBook. warning all human sympathy to keep its distance. and hail. Foul weather didn’t know where to have him. no children asked him what it was o’clock. ‘No eye at all is better than an evil eye. The city clocks had only just gone three. Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say. The heaviest rain. with gladsome looks. would tug their owners into doorways and up courts. and stamping their feet upon the pavement stones to warm them. and snow. of Scrooge. beating their hands upon their breasts. Once upon a time — of all the good days in the year. and then would wag their tails as though they said. bleak. They often ‘came down’ handsomely. on Christmas Eve — old Scrooge sat busy in his countinghouse. dark master!’ But what did Scrooge care! It was the very thing he liked. biting weather: foggy withal: and he could hear the people in the court outside. no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place.com  . To edge his way along the crowded paths of life. It was cold. ‘My dear Scrooge. no pelting rain less open to entreaty. go wheezing up and down. could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect.wind that blew was bitterer than he. was what the knowing ones call ‘nuts’ to Scrooge. and when they saw him coming on. how are you? When will you come to see me?’ No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle. Even the blind men’s dogs appeared to know him. no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose. and Scrooge never did. and sleet.

To see the dingy cloud come drooping down. and his breath smoked again. Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter. and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel. who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach. the houses opposite were mere phantoms. this nephew of Scrooge’s. ‘Christmas a humbug. uncle! God save you!’ cried a cheerful voice. The door of Scrooge’s counting-house was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk. The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole.’ said Scrooge. like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air. ‘Merry Christmas! What right have  Sons and Lovers . But he couldn’t replenish it. that he was all in a glow. ‘You don’t mean that. who in a dismal little cell beyond. in which effort. I am sure?’ ‘I do. one might have thought that Nature lived hard by. that although the court was of the narrowest. for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room. It was the voice of Scrooge’s nephew.offices. but the clerk’s fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal. ‘A merry Christmas. the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Scrooge had a very small fire. and was brewing on a large scale. was copying letters. ‘Humbug!’ He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost. and tried to warm himself at the candle. uncle!’ said Scrooge’s nephew. and was so dense without. he failed. his eyes sparkled. a sort of tank. obscuring everything. ‘Bah!’ said Scrooge. his face was ruddy and handsome. not being a man of a strong imagination.

He should!’ ‘Uncle!’ pleaded the nephew.’ ‘Let me leave it alone. said ‘Bah!’ again. ‘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.’ ‘Keep it!’ repeated Scrooge’s nephew. ‘Much good may it do you! Much good it has ever done you!’ ‘There are many things from which I might have derived good. ‘Nephew!’ returned the uncle sternly. and followed it up with ‘Humbug. ‘keep Christmas in your own way.’ Scrooge having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment.’ returned the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. should be boiled with his own pudding. ‘But you don’t keep it. ‘every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips. 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. a time for finding yourself a year older. uncle!’ said the nephew. and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.’ ‘Don’t be cross.’ said Scrooge indignantly. then. and let me keep it in mine.’ said Scrooge. then.’ returned the nephew gaily.’ returned the uncle. I dare say. by which I have not profited.’ ‘Come.com  . but not an hour richer. ‘What else can I be.you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You’re poor enough. ‘What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You’re rich enough.

charitable. when it has come round — apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin.’ ‘Don’t be angry. pleasant time: the only time I know of. and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave. if anything belonging to it can be apart from that — as a good time. forgiving. he poked the fire. ‘Christmas among the rest. uncle. a kind. Becoming immediately sensible of the impropriety. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time. though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket. and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.’ said Scrooge. I believe that it has done me good. turning to his nephew.’ he added. He went the whole length of the expression.nephew.’ ‘Because you fell in love!’ growled Scrooge. God bless it!’ The clerk in the Tank involuntarily applauded. and will do me good. uncle. ‘Because I fell in love. ‘and you’ll keep your Christmas by losing your situation! You’re quite a powerful speaker.’ Scrooge said that he would see him — yes. and said that he would see him in that extremity first. sir. when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely. ‘Why?’ ‘Why did you get married?’ said Scrooge. indeed he did. ‘I wonder you don’t go into Parliament. ‘Let me hear another sound from you. Come! Dine with us tomorrow. ‘But why?’ cried Scrooge’s nephew. and I say. and extinguished the last frail spark for ever. as if that were the only one thing in the world more ridiculous than a mer Sons and Lovers . And therefore. in the long calendar of the year.

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

for they had been two kindred spirits. ‘And the Union workhouses?’ demanded Scrooge. that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course. Marley?’ ‘Mr. ‘I wish I could say they were not.’ 10 Sons and Lovers .’ ‘We have no doubt his liberality is well represented by his surviving partner.’ Scrooge replied. ‘Both very busy. It certainly was. Scrooge.’ ‘Are there no prisons?’ asked Scrooge. ‘Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Mr. presenting his credentials.’ returned the gentleman. referring to his list. taking up a pen. ‘Plenty of prisons. and handed the credentials back.’ ‘The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour. from what you said at first. At the ominous word ‘liberality. ‘At this festive season of the year. sir. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries. ‘it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute. and shook his head.’ said the gentleman. Still. then?’ said Scrooge.’ said the gentleman. ‘Are they still in operation?’ ‘They are. laying down the pen again. Marley has been dead these seven years.’ said Scrooge. ‘He died seven years ago.’ ‘Oh! I was afraid.’ Scrooge frowned. Scrooge. sir.men. this very night. hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts. ‘I’m very glad to hear it.’ said the gentleman. who suffer greatly at the present time. or Mr.

and decrease the surplus population. and in a more facetious temper than was usual with him. Meanwhile the fog and darkness thickened so. Scrooge returned his labours with an improved opinion of himself. because it is a time. and Abundance rejoices.’ observed the gentleman.’ ‘But you might know it.com 11 . and not to interfere with other people’s. We choose this time. gentlemen. and means of warmth. and those who are badly off must go there. that peoFree eBooks at Planet eBook. Mine occupies me constantly.’ ‘Many can’t go there.’ said Scrooge. ‘a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink. Besides — excuse me — I don’t know that. and many would rather die. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned — they cost enough. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. Good afternoon.‘Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude.’ returned the gentleman. ‘It’s enough for a man to understand his own business. gentlemen!’ Seeing clearly that it would be useless to pursue their point. ‘You wish to be anonymous?’ ‘I wish to be left alone. ‘they had better do it.’ said Scrooge.’ Scrooge returned. that is my answer.’ ‘If they would rather die. ‘Since you ask me what I wish. of all others. ‘It’s not my business. What shall I put you down for?’ ‘Nothing!’ Scrooge replied. when Want is keenly felt. the gentlemen withdrew.

and turned to misanthropic ice. and struck the hours and quarters in the clouds. whose gruff old bell was always peeping slily down at Scrooge out of a Gothic window in the wall. and had lighted a great fire in a brazier. made pale faces ruddy as they passed. with tremulous vibrations afterwards as if its teeth were chattering in its frozen head up there. The water-plug being left in solitude. If the good Saint Dunstan had but nipped the Evil Spirit’s 1 Sons and Lovers . proffering their services to go before horses in carriages. in the stronghold of the mighty Mansion House. and colder! Piercing. biting cold. with which it was next to impossible to believe that such dull principles as bargain and sale had anything to do. and conduct them on their way. Poulterers’ and grocers’ trades became a splendid joke. In the main street at the corner of the court. and even the little tailor. while his lean wife and the baby sallied out to buy the beef. The cold became intense. stirred up to-morrow’s pudding in his garret. The brightness of the shops where holly sprigs and berries crackled in the lamp heat of the windows. round which a party of ragged men and boys were gathered: warming their hands and winking their eyes before the blaze in rapture. became invisible. searching. The Lord Mayor. gave orders to his fifty cooks and butlers to keep Christmas as a Lord Mayor’s household should. some labourers were repairing the gaspipes. its overflowing sullenly congealed. whom he had fined five shillings on the previous Monday for being drunk and bloodthirsty in the streets. The ancient tower of a church.ple ran about with flaring links. Foggier yet. a glorious pageant.

‘you don’t think me ill-used. stooped down at Scrooge’s keyhole to regale him with a Christmas carol: but at the first sound of ‘God bless you. Be here all the earlier next morning. With an ill-will Scrooge dismounted from his stool. and tacitly admitted the fact to the expectant clerk in the Tank. instead of using his familiar weapons. when I pay a day’s wages for no work. merry gentleman! May nothing you dismay!’ Scrooge seized the ruler with such energy of action.house arrived.’ The clerk observed that it was only once a year. ‘A poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every twentyfifth of December!’ said Scrooge. ‘And yet.’ ‘It’s not convenient. you’d think yourself ill-used. buttoning his great-coat to the chin. If I was to stop half-a-crown for it. The owner of one scant young nose. ‘You’ll want all day to-morrow. ‘But I suppose you must have the whole day. leaving the keyhole to the fog and even more congenial frost. ‘If quite convenient. I suppose?’ said Scrooge.nose with a touch of such weather as that. gnawed and mumbled by the hungry cold as bones are gnawed by dogs.’ said Scrooge.’ said Scrooge. I’ll be bound?’ The clerk smiled faintly. then indeed he would have roared to lusty purpose. who instantly snuffed his candle out. sir.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and put on his hat.com 1 . ‘and it’s not fair. that the singer fled in terror. At length the hour of shutting up the counting.

The yard was so dark that even Scrooge. to play at blindman’s-buff. They were a gloomy suite of rooms. Now. during his whole residence in that place. was fain to grope with his hands. night and morning. at the end of a lane of boys. and having read all the newspapers. It is also a fact. It was old enough now.The clerk promised that he would. in honour of its being Christmas Eve. twenty times. went down a slide on Cornhill. The office was closed in a twinkling. that one could scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house. and forgotten the way out again. with the long ends of his white comforter dangling below his waist (for he boasted no great-coat). who knew its every stone. the other rooms being all let out as offices. that there was nothing at all particular about the knocker on the door. in a lowering pile of building up a yard. where it had so little business to be. The fog and frost so hung about the black old gateway of the house. and dreary enough. except that it was very large. and the clerk. and then ran home to Camden Town as hard as he could pelt. playing at hide-and-seek with other houses. He lived in chambers which had once belonged to his deceased partner. for nobody lived in it but Scrooge. also that Scrooge had as little of what is called fancy about him as any man 1 Sons and Lovers . went home to bed. and beguiled the rest of the evening with his banker’s-book. Scrooge took his melancholy dinner in his usual melancholy tavern. and Scrooge walked out with a growl. that Scrooge had seen it. it is a fact. that it seemed as if the Genius of the Weather sat in mournful meditation on the threshold.

Let it also be borne in mind that Scrooge had not bestowed one thought on Marley. That. but had a dismal light about it.com 1 . or that his blood was not conscious of a terrible sensation to which it had been a stranger from infancy. and lighted his candle. having his key in the lock of the door. saw in the knocker. but its horror seemed to be in spite of the face and beyond its control. but looked at Scrooge as Marley used to look: with ghostly spectacles turned up on its ghostly forehead.in the city of London. if he can. aldermen. It was not in impenetrable shadow as the other objects in the yard were. He did pause. walked in. before he shut the door. and its livid colour. As Scrooge looked fixedly at this phenomenon. since his last mention of his seven years’ dead partner that afternoon. with a moment’s irresolution. made it horrible. And then let any man explain to me. as if by breath or hot air. It was not angry or ferocious. The hair was curiously stirred. how it happened that Scrooge. it was a knocker again. rather than a part or its own expression. and he did look cautiously behind it first. turned it sturdily. would be untrue. Marley’s face. To say that he was not startled. but Marley’s face. But he put his hand upon the key he had relinquished. and livery. as if he half-expected to be terrified with the sight of Marley’s Free eBooks at Planet eBook. like a bad lobster in a dark cellar. though the eyes were wide open. and. without its undergoing any intermediate process of change — not a knocker. they were perfectly motionless. even including — which is a bold word — the corporation.

he walked through his rooms to see that all was right. so he said ‘Pooh. Darkness is cheap. spoon and basin ready. But before he shut his heavy door. not caring a button for that. except the screws and nuts that held the knocker on. a small fire in the grate. bedroom. with the splinter-bar towards the wall and the door towards the balustrades: and done it easy. and up the stairs. There was plenty of width for that. and every cask in the wine-merchant’s cellars below.pigtail sticking out into the hall. Up Scrooge went. Sitting-room. but I mean to say you might have got a hearse up that staircase. and Scrooge liked it. He had just enough recollection of the face to desire to do that. But there was nothing on the back of the door. or through a bad young Act of Parliament. Half a dozen gas-lamps out of the street wouldn’t have lighted the entry too well. which is perhaps the reason why Scrooge thought he saw a locomotive hearse going on before him in the gloom. appeared to have a separate peal of echoes of its own. He fastened the door. The sound resounded through the house like thunder. Every room above. pooh!’ and closed it with a bang. Nobody under the table. slowly too: trimming his candle as he went. and taken it broadwise. and walked across the hall. Scrooge was not a man to be frightened by echoes. nobody under the sofa. and room to spare. and the little sauce1 Sons and Lovers . All as they should be. You may talk vaguely about driving a coach-and-six up a good old flight of stairs. lumber-room. so you may suppose that it was pretty dark with Scrooge’s dip.

‘Humbug!’ said Scrooge. washing-stand on three legs. he sat down again. As he threw his Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and a poker. put on his dressing-gown and slippers. and sat down before the fire to take his gruel. Abrahams. Pharaohs’ daughters. before he could extract the least sensation of warmth from such a handful of fuel. nothing on such a bitter night. there would have been a copy of old Marley’s head on every one. Quite satisfied. and his nightcap. The fireplace was an old one. Thus secured against surprise. After several turns. It was a very low fire indeed. designed to illustrate the Scriptures. which was hanging up in a suspicious attitude against the wall. and paved all round with quaint Dutch tiles. There were Cains and Abels. hundreds of figures to attract his thoughts — and yet that face of Marley. If each smooth tile had been a blank at first. and locked himself in. built by some Dutch merchant long ago. nobody in his dressing-gown. seven years dead. with power to shape some picture on its surface from the disjointed fragments of his thoughts. which was not his custom. double-locked himself in. and brood over it. Nobody under the bed. nobody in the closet. old shoes. and walked across the room.com 1 . Lumber-room as usual. Old fireguards.pan of gruel (Scrooge had a cold in his head) upon the hob. he took off his cravat. and swallowed up the whole. He was obliged to sit close to it. he closed his door. two fish-baskets. came like the ancient Prophet’s rod. Belshazzars. Angelic messengers descending through the air on clouds like feather-beds. Queens of Sheba. Apostles putting off to sea in butter-boats.

a disused bell. Marley’s Ghost!’ and fell again. Scrooge then remembered to have heard that ghosts in haunted houses were described as dragging chains. The bells ceased as they had begun.head back in the chair. as if some person were dragging a heavy chain over the casks in the wine merchant’s cellar. The chain he drew was clasped about his middle. 1 Sons and Lovers . but it seemed an hour. and passed into the room before his eyes. and so did every bell in the house. and then he heard the noise much louder. It swung so softly in the outset that it scarcely made a sound. his glance happened to rest upon a bell. then coming up the stairs. and with a strange.’ His colour changed though. The same face: the very same. together. the dying flame leaped up. then coming straight towards his door. like his pigtail. he saw this bell begin to swing. and the hair upon his head. tights and boots. and his coat-skirts. ‘It’s humbug still!’ said Scrooge. inexplicable dread. on the floors below. They were succeeded by a clanking noise. usual waistcoat. or a minute. It was with great astonishment. ‘I won’t believe it. it came on through the heavy door. This might have lasted half a minute. and communicated for some purpose now forgotten with a chamber in the highest story of the building. but soon it rang out loudly. without a pause. deep down below. that as he looked. The cellar-door flew open with a booming sound. Upon its coming in. that hung in the room. when. as though it cried ‘I know him. Marley in his pigtail. the tassels on the latter bristling.

as more appropriate.’ Scrooge asked the question.’ ‘Do it.’ ‘Can you — can you sit down?’ asked Scrooge. for a shade. which wrapper he had not observed before. ‘In life I was your partner. observing him. nor did he believe it even now. ‘Who are you?’ ‘Ask me who I was. he was still incredulous. though he felt the chilling influence of its death-cold eyes. Scrooge had often heard it said that Marley had no bowels.’ but substituted this.’ ‘Who were you then?’ said Scrooge. and saw it standing before him. caustic and cold as ever. Jacob Marley. ledgers. and marked the very texture of the folded kerchief bound about its head and chin. so that Scrooge.com 1 . deeds. but he had never believed it until now. and wound about him like a tail. No. because he didn’t know Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ He was going to say ‘to a shade. Though he looked the phantom through and through. ‘You’re particular. no doubt about it. and heavy purses wrought in steel.It was long. ‘How now!’ said Scrooge. could see the two buttons on his coat behind. looking doubtfully at him. then. ‘What do you want with me?’ ‘Much!’ — Marley’s voice. padlocks. His body was transparent. and fought against his senses. keys. and looking through his waistcoat. and it was made (for Scrooge observed it closely) of cash-boxes. raising his voice. ‘I can.

