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A^. CHARLES Dickens's 


LEK &; SHKP^KD, Fxxblishers. 




'■>''' A CoUecHon of COMEDIES, DRAMAS, and FARCES, adapted to eUher Public 
or Private Performance. Containing a full description of all 
the necessary Stage Business. 






PBICE, 15 CENTS EACB. ^S^ No Plays exehanffed. 

Three Acts. 6 Mhle, 4 Female char-J 
Nicholas Flam. A Comedy in Two 
Acts. By J.B. Buckstone. 5 Male, 
3 Female characters. 

The Welsh Girl. A Comedy in 
One Act. By Mrs. Planche, 3 Male, 
2 Female characters. 

John Wopps. A Farce in One Act. 
By W. E. Suter. 4 Male, 2 fVmale 

The Turkish Bath. A Farce in 
One Act. By Montague Williams 
and F. C. Burnand, 6 Male, 1 Fe- 
male character. 

The Two Puddlfoots. A Farce 
in One Act. By J. M. Morton. 3 
Male, 3 Female characters. 

Old If onesty. A Comic Drama in 
Two Acts. By J. M. Morton. 5 
Male, 2 Female characters. 

T^vo Gentlemen in a Fix. A 
Farce in One Act. By W. E. Suter. 

2 Male cliaracters. 
Smashlngton Goit. A Farce in 

One Act. By T..I. Williame. 5 Male, 

3 Female characters. 

Tvro Heads Better thanOne. A 
Farce in One Act. By I.enox Home. 

4 Male, 1 Female character. 
John Bobbs. A Farce in One Act. 

By J. M. Morton. 5 Male, 2 Female 

The Bawghter of the Regi- 
ment. A Drama in Two Acts. By 
Edward Fitzball. Male, 2 Female 

Annt Charlotte's 9Iaid. A Farce 
in One Act. By J. M. Morton. 3 
Male, 3 Female characters. 

Brother Bill and ^Te. A Farce in 
One Act. By W. E. Suter. 4 Male, 
3 Female characters. 

Bone on Both Sides. A Farce in 
Ou' Act. By J. M. Morton. 3 
Male, 2 Female characters. 


T>nndwcl£etty'8 Picnic. A Farce 
in One Act. By T. J. Williams. 6 
Male, 3 Female characters. 

I've "ivritten to Browne. A Farce 
in One Act. By T. .1. Williams. 4 
Male, 3 Female characters. 

^.ending a nand. A Farce in One 
Act. By G. A. A'Becket. 3 Male, 

2 Female characters. 

19. My Precious Betsy. A Farce in 

One Act By J. M. Morton. 4 Male, 
4 Femuli characters. 

20. MyTwrn]Vext. A Farce in One Act. 

By T. J. Williams. 4 Male, 3 Fe- 
male clia.f. -ters. 

21. Wine Poin< « ol the I^aw. A Com- 

edy in One Act. By Tom Taylor. 
4 Male, ;^ Female characters. 

22. The Phantom Breakfast. A 

Farce in One Act. By Charles Sel- 
by. 3 Male, 2 Female characters. 

23. Bandelions Bodges. A Farce in 

One Act. By T. J. Williams. 4 
Male, 2 K'emale characters. 

24. A Slice ot L,uck. A Farce in One 

Act. £y J. M. Morton. 4 Male, 2 
Female characters. 
26. Al^vays Intended. A Comedy in 
One Act. By Hq«ce Wigan. 3 
Male, 3 Female chaWcters. 

26. A Bull In a China Shop. A Com- 

edy in Two Acts. By Charles Mat- 
thews. 6 Male, 4 Female characters. 

27. Another Glass. A Drama iu One 

Act. By Thomas Mqrton. 6 Male, 

3 Female characters. 

28. Bowled Out, A Farce in One Act. 

By H. T.Craven. 4 Male, 3 Female 

29. Cousin Tom. A Commedietta in 

One Act. By George Roberts. 3 
Male, 2 Female diaracters. 

30. Sarali's lioung Man. A Farce in 

One Act. By W. E, Suter. 3 Male, 
3 Female characters. 

31. Hit Him, He has IVo Friends. 

A Farce in One Act. By E. Yates 
and N. H. Harrington. 7 Male, 3 
Female characters. 

3?- The Christening. A Farce in One 
ict. By J. B. Buckstone. 5 Male, 
b Female characters. 

3o. A Bace lor a Widow. A Farce 
in One Act. By Thomas J. Wil- 
liams. 5 JIale, 4 Female character.^. 
Tour liife's In Banger. A Farce 
in One Act. By J. M. Morton. 3 
Male, 3 Female characters. 
True unto Beath. A Drama in 
Two Acts. By J. Sheridan Knowlcs. 
C Male, 2 Female rharacters. j; 











Gad's Hill, Hicham by Rochester, Kbnt 
Tenth October, 1867. 

The edition bearing the imprint of Messrs. Ticknor and Fields ii 
the only ccrrect and authorized edition of my Readings. 


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867, by 


in the Clerk's Office of the District Coiut of the District of Massachusetts. 

UmvKKsiTY Press: Welch, Bigelow, & Ca, 




marlet's ghost. 

MARLEY was dead, to begin with. There is 
no doubt whatever about that. The regis- 
ter 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. 

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 adminis- 
trator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, 
his sole friend, his sole mourner. 

Scrooge never painted out old Marley's name, 
however. There it yet stood, years afterwards, 
above the warehouse door, — Scrooge and Marley. 
The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. 
Sometimes people new to the business called 


Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley. He 
answered to both names. It was all the same to 

Oh ! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the 
grindstone, was Scrooge ! a squeezing, wrenching, 
grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sin- 
ner ! External heat and cold had little influence on 
him. No warmth could warm, no cold could chill 
him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, 
no falling snow was more intent upon its pur- 
pose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul 
weather did n't know where to have him. The 
heaviest rain and snow and hail and sleet could 
boast of the advantage over him in only one re- 
spect, — they often " came down " handsomely, 
and Scrooge never did. 

Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, 
with gladsome looks, " My dear Scrooge, how 
are you ? When will you come to see me ? " 
No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no 
children asked him what it was o'clock, no man or 
woman ever once in all his life inquired the way 
to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the 
blindmen's dogs appeared to know him ; and when 
they saw him coming on, would tug their owners 
into doorways and up courts ; and then would 
wag their tails as though they said, " No eye at all 
is better than an evil eye, dark master ! " 

But what did Scrooge care ! It was the very 
thing he liked. To edge his way along the 


crowded paths of life, warning all human sym- 
pathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing 
ones call " nuts " to Scrooge. 

Once upon a time — of all the good days in the 
year, upon a Christmas eve — old Scrooge sat 
busy in his counting-house. It was cold, bleak, 
biting, foggy weather ; and the city clocks had 
only just gone three, but it was quite dark al- 

The door of Scrooge's counting-house was open, 
that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who, 
in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was 
copying letters. Scrooge had a very small fire, but 
the clerk's fire was so very much smaller that it 
looked like one coal. But he could n't replenish 
it, for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room ; 
and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel 
the master predicted that it would be necessary 
for them to part. Wherefore the clerk put on 
his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at 
the candle ; in which effort, not being a man of a 
strong imagination, he failed. 

" A merry Christmas, uncle ! God save you ! " 
cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of 
Scrooge's nephew, who came upon him so quickly 
that this was the first intimation Scrooge had of 
his approach. 

