Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives. He had been quite familiar with one old ghost, in a white waistcoat, with a monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle, who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant, whom it saw below, upon a doorstep. The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power for ever.
Kiss Miss Carol: A Crime Story of Christmas
Whether these creatures faded into mist, or mist enshrouded them, he could not tell. But they and their spirit voices faded together; and the night became as it had been when he walked home. 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.
And being, from the emotion he had undergone, or the fatigues of the day, or his glimpse of the Invisible World, or the dull conversation of the Ghost, or the lateness of the hour, much in need of repose; went straight to bed, without undressing, and fell asleep upon the instant. He was endeavouring to pierce the darkness with his ferret eyes, when the chimes of a neighbouring church struck the four quarters. So he listened for the hour. To his great astonishment the heavy bell went on from six to seven, and from seven to eight, and regularly up to twelve; then stopped.
It was past two when he went to bed. The clock was wrong. An icicle must have got into the works. He touched the spring of his repeater, to correct this most preposterous clock. Its rapid little pulse beat twelve: and stopped. He was obliged to rub the frost off with the sleeve of his dressing-gown before he could see anything; and could see very little then. All he could make out was, that it was still very foggy and extremely cold, and that there was no noise of people running to and fro, and making a great stir, as there unquestionably would have been if night had beaten off bright day, and taken possession of the world.
Scrooge 28 went to bed again, and thought, and thought, and thought it over and over and over, and could make nothing of it. The more he thought, the more perplexed he was; and the more he endeavoured not to think, the more he thought. He resolved to lie awake until the hour was passed; and, considering that he could no more go to sleep than go to Heaven, this was perhaps the wisest resolution in his power. The quarter was so long, that he was more than once convinced he must have sunk into a doze unconsciously, and missed the clock. At length it broke upon his listening ear. Light flashed up in the room upon the instant, and the curtains of his bed were drawn.
The curtains of his bed were drawn aside, I tell you, by a hand. Not the curtains at his feet, nor the curtains at his back, but those to which his face was addressed. The curtains of his bed were drawn aside; and Scrooge, starting up into a half-recumbent attitude, found himself face to face with the unearthly visitor who drew them: as close 29 to it as I am now to you, and I am standing in the spirit at your elbow. 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.
The arms were very long and muscular; the hands the same, as if its hold were of uncommon strength. Its legs and feet, most delicately formed, were, like those upper members, bare. It wore a tunic of the purest white; and round its waist was bound a lustrous belt, the sheen of which was beautiful.
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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 doubtless the occasion of its using, in its duller moments, a great extinguisher for a cap, which it now held under its arm.
Even this, though, when Scrooge looked at it with increasing steadiness, was not its strangest quality.
For as its belt sparkled and glittered now in one part and now in another, and what was light one instant, at another time was dark, so the figure itself fluctuated in its distinctness: being now a thing with one arm, now with one leg, now with twenty legs, now a pair of legs without a head, now a head without a body: of which dissolving parts, no outline would be visible in the dense gloom wherein they melted away. And in the very wonder of this, it would be itself again; distinct and clear as ever. Singularly low, as if instead of being so close beside him, it were at a distance.
Is it not enough that you are one of those whose passions made this cap, and force me through whole trains of years to wear it low upon my brow! He then made bold to inquire what business brought him there. Scrooge expressed himself much obliged, but could not help thinking that a night of unbroken rest would have been more conducive to that end. Take heed! He rose: but finding that the Spirit made towards the window, clasped his robe in supplication. The city had entirely vanished. Not a vestige of it was to be seen.
The darkness and the mist had vanished with it, for it was a clear, cold, winter day, with snow upon the ground. I was a boy here! He was conscious of a thousand odours floating in the air, each one connected with a thousand thoughts, and hopes, and joys, and cares long, long, forgotten! Some shaggy ponies now were seen trotting towards them with boys upon their backs, who called to other boys in country gigs and carts, driven by farmers. All these boys were in great spirits, and shouted to each other, until the broad fields were so full of merry music, that the crisp air laughed to hear it!