‘You don’t believe in me. Scrooge could not feel it himself. and tassels.’ said Scrooge. staring at those fixed glazed eyes. ‘I don’t. 0 Sons and Lovers . ‘a little thing affects them. in silence for a moment. To sit. were still agitated as by the hot vapour from an oven. and skirts. ‘What evidence would you have of my reality beyond that of your senses?’ ‘I don’t know. You may be an undigested bit of beef. for though the Ghost sat perfectly motionless. the very deuce with him.’ said Scrooge. whatever you are!’ Scrooge was not much in the habit of cracking jokes. too. nor did he feel. in the spectre’s being provided with an infernal atmosphere of its own. its hair.’ said Scrooge. ‘Why do you doubt your senses?’ ‘Because. that he tried to be smart. in his heart. for the spectre’s voice disturbed the very marrow in his bones. a fragment of an underdone potato. would play. as if he were quite used to it.whether a ghost so transparent might find himself in a condition to take a chair. Scrooge felt. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you. a crumb of cheese. a blot of mustard. as a means of distracting his own attention. But the ghost sat down on the opposite side of the fireplace. and keeping down his terror. There was something very awful.’ observed the Ghost. it might involve the necessity of an embarrassing explanation. and felt that in the event of its being impossible. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. The truth is. by any means waggish then. but this was clearly the case.

‘do you believe in me or not?’ ‘I do. ‘I do. and be for the rest of my days persecuted by a legion of goblins. ‘notwithstanding. and if that spirit goes not forth in life.’ said Scrooge. returning quickly to the charge.’ ‘Well!’ returned Scrooge. ‘Mercy!’ he said. why do you trouble me?’ ‘Man of the worldly mind!’ replied the Ghost. to save himself from falling in a swoon. all of my own creation. for the reason just assigned. and why do they come to me?’ ‘It is required of every man. that Scrooge held on tight to his chair. ‘I must.com 1 . ‘Dreadful apparition. and clasped his hands before his face. It is doomed to Free eBooks at Planet eBook. when the phantom taking off the bandage round its head. ‘that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellowmen. though it were only for a second.’ said the Ghost. its lower jaw dropped down upon its breast! Scrooge fell upon his knees. and shook its chain with such a dismal and appalling noise. But how much greater was his horror. and travel far and wide.’ the Ghost returned. ‘You are not looking at it. to divert the vision’s stony gaze from himself. and wishing. it is condemned to do so after death.’ said Scrooge. But why do spirits walk the earth. ‘But I see it. ‘I have but to swallow this. I tell you! humbug!’ At this the spirit raised a frightful cry.‘You see this toothpick?’ said Scrooge. as if it were too warm to wear indoors.’ replied the Ghost. Humbug.

’ said Scrooge. I cannot linger anywhere. I girded it on of my own free will. tell me more. ‘Tell me why?’ ‘I wear the chain I forged in life. and yard by yard. and shook its chain and wrung its shadowy hands. Speak comfort to me. Is its pattern strange to you?’ Scrooge trembled more and more. ‘the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this. Nor can I tell you what I would. seven Christmas Eves ago. 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. Ebenezer Scrooge. imploringly. I cannot rest. and is conveyed by other ministers.’ he said. ‘Jacob. ‘You are fettered. ‘Or would you know. trembling. It is a ponderous chain!’ Scrooge glanced about him on the floor. ‘It comes from other regions.’ pursued the Ghost. ‘I made it link by link. to other kinds of men. and weary journeys lie before me!’  Sons and Lovers . You have laboured on it.’ replied the Ghost.’ the Ghost replied. ‘Old Jacob Marley. in the expectation of finding himself surrounded by some fifty or sixty fathoms of iron cable: but he could see nothing. I cannot stay. and of my own free will I wore it. since. is all permitted to me. but might have shared on earth. and turned to happiness!’ Again the spectre raised a cry. Jacob!’ ‘I have none to give.wander through the world — oh. A very little more. woe is me! — and witness what it cannot share.

will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness. Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere. The Ghost. set up another cry. on hearing this. ‘You must have been very slow about it. in a business-like manner.’ mused Scrooge. ‘Seven years dead. Pondering on what the Ghost had said. for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed. ‘On the wings of the wind.’ replied the Ghost. Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘No rest. that the Ward would have been justified in indicting it for a nuisance. no peace.’ Scrooge observed. to put his hands in his breeches pockets.’ said the Ghost. though with humility and deference. Incessant torture of remorse. ‘And travelling all the time!’ ‘The whole time. ‘not to know. ‘Slow!’ the Ghost repeated. whatever it may be. but without lifting up his eyes. that ages of incessant labour. or getting off his knees. Jacob.’ ‘You travel fast?’ said Scrooge. he did so now. by immortal creatures. ‘Oh! captive. and clanked its chain so hideously in the dead silence of the night. and double-ironed.It was a habit with Scrooge.’ cried the phantom. whenever he became thoughtful. ‘You might have got over a great quantity of ground in seven years.com  . bound.’ said Scrooge.

Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down. I may not tell. 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. ‘At this time of the rolling year. ‘My time is nearly gone. Ebenezer. as if that were the cause of all its unavailing grief. I have sat invisible beside you many and many a day. A chance and hope of my procuring. and began to quake exceedingly.’ ‘I will.’ pursued the Ghost.‘But you were always a good man of business.’ said Scrooge.’ faltered Scrooge. ‘But don’t be hard upon me! Don’t be flowery.  Sons and Lovers . mercy. and flung it heavily upon the ground again. and wiped the perspiration from his brow. and benevolence. were.’ said Scrooge. all. ‘I am here to-night to warn you. Jacob! Pray!’ ‘How it is that I appear before you in a shape that you can see. The common welfare was my business.’ the spectre said ‘I suffer most. forbearance. ‘Mankind was my business. charity. my business. Scrooge shivered. wringing its hands again. that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate. ‘That is no light part of my penance. 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. who now began to apply this to himself.’ ‘You were always a good friend to me. ‘Business!’ cried the Ghost. Jacob.’ It was not an agreeable idea. ‘Hear me!’ cried the Ghost.

com  . by the smart sound its teeth made. and have it over. ‘It is. for your own sake. Look to see me no more. and found his supernatural visitor confronting him in an erect attitude. Jacob?’ hinted Scrooge.‘Thank ‘ee!’ ‘You will be haunted. when the jaws were brought together by the bandage.’ ‘Couldn’t I take ‘em all at once. you remember what has passed between us!’ When it had said these words. ‘you cannot hope to shun the path I tread. as before. and bound it round its head. it was wide open. and at every step it took.’ resumed the Ghost. The third upon the next night when the last stroke of Twelve has ceased to vibrate. ‘Without their visits.’ said Scrooge. Scrooge knew this. Expect the first tomorrow. ‘by Three Spirits.’ ‘I — I think I’d rather not. so that when the spectre reached it. the spectre took its wrapper from the table. when the bell tolls One. with its chain wound over and about its arm.’ Scrooge’s countenance fell almost as low as the Ghost’s had done. It beckoned Scrooge to Free eBooks at Planet eBook. in a faltering voice. the window raised itself a little. He ventured to raise his eyes again. ‘Expect the second on the next night at the same hour. The apparition walked backward from him. ‘Is that the chance and hope you mentioned.’ said the Ghost. and look that. Jacob?’ he demanded.

as he  Sons and Lovers . Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives. warning him to come no nearer. with a monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle. Every one of them wore chains like Marley’s Ghost. as in surprise and fear: for on the raising of the hand. The spectre. or mist enshrouded them. and had lost the power for ever. wailings inexpressibly sorrowful and self-accusatory. whom it saw below. When they were within two paces of each other. in a white waistcoat. for good. in human matters. and the night became as it had been when he walked home. joined in the mournful dirge. Scrooge followed to the window: desperate in his curiosity. wandering hither and thither in restless haste. The misery with them all was. Not so much in obedience. He looked out. The air was filled with phantoms. who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant. none were free. incoherent sounds of lamentation and regret. after listening for a moment. Whether these creatures faded into mist. clearly. dark night. and moaning as they went. It was double-locked. But they and their spirit voices faded together. he became sensible of confused noises in the air. Scrooge stopped. He had been quite familiar with one old ghost. he could not tell. Marley’s Ghost held up its hand. some few (they might be guilty governments) were linked together. and examined the door by which the Ghost had entered.approach. upon a door-step. Scrooge closed the window. that they sought to interfere. and floated out upon the bleak. which he did.

and fell asleep upon the instant. and the bolts were undisturbed.had locked it with his own hands. or his glimpse of the Invisible World. or the fatigues of the day. or the lateness of the hour.com  . went straight to bed. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He tried to say ‘Humbug!’ but stopped at the first syllable. from the emotion he had undergone. or the dull conversation of the Ghost. much in need of repose. without undressing. And being.

to correct this most preposterous clock. It was past two when he went to bed. he scrambled out of bed. The clock was wrong. He was obliged to rub the frost off with the sleeve of his dressing-gown before he could see anything. that looking out of bed.’ The idea being an alarming one. he could scarcely distinguish the transparent window from the opaque walls of his chamber. ‘Why. and regularly up to twelve. ‘that I can have slept through a whole day and far into another night. He touched the spring of his repeater. All  Sons and Lovers . Its rapid little pulse beat twelve: and stopped. and could see very little then. To his great astonishment the heavy bell went on from six to seven. and groped his way to the window. and this is twelve at noon. then stopped. when the chimes of a neighbouring church struck the four quarters. It isn’t possible that anything has happened to the sun. An icicle must have got into the works. Twelve. it isn’t possible. it was so dark. He was endeavouring to pierce the darkness with his ferret eyes.Stave 2: The First of the Three Spirits W hen Scrooge awoke. Twelve.’ said Scrooge. and from seven to eight. So he listened for the hour.

and missed the clock. that it was still very foggy and extremely cold. after mature inquiry that it was all a dream. and that there was no noise of people running to and fro.com  . The quarter was so long. The more he thought. Ebenezer Scrooge on his order. on a sudden. because ‘Three days after sight of this First of Exchange pay to Mr. as there unquestionably would have been if night had beaten off bright day. to its first position. and making a great stir. that he was more than once convinced he must have sunk into a doze unconsciously. his mind flew back again. the more he thought. Every time he resolved within himself. ‘Ding. Marley’s Ghost bothered him exceedingly. and taken possession of the world.’ and so forth. and thought. when he remembered. and could make nothing of it. andpresented the same problem to be worked all through. the wisest resolution in his power. Scrooge went to bed again.he could make out was. this was. ‘Was it a dream or not?’ Scrooge lay in this state until the chime had gone threequarters more. and. dong!’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. would have become a mere United States security if there were no days to count by. considering that he could no more go to sleep than go to heaven. At length it broke upon his listening ear. and thought. He resolved to lie awake until the hour was passed. This was a great relief. like a strong spring released. the more he endeavoured not to think. that the Ghost hadwarned him of a visitation when the bell tolled one. and. perhaps. the more perplexed he was. and thought it over and over.

and yet the face had not a wrinkle in it. was white as if with age. ‘Ding. ‘Ding. dong!’ ‘The hour itself. like those upper members. ‘and nothing else!’ He spoke before the hour bell sounded. Its hair. hollow. but those to which his face was addressed. Its legs and feet. It was a strange figure — like a child: yet not so like a child as like an old man. Light flashed up in the room upon the instant. nor the curtains at his back. and the curtains of his bed were drawn. by a hand. Not the curtains at his feet. as if its hold were of uncommon strength. which gave him the appearance of having receded from the view. which it now did with a deep. It 0 Sons and Lovers .’ said Scrooge triumphantly. viewed through some supernatural medium. and I am standing in the spirit at your elbow.’ said Scrooge. dull.’ said Scrooge. dong!’ ‘Half past. The arms were very long and muscular. and being diminished to a child’s proportions. counting. which hung about its neck and down its back. I tell you. most delicately formed. the hands the same. ‘Ding. were. bare. melancholy ONE.‘A quarter past. found himself face to face with the unearthly visitor who drew them: as close to it as I am now to you. starting up into a half-recumbent attitude. The curtains of his bed were drawn aside. and Scrooge. The curtains of his bed were drawn aside.’ said Scrooge. dong!’ ‘A quarter to it. and the tenderest bloom was on the skin.

But the strangest thing about it was.com 1 .’ ‘Long Past. Singularly low. For as its belt sparkled and glittered now in one part and now in another. in singular contradiction of that wintry emblem. ‘I am the Ghost of Christmas Past. and what are you. so the figure itself fluctuated in its distinctness: being now a thing with one arm. now with one leg. and.wore a tunic of the purest white. now a head without a body: of which dissolving parts. a great extinguisher for a cap. in its duller moments. was not its strangest quality. at another time was dark. by which all this was visible. And in the very wonder of this. ‘I am.’ asked Scrooge. it would be itself again. now a pair of legs without a head. It held a branch of fresh green holly in its hand. and round its waist was bound a lustrous belt. Even this. whose coming was foretold to me. ‘Who. though. and what was light one instant. as if instead of being so close beside him. had its dress trimmed with summer flowers. ‘Are you the Spirit. distinct and clear as ever. when Scrooge looked at it with increasing steadiness.’ The voice was soft and gentle. and which was doubtless the occasion of its using. sir.’ inquired Scrooge: observant of its dwarfish Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ Scrooge demanded. no outline would be visible in the dense gloom wherein they melted away. the sheen of which was beautiful. it were at a distance. that from the crown of its head there sprung a bright clear jet of light. which it now held under its arm. now with twenty legs.

