A Christmas Carol Manuscript

The Morgan Library and Museum, MA 97. Photography by Graham S. Haber.


Christmas Carol 00 a recto

Christmas Carol 00 a recto

/ Title /

A Christmas Carol

In Prose;

Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.

By Charles Dickens

The Illustrations by John Leech

Chapman and Hall 186 Strand MDCCCXLIII.

/My own, and only, MS of the Book/ [signed] Charles Dickens

Last edit about 2 years ago by Douglas Dodds
Christmas Carol 00 b recto

Christmas Carol 00 b recto


I have endeavoured, in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it!

Their faithful friend and Servant,


December 1843.

Last edit about 2 years ago by Douglas Dodds
Christmas Carol 01 recto

Christmas Carol 01 recto


Stave I.

Old Marley’s Ghost.

Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever, about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and [???] mourners the [chief] 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.

[Dead] Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, myself, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I [should] might have been inclined, myself, to consider regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of Ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the country’s done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

Scrooge knew he was dead. [Why] oOf course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don’t know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, and his only sole residuary residuary legatee: his sole friend and sole mourner if you [come to that]. And even Scrooge was not so very [much] dreadfully cut up [when Marley died. by Marley's death] by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain. [The mention of]

The mention of Marley’s Funeral brings me back to the point I started with from. There can be is no [kind] of question doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or [t????] nothing wonderful can come [out] of the story I am going to [tell] relate. If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet’s Father died before the play began, there would be nothing more remarkable in his taking the air [walking out] taking a stroll at night, in an Easterly wind, upon the his own ramparts, than there would be in any other [elderly] middle-aged gentleman rashly turning out at night after dark, in a breezy spot—say Saint Paul’s churchyard for instance— for the purpose of [addling] literally to astonish [astonish???] his son’s [intellects] weak mind.[and Hamlet's mind was intellects] Perhaps you think that Hamlet's [were slightly addled at the best depend upon it was a strong you] intellects were strong. I doubt it. If you could have/hail [??] such a son tomorrow, depend upon it, you would find him a most impracticable fellow to deal with fellow to deal with [????? ????? He would be a most impracticable] with; and however creditable he might be to the family, after his [??????], he would never ??? to anything in his lifetime [???? a special incumbrance] ???? ???? [n?e]

Scrooge never painted out [???] old Marley’s name. There it

Last edit over 1 year ago by elc502
Christmas Carol 02 recto

Christmas Carol 02 recto


stood, years afterwards, above the warehouse door—Scrooge and Marley: The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes at [??????] people new to the business called Scrooge, Scrooge, and sometimes Marley, ??? but he answered to both [????????] either both names: it was all the same to him. [????]

Oh! But he was a tight-fisted fellow hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! A grinding, [tra???]ing, squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old Sinner! Hard and cool [?? cold]and sharp as [st] flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret and self contained and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him had [??? ?????? ???, ??? ?????? ??????] old [?????????????????????????????] [???????] his voice [????]froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, [??? ??????]stiffened his [????? ??? ???? ??????? ?????]gait; made his eyes red, his made his [?? ?? ??] thin lips blue; and spoke out found [? ????] expre[?? ? ????]shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own lowtemperature[??? ??? ???????] always [???? ?????]about him; he iced his office [???] half [????]in the dogdays; and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas.

External heat and cold [??? ????]had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, [????????????]nor wintry weather chill him. No [????] [????? ]wind[?]wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, [???]no pelting rain less open to [??????] entreaty. Foul weather didn’t know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often “came down” handsomely; and Scrooge never did.

Nobody ever stopped him gladly 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 sympathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing ones call “nuts”—to Scrooge.

Once upon a time—of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve—old Scrooge sat busy in his counting House. It was cold, bleak, biting weather: foggy withal: and he could hear the

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Last edit over 1 year ago by Douglas Dodds
Christmas Carol 03 recto

Christmas Carol 03 recto


people on the court outside, go [coughing] wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavement-stones to warm them. The city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already — it had not been light all day — and candles were flaring in the windows of the neighbouring offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air. The [suffocating] fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense without, [that one might have thought] although the court [of ?] was of the narrowest the houses opposite were mere phantoms. To see the dingy cloud come [rolling ??????? obscuring everything] drooping down, obscuring everything [????????], one might have thought that Nature lived hard by, and was brewing on a large scale.

The door of Scrooge’s Counting House was open that he might [k???] keep his eye upon [?h??] his clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond — a sort of tank — was copying letters. Scrooge had a [?very?] very small fire, but the clerk’s fire was so [very] very much smaller that it looked [one c?] like one coal. But he couldn’t replenish it, for Scrooge kept the coal box [close beside him?] in his own room; and [whenever he saw?] so surely as the clerk coming came in with the shovel, the master [Scrooge ??nv?????] [that he? ???? it ??????????] [of saying that he?] ???????? predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Wherefore ??????? ????? Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter, [?He? had ?? great coat, or he would have? ??????] ?that? ????? and tried to warm himself at the candle; in which effort [???????], not being a [young?] man of a strong imagination, he [decidedly] failed.

A? “A Merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!” cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge’s nephew, [??????] who came upon him so [suddenly] quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach.

Merry Christmas! Bah” said Scrooge, “Humbug.”

He had walked so fast heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost, ?? this nephew of Scrooge’s, that he was all in a glow; his face was ruddy ? and handsome; his eyes sparkled; and heis [????ed to breath?] breath smoked again.

“Christmas a humbug, uncle!” [said] [cried] said Scrooge’s nephew. “You don’t mean that, [I'm sure?] I am sure.”

“I do,” said Scrooge. “Merry Christmas! [?B? Humbug] What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You’re poor [enough ?????] enough.”

Why Come then,” returned the nephew gaily. “What right have you to be [sad?] dismal ? what reason have you to be morose? You’re rich enough [???le].”

Scrooge having no better [??? ?? ???????] answer ready on the spur of the moment, said Bah! again—and followed it up with Humbug [??? also].

“Don’t be cross, uncle,” said the nephew.

“What else [should?] can I be?” returned the uncle, “when I live in such

Last edit about 2 years ago by Douglas Dodds
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