5: The End of It
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!
will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future.' Scrooge repeated,
as he scrambled out of bed. `The Spirits of all Three shall strive
within me. Oh Jacob Marley. Heaven, and the Christmas Time be praised
for this. I say it on my knees, old Jacob, on my knees.'
was so fluttered and so glowing with his good intentions, that his
broken voice would scarcely answer to his call. He had been sobbing
violently in his conflict with the Spirit, and his face was wet
are not torn down.' cried Scrooge, folding one of his bed-curtains
in his arms,' they are not torn down, rings and all. They are here
-- I am here -- the shadows of the things that would have been,
may be dispelled. They will be. I know they will.'
hands were busy with his garments all this time; turning them inside
out, putting them on upside down, tearing them, mislaying them,
making them parties to every kind of extravagance.
don't know what to do.' cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the
same breath; and making a perfect Laocoon of himself with his stockings.
`I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as
merry as a schoolboy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas
to everybody. A happy New Year to all the world. Hallo here. Whoop.
had frisked into the sitting-room, and was now standing there: perfectly
the saucepan that the gruel was in.' cried Scrooge, starting off
again, and going round the fireplace. `There's the door, by which
the Ghost of Jacob Marley entered. There's the corner where the
Ghost of Christmas Present, sat. There's the window where I saw
the wandering Spirits. It's all right, it's all true, it all happened.
Ha ha ha.'
for a man who had been out of practice for so many years, it was
a splendid laugh, a most illustrious laugh. The father of a long,
long line of brilliant laughs.
don't know what day of the month it is.' said Scrooge. `I don't
know how long I've been among the Spirits. I don't know anything.
I'm quite a baby. Never mind. I don't care. I'd rather be a baby.
Hallo. Whoop. Hallo here.'
was checked in his transports by the churches ringing out the lustiest
peals he had ever heard. Clash, clang, hammer; ding, dong, bell.
Bell, dong, ding; hammer, clang, clash. Oh, glorious, glorious.
to the window, he opened it, and put out his head. No fog, no mist;
clear, bright, jovial, stirring, cold; cold, piping for the blood
to dance to; Golden sunlight; Heavenly sky; sweet fresh air; merry
bells. Oh, glorious. Glorious.
to-day.' cried Scrooge, calling downward to a boy in Sunday clothes,
who perhaps had loitered in to look about him.
returned the boy, with all his might of wonder.
to-day, my fine fellow.' said Scrooge.
replied the boy. `Why, Christmas Day.'
Christmas Day.' said Scrooge to himself. `I haven't missed it. The
Spirits have done it all in one night. They can do anything they
like. Of course they can. Of course they can. Hallo, my fine fellow.'
returned the boy.
you know the Poulterer's, in the next street but one, at the corner.'
should hope I did,' replied the lad.
intelligent boy.' said Scrooge. `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.'
the one as big as me.' returned the boy.
a delightful boy.' said Scrooge. `It's a pleasure to talk to him.
Yes, my buck.'
hanging there now,' replied the boy.
it.' said Scrooge. `Go and buy it.'
exclaimed the boy.
no,' said Scrooge, `I am in earnest. Go and buy it, and tell them
to bring it here, that I may give them the direction where to take
it. Come back with the man, and I'll give you a shilling. Come back
with him in less than five minutes and I'll give you half-a-crown.'
boy was off like a shot. He must have had a steady hand at a trigger
who could have got a shot off half so fast.
send it to Bon Cratchit's.' whispered Scrooge, rubbing his hands,
and splitting with a laugh. `He shan't know who sends it. It's twice
the size of Tiny Tim. Joe Miller never made such a joke as sending
it to Bob's will be.'
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. As he stood there,
waiting his arrival, the knocker caught his eye.
shall love it, as long as I live.' cried Scrooge, patting it with
his hand. `I scarcely ever looked at it before. 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.'
was a Turkey. He never could have stood upon his legs, that bird.
