A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens The Full Story of Scrooge

One of my old favourites is a story about Scrooge known now by all as the meanest and most bitter man in Victorian England. The traditions of a modern Christmas were laid down in this book. We associate Xmas with snow, warm cozy fires, Christmas trees, gifts, dancing, plenty of food on the table, ghosts or ghost stories and general merrymaking and being friendlier than normal to others. The message of this book is as relevant today as ever. We live in an increasingly commercial world and this story is a special one which reminds us to be charitable to those less fortunate and love and pamper those we know well too. At first Dickens published this book at himself. Over the years the story of Scrooge, as told in 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens, has gained huge popularity and has been made into many films. My favourite is the 1970 Scrooge film with Albert Finney. P.W.Thomas

A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens Stave 1 Marley's Ghost
Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail. Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a 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 be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet's Father died before the play began, there would be nothing more remarkable in his taking a stroll at night, in an easterly wind, upon his own ramparts, than there would be in any other middle-aged gentleman rashly turning out after dark in a breezy spot say Saint Paul's Churchyard for instance - literally to astonish his son's weak mind. Scrooge never painted out Old Marley's name. There it stood, years afterwards, above the warehouse door: Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley, but he answered to both names: it was all the same to him. Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind-stone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his

cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dogdays; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas. External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn't know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often 'came down' handsomely, and Scrooge never did. Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, 'My dear Scrooge, how are you? When will you come to see me?' No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o'clock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the blind men's dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, 'No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!' But what did Scrooge care? It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing ones call 'nuts' to Scrooge. Once upon a time - of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve - old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house. It was cold, bleak, biting weather: foggy withal: and he could hear the people in the court outside go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavement stones to warm them. The city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already - it had not been light all day: and candles were flaring in the windows of the neighbouring offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air. The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense without, that although the court was of the narrowest, the houses opposite were mere phantoms. To see the dingy cloud come drooping down, obscuring everything, one might have thought that Nature lived hard by, and was brewing on a large scale. The door of Scrooge's counting-house was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters. Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk's fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal. But he couldn't replenish it, for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room; and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel, the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at the candle; in which effort, not being a man of a strong imagination, he failed. 'A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!' cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge's nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach. 'Bah!' said Scrooge, 'Humbug!' He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost, this nephew of Scrooge's, that he was all in a glow; his face was ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkled, and his breath smoked again. 'Christmas a humbug, uncle!' said Scrooge's nephew. 'You don't mean that, I am sure.'

'I do,' said Scrooge. 'Merry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You're poor enough.' 'Come, then,' returned the nephew gaily. 'What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You're rich enough.' Scrooge having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said 'Bah!' again; and followed it up with 'Humbug.' 'Don't be cross, uncle!' said the nephew. 'What else can I be,' returned the uncle, 'when I live in such a world of fools as this? Merry Christmas! Out upon merry Christmas! What's Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books and having every item in 'em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you? If I could work my will,' said Scrooge indignantly, 'every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!' 'Uncle!' pleaded the nephew. 'Nephew!' returned the uncle, sternly, 'keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine.' 'Keep it!' repeated Scrooge's nephew. 'But you don't keep it.' 'Let me leave it alone, then,' said Scrooge. 'Much good may it do you! Much good it has ever done you!' 'There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,' returned the nephew. 'Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round - apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that - as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!' The clerk in the tank involuntarily applauded: becoming immediately sensible of the impropriety, he poked the fire, and extinguished the last frail spark for ever. 'Let me hear another sound from you,' said Scrooge, 'and you'll keep your Christmas by losing your situation. You're quite a powerful speaker, sir,' he added, turning to his nephew. 'I wonder you don't go into Parliament.' 'Don't be angry, uncle. Come! Dine with us tomorrow.' Scrooge said that he would see him - yes, indeed he did. He went the whole length of the expression, and said that he would see him in that extremity first. 'But why?' cried Scrooge's nephew. 'Why?' 'Why did you get married?' said Scrooge. 'Because I fell in love.'

'Because you fell in love!' growled Scrooge, as if that were the only one thing in the world more ridiculous than a merry Christmas. 'Good afternoon!' 'Nay, uncle, but you never came to see me before that happened. Why give it as a reason for not coming now?' 'Good afternoon,' said Scrooge. 'I want nothing from you; I ask nothing of you; why cannot we be friends?' 'Good afternoon,' said Scrooge. 'I am sorry, with all my heart, to find you so resolute. We have never had any quarrel, to which I have been a party. But I have made the trial in homage to Christmas, and I'll keep my Christmas humour to the last. So A Merry Christmas, uncle!' 'Good afternoon,' said Scrooge. 'And A Happy New Year!' 'Good afternoon!' said Scrooge. His nephew left the room without an angry word, notwithstanding. He stopped at the outer door to bestow the greetings of the season on the clerk, who cold as he was, was warmer than Scrooge; for he returned them cordially. 'There's another fellow,' muttered Scrooge; who overheard him: 'my clerk, with fifteen shillings a week, and a wife and family, talking about a merry Christmas. I'll retire to Bedlam.' This lunatic, in letting Scrooge's nephew out, had let two other people in. They were portly gentlemen, pleasant to behold, and now stood, with their hats off, in Scrooge's office. They had books and papers in their hands, and bowed to him. 'Scrooge and Marley's, I believe,' said one of the gentlemen, referring to his list. 'Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Scrooge, or Mr. Marley?' 'Mr. Marley has been dead these seven years,' Scrooge replied. 'He died seven years ago, this very night.' 'We have no doubt his liberality is well represented by his surviving partner,' said the gentleman, presenting his credentials. It certainly was; for they had been two kindred spirits. At the ominous word 'liberality,' Scrooge frowned, and shook his head, and handed the credentials back. 'At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,' said the gentleman, taking up a pen, 'it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.' 'Are there no prisons?' asked Scrooge. 'Plenty of prisons,' said the gentleman, laying down the pen again. 'And the Union workhouses?' demanded Scrooge. 'Are they still in operation?' 'They are. Still,' returned the gentleman, 'I wish I could say they were not.'

'The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?' said Scrooge. 'Both very busy, sir.' 'Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,' said Scrooge. 'I'm very glad to hear it.' 'Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,' returned the gentleman, 'a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?' 'Nothing!' Scrooge replied. 'You wish to be anonymous?' 'I wish to be left alone,' said Scrooge. 'Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned - they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.' 'Many can't go there; and many would rather die.' 'If they would rather die,' said Scrooge, 'they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides - excuse me - I don't know that.' 'But you might know it,' observed the gentleman. 'It's not my business,' Scrooge returned. 'It's enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people's. Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, gentlemen!' Seeing clearly that it would be useless to pursue their point, the gentlemen withdrew. Scrooge returned his labours with an improved opinion of himself, and in a more facetious temper than was usual with him. **~** Meanwhile the fog and darkness thickened so, that people ran about with flaring links, proffering their services to go before horses in carriages, and conduct them on their way. The ancient tower of a church, whose gruff old bell was always peeping slyly down at Scrooge out of a Gothic window in the wall, became invisible, and struck the hours and quarters in the clouds, with tremulous vibrations afterwards as if its teeth were chattering in its frozen head up there. The cold became intense. In the main street at the corner of the court, some labourers were repairing the gas-pipes, and had lighted a great fire in a brazier, round which a party of ragged men and boys were gathered: warming their hands and winking their eyes before the blaze in rapture. The water-plug being left in solitude, its overflowing sullenly congealed, and turned to misanthropic ice. The brightness of the shops where holly sprigs and berries crackled in the lamp heat of the windows, made pale faces ruddy as they passed. Poulterers' and grocers' trades became a splendid joke; a glorious pageant, with which it was next to impossible to believe that such dull principles as bargain and sale had anything to do. The Lord Mayor, in the stronghold of the mighty Mansion House, gave orders to his fifty cooks and butlers to keep Christmas as a Lord Mayor's household should; and even the little tailor, whom he had fined five shillings on the previous Monday for being drunk and bloodthirsty in the streets, stirred up to-morrow's pudding in his garret, while his lean wife and the baby sallied out to buy the beef.

the other rooms being all let out as offices. also that Scrooge had as little of what is called fancy about him as any man in the city of London. If the good Saint Dunstan had but nipped the Evil Spirit's nose with a touch of such weather as that. It was old enough now. 'you don't think me ill-used. 'A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every twenty-fifth of December!' said Scrooge.' The clerk promised that he would. Be here all the earlier next morning. 'If quite convenient. who knew its every stone. in a lowering pile of building up a yard. that the singer fled in terror. It is also a fact. in honour of its being Christmas Eve. even including . that Scrooge had seen it. and forgotten the way out again. 'and it's not fair. that it seemed as if the Genius of the Weather sat in mournful meditation on the threshold.' 'It's not convenient. where it had so little business to be. it is a fact. Scrooge took his melancholy dinner in his usual melancholy tavern. gnawed and mumbled by the hungry cold as bones are gnawed by dogs. and put on his hat. biting cold. and colder! Piercing. that there was nothing at all particular about the knocker on the door. I suppose?' said Scrooge. and the clerk. and then ran home to Camden Town as hard as he could pelt.which is a . and Scrooge walked out with a growl. 'And yet. instead of using his familiar weapons. searching. with the long ends of his white comforter dangling below his waist (for he boasted no great-coat). and tacitly admitted the fact to the expectant clerk in the Tank. playing at hide-and-seek with other houses. 'But I suppose you must have the whole day. stooped down at Scrooge's keyhole to regale him with a Christmas carol: but at the first sound of 'God bless you. and beguiled the rest of the evening with his banker's-book. The fog and frost so hung about the black old gateway of the house. for nobody lived in it but Scrooge. that one could scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house. At length the hour of shutting up the counting house arrived.' said Scrooge. and having read all the newspapers. who instantly snuffed his candle out. during his whole residence in that place. With an ill-will Scrooge dismounted from his stool. The yard was so dark that even Scrooge. and dreary enough. you'd think yourself ill-used. leaving the keyhole to the fog and even more congenial frost. They were a gloomy suite of rooms. went down a slide on Cornhill. when I pay a day's wages for no work. The owner of one scant young nose.Foggier yet. then indeed he would have roared to lusty purpose. 'You'll want all day to-morrow. sir. went home to bed. except that it was very large. Now. twenty times. The office was closed in a twinkling. He lived in chambers which had once belonged to his deceased partner. to play at blind man’s-buff. If I was to stop half-a-crown for it. was fain to grope with his hands.' The clerk observed that it was only once a year. night and morning.' said Scrooge. merry gentleman! May nothing you dismay!' Scrooge seized the ruler with such energy of action. I'll be bound?' The clerk smiled faintly. at the end of a lane of boys. buttoning his great-coat to the chin.

and. except the screws and nuts that held the knocker on. turned it sturdily. . or that his blood was not conscious of a terrible sensation to which it had been a stranger from infancy. and a poker. To say that he was not startled. Old fire-guards. He fastened the door. And then let any man explain to me. Lumber-room as usual. which was hanging up in a suspicious attitude against the wall. appeared to have a separate peal of echoes of its own. with the splinter-bar towards the wall and the door towards the balustrades: and done it easy. Nobody under the table. washing-stand on three legs. before he shut the door. nobody in the closet. would be untrue. But there was nothing on the back of the door. All as they should be. spoon and basin ready. He did pause. and every cask in the wine-merchant's cellars below. without its undergoing any intermediate process of change . they were perfectly motionless. with a moment's irresolution. Quite satisfied. and his nightcap. as if by breath or hot air. and room to spare. which was not his custom. slowly too: trimming his candle as he went. as if he half-expected to be terrified with the sight of Marley's pigtail sticking out into the hall. nobody under the sofa. but looked at Scrooge as Marley used to look: with ghostly spectacles turned up on its ghostly forehead. saw in the knocker. but I mean to say you might have got a hearse up that staircase. pooh!' and closed it with a bang. he walked through his rooms to see that all was right. It was not angry or ferocious. and taken it broadwise. Marley's face. walked in. and up the stairs.not a knocker. not caring a button for that.the corporation. and walked across the hall. Thus secured against surprise. He had just enough recollection of the face to desire to do that. how it happened that Scrooge. double-locked himself in. Half a dozen gas-lamps out of the street wouldn't have lighted the entry too well. it was a knocker again. The sound resounded through the house like thunder. and Scrooge liked it. Nobody under the bed. Darkness is cheap. so you may suppose that it was pretty dark with Scrooge's dip. You may talk vaguely about driving a coach-and-six up a good old flight of stairs. put on his dressing-gown and slippers. As Scrooge looked fixedly at this phenomenon. he closed his door. and its livid colour. and livery. and he did look cautiously behind it first. if he can. and locked himself in. he took off his cravat. aldermen. having his key in the lock of the door. lumber-room. like a bad lobster in a dark cellar. since his last mention of his seven years' dead partner that afternoon. two fishbaskets. old shoes. but Marley's face. That. made it horrible. There was plenty of width for that. Up Scrooge went. But he put his hand upon the key he had relinquished. so he said 'Pooh. Every room above. and the little saucepan of gruel (Scrooge had a cold in his head) upon the hob. bedroom. Scrooge was not a man to be frightened by echoes. a small fire in the grate. But before he shut his heavy door. but had a dismal light about it. Sitting-room. Let it also be borne in mind that Scrooge had not bestowed one thought on Marley. or through a bad young Act of Parliament. but its horror seemed to be in spite of the face and beyond its control. and sat down before the fire to take his gruel. which is perhaps the reason why Scrooge thought he saw a locomotive hearse going on before him in the gloom.bold word . though the eyes were wide open. It was not in impenetrable shadow as the other objects in the yard were. and lighted his candle. nobody in his dressing-gown. rather than a part or its own expression. The hair was curiously stirred.