" Bah ! " said Scrooge ; " humbug ! " 

" Christmas a humbug, uncle ! You don't mean 
that, I am sure ? " 


" I do. Out upon merry Christmas I What 's 
Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills 
without monej' ; a time for finding yourself a year 
older, and not an hour richer ; a time for balancing 
your books and having every item in 'em through 
a round dozen of months presented dead against 
you ? If I had my will, 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 ^rough his heart. He should ! " 

" Uncle ! " 

" Nephew, keep Christmas in your own way, 
and let me keep it in mine." 

"Keep it! But you don't keep it." 

"Let me leave it alone, then. Much good may 
it do you ! Much good it has ever done you ! " 

" There are many things from which I might 
have derived good, by which I have not profited, 
I dare say, Christmas among the rest. But I am 
sure I have always thought of Christmas time, 
■when it has come round, — apart from the venera- 
tion due to its sacred origin, if anything belonging 
to it can be apart from that, — as a good time ; a 
kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time ; the 
only time I kno'w' of, in the long calendar of the 
year, when men and women seem by one consent 
to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think 
of people below them as if they really were fellow- 
travellers to the grave, and not another race of 
creatures bound on other journeys. And there- 


fore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold 
or silver in my pocket, I believe that it /low done 
me good, and will do me good ; and I say, God 
bless it!" 

The clerk in the tank involuntarily applauded. 

"Let me hear another sound from you," said 
Scrooge, " and you '11 keep your Christmas by 
losing your situation ! You 're quite a powerful 
speaker, sir," he added, turning to his nephew. 
" I wonder you don't go into Parliament." 

" Don't be angry, uncle. Come ! Dine with us 

Scrooge said that he would see him — yes, in- 
deed he did. He went the whole length of the 
expression, and said that he would see him in 
that extremity first. 

" But why ? " cried Scrooge's nephew. " Why ? " 

" Why did you get married ? " 

" Because I fell in love." 

" Because you fell in love ! " growled Scrooge, 
as if that were the only one thing in the world 
mqre ridiculous than a merry Christmas. " Good 
afternoon ! " 

" Nay, uncle, but you never came to see me be- 
fore that happened. Why give it as a reason for 
not coming now ? " 

" Good afternoon " 

" I want nothing from you ; I ask nothing of 
you ; why cannot we be friends ? " 

" Good afternoon," 


" I am Borry, with all my heart, to find you so 
resolute. We have never had any quarrel, to 
which I have been a party. But I have made the 
trial in homage to Christmas, and I '11 keep my 
Christmas humor to the last. So A Merry Christ- 
mas, uncle!" 

" Good afternoon ! " 

" And A Happy New- Year ! " 

" Good afternoon ! " 

nis nephew left the room without an an- 
gry word, notwithstanding. The clerk, in letting 
Scrooge's nephew out, had let two other people in. 
They were portly gentlemen, pleasant to behold, 
and now stood, with their hats off, in Scrooge's 
oflSce. They had books and papers in their hands, 
and bowed to him. 

" Scrooge and Marley's, I believe," said one 
of the gentlemen, referring to his list. " Have I 
the pleasure of addressing Mr. Scrooge, or Mr. 

" Mr. Marley has been dead these seven years. 
He died seven years ago, this very night." 

" At this festive season of theyear, Mr. Scrooge," 
said the gentleman, taking up a pen, " it is more 
than usually desirable that we should make some 
slight provision for the poor and destitute, who 
suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands 
are in want of common necessaries ; hundreds of 
thousands are in want of common comforts, sir." 

" Arc there no prisons ? " 


" Plenty of prisons. But under the impression 
that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind 
or body to the unoffending multitude, a few of us 
are endeavoring to raise a fund to buy the poor 
some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We 
choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, 
when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices 
What shall I put you down for ? " 

" Nothing ! " 

" You wish to be anonymous ? " 

'* I wish to be left alone. Since you ask me 
what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't 
make merry myself at Christmas, and I can't afford 
to make idle people merry. I help to support the 
prisons and the workhouses, — they cost enough, 
— and those who are badly off must go there." 

" Many can't go there ; and many would rather 

"If they would rather die, they had better do it. 
and decrease the surplus population." 

At length the hour of shutting. up the counting 
house arrived. With an ill-will Scrooge, dismount- 
ing from his stool, tacitly admitted the fact to the 
expectant clerk in the Tank, who instantly snuffed 
his candle out, and put on his hat. 

" You '11 want all day to-morrow, I suppose ? " 

" If quite convenient, sir." 

" It 's not convenient, and it 's not fair. If 1 
was to stop half a crown for it, you 'd think yourself 
mightily ill-used, I '11 be bound ? " 


" Yes, sir." 

" And yet you don't think me ill-used, when I 
pay a day's wages for no work." 

" It's only once a year, sir." 

" A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket 
every twenty-fifth of December ! But I suppose 
you must have the whole day. Be here all the 
earlier next morning." 

The clerk promised that he would ; and Scrooge 
walked out with a growl. The office was closed in 
a twinkling, and the clerk, with the long ends of 
his white comforter dangling below his waist (for 
he boasted no great-coat), went down a slide, at 
the end of a lane of boys, twenty times, in honor 
of its being Christmas eve, and then ran home as 
hard as he could pelt, to play at blindman's-buff. 

Scrooge took his melancholy dinner in his usual 
melancholy tavern ; and having read all the news- 
papers, and beguiled the rest of the evening with 
his banker's book, went home to bed. He lived in 
chambers which had once belonged to his deceased 
partner. They were a gloomy suite of rooms, in a 
lowering pile of building up a yard. The building 
was old enough now, and dreary enough ; for no- 
body lived in it but Scrooge, the other rooms being 
all let out as offices. 

Now it is a fact, that there was nothing at all 
particular about the knocker on the door of this 
house, except that it was very large ; also, that 
Scrooge had seen it, night and morning, during his 


•whole residonce in that place ; also, that Scrooge 
had as little of what is called fancy about him as 
any man in the city of London. And yet Scrooge, 
having his key in the lock of the door, saw in the 
knocker, without its undergoing any intermedi- 
ate process of change, not a knocker, but Marley's 

Marley's face, with a dismal light about it, like 
a bad lobster in a dark cellar. It was not angry or 
ferocious, but it looked at Scrooge as Marley used 
to look, — with ghostly spectacles turned up upon 
its ghostly forehead. 

As Scrooge looked fixedly at this phenomenon, 
it was a knocker again. He said, " Pooh, pooh I " 
and closed the door 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. 

Up Scrooge went, not caring a button for its 
being very dark. Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge 
liked it. But before he ahut his heavy door, he 
walked through his rooms to see that all was right. 
He had just enough recollection of the face to de- 
sire to do that. 

Sitting-room, bedroom, lumber-room, all as they 


should be. Nobody under the table, nobody un- 
der 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 ; no- 
body in his dressing-gown, which was hanging up 
in a suspicious attitude against the wall. Lum- 
ber-room as usual. Old fire-guard, old shoes, two 
fish-baskets, washing-stand on three legs, and a 

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 ofi" his cravat, put on his dressing-gown and 
slippers and his nightcap, and sat down before the 
very low fire to take his gruel. 

As he threw his head back in the chair, his 
glance happened to rest upon a bell, a disused bell, 
that hung in the room, and communicated, for some 
purpose now forgotten, with a chamber in the 
highest story of the building. It* was with great 
astonishment, and with a strange, inexplicable 
dread, that, as he looked, he saw this bell begin to 
swing. Soon it rang out loudly, and so did every 
bell in the house. 

This was succeeded by a clanking noise, deep 
down below, as if some person were dragging a 
heavy chain over the casks in the wine-merchant's 

Then he heard the noise much louder, on the 


floors below ; then coming up the stairs ; then 
coming straight towards his door. 