’ said the Ghost. though gentle as a woman’s  Sons and Lovers .’ Scrooge reverently disclaimed all intention to offend or any knowledge of having wilfully bonneted the Spirit at any period of his life. ‘No.stature. and nightcap. and clasped him gently by the arm. Is it not enough that you are one of those whose passions made this cap.’ exclaimed the Ghost. ‘What. then. ‘Rise. Scrooge could not have told anybody why.’ It would have been in vain for Scrooge to plead that the weather and the hour were not adapted to pedestrian purposes.’ It put out its strong hand as it spoke. Take heed. if anybody could have asked him. the light I give. that he was clad but lightly in his slippers. with worldly hands. ‘Your welfare. and walk with me. and begged him to be covered. and the thermometer a long way below freezing. Scrooge expressed himself much obliged. for it said immediately: ‘Your reclamation. dressing-gown. Your past. and that he had a cold upon him at that time. ‘would you so soon put out. but he had a special desire to see the Spirit in his cap. The Spirit must have heard him thinking.’ Perhaps. and force me through whole trains of years to wear it low upon my brow. He then made bold to inquire what business brought him there. that bed was warm. but could not help thinking that a night of unbroken rest would have been more conducive to that end. The grasp.

that it was a pimple. He rose: but finding that the Spirit made towards the window. and joys. each one connected with a thousand thoughts.’ cried Scrooge with fervour. ‘And what is that upon your cheek. Not a vestige of it was to be seen. ‘I am mortal. and hopes. ‘Your lip is trembling.’ Scrooge muttered. ‘Remember it. appeared still present to the old man’s sense of feeling. He was conscious of a thousand odours floating in the air.hand. cold. was not to be resisted. and cares long. ‘I was bred in this place.’ Scrooge remonstrated. with an unusual catching in his voice. ‘Good Heaven!’ said Scrooge.’ As the words were spoken.’ said the Ghost. clasped his robe in supplication. forgotten. with fields on either hand.com  . ‘I could walk Free eBooks at Planet eBook. long. The city had entirely vanished. with snow upon the ground. and begged the Ghost to lead him where he would. ‘You recollect the way. The darkness and the mist had vanished with it.’ and you shall be upheld in more than this. winter day. though it had been light and instantaneous.’ said the Spirit. ‘and liable to fall.’ ‘Bear but a touch of my hand there. they passed through the wall. Its gentle touch.’ The Spirit gazed upon him mildly. clasping his hands together. as he looked about him. I was a boy here.’ inquired the Spirit. laying it upon his heart. and stood upon an open country road. for it was a clear.

’ They walked along the road.’ The jocund travellers came on. ‘These are but shadows of the things that have been. for their several homes.’ ‘Strange to have forgotten it for so many years. Some shaggy ponies now were seen trotting towards them with boys upon their backs. ‘A solitary child. Out upon merry Christmas. with its bridge. until a little market-town appeared in the distance.’ said the Ghost. and soon approached a mansion of dull red brick. on the roof. Why was he filled with gladness when he heard them give each other Merry Christmas. and post. Why did his cold eye glisten. who called to other boys in country gigs and carts. All these boys were in great spirits. with a little weathercock-surmounted cupola. that the crisp air laughed to hear it. Scrooge recognising every gate. and tree. And he sobbed. by a well-remembered lane. its church. What was merry Christmas to Scrooge. Why was he rejoiced beyond all bounds to see them. neglected by his friends. Scrooge knew and named them every one. ‘They have no consciousness of us. They left the high-road. as they parted at cross-roads and bye-ways.’ said the Ghost. ‘The school is not quite deserted. and winding river. What good had it ever done to him. and his heart leap up as they went past.it blindfold. and shouted to each other.’ Scrooge said he knew it. ‘Let us go on. until the broad fields were so full of merry music. and as they came.’ observed the Ghost. driven by farmers. is left there still. and a bell  Sons and Lovers .

and pointed to his younger self. and the coach-houses and sheds were over-run with grass. they found them poorly furnished. no. and Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the Ghost and Scrooge. Fowls clucked and strutted in the stables. across the hall. and wept to see his poor forgotten self as he used to be. for the spacious offices were little used. melancholy room. which associated itself somehow with too much getting up by candle-light.hanging in it. their windows broken. cold. It was a large house. but fell upon the heart of Scrooge with a softening influence. There was an earthy savour in the air. They went. and gave a freer passage to his tears. their walls were damp and mossy. but one of broken fortunes. At one of these a lonely boy was reading near a feeble fire. and not too much to eat. and disclosed a long. a chilly bareness in the place.com  . not a sigh among the leafless boughs of one despondent poplar. and their gates decayed. and Scrooge sat down upon a form. and vast. Not a latent echo in the house. intent upon his reading. not the idle swinging of an empty store-house door. not a squeak and scuffle from the mice behind the panelling. not a clicking in the fire. with an axe stuck in his belt. Nor was it more retentive of its ancient state. to a door at the back of the house. not a drip from the half-thawed water-spout in the dull yard behind. The Spirit touched him on the arm. made barer still by lines of plain deal forms and desks. Suddenly a man. and glancing through the open doors of many rooms. bare. for entering the dreary hall. It opened before them. in foreign garments: wonderfully real and distinct to look at: stood outside the window. within.

in pity for his former self. Poor boy. ‘Green body and yellow tail. and to see his heightened and excited face. running for his life to the little creek. and looking about him. What business had he to be married to the Princess. it’s Ali Baba.’ The man thought he was dreaming. there they go. Hallo. who was put down in his drawers. It was the Parrot. I’m glad of it. Orson.leading by the bridle an ass laden with wood. for the first time. One Christmas time. Poor Robin Crusoe. ‘There’s the Parrot. when he came home again after sailing round the island.’ Scrooge muttered. asleep.’ Then. with a thing like a lettuce growing out of the top of his head. And Valentine. And the Sultan’s Groom turned upside down by the Genii. Yes. yes. putting his hand in his pocket. Hoop. there he is upon his head. I know.’ and his wild brother. he called him. there he is. There goes Friday. but he wasn’t. don’t you see him.’ To hear Scrooge expending all the earnestness of his nature on such subjects. he did come. ‘It’s dear old honest Ali Baba. And what’s his name.’ and cried again. when yonder solitary child was left here all alone. Robin Crusoe. after drying his eyes with his cuff:  Sons and Lovers . just like that. where have you been. in a most extraordinary voice between laughing and crying.’ said Scrooge. ‘Poor Robin Crusoe. at the Gate of Damascus. ‘Poor boy.’ Scrooge exclaimed in ecstasy. with a rapidity of transition very foreign to his usual character.’ cried Scrooge. indeed. Serve him right. Halloa. you know. would have been a surprise to his business friends in the city. he said. ‘I wish. ‘Why.

‘Nothing. dear brother.’ ‘I have come to bring you home. came darting in. home.’ asked the Spirit. the windows cracked. Father is so much kinder than Free eBooks at Planet eBook. alone again.’ said Scrooge. Scrooge looked at the Ghost. that everything had happened so. but walking up and down despairingly. that there he was.’ The Ghost smiled thoughtfully. and the room became a little darker and more dirty. but how all this was brought about. fragments of plaster fell out of the ceiling. dear brother. and with a mournful shaking of his head. I should like to have given him something: that’s all. when all the other boys had gone home for the jolly holidays. for good and all.’ ‘What is the matter. and bending down to laugh. ‘Yes. He was not reading now. and often kissing him. addressed him as her ‘Dear. ‘To bring you home. little Fan. much younger than the boy.’ returned the boy. There was a boy singing a Christmas Carol at my door last night. ‘Nothing. and the naked laths were shown instead.’ ‘Home.com  .‘but it’s too late now. It opened. and waved its hand: saying as it did so.’ Scrooge’s former self grew larger at the words. for ever and ever. ‘Home. ‘Let us see another Christmas. Home. The panels shrunk. He only knew that it was quite correct. brimful of glee. glanced anxiously towards the door.’ said the child. and putting her arms about his neck. home. Scrooge knew no more than you do. clapping her tiny hands.’ said the child. and a little girl.

that home’s like Heaven. nothing loth to go. accompanied her. Here he produced a decanter of curiously light wine. but being too little. and administered instalments of those dainties to the young people: at the same time. and the celestial and terrestrial globes in the windows. Then she began to drag him.’ and in the hall appeared the schoolmaster himself. He then conveyed him and his sister into the veriest old well of a shivering bestparlour that ever was seen. opening her eyes. and he said Yes.’ said the child. laughed again. A terrible voice in the hall cried. He spoke so gently to me one dear night when I was going to bed.’ exclaimed the boy. and have the merriest time in all the world. and he. were waxy with cold. She clapped her hands and laughed. you should. and stood on tiptoe to embrace him. and tried to touch his head. he had rather not. we’re to be together all the Christmas long. who answered that he thanked the gentleman. towards the door.’ and are never to come back here. but first. but if it was the same tap as he had tasted before. that I was not afraid to ask him once more if you might come home. where the maps upon the wall. sending out a meagre servant to offer a glass of something to the postboy. and sent me in a coach to bring you.he used to be. and threw him into a dreadful state of mind by shaking hands with him. there.’ ‘You are quite a woman. and a block of curiously heavy cake. Master Scrooge’s trunk being by this  Sons and Lovers . little Fan. in her childish eagerness. who glared on Master Scrooge with a ferocious condescension. ‘Bring down Master Scrooge’s box. And you’re to be a man.

but it was evening. and answered briefly. sitting behind such a high desk. and all the strife and tumult of a real city were. that if he had been two inches taller he must have knocked his head against the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the children bade the schoolmaster good-bye right willingly. by the dressing of the shops.’ Scrooge seemed uneasy in his mind. 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. children.’ ‘So she had. where shadowy passengers passed and repassed. ‘Yes. and asked Scrooge if he knew it. The Ghost stopped at a certain warehouse door. ‘Always a delicate creature. and getting into it. they were now in the busy thoroughfares of a city.’ They went in.’ cried Scrooge.’ Although they had but that moment left the school behind them.’ Scrooge returned. where shadowy carts and coaches battle for the way. ‘Know it. ‘But she had a large heart. Spirit. ‘You’re right.’ said the Ghost. whom a breath might have withered. ‘Your nephew.time tied on to the top of the chaise. ‘True. God forbid.’ ‘She died a woman. It was made plain enough.com  . At sight of an old gentleman in a Welsh wig. that here too it was Christmas time again.’ ‘One child. and the streets were lighted up. ‘and had.’ said the Ghost.’ said Scrooge. I will not gainsay it. ‘I was apprenticed here. as I think.’ said the Ghost.

‘Clear away. to be sure. adjusted his capacious waistcoat.ceiling. panting like race-horses. my boys.’ said Fezziwig. ‘Hilli-ho!’ cried old Fezziwig. jovial voice: ‘Yo ho. and let’s have lots of room here. ‘Bless me. accompanied by his fellow-prentice. was Dick.’ cried old Fezziwig. which pointed to the hour of seven. yes. now grown a young man. came briskly in. Christmas. three — had them up in their places — four.’ You wouldn’t believe how those two fellows went at it. Ebenezer. Ebenezer. Let’s have the shutters up. eight.’ ‘Yo ho. They charged into the street with the shutters — one. There was nothing they wouldn’t have 0 Sons and Lovers . five.’ Old Fezziwig laid down his pen. it’s Fezziwig alive again. and looked up at the clock.’ said Scrooge to the Ghost. from his shows to his organ of benevolence.’ before a man can say Jack Robinson. rich. skipping down from the high desk. Dick. with wonderful agility. He was very much attached to me. six — barred them and pinned then — seven. my lads. Hilli-ho. and called out in a comfortable. There he is. fat. oily. Dick. Dear. Poor Dick. ‘Dick Wilkins. Chirrup. two. it’s old Fezziwig. Ebenezer. with a sharp clap of his hands. ‘No more work to-night. nine — and came back before you could have got to twelve. Dick.’ Clear away. dear.’ Scrooge’s former self. Scrooge cried in great excitement: ‘Why. there. Christmas Eve. Bless his heart. laughed all over himself. He rubbed his hands.

and dry. In came Mrs Fezziwig. fuel was heaped upon the fire. some pulling. round and round in various stages of affectionate grouping. some awkwardly. anyhow and everyhow. It was done in a minute. or couldn’t have cleared away. hands half round and back again the other way. and went up to the lofty desk. new top couple starting off again. some gracefully. and the warehouse was as snug. When this result was brought about. In they all came. the lamps were trimmed. and tuned like fifty stomach-aches. the milkman. who was proved to have had her ears pulled by her mistress. old Fezziwig. with her brother’s particular friend. In came a fiddler with a music-book. all top couples at last. In came the boy from over the way.com 1 . as you would desire to see upon a winter’s night. In came all the young men and women employed in the business. In came the three Miss Fezziwigs. and not a bottom one to help them. with her cousin. with old Fezziwig looking on. the baker. Every movable was packed off. In came the housemaid. In came the cook. some pushing. beaming and lovable. and bright a ball-room. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. as soon as they got there.cleared away. and made an orchestra of it. the floor was swept and watered. In came the six young followers whose hearts they broke. who was suspected of not having board enough from his master. and warm. in they all came. old top couple always turning up in the wrong place. one after another. twenty couples at once. one vast substantial smile. trying to hide himself behind the girl from next door but one. some boldly. Away they all went. some shyly. down the middle and up again. as if it were dismissed from public life for evermore.

clapping his hands to stop the dance. and he were a bran-new man resolved to beat him out of sight. and so would Mrs Fezziwig. There were more dances. But if they had been twice as many — ah. when the fiddler (an artful dog. on a shutter.) struck up Sir Roger de Coverley. at any given time. with a good stiff piece of work cut out for them. people who were not to be trifled with. As to her. and plenty of beer. exhausted. and there were mince-pies. and I’ll use it.’ Then old Fezziwig stood out to dance with Mrs Fezziwig. A positive light appeared to issue from Fezziwig’s calves. You couldn’t have predicted. The sort of man who knew his business better than you or I could have told it him. and there was a great piece of Cold Boiled. though there were no dancers yet. people who would dance. too. as if the other fiddler had been carried home. But the great effect of the evening came after the Roast and Boiled.’ Well done. If that’s not high praise. four times — old Fezziwig would have been a match for them. and had no notion of walking. Top couple. and there were forfeits. he instantly began again. But scorning rest. three or four and twenty pair of partners. And when old Fezziwig and Mrs Fezziwig had gone all through the  Sons and Lovers . and there was negus. They shone in every part of the dance like moons. what would have become of them next. mind. and there was cake. especially provided for that purpose. and there was a great piece of Cold Roast. and more dances.’ and the fiddler plunged his hot face into a pot of porter. she was worthy to be his partner in every sense of the term. or perish. upon his reappearance. tell me higher. cried out.

