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A Christmas Carol by Ch a r l e s D i c ke n s

Stave 1: Marley’s Ghost him.


Oh! But he was tight-fisted!

M
arley was dead. There is no The cold within him froze his
doubt whatever about that. old features. He carried his own
Old Marley was as dead as low temperature always about with
a door-nail. him; and didn’t thaw it one degree at
Did Scrooge know he was dead? Christmas.
Of course he did. Scrooge and he were Nobody ever stopped him in the
partners for many years. Scrooge street to say, “My dear Scrooge, how
was his only friend and only mourn- are you? When will you come to see
er. And even Scrooge did not mourn me?”
much when he died. But what did Scrooge care?
Scrooge never painted out Old
Marley’s name. There it stood, years Christmas Eve
afterwards, above the door: Scrooge

O
and Marley. ne Christmas Eve old Scrooge
Sometimes people new to the sat busy in his counting
business called Scrooge, Scrooge, and house. It was cold, bleak,
sometimes Marley, but he answered biting weather: and he could hear the
to both names: it was all the same to people in the court outside go wheez-

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ing up and down, stamping their feet merry Christmas! What’s Christmas
upon the pavement stones to warm time to you but a time for paying bills
them. without money; a time for finding
The city clocks had only just gone yourself a year older, but not an hour
three, but it was quite dark already. The richer?
door of Scrooge’s counting-house was Every idiot who goes about with
open that he might keep his eye upon ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should
Bob Cratchett, his clerk. Cratchett was be boiled with his own pudding!”
in a dismal little cell beyond, was cop- “Uncle!” pleaded the nephew.
ying letters. “Nephew!” replied the uncle, sternly,
Scrooge had a very small fire, but “keep Christmas in your own way, and
the clerk’s fire was very much smaller. let me keep it in mine.”
Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own “Keep it!” repeated Scrooge’s
room. nephew. “But you don’t keep it.”
“A merry Christmas, uncle! God “Let me leave it alone, then,” said
save you!” cried a cheerful voice. It Scrooge. “Much good may it do you!
was the voice of Scrooge’s nephew, Much good it has ever done you!”
Fred.
“Bah!” said Scrooge, A Charitable Time
“Humbug!”
“Christmas a humbug, uncle!” “I have always thought of
said Scrooge’s nephew. “You don’t Christmas time as a good time: a kind,
mean that, I am sure.” forgiving, charitable time.
“I do,” said Scrooge. “Merry I believe that it has done me
Christmas! What reason have you to good, and will do me good; and I say,
be merry? You’re poor enough..” God bless it!”
“Come, then,” said the nephew. The clerk involuntarily applaud-
“What right have you to be dismal? ed
What reason have you to be “Let me hear another sound from
morose? You’re rich enough.” you,” said Scrooge, “and you’ll keep
“Bah!” said Scrooge, your Christmas by losing your situa-
“Humbug!” tion.
“Don’t be cross, uncle!” said the You’re quite a powerful speak-
nephew. er, sir,” he added, turning to his
nephew. “I wonder you don’t go into
Merry Christmas! Parliament.”
“Don’t be angry, uncle. Come!
“What else can I be,” said the Dine with us tomorrow.”
uncle, “when I live in such a world of ‘No!’
fools as this? “But why?” cried Scrooge’s
“Merry Christmas! Out upon nephew. “Why?”

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They had books and papers in their
hands, and bowed to him.
“Scrooge and Marley’s, I believe,”
said one of the gentlemen, refer-
ring to his list. “Have I the pleasure
of addressing Mr. Scrooge, or Mr.
Marley?”
“Mr. Marley has been dead seven
years,” Scrooge replied. “He died
seven years ago, this very night.”
“At this festive season of the year,
Mr. Scrooge,” said the gentleman, tak-
ing up a pen, “We should give a little to
the the Poor and Destitute, who suffer

greatly at the present time.”
“Why did you get married?” said
“Are there no prisons?” asked
Scrooge.
Scrooge. Gloss
“Because I fell in love.”
“Plenty of prisons,” said the gen-
“Because you fell in love!”
tleman, laying down the pen again.
growled Scrooge, as if that were the
“And the workhouses?” demand-
only one thing in the world more ridic-
ed Scrooge. “Are they still in opera-
ulous than a merry Christmas. “Good
tion?”
afternoon!”
“They are,” said the gentleman,
“I want nothing from you; I ask
“I wish I could say they were not. A
nothing of you; why cannot we be
few of us are trying to raise a fund to
friends?”
buy the Poor some meat and drink and
“Good afternoon,” said Scrooge.
means of warmth. What shall I put
“I am sorry, with all my heart
you down for?”
Merry Christmas, uncle!”
Are “Nothing!” Scrooge
“Good afternoon,” said
Scrooge.
there no replied.
prisons? “You wish to be anony-
“And A Happy New
mous?”
Year!”
“I wish to be left alone,” said
“Good afternoon!” said
Scrooge. “Since you ask me what I
Scrooge.
wish, gentlemen, that is my answer.
His nephew left the room with-
“I don’t make merry myself at
out an angry word.
Christmas and I can’t afford to make
idle people merry. I help to pay for
Charity
the workhouses and they cost enough.
Those who are badly enough of must
Two other people came in. They stood
go there.”
with their hats off in Scrooge’s office.

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“Many can’t go there and many
would rather die.”
“If they die,’ said Scrooge, ‘that
will decrease the surplus population.
Glossary
“Besides, it’s not by business. It’s
enough for a man to understand his
own business and not interfere with
other people’s. Good afternoon, gen-
tlemen!” addressing - speaking to a person/persons
annoymous - unnamed
Only Once a Year cell - office without light, like a prison cell
counting house - old-fashioned word for
At last it was time for the clerk to
office dealing with money
go home.
dismal - dark, without hope, depressing
“You’ll want all day to-morrow, I
suppose?” said Scrooge. destitute - without money to live
“If quite convenient, sir.” clerk - office worker
sa r y
“It’s not convenient,” said humbug - rubbish, nonsense
Scrooge, “and it’s not fair. I pay a day’s involuntary - without meaning to
wages for no work.”” mourner - someone sad about a death of
“It’s was only once a year, sir.” another person
“A poor excuse for picking a
situation - job
man’s pocket every twenty-fifth of
workhouse - prison-like places for the poor
December!” said Scrooge, buttoning
his great-coat to the chin.
“But I suppose you must have
the whole day. Be here all the earlier
next morning.”

A Christmas Carol  eslreading.org