It came on through the heavy door, and a spectre 
passed into the room before his eyes. And upon 
its coming in, the dying flame leaped up, as though 
it ci'ied, " I know him! Marley's ghost ! " 

The same face, the very same. Marley in his 
pigtail, ufenal waistcoat, tights, and boots. His 
body was transparent ; so that Scrooge, observing 
him, and looking through his waistcoat, could see 
the two buttons on his coat behind, 

Scrooge had often heard it said that Marley had 
no bowels, but he had never believed it until now. 

No, nor did he believe it even now. Though he 
looked the phantom through and through, and saw 
it standing before him,^ though he felt the chilling 
influence of its death-cold eyes, and noticed tlie 
very texture of the folded kerchief bound about its 
head and chin, — he was still incredulous. 

" How now ! " said Scrooge, caustic and cold aa 
ever. " What do you want with me ? " 

" Much ! " — Marley's voice, no doubt about it 

" Who are you ? " 

" Ask me who I was.'^ 

" Who were you then ? " 

" In life I was your partner, Jacob Marley." 

" Can you — can you sit down ? " 

"I can." 

" Do it, then." 

Scrooge asked the question, because he didn't 


know whether a ghost so transparent might find 
himself in a condition to take a chair ; and felt that, 
in the event of its being impossible, it might in- 
volve the necessity of an embarrassing explanation. 
But the ghost sat down on the opposite side of the 
fireplace, as if he were quite used to it. 

" You don't believe in me." 

"I don't." 

" What evidence would you have of my reality 
beyond that of your senses ? " 

'.' I don't know." 

" Why do you doubt your senses ? " 

" Because a little thing affects them. A slight 
disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. You 
may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mus- 
tard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an under- 
done potato. There 's more of gravy than of grave 
about you, whatever you are ! " 

Scrooge was not much in the habit of cracking 
jokes, nor did he feel in his heart by any means wag- 
gish then. The truth is, that he tried to be smart, as 
a means of distracting his own attention, and keep- 
ing down his horror. 

But how much greater was his horror when, the 
phantom taking off the bandage round its head, as 
if it were too warm to wear in-doors, its lower jaw 
dropped down upon its breast ! 

" Mercy ! Dreadful apparition, why do you 
trouble me ? Whj do spirits walk the earth, and 
why do they come to me ? " 


" It is required of every man, that the spirit 
within him should walk abroad among his fellow- 
men, and travel far and wide ; and if that spirit 
goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after 
death. I cannot tell you all I would. A very little 
more is permitted to me. I cannot rest, I cannot 
B^ay, I cannot linger anywhere. My spirit never 
walked beyond our counting-house — mark me ! — 
in life my spirit never roved beyond the narrow 
limits of our money-changing hole ; and weary jour- 
neys lie before me ! " 

" Seven years dead. And travelling all the 
time ? You travel fast ? " 

" On the wings of the wind." 

" You might have got over a great quantity of 
ground in seven years." 

" blind man, blind man! not to know that ages 
of incessant labor by immortal creatures for this 
earth must pass into eternity before the good of 
which it is susceptible is all developed. Not to 
know that any Christian spirit working kindly in 
its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its 
mortal life too short for its vast means of useful- 
ness. Not to know that no space of regret can 
make amends for one life's opportunities misused ! 
Yet I was like this man ; I once was like this 
man! " 

" But you were always a good man of business, 
Jacob," faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply 
this to himself. 


"Business!" cried the Ghost, wringing its 
hands again. " Mankind was my business. The 
common welfare was my business ; charity, mercy, 
forbearance, benevolence, were all my business. 
The dealings of my trade were but a drop of 
water in the comprehensive ocean of my busi- 
ness !" • ^ 

Scrooge was very much dismayed to hear the 
spectre going on at this rate, and began to quake 

" Hear me ! My time is nearly gone." 

" I will. But don't be hard upon me ! Don't 
be flowery, Jacob ! . Pray ! " 

" I am here to-night to warn you that you have 
yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate. A 
chance and hope of my procuring, Ebenezer." 

" You were always a good friend to me. 
Thank'ee ! " 

" You will be haunted by Three Spirits." 

" Is that the chance and hope you mentioned, 
Jacob ? I — I think I 'd rather not." 

" Without their visits, you cannot hope to shun 
the path I tread. Expect the first to-morrow night, 
when the bell tolls One. Expect the second on 
the next night at the same hour. The third, upon 
the next night, when the last stroke of Twelve has 
ceased to vibrate. Look to see me no more ; and 
look that, for your own sake, you remember what 
has passed between us !." 

It walked backward from him ; and at every 


step it took, the window raised itself a little, so 
that, when the apparition reached it, it was wide 

Scrooge closed the window, and examined the 
door by which the Ghost had entered. It was 
double-locked, as he had locked it with his own 
hands, and the bolts were undisturbed. Scrooge 
tried to say, " Humbug ! " but stopped at the first 
syllable. And being, from the emotion he had 
undergone, or the fatigues of the day, or his 
glimpse of the invisible world, or the dull con« 
versation of the Ghost, or the lateness of the hour, 
much in need of repose, he went straight to bed, 
without undressing, and fell asleep on the instant. 





HEN Scrooge awoke, it was so dark, that, 
looking out of bed, he could scarcely dis- 
tinguish the transparent window from the opaque 
walls of his chamber, until suddenly the church 
clock tolled a deep, dull, hollow, melancholy ONE. 
Light flashed up in the room upon the instant, 
and the curtains of his bed were drawn aside by 
a strange figure, — like a child: yet not so like 
a child as like an old man, viewed through some 
supernatural medium, which gave him the ap- 
pearance of having receded from the view, and 
being diminished to a child's proportions. Its 
hair, which hung about its neck and down its 
back, was white as if with age ; and yet the face 
had not a wrinkle in it, and the tenderest bloom 
was on the skin. It held a branch of fresh green 
holly in its hand ; and, in singular contradiction 
of that wintry emblem, had its dress trimmed with 
summer flowers. But the strangest thing about it 
was, that from the crown of its head there sprung 
a bright clear jet of light, by which all this was 
visible ; and which was doiibtless the occasion of 
its using, in its duller moments, a great extin- 
guisher for a cap, which it now held under its arm. 


"Are you the Spirit, sir, whose coming was 
foretold to me ?" 

"I am!" 

" Who and what are you ? " 

"I am the Ghost of Christmas Past." 

" Long past ? " 

" No. Your past. The things that you will 
see with me are shadows of the things that have 
been ; they will have no consciousness of us." 

Scrooge then made bold to inquire what busi- 
ness brought him there. 

" Your welfare. 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 ; that bed was warm, and the 
thermometer a long way below freezing ; that he 
was clad but lightly in his slippers, dressing-gown, 
and nightcap ; and that he had a cold upon him at 
that time. The grasp, though gentle as a wo- 
man's hand, was not to be resisted. He rose ; but 
finding that the Spirit made towards the window, 
clasped its robe in supplication. 

" I am a mortal, and liable to fall." 

" Bear but a touch of my hand there," said the 
Spirit, laying it upon his heart, " and you shall be 
upheld in more than this ! " 

As the words were spoken, they passed through 
the wall^ and stood in the busy thoroughfares of 
a city. It was made plain enough by the dress- 
ing of the shops that here, too, it was Christmas 


The Ghost stopped at a certain warehouse door, 
and asked Scrooge if he knew it. 