dance; advance and retire, both hands to your partner, bow and curtsey, corkscrew, thread-the-needle, and back again to your place; Fezziwig cut — cut so deftly, that he appeared to wink with his legs, and came upon his feet again without a stagger. When the clock struck eleven, this domestic ball broke up. Mr and Mrs Fezziwig took their stations, one on either side of the door, and shaking hands with every person individually as he or she went out, wished him or her a Merry Christmas. When everybody had retired but the two prentices, they did the same to them; and thus the cheerful voices died away, and the lads were left to their beds; which were under a counter in the back-shop. During the whole of this time, Scrooge had acted like a man out of his wits. His heart and soul were in the scene, and with his former self. He corroborated everything, remembered everything, enjoyed everything, and underwent the strangest agitation. It was not until now, when the bright faces of his former self and Dick were turned from them, that he remembered the Ghost, and became conscious that it was looking full upon him, while the light upon its head burnt very clear. ‘A small matter,’ said the Ghost, ‘to make these silly folks so full of gratitude.’ ‘Small.’ echoed Scrooge. The Spirit signed to him to listen to the two apprentices, who were pouring out their hearts in praise of Fezziwig: and when he had done so, said, ‘Why. Is it not. He has spent but a few pounds of your
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mortal money: three or four perhaps. Is that so much that he deserves this praise.’ ‘It isn’t that,’ said Scrooge, heated by the remark, and speaking unconsciously like his former, not his latter, self. ‘It isn’t that, Spirit. He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count them up: what then. The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.’ He felt the Spirit’s glance, and stopped. ‘What is the matter.’ asked the Ghost. ‘Nothing in particular,’ said Scrooge. ‘Something, I think.’ the Ghost insisted. ‘No,’ said Scrooge,’ No. I should like to be able to say a word or two to my clerk just now. That’s all.’ His former self turned down the lamps as he gave utterance to the wish; and Scrooge and the Ghost again stood side by side in the open air. ‘My time grows short,’ observed the Spirit. ‘Quick.’ This was not addressed to Scrooge, or to any one whom he could see, but it produced an immediate effect. For again Scrooge saw himself. He was older now; a man in the prime of life. His face had not the harsh and rigid lines of later years; but it had begun to wear the signs of care and avarice. There was an eager, greedy, restless motion in the eye, which showed the passion that had taken root, and where the shadow of the growing tree would fall. He was not alone, but sat by the side of a fair young girl 
Sons and Lovers

in a mourning-dress: in whose eyes there were tears, which sparkled in the light that shone out of the Ghost of Christmas Past. ‘It matters little,’ she said, softly. ‘To you, very little. Another idol has displaced me; and if it can cheer and comfort you in time to come, as I would have tried to do, I have no just cause to grieve.’ ‘What Idol has displaced you.’ he rejoined. ‘A golden one.’ ‘This is the even-handed dealing of the world.’ he said. ‘There is nothing on which it is so hard as poverty; and there is nothing it professes to condemn with such severity as the pursuit of wealth.’ ‘You fear the world too much,’ she answered, gently. ‘All your other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of its sordid reproach. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one, until the master-passion, Gain, engrosses you. Have I not.’ ‘What then.’ he retorted. ‘Even if I have grown so much wiser, what then. I am not changed towards you.’ She shook her head. ‘Am I.’ ‘Our contract is an old one. It was made when we were both poor and content to be so, until, in good season, we could improve our worldly fortune by our patient industry. You are changed. When it was made, you were another man.’ ‘I was a boy,’ he said impatiently. ‘Your own feeling tells you that you were not what you
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’ You think not. When I have learned a Truth like this. and can release you. I know how strong and irresistible it must be. is fraught with misery now that we are two.’ He seemed to yield to the justice of this supposition.  Sons and Lovers . ‘Heaven knows. yesterday.are.’ she returned. But he said with a struggle.’ ‘In a changed nature. in an altered spirit. would you seek me out and try to win me now. in another atmosphere of life. no.’ said the girl.’ tell me. but with steadiness. That which promised happiness when we were one in heart. in spite of himself. for the love of him you once were. Ah. but with her head turned from him.’ ‘I would gladly think otherwise if I could.’ ‘Have I ever sought release. upon him. If this had never been between us. With a full heart.’ ‘In words. No.’ she answered. ‘I am.’ He was about to speak. I will not say. can even I believe that you would choose a dowerless girl — you who. do I not know that your repentance and regret would surely follow. then. I do. How often and how keenly I have thought of this. But if you were free to-day. In everything that made my love of any worth or value in your sight. weigh everything by Gain: or.’ ‘In what. It is enough that I have thought of it. Never. another Hope as its great end. looking mildly. she resumed. and I release you. choosing her. to-morrow. in your very confidence with her. if for a moment you were false enough to your one guiding principle to do so.

Free eBooks at Planet eBook. now a comely matron. and forced him to observe what happened next. Why do you delight to torture me.’ But the relentless Ghost pinioned him in both his arms. from which it happened well that you awoke. I don’t wish to see it. the mother and daughter laughed heartily. soon beginning to mingle in the sports. What would I not have given to one of them. and enjoyed it very much.’ show me no more. got pillaged by the young brigands most ruthlessly. A very. but full of comfort. and you will dismiss the recollection of it. and. Though I never could have been so rude. sitting opposite her daughter. on the contrary.’ said Scrooge.’ exclaimed the Ghost. May you be happy in the life you have chosen. for there were more children there.’ cried Scrooge. as an unprofitable dream. than Scrooge in his agitated state of mind could count. until he saw her. gladly. ‘No more. not very large or handsome. Conduct me home. The consequences were uproarious beyond belief. very brief time.’ ‘One shadow more. but every child was conducting itself like forty. Show me no more.com  . They were in another scene and place.’ She left him. they were not forty children conducting themselves like one. unlike the celebrated herd in the poem. Near to the winter fire sat a beautiful young girl. ‘Spirit. a room. no. and they parted. but no one seemed to care. The noise in this room was perfectly tumultuous. and the latter.‘You may — the memory of what is past half makes me hope you will — have pain in this. ‘No more. so like that last that Scrooge believed it was the same.

to have touched her lips. and the onslaught that was made on the defenceless porter. As to measuring her waist in sport. to save my life. I do confess. hold on tight by his cravat. and kick his legs in irrepressible affection. and yet to have been man enough to know its value. to have looked upon the lashes of her downcast eyes. and never raised a blush. and torn it down. as they did. that she might have opened them. to have had the lightest licence of a child. I own. And yet I should have dearly liked. God bless my soul. and for the precious little shoe. to have questioned her. The scaling him with chairs for ladders to dive into his pockets. bold young brood. despoil him of brown-paper parcels. I couldn’t have done it. 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. But now a knocking at the door was heard. Then the shouting and the struggling. The shouts of wonder and delight with which the development of every package was received. an inch of which would be a keepsake beyond price: in short. just in time to greet the father. I wouldn’t for the wealth of all the world have crushed that braided hair. to have let loose waves of hair. I should have expected my arm to have grown round it for a punishment. hug him round his neck. and never come straight again.no. pommel his back. I should have liked. who came home attended by a man laden with Christmas toys and presents. I wouldn’t have plucked it off. and was more than suspected of having swallowed  Sons and Lovers . The terrible announcement that the baby had been taken in the act of putting a doll’s frying-pan into his mouth.

and there he sat alone. They are all indescribable alike. and by one stair at a time. Quite alone in the world. I do believe. and so subsided.com  . where they went to bed. his sight grew very dim indeed. ‘Mr Scrooge. having his daughter leaning fondly on him. The joy.’ I saw an old friend of yours this afternoon. laughing as he laughed. And now Scrooge looked on more attentively than ever. ‘That they are what they are. when the master of the house.’ remove me from this place. and been a spring-time in the haggard winter of his life. and when he thought that such another creature. and gratitude. and as it was not shut up.’ said the Ghost.’ said the husband. don’t I know. His partner lies upon the point of death.a fictitious turkey.’ ‘Guess.’ she added in the same breath. quite as graceful and as full of promise.’ said Scrooge in a broken voice. It is enough that by degrees the children and their emotions got out of the parlour. up to the top of the house. The immense relief of finding this a false alarm.’ ‘Who was it.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. turning to his wife with a smile.’ ‘Mr Scrooge it was. I passed his office window.’ ‘How can I. and ecstasy.’ ‘I told you these were shadows of the things that have been. Tut. I hear. might have called him father. glued on a wooden platter.’ ‘Spirit. ‘Belle. I could scarcely help seeing him. sat down with her and her mother at his own fireside. and he had a candle inside. do not blame me.

and overcome by an irresistible drowsiness. and by a sudden action pressed it down upon its head. of being in his own bedroom. further. in which his hand relaxed. which streamed from under it. in which in some strange way there were fragments of all the faces it had shown him. in an unbroken flood upon the ground. The Spirit dropped beneath it. and had barely time to reel to bed.’ Scrooge exclaimed. but though Scrooge pressed it down with all his force. Scrooge observed that its light was burning high and bright.’ He turned upon the Ghost.’ In the struggle. and dimly connecting that with its influence over him.’ I cannot bear it. and seeing that it looked upon him with a face.‘Remove me. he seized the extinguisher-cap. he could not hide the light. ‘Leave me. and. He was conscious of being exhausted. Haunt me no longer. wrestled with it. so that the extinguisher covered its whole form. He gave the cap a parting squeeze. Take me back. before he sank into a heavy sleep. 0 Sons and Lovers . 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.

He felt that he was restored to consciousness in the right nick of time. For. he put them every one aside with his own hands. between which opposite extremes. and being usually equal to the time-of-day. there lies a tolerably wide and comprehensive range of subjects. and sitting up in bed to get his thoughts together. established a sharp look-out all round the bed. and made nervous.Stave 3: The Second of the Three Spirits A waking in the middle of a prodigiously tough snore. no doubt. and did not wish to be taken by surprise. and lying down again. Without venturing for Scrooge quite as hardily as this. finding that he turned uncomfortably cold when he began to wonder which of his curtains this new spectre would draw back. Scrooge had no occasion to be told that the bell was again upon the stroke of One.com 1 . for the especial purpose of holding a conference with the second messenger despatched to him through Jacob Marley’s intervention. express the wide range of their capacity for adventure by observing that they are good for anything from pitch-and-toss to manslaughter. who plume themselves on being acquainted with a move or two. But. Gentlemen of the free-and-easy sort. I don’t mind calling Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he wished to challenge the Spirit on the moment of its appearance.

The walls  Sons and Lovers . yet nothing came. Five minutes. This idea taking full possession of his mind. It was his own room. or would be at. which streamed upon it when the clock proclaimed the hour. a quarter of an hour went by. and which. however. and was sometimes apprehensive that he might be at that very moment an interesting case of spontaneous combustion. being only light. being prepared for almost anything. he was not by any means prepared for nothing. he began to think — as you or I would have thought at first. He obeyed. he got up softly and shuffled in his slippers to the door. ten minutes. it seemed to shine. and bade him enter. on further tracing it. All this time. and that nothing between a baby and rhinoceros would have astonished him very much. without having the consolation of knowing it. the very core and centre of a blaze of ruddy light. and. At last. But it had undergone a surprising transformation. from whence. when the Bell struck One. was more alarming than a dozen ghosts. and would unquestionably have done it too — at last. he began to think that the source and secret of this ghostly light might be in the adjoining room. he lay upon his bed. I say. The moment Scrooge’s hand was on the lock. as he was powerless to make out what it meant. There was no doubt about that. for it is always the person not in the predicament who knows what ought to have been done in it. and no shape appeared. consequently. a strange voice called him by his name. he was taken with a violent fit of trembling.on you to believe that he was ready for a good broad field of strange appearances. Now.

and ceiling were so hung with living green. or mantle.’ Scrooge entered timidly. that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam. there sat a jolly Giant. as that dull petrification of a hearth had never known in Scrooge’s time. high up.’ Scrooge reverently did so. and know me better. and seething bowls of punch. and such a mighty blaze went roaring up the chimney. bordered with white fur. to form a kind of throne. as if so many little mirrors had been scattered there.com  . red-hot chestnuts. and hung his head before this Spirit. to shed its light on Scrooge. or for many and many a winter season gone. in shape not unlike Plenty’s horn. bright gleaming berries glistened. he did not like to meet them. or Marley’s. game. glorious to see. and though the Spirit’s eyes were clear and kind. juicy oranges. ‘I am the Ghost of Christmas Present. In easy state upon this couch. cherry-cheeked apples. It was clothed in one simple green robe. man. brawn. luscious pears. plum-puddings. Heaped up on the floor. This garment hung so loosely on the figure. as he came peeping round the door. who bore a glowing torch.’ exclaimed the Ghost. He was not the dogged Scrooge he had been. mistletoe. were turkeys.’ said the Spirit. that it looked a perfect grove. and held it up. ‘Come in. ‘Come in. geese. ‘Look upon me. sucking-pigs. The crisp leaves of holly. that its capacious breast Free eBooks at Planet eBook. mince-pies. and ivy reflected back the light. from every part of which. great joints of meat. long wreaths of sausages. immense twelfth-cakes. barrels of oysters. poultry.

its cheery voice.’ said Scrooge. ivy. To-night. if you have aught to teach me. fruit. sausages. Its dark brown curls were long and free. The Ghost of Christmas Present rose. its open hand.’ pursued the Phantom. free as its genial face. game. mistletoe. observable beneath the ample folds of the garment. as if disdaining to be warded or concealed by any artifice. pies. So did the room. and I learnt a lesson which is working now. set here and there with shining icicles. ‘Spirit. I went forth last night on compulsion. pigs.was bare. puddings.’ Scrooge did as he was told.’ Scrooge made answer to it. its sparkling eye. ‘You have never seen the like of me before.  Sons and Lovers . and its joyful air. poultry. its unconstrained demeanour. brawn. Holly. ‘I don’t think I have. and punch. Have you had many brothers.’ muttered Scrooge. and the ancient sheath was eaten up with rust. were also bare.’ said the Ghost.’ ‘Touch my robe. meaning (for I am very young) my elder brothers born in these later years. ‘I am afraid I have not. geese. let me profit by it. all vanished instantly. meat.’ ‘More than eighteen hundred. ‘A tremendous family to provide for. and held it fast. ‘Never. but no sword was in it. turkeys.’ said Scrooge submissively. and on its head it wore no other covering than a holly wreath. oysters. Spirit.’ conduct me where you will. ‘Have never walked forth with the younger members of my family. Girded round its middle was an antique scabbard.’ exclaimed the Spirit. Its feet. red berries.

whence it was mad delight to the boys to see it come plumping down into the road below. half thawed. and made intricate channels. For. and now and then exchanging a facetious snowball — better-natured missile far than many a Free eBooks at Planet eBook. as if all the chimneys in Great Britain had. where (for the weather was severe) the people made a rough. but brisk and not unpleasant kind of music. half frozen. the ruddy glow. and from the tops of their houses. the people who were shovelling away on the housetops were jovial and full of glee. calling out to one another from the parapets. and splitting into artificial little snow-storms. by one consent. There was nothing very cheerful in the climate or the town. 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. which last deposit had been ploughed up in deep furrows by the heavy wheels of carts and waggons. contrasting with the smooth white sheet of snow upon the roofs. caught fire. in scraping the snow from the pavement in front of their dwellings.the fire. The sky was gloomy. and the shortest streets were choked up with a dingy mist. and the windows blacker. and with the dirtier snow upon the ground. the hour of night. and were blazing away to their dear hearts’ content. whose heavier particles descended in shower of sooty atoms. hard to trace in the thick yellow mud and icy water. The house fronts looked black enough. furrows that crossed and recrossed each other hundreds of times where the great streets branched off.com  . and they stood in the city streets on Christmas morning.

clustered high in blooming pyramids. though members of a dull and stagnant-blooded race. with perhaps two shutters down. setting off the yellow of the oranges and lemons. The Grocers’. The very gold and silver fish. made. there were piles of filberts. mossy and brown. brown-faced. urgently entreating and beseeching to be carried home in paper bags and eaten after dinner. round. nearly closed. and the fruiterers’ were radiant in their glory. that people’s mouths might water gratis as they passed. and pleasant shufflings ankle deep through withered leaves. to a fish. pot-bellied baskets of chestnuts. but through those gaps  Sons and Lovers . recalling. and tumbling out into the street in their apoplectic opulence. went gasping round and round their little world in slow and passionless excitement. and. There were great. or one. shaped like the waistcoats of jolly old gentlemen. appeared to know that there was something going on. ancient walks among the woods. in the shopkeepers’ benevolence to dangle from conspicuous hooks. and winking from their shelves in wanton slyness at the girls as they went by. There were pears and apples. oh the Grocers’. there were Norfolk Biffins. lolling at the doors. and. in their fragrance. round. squab and swarthy. broad-girthed Spanish onions. There were ruddy. shining in the fatness of their growth like Spanish Friars. set forth among these choice fruits in a bowl. in the great compactness of their juicy persons. and glanced demurely at the hung-up mistletoe. there were bunches of grapes.wordy jest — laughing heartily if it went right and not less heartily if it went wrong. The poulterers’ shops were still half open.

or that the French plums blushed in modest tartness from their highlydecorated boxes. It was not alone that the scales descending on the counter made a merry sound. innumerable people. or even that the blended scents of tea and coffee were so grateful to the nose. But soon the steeples called good people all. and away they came. worn outside for general inspection. and left their purchases upon the counter. Nor was it that the figs were moist and pulpy. the candied fruits so caked and spotted with molten sugar as to make the coldest lookers-on feel faint and subsequently bilious. and for Christmas daws to peck at if they chose. and came running back to fetch them. lanes. the sticks of cinnamon so long and straight. to church and chapel. or that everything was good to eat and in its Christmas dress.com  . and committed hundreds of the like mistakes. flocking through the streets in their best clothes.such glimpses. 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. but the customers were all so hurried and so eager in the hopeful promise of the day. or that the twine and roller parted company so briskly. or even that the raisins were so plentiful and rare. crashing their wicker baskets wildly. or that the canisters were rattled up and down like juggling tricks. And at the same time there emerged from scores of bye-streets. in the best humour possible. and nameless turnings. the other spices so delicious. that they tumbled up against each other at the door. the almonds so extremely white. carrying their Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and with their gayest faces.

so it was.’ cried the Spirit. To a poor one most. should desire to cramp these people’s opportunities of innocent enjoyment. For they said. it was a shame to quarrel upon Christmas Day. and their good humour was restored directly.’ asked Scrooge. and taking off the covers as their bearers passed. of all the beings in the many worlds about us. in the thawed blotch of wet above each baker’s oven.’ ‘I. and yet there was a genial shadowing forth of all these dinners and the progress of their cooking.’ I wonder you.’ asked Scrooge.  Sons and Lovers . ‘There is. after a moment’s thought. sprinkled incense on their dinners from his torch.dinners to the baker’ shops. The sight of these poor revellers appeared to interest the Spirit very much. and the bakers were shut up. where the pavement smoked as if its stones were cooking too.’ ‘Spirit. he shed a few drops of water on them from it. ‘Is there a peculiar flavour in what you sprinkle from your torch. ‘To any kindly given. God love it.’ ‘Why to a poor one most. for once or twice when there were angry words between some dinner-carriers who had jostled each other. And it was a very uncommon kind of torch.’ asked Scrooge. for he stood with Scrooge beside him in a baker’s doorway. My own. ‘Because it needs it most.’ ‘Would it apply to any kind of dinner on this day. And so it was.’ said Scrooge. In time the bells ceased.

