06DEC2021 – Quote of the Day – A Christmas Carol – Part 2

A CHRISTMAS CAROL (IN PROSE BEING, A Ghost Story of Christmas)

by Charles Dickens

(OCF editing – Part 2)

 

“A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!” cried

a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge’s

nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was

the first intimation he had of his approach.

 

“Bah!” said Scrooge, “Humbug!”

 

He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the

fog and frost, this nephew of Scrooge’s, that he was

all in a glow; his face was ruddy and handsome; his

eyes sparkled, and his breath smoked again.

 

“Christmas a humbug, uncle!” said Scrooge’s

nephew. “You don’t mean that, I am sure?”

 

“I do,” said Scrooge. “Merry Christmas! What

right have you to be merry? What reason have you

to be merry? You’re poor enough.”

 

“Come, then,” returned the nephew gaily. “What

right have you to be dismal? What reason have you

to be morose? You’re rich enough.”

 

Scrooge having no better answer ready on the spur

of the moment, said, “Bah!” again; and followed it up

with “Humbug.”

 

“Don’t be cross, uncle!” said the nephew.

 

“What else can I be,” returned the uncle, “when I

live in such a world of fools as this? Merry Christmas!

Out upon merry Christmas! What’s Christmas

time to you but a time for paying bills without

money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but

not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books

and having every item in ’em through a round dozen

of months presented dead against you? If I could

work my will,” said Scrooge indignantly, “every idiot

who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips,

should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried

with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!”

 

“Uncle!” pleaded the nephew.

 

“Nephew!” returned the uncle sternly, “keep Christmas

in your own way, and let me keep it in mine.”

 

“Keep it!” repeated Scrooge’s nephew. “But you

don’t keep it.”

 

“Let me leave it alone, then,” said Scrooge. “Much

good may it do you! Much good it has ever done

you!”

 

“There are many things from which I might have

derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare

say,” returned the nephew. “Christmas among the

rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas

time, when it has come round–apart from the

veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything

belonging to it can be apart from that–as a

good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant

time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar

of the year, when men and women seem by one consent

to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think

of people below them as if they really were

fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race

of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore,

uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or

silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me

good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”

 

The clerk in the Tank involuntarily applauded.

Becoming immediately sensible of the impropriety,

he poked the fire, and extinguished the last frail spark

for ever.

 

“Let me hear another sound from you,” said

Scrooge, “and you’ll keep your Christmas by losing

your situation! You’re quite a powerful speaker,

sir,” he added, turning to his nephew. “I wonder you

don’t go into Parliament.”

 

“Don’t be angry, uncle. Come! Dine with us to-morrow.”

 

Scrooge said that he would see him–yes, indeed he

did. He went the whole length of the expression,

and said that he would see him in that extremity first.

 

“But why?” cried Scrooge’s nephew. “Why?”

 

“Why did you get married?” said Scrooge.

 

“Because I fell in love.”

 

“Because you fell in love!” growled Scrooge, as if

that were the only one thing in the world more ridiculous

than a merry Christmas. “Good afternoon!”

 

“Nay, uncle, but you never came to see me before

that happened. Why give it as a reason for not

coming now?”

 

“Good afternoon,” said Scrooge.

 

“I want nothing from you; I ask nothing of you;

why cannot we be friends?”

 

“Good afternoon,” said Scrooge.

 

“I am sorry, with all my heart, to find you so

resolute. We have never had any quarrel, to which I

have been a party. But I have made the trial in

homage to Christmas, and I’ll keep my Christmas

humour to the last. So A Merry Christmas, uncle!”

 

“Good afternoon!” said Scrooge.

 

“And A Happy New Year!”

 

“Good afternoon!” said Scrooge.

 

His nephew left the room without an angry word,

notwithstanding. He stopped at the outer door to

bestow the greetings of the season on the clerk, who,

cold as he was, was warmer than Scrooge; for he returned

them cordially.

 

“There’s another fellow,” muttered Scrooge; who

overheard him: “my clerk, with fifteen shillings a

week, and a wife and family, talking about a merry

Christmas. I’ll retire to Bedlam.”

 

Charles Dickens

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