" Know it ! Was I apprenticed here ! " 

They went in. At sight of an old gentleman in 
a Welsh wig, sitting behind such a high desk that, 
if he had been two inches taller, he must have 
knocked his head against the ceiling, Scrooge 
cried in great excitement : " Why, it 's old Fez- 
ziwig ! Bless his heart, it 's Fezziwig, alive 
again ! " 

Old Fezziwig laid down his pen, and looked up 
at the clock, which pointed to the hour of seven. 
He rubbed his hands ; adjusted his capacious 
waistcoat ; laughed all over himself, from his shoes 
to his organ of benevolence ; and called out in a 
comfortable, oily, rich, fat, jovial voice : " Yo ho, 
there ! Ebenezer ! Dick ! " 

A living and moving picture of Scrooge's former 
self, a young man, came briskly in, accompanied 
by his fellow-prentice. 

" Dick Wilkins, to be sure ! '' said Scrooge to 
the Ghost. " My old fellow-prentice, bless me, 
yes. There he is. He was very much attached 
to me, was Dick. Poor Dick! Dear, dear ! " 

" Yo ho, my boys! " said Fezziwig. " No more 
work to-night. Christmas eve, Dick. Christmas, 
Ebenezer ! Let 'b have the shutters up, before a 
man can say Jack Kobinson ! Clear away, my 
lads, and let 's have lots of room here ! " 

Clear away ! There was nothing they would n't 


have cleared away, or could n't have cleared 
awa}', with old Fezziwig looking on. It was 
done in a minute. Every movable was packed off, 
as if it were dismissed from public life forever- 
more ; the floor was swept and watered, the 
lamps were trimmed, fuel was heaped upon the 
fire ; and the warehouse was as snug and warm 
and dry and bright a ball-room as you would desire 
to see upon a winter's night. 

In came a fiddler with a music-book, and went 
up to the lofty desk, and made an orchestra of it, 
and tuned like fifty stomach-aches. In came Mrs. 
Fezziwig, one vast substantial smile. In came the 
three Miss Fezziwigs, beaming and lovable. In 
came the six young followers whose hearts they 
broke. In came all the young men and women em- 
ployed 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 they 
all came one after another : some shyly, some 
boldly, some gracefully, some awkwardly, some 
pushing, some pulling ; in they all came, anyhow 
and everyhow. Away they all went, twenty couple 
at once ; hands half round and back again the other 
way ; down the middle and up again ; round and 
round in various stages of affectionate grouping ; 
old top couple always turning up in the wrong 
place ; new top couple starting off" again, as soon 
as they got there ; all top couples at last, and not 
a bottom one to help them. When this result was 


brought about, old Fezziwig, clapping his hands 
to stop the dance, cried out, " Well done!" and 
the fiddler plunged his hot face into a pot of por- 
ter especially provided for that purpose. 

There were more dances, and there were forfeits, 
and more dances, and there was cake, and there 
was negus, and there was a great piece of Cold 
Roast, and there was a great piece of Cold Boiled, 
and there were mince-pies, and plenty of beer. 
But the great effect of the evening came after the 
Roast and Boiled, when the fiddler struck up " Sir 
Roger de Coverley." Then old P'ezziwig stood out 
to dance with Mrs. Fezziwig. Top couple, too ; 
with a good stiff piece of work cut out for them ; 
three or four and twenty pair of partners ; people 
who were not to be trifled with ; people who would 
dance, and had no notion of walking. 

But if they had been twice as many, — four times, 

— old Fezziwig would have been a match for them 
and so would Mrs. Fezziwig. As to her, she was 
worthy to be his partner in every sense of the term 
A positive light appeared to issue from Fezziwig'a 
calves. Thej shone in every part of the dance 
You could n't have predicted, at any given time, 
what would become of 'em next. And when old 
Fezziwig and Mrs. Fezziwig had gone all through 
the dance, — advance and retire, turn your partner, 
bow and courtesy, corkscrew, thread the needle, 
and back again to your place, — Fezziwig " cut," 

— cut so deftly, that he appeared to wink with 
his legs. 


When the clock struck eleven this domestic ball 
broke up. Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig- took their sta- 
tions, one on either side the door, and, shaking 
hands with every person individually as he or she 
went out, wished him or her a Merry Christmas. 
When everybody had retired but the two 'prentices, 
they did the same to them ; and thus the cheerful 
voices died away, and the lads were left -to their 
beds, which were under a counter in the back shop. 

" A small matter," said the Ghost, " to make 
these silly folks so full of gratitude. lie has 
spent but a few pounds of your mortal money, — 
three or four perhaps. Is that so much that he 
deserves this praise ? " 

"It isn't that," said Scrooge, heated by the 
remark, and speaking unconsciously like his former, 
not his latter self, — " it is n't that, Spirit. He has 
the power to render us happy or unhappy ; to make 
our service light or burdensome ; a pleasure or a 
toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks ; 
in things so slight and insignificant that it is im- 
possible to add and count 'em up : what then ? The 
happiness he gives is quite as great as if it cost a 

He felt the Spirit's glance, and stopped. 

" What is the matter ? " 

" Nothing particular." 

" Something, I think ? " 

" No, no. I should like to be able to say a word 
or two to my clerk just now. That 's all." 


" My time grows short," observed the Spirit. 

This was not addressed to Scrooge, or to any 
one whom he could Bce, but it produced an imme- 
diate effect. For again he saw himself. lie was 
older now ; a man in the. prime of life. 

He was not alone, but sat by the side of a fair 
young girl in a black dress, in whose eyes there 
were tears. 

" It matters little," she said softly to Scrooge's 
ibrmer self. "To you, very little. Another idol 
lslJ displaced me ; and if it can comfort you in time 
to come, as I would have tried to do, I have no 
just cause to grieve." 

" WL'it Idol has displaced you ? " 

" A golden one. You fear the world too much. 
I have seen your nobler iinpiratiuns fall off one by 
one, until \he viaster-paseion. Gain, engrosses you. 
Have I not ? " 

" What then ? Even if I have grown so much 
wiser, what then ? I am not changed towards 
you. Have I ever sought release from our en- 
gagement ? " 

" In words, no. Never." 

" In what, then ? " 

" In a changed nature ; in an altered spirit; in 
another atmosphere of life ; another Hope as its 
great end. If you were free to-day, to-morrow, 
yesterday, can even I believe that you would choose 
a dowerless girl ; or, choosing her, 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." 

"Spirit! remove me from this place." 

" 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 ! " 

"Remove me!" Scrooge exclaimed. "I can- 
not bear it ! Leave me ! Take, me back. Haunt 
me no longer ! " 

As he struggled with the Spirit he was conscious 
of being exhausted, and overcome by an irresistible 
drowsiness ; and, further, of being in his own bed- 
room. He had barely time to reel to bed before he 
sank into a hea'vy sleep. 




^CROOGE awoke in his own bedroom. There 
k^ was no doubt about that. But it and his own 
adjoining sitting-rgom, into which he shuffled in hia 
slippers, attracted by a great light there, had under- 
gone a surprising transformation. The walls and 
ceiling were so hung with living green, that it 
looked a perfect grove. The leaves of holly, 
mistletoe, and iv}'' reflected back the light, as if so 
many little mirrors had been scattered there ; and 
such a mighty blaze went roaring up the chimney 
as that petrifaction of a hearth had never known in 
Scrooge's time, or Marley's, or for many and many 
a winter season gone. Heaped upon the floor, to 
form a kind of throne, were turkeys, geese, game, 
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 great bowls of punch. 
In easy state upon this couch there sat a Giant 
glorious to see ; who bore a glowing torch, in 
shape not unlike Plenty's horn, and who raised 
it high to shed its light on Scrooge, as he camo 
peeping round the door. 


*' Come in, — come in ! and know me better, man! 
I am the Ghost of Christmas Present. Look upon 
me ! You have never seen the like of me before ! " 

" Never." 

" Have never vralked forth with the younger 
members of my family ; meaning (for I am very 
young) my elder brothers born in these latei 
years ? " pursued the Phantom. 