and yet that face of Marley. keys. the tassels on the latter bristling. without a pause. inexplicable dread. After several turns. Apostles putting off to sea in butter-boats. 'I know him. could see the two buttons on his coat behind. no doubt about it. and communicated for some purpose now forgotten with a chamber in the highest story of the building. As he threw his head back in the chair.It was a very low fire indeed. Scrooge then remembered to have heard that ghosts in haunted houses were described as dragging chains. when. designed to illustrate the Scriptures. and swallowed up the whole. that as he looked. 'Humbug!' said Scrooge. as if some person were dragging a heavy chain over the casks in the wine merchant's cellar. there would have been a copy of old Marley's head on every one. deep down below. so that Scrooge. Belshazzars.Marley's voice. ledgers. a disused bell. then coming straight towards his door. usual waistcoat. It was long. Abrahams. Scrooge had often heard it said that Marley had no bowels. 'How now!' said Scrooge. hundreds of figures to attract his thoughts . His body was transparent. the dying flame leaped up. before he could extract the least sensation of warmth from such a handful of fuel. and with a strange. with power to shape some picture on its surface from the disjointed fragments of his thoughts. together. Marley in his pigtail. and brood over it. came like the ancient Prophet's rod. 'I won't believe it. tights and boots. 'What do you want with me?' 'Much!' . and it was made (for Scrooge observed it closely) of cash-boxes. seven years dead. padlocks. and passed into the room before his eyes. This might have lasted half a minute. The same face: the very same. built by some Dutch merchant long ago. It swung so softly in the outset that it scarcely made a sound. 'It's humbug still!' said Scrooge. There were Cains and Abels. on the floors below. and heavy purses wrought in steel. it came on through the heavy door. deeds. like his pigtail. and then he heard the noise much louder. nor did he believe it even now. Queens of Sheba. and paved all round with quaint Dutch tiles. If each smooth tile had been a blank at first. Upon its coming in. 'Who are you?' . and his coat-skirts. They were succeeded by a clanking noise. The fireplace was an old one. The bells ceased as they had begun. and walked across the room. No. Marley's Ghost!' and fell again. It was with great astonishment. though he felt the chilling influence of its death-cold eyes. The chain he drew was clasped about his middle. and looking through his waistcoat. and saw it standing before him. he saw this bell begin to swing. and wound about him like a tail. as though it cried. that hung in the room. he sat down again. observing him. but soon it rang out loudly. and fought against his senses.' His colour changed though. but he had never believed it until now. his glance happened to rest upon a bell. nothing on such a bitter night. Pharaohs' daughters. Though he looked the phantom through and through. Angelic messengers descending through the air on clouds like feather-beds. and the hair upon his head. He was obliged to sit close to it. or a minute. and marked the very texture of the folded kerchief bound about its head and chin. and so did every bell in the house. but it seemed an hour. caustic and cold as ever. then coming up the stairs. The cellar-door flew open with a booming sound. which wrapper he had not observed before: he was still incredulous.

staring at those fixed glazed eyes. looking doubtfully at him. its hair.'Ask me who I was. Humbug. in silence for a moment. it might involve the necessity of an embarrassing explanation. in his heart. and be for the rest of my days persecuted by a legion of goblins. and felt that in the event of its being impossible. nor did he feel. all of my own creation. 'What evidence would you have of my reality.' observed the Ghost. for the reason just assigned. I tell you! humbug!' . for a shade. To sit. in the spectre's being provided with an infernal atmosphere of its own. were still agitated as by the hot vapour from an oven.' said Scrooge.' said Scrooge. There was something very awful. 'You're particular. as more appropriate. that he tried to be smart. 'In life I was your partner.' said Scrooge. whatever you are!' Scrooge was not much in the habit of cracking jokes.' 'Do it then. a crumb of cheese. 'You are not looking at it. Scrooge could not feel it himself. The truth is. for though the Ghost sat perfectly motionless. by any means waggish then. 'I don't. a fragment of an underdone potato. and wishing. a blot of mustard. as a means of distracting his own attention. There's more of gravy than of grave about you.' 'Well!' returned Scrooge.' said the Ghost. the very deuce with him. 'Why do you doubt your senses?' 'Because. 'But I see it. though it were only for a second. Scrooge felt. and tassels. You may be an undigested bit of beef. 'notwithstanding. and skirts.' 'Can you .' Scrooge asked the question. because he didn't know whether a ghost so transparent might find himself in a condition to take a chair. would play.' said Scrooge.can you sit down?' asked Scrooge. 'I do. raising his voice. 'You don't believe in me. But the ghost sat down on the opposite side of the fireplace.' 'Who were you then?' said Scrooge. beyond that of your senses?' 'I don't know. for the spectre's voice disturbed the very marrow in his bones. to divert the vision's stony gaze from himself. returning quickly to the charge.' He was going to say 'to a shade. too. 'I have but to swallow this. as if he were quite used to it. 'a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. 'You see this toothpick?' said Scrooge.' replied the Ghost. but this was clearly the case. Jacob Marley. and keeping down his terror. 'I can.' but substituted this.

he did so now. A very little more. I girded it on of my own free will. Jacob. 'I must. when the phantom taking off the bandage round its head. that Scrooge held on tight to his chair. and shook its chain with such a dismal and appalling noise. 'do you believe in me or not?' 'I do. and weary journeys lie before me!' It was a habit with Scrooge. to save himself from falling in a swoon.mark me! .' the Ghost replied. 'Or would you know. My spirit never walked beyond our counting-house .' Scrooge observed. 'You must have been very slow about it. I cannot rest. and turned to happiness!' Again the spectre raised a cry. 'I made it link by link. and is conveyed by other ministers. Speak comfort to me. But why do spirits walk the earth.oh. tell me more.At this the spirit raised a frightful cry. and yard by yard. to other kinds of men. Ebenezer Scrooge.' mused Scrooge. in a business-like manner. and of my own free will I wore it. 'the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this.' said Scrooge. Is its pattern strange to you?' Scrooge trembled more and more. I cannot stay. It is a ponderous chain!' Scrooge glanced about him on the floor. 'Slow!' the Ghost repeated. but without lifting up his eyes.' he said. to put his hands in his breeches pockets.' pursued the Ghost. and if that spirit goes not forth in life. is all permitted to me. trembling. 'It comes from other regions. 'Jacob. why do you trouble me?' 'Man of the worldly mind!' replied the Ghost. in the expectation of finding himself surrounded by some fifty or sixty fathoms of iron cable: but he could see nothing. or getting off his knees. Pondering on what the Ghost had said. and why do they come to me?' 'It is required of every man. 'that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellowmen. it is condemned to do so after death. You have laboured on it. its lower jaw dropped down upon its breast! Scrooge fell upon his knees. 'Mercy!' he said.and witness what it cannot share.' said Scrooge. seven Christmas Eves ago. though with humility and deference.in life my spirit never roved beyond the narrow limits of our money-changing hole. whenever he became thoughtful. but might have shared on earth. 'You are fettered. imploringly. 'Tell me why?' 'I wear the chain I forged in life. and shook its chain and wrung its shadowy hands.' the Ghost returned. since. 'Seven years dead. 'And travelling all the time!' . Jacob!' 'I have none to give. and clasped his hands before his face. as if it were too warm to wear indoors. woe is me! . But how much greater was his horror. I cannot linger anywhere. It is doomed to wander through the world .' replied the Ghost. Nor can I tell you what I would. 'Dreadful apparition. 'Old Jacob Marley. and travel far and wide.

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. and flung it heavily upon the ground again. 'Hear me!' cried the Ghost. 'by Three Spirits.' said Scrooge.'The whole time. 'At this time of the rolling year. Jacob. The common welfare was my business. that the Ward would have been justified in indicting it for a nuisance. who now began to apply this to himself. Scrooge shivered.' replied the Ghost. Jacob! Pray!' 'How it is that I appear before you in a shape that you can see. forbearance. will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness. by immortal creatures. 'You might have got over a great quantity of ground in seven years. 'Thank 'ee!' 'You will be haunted. Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life's opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!' 'But you were always a good man of business.' It was not an agreeable idea. Incessant torture of remorse. that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate. 'No rest.' cried the phantom.' faltered Scrooge. A chance and hope of my procuring. I have sat invisible beside you many and many a day. 'On the wings of the wind.' pursued the Ghost. on hearing this.' 'You were always a good friend to me. 'I am here to-night to warn you. . 'Mankind was my business.' 'I will. bound. my business. and began to quake exceedingly.' the spectre said 'I suffer most. all. 'My time is nearly gone. wringing its hands again. set up another cry. Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down. whatever it may be. 'Business!' cried the Ghost. no peace.' Scrooge's countenance fell almost as low as the Ghost's had done. were. and wiped the perspiration from his brow.' said Scrooge. 'Oh! captive. 'That is no light part of my penance. as if that were the cause of all its unavailing grief. Ebenezer. and benevolence. 'But don't be hard upon me! Don't be flowery. and double-ironed. and clanked its chain so hideously in the dead silence of the night.' resumed the Ghost.' 'You travel fast?' said Scrooge. Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere. mercy.' said Scrooge. I may not tell.' said the Ghost. 'not to know. for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed. The Ghost. charity. that ages of incessant labour. 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.

as before. or mist enshrouded them. upon a door-step.' 'I . and look that. Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives. 'Expect the second on the next night at the same hour. And being. incoherent sounds of lamentation and regret. as he had locked it with his own hands. or the fatigues of the day. none were free. and at every step it took. as in surprise and fear: for on the raising of the hand. Whether these creatures faded into mist. The spectre. it was wide open. He had been quite familiar with one old ghost. Look to see me no more. and fell asleep upon the instant. Marley's Ghost held up its hand. He looked out. with its chain wound over and about its arm. without undressing.' said the Ghost. The third upon the next night when the last stroke of twelve has ceased to vibrate. and had lost the power for ever. and examined the door by which the Ghost had entered. or the lateness of the hour. Expect the first tomorrow. 'Without their visits. went straight to bed. warning him to come no nearer. wandering hither and thither in restless haste. dark night.' 'Couldn't I take 'em all at once. for your own sake. It beckoned Scrooge to approach. and have it over. But they and their spirit voices faded together. Every one of them wore chains like Marley's Ghost. from the emotion he had undergone. Scrooge stopped. It was double-locked. The apparition walked backward from him. who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant. and the night became as it had been when he walked home. in a white waistcoat. much in need of repose. in a faltering voice. wailings inexpressibly sorrowful and self-accusatory. Not so much in obedience. and bound it round its head. with a monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle. when the jaws were brought together by the bandage. you remember what has passed between us!' When it had said these words. and floated out upon the bleak. 'you cannot hope to shun the path I tread. or the dull conversation of the Ghost. he became sensible of confused noises in the air. by the smart sound its teeth made. Stave 2 The First of the Three Spirits . joined in the mournful dirge. 'It is. and found his supernatural visitor confronting him in an erect attitude. clearly. for good. Scrooge closed the window. that they sought to interfere. whom it saw below. when the bell tolls one. Jacob?' he demanded. When they were within two paces of each other.'Is that the chance and hope you mentioned. Scrooge knew this. and moaning as they went. he could not tell. which he did. in human matters. The air was filled with phantoms. so that when the spectre reached it.' said Scrooge. He ventured to raise his eyes again. or his glimpse of the Invisible World. the window raised itself a little.I think I'd rather not. He tried to say 'Humbug!' but stopped at the first syllable. Jacob?' hinted Scrooge. The misery with them all was. after listening for a moment. some few (they might be guilty governments) were linked together. the spectre took its wrapper from the table. Scrooge followed to the window: desperate in his curiosity. and the bolts were undisturbed.

