A Christmas Carol Manuscript

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


Christmas Carol 24 recto

Christmas Carol 24 recto


think, children.”

“One child,” Scrooge returned.

“True,” said the Ghost. “Your nephew!”

Scrooge seemed uneasy in his mind; and answered, briefly, “Yes.”

Although they had but that moment left the school behind them, they were now in the busy thoroughfares of a city, where shadowy passengers passed and repassed in one unbroken throng; where shadowy carts and coaches battled for the way, and all the strife and tumult of a real city were. It was made plain enough by the dressing of the shops, that here too it was Christmas time again; but it was evening, and the streets were lighted up.

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

“Know it!” said Scrooge. “Was I apprenticed here!”

They went in. At sight of an old gentleman in a Welch 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, its old Fezziwig! 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! Ebenezcr! Dick!”

Scrooge’s former self, now grown a young man, came briskly in, accompanied by his fellow ’prentice.

“Dick Wilkins, to be sure! “said Scrooge to the Ghost. “Lord bless me yes. There he is. Ah! He was very much attached to me, was Dick. Poor Dick! Dear, dear!”

“Yo ho, my boys!” said Fezziwig. “No more work tonight. Christmas Eve, Dick. Christmas, Ebenezer! Let’s have the shutters up,” cried old Fezziwig, with a sharp clap of his hands, “before a man can say Jack Robinson!”

You wouldn’t believe how those two fellows went at it! They charged into the street with the shutters—one two three—had ’em up in their places—four five six—pinned ’em and barred ’em—seven, eight, nine—and came back before you could have got to twelve, panting like racehorses.

“Hilli-ho!” cried old Fezziwig, skipping down from the high desk, with won¬derful agility. “Clear away, my lads, and let’s have lots of room here! Hilli-ho, Dick! Chirrup, Ebenezer!”

Clear away! There was nothing they wouldn’t have cleared away, or couldn’t have cleared away, with old Fezziwig looking on. It was

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Christmas Carol 25 recto

Christmas Carol 25 recto

25 done in a minute. Every moveable was stowed away and piled up packed off, as if it were dismissed from public life for evermore; the floor was swept and watered, the lamps were trimmed, [????] [the fuel?] fuel was heaped up on 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 thereof of it, and [???ed] tuned like fifty stomach aches. In came Mrs. Fezziwig, one vast substantial smile on [?ollens]. In came the three Miss Fezziwigs, beaming and [??????] loveable. In came the [three] six young gentlemen followers whose hearts they [broke ??? ?ope?es] broke. In came all the young men and women employed in the business. In came [??? he knew] the housemaid with her cousin the baker. In came the cook with her [?????ed] brother’s particular friend, the milkman. In came the boy from over the way who was suspected of [] not having [th???ing ]enough that hiding board enough from his master; trying to hide himself behind the girl from the next door but one, who was proved to have had her ears pulled by her missis. In they all came one after another, [?eek ? ??? ing,] some shyly, some boldly, some gracefully, some awkwardly, some pushing, some pulling; in they all came, anyhow and everyhow and a. 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; up back again, the 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 clapped , clapping his hands to stop the dance, and cried out “Well done!” and and the fiddler leaving off, plunged his hot shining hot red face into a pot of porter, especially provided for that purpose and. But scorning rest upon his reappearance, [?????] he instantly began again [?????] though there were no dancers yet, like as if the other fiddler had been carried home, exhausted, on a shutter; and he were a bran-new performer man resolved to [??????????] or die beat him out of sight, or perish. slip 18 There were more dances, and there were forfeits, and more dances afterwards and there was lemonade, negus and cake, and there was negus, and there was a great piece of cold roast, and there was a great piece of cold baked 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 (an artful dog, mind! who among us The sort of man who knew his business better than anybody you or I could have told it him!) struck up Sir Roger de Coverley. and old Fe Then old Fezziwig stood out to dance with Mrs. Fezziwig. They were the top Top couple too, with a great good stiff piece of work left cut out for them; three or four and twenty couples pair of partners; people who were not to be trifled with; who would dance, and had no notion of walking. along But if they had been twice as many—ah four times—old Fezziwig would have been a match for an them; and so would Mrs. Fezziwig. As

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Christmas Carol 26 recto

Christmas Carol 26 recto


to her, she was worthy to be his partner in every sense of the term. If that’s not high praise, tell me higher, and I’ll use it. A positive light appeared to issue from Fezziwig’s calves. They shone in every part of the dance like moons. You couldn’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 re¬tire, hold hands with your partner; bow and curtsey; corkscrew; thread the nee¬dle; and back again to your place—Fezziwig “cut”—cut so deftly, that he appeared to wink with his legs—and came upon his feet again without a stagger.

When the clock struck eleven, this domestic ball broke up. Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig took their stations, 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.