Why was he rejoiced beyond all bounds to see them! Why did his cold eye glisten, and his heart leap up as they went past! Why was he filled with gladness when he heard them give each other Merry Christmas, as they parted at cross-roads and bye-ways, for their several homes! What was merry Christmas to Scrooge? What good had it ever done to him? And he sobbed. They left the high-road, by a well-remembered lane, and soon approached a mansion of dull red brick, with a little weathercock-surmounted cupola, on the roof, and a bell hanging in it. It was a large house, but one of broken fortunes; for the spacious offices were little used, their walls were damp and mossy, their windows broken, and their gates decayed.
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Fowls clucked and strutted in the stables; and the coach-houses and sheds were over-run with grass. Nor was it more retentive of its ancient state, within; for entering the dreary hall, and glancing through the open doors of many rooms, they found them poorly furnished, cold, and vast. There was an earthy savour in the air, a chilly bareness in the place, which associated itself somehow with too much getting up by candle-light, and not too much to eat. They went, the Ghost and Scrooge, across the hall, to a door at the back of the house. It opened before them, and disclosed a long, bare, melancholy room, made barer still by lines of plain deal forms and desks.
At one of these a lonely boy was reading near a feeble fire; and Scrooge sat down upon a form, and wept to see his poor forgotten self as he used to be. Not a latent echo in the house, not a squeak and scuffle from the mice behind the panelling, not a drip from the half-thawed water-spout in the dull yard behind, not a sigh among the leafless boughs of one despondent poplar, not the idle swinging of an empty store-house door, no, not a clicking in the fire, but fell upon the heart of Scrooge with a softening influence, and gave a freer passage to his tears. The Spirit touched him on the arm, and pointed to his younger self, intent upon his reading.
Suddenly a man, in foreign garments: wonderfully real and distinct to look at: stood outside the window, with an axe stuck in his belt, and leading by the bridle an ass laden with wood. Yes, yes, I know! One Christmas time, when yonder solitary child was left here all alone, he did come, for the first time, just like that. Poor boy! Serve him right. What business had he to be married to the Princess!
Poor Robin Crusoe, he called him, when he came home again after sailing round the island. It was the Parrot, you know. There goes Friday, running for his life to the little creek!
MA – Kiss Miss Carol Signing
There was a boy singing a Christmas Carol at my door last night. The panels shrunk, the windows cracked; fragments of plaster fell out of the ceiling, and the naked laths were shown instead; but how all this was brought about, Scrooge knew no more than you do. He only knew that it was quite correct; that everything had happened so; that there he was, alone again, when all the other boys had gone home for the jolly holidays. He was not reading now, but walking up and down despairingly.
Scrooge looked at the Ghost, and with a mournful shaking of his head, glanced anxiously towards the door. Home, for ever and ever. He spoke so gently to me one dear night when I was going to bed, that I was not afraid to ask him once more if you might come home; and he said Yes, you should; and sent me in a coach to bring you. She clapped her hands and laughed, and tried to touch his head; but being too little, laughed again, and stood on tiptoe to embrace him. Then she began to drag him, in her childish eagerness, towards the door; and he, nothing loth to go, accompanied her.
He then conveyed him and his sister into the veriest old well of a shivering best-parlour that ever was seen, where the maps upon the wall, and the celestial and terrestrial globes in the windows, were waxy with cold. I will not gainsay it, Spirit. God forbid! 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. There he is. He was very much attached to me, was Dick. Poor Dick! Dear, dear!
Christmas Eve, Dick. Christmas, Ebenezer! Hilli-ho, Dick! Chirrup, Ebenezer! It was done in a minute. 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 employed in the business. In came the housemaid, with her cousin, the baker. In came the boy from over the way, who was suspected of not having board enough from his master; trying to hide himself behind the girl from next door but one, who was proved to have had her ears pulled by her mistress.