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

'Are you the Spirit. the sheen of which was beautiful. which hung about its neck and down its back. but those to which his face was addressed. 'No. like those upper members. which it now held under its arm. a great extinguisher for a cap. now a pair of legs without a head. as if its hold were of uncommon strength. by a hand. Its hair. in singular contradiction of that wintry emblem. the light I give? Is it not enough that you are one of those whose passions made this cap. And in the very wonder of this. Even this. 'I am. and I am standing in the spirit at your elbow. The curtains of his bed were drawn aside. sir. Its legs and feet. and round its waist was bound a lustrous belt. now with twenty legs. The arms were very long and muscular. It held a branch of fresh green holly in its hand. but he had a special desire to see the Spirit in his cap. now with one leg. and the tenderest bloom was on the skin. The curtains of his bed were drawn aside.like a child: yet not so like a child as like an old man. was not its strangest quality. For as its belt sparkled and glittered now in one part and now in another. Light flashed up in the room upon the instant. with worldly hands. was white as if with age. and which was doubtless the occasion of its using. nor the curtains at his back. by which all this was visible. hollow. in its duller moments. and what was light one instant. Not the curtains at his feet. Scrooge could not have told anybody why. It was a strange figure . it were at a distance. no outline would be visible in the dense gloom wherein they melted away.' Perhaps. and Scrooge. I tell you. now a head without a body: of which dissolving parts. that from the crown of its head there sprung a bright clear jet of light.' The voice was soft and gentle. It wore a tunic of the purest white. which it now did with a deep. which gave him the appearance of having receded from the view. melancholy One. so the figure itself fluctuated in its distinctness: being now a thing with one arm.' 'Long Past?' inquired Scrooge: observant of its dwarfish stature. and. had its dress trimmed with summer flowers. dull. were. it would be itself again. 'What!' exclaimed the Ghost. But the strangest thing about it was. found himself face to face with the unearthly visitor who drew them: as close to it as I am now to you. viewed through some supernatural medium. 'I am the Ghost of Christmas Past. if anybody could have asked him. distinct and clear as ever. and what are you?' Scrooge demanded. and yet the face had not a wrinkle in it. though. at another time was dark. 'Who. starting up into a half-recumbent attitude. the hands the same. and force me through whole trains of years to wear it low upon my brow!' . when Scrooge looked at it with increasing steadiness. whose coming was foretold to me?' asked Scrooge. and the curtains of his bed were drawn. Your past. most delicately formed.'and nothing else!' He spoke before the hour bell sounded. bare. Singularly low. as if instead of being so close beside him. and begged him to be covered. 'Would you so soon put out. and being diminished to a child's proportions.

forgotten. 'And what is that upon your cheek?' Scrooge muttered. for it said immediately: 'Your reclamation. Not a vestige of it was to be seen. . with snow upon the ground. dressing-gown. 'Good Heaven!' said Scrooge. clasping his hands together. and nightcap. and cares long. and shouted to each other. though gentle as a woman's hand. and the thermometer a long way below freezing. that he was clad but lightly in his slippers. and tree.' They walked along the road. its church. driven by farmers. 'Your welfare. I was a boy here.' As the words were spoken. appeared still present to the old man's sense of feeling.' 'Bear but a touch of my hand there. Scrooge recognising every gate. with an unusual catching in his voice. and hopes. for it was a clear. and that he had a cold upon him at that time.' observed the Ghost. The Spirit must have heard him thinking.' It put out its strong hand as it spoke. All these boys were in great spirits. laying it upon his heart. 'I am mortal. Its gentle touch. they passed through the wall. And walk with me. with its bridge. 'Remember it!' cried Scrooge with fervour . and winding river.' Scrooge remonstrated.' said the Ghost. and stood upon an open country road.' The Spirit gazed upon him mildly. that the crisp air laughed to hear it. was not to be resisted. long. He then made bold to inquire what business brought him there. 'Rise.' said the Ghost. clasped his robe in supplication. though it had been light and instantaneous. with fields on either hand. 'You recollect the way?' inquired the Spirit. Take heed. The darkness and the mist had vanished with it. The grasp. cold. that it was a pimple. as he looked about him. The city had entirely vanished. Scrooge expressed himself much obliged. until the broad fields were so full of merry music. and joys. 'Let us go on. that bed was warm. then.'I could walk it blindfold. He was conscious of a thousand odours floating in the air. each one connected with a thousand thoughts.' 'Strange to have forgotten it for so many years. and begged the Ghost to lead him where he would.Scrooge reverently disclaimed all intention to offend or any knowledge of having wilfully bonneted the Spirit at any period of his life. and clasped him gently by the arm. who called to other boys in country gigs and carts. and post. 'I was bred in this place. 'and liable to fall. winter day. 'Your lip is trembling.' said the Spirit. until a little market-town appeared in the distance. 'and you shall be upheld in more than this.' It would have been in vain for Scrooge to plead that the weather and the hour were not adapted to pedestrian purposes. but could not help thinking that a night of unbroken rest would have been more conducive to that end. Some shaggy ponies now were seen trotting towards them with boys upon their backs. He rose: but finding that the Spirit made towards the window.

' said the Ghost. their windows broken. The Spirit touched him on the arm.' The jocund travellers came on. which associated itself somehow with too much getting up by candle-light. who was put down in his drawers. not a squeak and scuffle from the mice behind the panelling. Nor was it more retentive of its ancient state. Serve him right. Scrooge knew and named them every one. They left the high-road. just like that. across the hall. And what's his name. Fowls clucked and strutted in the stables. Why did his cold eye glisten. It opened before them. not a drip from the half-thawed water-spout in the dull yard behind. a chilly bareness in the place. There was an earthy savour in the air. yes. intent upon his reading. on the roof. And Valentine. and vast. I know. not the idle swinging of an empty store-house door. Suddenly a man. their walls were damp and mossy. I'm glad of it.' said Scrooge. made barer still by lines of plain deal forms and desks. and not too much to eat.' To hear Scrooge expending all the earnestness of his nature on such subjects.' cried Scrooge. 'Poor Robin Crusoe. 'A solitary child.' said the Ghost. neglected by his friends. at the Gate of Damascus. but one of broken fortunes. and wept to see his poor forgotten self as he used to be. Not a latent echo in the house. in a most extraordinary voice between laughing and crying. with a little weathercock-surmounted cupola. he called him. 'Why. by a well-remembered lane. and to see his heightened and excited face. but fell upon the heart of Scrooge with a softening influence. there he is! Poor Robin Crusoe. they found them poorly furnished. 'Green body and yellow tail. don't you see him? And the Sultan's Groom turned upside down by the Genii. At one of these a lonely boy was reading near a feeble fire. and his heart leap up as they went past? Why was he filled with gladness when he heard them give each other Merry Christmas. Orson. and gave a freer passage to his tears. and disclosed a long. One Christmas time. 'and his wild brother. he did come.'These are but shadows of the things that have been. It was a large house. bare. within. when yonder solitary child was left here all alone. Poor boy. And he sobbed. 'It's dear old honest Ali Baba. It was the . the Ghost and Scrooge. Yes. for their several homes? What was merry Christmas to Scrooge? Out upon merry Christmas! What good had it ever done to him? 'The school is not quite deserted. They went. Why was he rejoiced beyond all bounds to see them.' Scrooge said he knew it. and glancing through the open doors of many rooms. not a sigh among the leafless boughs of one despondent poplar. and leading by the bridle an ass laden with wood. when he came home again after sailing round the island. for the first time. as they parted at cross-roads and-bye ways. but he wasn't. and Scrooge sat down upon a form. not a clicking in the fire. 'There's the Parrot. and soon approached a mansion of dull red brick. What business had he to be married to the Princess. is left there still. asleep. in foreign garments: wonderfully real and distinct to look at: stood outside the window. melancholy room. and the coach-houses and sheds were over-run with grass. and as they came. where have you been. to a door at the back of the house. Robin Crusoe?' The man thought he was dreaming. with an axe stuck in his belt. 'They have no consciousness of us. there they go. it's Ali Baba!' Scrooge exclaimed in ecstasy. there he is upon his head. and their gates decayed. for the spacious offices were little used. would have been a surprise to his business friends in the city. cold. indeed. with a thing like a lettuce growing out of the top of his head. and a bell hanging in it. for entering the dreary hall. and pointed to his younger self. no.

with a rapidity of transition very foreign to his usual character. who glared on Master Scrooge with a ferocious condescension. you should. nothing loth to go. but being too little. there!' And in the hall appeared the schoolmaster himself. that everything had happened so. that I was not afraid to ask him once more if you might come home.' The Ghost smiled thoughtfully. home. and with a mournful shaking of his head.' 'What is the matter?' asked the Spirit. that there he was. A terrible voice in the hall cried.' said Scrooge. and tried to touch his head. and he said Yes. Father is so much kinder than he used to be. accompanied her. but how all this was brought about. where the maps upon the wall. and sent me in a coach to bring you. but first. brimful of glee. He only knew that it was quite correct. in her childish eagerness. 'Bring down Master Scrooge's box. 'Nothing. putting his hand in his pocket.Parrot. The panels shrunk. for good and all. glanced anxiously towards the door. in pity for his former self. little Fan?' returned the boy. Scrooge knew no more than you do. and the naked laths were shown instead. 'To bring you home. you know. and threw him into a dreadful state of mind by shaking hands with him. and a block of curiously heavy cake. who answered that he thanked the gentleman. and he. opening her eyes. Scrooge looked at the Ghost. when all the other boys had gone home for the jolly holidays. 'Poor boy!' and cried again. and administered instalments of those dainties to the young people: at the same time. alone again. Home. but if . running for his life to the little creek! Halloa! Hoop! Hallo!' Then. Then she began to drag him. towards the door. we're to be together all the Christmas long. after drying his eyes with his cuff: 'but it's too late now.' Scrooge muttered. and have the merriest time in all the world. little Fan!' exclaimed the boy. clapping her tiny hands. and bending down to laugh. much younger than the boy.' 'I have come to bring you home. for ever and ever. laughed again. addressed him as her 'Dear. and putting her arms about his neck. that home's like Heaven! He spoke so gently to me one dear night when I was going to bed. and a little girl. 'and are never to come back here. I should like to have given him something: that's all. and stood on tiptoe to embrace him. It opened. sending out a meagre servant to offer a glass of 'something' to the postboy. the windows cracked. and the celestial and terrestrial globes in the windows. She clapped her hands and laughed. 'Let us see another Christmas!' Scrooge's former self grew larger at the words. came darting in. and the room became a little darker and more dirty. he said. There was a boy singing a Christmas Carol at my door last night. were waxy with cold. fragments of plaster fell out of the ceiling. And you're to be a man!' said the child. 'I wish. and often kissing him. 'Nothing. but walking up and down despairingly. He then conveyed him and his sister into the veriest old well of a shivering best-parlour that ever was seen. Here he produced a decanter of curiously light wine. and looking about him. 'Yes!' said the child. dear brother!' said the child. There goes Friday.' 'You are quite a woman. dear brother. 'Home. home!' 'Home. and waved its hand: saying as it did so. He was not reading now.

seven. 'Yes.barred them and pinned then . two. He was very much attached to me. sitting behind such a high desk. Dick. Dear. he had rather not. fat. 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.' said the Ghost. from his shows to his organ of benevolence. now grown a young man.' said Scrooge to the Ghost.' Although they had but that moment left the school behind them.it was the same tap as he had tasted before. 'Was I apprenticed here?' They went in. 'True. dear. came briskly in.' said the Ghost. 'before a man can say Jack Robinson.' 'One child. 'and had. three . and called out in a comfortable. At sight of an old gentleman in a Welsh wig. and getting into it. Spirit. I'll not gainsay it. and looked up at the clock. where shadowy passengers passed and re-passed. It was made plain enough. 'Your nephew!' Scrooge seemed uneasy in his mind. that if he had been two inches taller he must have knocked his head against the ceiling.' cried old Fezziwig. 'But she had a large heart!' 'So she had. 'No more work to-night. Scrooge cried in great excitement: 'Why. 'Bless me. it's Fezziwig alive again!' Old Fezziwig laid down his pen.' said the Ghost.' 'Yo ho.four. where shadowy carts and coaches battle for the way. The Ghost stopped at a certain warehouse door. 'You're right. panting like race-horses. the children bade the schoolmaster good-bye right willingly.' You wouldn't believe how those two fellows went at it. Master Scrooge's trunk being by this time tied on to the top of the chaise. nine . 'Always a delicate creature. Christmas Eve. Ebenezer. yes.one. rich. with a sharp clap of his hands. accompanied by his fellow-prentice. to be sure. adjusted his capacious waistcoat. whom a breath might have withered. He rubbed his hands. they were now in the busy thoroughfares of a city. There he is. God forbid!' 'She died a woman. 'Dick Wilkins. laughed all over himself. that here too it was Christmas time again. and the streets were lighted up. by the dressing of the shops. Poor Dick.' cried Scrooge. oily.and came back before you could have got to twelve. my boys!' said Fezziwig. which pointed to the hour of seven. six . but it was evening.' Scrooge returned. and answered briefly. . and all the strife and tumult of a real city were. Let's have the shutters up. five. eight. 'Know it!' said Scrooge.had them up in their places . and asked Scrooge if he knew it. jovial voice: 'Yo ho. as I think. it's old Fezziwig! Bless his heart. They charged into the street with the shutters . there! Ebenezer! Dick!' Scrooge's former self. children. was Dick. Christmas.

especially provided for that purpose. one after another. as soon as they got there. three or four and twenty pair of partners. the lamps were trimmed. and went up to the lofty desk. and dry. with her brother's particular friend. with her cousin. some gracefully. as if it were dismissed from public life for evermore. or perish. When everybody had retired but the two prentices.'Hilli-ho!' cried old Fezziwig. Mr and Mrs Fezziwig took their stations. and tuned like fifty stomach-aches. hands half round and back again the other way. as if the other fiddler had been carried home. Dick! Chirrup. Top couple too. and I'll use it. people who would dance. he instantly began again. If that's not high praise. and warm. But the great effect of the evening came after the Roast and Boiled. one vast substantial smile. In came the three Miss Fezziwigs. or couldn't have cleared away. Hilli-ho. and back again to your place. she was worthy to be his partner in every sense of the term. at any given time. It was done in a minute. this domestic ball broke up. with wonderful agility. But scorning rest. and there was a great piece of Cold Boiled. the floor was swept and watered. and plenty of beer. As to her. and let's have lots of room here. old top couple always turning up in the wrong place. they did the same to them. though there were no dancers yet. which were under a counter in the back-shop. and there were mince-pies. cried out. exhausted. There were more dances. In came Mrs Fezziwig. when the fiddler (an artful dog. He corroborated everything. When this result was brought about. and there was a great piece of Cold Roast. In came the cook. with old Fezziwig looking on. beaming and lovable. what would have become of them next.' Clear away! There was nothing they wouldn't have cleared away. Every movable was packed off. and there were forfeits. and made an orchestra of it. and there was negus. In came the boy from over the way. twenty couple at once. some pushing. and came upon his feet again without a stagger.' Then old Fezziwig stood out to dance with Mrs Fezziwig. and the warehouse was as snug. with a good stiff piece of work cut out for them. in they all came. You couldn't have predicted. But if they had been twice as many . upon his reappearance. some pulling. corkscrew. people who were not to be trifled with. Away they all went. 'Well done!' and the fiddler plunged his hot face into a pot of porter. and so would Mrs Fezziwig. skipping down from the high desk. and he were a brannew man resolved to beat him out of sight. advance and retire. four times . the milkman. old Fezziwig. Ebenezer. and there was cake. on a shutter. In came all the young men and women employed in the business. Scrooge had acted like a man out of his wits. some shyly. the baker. wished him or her a Merry Christmas. down the middle and up again. my lads. In came the six young followers whose hearts they broke. who was proved to have had her ears pulled by her mistress. trying to hide himself behind the girl from next door but one. In came the housemaid. tell me higher. some boldly. In came a fiddler with a music-book. mind! The sort of man who knew his business better than you or I could have told it him!) struck up 'Sir Roger de Coverley. and not a bottom one to help them. and thus the cheerful voices died away. one on either side of the door. In they all came. fuel was heaped upon the fire.ah. both hands to your partner. and the lads were left to their beds. 'Clear away. that he appeared to wink with his legs. as you would desire to see upon a winter's night. some awkwardly. During the whole of this time. Fezziwig cut . and more dances. and shaking hands with every person individually as he or she went out. They shone in every part of the dance like moons. When the clock struck eleven. and had no notion of walking. who was suspected of not having board enough from his master.cut so deftly. and with his former self. anyhow and everyhow. and bright a ball-room. His heart and soul were in the scene. round and round in various stages of affectionate grouping. A positive light appeared to issue from Fezziwig's calves. all top couples at last. thread-the-needle. clapping his hands to stop the dance.old Fezziwig would have been a match for them. . And when old Fezziwig and Mrs Fezziwig had gone all through the dance. bow and curtsey. new top couple starting off again.

