5: The End of It
and the bedpost was his own. The bed was
his own, the room was his own. Best and
happiest of all, the Time before him was his own,
to make amends in!
live in the Past, the Present, and the
Future!" Scrooge repeated, as he scrambled
out of bed. "The Spirits of all Three
shall strive within me. Oh Jacob
Marley! Heaven, and the Christmas Time be
praised for this. I say it on my knees, old
Jacob, on my knees!"
He was so
fluttered and so glowing with his good
intentions, that his broken voice would scarcely
answer to his call. He had been sobbing
violently in his conflict with the Spirit, and
his face was wet with tears.
not torn down!" cried Scrooge, folding one
of his bed-curtains in his arms, "they are
not torn down, rings and all. They are here
-- I am here -- the shadows of the things that
would have been, may be dispelled. They
will be! I know they will."
His hands were
busy with his garments all this time; turning
them inside out, putting them on upside down,
tearing them, mislaying them, making them parties
to every kind of extravagance.
know what to do!" cried Scrooge, laughing
and crying in the same breath. "I am
as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel,
I am as merry as a schoolboy. I am as giddy
as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to
everybody! A happy New Year to all the
world! Hallo here! Whoop!
He had frisked
into the sitting-room, and was now standing
there: perfectly winded.
the saucepan that the gruel was in!" cried
Scrooge, starting off again, and frisking round
the fireplace. "There's the door, by
which the Ghost of Jacob Marley entered.
There's the corner where the Ghost of Christmas
Present, sat. There's the window where I
saw the wandering Spirits. It's all right,
it's all true, it all happened. Ha ha
Really, for a
man who had been out of practice for so many
years, it was a splendid laugh, a most
illustrious laugh. The father of a long,
long line of brilliant laughs!
know what day of the month it is," said
Scrooge. "I don't know how long I've
been among the Spirits. I don't know
anything. I'm quite a baby. Never
mind. I don't care. I'd rather be a
baby. Hallo! Whoop! Hallo
He was checked
in his transports by the churches ringing out the
lustiest peals he had ever heard. Clash,
clang, hammer; ding, dong, bell! Bell,
dong, ding; hammer, clang, clash! Oh,
Running to the
window, he opened it, and put out his head.
No fog, no mist; clear, bright, jovial, stirring,
cold; cold, piping for the blood to dance to;
Golden sunlight; Heavenly sky; sweet fresh air;
merry bells. Oh, glorious. Glorious!
to-day?" cried Scrooge, calling downward to
a boy in Sunday clothes, who perhaps had loitered
in to look about him.
returned the boy, with all his might of wonder.
to-day, my fine fellow?" said Scrooge.
replied the boy. "Why, Christmas
Christmas Day!" said Scrooge to
himself. "I haven't missed it.
The Spirits have done it all in one night. They
can do anything they like. Of course they
can. Of course they can. Hallo, my
returned the boy.
know the Poulterer's, in the next street but one,
at the corner?" Scrooge inquired.
hope I did," replied the lad.
intelligent boy!" said Scrooge.
"A remarkable boy! Do you know whether
they"ve sold the prize Turkey that was
hanging up there -- Not the little prize Turkey:
the big one?"
one as big as me?" returned the boy.
delightful boy!" said Scrooge.
"It's a pleasure to talk to him. Yes,
hanging there now," replied the boy.
it?" said Scrooge. "Go and buy
exclaimed the boy.
no," said Scrooge, "I am in
earnest. Go and buy it, and tell them to
bring it here, that I may give them the direction
where to take it. Come back with the man,
and I'll give you a shilling. Come back
with him in less than five minutes and I'll give
The boy was off
like a shot. He must have had a steady hand
at a trigger who could have got a shot off half
it to Bob Cratchit's!" whispered Scrooge,
rubbing his hands, and splitting with a
laugh. "He shan't know who sends
it. It's twice the size of Tiny Tim!"
The hand in
which he wrote the address was not a steady one,
but write it he did, somehow, and went
down-stairs to open the street door, ready for
the coming of the poulterer's man. As he
stood there, waiting his arrival, the knocker
caught his eye.
love it, as long as I live!" cried Scrooge,
patting it with his hand. "I scarcely
ever looked at it before. What an honest
expression it has in its face. It's a
wonderful knocker. -- Here's the
Turkey. Hallo! Whoop! How are
you? Merry Christmas!"
It was a
Turkey! He never could have stood upon his
legs, that bird. He would have snapped them
short off in a minute, like sticks of
impossible to carry that to Camden Town,"
said Scrooge. "You must have a
with which he said this, and the chuckle with
which he paid for the Turkey, and the chuckle
with which he paid for the cab, and the chuckle
with which he recompensed the boy, were only to
be exceeded by the chuckle with which he sat down
breathless in his chair again, and chuckled till
Shaving was not
an easy task, for his hand continued to shake
very much; and shaving requires attention, even
when you don't dance while you are at it.