" I don't think I have, I am afraid I have not 
Have you had many brothers, Spirit ? " 

" More than eighteen hundred." 

" A tremendous family to provide for! Spirit, 
conduct me where you will. I went forth last 
night on compulsion, and I learnt a lesson which 
is working now. To-night, if you have aught to 
teach me, let me pi-ofit by it." 

" Touch my robe ! " 

Scrooge did as he was told, and held it fast. 

The room and its contents all vanished instantly, 
and they stood in the city streets upon a snowy 
Christmas morning. 

Scrooge and the Ghost passed on, invisible, 
straight to Scrooge's clerk's ; and on the thresh- 
old of the doow the Spirit smiled, and stopped to 
bless Bob Cratchit's dwelling with the sprinklings 
of- his torch. Think of that! Bob had but fifteen 
" Bob" a week himself; he pocketed on Saturdays 
but fifteen copies of his Christian name ; and yet 
the Ghost of Christmas Present blessed his four- 
roomed house ! 


Then up rose Mrs. Cratchit, Cratchit's wife, 
dressed out but poorly in a twice-turned gown, but 
brave in ribbons, which are cheap and make a 
goodly show for sixpence ; and she laid the cloth, 
assisted by Belinda Cratchit, second of her daugh- 
ters, also brave in ribbons ; while Master Peter 
Cratchit plunged a fork into the saucepan of pota- 
toes, and, getting the corners of his monstrous 
shirt-collar (Bob's private property, conferred upon 
his son and heir in honor of the day) into his mouth, 
rejoiced to find himself so gallantly attired, and 
yearned to show his linen in the fashionable Parks. 
And now two smaller Cratchits, boy and girl 
came tearing in, screaming that outside the ba- 
ker's they had smelt the goose, and known it 
for their own ; and, basking in luxurious thoughts 
of sage and onion, these young Cratchits danced 
about the table, and exalted Master Peter Cratchit 
to the skies, while he (not proud, although his 
collars nearly choked him) blew the fire, until the 
slow potatoes, bubbling up, knocked loudly at the 
saucepan-lid to be let out and peeled. 

" What has ever got your precious father 
then ? " said Mrs. Cratchit. " And your brother 
Tiny Tim I And Martha warn't as late last 
Christmas day by half an hour ! " 

" Here 's Martha, mother I " said a girl, appear- 
ing as she spoke. 

" Here's Martha, mother ! " cried the two yomig 
Cratchits. " Hurrah ! There 's such a goose, Mcu" 


" Why, bless your heart alive, my dear, how 
late you are ! " said Mrs. Cratchit, kissing her a 
dozen times, and taking off her shawl and bonnet 
for her. 

" We 'd a deal of work to finish up last night," 
replied the girl, " and had to clear away this 
morning, mother 1 " 

. " Well ! Never mind so long as you are come," 
said Mrs. Cratchit. "Sit ye down before the 
fire, my dear, and have a warm. Lord bless ye ! " 

"No, no 1 There's father coming," cried the 
two young Cratchits, who were everywhere at 
once. " Hide, Martha, hide ! " 

So Martha hid herself, and in came little Bob, 
the father, with at least three feet of comforter, ex- 
clusive of the fringe, hanging down before him ; 
and his threadbare clothes darned up and brushed, 
to look seasonable ; and Tiny Tim upon his shoul- 
der. Alas for Tiny Tim, he bore a little crutch, 
and had his limbs supported by an iron frame ! 

" Why, where 's our Martha ? " cried Bob Cratch- 
it, looking round. 

" Not coming," said Mrs. Cratchit. 

" Not coming ! " said Bob, with a sudden de- 
clension 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 did n't like to see him disappointed, ii 
it were only in joke ; so she came out prematurely 


from behind the closet door, and ran into hia 
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. 

" And how did little Tim behave ? " asked Mrs. 
Cratchit, when she had rallied Bob on his cre- 
dulity, and Bob had hugged his daughter to his 
heart's content. 

" As good as gold," said Bob, " and better. 
Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself 
so much, and thinks the strangest things you 
ever heard. lie told me, coming home, that he 
hoped the people saw him in the church, because 
he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them 
to remember, upon Christmas day, who made lame 
beggars walk and blind men see." 

Bob's voice was tremulous when he told them 
this, and trembled more when he said that Tiny 
Tim was growing strong and hearty. 

His active little crutch was heard upon the floor, 
and back came Tiny Tim before another word was 
spoken, escorted by his brother and sister to his 
stool beside the fire ; and while Bob, turning up 
his cuffs, — as if, poor fellow, they were capable 
of being made more shabby, — compounded some 
hot mixture in a jug with gin and lemons, and 
stirred it round and round and put it on the hob 
to simmer, Master Peter and the two ubiquitous 
young Cratchits went to fetch the goose, with 
which they soon returned in high procession. 


Mrs. Cratchit made the gravy (ready before- 
hand in a little saucepan) hissing hot ; Master 
Peter mashed the potatoes with incredible vigor ; 
Miss Belinda sweetened up the apple-sauce ; Mar- 
tha dusted the hot plates ; Bob took Tiny Tim 
beside him in a tiny corner at the table ; the two 
young Cratchits set chairs for everybody, not 
forgetting themselves, and mounting guard upon 
their posts, crammed spoons into their moutlis, 
lest they should shriek for goose before their turn 
came to be helped. At last the dishes were set 
on, and grace was said. It was succeeded by a 
breathless pause, as Mrs. Cratchit, looking slowly 
all along the carving-knife, prepared to plunge 
it in the breast ; but when she did, and when 
the long-expected gush of stuflSng issued forth, 
one murmur of delight arose all round the board, 
and even Tiny Tim, excited by the two young 
Cratchits, beat on the table with the handle of his 
knife, and feebly cried, Hurrah ! 

There never was such a goose. Bob said he 
didn't believe there ever was such a goose cooked. 
Its tenderness and flavor, size and cheapness, were 
the themes of universal admiration. Eked out by 
apple-sauce and mashed potatoes, it was a suffi- 
cient dinner for tlie whole family ; indeed, as 
Mrs. Cratchit said with groat delight (surveying 
one small atom of a bone upon the dish), they 
had n't ate it all at last ! Yet every one had had 
enough, and the youngest Cratchits in particular 


were steeped in sage and onion to the eyebrows I 
But now, the plates being changed by Miss Be- 
linda, Mrs. Cratchit left the room alone, — too ner- 
vous to bear witnesses, — to take the pudding up, 
and bring it in. 

Suppose it should not be done enough ! Sup- 
pose it should break in turning out ! Suppose 
somebody should have got over the wall of the 
back yard, and stolen it, while they were merry 
with the goose, — a supposition at which the two 
young Cratchits became livid ! All sorts of hor- 
rors were supposed. 

Hallo ! A great deal of steam ! The pudding 
was out of the copper. A smell like a washing- 
day ! That was the cloth. A smell like an eating- 
house and a pastry-cook's next door to each other, 
with a laundress's next door to that ! That was 
the pudding ! In half a minute Mrs. Cratchit en- 
tered, — flushed but smiling proudly, — with the 
pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and 
firm, blazing in half of half a quartern of ignited 
brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck 
into the top. 

0, a wonderful pudding ! Bob Cratchit said, 
and calmly too, that he regarded it as the greatest 
success achieved by Mrs. Cratchit since their 
H^Arriage. Mrs. Cratchit said that now the weight 
was off her mind, she would confess she had had 
her doubts about the quantity of flour. Everybody 
had something to say about it, but nobody said oi 


thought it was at all a small pudding for a largo 
family. Any Cratchit would have blushed to hint 
at such a thing. 

