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.
- Hey. Wait a second. You're not Charles Dickens. - I am too! - No. A blue, furry Charles Dickens who hangs out with a rat?
He was hard and sharp as a flint, secret and self-contained, and as solitary as an oyster.
Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!
- Let us deal with the eviction notices for tomorrow, Mr Cratchit. - Tomorrow is Christmas, sir. - Very well, you may gift-wrap them.
- Uh, if you please, Mr Scrooge...it's gotten colder, and the bookkeeping staff would like to have an extra shovelful of coal for the fire. - We can't do the bookkeeping. - Yeah. All of our pens have turned to ink-cicles. - Our assets are frozen!
'I do,' said Scrooge. 'Merry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You’re poor enough.' 'Come, then,' returned the nephew gaily. 'What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You’re rich enough.'
Now, in these times, it was customary on Christmas Eve for well-meaning gentlemen to call upon businesses, collecting donations for the poor and homeless.
'What shall I put you down for?' 'Nothing!' Scrooge replied. 'You wish to be anonymous?' 'I wish to be left alone,' said Scrooge.
'If they would rather die,' said Scrooge, 'they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.'
'If I could work my will,' said Scrooge indignantly, 'every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.'
With their employer gone at last, Bob Cratchit and the bookkeepers immediately began that most pleasant of activities: the celebration of Christmas.
[Bob Cratchit] went down a slide on Cornhill, at the end of a lane of boys, twenty times, in honour of its being Christmas Eve, and then ran home to Camden Town as hard as he could pelt, to play at blindman’s-buff.
- Um. Why are you whispering? - It's for dramatic emphasis.
Scrooge, having his key in the lock of the door, saw in the knocker, without its undergoing any intermediate process of change—not a knocker, but Marley’s face.
It was with great astonishment, and with a strange, inexplicable dread, that as he looked, he saw this bell begin to swing. It swung so softly in the outset that it scarcely made a sound; but soon it rang out loudly, and so did every bell in the house.
The chain he drew was clasped about his middle. It was long, and wound about him like a tail; and it was made (for Scrooge observed it closely) of cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel.
- Why do you doubt your senses? - Because a little thing can affect them. A slight disorder of the stomach can make them cheat. You may be a bit of undigested beef, a blob of mustard, a crumb of cheese. Yes. There's more of gravy than of grave about you!
- Whoa. That's scary stuff. Hey, should we be worried about the kids in the audience? - Nah. That's all right. This is culture.
He was conscious of a thousand odours floating in the air, each one connected with a thousand thoughts, and hopes, and joys, and cares long, long, forgotten!
'Always a delicate creature, whom a breath might have withered,' said the Ghost. 'But she had a large heart!' 'So she had,' cried Scrooge. 'You’re right. I will not gainsay it, Spirit. God forbid!' 'She died a woman,' said the Ghost, 'and had, as I think, children.' 'One child,' Scrooge returned. 'True,' said the Ghost. 'Your nephew!' Scrooge seemed uneasy in his mind; and answered briefly, 'Yes.'
In came all the young men and women employed in the business. In came the housemaid, with her cousin, the baker. In came the cook, with her brother’s particular friend, the milkman. In came the boy from over the way, who was suspected of not having board enough from his master; trying to hide himself behind the girl from next door but one, who was proved to have had her ears pulled by her mistress.
- Tell me, Ebenezer Scrooge, do you know this place? - Know it? My first job was here. This is Fozziwig's old rubber chicken factory.
Light the lamp, not the rat!
What an employer he was. As hard and as ruthless as a rose petal.
He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up: what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.
Belle, I'd like to introduce you to Ebenezer Scrooge, the finest young financial mind in the city.
But if you were free to-day, to-morrow, yesterday, can even I believe that you would choose a dowerless girl—you who, in your very confidence with her, weigh everything by Gain: or, choosing her, if for a moment you were false enough to your one guiding principle to do so, do I not know that your repentance and regret would surely follow? I do; and I release you. With a full heart, for the love of him you once were.
'I told you these were shadows of the things that have been,' said the Ghost. 'That they are what they are, do not blame me!'
Come in! and know me better, man!
Heaped up on the floor, to form a kind of throne, were turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, great joints of meat, sucking-pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince-pies, plum-puddings, barrels of oysters, red-hot chestnuts, cherry-cheeked apples, juicy oranges, luscious pears, immense twelfth-cakes, and seething bowls of punch, that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam.
- You're a little absentminded, Spirit. - No! I'm a large absentminded spirit!
'Why, where’s our Martha?' cried Bob Cratchit, looking round. 'Not coming,' said Mrs. Cratchit. 'Not coming!' said Bob, with a sudden declension in his high spirits; for he had been Tim’s blood horse all the way from church, and had come home rampant. 'Not coming upon Christmas Day!' Martha didn’t like to see him disappointed, if it were only in joke; so she came out prematurely from behind the closet door, and ran into his arms, while the two young Cratchits hustled Tiny Tim, and bore him off into the wash-house, that he might hear the pudding singing in the copper.
- How was he at church? - As good as gold and better. He told me that he hoped the people saw him in church because it might be pleasant for them to remember, upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk and blind men see.
