A Christmas Carol Manuscript

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


Christmas Carol 29 recto

Christmas Carol 29 recto


count; and unlike the celebrated herd in the poem, they were not forty children conducting themselves like one, but every child was conducting itself like forty. The consequences were uproarious beyond belief, but no one seemed to care; on the contrary the mother and her daughter laughed heartily and enjoyed it very much; and the latter, soon beginning to mingle in the sports, got pillaged by the young brigands most ruthlessly. What would I not have given—to be one of them; though I never could have been so rude, no no! I wouldn’t for the wealth of all the world have crushed that braided hair and torn it down; and for the dainty little shoe, I wouldn’t have plucked it off, God bless my soul!, to save my life. As to mea¬suring her waist in sport, as they did, saucy brood, I couldn’t have done it—I should have expected my arm to have grown round it, for a punishment, and never come straight again—And yet—I should have dearly liked, I own, to touch her lips; to question her that she might have opened them; to look upon the lashes of her downcast eyes, and never raise a blush; to let loose waves of hair, an inch of which would be a keepsake beyond price: in short, I should have liked, I do con¬fess, to have had the lightest license of a child, and yet been man enough to know its value.

But now a knocking at the door was heard, and such a rush immediately ensued, that she with laughing face and plundered dress was borne towards it, in the cen¬tre of a flushed and boisterous group, just in time to greet the father, who in ob¬servance of a custom annually maintained in that family on Christmas Eve, came home attended by a man laden with Christmas toys and presents. Then the shout¬ing and the struggling, and the onslaught that was made on the defenceless porter! The scaling him with chairs, instead of ladders, to dive into his pockets, despoil him of brown paper parcels, hold on tight by his cravat, hug him round the neck, pommel his back, and kick his legs in irrepressible affection! The shouts of won¬der and delight with which the developement of every package was received! The terrible announcement that the baby had been taken in the act of putting a doll’s frying-pan in his mouth, and was more than suspected of having swallowed a fic¬titious turkey on a wooden platter! The immense relief of finding this a false alarm! The joy and gratitude and ecstasy! They are all indescribably alike. It is enough that by degrees the children and their emotions got out of the parlor and, by one stair at a time, up to the top of the house; where they went to bed, and so sub¬sided.

And now Scrooge looked on more attentively than ever, when the master of the house, having his daughter leaning fondly on him, sat down with her and her mother at his own fireside; and when he thought that such another

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Christmas Carol 30 recto

Christmas Carol 30 recto


creature, quite as graceful and as full of promise, might have called him father, and been a spring-time in the haggard winter of his life, his sight grew very dim in¬deed.

“Belle,” said the husband, turning to his wife with a smile. “I saw an old friend of yours this afternoon.”

“Who was it?”


“How can I? Tut, don’t I know,” she added in the same breath, laughing as he laughed. “Mr. Scrooge.”

“Mr. Scrooge it was. I passed his office window; and as it wasn’t shut up, and he had a candle inside, I could scarcely help seeing him. His partner lies upon the point of Death, I hear; and there he sat alone. Quite alone in the world, I do be¬lieve.”

“Spirit!” said Scrooge, in a broken voice, “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 cannot bear it!”

He turned upon the Ghost, and seeing that it looked upon him with a face, in which, in some strange way there were fragments of all the faces it had shown him, wrestled with it.

“Leave me! Take me back. Haunt me no longer!”

In the struggle; if that can be called a struggle in which the Ghost with no vis¬ible resistance on its own part was undisturbed by any effort of its adversary; Scrooge observed that its light was burning high and bright: and dimly connect¬ing that with its influence over him, he seized the extinguisher-cap, and by a sud¬den action pressed it down upon its head.

The Spirit dropped beneath it, so that the extinguisher covered its whole form; but though Scrooge pressed it down with all his force, he could not hide the light which streamed from under it, in one unbroken flood upon the ground.

He was conscious of being exhausted, and overcome by an irresistible drowsi-ness; and, further, of being in his own bedroom. He gave the cap a parting squeeze in which his hand relaxed; and had barely time to reel to bed, before he sank into a heavy sleep.

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Christmas Carol 31 recto



The Second of The Three Spirits.

Awaking in the middle of a prodigiously tough snore, and sitting up in bed to get his thoughts together, Scrooge had no occasion to be told that the bell was again upon the stroke of One. He felt that he was restored to consciousness in the right nick of time, for the especial purpose of holding a conference with the second messenger despatched to him through Jacob Marley’s intervention. But finding that he turned uncomfortably cold when he began to wonder which of his curtains this new Spectre would draw back, he put them every one aside with his own hands—and lying down again, established a sharp look-out all round the bed. For he wished to challenge the Spirit on the moment of its appearance, and did not wish to be taken by surprise and made nervous.

Gentlemen of the free and easy sort who plume themselves on being acquainted with a move or two, and being usually equal to the time of day, express the wide range of their capacity for adventure, by observing that they are good for anything from pitch and toss to manslaughter; between which opposite extremes, no doubt there lies a tolerably wide and comprehensive range of subjects. Without venturing for Scrooge quite as hardily as this, I don’t mind calling on you to be¬lieve that he was ready for a good broad field of strange appearances, and that nothing between a baby and a Rhinoceros would have astonished him very much.

Now, being prepared for almost anything, he was not by any means prepared for nothing; and, consequently, when the Bell struck One and no shape appeared, he was taken with a violent fit of trembling. Five minutes, ten minutes, a quarter of an hour went by, yet nothing came. All this time, he lay upon his bed, the very core and centre of a blaze of ruddy light which streamed upon it when the clock proclaimed the hour; and which being only light, was more alarming than a dozen ghosts, as he was powerless to make out what it meant, or would be at and was sometimes apprehensive that he might be at that very moment, an interesting case of spontaneous combustion, without having the consolation to know it.