At last the dinner was all done, the cloth was 
cleared, the hearth swept, and the fire made up. 
The compound in the jug being tasted, and con- 
sidered perfect, apples and oranges were put upon 
the table, and a shovelful of chestnuts on the fire. 

Then all the Cratchit family drew round the 
bearth, in what Bob Cratchit called a circle, 
and at Bob Cratchit's elbow stood the family dis- 
play of glass, — two tumblers, and a custard-cup 
without a handle. 

These held the hot stuff from the jug, however. 
as well as golden goblets would have doi»e ; and 
Bob served it out with beaming looks, while the 
chestnuts on the fire spattered and crackled noisily. 
Then Bob proposed : — 

" A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God 
bless us ! " 

Which all the family re-echoed. 

" God bless us every one ! " said Tiny Tim, the 
last of all. 

He sat very close to his father's side, upon his 
little stool. Bob held his withered little hand in 
his, as if he loved the child, and wished to keep 
him by his side, and dreaded that he might be 
taken from him. 

Scrooge raised his head speedily, on hearing his 
own name. 



"Mr. Scrooge 1 " 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 hini hei*e. 
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! Christ- 
mas 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, " Christ-- 
mas day." 

" I '11 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 '11 be very merry and very happy, 
I have no doubt ! " 

The children drank the toast after her. It was 
the first of their proceedings which had no hearti- 
ness in it. Tiny Tim drank it last of all, but he 
did n't care twopence for it. Scrooge was the 
Ogre of the family. The mention of his name cast 
a dark shadow on the party, which was not dis- 
pelled for full five minutes. 

After it had passed away, they were ten times 
merrier than before, from the mere relief of Scrooge 
the Baleful being done with. Bob Cratchit told 


them how he had a situation in his eye for Mas- 
ter Peter, which would bring in, if obtained, 
full five and sixpence weekly. The two young' 
Cratchits laughed tremendously at the idea of 
Peter's being a man of business ; and Peter him- 
self looked thoughtfully at the fire from be- 
tween his collars, as if he were deliberating what 
particular investments he should favor when he 
came into the receipt of that bewildei'ing income. 
Martha, who was a poor apprentice at a milli- 
ner's, then told them what kind of work she had 
to do, and how many hours she worked at a 
stretch, and how she meant to lie abed to-morrow 
morning for a good long rest ; to-morrow being 
ft holiday she passed at home. Also how she 
had seen a countess and a lord some days be- 
fore, and how the lord " was much about as 
tall as Peter " ; at which Peter pulled up his col- 
lars so high that you could n't have seen his head 
if you had been there. All this time the chest- 
nuts and the jug went round and round ; and by 
and by they had a song, about a lost child trav- 
elling in the snow, from Tiny Tim, who had a 
plaintive little voice, and sang it very well in- 

There was nothing of high mark in this. They 
were not a handsome family ; they were not well 
dressed ; their shoes were far from being water- 
proof ; their clothes were scanty ; and Peter might 
have known, and very likely did, the inside of apawn- 


broker's. But they were happy, grateful, pleased 
with one another, and contented with the time j 
and when they faded, and looked happier yet in 
the bright sprinklings of the Spirit's torch ak 
parting, Scrooge had his eye upon them, and es- 
pecially on Tiny Tim, until the last. 

It was a great surprise to Scrooge, as this scene 
vanished, to hear a hearty laugh. It was a much 
greater surprise to Scrooge to recognize it as his 
own nephew's, and to find himself in a bright, dry, 
gleaming room, with the Spirit standing smiling 
by his side, and looking at that same nephew. 

It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of 
things, that while there is infection in disease and 
sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly 
contagious as laughter and good-humor. When 
Scrooge's nephew laughed, Scrooge's niece by 
marriage laughed as -heartily as he. And their 
assembled friends, being not a bit behindhand, 
laughed out lustily. 

" He said that Christmas was a humbug, as I 
live I " cred Scrooge's nephew. " He believed it 

" More shame for him, Fred ! " said Scrooge's 
hieoe, indignantly. Bless those women ! they 
never do anything by halves. They are always 
in earnest. 

She was very pretty ; exceedingly pretty. With 
a dimpled, surprised-looking, capital face ; a ripo 
^ittle mouth that seemed made to bo kissed, — as 


no doubt it was ; all kinds of good little dots 
about her chin, that melted into one another 
when she laughed ; and the sunniest pair of eyes 
you ever saw in any little creature's head. Alto- 
gether she was what you would have called pro- 
voking, but satisfactory, too. 0, perfectly satis- 

" He 's a comical old fellow," said Scrooge's 
nephew, " that 's the truth ; and not so pleasant 
as he might be, -However, his offences carry 
their own punishment, and I have nothing to say 
against him. Who suffers by his ill whims ? 
Himsel/, always. Here he takes it into his head 
to dislike us, and he won't come and dine with 
us. What 's the consequence ? He don't lose 
much of a dinner." 

" Indeed, I think he loses a very good dinner," 
interrupted Scrooge's niece. Everybody else said 
the same, and they must be allowed to have been 
competent judges, because they had just had 
dinner ; and, with the dessert upon the table, were 
clustered round the fire, by lamplight. 

" Well, I am very glad to hear it," said 
Scrooge's nephew, "because I have -n't any great 
faith, in these youug housekeepers. What do you 
say, Topper ? " 

Topper clearly had his eye on one of Scrooge's 
niece's sisters, for he answered that a bachelor 
was a wretched outcast, who had no right to 
express an opinion on the subject. Whereat 


Scrooge's niece's sister — the plump one with 
the lace tucker ; not the one with the roses — > 

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 as- 
sure 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. 

But they did n't devote the whole evening to 
music. After a while they played at forfeits ; for 
it is good to be children sometimes, and never 
better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder 
was a child himself. There was first a game at 
blind-man's-buff though. And I no more believe 
Topper was really blinded than I believe he had 
eyes in his boots. Because the way in which he 
went after that plump sister in the lace tucker was 
an outrage on the credulity of human nature. 
Knocking down the fire-irons, tumbling over the 
chairs, bumping up against the piano, smothering 
himself among the curtains, wherever she went 
there went he ! He always knew where the plump 
sister was. lie would n't catch anybody else. If 
you had fallen up against him, as some of them did, 
and stood there, he would have made a feint of en- 
deavoring to seize you, which would have been an 
affront to your understanding, and would instantly 
have sidled oft' in the direction of the plump sister. 


" Here is a new game," said Scrooge. " One 
half-hour, Spirit, only one ! " 

It was a Game called Yes and No, where 
Scrooge's nephew had to think of something, and 
the rest must find out what ; he only answering to 
their questions yes or no, as the case was. The 
fire of questioning to which he was exposed 
elicited from him that he was thinking of an animal, 
a live animal, rather a disagreeable animal, a savage 
animal, an animal that growled and grunted some- 
times, and talked sometimes, and lived in London, 
and walked about the streets, and wasn't made a 
show of, and was n't led by anybody, and did n't 
live in a menagerie, and was never killed in a 
market, and was not a horse, or an ass, or a cow, 
or a bull, or a tiger, or a dog, or a pig, or a cat, or 
a bear. At every new question put to him, this 
nephew burst into a fresh roar of laughter ; and 
was so inexpressibly tickled, that he was obliged 
to get up off" the sofa and stamp. At last the 
plump sister cried out : — 

" I have found it out ! 1 know what it is, Fred ! 
I know what it is ! " * 

" What is it ? " cried Fred. 

" It 's your uncle Scro-o-o-o-oge ! " 

Wiiich it certainly was. Admiration was the 
universal sentiment, though some objected that the 
reply to "Is it a bear?" ought to have been 
" Yes." 