“Mr. Scrooge!” said Bob; “I’ll give you Mr. Scrooge, the Founder of the Feast!” “The Founder of the Feast indeed!” cried Mrs. Cratchit, reddening. “I wish I had him here. I’d give him a piece of my mind to feast upon, and I hope he’d have a good appetite for it.” “My dear,” said Bob, “the children! Christmas Day.” “It should be Christmas Day, I am sure,” said she, “on which one drinks the health of such an odious, stingy, hard, unfeeling man as Mr. Scrooge. You know he is, Robert! Nobody knows it better than you do, poor fellow!” “My dear,” was Bob’s mild answer, “Christmas Day.” “I’ll drink his health for your sake and the Day’s,” said Mrs. Cratchit, “not for his. Long life to him! A merry Christmas and a happy new year! He’ll be very merry and very happy, I have no doubt!”
'Spirit,' said Scrooge, with an interest he had never felt before, 'tell me if Tiny Tim will live.' 'I see a vacant seat,' replied the Ghost, 'in the poor chimney-corner, and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die.' 'No, no,' said Scrooge. 'Oh, no, kind Spirit! say he will be spared.' 'If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, none other of my race,' returned the Ghost, 'will find him here. What then? If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.'
They stood beside the helmsman at the wheel, the look-out in the bow, the officers who had the watch; dark, ghostly figures in their several stations; but every man among them hummed a Christmas tune, or had a Christmas thought, or spoke below his breath to his companion of some bygone Christmas Day, with homeward hopes belonging to it.
'I was only going to say,' said Scrooge’s nephew, 'that the consequence of his taking a dislike to us, and not making merry with us, is, as I think, that he loses some pleasant moments, which could do him no harm.'
After tea, they had some music. For they were a musical family, and knew what they were about, when they sung a Glee or Catch, I can assure you: especially Topper, who could growl away in the bass like a good one, and never swell the large veins in his forehead, or get red in the face over it.
- Wait! Wait! I know! An unwanted creature, but not a rat, a leech or cockroach. - Then what? - It's Ebenezer Scrooge!
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.
- This is too scary. I don't think I want to see any more. - When you're right, you're right. You're on your own, folks. We'll meet you at the finale.
“Ah!” returned the woman, laughing and leaning forward on her crossed arms. “Bed-curtains!” “You don’t mean to say you took ’em down, rings and all, with him lying there?” said Joe.
- Oh. His blankets? Why, Mrs Dilber, they're still warm. I don't pay extra for the warmth, you know. - You should. It's the only warmth he ever had.
I never wear black gloves, and I never eat lunch. But I’ll offer to go, if anybody else will. When I come to think of it, I’m not at all sure that I wasn’t his most particular friend; for we used to stop and speak whenever we met.
“Spirit!” said Scrooge, shuddering from head to foot. “I see, I see. The case of this unhappy man might be my own. My life tends that way, now. Merciful Heaven, what is this!'
A pale light, rising in the outer air, fell straight upon the bed; and on it, plundered and bereft, unwatched, unwept, uncared for, was the body of this man.
They drew about the fire, and talked; the girls and mother working still. Bob told them of the extraordinary kindness of Mr. Scrooge’s nephew, whom he had scarcely seen but once, and who, meeting him in the street that day, and seeing that he looked a little—“just a little down you know,” said Bob, inquired what had happened to distress him. “On which,” said Bob, “for he is the pleasantest-spoken gentleman you ever heard, I told him. ‘I am heartily sorry for it, Mr. Cratchit,’ he said, ‘and heartily sorry for your good wife.’”
Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?
I will honour Christmas and try to keep it all the year. I will live my life in the past, the present and the future. I will not shut out the lessons the spirits have taught me. Tell me that I may sponge out the writing on this stone.
But the thing that made Scrooge happiest of all was that his life lay before him, and it could be changed.
I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy.
- Do you know the poultry shop in the next street? - Yes, sir, I do. - An intelligent lad. A remarkable lad. Do you know whether the prize turkey has been sold in the window? - Oh. The one twice as big as me? It's still there. - Oh. It's a pleasure talking with you, lad. Go and buy it. - Be serious. - I am being serious. Buy it for me, and I'll give you a shilling. No, I'll give you five shillings! I'll bring it to Bob Cratchit's house. What a surprise it'll be. It's twice the size of Tiny Tim.
- Pardon me, gentlemen, but about the charity donation you asked me for yesterday. - Oh. Yes? - Put me down for... [whispers] - That much? - Not a penny less. A great many back payments are included in it, I assure you.
He went to church, and walked about the streets, and watched the people hurrying to and fro, and patted children on the head, and questioned beggars, and looked down into the kitchens of houses, and up to the windows, and found that everything could yield him pleasure. He had never dreamed that any walk—that anything—could give him so much happiness.
Every night will end, and every day will start, with a grateful prayer and a thankful heart.
If you need to know the measure of a man you simply count his friends.
- Bob Cratchit. I've had my fill of this, and I have had my fill of you. And therefore, Bob Cratchit... - And therefore, you can leave this house at once! - And therefore, I'm about to raise your salary. - Oh! And I am about to raise you right off the pavement and out... Pardon? - Yes, Bob. Raise your salary and pay your mortgage on this house.
Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father.
And it was always said of him that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that truly be said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!