‘Forgive me if I am wrong. and they went on.’ cried the Spirit. into the suburbs of the town. and that he stood beneath a low roof quite as gracefully and like a supernatural creature. often the only day on which they can be said to dine at all. Remember that.’ said Scrooge. hearty nature. as it was possible he could have done in any lofty hall. for there he went.com  . that led him straight to Scrooge’s clerk’s. he could accommodate himself to any place with ease. and selfishness in our name. and took Scrooge with him. It was a remarkable quality of the Ghost (which Scrooge had observed at the baker’s).’ Scrooge promised that he would. ‘You seek to close these places on the Seventh Day. as if they had never lived.’ who lay claim to know us. as they had been before. hatred. or at least in that of your family. who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin.’ ‘I. and stopped Free eBooks at Planet eBook. holding to his robe. envy. invisible. and his sympathy with all poor men. And perhaps it was the pleasure the good Spirit had in showing off this power of his. or else it was his own kind. and who do their deeds of passion. ‘There are some upon this earth of yours. It has been done in your name.’ said Scrooge. and charge their doings on themselves.’ returned the Spirit. not us. ‘And it comes to the same thing.’ ‘I seek. and on the threshold of the door the Spirit smiled.’ said Scrooge. pride. bigotry. that notwithstanding his gigantic size. ‘Wouldn’t you.’ exclaimed the Spirit. generous. ill-will.‘You would deprive them of their means of dining every seventh day.

but brave in ribbons. ‘What has ever got your precious father then. appearing as she spoke. while he (not proud. Then up rose Mrs Cratchit. and she laid the cloth. until the slow potatoes bubbling up. dressed out but poorly in a twice-turned gown. these young Cratchits danced about the table.to bless Bob Cratchit’s dwelling with the sprinkling of his torch. and yet the Ghost of Christmas Present blessed his four-roomed house. conferred upon his son and heir in honour of the day) into his mouth. and yearned to show his linen in the fashionable Parks. and getting the corners of his monstrous shirt collar (Bob’s private property. 0 Sons and Lovers .’ ‘Here’s Martha. came tearing in. and exalted Master Peter Cratchit to the skies. second of her daughters. although his collars nearly choked him) blew the fire. he pocketed on Saturdays but fifteen copies of his Christian name. rejoiced to find himself so gallantly attired. mother. Cratchit’s wife. And Martha warn’t as late last Christmas Day by half-an-hour. screaming that outside the baker’s they had smelt the goose. boy and girl. And now two smaller Cratchits.’ said Mrs Cratchit. which are cheap and make a goodly show for sixpence. while Master Peter Cratchit plunged a fork into the saucepan of potatoes. ‘And your brother. Tiny Tim. Think of that.’ said a girl. and known it for their own. also brave in ribbons. assisted by Belinda Cratchit. Bob had but fifteen bob a-week himself. and basking in luxurious thoughts of sage and onion. knocked loudly at the saucepan-lid to be let out and peeled.

my dear.’ ‘No. and taking off her shawl and bonnet for her with officious zeal. for he had been Tim’s blood horse all the way from church. where’s our Martha. no. mother.‘Here’s Martha. if it were only in joke. and ran into his arms. to look seasonable. and had his limbs supported by an iron frame. ‘Not coming. with a sudden declension in his high spirits. hide. who were everywhere at once.’ said Bob. ‘Hide.’ said Mrs Cratchit.’ Martha didn’t like to see him disappointed. ‘Sit ye down before the fire. ‘Not coming upon Christmas Day. and have a warm. There’s father coming. and in came little Bob.’ said Mrs Cratchit. with at least three feet of comforter exclusive of the fringe. Never mind so long as you are come. ‘Why. Martha. There’s such a goose.’ cried Bob Cratchit. ‘We’d a deal of work to finish up last night. Alas for Tiny Tim. so she came out prematurely from behind the closet door. mother.com 1 . ‘Not coming. how late you are. looking round. and his threadbare clothes darned up and brushed. ‘Hurrah. Lord bless ye. and had come home rampant.’ replied the girl. bless your heart alive.’ ‘Why.’ cried the two young Cratchits.’ So Martha hid herself.’ said Mrs Cratchit. he bore a little crutch. Martha.’ and had to clear away this morning. and Tiny Tim upon his shoulder. the father. my dear. kissing her a dozen times. while the two young Cratchits Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘Well.’ cried the two young Cratchits. hanging down before him.

asked Mrs Cratchit. that he hoped the people saw him in the church. turning up his cuffs — as if. escorted by his brother and sister to his stool before the fire. they were capable of being made more shabby — compounded some hot mixture in a jug with gin and lemons. that he might hear the pudding singing in the copper. because he was a cripple. ‘And how did little Tim behave. He told me.’ Bob’s voice was tremulous when he told them this. and stirred it round and round and put it on the hob to simmer. His active little crutch was heard upon the floor. poor fellow.’ and better. and Bob had hugged his daughter to his heart’s content. a feathered phenomenon. Somehow he gets thoughtful. to which a black swan was a matter of course — and in truth it was something very like it in that house.hustled Tiny Tim. Master Peter. Such a bustle ensued that you might have thought a goose the rarest of all birds. and blind men see. and trembled more when he said that Tiny Tim was growing strong and hearty. and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. who made lame beggars walk. and back came Tiny Tim before another word was spoken.’ said Bob. ‘As good as gold. when she had rallied Bob on his credulity. coming home. and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day. and the two ubiquitous young Cratchits went to fetch the goose. Mrs Cratchit made the  Sons and Lovers . and bore him off into the wash-house. sitting by himself so much. with which they soon returned in high procession. and while Bob.

the two young Cratchits set chairs for everybody. It was succeeded by a breathless pause. indeed. Suppose it should not be done enough. were the themes of universal admiration. one murmur of delight arose all round the board. crammed spoons into their mouths. as Mrs Cratchit said with great delight (surveying one small atom of a bone upon the dish). the plates being changed by Miss Belinda. beat on the table with the handle of his knife. were steeped in sage and onion to the eyebrows. Bob took Tiny Tim beside him in a tiny corner at the table. Bob said he didn’t believe there ever was such a goose cooked. There never was such a goose. and even Tiny Tim. Suppose it should Free eBooks at Planet eBook.com  . and grace was said. Yet every one had had enough. Martha dusted the hot plates.gravy (ready beforehand in a little saucepan) hissing hot. and feebly cried Hurrah. looking slowly all along the carving-knife. Eked out by apple-sauce and mashed potatoes. Its tenderness and flavour. Mrs Cratchit left the room alone — too nervous to bear witnesses — to take the pudding up and bring it in. but when she did. as Mrs Cratchit. size and cheapness. and the youngest Cratchits in particular. and mounting guard upon their posts. Master Peter mashed the potatoes with incredible vigour. At last the dishes were set on. and when the long expected gush of stuffing issued forth. it was a sufficient dinner for the whole family. they hadn’t ate it all at last. prepared to plunge it in the breast. not forgetting themselves. But now. Miss Belinda sweetened up the apple-sauce. lest they should shriek for goose before their turn came to be helped. excited by the two young Cratchits.

That was the cloth. like a speckled cannon-ball. and the fire made up. Bob Cratchit said.  Sons and Lovers . Oh. A smell like an eating-house and a pastrycook’s next door to each other. Any Cratchit would have blushed to hint at such a thing. A great deal of steam. Suppose somebody should have got over the wall of the back-yard. It would have been flat heresy to do so. meaning half a one. with a laundress’s next door to that. apples and oranges were put upon the table. In half a minute Mrs Cratchit entered — flushed. the hearth swept. Then all the Cratchit family drew round the hearth. The compound in the jug being tasted. Everybody had something to say about it. and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top. and a shovel-full of chestnuts on the fire. while they were merry with the goose — a supposition at which the two young Cratchits became livid. she would confess she had had her doubts about the quantity of flour. Mrs Cratchit said that now the weight was off her mind. That was the pudding. a wonderful pudding. blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy. and considered perfect. so hard and firm. in what Bob Cratchit called a circle.break in turning out. The pudding was out of the copper. At last the dinner was all done. Hallo. but nobody said or thought it was at all a small pudding for a large family. but smiling proudly — with the pudding. that he regarded it as the greatest success achieved by Mrs Cratchit since their marriage. All sorts of horrors were supposed. A smell like a washing-day. the cloth was cleared. and calmly too. and stolen it.

as well as golden goblets would have done. Two tumblers.’ replied the Ghost.’ Scrooge hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit. say he will be spared. no. He sat very close to his father’s side upon his little stool. What then.’ ‘I see a vacant seat. my dears. the child will die. ‘Man. kind Spirit. no. not adamant. with an interest he had never felt before.’ ‘No. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future. while the chestnuts on the fire sputtered and cracked noisily. however. ‘tell me if Tiny Tim will live. and dreaded that he might be taken from him.’ said the Ghost.’ Which all the family re-echoed. and decrease the surplus population. ‘in the poor chimney-corner. ‘if man you be in heart. as if he loved the child. the last of all.com  . forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered What Free eBooks at Planet eBook. none other of my race. and was overcome with penitence and grief. These held the hot stuff from the jug.’ said Scrooge. ‘will find him here. carefully preserved.and at Bob Cratchit’s elbow stood the family display of glass. ‘God bless us every one. God bless us. and Bob served it out with beaming looks.’ said Tiny Tim.’ returned the Ghost.’ ‘If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future. and a crutch without an owner. ‘Oh. he had better do it. If he be like to die. Bob held his withered little hand in his. Then Bob proposed: ‘A Merry Christmas to us all.’ said Scrooge. and a custard-cup without a handle. and wished to keep him by his side. ‘Spirit.

’ ‘The Founder of the Feast indeed. and I hope he’d have a good appetite for it. ‘not for his. Scrooge was the Ogre of the family. hard.’ said Mrs Cratchit. Will you decide what men shall live. poor fellow. and Where it is. to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust.’ ‘My dear. Oh God.’ cried Mrs Cratchit.the surplus is.’ The children drank the toast after her. I have no doubt. you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child.’ Scrooge bent before the Ghost’s rebuke. Long life to him. Tiny Tim drank it last of all.’ ‘I’ll drink his health for your sake and the Day’s. unfeeling man as Mr Scrooge. ‘I wish I had him here.’ was Bob’s mild answer. stingy. the Founder of the Feast. on hearing his own name.’ ‘It should be Christmas Day. reddening.’ said Bob. but he didn’t care twopence for it. A merry Christmas and a happy new year. Nobody knows it better than you do. He’ll be very merry and very happy. It was the first of their proceedings which had no heartiness. that in the sight of Heaven. You know he is. ‘on which one drinks the health of such an odious.’ ‘My dear. what men shall die. ‘the children.’ said she. ‘Christmas Day. Christmas Day. But he raised them speedily. The mention of his name cast a dark  Sons and Lovers . I’d give him a piece of my mind to feast upon. ‘I’ll give you Mr Scrooge. and trembling cast his eyes upon the ground. I am sure. It may be. ‘Mr Scrooge. Robert.’ said Bob.

they were ten times merrier than before. which was not dispelled for full five minutes. and Peter himself looked thoughtfully at the fire from between his collars. at which Peter pulled up his collars so high that you couldn’t have seen his head if you had been there. and Peter might have known. who was a poor apprentice at a milliner’s. to-morrow being a holiday she passed at home. they were not well dressed. But. then told them what kind of work she had to do. The two young Cratchits laughed tremendously at the idea of Peter’s being a man of business. who had a plaintive little voice. and how the lord was much about as tall as Peter. After it had passed away. the inside of a pawnbroker’s. Also how she had seen a countess and a lord some days before. pleased Free eBooks at Planet eBook. they were happy. All this time the chestnuts and the jug went round and round. as if he were deliberating what particular investments he should favour when he came into the receipt of that bewildering income. and how many hours she worked at a stretch. if obtained. about a lost child travelling in the snow. from the mere relief of Scrooge the Baleful being done with. There was nothing of high mark in this. and sang it very well indeed. and how she meant to lie abed to-morrow morning for a good long rest. and very likely did. full five-and-sixpence weekly. their clothes were scanty. their shoes were far from being water-proof.shadow on the party. and by-and-bye they had a song. Martha. from Tiny Tim. grateful. They were not a handsome family. which would bring in. Bob Cratchit told them how he had a situation in his eye for Master Peter.com  .

and opened its capacious palm. The very lamplighter. where. and piling up its fires half-chimney high. if you had judged from the numbers of people on their way to friendly gatherings. By this time it was getting dark. aunts. There all the children of the house were running out into the snow to meet their married sisters. Here. and all sorts of rooms. its bright and harmless mirth on everything within its reach. and there a group of handsome girls. tripped lightly off to some near neighbour’s house. were shadows on the window-blind of guests assembling. how the Ghost exulted. Blessings on it. with a generous hand. until the last. and all chattering at once. cousins. with hot plates baking through and through before the fire. and floated on. well they knew it — in a glow. and contented with the time. and especially on Tiny Tim. How it bared its breadth of breast. ready to be drawn to shut out cold and darkness. Scrooge had his eye upon them. Here. again. and when they faded. and be the first to greet them. was wonderful.with one another. all hooded and fur-booted. and deep red curtains. and snowing pretty heavily. you might have thought that no one was at home to give them welcome when they got there. outpouring. and as Scrooge and the Spirit went along the streets. who ran on  Sons and Lovers . uncles. parlours. the flickering of the blaze showed preparations for a cosy dinner. woe upon the single man who saw them enter — artful witches. the brightness of the roaring fires in kitchens. brothers. But. and looked happier yet in the bright sprinklings of the Spirit’s torch at parting. instead of every house expecting company.