and became conscious that it was looking full upon him. heated by the remark. It was not until now. 'Something.' 'Small!' echoed Scrooge. 'No. He was older now. but sat by the side of a fair young girl in a mourning-dress: in whose eyes there were tears. 'My time grows short.' said the Ghost. The Spirit signed to him to listen to the two apprentices. that he remembered the Ghost. self. and if it can cheer and comfort you in time to come. or to any one whom he could see.' . as I would have tried to do. and Scrooge and the Ghost again stood side by side in the open air. but it produced an immediate effect.' His former self turned down the lamps as he gave utterance to the wish. in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count them up: what then? The happiness he gives.' she said.' said Scrooge.' He felt the Spirit's glance. and stopped. Another idol has displaced me. who were pouring out their hearts in praise of Fezziwig: and when he had done so.' observed the Spirit. He was not alone. when the bright faces of his former self and Dick were turned from them. I think?' the Ghost insisted. I should like to be able to say a word or two to my clerk just now! That's all. 'Nothing in particular.' said Scrooge. 'A golden one.' said Scrooge. 'to make these silly folks so full of gratitude. and speaking unconsciously like his former. very little. 'Quick!' This was not addressed to Scrooge. Say that his power lies in words and looks. to make our service light or burdensome. a man in the prime of life. 'To you. greedy. but it had begun to wear the signs of care and avarice. and underwent the strangest agitation. not his latter.' 'What Idol has displaced you?' he rejoined. 'No. while the light upon its head burnt very clear. 'A small matter. Spirit. There was an eager. His face had not the harsh and rigid lines of later years. and where the shadow of the growing tree would fall. which sparkled in the light that shone out of the Ghost of Christmas Past. a pleasure or a toil. restless motion in the eye. softly. 'It isn't that. 'It matters little.remembered everything. enjoyed everything. 'What is the matter?' asked the Ghost. which showed the passion that had taken root. Is that so much that he deserves this praise?' 'It isn't that. For again Scrooge saw himself. He has the power to render us happy or unhappy. said. is quite as great as if it cost a fortune. I have no just cause to grieve. 'Why! Is it not! He has spent but a few pounds of your mortal money: three or four perhaps.

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

and by one stair at a time. where they went to bed. They were in another scene and place. an inch of which would be a keepsake beyond price: in short. and enjoyed it very much. and the onslaught that was made on the defenceless porter. and been a spring-time in the haggard winter of his life. turning to his wife with a smile. But now a knocking at the door was heard. and ecstasy. God bless my soul! to save my life. to have touched her lips. The terrible announcement that the baby had been taken in the act of putting a doll's frying-pan into his mouth. I own. Why do you delight to torture me?' 'One shadow more!' exclaimed the Ghost. up to the top of the house. quite as graceful and as full of promise. And now Scrooge looked on more attentively than ever. and the latter. and never come straight again. who came home attended by a man laden with Christmas toys and presents. so like that last that Scrooge believed it was the same. just in time to greet the father. his sight grew very dim indeed. and kick his legs in irrepressible affection. until he saw her. 'show me no more! Conduct me home. and torn it down. than Scrooge in his agitated state of mind could count. but full of comfort. I do confess. glued on a wooden platter. It is enough that by degrees the children and their emotions got out of the parlour. and gratitude. they were not forty children conducting themselves like one. and for the precious little shoe. but no one seemed to care.' said the husband. for there were more children there. What would I not have given to one of them. 'I saw an old friend of yours this afternoon. The noise in this room was perfectly tumultuous. the mother and daughter laughed heartily. no. 'No more!' cried Scrooge! 'No more. and never raised a blush. and yet to have been man enough to know its value. sitting opposite her daughter. The scaling him with chairs for ladders to dive into his pockets. unlike the celebrated herd in the poem. might have called him father. got pillaged by the young brigands most ruthlessly. And yet I should have dearly liked. and. I should have expected my arm to have grown round it for a punishment. I couldn't have done it. to have questioned her. sat down with her and her mother at his own fireside. having his daughter leaning fondly on him. The shouts of wonder and delight with which the development of every package was received. and so subsided. I wouldn't have plucked it off. hold on tight by his cravat. hug him round his neck. now a comely matron. Near to the winter fire sat a beautiful young girl. As to measuring her waist in sport. to have had the lightest licence of a child. to have let loose waves of hair. on the contrary. that she might have opened them. I should have liked. 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. The immense relief of finding this a false alarm. as they did. not very large or handsome.'Spirit!' said Scrooge. a room. soon beginning to mingle in the sports. no! I wouldn't for the wealth of all the world have crushed that braided hair. They are all indescribable alike. 'Belle. pommel his back. to have looked upon the lashes of her downcast eyes.' 'Who was it?' . and when he thought that such another creature. The joy. when the master of the house. and forced him to observe what happened next. but every child was conducting itself like forty. and was more than suspected of having swallowed a fictitious turkey. I don't wish to see it! Show me no more!' But the relentless Ghost pinioned him in both his arms. Though I never could have been so rude. Then the shouting and the struggling. The consequences were uproarious beyond belief. despoil him of brown-paper parcels. bold young brood.

further. The Spirit dropped beneath it. and made nervous. so that the extinguisher covered its whole form. and being usually equal to the time-of-day. I hear.' said the Ghost. But. do not blame me!' 'Remove me!' Scrooge exclaimed. . and lying down again. between which opposite extremes. of being in his own bedroom. Haunt me no longer!' In the struggle. and by a sudden action pressed it down upon its head. and overcome by an irresistible drowsiness.' 'Spirit!' said Scrooge in a broken voice. he put them every one aside with his own hands.' 'I told you these were shadows of the things that have been. He was conscious of being exhausted. and seeing that it looked upon him with a face. and as it was not shut up. 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 gave the cap a parting squeeze. and he had a candle inside.' 'Mr. but though Scrooge pressed it down with all his force. he could not hide the light. and that nothing between a baby and rhinoceros would have astonished him very much.' she added in the same breath. don't I know. and sitting up in bed to get his thoughts together. and did not wish to be taken by surprise. for the especial purpose of holding a conference with the second messenger dispatched to him through Jacob Marley's intervention. and had barely time to reel to bed. laughing as he laughed. before he sank into a heavy sleep. For. wrestled with it. 'Mr. Stave 3 The Second of the Three Spirits Waking in the middle of a prodigiously tough snore. in which his hand relaxed. 'That they are what they are. Scrooge. I could scarcely help seeing him. 'I cannot bear it!' He turned upon the Ghost. he wished to challenge the Spirit on the moment of its appearance. and. 'remove me from this place. He felt that he was restored to consciousness in the right nick of time. express the wide range of their capacity for adventure by observing that they are good for anything from pitch-and-toss to manslaughter. I do believe. 'Leave me! Take me back. finding that he turned uncomfortably cold when he began to wonder which of his curtains this new spectre would draw back. Gentlemen of the free-and-easy sort. established a sharp look-out all round the bed. and there he sat alone. which streamed from under it. I passed his office window. and dimly connecting that with its influence over him. I don't mind calling on you to believe that he was ready for a good broad field of strange appearances. in which in some strange way there were fragments of all the faces it had shown him.'Guess!' 'How can I? Tut. Scrooge it was. who plume themselves on being acquainted with a move or two. there lies a tolerably wide and comprehensive range of subjects. His partner lies upon the point of death. he seized the extinguisher-cap. Scrooge observed that its light was burning high and bright. no doubt. Quite alone in the world. Scrooge had no occasion to be told that the bell was again upon the stroke of One. in an unbroken flood upon the ground. Without venturing for Scrooge quite as hardily as this.

He obeyed. glorious to see:. barrels of oysters. to form a kind of throne. he began to think that the source and secret of this ghostly light might be in the adjoining room. and seething bowls of punch. on further tracing it. bright gleaming berries glistened. At last. he did not like to meet them. to shed its light on Scrooge. But it had undergone a surprising transformation. free as its genial face. meaning (for I am very young) my elder brothers born in these later years?' pursued the Phantom. its cheery voice. he was not by any means prepared for nothing. as that dull petrifaction of a hearth had never known in Scrooge's time. there sat a jolly Giant. was more alarming than a dozen ghosts. set here and there with shining icicles. mistletoe. sucking-pigs. and the ancient sheath was eaten up with rust. In easy state upon this couch. ten minutes. and ivy reflected back the light. 'Come in!' exclaimed the Ghost. man. he lay upon his bed. and held it up. and such a mighty blaze went roaring up the chimney. immense twelfth-cakes. were turkeys. he was taken with a violent fit of trembling. and on its head it wore no other covering than a holly wreath. were also bare. and would unquestionably have done it too . game.' Scrooge reverently did so. All this time. and hung his head before this Spirit. which streamed upon it when the clock proclaimed the hour. There was no doubt about that. or would be at.' Scrooge made answer to it. The moment Scrooge's hand was on the lock. 'Never. and no shape appeared. This garment hung so loosely on the figure. being prepared for almost anything. juicy oranges. from whence. consequently. being only light. high up. as if so many little mirrors had been scattered there. cherrycheeked apples. its unconstrained demeanour. and know me better. in shape not unlike Plenty's horn. long wreaths of sausages. who bore a glowing torch. 'Look upon me. he got up softly and shuffled in his slippers to the door. that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam. It was clothed in one simple green robe. This idea taking full possession of his mind.' said the Spirit. its open hand. mince-pies. or mantle. . as he was powerless to make out what it meant.at last. 'Have never walked forth with the younger members of my family. a quarter of an hour went by. Five minutes. the very core and centre of a blaze of ruddy light. red-hot chestnuts. and its joyful air. The walls and ceiling were so hung with living green. bordered with white fur. luscious pears. without having the consolation of knowing it. great joints of meat. as if disdaining to be warded or concealed by any artifice. its sparkling eye.' Scrooge entered timidly. and though the Spirit's eyes were clear and kind. for it is always the person not in the predicament who knows what ought to have been done in it. 'You have never seen the like of me before!' exclaimed the Spirit. or Marley's. brawn. I say. a strange voice called him by his name.Now. 'Come in. observable beneath the ample folds of the garment. The crisp leaves of holly. from every part of which. plum-puddings. it seemed to shine. geese. that it looked a perfect grove. Its dark brown curls were long and free. 'I am the Ghost of Christmas Present. that its capacious breast was bare. but no sword was in it. however. Girded round its middle was an antique scabbard. when the Bell struck One. It was his own room. and bade him enter. and. and was sometimes apprehensive that he might be at that very moment an interesting case of spontaneous combustion.as you or I would have thought at first. Heaped up on the floor. or for many and many a winter season gone. as he came peeping round the door. he began to think . poultry. Its feet. He was not the dogged Scrooge he had been. yet nothing came. and which.

Have you had many brothers. and with the dirtier snow upon the ground. The sky was gloomy. The very gold and silver fish. the fire. and glanced demurely at the hung-up mistletoe. poultry. geese. though members of a dull and stagnant-blooded race. and. in the great compactness of their juicy persons.' said Scrooge. and the windows blacker. the people who were shovelling away on the housetops were jovial and full of glee. and from the tops of their houses. lolling at the doors. the ruddy glow. oysters. round. there were bunches of grapes. made. which last deposit had been ploughed up in deep furrows by the heavy wheels of carts and wagons. fruit. There were ruddy. and the shortest streets were choked up with a dingy mist. game.laughing heartily if it went right and not less heartily if it went wrong. To-night. and now and then exchanging a facetious snowball . in the shopkeepers' benevolence to dangle from conspicuous hooks. as if all the chimneys in Great Britain had. 'Spirit. So did the room. brown-faced.' said Scrooge submissively. pigs. and winking from their shelves in wanton slyness at the girls as they went by. 'I am afraid I have not. and they stood in the city streets on Christmas morning. ancient walks among the woods. and held it fast. puddings. caught fire.better-natured missile far than many a wordy jest . I went forth last night on compulsion. and were blazing away to their dear hearts' content. The house fronts looked black enough. and the fruiterers' were radiant in their glory. 'A tremendous family to provide for. and I learnt a lesson which is working now. whence it was mad delight to the boys to see it come plumping down into the road below. and punch.' 'Touch my robe. contrasting with the smooth white sheet of snow upon the roofs. in their fragrance. ivy. mossy and brown. squab and swarthy. and pleasant shufflings ankle deep through withered leaves. and made intricate channels. There were pears and apples. clustered high in blooming pyramids. calling out to one another from the parapets. and tumbling out into the street in their apoplectic opulence. urgently entreating and beseeching to be carried home in paper bags and eaten after dinner. half frozen. the hour of night.' Scrooge did as he was told. recalling. if you have aught to teach me.' muttered Scrooge. turkeys. pies. setting off the yellow of the oranges and lemons. meat. in scraping the snow from the pavement in front of their dwellings. mistletoe. broad-girthed Spanish Friars. For. There was nothing very cheerful in the climate or the town. let me profit by it. half thawed. Holly. The Ghost of Christmas Present rose. to a fish. by one consent. furrows that crossed and recrossed each other hundreds of times where the great streets branched off. but brisk and not unpleasant kind of music. hard to trace in the thick yellow mud and icy water.'I don't think I have. all vanished instantly. The Poulterers' shops were still half open. and. sausages. shaped like the waistcoats of jolly old gentlemen. 'conduct me where you will. There were great. there were piles of filberts. . pot-bellied baskets of chestnuts. red berries. Spirit?' 'More than eighteen hundred. appeared to know that there was something going on. and splitting into artificial little snow-storms. where (for the weather was severe) the people made a rough. that people's mouths might water gratis as they passed. brawn.' said the Ghost. set forth among these choice fruits in a bowl. 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. went gasping round and round their little world in slow and passionless excitement. there were Norfolk Biffins. whose heavier particles descended in shower of sooty atoms.