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 37 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!
But scorning rest, upon his reappearance, he instantly began again, though there were no dancers yet, as if the other fiddler had been carried home, exhausted, on a shutter, and he were a bran-new man resolved to beat him out of sight, or perish. 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 an artful dog, mind! The sort of man who knew his business better than you or I could have told it him! 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—ah, four times—old Fezziwig would have been a match for them, and so would Mrs. As to her , she was worthy to be his partner in every sense of the term.
They shone in every part of the dance like moons. And when old Fezziwig and Mrs. When 39 the clock struck eleven, this domestic ball broke up. Fezziwig took their stations, one on either side of the door, and shaking hands with every person individually as he or she went out, wished him or her a Merry Christmas. 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 everything, 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.
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? He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune. I should like to be able to say a word or two to my clerk just now.
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. Another idol has displaced 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. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one, until the master-passion, Gain, engrosses you.
Have I not? I am not changed towards you. 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 patient industry. You are changed. When it was made, you were another man. 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. In everything that made my love of any worth or value in your sight. Ah, no!
When I have learned a Truth like this, I know how strong and irresistible it must be. But if you were free to-day, to-morrow, yesterday, can even I believe that you would choose a dowerless 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. 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! Conduct me home. Why do you delight to torture me?
Show me no more! 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 that 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 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 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! And yet I should have dearly liked, I own, to have touched her lips; to have questioned her, that she might have opened them; to have looked upon the lashes of her downcast eyes, and never raised a blush; to have let loose waves of hair, an inch of which would be a keepsake beyond price: in short, I should have liked, I do confess, to have had the lightest licence of a child, and yet to have 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 the centre of a flushed and boisterous group, just in time to greet the father, who came home attended by a man laden with Christmas toys and presents. Then the shouting and the struggling, and the onslaught that was made on the defenceless porter! The 43 scaling him with chairs for ladders to dive into his pockets, despoil him of brown-paper parcels, hold on tight by his cravat, hug him round his neck, pommel his back, and kick his legs in irrepressible affection!
The shouts of wonder and delight with which the development of every package was received! The immense relief of finding this a false alarm! The joy, and gratitude, and ecstasy! They are all indescribable alike. It is enough that by degrees the children and their emotions got out of the parlour, and by one stair at a time, up to the top of the house; where they went to bed, and so subsided. 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 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 indeed.
Scrooge it was. I passed his office window; and as it was not 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 believe. Take me back. Haunt me no longer! 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 an unbroken flood upon the ground.
He was conscious of being exhausted, and overcome by an irresistible drowsiness; and, further, of being in his own bed-room. 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. 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.
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. 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 of knowing 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 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. He obeyed. It was his own room. There was no doubt about that. But it had undergone a surprising transformation. The walls and ceiling were so hung with living green, that it looked a perfect grove; from every part of which, bright gleaming berries glistened. Heaped up on the floor, to form a kind of throne, were turkeys, geese, game, poultry, 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 seething bowls of punch, that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam.
Scrooge 48 entered timidly, and hung his head before this Spirit. It was clothed in one simple 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. Have you had many brothers, Spirit? The Ghost of Christmas Present rose. 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 profit by it. 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 49 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 re-crossed each other hundreds of times where the great streets branched off; and made intricate channels, hard to trace in the thick yellow mud and icy water.
There was nothing very cheerful in the climate or the town, and yet was there an air of cheerfulness abroad that the clearest summer air and brightest summer sun might have endeavoured to diffuse in vain. For, the people who were shovelling away on the housetops were jovial and full of glee; calling out to one another from the parapets, and now and then exchanging a facetious snowball—better-natured missile far than many a wordy jest—laughing heartily if it went right and not less heartily if it went wrong.