At last, however, he began to think—as you or I would have thought at first; for it is always the person not in the predicament who knows what ought to have been done in it, and would unquestionably have done it too—at last, I say, he began to think that the source and secret of this ghostly light might be in the adjoining room: from

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Christmas Carol 32 recto

Christmas Carol 32 recto


whence, on further tracing it, it seemed to shine. This idea taking full possession of his mind he got up softly, and shuffled in his slippers to the door.

The [?????] moment Scrooge’s [popped in his head] hand was on the lock, a strange voice called him by his name, and bade him enter. He [complied popping his head and saw/said/s??] obeyed, thrusting in his head.

It was his own room. There was no doubt about that. But it had undergone a most surprising transformation. The walls and ceiling were so hung with [holly?/hung?, mistletoe and ivy] living green, that it had become looked a perfect grove, from every part of which bright red glowing gleaming berries [shone like jewels] glistened. The crisp leaves of the holly, mistletoe, and ivy, reflected back the light, [like mirrors] as if so many little mirrors had been scattered there; and such a mighty blaze went roaring up the chimney as that dull petrifaction of a hearth had never known in Scrooge’s time, or Marley’s, or for many and many a winter season gone. Heaped up upon the floor, [to form a kind of throne] to form a kind of throne, were turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, great joints of meat, suckling pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince-pies, plum puddings, barrels of oysters, red hot chestnuts, [cherry-cheeked apples shining-faced] cherry-cheeked apples, juicy oranges, luscious pears, immense twelfth cakes, and seething bowls of Punch, [alight with flames upon this] [????] that made the chamber dim with their delicious [????] steam. [???] In easy state upon this [???] couch, there sat a jolly Giant, glorious to see, who bore a glowing torch, in shape not unlike Plenty’s horn, and [??? ?? ????] held it up, [?? ???? ??? ???? ?? ??] high up, to [???? ??] shed its light on Scrooge, as he came peeping round the door.

[???? ??? ??? ???] “Come in!” exclaimed the Ghost. [??? ??? ???] “Come in! and know me better man!”

Scrooge entered timidly, and hung his head before this Spirit. He was not the dogged Scrooge he had been; and though (its eyes were clear and kind, he did not like to meet them.”

[???? ????? ???] “I am the Ghost of Christmas Present,” said the Spirit. “Look upon me!”

Scrooge reverently did so. It was clothed in one simple, deep green robe or mantle bordered with white fur. This garment hung so loosely on the figure, that its capacious breast was bare, as if disdaining to be warded or concealed by any artifice. Its feet, observable beneath the ample folds of the garment, were also bare: and on its head it wore no other covering than a holly wreath set here and there, with shining icicles. Its [???? ???] dark brown curls [???? ??? ????? ? ??? ???? ???? ??? ??????] were long and free: free as its genial face, its sparkling eye, its open hand, its cheery voice, its unconstrained demeanour, and its joyful air. Girded round its middle was an antique scabbard; but no sword was in it, and the ancient sheath was eaten up with rust.

“You have never seen the like of me before!” exclaimed

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Christmas Carol 33 recto

Christmas Carol 33 recto


the Spirit.

“Never,” Scrooge made answer to it.

“Have never walked forth with the younger members of my family; meaning (for I am very young) my elder brothers born in these later years!” pursued the Phantom.

“I don’t think I have,” said Scrooge. “I am afraid I have not. Have you had many brothers, Spirit?”

“More than eighteen hundred,” said the Ghost.

“A tremendous family to provide for!” muttered Scrooge.

The Ghost of Christmas Present rose, and as it did so Scrooge observed that at its skirts it seemed [?? ??? ???? ??????] to have some object which it sought to hide. He fancied that he saw either the claw of a great bird or a foot much smaller than the Spirit’s own, protruding for a moment from its robes; and being curious in everything concerning these unearthly visitors, he asked the Spirit what it meant.

“They are not so many as they might be,” replied the Ghost, “who care to know or ask. No matter what it is, [???? ??? ?? ???? ????] just now. Are you ready to go forth with me?”

“Spirit!” said Scrooge submissively, “conduct me where you will. I went forth last night on compulsion, and I learnt a lesson which is working now. Tonight, if you have aught to teach me, let me profit by it.”

“Touch my robe!”

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

Holly, mistletoe, red berries, ivy, turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, meat, pigs, sausages, oysters, pies, puddings, fruit and punch all [??? ??????? ???????] vanished instantly. [??????? ????] So did the room, the fire, [??? ??????? ?????] the ruddy glow, the hour of night; and they stood in the city streets on Christmas morning, where (for the [?????? ??? ???? ?? ???? ?? ??? ????] weather was severe) the people made a rough but brisk and not unpleasant kind of music, in scraping the snow from the pavement in front of their dwellings, and from the tops of their houses; whence it was mad delight to [??? ???? ??] the boys to see it come plumping down [?? ????? ???? ????] into the road below, and splitting into [?????? ?? ??? ] artificial [???? ?????] little snow-storms.

The house fronts looked black enough, [??? ??? ??????] and the windows blacker, [???? ????] contrasting with the [???? ??] smooth white [???? ??] sheet of snow upon the roofs, and with the dirtier snow upon the ground; which last deposit had been ploughed up in deep furrows by the heavy wheels of [?????? ????? ??] carts and waggons—furrows that crossed and recrossed each other hundreds of times where great thoroughfares branched off; and [???] made [????] [?????? ??????] intricate channels, hard to trace, in the [??????] thick yellow mud and

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