But if he had cut the end of his nose off, he
would have put a piece of sticking-plaister over
it, and been quite satisfied.
himself all in his best, and at last got out into
the streets. The people were by this time
pouring forth, as he had seen them with the Ghost
of Christmas Present; and walking with his hands
behind him, Scrooge regarded every one with a
delighted smile. He looked so irresistibly
pleasant, in a word, that three or four
good-humoured fellows said, "Good morning,
sir. A merry Christmas to you." And
Scrooge said often afterwards, that of all the
blithe sounds he had ever heard, those were the
blithest in his ears.
He had not gone
far, when coming on towards him he beheld the
portly gentleman, who had walked into his
counting-house the day before, and said,
"Scrooge and Marley's, I believe." It
sent a pang across his heart to think how this
old gentleman would look upon him when they met;
but he knew what path lay straight before him,
and he took it.
sir," said Scrooge, quickening his pace, and
taking the old gentleman by both his hands.
"How do you do. I hope you succeeded
yesterday. It was very kind of you. A
merry Christmas to you, sir!"
said Scrooge. "That is my name, and I
fear it may not be pleasant to you. Allow
me to ask your pardon. And will you have
the goodness" -- here Scrooge whispered in
bless me!" cried the gentleman, as if his
breath were taken away. "My dear Mr
Scrooge, are you serious?"
please," said Scrooge. "Not a
farthing less. A great many back-payments
are included in it, I assure you. Will you
do me that favour?"
sir," said the other, shaking hands with
him. "I don't know what to say to such
anything please," retorted Scrooge.
"Come and see me. Will you come and
will!" cried the old gentleman. And it
was clear he meant to do it.
you," said Scrooge. "I am much
obliged to you. I thank you fifty
times. Bless you!"
He went to
church, and walked about the streets, and watched
the people hurrying to and fro, and patted
children on the head, and questioned beggars, and
looked down into the kitchens of houses, and up
to the windows, and found that everything could
yield him pleasure. He had never dreamed
that any walk -- that anything -- could give him
so much happiness. In the afternoon he turned his
steps towards his nephew's house.
He passed the
door a dozen times, before he had the courage to
go up and knock. But he made a dash, and
master at home, my dear?" said Scrooge to
the girl. Nice girl. Very.
he, my love?" said Scrooge.
the dining-room, sir, along with mistress.
I'll show you up-stairs, if you please."
you. He knows me," said Scrooge, with
his hand already on the dining-room lock.
"I'll go in here, my dear."
He turned it
gently, and sidled his face in, round the
door. They were looking at the table (which
was spread out in great array); for these young
housekeepers are always nervous on such points,
and like to see that everything is right.
alive, how his niece by marriage started.
Scrooge had forgotten, for the moment, about her
sitting in the corner with the footstool, or he
wouldn't have done it, on any account.
my soul!" cried Fred," who's
I. Your uncle Scrooge. I have come to
dinner. Will you let me in, Fred?"
in! It is a mercy he didn't shake his arm
off. He was at home in five minutes.
Nothing could be heartier. His niece looked
just the same. So did Topper when he
came. So did the plump sister when she
came. So did every one when they
came. Wonderful party, wonderful games,
wonderful unanimity, won-der-ful happiness!
But he was
early at the office next morning. Oh he was
early there. If he could only be there
first, and catch Bob Cratchit coming late!
That was the thing he had set his heart upon.
And he did it;
yes, he did. The clock struck nine.
No Bob. A quarter past. No Bob.
He was full eighteen minutes and a half behind
his time. Scrooge sat with his door wide
open, that he might see him come into the Tank.
His hat was
off, before he opened the door; his comforter
too. He was on his stool in a jiffy;
driving away with his pen, as if he were trying
to overtake nine o'clock.
growled Scrooge, in his accustomed voice, as near
as he could feign it. "What do you
mean by coming here at this time of day?"
sorry, sir," said Bob. "I am
behind my time."
are?" repeated Scrooge.
"Yes. I think you are. Step this
way, if you please."
once a year, sir," pleaded Bob, appearing
from the Tank. "It shall not be
repeated. I was making rather merry
tell you what, my friend," said Scrooge,
"I am not going to stand this sort of thing
any longer. And therefore," he
continued, leaping from his stool, and giving Bob
such a dig in the waistcoat that he staggered
back into the Tank again; "and therefore I
am about to raise your salary."
and got a little nearer to the ruler. He
had a momentary idea of knocking Scrooge down
with it, holding him, and calling to the people
in the court for help and a strait-waistcoat.
Christmas, Bob," said Scrooge, with an
earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he
clapped him on the back. "A merrier
Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given
you for many a year. I'll raise your
salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling
family, and we will discuss your affairs this
very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking
bishop, Bob. Make up the fires, and buy
another coal-scuttle before you dot another i,
better than his word. He did it all, and
infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not
die, he was a second father. He
became as good a friend, as good a master, and as
good a man, as the good old city knew, or any
other good old city, town, or borough, in the
good old world. Some people laughed to see
the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and
little heeded them; for he was wise enough to
know that nothing ever happened on this globe,
for good, at which some people did not have their
fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that
such as these would be blind anyway, he thought
it quite as well that they should wrinkle up
their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less
attractive forms. His own heart laughed:
and that was quite enough for him.
And it was
always said of him, that he knew how to keep
Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the
knowledge. May that be truly said of us,
and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim
observed, God Bless Us, Every One!