There were great, round, pot-bellied baskets of chestnuts, shaped like the waistcoats of jolly old gentlemen, lolling at the doors, and tumbling out into the street in their apoplectic opulence. There were ruddy, brown-faced, broad-girthed Spanish Onions, shining in the fatness of their growth like Spanish Friars, and winking from their shelves in wanton slyness at the girls as they went by, and glanced demurely at the hung-up mistletoe.
The very gold and silver fish, set forth among these choice fruits in a bowl, though members of a dull and stagnant-blooded race, appeared to know that there was something going on; and, to a fish, went gasping round and round their little world in slow and passionless excitement. It was not alone that the scales descending on the counter made a merry sound, or that the twine and roller parted company so briskly, or that the canisters were rattled up and down like juggling tricks, or even that the blended scents of tea and coffee were so grateful to the nose, or even that the raisins were so plentiful and rare, the almonds so extremely white, the sticks of cinnamon so long and straight, the other spices so delicious, the candied fruits so caked and spotted with molten sugar as to make the coldest lookers-on feel faint and subsequently bilious.
Nor was it that the figs were moist and pulpy, or that the French plums blushed in modest tartness from their highly-decorated boxes, or that everything was good to eat and in its Christmas dress; but the customers were all so hurried and so eager in the hopeful promise of the day, that they tumbled up against each other at the door, crashing their wicker baskets wildly, and left their purchases upon the counter, and came running back to fetch them, and committed hundreds of the like mistakes, in the best humour possible; while the Grocer and his people were so frank and fresh that the polished hearts with which they fastened their aprons behind might have been their own, worn outside for general inspection, and for Christmas daws to peck at if they chose.
But 51 soon the steeples called good people all, to church and chapel, and away they came, flocking through the streets in their best clothes, and with their gayest faces. And it was a very uncommon kind of torch, for once or twice when there were angry words between some dinner-carriers who had jostled each other, he shed a few drops of water on them from it, and their good humour was restored directly. For they said, it was a shame to quarrel upon Christmas Day. And so it was! God love it, so it was! My own. To a poor one most.
Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us. Think of that! Then up rose Mrs. Cratchit, kissing her a dozen times, and taking off her shawl and bonnet for her with officious zeal. Alas for Tiny Tim, he bore a little crutch, and had his limbs supported by an iron frame! Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard.
He 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. 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 before 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.
Such a bustle ensued that you might have thought a goose the rarest of all birds; a feathered phenomenon, to which a black swan was a matter of course—and in truth it was something very like it in that house. Cratchit made the gravy ready beforehand in a little saucepan hissing hot; Master Peter mashed the potatoes with incredible vigour; Miss Belinda sweetened up the apple-sauce; Martha 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 mouths, 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 stuffing issued forth, one murmur of delight arose all round the 55 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. Its tenderness and flavour, size and cheapness, were the themes of universal admiration. Eked out by apple-sauce and mashed potatoes, it was a sufficient dinner for the whole family; indeed, as Mrs.
Yet every one had had enough, and the youngest Cratchits in particular, were steeped in sage and onion to the eyebrows! But now, the plates being changed by Miss Belinda, Mrs. Cratchit left the room alone—too nervous to bear witnesses—to take the pudding up and bring it in.
Suppose it should not be done enough! Suppose 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 horrors were supposed. A great deal of steam! The pudding was out of the copper. A smell like a washing-day! That was the cloth. That was the pudding! In half a minute Mrs. Cratchit entered—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.
Oh, a wonderful pudding! Bob Cratchit said, and calmly too, that he regarded it as the greatest success achieved by Mrs. Cratchit since their marriage. 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 or thought it was at all a small pudding for a large family. It would have been flat heresy to do so. 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 56 considered perfect, apples and oranges were put upon the table, and a shovel-full of chestnuts on the fire. 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 done; and Bob served it out with beaming looks, while the chestnuts on the fire sputtered and cracked noisily. God bless us! 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. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die.