'There is. flocking through the streets in their best clothes. 'You would deprive them of their means of dining every seventh day. and nameless turnings. But soon the steeples called good people all. And it was a very uncommon kind of torch.' 'Spirit.' 'I!' cried the Spirit. and with their gayest faces. 'To any kindly given. or that everything was good to eat and in its Christmas dress. innumerable people. carrying their dinners to the bakers' shops. so it was. 'Is there a peculiar flavour in what you sprinkle from your torch?' asked Scrooge. . and came running back to fetch them. For they said. and their good humour was restored directly. for he stood with Scrooge beside him in a baker's doorway. And so it was. should desire to cramp these people's opportunities of innocent enjoyment. lanes.' 'Would it apply to any kind of dinner on this day?' asked Scrooge. or even that the blended scents of tea and coffee were so grateful to the nose. to church and chapel. Nor was it that the figs were moist and pulpy. To a poor one most. but through those gaps such glimpses. 'Because it needs it most. and committed hundreds of the like mistakes. and for Christmas daws to peck at if they chose. he shed a few drops of water on them from it. and left their purchases upon the counter. worn outside for general inspection. 'Wouldn't you?' 'I!' cried the Spirit. that they tumbled up against each other at the door. while the Grocer and his people were so frank and fresh that the polished hearts with which they fastened their aprons behind might have been their own. of all the beings in the many worlds about us. The sight of these poor revellers appeared to interest the Spirit very much. often the only day on which they can be said to dine at all. God love it. the sticks of cinnamon so long and straight. in the thawed blotch of wet above each baker's oven. 'I wonder you. the candied fruits so caked and spotted with molten sugar as to make the coldest lookers-on feel faint and subsequently bilious. the other spices so delicious. or that the twine and roller parted company so briskly.' said Scrooge. My own. or one. with perhaps two shutters down. and the bakers were shut up. or even that the raisins were so plentiful and rare.' 'Why to a poor one most?' asked Scrooge. the almonds so extremely white. or that the canisters were rattled up and down like juggling tricks. but the customers were all so hurried and so eager in the hopeful promise of the day. clashing their wicker baskets wildly. And at the same time there emerged from scores of bye-streets. and yet there was a genial shadowing forth of all these dinners and the progress of their cooking.' said Scrooge. It was not alone that the scales descending on the counter made a merry sound. and away they came. sprinkled incense on their dinners from his torch. for once or twice when there were angry words between some dinner-carriers who had jostled each other. or that the French plums blushed in modest tartness from their highly-decorated boxes. In time the bells ceased.The Grocers'! oh the Grocers'! Nearly closed. and taking off the covers as their bearers passed. in the best humour possible. where the pavement smoked as if its stones were cooking too. after a moment's thought. it was a shame to quarrel upon Christmas Day.

'Hurrah! There's such a goose. Remember that. who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin.' 'Well. screaming that outside the baker's they had smelt the goose. 'There are some upon this earth of yours. And Martha warn't as late last Christmas Day by half-an-hour. and have a warm.'You seek to close these places on the Seventh Day. and on the threshold of the door the Spirit smiled. came tearing in. knocked loudly at the saucepan-lid to be let out and peeled. 'Here's Martha. or else it was his own kind. and selfishness in our name. boy and girl.' Scrooge promised that he would.' replied the girl. for there he went.' 'I seek!' exclaimed the Spirit. envy. and she laid the cloth. while Master Peter Cratchit plunged a fork into the saucepan of potatoes.' said Scrooge. hearty nature. and known it for their own. conferred upon his son and heir in honour of the day) into his mouth. Bob had but fifteen bob a-week himself. and yet the Ghost of Christmas Present blessed his four-roomed house. he could accommodate himself to any place with ease. and yearned to show his linen in the fashionable Parks. generous. mother. rejoiced to find himself so gallantly attired.' returned the Spirit. And perhaps it was the pleasure the good Spirit had in showing off this power of his. or at least in that of your family. these young Cratchits danced about the table. assisted by Belinda Cratchit. 'We'd a deal of work to finish up last night. ill-will. Cratchit's wife. but brave in ribbons. my dear. 'Forgive me if I am wrong.' said Scrooge.' said a girl. which are cheap and make a goodly show for sixpence. Tiny Tim. Martha!' 'Why. and stopped to bless Bob Cratchit's dwelling with the sprinkling of his torch. while he (not proud. and that he stood beneath a low roof quite as gracefully and like a supernatural creature. as it was possible he could have done in any lofty hall. and who do their deeds of passion.' said Mrs Cratchit. 'Sit ye down before the fire. 'What has ever got your precious father then?' said Mrs Cratchit. also brave in ribbons. 'And your brother. invisible.' . 'who lay claim to know us. pride. and exalted Master Peter Cratchit to the skies. and they went on. And now two smaller Cratchits.' 'Here's Martha. bigotry. 'And it comes to the same thing. holding to his robe. It has been done in your name. mother!' cried the two young Cratchits. Think of that. until the slow potatoes bubbling up. although his collars nearly choked him) blew the fire. my dear. and taking off her shawl and bonnet for her with officious zeal. and charge their doings on themselves. kissing her a dozen times. appearing as she spoke. and getting the corners of his monstrous shirt collar (Bob's private property. that notwithstanding his gigantic size. bless your heart alive. into the suburbs of the town. and took Scrooge with him. Lord bless ye. 'and had to clear away this morning. that led him straight to Scrooge's clerk's. second of her daughters. as if they had never lived. hatred. not us. he pocketed on Saturdays but fifteen copies of his Christian name. and his sympathy with all poor men. Never mind so long as you are come. how late you are!' said Mrs Cratchit. Then up rose Mrs Cratchit. dressed out but poorly in a twice-turned gown. mother. and basking in luxurious thoughts of sage and onion. as they had been before. It was a remarkable quality of the Ghost (which Scrooge had observed at the baker's).

they were capable of being made more shabby . with a sudden declension in his high spirits. 'and better. There's father coming. excited by the two young Cratchits. It was succeeded by a breathless pause.compounded some hot mixture in a jug with gin and lemons. and in came little Bob. with which they soon returned in high procession. one murmur of delight arose all round the board. size and cheapness.' said Mrs Cratchit. Mrs Cratchit made the gravy (ready beforehand in a little saucepan) hissing hot. 'As good as gold. escorted by his brother and sister to his stool before the fire. and had his limbs supported by an iron frame. not forgetting themselves. and mounting guard upon their posts. for he had been Tim's blood horse all the way from church. and his threadbare clothes darned up and brushed. so she came out prematurely from behind the closet door. while the two young Cratchits hustled Tiny Tim. where's our Martha?' cried Bob Cratchit. lest they should shriek for goose before their turn came to be helped. and when the long expected gush of stuffing issued forth. Bob said he didn't believe there ever was such a goose cooked.as if. and bore him off into the wash-house. Master Peter mashed the potatoes with incredible vigour. 'Why. Bob took Tiny Tim beside him in a tiny corner at the table. He told me. 'Not coming upon Christmas Day?' Martha didn't like to see him disappointed. were the themes of universal admiration. Eked out by apple-sauce and mashed potatoes. Master Peter. and Tiny Tim upon his shoulder. Martha dusted the hot plates. and stirred it round and round and put it on the hob to simmer. a feathered phenomenon. the two young Cratchits set chairs for everybody. hide!' So Martha hid herself. and had come home rampant. but when she did. to which a black swan was a matter of course . and feebly cried Hurrah! There never was such a goose. turning up his cuffs . no. poor fellow. if it were only in joke. and while Bob. and even Tiny Tim. Miss Belinda sweetened up the apple-sauce. and grace was said. 'Not coming. 'Not coming!' said Bob.' said Bob. that he might hear the pudding singing in the copper. to look seasonable. and back came Tiny Tim before another word was spoken. His active little crutch was heard upon the floor. and thinks the strangest things you ever heard.' Bob's voice was tremulous when he told them this. who were everywhere at once. beat on the table with the handle of his knife. that he hoped the people saw him in the church. and blind men see. 'Hide. who made lame beggars walk.' cried the two young Cratchits. the father.and in truth it was something very like it in that house. it was a sufficient dinner for . with at least three feet of comforter exclusive of the fringe. and the two ubiquitous young Cratchits went to fetch the goose. he bore a little crutch. Its tenderness and flavour. hanging down before him. and Bob had hugged his daughter to his heart's content. Alas for Tiny Tim. and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day. looking round. as Mrs Cratchit.'No. At last the dishes were set on. looking slowly all along the carving-knife. when she had rallied Bob on his credulity. coming home. 'And how did little Tim behave?' asked Mrs Cratchit. Somehow he gets thoughtful sitting by himself so much. Martha. and ran into his arms. prepared to plunge it in the breast. because he was a cripple. crammed spoons into their mouths. Such a bustle ensued that you might have thought a goose the rarest of all birds. and trembled more when he said that Tiny Tim was growing strong and hearty.

A smell like an eating-house and a pastry cook's next door to each other. while they were merry with the goose . 'in the poor chimney-corner. Mrs Cratchit said that now the weight was off her mind. and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top. while the chestnuts on the fire sputtered and cracked noisily. God bless us. but nobody said or thought it was at all a small pudding for a large family. my dears.to take the pudding up and bring it in. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future.' Which all the family re-echoed. and the fire made up. Say he will be spared. and a shovel-full of chestnuts on the fire. These held the hot stuff from the jug. Suppose it should not be done enough? Suppose it should break in turning out? Suppose somebody should have got over the wall of the back-yard. she would confess she had had her doubts about the quantity of flour. as well as golden goblets would have done. however. the hearth swept. that he regarded it as the greatest success achieved by Mrs Cratchit since their marriage. like a speckled cannon-ball. Then Bob proposed: 'A Merry Christmas to us all.' returned the Ghost. but smiling proudly . Any Cratchit would have blushed to hint at such a thing. 'Spirit.a supposition at which the two young Cratchits became livid? All sorts of horrors were supposed. But now. Hallo! A great deal of steam! The pudding was out of the copper. In half a minute Mrs Cratchit entered .too nervous to bear witnesses . and at Bob Cratchit's elbow stood the family display of glass. Everybody had something to say about it. kind Spirit.' said Scrooge. the child will die. and a custard-cup without a handle. as if he loved the child. A smell like a washingday. carefully preserved. no. That was the cloth. and considered perfect. a wonderful pudding! Bob Cratchit said. The compound in the jug being tasted. with an interest he had never felt before. and wished to keep him by his side. were steeped in sage and onion to the eyebrows. and dreaded that he might be taken from him. in what Bob Cratchit called a circle.' 'No. and stolen it. none other of my race. and the youngest Cratchits in particular. and decrease the surplus population.' 'I see a vacant seat.' replied the Ghost. At last the dinner was all done. 'will find him here.' 'If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future.the whole family.' said Scrooge.'tell me if Tiny Tim will live. Mrs Cratchit left the room alone . the plates being changed by Miss Belinda. It would have been flat heresy to do so. 'Oh. so hard and firm. and calmly too. indeed. and a crutch without an owner.' . as Mrs Cratchit said with great delight (surveying one small atom of a bone upon the dish). no. That was the pudding. apples and oranges were put upon the table. he had better do it. Yet every one had had enough. 'God bless us every one!' said Tiny Tim. blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy. What then? If he be like to die. meaning half a one. the last of all. Oh. Then all the Cratchit family drew round the hearth. Bob held his withered little hand in his. the cloth was cleared. He sat very close to his father's side upon his little stool. with a laundress's next door to that. they hadn't ate it all at last. Two tumblers.with the pudding. and Bob served it out with beaming looks.flushed.