com  . as though it were the burial-place of giants. An old.’ asked Scrooge. with their children and their children’s children. and who was dressed to spend the evening somewhere. though little kenned the lamplighter that he had any company but Christmas. See. who labour in the bowels of the earth. laughed out loudly as the Spirit passed.before. which glared upon the desolation for an instant. and so surely as they stopped. was lost in the thick gloom of darkest night. and water spread itself wheresoever it listed. and another generation beyond that. where monstrous masses of rude stone were cast about. and frowning lower. like a sullen eye. or would have done so. but for the frost that held it prisoner. Passing through the wall of mud and stone. Down in the west the setting sun had left a streak of fiery red. ‘But they know me. dotting the dusky street with specks of light.’ A light shone from the window of a hut. and swiftly they advanced towards it. and coarse rank grass. they found a cheerful company assembled round a glowing fire.’ returned the Spirit. his vigour Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘What place is this. in a voice that seldom rose above the howling of the wind upon the barren waste. lower yet. all decked out gaily in their holiday attire. 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. without a word of warning from the Ghost. and nothing grew but moss and furze. the old man got quite blithe and loud. ‘A place where Miners live. And now. old man and woman. lower. they stood upon a bleak and desert moor. So surely as they raised their voices. The old man.

and one of them: the elder. They stood beside the helmsman at the wheel. looking back. or spoke be0 Sons and Lovers . To Scrooge’s horror. they lighted on a ship. he saw the last of the land. a frightful range of rocks. Built upon a dismal reef of sunken rocks. from any shore. sped — whither. there stood a solitary lighthouse. but every man among them hummed a Christmas tune. Joining their horny hands over the rough table at which they sat.sank again. as the figure-head of an old ship might be: struck up a sturdy song that was like a Gale in itself. or had a Christmas thought. dark. as it rolled and roared. two men who watched the light had made a fire. being far away. as he told Scrooge. Not to sea. and passing on above the moor. as sea-weed of the water — rose and fell about it. Great heaps of sea-weed clung to its base. and raged among the dreadful caverns it had worn. with his face all damaged and scarred with hard weather. behind them. some league or so from shore. and fiercely tried to undermine the earth. on — until. Again the Ghost sped on. and storm-birds — born of the wind one might suppose. the look-out in the bow. the officers who had the watch. like the waves they skimmed. ghostly figures in their several stations. but bade Scrooge hold his robe. the wild year through. that through the loophole in the thick stone wall shed out a ray of brightness on the awful sea. and his ears were deafened by the thundering of water. on which the waters chafed and dashed. above the black and heaving sea — on. they wished each other Merry Christmas in their can of grog. The Spirit did not tarry here. too. To sea. But even here.

even-handed.’ laughed Scrooge’s nephew. and had remembered those he cared for at a distance. gleaming room.’ If you should happen. and had known that they delighted to remember him. and twisting his face into the most extravagant contortions: Scrooge’s niece. to know a man more blest in a laugh than Scrooge’s nephew. rolling his head.com 1 . good or bad. Introduce him to me. while listening to the moaning of the wind.low his breath to his companion of some bygone Christmas Day. and had shared to some extent in its festivities. And every man on board. and I’ll cultivate his acquaintance. whose depths were secrets as profound as Death: it was a great surprise to Scrooge. When Scrooge’s nephew laughed in this way: holding his sides. that while there is infection in disease and sorrow. with homeward hopes belonging to it. ‘Ha. ha. with the Spirit standing smiling by his side. And their assembled Free eBooks at Planet eBook. there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour. to hear a hearty laugh. dry. It was a much greater surprise to Scrooge to recognise it as his own nephew’s and to find himself in a bright. ‘Ha. and looking at that same nephew with approving affability. ha. laughed as heartily as he. by any unlikely chance. I should like to know him too. waking or sleeping. It is a fair. It was a great surprise to Scrooge. ha. by marriage. noble adjustment of things. and thinking what a solemn thing it was to move on through the lonely darkness over an unknown abyss. while thus engaged. had had a kinder word for another on that day than on any day in the year. all I can say is.

’ hinted Scrooge’s niece. ‘His wealth is of no use to him.’ ‘What of that. They are always in earnest.’ ‘He said that Christmas was a humbug. ha. expressed the same opinion. and all the other ladies. ha. you know. ‘At least you always tell me so.’ ‘More shame for him. ha. He hasn’t the satisfaction of thinking — ha.’ cried Scrooge’s nephew.’ said Scrooge’s nephew. that seemed made to be kissed — as no doubt it was. Fred. He don’t do any good with it. capital face. his offences carry their own punishment. as I live. Ha.’ that’s the truth: and not so pleasant as he might be.’ said Scrooge’s nephew. and I have nothing to say against him.  Sons and Lovers . — that he is ever going to benefit us with it. my dear. that melted into one another when she laughed. She was very pretty: exceedingly pretty. ha. Bless those women. Fred. all kinds of good little dots about her chin.’ ‘I have no patience with him. ha. With a dimpled. Scrooge’s niece’s sisters. but satisfactory. ‘Ha. ha. ‘He believed it too.’ said Scrooge’s niece.’ observed Scrooge’s niece.friends being not a bit behindhand. However.’ ‘I’m sure he is very rich. and the sunniest pair of eyes you ever saw in any little creature’s head. indignantly. surprised-looking. ‘He’s a comical old fellow. they never do anything by halves. roared out lustily. He don’t make himself comfortable with it. a ripe little mouth. Altogether she was what you would have called provoking.

which could do him no harm. for he answered that a bachelor was a wretched outcast.’ ‘Indeed.’ Scrooge’s nephew revelled in another laugh. ‘I was only going to say. though the plump sister tried hard to do it with aromatic vinegar. I have. He is such a ridiculous fellow. because they had just had dinner. and not making merry with us. that he loses some pleasant moments.’ said Scrooge’s nephew.’ said Scrooge’s nephew. his example was unanimously followed. Who suffers by his ill whims. Everybody else said the same. always. Topper. Here.’ interrupted Scrooge’s niece. as I think. and he won’t come and dine with us. What do you say. What’s the consequence. with the dessert upon the table. I am sure he loses Free eBooks at Planet eBook. I think he loses a very good dinner. ‘Do go on. ‘because I haven’t great faith in these young housekeepers. I’m very glad to hear it. who had no right to express an opinion on the subject.‘Oh. were clustered round the fire. ‘Well. Fred. is. and as it was impossible to keep the infection off. ‘He never finishes what he begins to say.com  . clapping her hands. and.’ Topper had clearly got his eye upon one of Scrooge’s niece’s sisters.’ that the consequence of his taking a dislike to us. Himself. He don’t lose much of a dinner. Whereat Scrooge’s niece’s sister — the plump one with the lace tucker: not the one with the roses — blushed. ‘I am sorry for him. I couldn’t be angry with him if I tried. and they must be allowed to have been competent judges.’ said Scrooge’s nephew.’ said Scrooge’s niece. he takes it into his head to dislike us. by lamplight.

pleasanter companions than he can find in his own thoughts. After tea. they had some music. he softened more and more. which had been familiar to the child who fetched Scrooge from the boarding-school. and knew what they were about. and saying Uncle Scrooge. so that they laughed at any rate. and played among other tunes a simple little air (a mere nothing: you might learn to whistle it in two minutes).’ It was their turn to laugh now at the notion of his shaking Scrooge. as he had been reminded by the Ghost of Christmas Past. or his dusty chambers. When this strain of music sounded. years ago. and not much caring what they laughed at. and thought that if he could have listened to it often. he might have cultivated the kindnesses of life for his own happiness with his own  Sons and Lovers . I can assure you: especially Topper. and passed the bottle joyously. that’s something. and I think I shook him yesterday. He may rail at Christmas till he dies. how are you. Scrooge’s niece played well upon the harp. For they were a musical family. year after year. came upon his mind. If it only puts him in the vein to leave his poor clerk fifty pounds. and never swell the large veins in his forehead. for I pity him. But being thoroughly good-natured. he encouraged them in their merriment. who could growl away in the bass like a good one. whether he likes it or not. either in his mouldy old office. or get red in the face over it. I mean to give him the same chance every year. in good temper. when they sung a Glee or Catch. all the things that Ghost had shown him. but he can’t help thinking better of it — I defy him — if he finds me going there.

and it really was not.com  . and her rapid flutterings past him. was an outrage on the credulity of human nature. which would have been an affront to your understanding. Knocking down the fire-irons. And I no more believe Topper was really blind than I believe he had eyes in his boots. he got her into a corner whence there was no escape. his pretending that it was necessary to touch her head-dress. He always knew where the plump sister was. tumbling over the chairs. If you had fallen up against him (as some of them did). smothering himself among the curtains. that it was a done thing between him and Scrooge’s nephew. For his pretending not to know her. But when at last. and a certain chain about her neck. Of course there was. was Free eBooks at Planet eBook. My opinion is. But they didn’t devote the whole evening to music. wherever she went. when its mighty Founder was a child himself. in spite of all her silken rustlings. without resorting to the sexton’s spade that buried Jacob Marley. She often cried out that it wasn’t fair. There was first a game at blind-man’s buff.hands. and that the Ghost of Christmas Present knew it. He wouldn’t catch anybody else. Stop. on purpose. he caught her. for it is good to be children sometimes. After a while they played at forfeits. and never better than at Christmas. bumping against the piano. when. then his conduct was the most execrable. there went he. he would have made a feint of endeavouring to seize you. and further to assure himself of her identity by pressing a certain ring upon her finger. and would instantly have sidled off in the direction of the plump sister. The way he went after that plump sister in the lace tucker.

Scrooge’s niece was not one of the blind-man’s buff party. only one. blunt as he took it in his head to be. warranted not to cut in the eye. she was very great. Likewise at the game of How. for. When. where the Ghost and Scrooge were close behind her. The brisk fire of questioning to which he was ex Sons and Lovers . he sometimes came out with his guess quite loud. beat her sisters hollow: though they were sharp girls too. was not sharper than Scrooge.’ It was a Game called Yes and No. another blind-man being in office. as the case was. for the sharpest needle.vile. Spirit. There might have been twenty people there. where Scrooge’s nephew had to think of something. monstrous. when. wholly forgetting the interest he had in what was going on. but they all played. they were so very confidential together. too. young and old. behind the curtains. and to the secret joy of Scrooge’s nephew. that he begged like a boy to be allowed to stay until the guests departed. that his voice made no sound in their ears. and the rest must find out what. The Ghost was greatly pleased to find him in this mood. best Whitechapel. But this the Spirit said could not be done. but was made comfortable with a large chair and a footstool. as could have told you. and so did Scrooge. and looked upon him with such favour. ‘Here is a new game. ‘One half hour. But she joined in the forfeits. No doubt she told him her opinion of it. and Where. in a snug corner. he only answering to their questions yes or no. and loved her love to admiration with all the letters of the alphabet. and very often guessed quite right.’ said Scrooge.

’ they cried.com  .’ cried Fred. though some objected that the reply to ‘Is it a bear.’ ought to have been ‘Yes. and wasn’t made a show of. or a tiger. and talked sometimes. and wasn’t led by anybody. falling into a similar state.‘‘ ‘Well. and was so inexpressibly tickled. rather a disagreeable animal. Here is a glass of mulled wine ready to our hand at the moment. cried out: ‘I have found it out. an animal that growled and grunted sometimes. and lived in London. and walked about the streets. that he was obliged to get up off the sofa and stamp. and didn’t live in a menagerie. elicited from him that he was thinking of an animal. At last the plump sister. or a cat. or a bear. this nephew burst into a fresh roar of laughter. I am sure. ‘It’s your Uncle Scrooge. or a cow.posed.’ and it would be ungrateful not to drink his health. and was never killed in a market. or an ass. I know what it is. or a bull. and was not a horse. a live animal. a savage animal. ‘He wouldn’t Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ said Fred. supposing they had ever had any tendency that way.’ said Scrooge’s nephew. I know what it is. ‘He has given us plenty of merriment. ‘A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to the old man. or a dog.’ Which it certainly was. At every fresh question that was put to him. and I say.’ ‘What is it. Uncle Scrooge. or a pig.’ inasmuch as an answer in the negative was sufficient to have diverted their thoughts from Mr Scrooge. whatever he is. Fred. Admiration was the universal sentiment. ‘Uncle Scrooge.

The Spirit stood beside sick beds. because the Christmas Holidays appeared to be condensed into the space of time they passed together. and taught Scrooge his precepts. and thanked them in an inaudible speech. looking at the Spirit as they stood together in an open place. Uncle Scrooge. but Scrooge had his doubts of this. It was strange. but never spoke of it. and they were cheerful. and he and the Spirit were again upon their travels.’  Sons and Lovers . ‘My life upon this globe. and jail.take it from me. ‘It ends to-night. if it were only a night. and they were close at home. by struggling men. and many homes they visited. until they left a children’s Twelfth Night party. he left his blessing. that he would have pledged the unconscious company in return. But the whole scene passed off in the breath of the last word spoken by his nephew. too. by poverty. Much they saw. ‘Are spirits’ lives so short. hospital. he noticed that its hair was grey. in misery’s every refuge. the Ghost grew older. but always with a happy end. if the Ghost had given him time. and far they went.’ asked Scrooge. is very brief. but may he have it.’ replied the Ghost. It was a long night. where vain man in his little brief authority had not made fast the door and barred the Spirit out. Scrooge had observed this change. when. In almshouse. and they were patient in their greater hope. nevertheless.’ Uncle Scrooge had imperceptibly become so gay and light of heart. clearly older. on foreign lands. and it was rich. that while Scrooge remained unaltered in his outward form.

scowling. looking intently at the Spirit’s robe.‘To-night. has monsters half so horrible and dread. ‘Oh. in their humility. but prostrate. in any grade. The time is drawing near. and clung upon the outside of its garment. ‘Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask. and twisted them.’ ‘It might be a claw.’ was the Spirit’s sorrowful reply. meagre. frightful.com  . wolfish. a stale and shrivelled hand. devils lurked. and not belonging to yourself. Hark. and glared out menacing.’ but I see something strange. wretched. look. had pinched.’ cried Scrooge. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he tried to say they were fine children. Yellow. ragged. but the words choked themselves. for the flesh there is upon it. Look. like that of age. Man. protruding from your skirts. ‘To-night at midnight. it brought two children. look here.’ The chimes were ringing the three quarters past eleven at that moment. miserable. too.’ said Scrooge. Having them shown to him in this way. and pulled them into shreds.’ exclaimed the Ghost. no degradation. appalled. Where angels might have sat enthroned.’ From the foldings of its robe. Is it a foot or a claw. through all the mysteries of wonderful creation. down here. Scrooge started back. no perversion of humanity. They knelt down at its feet. abject. hideous. rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude. ‘Look here. No change. and touched them with its freshest tints. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out. They were a boy and a girl.

