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