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

as sea-weed of the water . was wonderful. and as Scrooge and the Spirit went along the streets. Great heaps of sea-weed clung to its base. though little kenned the lamplighter that he had any company but Christmas. 'A place where Miners live. cousins. Down in the west the setting sun had left a streak of fiery red. but for the frost that held it prisoner.it had been a very old song when he was a boy . The very lamplighter. There all the children of the house were running out into the snow to meet their married sisters. all hooded and fur-booted.or would have done so. and raged among the dreadful caverns it had worn. who labour in the bowels of the earth. lower yet. Not to sea? To sea. and all sorts of rooms. instead of every house expecting company. like a sullen eye. two men who watched the light had made a fire. How it bared its breadth of breast. his vigour sank again. Here. and opened its capacious palm. and frowning lower. and his ears were deafened by the thundering of water. outpouring. and swiftly they advanced towards it. and deep red curtains. old man and woman. were shadows on the window-blind of guests assembling. on which the waters chafed and dashed. you might have thought that no one was at home to give them welcome when they got there. as it rolled and roared. So surely as they raised their voices. he saw the last of the land. the old man got quite blithe and loud. like the waves they skimmed. looking back. tripped lightly off to some near neighbour's house.By this time it was getting dark.rose and fell about it. Joining their horny hands over the rough table at which they sat. and passing on above the moor. and all chattering at once. and there a group of handsome girls. and who was dressed to spend the evening somewhere. and floated on. The Spirit did not tarry here. how the Ghost exulted. again. where. But even here. woe upon the single man who saw them enter . Here. and nothing grew but moss and furze. Passing through the wall of mud and stone. 'What place is this?' asked Scrooge. and be the first to greet them. ready to be drawn to shut out cold and darkness.artful witches.' A light shone from the window of a hut. brothers. a frightful range of rocks. lower. in a voice that seldom rose above the howling of the wind upon the barren waste. the flickering of the blaze showed preparations for a cosy dinner. which glared upon the desolation for an instant. all decked out gaily in their holiday attire. An old. they wished each other Merry . uncles.in a glow. The old man. was singing them a Christmas song . But. aunts.and from time to time they all joined in the chorus. if you had judged from the numbers of people on their way to friendly gatherings. and coarse rank grass. and so surely as they stopped. See. but bade Scrooge hold his robe. well they knew it . with their children and their children's children. and snowing pretty heavily. 'But they know me. the wild year through. as though it were the burial-place of giants. without a word of warning from the Ghost. with hot plates baking through and through before the fire. parlours. its bright and harmless mirth on everything within its reach. and water spread itself wheresoever it listed .' returned the Spirit. they stood upon a bleak and desert moor. some league or so from shore. Blessings on it. sped . and another generation beyond that. and piling up its fires half-chimney high. they found a cheerful company assembled round a glowing fire. laughed out loudly as the Spirit passed. there stood a solitary lighthouse. And now. Built upon a dismal reef of sunken rocks. the brightness of the roaring fires in kitchens. that through the loophole in the thick stone wall shed out a ray of brightness on the awful sea. To Scrooge's horror. where monstrous masses of rude stone were cast about. behind them.whither.born of the wind one might suppose. and storm-birds . who ran on before dotting the dusky street with specks of light. with a generous hand. was lost in the thick gloom of darkest night. and fiercely tried to undermine the earth.

being far away. to hear a hearty laugh. It was a great surprise to Scrooge. you know. and looking at that same nephew with approving affability. waking or sleeping. and I'll cultivate his acquaintance. 'He believed it too. 'Ha. ha!' 'He said that Christmas was a humbug. rolling his head. And their assembled friends being not a bit behindhand.as no doubt it was. all kinds of good little dots about her chin. Bless those women. ha. or spoke below his breath to his companion of some bygone Christmas Day. Oh perfectly satisfactory! 'He's a comical old fellow. ha. good or bad. too. but satisfactory. Fred. gleaming room.' hinted Scrooge's niece. too. ha!' If you should happen. Fred. 'Ha. a ripe little mouth. surprised-looking. 'that's the truth: and not so pleasant as he might be. It is a fair. had had a kinder word for another on that day than on any day in the year. whose depths were secrets as profound as Death: it was a great surprise to Scrooge. and had shared to some extent in its festivities. they lighted on a ship.' said Scrooge's niece. Altogether she was what you would have called provoking. the officers who had the watch. as he told Scrooge. And every man on board.on. and twisting his face into the most extravagant contortions: Scrooge's niece. dark. However. that seemed made to be kissed . When Scrooge's nephew laughed in this way: holding his sides. I should like to know him too. to know a man more blest in a laugh than Scrooge's nephew. while thus engaged. but every man among them hummed a Christmas tune. they never do anything by halves. while listening to the moaning of the wind. there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour. ha! Ha. as the figure-head of an old ship might be: struck up a sturdy song that was like a Gale in itself. that melted into one another when she laughed. all I can say is.' 'I'm sure he is very rich.until. noble adjustment of things. Introduce him to me. that while there is infection in disease and sorrow. by any unlikely chance. indignantly. ghostly figures in their several stations.' said Scrooge's nephew. from any shore. dry. with the Spirit standing smiling by his side.Christmas in their can of grog. 'At least you always tell me so. They are always in earnest. and one of them: the elder.' . ha. the look-out in the bow. and had remembered those he cared for at a distance. capital face. with homeward hopes belonging to it. laughed as heartily as he. even-handed. They stood beside the helmsman at the wheel. with his face all damaged and scarred with hard weather. roared out lustily. his offenses carry their own punishment. With a dimpled. or had a Christmas thought.' 'More shame for him. She was very pretty: exceedingly pretty. on . and I have nothing to say against him. as I live!' cried Scrooge's nephew. 'Ha. and thinking what a solemn thing it was to move on through the lonely darkness over an unknown abyss. by marriage. above the black and heaving sea . ha!' laughed Scrooge's nephew. and the sunniest pair of eyes you ever saw in any little creature's head. Again the Ghost sped on. and had known that they delighted to remember him. It was a much greater surprise to Scrooge to recognise it as his own nephew's and to find himself in a bright.

'Oh. and never swell the large veins in his forehead. and as it was impossible to keep the infection off. What's the consequence? He don't lose much of a dinner. and all the other ladies. He is such a ridiculous fellow. Who suffers by his ill whims? Himself. 'Well. without resorting to the sexton's spade that buried Jacob Marley. or get red in the face over it. and knew what they were about.ha. my dear?' said Scrooge's nephew. and they must be allowed to have been competent judges.' Scrooge's nephew revelled in another laugh. which could do him no harm. I think he loses a very good dinner. I'm very glad to hear it. Scrooge's niece played well upon the harp. expressed the same opinion. and thought that if he could have listened to it often. when they sung a Glee or Catch. were clustered round the fire. Topper?' Topper had clearly got his eye upon one of Scrooge's niece's sisters. Whereat Scrooge's niece's sister . and not making merry with us. When this strain of music sounded. he encouraged them in their merriment.the plump one with the lace tucker: not the one with the roses .blushed. He don't do any good with it. and I think I shook him yesterday. But being thoroughly good-natured. He don't make himself comfortable with it. I couldn't be angry with him if I tried.' said Scrooge's nephew. and saying Uncle Scrooge. ha! . If it only puts him in the vein to leave his poor clerk fifty pounds. as I think.' observed Scrooge's niece.' said Scrooge's nephew. ha. that he loses some pleasant moments. He may rail at Christmas till he dies. and he won't come and dine with us. . whether he likes it or not.'What of that. for I pity him. is. After tea they had some music. I am sure he loses pleasanter companions than he can find in his own thoughts. in good temper. always. 'His wealth is of no use to him. clapping her hands. who could growl away in the bass like a good one.' that the consequence of his taking a dislike to us. I have. how are you. or his dusty chambers. because they had just had dinner. though the plump sister tried hard to do it with aromatic vinegar. and played among other tunes a simple little air (a mere nothing: you might learn to whistle it in two minutes). but he can't help thinking better of it . 'He never finishes what he begins to say. either in his mouldy old office.that he is ever going to benefit us with it. he takes it into his head to dislike us. who had no right to express an opinion on the subject.' 'Indeed. Here.' said Scrooge's nephew.' interrupted Scrooge's niece. Fred. year after year. so that they laughed at any rate. I can assure you: especially Topper.' 'I have no patience with him. for he answered that a bachelor was a wretched outcast. What do you say. Everybody else said the same. He hasn't the satisfaction of thinking . he might have cultivated the kindnesses of life for his own happiness with his own hands. and not much caring what they laughed at. 'I was only going to say.I defy him if he finds me going there. 'because I haven't great faith in these young housekeepers. he softened more and more. came upon his mind. Scrooge's niece's sisters. with the dessert upon the table. 'Do go on.' said Scrooge's niece. For they were a musical family. and passed the bottle joyously. by lamplight. which had been familiar to the child who fetched Scrooge from the boarding-school. 'I am sorry for him. his example was unanimously followed.' It was their turn to laugh now at the notion of his shaking Scrooge. all the things that Ghost had shown him. and. as he had been reminded by the Ghost of Christmas Past. years ago. that's something. I mean to give him the same chance every year.

At every fresh question that was put to him. wholly forgetting the interest he had in what was going on. there went he. but was made comfortable with a large chair and a footstool. as could have told you. but they all played. where the Ghost and Scrooge were close behind her. too. But she joined in the forfeits. was not sharper than Scrooge. falling into a similar state. then his conduct was the most execrable. or a bear. and was so inexpressibly tickled. and very often guessed quite right. beat her sisters hollow: though they were sharp girls too. My opinion is. and walked about the streets. monstrous. he only answering to their questions yes or no. and the rest must find out what. for the sharpest needle. and would instantly have sidled off in the direction of the plump sister. and loved her love to admiration with all the letters of the alphabet. in spite of all her silken rustlings. When. The Ghost was greatly pleased to find him in this mood. or an ass. blunt as he took it in his head to be. But when at last. and was not a horse. best Whitechapel. Scrooge's niece was not one of the blind-man's buff party. wherever she went. But this the Spirit said could not be done. 'Here's a new game. and further to assure himself of her identity by pressing a certain ring upon her finger. he would have made a feint of endeavouring to seize you. 'It's your Uncle Scrooge!' . rather a disagreeable animal. or a dog. and her rapid flutterings past him.But they didn't devote the whole evening to music. and didn't live in a menagerie. for it is good to be children sometimes. At last the plump sister. She often cried out that it wasn't fair. and lived in London. and wasn't made a show of. And I no more believe Topper was really blind than I believe he had eyes in his boots. this nephew burst into a fresh roar of laughter. Likewise at the game of How. bumping against the piano. he caught her. and so did Scrooge. and Where. his pretending that it was necessary to touch her headdress. The brisk fire of questioning to which he was exposed. or a cow. that his voice made no sound in their ears. another blind-man being in office. which would have been an affront to your understanding.' said Scrooge. If you had fallen up against him (as some of them did). smothering himself among the curtains. Spirit. in a snug corner. Fred! I know what it is!' 'What is it?' cried Fred. as the case was. Stop. and was never killed in a market. that he was obliged to get up off the sofa and stamp. or a bull. for. that it was a done thing between him and Scrooge's nephew. an animal that growled and grunted sometimes. on purpose. when. and never better than at Christmas. 'One half hour. cried out: 'I have found it out! I know what it is. elicited from him that he was thinking of an animal. and to the secret joy of Scrooge's nephew. when. and it really was not. After a while they played at forfeits. There was first a game at blind-man's buff. or a pig. warranted not to cut in the eye. she was very great. was an outrage on the credulity of human nature. and that the Ghost of Christmas Present knew it. and looked upon him with such favour. The way he went after that plump sister in the lace tucker. For his pretending not to know her. behind the curtains. a savage animal.' It was a Game called Yes and No. Knocking down the fire-irons. young and old. and talked sometimes. No doubt she told him her opinion of it. and wasn't led by anybody. they were so very confidential together. or a cat. There might have been twenty people there. or a tiger. Of course there was. was vile. tumbling over the chairs. he sometimes came out with his guess quite loud. he got her into a corner whence there was no escape. where Scrooge's nephew had to think of something. He wouldn't catch anybody else. and a certain chain about her neck. that he begged like a boy to be allowed to stay until the guests departed. a live animal. when its mighty Founder was a child himself. He always knew where the plump sister was. only one.

in misery's every refuge. Much they saw. 'and it would be ungrateful not to drink his health. by poverty. In almshouse. clearly older.' From the foldings of its robe. But the whole scene passed off in the breath of the last word spoken by his nephew. and jail. because the Christmas Holidays appeared to be condensed into the space of time they passed together. and far they went. It was a long night. if the Ghost had given him time. Admiration was the universal sentiment. he left his blessing. Is it a foot or a claw?' 'It might be a claw. 'He wouldn't take it from me. and thanked them in an inaudible speech. I am sure. is very brief. and they were cheerful. 'A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to the old man. and not belonging to yourself. wretched. when. Hark! The time is drawing near. down here!' exclaimed the Ghost. 'but I see something strange. looking at the Spirit as they stood together in an open place.' said Scrooge.' said Scrooge's nephew. it brought two children. abject. Here is a glass of mulled wine ready to our hand at the moment. supposing they had ever had any tendency that way. 'Are spirits' lives so short?' asked Scrooge. whatever he is. and he and the Spirit were again upon their travels. and I say. miserable. but never spoke of it. for the flesh there is upon it. Scrooge had observed this change. 'Oh. look. and they were close at home.Which it certainly was. hideous. Uncle Scrooge!' Uncle Scrooge had imperceptibly become so gay and light of heart. that while Scrooge remained unaltered in his outward form. and they were patient in their greater hope. Man. and clung upon the outside of its garment. he noticed that its hair was grey. but Scrooge had his doubts of this. 'It ends to-night. The Spirit stood beside sick beds. They knelt down at its feet.' said Fred. that he would have pledged the unconscious company in return. It was strange. . 'He has given us plenty of merriment. and many homes they visited. hospital. on foreign lands. too.' replied the Ghost. if it were only a night. nevertheless. where vain man in his little brief authority had not made fast the door and barred the Spirit out. the Ghost grew older. look here! Look. 'My life upon this globe. until they left a children's Twelfth Night party.' The chimes were ringing the three quarters past eleven at that moment. but always with a happy end. looking intently at the Spirit's robe. 'Look here. 'To-night at midnight.' was the Spirit's sorrowful reply.' inasmuch as an answer in the negative was sufficient to have diverted their thoughts from Mr Scrooge. frightful.' 'To-night!' cried Scrooge. and it was rich. though some objected that the reply to 'Is it a bear?' ought to have been 'Yes. 'Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask. and taught Scrooge his precepts. by struggling men. but may he have it. ' 'Uncle Scrooge!' ' 'Well! Uncle Scrooge!' they cried. protruding from your skirts.