‘Spirit. but most of all beware this boy. unless the writing be erased. 0 Sons and Lovers . appealing from their fathers.’ cried Scrooge. towards him. beheld a solemn Phantom.’ said the Spirit. As the last stroke ceased to vibrate. he remembered the prediction of old Jacob Marley. Deny it. stretching out its hand towards the city. like a mist along the ground. and lifting up his eyes.’ cried the Spirit. ‘They are Man’s. Beware them both. turning on him for the last time with his own words.’ said the Spirit. draped and hooded. and make it worse. Admit it for your factious purposes. and all of their degree. ‘Are there no workhouses. ‘Slander those who tell it ye. are they yours. ‘Are there no prisons. And abide the end.’ Scrooge could say no more. looking down upon them. This boy is Ignorance.’ The bell struck twelve. coming. Scrooge looked about him for the Ghost. This girl is Want. ‘And they cling to me. and saw it not.’ ‘Have they no refuge or resource. for on his brow I see that written which is Doom.

and that its mysterious presence filled him with a solemn dread. but pointed onward with its hand.’ said Scrooge.com 1 . but will happen in the time before us.’ The upper portion of the garment was contracted for an instant in its folds. gravely. He knew no more. its form. and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. ‘You are about to show me shadows of the things that have not happened.Stave 4: The Last of the Spirits T he Phantom slowly. for the Spirit neither spoke nor moved. which concealed its head. But for this it would have been difficult to detach its figure from the night. He felt that it was tall and stately when it came beside him. its face. silently approached. and separate it from the darkness by which it was surrounded. for in the very air through which this Spirit moved it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery. as if the Spirit had inclined its head. ‘Is that so. When it came. It was shrouded in a deep black garment.’ Scrooge pursued. The Spirit answered not. ‘I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. That Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Spirit. Scrooge bent down upon his knee.

amongst the merchants. Lead on. and chinked the money in their pockets. They scarcely seemed to enter the city. and as I hope to live to be another man from what I was. But there they were. while he. But Scrooge was all the worse for this. Spirit. he thought. ‘Ghost of the Future. could see nothing but a spectral hand and one great heap of black. who hurried up and down.’ It gave him no reply. Scrooge feared the silent shape so much that his legs trembled beneath him. The night is waning fast. ‘Lead on. Will you not speak to me. though he stretched his own to the utmost. in the heart of it. which bore him up. But as I know your purpose is to do me good. ‘Lead on. and conversed in  Sons and Lovers . as observing his condition. to know that behind the dusky shroud. I know. and it is precious time to me. Scrooge followed in the shadow of its dress. The hand was pointed straight before them.’ The Phantom moved away as it had come towards him.’ said Scrooge. and encompass them of its own act. and carried him along.’ he exclaimed. and giving him time to recover. It thrilled him with a vague uncertain horror. Although well used to ghostly company by this time. I am prepared to bear you company. The Spirit pauses a moment. for the city rather seemed to spring up about them. on Change.’ I fear you more than any spectre I have seen. there were ghostly eyes intently fixed upon him. and do it with a thankful heart.was the only answer he received. and he found that he could hardly stand when he prepared to follow it.

The Spirit stopped beside one little knot of business men. after all.’ This pleasantry was received with a general laugh. ‘Left it to his company. and so forth.groups.’ asked a red-faced gentleman with a pendulous excrescence on the end of his nose. as Scrooge had seen them often. and looked at their watches.’ I don’t know much about it. ‘I haven’t heard.com  . ‘But I must be fed.’ inquired another.’ Another laugh.’ said the man with the large chin. Observing that the hand was pointed to them. taking a vast quantity of snuff out of a very large snuff-box.’ ‘God knows. ‘I thought he’d never die. ‘No. ‘Last night.’ asked a third. I only know he’s dead.’ said a great fat man with a monstrous chin.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and trifled thoughtfully with their great gold seals. Suppose we make up a party and volunteer. either way.’ said the first. with a yawn. yawning again.’ ‘Why.’ observed the gentleman with the excrescence on his nose.’ ‘When did he die. ‘Well. if I make one. ‘It’s likely to be a very cheap funeral. that shook like the gills of a turkey-cock. I am the most disinterested among you. perhaps. what was the matter with him. That’s all I know. ‘What has he done with his money. I believe.’ said the same speaker.’ ‘I don’t mind going if a lunch is provided.’ for upon my life I don’t know of anybody to go to it. Scrooge advanced to listen to their talk. He hasn’t left it to me.

Its finger pointed to two persons meeting. That was their meeting.’ returned the other.’ ‘No. Bye. and looked towards the Spirit for an explanation. perfectly. He knew these men. He had made a point always of standing well in their esteem: in a business point of view. The Phantom glided on into a street. Scrooge knew the men. but feeling assured that they must have some hidden  Sons and Lovers . I suppose. When I come to think of it. and their parting. ‘How are you. for we used to stop and speak whenever we met. strictly in a business point of view. Good morning.’ said the first.said the first speaker. No.’ for I never wear black gloves. I’m not at all sure that I wasn’t his most particular friend. thinking that the explanation might lie here. Something else to think of.’ said one. and mixed with other groups. You’re not a skater. and of great importance.’ Speakers and listeners strolled away. Scrooge listened again. Scrooge was at first inclined to be surprised that the Spirit should attach importance to conversations apparently so trivial. also.’ returned the second. ‘Cold.’ Not another word. ‘How are you. But I’ll offer to go. isn’t it. that is. hey. bye. if anybody else will. their conversation.’ ‘So I am told. ‘Well. ‘Old Scratch has got his own at last.’ ‘Seasonable for Christmas time. They were men of aye business: very wealthy. and I never eat lunch.

and this Ghost’s province was the Future. for he had been revolving in his mind a change of life. that the Unseen Eyes were looking at him keenly. and though the clock pointed to his usual time of day for being there. For he had an expectation that the conduct of his future self would give him the clue he missed. and its bad repute. and feel very cold. and everything he saw. When he roused himself from his thoughtful quest. It made him shudder. Quiet and dark. and thought and hoped he saw his new-born resolutions carried out in this. he resolved to treasure up every word he heard. and its situation in reference to himself. and went into an obscure part of the town. and would render the solution of these riddles easy. but another man stood in his accustomed corner.com  . But nothing doubting that to whomsoever they applied they had some latent moral for his own improvement. he fancied from the turn of the hand. and especially to observe the shadow of himself when it appeared. however. They left the busy scene. although he recognised its situation. The Free eBooks at Planet eBook. beside him stood the Phantom. He looked about in that very place for his own image. his old partner. with its outstretched hand. Nor could he think of any one immediately connected with himself. They could scarcely be supposed to have any bearing on the death of Jacob. where Scrooge had never penetrated before. he saw no likeness of himself among the multitudes that poured in through the Porch. he set himself to consider what it was likely to be. It gave him little surprise. to whom he could apply them.purpose. for that was Past.

similarly laden. and greasy offal. upon the straggling streets. disgorged their offences of smell. bottles. with filth. and she was closely followed by a man in faded black. and the whole quarter reeked with crime. Upon the floor within. came in too. by a charcoal stove. nearly seventy years of age. they all three burst into a laugh. hung upon a line. was a grey-haired rascal. bones. were piled up heaps of rusty keys. who had screened himself from the cold air without. masses of corrupted fat. old rags. there was a lowbrowed. and misery. by a frousy curtaining of miscellaneous tatters. below a pent-house roof. than they had been upon the recognition of each other. in which the old man with the pipe had joined them. were bought. drunken. and smoked his pipe in all the luxury of calm retirement. But she had scarcely entered. After a short period of blank astonishment. just as a woman with a heavy bundle slunk into the shop. Secrets that few would like to scrutinise were bred and hidden in mountains of unseemly rags. slipshod. Sitting in among the wares he dealt in. Scrooge and the Phantom came into the presence of this man. where iron. who was no less startled by the sight of them. scales. Far in this den of infamous resort. ugly. and refuse iron of all kinds.’ cried she who  Sons and Lovers . chains. hinges. ‘Let the charwoman alone to be the first. Alleys and archways. and dirt.ways were foul and narrow. beetling shop. the shops and houses wretched. when another woman. weights. like so many cesspools. files. made of old bricks. nails. and sepulchres of bones. and life. the people half-naked.

com  . While he did this. and looking with a bold defiance at the other two. ‘Every person has a right to take care of themselves. removing his pipe from his mouth.’ ‘You couldn’t have met in a better place. woman. and having trimmed his smoky lamp (for it was night). ‘What odds then. We’re all suitable to our calling. Ah. What odds. and let the undertaker’s man alone to be the third.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. How it skreeks. Come into the parlour. and I’m sure there’s no such old bones here. ha. If we haven’t all three met here without meaning it. He always did. the woman who had already spoken threw her bundle on the floor. ‘Come into the parlour. put it in his mouth again.’ ‘Why then. old Joe. we’re well matched. There an’t such a rusty bit of metal in the place as its own hinges. don’t stand staring as if you was afraid. you know. here’s a chance. Ha. ‘Let the laundress alone to be the second.’ said the laundress. indeed.’ said old Joe.’ ‘That’s true. with the stem of his pipe. who’s the wiser. and the other two an’t strangers.’ The parlour was the space behind the screen of rags. Mrs Dilber.had entered first. as mine. crossing her elbows on her knees. ‘No man more so.’ said the woman. and sat down in a flaunting manner on a stool. You were made free of it long ago. The old man raked the fire together with an old stair-rod. Stop till I shut the door of the shop. Come into the parlour. Look here. I believe. I suppose. We’re not going to pick holes in each other’s coats.

and the man in faded black.’ said Joe.’ said Mrs Dilber.’ why wasn’t he natural in his lifetime. ‘We should hope not. you may depend upon it. ‘That’s enough.’ ‘Very well. nor afraid for them to see it.’ cried the woman. a pair of sleeve-buttons.’ ‘It’s the truest word that ever was spoke. he’d have had somebody to look after him when he was struck with Death. if I could have laid my hands on anything else. produced his plunder. instead of lying gasping out his last there.’ and I wouldn’t give an Sons and Lovers . Joe. before we met here. ‘That’s your account. Open that bundle.’ But the gallantry of her friends would not allow of this. a pencil-case.’ and it should have been. were all. and added them up into a total when he found there was nothing more to come. indeed. then.‘No. a wicked old screw. Open the bundle.’ ‘No. and let me know the value of it. upon the wall. ‘It’s a judgment on him. If he had been. old Joe. ‘If he wanted to keep them after he was dead. laughing. Speak out plain. A seal or two. They were severally examined and appraised by old Joe.’ replied the woman. Not a dead man. mounting the breach first.’ said Mrs Dilber. I suppose. alone by himself. It was not extensive. Who’s the worse for the loss of a few things like these. who chalked the sums he was disposed to give for each.’ pursued the woman.’ said Mrs Dilber and the man together. indeed. It’s no sin. I’m not afraid to be the first. I believe. We know pretty well that we were helping ourselves.’ ‘I wish it was a little heavier judgment. and a brooch of no great value.

and made it an open question. rings and all. ‘Why not. a little wearing apparel.other sixpence. Who’s next. ‘Yes I do.’ said Joe.’ said Joe. dragged out a large and heavy roll of some dark stuff.’ returned the woman. ‘That’s your account.’ replied the woman.’ asked Joe. now. two old-fashioned silver teaspoons.’ and you’ll certainly do it. Joe went down on his knees for the greater convenience of opening it. ‘Whose else’s do you think. If you asked me for another penny.’ ‘I certainly shan’t hold my hand.’ said old Joe. ‘Bed-curtains. and that’s the way I ruin myself. I’d repent of being so liberal and knock off half-a-crown. ‘He isn’t Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Bed-curtains. for the sake of such a man as he was. It’s a weakness of mine. ‘What do you call this.’ said Joe. Joe. ‘I always give too much to ladies. with him lying there.’ ‘His blankets. I promise you. a pair of sugartongs.’ said the first woman.’ ‘You were born to make your fortune. and having unfastened a great many knots. ‘Don’t drop that oil upon the blankets.’ ‘And now undo my bundle. when I can get anything in it by reaching it out. Joe.’ ‘You don’t mean to say you took them down.’ returned the woman coolly. Sheets and towels. and a few boots. laughing and leaning forward on her crossed arms.’ Mrs Dilber was next.’ ‘Ah. Her account was stated on the wall in the same manner.com  . if I was to be boiled for not doing it.’ replied the woman.

‘Putting it on him to be buried in.’ Scrooge listened to this dialogue in horror. Ah. ha. producing a flannel bag with money in it. and a fine one too.’ 0 Sons and Lovers . but I took it off again. now. Ha. he viewed them with a detestation and disgust.’ ‘I hope he didn’t die of any thing catching. My life tends that way. ha. marketing the corpse itself.’ laughed the same woman. to profit us when he was dead. It’s quite as becoming to the body.’ ‘What do you call wasting of it.likely to take cold without them. what is this. though the demons. ‘This is the end of it. shuddering from head to foot. ‘Don’t you be afraid of that. I see. stopping in his work.’ said old Joe. nor a threadbare place. if it hadn’t been for me. Eh. in the scanty light afforded by the old man’s lamp. ‘I see. to be sure. it isn’t good enough for anything. ‘Somebody was fool enough to do it.’ replied the woman with a laugh. I dare say.’ asked old Joe. and looking up. ha. when old Joe. ‘I an’t so fond of his company that I’d loiter about him for such things. The case of this unhappy man might be my own. They’d have wasted it. you may look through that shirt till your eyes ache.’ ‘Spirit.’ returned the woman. If calico an’t good enough for such a purpose. He can’t look uglier than he did in that one. which could hardly have been greater. It’s the best he had.’ said Scrooge. if he did. As they sat grouped about their spoil. told out their several gains upon the ground. you see. He frightened every one away from him when he was alive. but you won’t find a hole in it. ‘Ha. Merciful Heaven.

was the body of this man. it is not that the heart and pulse are still. rigid. Scrooge glanced towards the Phantom. A pale light. He thought of it. announced itself in awful language. there lay a something covered up. rising in the outer air. anxious to know what kind of room it was. to sow the world with life immortal.He recoiled in terror. and longed to do it. dreadful Death. revered. thou canst not turn one hair to thy dread purposes. for the scene had changed. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but had no more power to withdraw the veil than to dismiss the spectre at his side. generous. Strike. plundered and bereft. unwept. and now he almost touched a bed: a bare. warm. and true. Its steady hand was pointed to the head. or make one feature odious. And see his good deeds springing from the wound. But of the loved. set up thine altar here. Shadow. would have disclosed the face. strike. cold. but that the hand was open. though it was dumb. though Scrooge glanced round it in obedience to a secret impulse. the heart brave. It is not that the hand is heavy and will fall down when released. felt how easy it would be to do. beneath a ragged sheet. unwatched. The cover was so carelessly adjusted that the slightest raising of it. Oh cold. fell straight upon the bed. uncurtained bed: on which. and the pulse a man’s. too dark to be observed with any accuracy. which. and on it. The room was very dark. and tender.com 1 . and honoured head. the motion of a finger upon Scrooge’s part. and dress it with such terrors as thou hast at thy command: for this is thy dominion. uncared for.

Scrooge did not dare to think.’ he said. and why they were so restless and disturbed. I beseech you. and there was a sound of gnawing rats beneath the hearth-stone.’ The Phantom spread its dark robe before him for a moment. hard-dealing.’ and I would do it. and with anxious eagerness.No voice pronounced these words in Scrooge’s ears. They have brought him to a rich end. started at every sound.’ said Scrooge quite agonised. for she walked up and down the room. truly. like a wing. glanced at the clock. In leaving it. ‘I understand you. to say that he was kind to me in this or that. a woman. in the dark empty house. I have not the power. looked out from the window. if this man could be raised up now. ‘show that person to me. and yet he heard them when he looked upon the bed. where a mother and her children were. who feels emotion caused by this man’s death. what would be his foremost thoughts. Spirit.’ Still the Ghost pointed with an unmoved finger to the head. She was expecting some one. or a child. and withdrawing it. ‘If there is any person in the town. Avarice. Spirit. I shall not leave its lesson. revealed a room by daylight. with not a man. if I could. What they wanted in the room of death. ‘Spirit. A cat was tearing at the door.  Sons and Lovers . griping cares.’ this is a fearful place. But I have not the power. He thought. trust me. He lay.’ Again it seemed to look upon him. Let us go.’ Scrooge returned. and for the memory of one kind word I will be kind to him.

and was sorry. Nothing is past hope. There is hope yet. and when she asked him faintly what news (which was not until after a long silence).tried. said to me. and what I thought was a mere excuse to avoid me. At length the long-expected knock was heard. though he was young. There was a remarkable expression in it now. She hurried to the door. ‘there is.’ she said. ‘What the half-drunken woman whom I told you of last night. to work with her needle. ‘He is dead. a kind of serious delight of which he felt ashamed. Caroline. and could hardly bear the voices of the children in their play. ‘Is it good.’ ‘If he relents.’ She was a mild and patient creature if her face spoke truth. ‘or bad?’ — to help him. ‘We are quite ruined. but in vain. turns out to have been quite true. when I tried to see him and obtain a week’s delay. amazed. with clasped hands. ‘Bad.’ said her husband.com  .’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ he answered. but dying. and which he struggled to repress. then. but the first was the emotion of her heart.’ ‘No. He sat down to the dinner that had been boarding for him by the fire. if such a miracle has happened.’ ‘He is past relenting. he appeared embarrassed how to answer.’ she said. and met her husband. and she said so. He was not only very ill. She prayed forgiveness the next moment. a man whose face was careworn and depressed. but she was thankful in her soul to hear it.