What then? If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? Oh God! But he raised them speedily, on hearing his own name. Scrooge, the Founder of the Feast! Cratchit, reddening. Cratchit and her daughters are sitting sewing very quietly. Through these words that set a somber tone readers can infer that something is amiss.
The mother and children refer to Tiny Tim in the past tense through a short conversation reminiscing on memories of him. The children greet their father as he comes home, and they try to cheer him up because they know he is grieving. Readers now realize that Tiny Tim is dead because of the past tense use of his pronouns and his grieving father. Bob Cratchit unintentionally ends up breaking down emotionally in front of his live child. There was a chair set close to the child, and there were signs of some one having been there lately. Poor Bob sat down in it, and when he had thought a little and composed himself, he kissed the little face.
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Charles Dickens successfully establishes tone in his novel A Christmas Carol through the careful use of literary devices and words that connote a certain mood. Charles Dickens creates wonderful rhythms in his descriptions by using alliteration and repetition in order to emphasize a tone. Readers respond to the variety of strong tones implemented in A Christmas Carol. Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student. Sorry, copying is not allowed on our website. We will occasionally send you account related emails.
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Pudd Nhead Wilson Essays. The Bloody Chamber Essays. Charlie Brown's depression is only made worse by the goings-on in the neighborhood, most of which show his peers' rampant commercialism. He encounters Violet and sarcastically "thanks" her for the Christmas card he never received, only for Violet to proudly snipe back that she never sent him one. At the psychiatric booth, Lucy expresses joy in the sound of jingling money, tries to diagnose Charlie Brown with various phobias , admits she never receives her Christmas wish of real estate , and ultimately decides that Charlie Brown needs more involvement.
Lucy recommends that Charlie Brown direct an upcoming Christmas play and offers to help him do so; Charlie Brown jumps at the opportunity to have a leadership role. At Snoopy 's doghouse, Charlie Brown is further disgusted when he finds out that his dog has entered the doghouse into a lights and display contest with a cash prize. He is finally accosted by his sister Sally , who asks him to write her letter to Santa Claus. When she hints at having an extremely long and specific list of requests, and says she will accept large sums of money as a substitute " tens and twenties " , Charlie Brown becomes even more dismayed and runs off.
Charlie Brown arrives at the rehearsal, but he is unable to gain control of the situation, since everyone in the play has their own complaints and would rather dance along to the jazz-rock band consisting of Schroeder on keyboards, Snoopy on an inaudible electric guitar and Pig-Pen on bass as they play " Linus and Lucy. A displeased Charlie Brown decides the play needs "the proper mood" and suggests they should get a Christmas tree.
Lucy instructs him, and the accompanying Linus, to get an aluminum Christmas tree that is big, shiny and pink from a nearby tree lot. When they get to the lot, filled with numerous trees fitting Lucy's description, Charlie Brown ironically and symbolically chooses the only real tree there in disbelief that wooden Christmas trees still exist —a tiny sapling that is rapidly shedding needles. Linus is unsure about Charlie Brown's choice, but Charlie Brown is convinced that all it needs is some decoration and it will be just right.
Linus and Charlie Brown return to the auditorium with the tree; Lucy promptly lectures Charlie Brown for disobeying her instructions while the other girls, along with Snoopy, mock him and walk off laughing. At his wit's end, Charlie Brown loudly asks if anybody knows what Christmas is all about.
Linus says he does and, after walking to center stage and cuing the spotlight, recites the annunciation to the shepherds passage Luke from the King James Bible. Charlie Brown quietly picks up the tree and walks out of the auditorium toward home, now determined not to let commercialism ruin the holiday. He stops at Snoopy's decorated doghouse, which now sports a blue ribbon for having won the display contest.
He takes a large ornament from the doghouse and hangs it at the top of his tree, but the branch, seemingly unable to hold the ornament's weight, promptly droops to the ground. Believing he has killed the tree and that he has ruined everything as usual, Charlie Brown walks off in despair. Linus and the others, realizing they were too hard on Charlie Brown, quietly follow him to Snoopy's doghouse. Linus admits he always liked the tree while gently propping the drooping branch back in its upright position and wraps his blanket around its base, and when the others add the remaining decorations from Snoopy's doghouse to the tree, Lucy agrees.