He felt that it was tall and stately when it came beside him. silently approached.' 'Have they no refuge or resource?' cried Scrooge. And abide the end. But for this it would have been difficult to detach its figure from the night. in any grade. and lifting up his eyes. has monsters half so horrible and dread. Scrooge started back. but most of all beware this boy. and that its mysterious presence filled him with a solemn dread. 'I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?' said Scrooge. through all the mysteries of wonderful creation. and touched them with its freshest tints. and twisted them. 'Spirit.' said the Spirit. 'Are there no workhouses?' The bell struck twelve. Scrooge bent down upon his knee. As the last stroke ceased to vibrate. and saw it not. for the Spirit neither spoke nor moved. appealing from their fathers. meagre. he remembered the prediction of old Jacob Marley.They were a boy and a girl. had pinched. like that of age. rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude. and make it worse. When it came. no degradation. and separate it from the darkness by which it was surrounded. are they yours?' Scrooge could say no more. 'Is that so. but will happen in the time before us. but the words choked themselves. 'You are about to show me shadows of the things that have not happened. Yellow. unless the writing be erased. and pulled them into shreds. Deny it!' cried the Spirit. appalled. The Spirit answered not. its face. no perversion of humanity. for in the very air through which this Spirit moved it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery. turning on him for the last time with his own words. he tried to say they were fine children. looking down upon them. Stave 4 The Last of the Spirits The Phantom slowly. too. gravely. a stale and shrivelled hand. 'And they cling to me. This girl is Want. Having them shown to him in this way. draped and hooded. This boy is Ignorance. Spirit?' . but prostrate. It was shrouded in a deep black garment. Admit it for your factious purposes. its form. and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. He knew no more. ragged. Scrooge looked about him for the Ghost. towards him. but pointed downward with its hand. Beware them both. Where angels might have sat enthroned. 'Slander those who tell it ye. in their humility. coming. for on his brow I see that written which is Doom. devils lurked. stretching out its hand towards the city. 'They are Man's. which concealed its head. beheld a solemn Phantom. 'Are there no prisons?' said the Spirit. and all of their degree. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out. scowling.' Scrooge pursued. and glared out menacing. wolfish. like a mist along the ground. No change.

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

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

slipshod. and sat down in a flaunting manner on a stool. 'That's enough. Sitting in among the wares he dealt in. What odds.' 'That's true. don't stand staring as if you was afraid. and she was closely followed by a man in faded black. who's the wiser? We're not going to pick holes in each other's coats. here's a chance.' 'Very well. indeed.' said old Joe. . indeed. There an't such a rusty bit of metal in the place as its own hinges. 'What odds then. than they had been upon the recognition of each other. Far in this den of infamous resort. old rags. and let the undertaker's man alone to be the third. who was no less startled by the sight of them. masses of corrupted fat. we're well matched. were bought. below a penthouse roof. just as a woman with a heavy bundle slunk into the shop. made of old bricks.' 'No. with filth. and dirt. Who's the worse for the loss of a few things like these? Not a dead man. and smoked his pipe in all the luxury of calm retirement. 'Let the charwoman alone to be the first!' cried she who had entered first. and went into an obscure part of the town. nearly seventy years of age. hinges. beetling shop. where Scrooge had never penetrated before. files. and the other two an't strangers. and sepulchres of bones. The ways were foul and narrow. like so many cesspools. disgorged their offenses of smell. Secrets that few would like to scrutinise were bred and hidden in mountains of unseemly rags. After a short period of blank astonishment. and its bad repute. the shops and houses wretched.' said Mrs Dilber and the man together. was a grey-haired rascal. Mrs Dilber. they all three burst into a laugh. Look here. hung upon a line. by a frowsy curtaining of miscellaneous tatters. put it in his mouth again. chains. and the whole quarter reeked with crime. Alleys and archways. 'Let the laundress alone to be the second. when another woman. But she had scarcely entered.' said the woman. The old man raked the fire together with an old stair-rod. then!' cried the woman. there was a low-browed. You were made free of it long ago. Ah. I suppose. as mine. and misery. Stop till I shut the door of the shop. woman. Ha. where iron. 'We should hope not. Come into the parlour. weights. indeed. drunken. you know. by a charcoal stove. 'Every person has a right to take care of themselves. bottles. bones. and having trimmed his smoky lamp (for it was night).' The parlour was the space behind the screen of rags. and refuse iron of all kinds. who had screened himself from the cold air without.' said Mrs Dilber. although he recognised its situation. the people half-naked.They left the busy scene. Scrooge and the Phantom came into the presence of this man. and looking with a bold defiance at the other two. and greasy offal. the woman who had already spoken threw her bundle on the floor. removing his pipe from his mouth. He always did. upon the straggling streets. scales. similarly laden. 'No man more so. old Joe. ha! We're all suitable to our calling. laughing. and I'm sure there's no such old bones here. in which the old man with the pipe had joined them. were piled up heaps of rusty keys. Come into the parlour. crossing her elbows on her knees. If we haven't all three met here without meaning it!' 'You couldn't have met in a better place. I believe. nails. ugly. Upon the floor within.' said the laundress. How it skreeks. with the stem of his pipe. and life. came in too. I suppose?' 'No.' 'Why then. While he did this. 'Come into the parlour.

laughing and leaning forward on her crossed arms. 'Bedcurtains. They were severally examined and appraised by old Joe.' 'His blankets?' asked Joe. 'He isn't likely to take cold without them. Joe. if I was to be boiled for not doing it.' 'I wish it was a little heavier judgment. 'Why not?' 'You were born to make your fortune. and added them up into a total when he found there was nothing more to come. you may depend upon it.' . now.' said Joe. nor afraid for them to see it. 'and I wouldn't give another sixpence. 'why wasn't he natural in his lifetime? If he had been. he'd have had somebody to look after him when he was struck with Death. I promise you.' 'And now undo my bundle.' said old Joe.' said Mrs Dilber. 'Yes I do.' returned the woman coolly.' and you'll certainly do it. rings and all. mounting the breach first.'If he wanted to keep them after he was dead.' 'I certainly shan't hold my hand.' But the gallantry of her friends would not allow of this. and having unfastened a great many knots. 'That's your account. Sheets and towels.' 'It's the truest word that ever was spoke. Open that bundle. old Joe. and a few boots. It was not extensive. 'That's your account.' said Joe. 'Don't drop that oil upon the blankets.' 'You don't mean to say you took them down. I believe. if I could have laid my hands on anything else. and a brooch of no great value. I dare say. 'and it should have been. a pair of sugar-tongs. It's no sin. and that's the way I ruin myself.' replied the woman. 'What do you call this?' said Joe.' pursued the woman. before we met here.' said the first woman. for the sake of such a man as he was. Open the bundle. 'Bed-curtains?' 'Ah!' returned the woman. If you asked me for another penny. Joe went down on his knees for the greater convenience of opening it. produced his plunder. a pair of sleeve-buttons. dragged out a large and heavy roll of some dark stuff. a wicked old screw. Joe. alone by himself. I'm not afraid to be the first. and made it an open question. with him lying there?' said Joe. Who's next?' Mrs Dilber was next. 'Whose else's do you think?' replied the woman. and the man in faded black. Speak out plain. I'd repent of being so liberal and knock off half-a-crown. Joe. who chalked the sums he was disposed to give for each upon the wall. when I can get anything in it by reaching it out. two old-fashioned silver teaspoons.' replied the woman. 'I always give too much to ladies. instead of lying gasping out his last there. Her account was stated on the wall in the same manner. We know pretty well that we were helping ourselves. were all. A seal or two. a little wearing apparel. 'It's a judgment on him. and let me know the value of it. It's a weakness of mine. a pencil-case.

He can't look uglier than he did in that one. or a child. ha!' 'Spirit.' replied the woman with a laugh. revered. fell straight upon the bed. rigid. with not a man. would have disclosed the face. the heart brave. 'Putting it on him to be buried in. My life tends that way. He thought of it. and for the memory of one kind word I will be kind to . He frightened every one away from him when he was alive.'I hope he didn't die of any thing catching. The cover was so carelessly adjusted that the slightest raising of it. too dark to be observed with any accuracy. beneath a ragged sheet. to sow the world with life immortal! No voice pronounced these words in Scrooge's ears. stopping in his work. 'This is the end of it. to be sure. 'I an't so fond of his company that I'd loiter about him for such things. and longed to do it. griping cares. if it hadn't been for me. and dress it with such terrors as thou hast at thy command: for this is thy dominion. which could hardly have been greater. ha. warm. Shadow. The case of this unhappy man might be my own. It is not that the hand is heavy and will fall down when released. They'd have wasted it. marketing the corpse itself. and on it. 'Somebody was fool enough to do it. plundered and bereft. generous. in the dark empty house. He lay. truly. there lay a something covered up. If calico an't good enough for such a purpose. and yet he heard them when he looked upon the bed. and tender. Strike. uncared for. and true. A pale light. you see.' Scrooge listened to this dialogue in horror. Its steady hand was pointed to the head. to profit us when he was dead. Eh?' said old Joe. unwatched. the motion of a finger upon Scrooge's part. though they demons. Ha. he viewed them with a detestation and disgust. for the scene had changed. was the body of this man. though Scrooge glanced round it in obedience to a secret impulse. which. It's quite as becoming to the body.' 'What do you call wasting of it?' asked old Joe. felt how easy it would be to do. As they sat grouped about their spoil. but I took it off again. cold.' returned the woman. strike. 'Don't you be afraid of that. producing a flannel bag with money in it. it is not that the heart and pulse are still. thou canst not turn one hair to thy dread purposes. They have brought him to a rich end. now. Avarice. rising in the outer air. dreadful Death. shuddering from head to foot. but that the hand was open. and looking up. what would be his foremost thoughts. Merciful Heaven. nor a threadbare place. unwept. and a fine one too. and now he almost touched a bed: a bare. The room was very dark. you may look through that shirt till your eyes ache. But of the loved. but you won't find a hole in it. anxious to know what kind of room it was.' said Scrooge. it isn't good enough for anything. It's the best he had. I see. to say that he was kind to me in this or that. in the scanty light afforded by the old man's lamp. what is this?' He recoiled in terror. 'I see. And see his good deeds springing from the wound. He thought. if he did. Oh cold. if this man could be raised up now. announced itself in awful language. told out their several gains upon the ground. and honoured head. though it was dumb. and the pulse a man's. ha!' laughed the same woman. Ah. hard-dealing. a woman. uncurtained bed: on which. 'Ha. or make one feature odious. Scrooge glanced towards the Phantom. when old Joe. set up thine altar here. but had no more power to withdraw the veil than to dismiss the spectre at his side.

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

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

and seeing that he looked a little 'just a little down you know. If I can be of service to you in any way. the girls and mother working still.' 'I'm sure he's a good soul. and when he had thought a little and composed himself. Mr Cratchit.' said Mrs Cratchit. I am sure we shall none of us forget poor Tiny Tim . He was reconciled to what had happened. My little. and setting up for himself. 'It's just as likely as not. 'I am heartily sorry for it. and felt with us. lately.' returned Bob.' Now. I shouldn't be at all surprised mark what I say. 'My little child!' He broke down all at once. But you'll see it often.' he said. he kissed the little face.' replied Bob. my dear. 'that's where I live. then. 'if you saw and spoke to him. He looked at the work upon the table. 'Heartily sorry. he and his child would have been farther apart perhaps than they were. It would have done you good to see how green a place it is. 'I hope they do. 'Everybody knows that.shall we . 'And then. it wasn't. 'and heartily sorry for your good wife. my dear. and there were signs of some one having been there.' 'Get along with you!' retorted Peter. meeting him in the street that day. and who. They would be done long before Sunday. They drew about the fire. and spoke pleasantly to all the family. I promised him that I would walk there on a Sunday.' 'Knew what. 'one of these days. Poor Bob sat down in it. 'for your good wife. whom he had scarcely seen but once. . Robert?' said his wife. little child!' cried Bob. 'I wish you could have gone. It really seemed as if he had known our Tiny Tim. But however and when ever we part from one another. Pray come to me. He couldn't help it. and talked. 'You would be surer of it. I told him. 'On which. and went up-stairs into the room above. father!' cried they all. inquired what had happened to distress him. If he could have helped it.' said Bob.' he said. There was a chair set close beside the child. he said.' said Bob. that this was quite delightful. so much as for his kind way.' he said. You went to-day. my dear?' 'Why.or this first parting that there was among us. He left the room. 'Peter will be keeping company with some one. and went down again quite happy. and hung with Christmas. 'for he is the pleasantest-spoken gentleman you ever heard. grinning. 'Very well observed. and praised the industry and speed of Mrs Cratchit and the girls. my boy!' cried Bob. 'Yes. giving me his card.' returned Bob.' cried Bob. Bob told them of the extraordinary kindness of Mr Scrooge's nephew. I don't know. 'Sunday. how he ever knew that.' cried one of the girls. that you were a good wife.' 'Only hear that.' said Bob.' for the sake of anything he might be able to do for us.Bob was very cheerful with them.' said Peter. if he got Peter a better situation.' 'Never. though there's plenty of time for that.' said Mrs Cratchit. which was lighted cheerfully. Peter.' By the bye. my dear.