‘To whom will our debt be transferred.’ ‘I don’t know. But before that time we shall be ready with the money; and even though we were not, it would be a bad fortune indeed to find so merciless a creditor in his successor. We may sleep to-night with light hearts, Caroline.’ Yes. Soften it as they would, their hearts were lighter. The children’s faces, hushed and clustered round to hear what they so little understood, were brighter; and it was a happier house for this man’s death. The only emotion that the Ghost could show him, caused by the event, was one of pleasure. ‘Let me see some tenderness connected with a death,’ said Scrooge;’ or that dark chamber, Spirit, which we left just now, will be for ever present to me.’ The Ghost conducted him through several streets familiar to his feet; and as they went along, Scrooge looked here and there to find himself, but nowhere was he to be seen. They entered poor Bob Cratchit’s house; the dwelling he had visited before; and found the mother and the children seated round the fire. Quiet. Very quiet. The noisy little Cratchits were as still as statues in one corner, and sat looking up at Peter, who had a book before him. The mother and her daughters were engaged in sewing. But surely they were very quiet. ‘And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them.’ Where had Scrooge heard those words. He had not dreamed them. The boy must have read them out, as he and the Spirit crossed the threshold. Why did he not go on. The mother laid her work upon the table, and put her hand up to her face. 
Sons and Lovers

‘The colour hurts my eyes,’ she said. The colour. Ah, poor Tiny Tim. ‘They’re better now again,’ said Cratchit’s wife. ‘It makes them weak by candle-light; and I wouldn’t show weak eyes to your father when he comes home, for the world. It must be near his time.’ ‘Past it rather,’ Peter answered, shutting up his book. ‘But I think he has walked a little slower than he used, these few last evenings, mother.’ They were very quiet again. At last she said, and in a steady, cheerful voice, that only faltered once: ‘I have known him walk with — I have known him walk with Tiny Tim upon his shoulder, very fast indeed.’ ‘And so have I,’ cried Peter. ‘Often.’ ‘And so have I,’ exclaimed another. So had all. ‘But he was very light to carry,’ she resumed, intent upon her work,’ and his father loved him so, that it was no trouble: no trouble. And there is your father at the door.’ She hurried out to meet him; and little Bob in his comforter — he had need of it, poor fellow — came in. His tea was ready for him on the hob, and they all tried who should help him to it most. Then the two young Cratchits got upon his knees and laid, each child a little cheek, against his face, as if they said,’ Don’t mind it, father. Don’t be grieved.’ Bob was very cheerful with them, and spoke pleasantly to all the family. He looked at the work upon the table, and praised the industry and speed of Mrs Cratchit and the girls. They would be done long before Sunday, he said. ‘Sunday. You went to-day, then, Robert.’ said his wife.
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‘Yes, my dear,’ returned Bob. ‘I wish you could have gone. It would have done you good to see how green a place it is. But you’ll see it often. I promised him that I would walk there on a Sunday. My little, little child.’ cried Bob. ‘My little child.’ He broke down all at once. He couldn’t help it. If he could have helped it, he and his child would have been farther apart perhaps than they were. He left the room, and went up-stairs into the room above, which was lighted cheerfully, and hung with Christmas. There was a chair set close beside the child, and there were signs of some one having been there, lately. Poor Bob sat down in it, and when he had thought a little and composed himself, he kissed the little face. He was reconciled to what had happened, and went down again quite happy. They drew about the fire, and talked; the girls and mother working still. Bob told them of the extraordinary kindness of Mr Scrooge’s nephew, whom he had scarcely seen but once, and who, meeting him in the street that day, and seeing that he looked a little -’ just a little down you know,’ said Bob, inquired what had happened to distress him. ‘On which,’ said Bob,’ for he is the pleasantest-spoken gentleman you ever heard, I told him. ‘I am heartily sorry for it, Mr Cratchit,’ he said,’ and heartily sorry for your good wife.’ By the bye, how he ever knew that, I don’t know.’ ‘Knew what, my dear.’ ‘Why, that you were a good wife,’ replied Bob. ‘Everybody knows that.’ said Peter. ‘Very well observed, my boy.’ cried Bob. ‘I hope they do. 
Sons and Lovers

mark what I say. we shall not quarrel easily among ourselves. never.com  .’ said Mrs Cratchit.’ I am very happy. — if he got Peter a better situation.’ ‘Never.’ for your good wife. giving me his card. ‘It’s just as likely as not. It really seemed as if he had known our Tiny Tim. But however and when ever we part from one another. ‘And I know. and forget poor Tiny Tim in doing it. that this was quite delightful. that when we recollect how patient and how mild he was.’ returned Bob.’ said Mrs Cratchit.‘Heartily sorry. ‘I am very happy.’ they all cried again.’ retorted Peter. although he was a little. father.’ cried one of the girls.’ Peter will be keeping company with some one. his daughters kissed him. I shouldn’t be at all surprised . Peter.’ that’s where I live. father. and setting up for himself.’ cried Bob.’ ‘No.’ for the sake of anything he might be able to do for us.’ said Bob.’ he said.’ ‘I’m sure he’s a good soul. If I can be of service to you in any way. so much as for his kind way.’ if you saw and spoke to him.’ one of these days. my dear. little child. the two young Cratchits kissed him. and felt with us. and Peter and himself Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ cried they all.’ said Bob. grinning. ‘And then. Pray come to me.’ he said.’ said little Bob. it wasn’t.’ ‘Only hear that. my dear.’ ‘Get along with you.’ Mrs Cratchit kissed him. my dears. I am sure we shall none of us forget poor Tiny Tim — shall we — or this first parting that there was among us. though there’s plenty of time for that. ‘You would be surer of it.’ I know.’ Now.

Tell me what man that was whom we saw lying dead. Indeed. Let me behold what I shall be. The furniture was not the same. and looked in. lay underneath the ground. he thought: indeed. is where my place of occupation is. He paused to look round before entering. but showed him not himself. Scrooge hastened to the window of his office. then. the hand was pointed elsewhere. ‘This courts.’ through which we hurry now.’ said Scrooge.’ The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come conveyed him. and the figure in the chair was not himself. He joined it once again. Here. Spirit of Tiny Tim. but not his. but went straight on.’ said Scrooge.’ The inexorable finger underwent no change. and has been for a length of time. and wondering why and whither he had gone. as to the end just now desired. ‘Spectre. The Phantom pointed as before. ‘Why do you point away. but I know not how. in days to come.’ something informs me that our parting moment is at hand. there seemed no order in these latter visions. I see the house. ‘The house is yonder. It was an office still. I know it. until besought by Scrooge to tarry for a moment. the wretched man whose name he had now to learn. as before — though at a different time.shook hands. thy childish essence was from God. save that they were in the Future — into the resorts of business men. A churchyard. It was a  Sons and Lovers .’ The Spirit stopped. the Spirit did not stay for anything. accompanied it until they reached an iron gate.’ Scrooge exclaimed.

’ he cried. ‘Am I that man who lay upon the bed. He advanced towards it trembling. ‘But if the courses be departed from. Spirit. fat with repleted appetite.’ Still the Ghost pointed downward to the grave by which it stood. tight clutching at its robe. ‘Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point. if persevered in. The Phantom was exactly as it had been.’ The finger still was there.worthy place.’ hear me. Are these the shadows of the things that Will be. or are they shadows of things that May be. The Spirit stood among the graves.’ The Spirit was immovable as ever. choked up with too much burying. not life. the growth of vegetation’s death. Walled in by houses. I am Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The finger pointed from the grave to him. and pointed down to One. no. they must lead. Oh no. overrun by grass and weeds. ‘answer me one question. ‘No. only. and back again.’ he cried. Scrooge crept towards it. to which. the ends will change. read upon the stone of the neglected grave his own name. upon his knees. trembling as he went.com  . but he dreaded that he saw new meaning in its solemn shape.’ said Scrooge. A worthy place. ‘Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends. Ebenezer Scrooge.’ said Scrooge. ‘Spirit. and following the finger. Say it is thus with what you show me.

and the Future. the Present. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. and pities me. Why show me this.’ For the first time the hand appeared to shake. and detained it. and try to keep it all the year. collapsed. I will live in the Past. but he was strong in his entreaty. The Spirit. repulsed him.’ The kind hand trembled. I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me. It sought to free itself. Holding up his hands in a last prayer to have his fate aye reversed. Oh. stronger yet. he saw an alteration in the Phantom’s hood and dress. and dwindled down into a bedpost. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. ‘Good Spirit. ‘I will honour Christmas in my heart. tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone.not the man I was. he caught the spectral hand. as down upon the ground he fell before it:’ Your nature intercedes for me. by an altered life.’ In his agony.’ he pursued. It shrunk. if I am past all hope. 100 Sons and Lovers .

and the Christmas Time be praised for this. and the Future.’ cried Scrooge. may be dispelled. turning them inside out.’ His hands were busy with his garments all this time. mislaying them. I am Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the room was his own. and his face was wet with tears. rings and all. He had been sobbing violently in his conflict with the Spirit. Best and happiest of all. the Time before him was his own. The bed was his own. ‘I am as light as a feather.com 101 .Stave 5: The End of It Y es! and the bedpost was his own.’ they are not torn down. to make amends in! ‘I will live in the Past. ‘The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. They will be. as he scrambled out of bed. the Present. ‘They are not torn down. putting them on upside down. tearing them. ‘I don’t know what to do. They are here — I am here — the shadows of the things that would have been. that his broken voice would scarcely answer to his call.’ He was so fluttered and so glowing with his good intentions. Heaven. old Jacob. on my knees. folding one of his bed-curtains in his arms. I say it on my knees. Oh Jacob Marley. making them parties to every kind of extravagance.’ Scrooge repeated.’ cried Scrooge. I know they will. laughing and crying in the same breath. and making a perfect Laocoon of himself with his stockings.

Whoop. It’s all right. Heavenly sky. I don’t care. Oh. it was a splendid laugh. cold. ding. ‘There’s the saucepan that the gruel was in. Hallo. ding. jovial. There’s the corner where the Ghost of Christmas Present. calling downward to a 10 Sons and Lovers . bright. Ha ha ha. he opened it. it’s all true. clang. No fog. Golden sunlight. A happy New Year to all the world. glorious. Glorious. glorious.as happy as an angel. merry bells. dong. hammer.’ He was checked in his transports by the churches ringing out the lustiest peals he had ever heard. it all happened. Hallo. I’d rather be a baby. and going round the fireplace.’ said Scrooge. long line of brilliant laughs. ‘I don’t know how long I’ve been among the Spirits. and put out his head. a most illustrious laugh. Clash. The father of a long. A merry Christmas to everybody.’ Really. piping for the blood to dance to. ‘What’s to-day. clear.’ He had frisked into the sitting-room.’ cried Scrooge. stirring. glorious. dong. Whoop. bell. I’m quite a baby. There’s the window where I saw the wandering Spirits. no mist. starting off again. I am as giddy as a drunken man. by which the Ghost of Jacob Marley entered. sweet fresh air. Bell.’ cried Scrooge. clash. I am as merry as a schoolboy. I don’t know anything. ‘I don’t know what day of the month it is. ‘There’s the door. Running to the window. Hallo here. for a man who had been out of practice for so many years. cold. clang. Never mind. hammer. Hallo here. Oh. and was now standing there: perfectly winded. sat.

Come back with him in less than five minutes and I’ll give you half-a-crown.’ returned the boy. ‘What a delightful boy.’ replied the boy. Christmas Day.’ ‘Hallo.’ replied the lad.’ Scrooge inquired. ‘Go and buy it.’ The boy was off like a shot. The Spirits have done it all in one night. ‘Why.boy in Sunday clothes. who perhaps had loitered in to look about him. Yes.com 10 .’ said Scrooge.’ ‘It’s Christmas Day.’ said Scrooge. ‘I am in earnest. my fine fellow. ‘I haven’t missed it. Come back with the man. Of course they can.’ ‘It’s hanging there now. that I may give them the direction where to take it.’ replied the boy. Do you know whether they’ve sold the prize Turkey that was hanging up there — Not the little prize Turkey: the big one. He must have had a steady Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ said Scrooge. ‘An intelligent boy. ‘What’s to-day. with all his might of wonder. ‘I should hope I did.’ exclaimed the boy. and tell them to bring it here. ‘Is it. Of course they can. ‘It’s a pleasure to talk to him. Hallo.’ ‘Walk-er. and I’ll give you a shilling. ‘To-day. ‘Eh. my buck. Go and buy it.’ returned the boy. ‘A remarkable boy. They can do anything they like.’ said Scrooge.’ ‘What. no. ‘Do you know the Poulterer’s. ‘No. in the next street but one.’ returned the boy. my fine fellow.’ said Scrooge to himself. at the corner.’ said Scrooge. the one as big as me.

Merry Christmas. and the chuckle with which he paid for the cab. even when you don’t dance while you are at it.’ The chuckle with which he said this. and the chuckle with which he paid for the Turkey.’ cried Scrooge. patting it with his hand. Joe Miller never made such a joke as sending it to Bob’s will be.’ The hand in which he wrote the address was not a steady one. ‘I scarcely ever looked at it before. and shaving requires attention. it’s impossible to carry that to Camden Town. ‘He shan’t know who sends it.hand at a trigger who could have got a shot off half so fast. and splitting with a laugh. ready for the coming of the poulterer’s man. ‘I shall love it. As he stood there. the knocker caught his eye. Hallo.’ It was a Turkey. What an honest expression it has in its face. for his hand continued to shake very much. were only to be exceeded by the chuckle with which he sat down breathless in his chair again. like sticks of sealing-wax. It’s a wonderful knocker. and chuckled till he cried.’ said Scrooge. How are you. — Here’s the Turkey. ‘You must have a cab. and went down-stairs to open the street door.’ whispered Scrooge. rubbing his hands. that bird. ‘I’ll send it to Bon Cratchit’s. somehow. It’s twice the size of Tiny Tim. waiting his arrival. He never could have stood upon his legs. and the chuckle with which he recompensed the boy. He would have snapped them short off in a minute. Shaving was not an easy task. But if he had cut 10 Sons and Lovers . but write it he did. Whoop. as long as I live. ‘Why.

I hope you succeeded yesterday. ‘Lord bless me. but he knew what path lay straight before him. A merry Christmas to you.’ Good morning.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he would have put a piece of stickingplaster over it.’ said Scrooge. I believe. that of all the blithe sounds he had ever heard. who had walked into his counting-house the day before. and he took it.’ Scrooge and Marley’s. ‘How do you do.com 10 .’ said Scrooge. and said. ‘That is my name. He looked so irresistibly pleasant. as if his breath were taken away. and taking the old gentleman by both his hands. He dressed himself all in his best. ‘My dear sir. sir. and been quite satisfied.the end of his nose off. and walking with his hands behind him. Scrooge regarded every one with a delighted smile. It was very kind of you. as he had seen them with the Ghost of Christmas Present. quickening his pace.’ ‘Mr Scrooge. and I fear it may not be pleasant to you.’ And Scrooge said often afterwards.’ cried the gentleman.’ ‘Yes. He had not gone far.’ It sent a pang across his heart to think how this old gentleman would look upon him when they met. that three or four good-humoured fellows said. those were the blithest in his ears. sir. And will you have the goodness’ — here Scrooge whispered in his ear. A merry Christmas to you. and at last got out into the streets. The people were by this time pouring forth. in a word. when coming on towards him he beheld the portly gentleman. are you serious. ‘My dear Mr Scrooge. Allow me to ask your pardon.

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

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