They start humming " Hark! The Herald Angels Sing ". Charlie Brown returns, surprised at the humming and the redecorated tree, and the gang all joyously shout "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown! By the early s, Charles M. Schulz's comic strip Peanuts had become a sensation worldwide. Schulz, an avid baseball fan, recognized Mendelson from his documentary on ballplayer Willie Mays , A Man Named Mays , and invited him to his home in Sebastopol, California , to discuss the project.
Mendelson wanted to feature roughly "one or two" minutes of animation, and Schulz suggested animator Bill Melendez, with whom he collaborated some years before on a spot for the Ford Motor Company. Despite the popularity of the strip and acclaim from advertisers, networks were not interested in the special. As Allen was in Europe, the duo received no feedback on their pitch for several days. Mendelson assured him — without complete confidence in his statements — that this would be no problem.
Following this, A Charlie Brown Christmas entered production. Schulz's main goal for a Peanuts -based Christmas special was to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Paul , Minnesota. Schulz's faith in the Bible stemmed from his Midwest background and religious and historical studies;  as such, aspects of religion would be a topic of study throughout his life. The program's script has been described as "barebones", and was completed in only a few weeks.
His storyboard contained six panels for each shot, spanning a combined eighty or-so pages. In casting the silent comic strip characters of Peanuts , the trio pulled from their personalities.
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Later specials would introduce an offscreen teacher; her lines are eschewed for the sound of a trombone as the team behind the specials found it humorous. With this in mind, the trio set out to cast the characters, which proved to be a daunting process. Casting for Charlie Brown proved most difficult, as it required both good acting skills but also the ability to appear nonchalant. Too young to read, the producers had to give her one line at a time to recite. Much of the background cast came from Mendelson's home neighborhood in northern California. Nevertheless, the recording of A Charlie Brown Christmas was completed in one day.
Mendelson had no idea whether or not completing a half-hour's worth of animation would be possible given the production's six-month schedule, but Melendez confirmed its feasibility. There are 13, drawings in the special, with 12 frames per second to create the illusion of movement. Melendez had previously worked for Warner Bros. The character of Snoopy, however, proved the exception to the rule. The soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas is an unorthodox mix of traditional Christmas music and jazz.
The jazz portions were created by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. The special opens and closes with a choir of children, culled from St. The Herald Angels Sing". They often ran late into the night, resulting in angry parents, some who forbade their children from returning; consequently, numerous new children were present at each session. Mendelson and Guaraldi disagreed, desiring the "kids to sound like kids"; they used a slightly off-key version of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" in the final cut. In addition, the children recorded dialogue for the special's final scene, in which the crowd of kids shout "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!
The soundtrack for the special was recorded during these sessions, with decisions regarding timing and phrasing determined quickly.
Guaraldi brought in bassist Fred Marshall and drummer Jerry Granelli to record the music, and spent time later re-recording earlier tracks, including covers of "The Christmas Song" and "Greensleeves. Firth and Distil are noted as performers on a studio-session report Guaraldi filed for the American Federation of Musicians.
A Charlie Brown Christmas was voted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in ,  and added to the Library of Congress 's National Recording Registry list of "culturally, historically, or aesthetically important" American sound recordings in A Charlie Brown Christmas was completed just ten days shy of its national broadcast premiere. Melendez first saw the completed animation at a showing in a theater in the days before its premiere, turning to his crew of animators and remarking, "My golly, we've killed it. Their complaints included the show's slow pace, the music not fitting, and the animation too simple.
The show's glowing reviews were highlighted with an ad in trade magazines;  one thanked Coca-Cola , CBS, United Features Syndicate, and the show's viewers.