my dears. and looked in. but not his. his daughters kissed him. is where my place of occupation is. the two young Cratchits kissed him. but he dreaded that he saw new meaning in its solemn shape. then. until besought by Scrooge to tarry for a moment. accompanied it until they reached an iron gate. 'Why do you point away?' The inexorable finger underwent no change. in days to come. 'This courts.'And I know.' said Scrooge. 'The house is yonder. the growth of vegetation's death. but I know not how. A worthy place! The Spirit stood among the graves. we shall not quarrel easily among ourselves. Spirit of Tiny Tim. It was an office still. save that they were in the Future . and forget poor Tiny Tim in doing it. The furniture was not the same.' said Scrooge. 'answer me one question. 'Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends. choked up with too much burying. Walled in by houses. He paused to look round before entering. little child. Scrooge hastened to the window of his office. 'Spectre. as to the end just now desired. 'But if the courses be departed from. Tell me what man that was whom we saw lying dead.' The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come conveyed him. overrun by grass and weeds. the hand was pointed elsewhere. lay underneath the ground. and the figure in the chair was not himself. not life.into the resorts of business men. Let me behold what I shall be. and wondering why and whither he had gone. the ends will change.' said Bob. the Spirit did not stay for anything. 'something informs me that our parting moment is at hand. I know it. 'I am very happy!' Mrs Cratchit kissed him.' The Spirit was immovable as ever. Here. He advanced towards it trembling. and Peter and himself shook hands. 'I know. 'I am very happy. as before . Are these the shadows of the things that Will be. but went straight on.' 'No. but showed him not himself. to which. The Phantom was exactly as it had been.' said little Bob. father!' they all cried again. the wretched man whose name he had now to learn. only?' Still the Ghost pointed downward to the grave by which it stood. there seemed no order in these latter visions. It was a worthy place. if persevered in.' Scrooge exclaimed.' said Scrooge.' The Spirit stopped. The Phantom pointed as before. 'through which we hurry now. although he was a little. A churchyard. never. and has been for a length of time. I see the house. Indeed. . thy childish essence was from God. or are they shadows of things that May be. fat with repleted appetite. that when we recollect how patient and how mild he was. 'Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point. Say it is thus with what you show me. and pointed down to One.' said Scrooge. they must lead. he thought: indeed.though at a different time. He joined it once again.

read upon the stone of the neglected grave his own name. Holding up his hands in a last prayer to have his fate aye reversed. no!' The finger still was there. and pities me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse. stronger yet. 'Spirit!' he cried. he saw an alteration in the Phantom's hood and dress. tight clutching at its robe. Spirit! Oh no. They will be! I know they will. and the Christmas Time be praised for this. may be dispelled. 'they are not torn down.I am here . and detained it. 'Am I that man who lay upon the bed?' he cried. and following the finger. 'hear me.' . The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. trembling as he went.the shadows of the things that would have been. He had been sobbing violently in his conflict with the Spirit. folding one of his bed-curtains in his arms. and his face was wet with tears. by an altered life. EBENEZER SCROOGE. the room was his own. upon his knees. on my knees!' He was so fluttered and so glowing with his good intentions. Best and happiest of all.' The kind hand trembled. and the Future. rings and all. 'I will honour Christmas in my heart. he caught the spectral hand. the Present. but he was strong in his entreaty. 'The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. and back again. as he scrambled out of bed. collapsed. tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!' In his agony. and dwindled down into a bedpost. to make amends in! 'I will live in the Past. as down upon the ground he fell before it: 'Your nature intercedes for me. They are here . Stave 5 The End of It Yes! and the bedpost was his own. It sought to free itself. The bed was his own. the Time before him was his own. old Jacob. and try to keep it all the year. Oh Jacob Marley! Heaven. Oh. 'Good Spirit.Scrooge crept towards it. that his broken voice would scarcely answer to his call. the Present. if I am past all hope?' For the first time the hand appeared to shake. Why show me this. The finger pointed from the grave to him. 'No. 'They are not torn down!' cried Scrooge.' he pursued. I will live in the Past. I am not the man I was. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me. repulsed him. The Spirit. and the Future!' Scrooge repeated. I say it on my knees. It shrunk.

bright. and put out his head. at the corner?' Scrooge inquired. and frisking round the fireplace. in the next street but one. piping for the blood to dance to. 'There's the saucepan that the gruel was in!' cried Scrooge. I am as giddy as a drunken man. Hallo! Whoop! Hallo here!' He was checked in his transports by the churches ringing out the lustiest peals he had ever heard. 'I don't know what day of the month it is. cold. Clash. my fine fellow?' said Scrooge. Never mind. the one as big as me?' returned the boy. glorious. glorious! Running to the window. I'm quite a baby. my fine fellow!' 'Hallo!' returned the boy. ding.' replied the lad. 'Do you know the Poulterer's.His hands were busy with his garments all this time. I don't care. for a man who had been out of practice for so many years. 'I don't know what to do!' cried Scrooge. I don't know anything. who perhaps had loitered in to look about him. hammer. stirring. I am as happy as an angel. There's the window where I saw the wandering Spirits. it was a splendid laugh. bell! Bell. 'I don't know how long I've been among the Spirits. 'I should hope I did. 'Why. 'An intelligent boy!' said Scrooge. Of course they can. making them parties to every kind of extravagance. by which the Ghost of Jacob Marley entered. There's the corner where the Ghost of Christmas Present. A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!' He had frisked into the sitting-room. The father of a long.' 'It's Christmas Day!' said Scrooge to himself. it's all true. . clash! Oh. 'To-day?' replied the boy. calling downward to a boy in Sunday clothes. It's all right. 'I haven't missed it. 'Eh?' returned the boy. jovial. he opened it. 'There's the door. and making a perfect Laocoon of himself with his stockings. hammer. They can do anything they like. turning them inside out. dong. sat. sweet fresh air. 'What's to-day. clear.Not the little prize Turkey: the big one?' 'What. Ha ha ha!' Really. Of course they can. Christmas Day. tearing them. merry bells. laughing and crying in the same breath. starting off again. clang. The Spirits have done it all in one night. it all happened. 'I am as light as a feather. mislaying them. I'd rather be a baby. clang. I am as merry as a schoolboy.' said Scrooge. Golden sunlight. long line of brilliant laughs. a most illustrious laugh. no mist. putting them on upside down. Glorious! 'What's to-day?' cried Scrooge. ding. with all his might of wonder. Oh. cold. dong. Heavenly sky. Hallo. No fog. 'A remarkable boy! Do you know whether they've sold the prize Turkey that was hanging up there . and was now standing there: perfectly winded. glorious.

as long as I live!' cried Scrooge. that bird. in a word. ready for the coming of the Poulterer's man. Come back with him in less than five minutes and I'll give you half-acrown. that three or four good-humoured fellows said. He dressed himself all in his best. 'I'll send it to Bon Cratchit's!' whispered Scrooge. no. as he had seen them with the Ghost of Christmas Present. when coming on towards him he beheld the portly gentleman.' said Scrooge. Scrooge regarded every one with a delighted smile. The people were by this time pouring forth. and at last got out into the streets.' said Scrooge. it's impossible to carry that to Camden Town. and the chuckle with which he paid for the cab. like sticks of sealing-wax. Yes. But if he had cut the end of his nose off. and chuckled till he cried. It's a wonderful knocker. he would have put a piece of sticking-plaster over it. 'Good morning. that of all the blithe sounds he had ever heard. 'Is it?' said Scrooge. Go and buy it. He must have had a steady hand at a trigger who could have got a shot off half so fast. my buck.' 'It's hanging there now. As he stood there. I believe. 'I am in earnest. those were the blithest in his ears. for his hand continued to shake very much. . 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 the chuckle with which he paid for the Turkey. and went down-stairs to open the street door.' It sent a pang across his heart to think how this old gentleman would look upon him when they met. the knocker caught his eye.'What a delightful boy!' said Scrooge. A merry Christmas to you.Here's the Turkey.' And Scrooge said often afterwards. and he took it. 'I shall love it. sir. and tell them to bring it here. 'Scrooge and Marley's. and been quite satisfied. Shaving was not an easy task. and walking with his hands behind him. somehow. even when you don't dance while you are at it. 'No. Come back with the man. Hallo! Whoop! How are you? Merry Christmas!' It was a Turkey! He never could have stood upon his legs. What an honest expression it has in its face. It's twice the size of Tiny Tim. 'You must have a cab. . 'Why. and shaving requires attention.' The boy was off like a shot. and the chuckle with which he recompensed the boy. He would have snapped them short off in a minute. 'It's a pleasure to talk to him.' replied the boy. and said. He looked so irresistibly pleasant. were only to be exceeded by the chuckle with which he sat down breathless in his chair again. 'He shan't know who sends it.' The chuckle with which he said this. 'Go and buy it. waiting his arrival. rubbing his hands. but he knew what path lay straight before him. and splitting with a laugh. He had not gone far. and I'll give you a shilling. that I may give them the direction where to take it. but write it he did. patting it with his hand.' 'Walker!' exclaimed the boy. who had walked into his counting-house the day before.

I assure you.' 'Thank you. 'That is my name. and up to the windows. if you please.' He turned it gently. about her sitting in the corner with the footstool. 'Come and see me.' said the other. along with mistress. before he had the courage to go up and knock. and sidled his face in. and like to see that everything is right. 'Thank you. He passed the door a dozen times. 'Fred!' said Scrooge. and taking the old gentleman by both his hands.' who's that?' . for the moment.' said Scrooge. and watched the people hurrying to and fro.here Scrooge whispered in his ear. quickening his pace. 'He's in the dining-room.' 'Where is he. They were looking at the table (which was spread out in great array). Will you do me that favour?' 'My dear sir.that anything .' said Scrooge. my love?' said Scrooge.could give him so much happiness. 'I don't know what to say to such munificence. 'Lord bless me!' cried the gentleman. Will you come and see me?' 'I will!' cried the old gentleman.' said Scrooge. Scrooge had forgotten. sir. He had never dreamed that any walk .' said Scrooge. He knows me. sir!' 'Mr Scrooge?' 'Yes. 'Yes. 'I'll go in here. In the afternoon he turned his steps towards his nephew's house. A great many back-payments are included in it. and walked about the streets. how his niece by marriage started. And will you have the goodness' . 'My dear Mr Scrooge. with his hand already on the dining-room lock. and patted children on the head. and looked down into the kitchens of houses. Allow me to ask your pardon. and I fear it may not be pleasant to you. for these young housekeepers are always nervous on such points. and did it: 'Is your master at home. Nice girl. round the door. Dear heart alive. A merry Christmas to you. my dear. I thank you fifty times. as if his breath were taken away.'My dear sir. 'How do you do. It was very kind of you. my dear?' said Scrooge to the girl. on any account. sir. And it was clear he meant to do it. are you serious?' 'If you please. or he wouldn't have done it. I hope you succeeded yesterday. and questioned beggars.' retorted Scrooge. I'll show you up-stairs. 'I am much obliged to you. Bless you!' He went to church. But he made a dash. 'Not a farthing less.' said Scrooge. shaking hands with him. 'Why bless my soul!' cried Fred. Very. and found that everything could yield him pleasure.' 'Don't say anything please.

sir. and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon. with an earnestness that could not be mistaken. and it was always said of him. or any other good old city. 'What do you mean by coming here at this time of day?' 'I'm very sorry. for good. 'I am behind my time. So did Topper when he came. I was making rather merry yesterday.' growled Scrooge. He had no further intercourse with Spirits. His niece looked just the same. and endeavour to assist your struggling family.' 'You are?' repeated Scrooge. appearing from the Tank. my friend. He was on his stool in a jiffy. May that be truly said of us. at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset. Scrooge sat with his door wide open. 'A merrier Christmas.' said Scrooge. he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins. his comforter too. for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe.' he continued. and to Tiny Tim. Your uncle Scrooge. as good a master. He had a momentary idea of knocking Scrooge down with it. and catch Bob Cratchit coming late! That was the thing he had set his heart upon.' Bob trembled. in the good old world. that he might see him come into the Tank. So did the plump sister when she came.' said Bob. 'and therefore I am about to raise your salary. and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i. His hat was off. and calling to the people in the court for help and a strait-waistcoat. He became as good a friend. if any man alive possessed the knowledge. I have come to dinner. He was at home in five minutes. No Bob. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him. but he let them laugh. If he could only be there first. and got a little nearer to the ruler. he did. Fred?' Let him in! It is a mercy he didn't shake his arm off. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.' 'It's only once a year. I'll tell you what. I think you are. as near as he could feign it. Step this way. and infinitely more. wonderful unanimity. 'Yes. Oh he was early there. as have the malady in less attractive forms. as he clapped him on the back. wonderful games. and all of us! . and as good a man. Bob.' 'Now.' said Scrooge. 'Hallo. Will you let me in. sir. yes. but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle. or borough. 'It shall not be repeated. sir.' pleaded Bob. No Bob. town. And he did it. before he opened the door. I'll raise your salary. Bob. holding him. driving away with his pen. who did not die. than I have given you for many a year. So did every one when they came. Bob. Bob Cratchit!' Scrooge was better than his word.'It's I. as the good old city knew. as if he were trying to overtake nine o'clock. my good fellow. and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway. A quarter past. if you please. He was full eighteen minutes and a half behind his time. in his accustomed voice. And therefore. over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop. and giving Bob such a dig in the waistcoat that he staggered back into the Tank again. Make up the fires. 'I am not going to stand this sort of thing any longer. Wonderful party. ever afterwards. The clock struck nine. that he knew how to keep Christmas well. He did it all. 'A merry Christmas. and little heeded them. Nothing could be heartier. leaping from his stool. he was a second father. wonderful happiness! But he was early at the office next morning.

God Bless Us.And so. Every One! The End of: A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens . as Tiny Tim observed.

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