He would have snapped them short off in a minute, like sticks of
it's impossible to carry that to Camden Town,' said Scrooge. `You
must have a cab.'
chuckle with which he said this, and the chuckle with which he paid
for the Turkey, and the chuckle with which he paid for the cab,
and the chuckle with which he recompensed the boy, were only to
be exceeded by the chuckle with which he sat down breathless in
his chair again, and chuckled till he cried.
was not an easy task, for his hand continued to shake very much;
and shaving requires attention, even when you don't dance while
you are at it. But if he had cut the end of his nose off, he would
have put a piece of sticking-plaister over it, and been quite satisfied.
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 irresistibly pleasant, in a word, that three or four good-humoured
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.
had not gone far, when coming on towards him he beheld the portly
gentleman, who had walked into his counting-house the day before,
and said,' Scrooge and Marley's, I believe.' It sent a pang across
his heart to think how this old gentleman would look upon him when
they met; but he knew what path lay straight before him, and he
dear sir,' said Scrooge, quickening his pace, and taking the old
gentleman by both his hands. `How do you do. I hope you succeeded
yesterday. It was very kind of you. A merry Christmas to you, sir.'
said Scrooge. `That is my name, and I fear it may not be pleasant
to you. Allow me to ask your pardon. And will you have the goodness'
-- here Scrooge whispered in his ear.
bless me.' cried the gentleman, as if his breath were taken away.
`My dear Mr Scrooge, are you serious.'
you please,' said Scrooge. `Not a farthing less. A great many back-payments
are included in it, I assure you. Will you do me that favour.'
dear sir,' said the other, shaking hands with him. `I don't know
what to say to such munificence.'
say anything please,' retorted Scrooge. `Come and see me. Will you
come and see me.'
will.' cried the old gentleman. And it was clear he meant to do
you,' said Scrooge. `I am much obliged to you. I thank you fifty
times. Bless you.'
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. In the afternoon he turned his steps towards
his nephew's house.
passed the door a dozen times, before he had the courage to go up
and knock. But he made a dash, and did it:
your master at home, my dear.' said Scrooge to the girl. Nice girl.
is he, my love.' said Scrooge.
in the dining-room, sir, along with mistress. I'll show you up-stairs,
if you please.'
you. He knows me,' said Scrooge, with his hand already on the dining-room
lock. `I'll go in here, my dear.'
turned it gently, and sidled his face in, round the door. They were
looking at the table (which was spread out in great array); for
these young housekeepers are always nervous on such points, and
like to see that everything is right.
heart alive, how his niece by marriage started. Scrooge had forgotten,
for the moment, about her sitting in the corner with the footstool,
or he wouldn't have done it, on any account.
bless my soul.' cried Fred,' who's that.'
I. Your uncle Scrooge. I have come to dinner. Will you let me in,
him in. It is a mercy he didn't shake his arm off. He was at home
in five minutes. Nothing 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 they came. Wonderful party, wonderful
games, wonderful unanimity, wonderful happiness.
he was early at the office next morning. Oh, 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.
he did it; yes, he did. The clock struck nine. No Bob. A quarter
past. No Bob. He 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.
hat was off, before he opened the door; his 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.
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.'
am very sorry, sir,' said Bob. `I am behind my time.'
are.' repeated Scrooge. `Yes. I think you are. Step this way, sir,
if you please.'
only once a year, sir,' pleaded Bob, appearing from the Tank. `It
shall not be repeated. I was making rather merry yesterday, sir.'
I'll tell you what, my friend,' said Scrooge,' I am not going to
stand this sort of thing any longer. And therefore,' he continued,
leaping from his stool, and giving Bob such a dig in the waistcoat
that he staggered back into the Tank again;' and therefore I am
about to raise your salary.'
trembled, and got a little nearer to the ruler. He had a momentary
idea of knocking Scrooge down with it, holding him, and calling
to the people in the court for help and a strait-waistcoat.
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 fellow, than I have given you for many a year. I'll
raise your salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling family,
and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas
bowl of smoking bishop, Bob. Make up the fires, and buy another
coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit.'
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 he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise
enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good,
at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the
outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he
thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes
in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart
laughed: and that was quite enough for him.
had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total
Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and 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, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!
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