Uncle Scrooge had imperceptibly become so gay 


and light of heart, that he would have drank to 
the unconscious company in an inaudible speech 
But the whole scene passed off in the breatb 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. Suddenly, as they stood together in 
an open place, the bell struck twelve. 

Scrooge looked about him for the Ghost, and 
saw it no more. As the last stroke ceased to 
vibrate, he remembered the prediction of old Jacob 
Marley, and, lifting up his eyes, beheld a Holemn 
Phantom, draped and hooded, coming like a mit,t 
along the ground totvards him. 




THE Phantom slowly, gravely, silently ap- 
proached. When it came near him, Scrooge 
bent down upon his knee ; for in the air through 
which this Spirit moved it seemed to scatter gloom 
and mystery. 

It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which 
concealed its head, its face, its form, and left 
nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. 
He knew no more, for the Spirit neither spoke 
nor moved. 

" I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas 
Yet To Come ? Ghost of the Future ! I fear you 
more than any spectre I have seen. But as I know 
your purpose is to do me good, and as I hope to 
live to be another man from what I was, I am 
prepared to bear you company, and do it with a 
thankful heart. Will you not speak to me ? " 

It gave him no reply. The hand was pointecl 
straight before them. 

"Lead on! Lead on! The night is waning 
fast, and it is precious time to me, I know. Lead 
on. Spirit!" 

They scarcely seemed to enter the city ; for the 
city rather seemed to spring up about them. But 


there they were in the heart of it ; on 'Change, 
amongst the merchants. 

The Spirit stopped beside one little knot of busi- 
ness men. Observing that the hand was pointed 
to them, Scrooge advanced to listen to their talk. 

" No," said a great fat man with a monstrous 
chin, "I don't know piuch ab'out it either way. I 
only know he 's dead." 

" When did he die ?" inquired another. 

" Last night, I believe." 

" Why, what was the matter with him ? I 
thought he 'd never die." 

" God knows," said the first, with a yawn. 

" What has he done with his money ? " asked a 
red-faced gentleman. 

" I have n't heard," said the man with the large 
chin. " Company, perhaps. He has n't left it to 
me. That 's all I know. By, by ! " 

Scrooge was at first inclined to be surprised that 
the Spirit should attach importance to conversa- 
tion apparently so trivial ; but feeling assured 
that it must have some hidden purpose, he set 
himself to consider what it was likely to be. It 
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. 

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 he thought and hoped he saw 
his new-born resolutions carried out in this. 

They left this busy scene, and went into an ob- 
scure part of the town, to a low shop where iron, 
old rags, bottles, bones, and greasy ofial were 
bought. A gray -haired rascal, of great age, sat 
smoking his pipe. 

Scrooge and the Phantom came into the pres- 
ence of this man, just as a woman with a heavy 
bundle slunk into the shop. But she had scarcely 
entered, when another woman, similarly laden, 
came in too ; and she was closely followed by a 
man in faded black. After a short period of blank 
astonishment, in which the old man with the pipe 
had joined them, they all three burst into a laugh. 

" Let the charwoman alone to be the first 1 " 
cried she who had entei'ed first. " Let the laun- 
dress alone to be the second ; and let the under- 
taker's man alone to be the third. Look here, old 
Joe, here 's a chance ! If we have n't all three 
met here without meaning it!" 

" You could n't have met in a better place. You 
were made free of it long ago, you know ; and the 
other two ain't strangers. What have you got to 
sell ? What have you got to sell ? " 

" Half a minute's patience, Joe, and you shall 


" What odds then ! What odds, Mrs. Dilber ? '* 
said the woman. " Every person has a right to 
take care of themselves. He always did ! Who 'a 
the worse for the loss of a few things like these ? 
Not a dead man, I suppose." 

Mrs. Dilber, whose manner was remarkable for 
general propitiation, said, " No, indeed, ma'am." 

" If he wanted to keep 'era after he was dead, a 
wicked old screw, why was n't he natural in his life- 
time ? If he had been, he 'd have had somebody to 
look after him when he was struck with Death, in- 
stead of lying gasping out his last there, alone by 

" It 's the truest word that ever was spoke, it 's 
a judgment on him." 

" I wish it was a little heavier judgment, and it 
should have been, you may depend upon it, if I 
could have laid my hands on anything else. Open 
that bundle, old Joe, and let me know the value of 
it. Speak out plain. I 'm not afraid to be the first, 
nor afraid for them to see it." 

Joe went down on his knees for the greater 
convenience of opening the bundle, and dragged 
out a large and heavy roll of some dark stuff. 

" What do you call this ? Bed-curtains ! " 

" Ah ! Bed-curtains 1 Don't drop that oil upou 
the blankets, now." 

" His blankets ? " 

" Whose else's do you think ? He is n't likely 
to take cold without 'em, I dare say. Ah ! You 


may look through that shirt till your eyes ache ; 
but you won't find a hole in it, nor a threadbare 
place. It 's the best he had, and a fine one too. 
They 'd have wasted it by dressing him up in it, 
if it had n't been for me," 

Scrooge listened to this dialogue in horror 

" Spirit ! 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 ! " 

The scene had changed, and now he almost 
touched a bare, uncurtained bed. A pale light, 
rising in the outer air, fell straight upon this bed ; 
and on it, unwatched, unwept, uncared for, was 
the body of this plunderecf.unknown man. 

" Spirit, let me see some tenderness connected 
with a death, or this dark chamber, Spirit, will ha 
forever present to me." 

The Ghost conducted him to poor Bob Cratchit's 
house, — : the dwelling he had visited before, — and 
found the mother and the children seated round the 

Quiet. Very quiet. The noisy little Cratchits 
were as still as statues in one corner, and sat look- 
ing up at Peter, who had a book before him. The 
mother and her daughters were engaged in needle- 
work. But surely they were very quiet ! 

" ' And he took a child, and set him in the midst 
of them.'" 

Where had Scrooge heard those words ? He had 
not dreamed them. The boy must have read them 


out, as he and the Spirit crossed the threshold. 
Why did he not go on ? 

The mother laid her work upon the table, and 
put her hand up to her face. 

" The color hurts my eyes," she said. 

Tlie color ? Ah, poor Tiny Tim ! 

" They 're better now again. It makes them 
weak by candle-light ; and I would n't show weak 
eyes to your father when he comes home, for the 
world. It must be near his time." 

" Past it rather," Peter answered, shutting up 
his book. " But I think he has walked a little 
slower than he used, these few last evenings, 

" I have known him walk with — I have known 
him walk with Tiny Tim upon his shoulder, very 
fast indeed." 

" And so have I," cried Peter. " Often." 

" And so have I," exclaimed another. S£) had all. 

" But he was very light to carry, and his father 
loved him so, that it was no trouble, — no trouble. 
And there is your father at the door! " 

She buried out to meet him ; and little Bob in 
his comforter — he had need of it, poor fellow — 
came in. His tea was ready for him on the hob, 
and they all tried who should help him to it most. 
Then thft two young Cratcbits got upon his knees 
and laid, ea-ch ehJ^d, a little cbeeJ^ again5«i his face, 
as if they said, " D«.f.'t -^lii^d it, fp-tb^/* Pop't be 
grieved 1 " 


Bob was very cheerful with them, and spoke 
pleasantly to all the family. He looked at the 
work upon the table, »nd praised the industry and 
speed of Mrs. Cratchit and the girls. They would 
be done long before Sunday, he said. 

" Sunday ! You went to-day, then, Robert ? " 

" Yes, my dear," returned Bob. " I wish yoa 
could have gone. It would have done you good to 
see how green a place it is. But you '11 see it 
often. I promised him that I would walk there on 
a Sunday. My little, little child ! My little 
child ! " 

He broke down all at once. He could n't help it. 
If he could have helped It, he and his child would 
have been farther apart, perhaps, than they were. 