During the whole of this time, Scrooge had acted like a man out of his wits. His heart and soul were in the scene, and with his former self. He corroborated every¬thing, remembered everything, enjoyed everything, and underwent the strangest agitation. It was not until now, when the bright faces of his former self and Dick were turned from them, that he remembered the Ghost, and became conscious that it was looking full upon him, while the light upon its head burnt very clear.

“A small matter,” said the Ghost, “to make these silly folks so full of gratitude.”

“Small!” echoed Scrooge.

The Spirit signed to him to listen to the two apprentices who were pouring out their hearts in praise of Fezziwig; and when he had done so, said,

“Why! Is it not? He 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 isn’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 in¬significant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up—what then? The happi¬ness he gives, is quite as great, as if it cost a fortune.”

He felt the Spirit’s glance, and stopped.

“What is the matter?” asked the Ghost.

“Nothing particular,” said Scrooge.

“Something, I think?” the Ghost insisted.

“No,” said Scrooge, “No. I should like to be able to say a word or two to my clerk just now! That’s all.”

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Christmas Carol 27 recto

Christmas Carol 27 recto


His former self turned down the lamps as he gave utterance to the wish; and Scrooge and the Ghost again stood side by side, in the open air.

“My time grows short,” observed the Spirit. “Quick!”

This was not addressed to Scrooge, or to any one whom he could see, but it pro¬duced an immediate effect. For again Scrooge saw himself. He was older now; a man in the prime of life. His face had not the harsh and rigid lines of later years, but it had begun to wear the signs of care and avarice. There was an eager, greedy, restless motion in the eye, which showed the passion that had taken root, and where the shadow of the growing tree would fall.

He was not alone, but sat by the side of a fair young girl in a mourning dress: in whose eyes there were tears, which sparkled in the light that shone out of the Ghost of Christmas Past.

“It matters little,” she said, softly. “To you, very little. Another Idol has dis¬placed me; and if it can cheer and comfort you in time to come, as I would have tried to do, I have no just cause to grieve.”

“What Idol has displaced you?” he rejoined.

“A golden one.”

“This is the even-handed dealing of the world!” he said. “There is nothing on which it is so hard as poverty; and there is nothing it professes to condemn with such severity, as the pursuit of wealth!”

“You fear the world too much,” she answered, gently. “All your other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of its reproach. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one, until the master passion, Gain, en¬grosses you. Have I not?”

“What then?” he retorted. “Even if I have grown so much wiser, what then? I am not changed towards you.”

She shook her head.

“Am I?”

“Our contract is an old one. It was made when we were both poor and content to be so, until, in good season, we could improve our worldly fortune by our pa¬tient industry. You are changed. When it was made, you were another man.”

“I was a boy,” he said impatiently.

“Your own feeling tells you that you were not what you are,” she returned. “I am. That which promised happiness when we were one in heart, is fraught with misery now that we are two. How often and how keenly I have thought of this, I will not say. It is enough that I have thought of it, and can release you.”

“Have I ever sought release!”

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Christmas Carol 28 recto

Christmas Carol 28 recto


“In words—no. Never.”

“In what, then?”

“In a changed nature; said the girl in an altered spirit; in another atmosphere of life; another Hope as its great end. In everything that made my love of any worth or value in your sight. If this had never been between us,” said the girl, looking mildly, but with steadiness, upon him; “tell me, would you seek me out and try to win me now? Ah, no!”

He seemed to yield to the justice of this supposition, in spite of himself. But he said, with a struggle, “You think not.”

“How gladly I would think otherwise if I could,” she answered, “Heaven and my own soul decide! When I have learned a Truth like this, I know how strong and irresistible it must be. If you were free today, tomorrow, yesterday, can even I believe that you would choose a dowerless orphan 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.”

He was about to speak; but with her head turned from him, she resumed.

“You may—the memory of what is past half makes me hope you will—have pain in this. A very, very brief time, and you will dismiss the recollection of it, gladly, as an unprofitable dream, from which it happened well that you awoke. May you be happy in the life you have chosen!”

She left him; and they parted.

“Spirit!” said Scrooge, “Shew me no more! Conduct me home. Why do you delight to torture me?”

“One shadow more!” exclaimed the Ghost.

“No more!” cried Scrooge. “No more. I don’t wish to see it. Shew me no more!” And as he spoke he pressed his hands against his head, and stamped upon the ground.

But the relentess Ghost pinioned him in both his arms, and forced him to observe what happened next.

They were in another scene and place: a room; not very large or handsome, but full of comfort. Near to the winter fire, sat a beautiful young girl, so like the last that Scrooge believed it was the same until he saw her, now a comely matron, sitting opposite her daughter. The noise in this room was perfectly tumultuous, for there were more children there, than Scrooge in his agitated state of mind could

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