" Spectre," said Scrooge, " something informs 
me that our parting moment is at hand. I know 
it, but I know not how. Tell me what man that 
was, with the covered face, whom we saw lying 
dead ? " 

The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come conveyed 
him to a dismal, wretched, ruinous churchyard. 

The Spirit stood among the graves, and pointed 
down to One. 

" Before I draw nearer to that stone to which 
you point, answer me one question. Are these 
the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they 
shadows of the things that May be only? " 

Still the Ghost pointed downward to the gr^vo 
by which it stood. 


" Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to 
which, if persevered in, they must lead. But if 
the courses be departed from^the ends will change. 
Say it is thus with what you show me ! " 

The Spirit was immovable as ever. 

Scrooge crept towards it, trembling as he went ; 
.and, following the finger, read upon the stone of 
the neglected grave his own name, — Ebenezer 

"Am /that man who lay upon the bed? No, 
Spirit ! no, no I Spirit ! hear me ! I am not 
the man I was. I will not be the man I must 
have been but for this intercourse. Why show me 
this, if I am past all hope ? Assure me *hat I 
yet may change these shadows you have shown 
me by an altered life." 

For the first time the kind hand faltered. 

" I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to 
keep it all the year, I will live in the Past, the 
Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all three 
shall strive within me, I will not shut out the les- 
sons that they teach. 0, tell me I may sponge 
away the writing on this stone ! " 

Holding up his hands in one last prayer to have 
his fate reversed, he saw an alteration in the Phan- 
tom's hood and dress. It shrunk, collapsed, and 
dwindled down into a bedpost. 

Yes, . and the bedpost was his own. The bed 
was his own, the room was his own. Best 
and happiest of all, the Time before him was his 
own, to make amends in ! 


He was checked in his transports by the 
churches ringing out the lustiest peals he had ever 

Running to the window, he opened it, and put 
out his head. No fog, no mist, no night ; clear, 
bright, stirring, golden day. 

" What 's to-day ? " cried Scrooge, calling 
downward to a boy in Sunday clothes, who per- 
haps had loitered in to look about him. 

" Eh ? " 

" What 's to-day, my fine fellow ? " 

" To-day ! Why, Christmas day." 

" It 's Christmas day ! I have n't missed it. 
Hallo, my fine fellow ! " 

" Hallo ! " 

** Do you know the Poulterer's, in the next street 
but one, at the corner ? " 

" I should hope I did." 

" An intelligent boy ! 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 ? " 

" What, the one as big as me ? " 

" What a delightful boy ! It's a pleasure to talk 
to him. Yes, my buck ! " 

" It 's hanging there now." 

" Is it ? Go and buy it." 

*' Walk-ER ! " exclaimed the boy. 

" No, no, I am in earnest. Go and buy it, and 
tell 'em to bring it here, that T may give them the 

3 D 


direction where to take it. Come back with the 
man, and I '11 give you a shilling. Come back with 
him in less than five minutes, and I '11 give you 
half a crown ! " 

The boy was ofi"like a shot. 

" I '11 send it to Bob Cratchit's ! He sha'n't 
know who sends it. It's twice the size of Tiny 
Tim. Joe Miller never made sach a joke as 
sending it to Bob's will be!" 

The hand in which he wrote the address was not 
a steady one ; but write it he did, somehow, and 
went down stairs to open the street door, ready 
for the coming of the poulterer's man. 

It was a Turkey ! He never could have stood 
upon his legs, that bird. He would have snapped 
'em short oflf in a minute, like sticks of sealing- 

Scrooge dressed himself " all in his best," and at 
last got out into the streets. The people were by 
this time pouring forth, as he had seen them with 
the Ghost of Christmas Present ; and, walking with 
his hands behind him, Scrooge regarded every 
one with a delighted smile. He looked so irresist- 
ibly pleasant, in a word, that three or four good- 
humored fellows said, "Good morning, sir! A 
merry Christmas to you ! " And Scrooge said 
often afterwards, that, of all the blithe sounds he 
had ever heard, those were the blithest in his ears. 

In the afternoon, he turned his steps towards his 
nephew's house. 


He passed the door a dozen times, before he had 
the courage to go up and knock. But he made a 
dash, and did it. 

" Is your master at home, my dear ? " said 
Scrooge to the girl. Nice girl ! Very. 

"Yes, sir." 

" Where is he, my love ? " 

" He 's in the dining-room, sir, along with mis 

"He knows me," said Scrooge, with his hand 
already on the dining-room lock. " I '11 go in 
here, my dear." 


" Why, bless my soul ! " cried Fred, " who 's 
that ? " 

" It 's I. Your uncle Scrooge. I have come to 
dinner. Will you let me in, Fred ? " 

Let him in ! It is a mercj' he did n't shake his 
arm off. He was at home in five minutes. Noth- 
ing could be heartier. His niece looked just the 
same. So did Topper when he came. So did the 
plump sister, when she came. So did every one 
when th£y came. Wonderful party, wonderful 
games, wonderful unanimity, won-der-ful happi- 

But he was early at the oflBce next morning. 
0, he was early there. If he could only be there 
first, and catch Bob Cratchit coming late ! That 
was the thing he had set his heart upon. 

And he did it. The clock struck nine. No Bob 


A quarter past. No Bob. Bob was full eighteen 
minutes and a half behind his time. Scrooge sat 
with his door wide open, that he might see him 
come into the Tank. 

Bob's hat was off, before he opened the door ; 
bis comforter too. He was on his stool in a jiffy ; 
driving away with his pen, as if he were trying to 
overtake nine o'clock. 

" Hallo ! " growled Scrooge, in his accustomed 
voice, as near as he could feign it. " What do you 
mean by coming here at this time of day ? " 

"I am very sorry, sir. I am behind my time." 

''You are? Yes. I think you are. Step this 
way, if you please." 

" It 's only once a year, sir. It shall not be re- 
peated. I was making rather merry yesterday, 

" Now, I '11 tell you what, my friend. I am 
not going to stand this sort of thing any longer. 
And therefore," Scrooge continued, leaping from 
his stool, and giving Bob such a dig in the waist- 
coat that he staggered back into the Tank again, — 
" and therefore I am about to raise your salary ! " 

Bob trembled, and got a little nearer to the 

" A merry Christmas, Bob! " said Scrooge, with 
an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he 
clapped him on the back. " A merrier Christmas, 
Bob, my good follow, than I have given you for 
many a year ! I '11 raise your salary, and en- 


deavor to assist your struggling family, aud we 
will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over 
a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop. Bob ! Make 
up the fires, and buy a second coal-scuttle before 
you dot another i. Bob Cratchit ! " 

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. He became as 
good a friend, as good a master, and as good a 
man as the good old city knew, or any other good 
old city, town, or borough in the good old world. 
Some people laughed to see the alteration in him ; 
but his own heart laughed, and that was quite 
enough for him. 

He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but 
lived in that respect upon the Total-Abstinence 
Principle ever afterwards ; aud it was always said 
of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, 
if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May 
that be truly said of us, and all of us ! And so, aa 
Tiny Tim observed, God Bless TJs, Every One 1 

V • - 


;0^Q(TOigOG<2(>:^(?CU?QCrQCK3b(?O(?Q j^ 000 61 1 Pfift 


Diamond cat'I>lainond. An In- 
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itiongeieneur. A Drama in Three 
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.3 Female characters. 

A very pleasant Evenlne. A 
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Brother Ben. A Farce in One 
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Only a Clod. A Comic Drama in 
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