27DEC2021 – Quote of the Day – A Christmas Carol – Part 23

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

by Charles Dickens

(OCF editing – Part 23)



YES! 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!


“I will 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.


“They are 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

  1. 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.


“I don’t know what to do!” cried Scrooge, laughing and

crying in the same breath; and making a perfect Laocoön of

himself with his stockings. “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! Hallo!”


He had frisked into the sitting-room, and was now standing

there: perfectly winded.


“There’s the saucepan that the gruel was in!” cried

Scrooge, starting off again, and going 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 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!


“I don’t 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 here!”


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, glorious, glorious!


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!



“What’s to-day!” cried Scrooge, calling downward to a

boy in Sunday clothes, who perhaps had loitered in to look

about him.


“EH?” returned the boy, with all his might of wonder.


“What’s to-day, my fine fellow?” said Scrooge.


“To-day!” replied the boy. “Why, CHRISTMAS DAY.”


“It’s 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 fine fellow!”


“Hallo!” returned the boy.


“Do you know the Poulterer’s, in the next street but one,

at the corner?” Scrooge inquired.


“I should hope I did,” replied the lad.


“An 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?”


“What, the one as big as me?” returned the boy.


“What a delightful boy!” said Scrooge. “It’s a pleasure

to talk to him. Yes, my buck!”


“It’s hanging there now,” replied the boy.


“Is it?” said Scrooge. “Go and buy it.”


“Walk-ER!” exclaimed the boy.


“No, no,” said Scrooge, “I am in earnest. Go and buy

it, and tell ’em 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 you half-a-crown!”


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 so fast.


“I’ll send it to Bob Cratchit’s!” whispered Scrooge,

rubbing his hands, and splitting with a laugh. “He sha’n’t

know who sends it. It’s twice the size of Tiny Tim. Joe

Miller never made such a joke as sending it to Bob’s

will be!”


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.


“I shall 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 ’em short off in a

minute, like sticks of sealing-wax.


“Why, it’s impossible to carry that to Camden Town,”

said Scrooge. “You must have a cab.”


The chuckle 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 he cried.


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.


He dressed 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.


“My dear 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!”


“Mr. Scrooge?”


“Yes,” 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

his ear.


“Lord bless me!” cried the gentleman, as if his breath

were taken away. “My dear Mr. Scrooge, are you serious?”


“If you 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?”


“My dear sir,” said the other, shaking hands with him.

“I don’t know what to say to such munifi–“


“Don’t say anything, please,” retorted Scrooge. “Come

and see me. Will you come and see me?”


“I will!” cried the old gentleman. And it was clear he

meant to do it.


“Thank’ee,” 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

did it:


“Is your master at home, my dear?” said Scrooge to the

girl. Nice girl! Very.


“Yes, sir.”


“Where is he, my love?” said Scrooge.


“He’s in the dining-room, sir, along with mistress. I’ll

show you up-stairs, if you please.”


“Thank’ee. 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.


“Fred!” said Scrooge.


Dear heart 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.


“Why bless my soul!” cried Fred, “who’s that?”


“It’s I. Your uncle Scrooge. I have come to dinner.

Will you let me in, Fred?”


Let him 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.


“Hallo!” 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?”


“I am very sorry, sir,” said Bob. “I am behind my time.”


“You are?” repeated Scrooge. “Yes. I think you are.

Step this way, sir, if you please.”


“It’s only once a year, sir,” pleaded Bob, appearing from

the Tank. “It shall not be repeated. I was making rather

merry yesterday, sir.”


“Now, I’ll 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



Bob trembled, 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.


“A merry 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, Bob Cratchit!”



Scrooge was 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.


He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon

the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; 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!


Charles Dickens

26DEC2021 – Quote of the Day – A Christmas Carol – Part 22

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

by Charles Dickens

(OCF editing – Part 22)


The Ghost conducted him through several streets familiar

to his feet; and as they went along, Scrooge looked here and

there to find himself, but nowhere was he to be seen. They

entered poor Bob Cratchit’s house; the dwelling he had

visited before; and found the mother and the children seated

round the fire.


Quiet. Very quiet. The noisy little Cratchits were as

still as statues in one corner, and sat looking up at Peter,

who had a book before him. The mother and her daughters

were engaged in sewing. But surely they were very quiet!


“‘And He took a child, and set him in the midst of



Where had Scrooge heard those words? He had not

dreamed them. The boy must have read them out, as he

and the Spirit crossed the threshold. Why did he not

go on?


The mother laid her work upon the table, and put her

hand up to her face.


“The colour hurts my eyes,” she said.


The colour? Ah, poor Tiny Tim!


“They’re better now again,” said Cratchit’s wife. “It

makes them weak by candle-light; and I wouldn’t show weak

eyes to your father when he comes home, for the world. It

must be near his time.”


“Past it rather,” Peter answered, shutting up his book.

“But I think he has walked a little slower than he used,

these few last evenings, mother.”


They were very quiet again. At last she said, and in a

steady, cheerful voice, that only faltered once:


“I have known him walk with–I have known him walk

with Tiny Tim upon his shoulder, very fast indeed.”


“And so have I,” cried Peter. “Often.”


“And so have I,” exclaimed another. So had all.


“But he was very light to carry,” she resumed, intent upon

her work, “and his father loved him so, that it was no

trouble: no trouble. And there is your father at the door!”


She hurried out to meet him; and little Bob in his comforter

–he had need of it, poor fellow–came in. His tea

was ready for him on the hob, and they all tried who should

help him to it most. Then the two young Cratchits got

upon his knees and laid, each child a little cheek, against

his face, as if they said, “Don’t mind it, father. Don’t be



Bob was very cheerful with them, and spoke pleasantly to

all the family. He looked at the work upon the table, and

praised the industry and speed of Mrs. Cratchit and the girls.

They would be done long before Sunday, he said.


“Sunday! You went to-day, then, Robert?” said his



“Yes, my dear,” returned Bob. “I wish you could have

gone. It would have done you good to see how green a

place it is. But you’ll see it often. I promised him that I

would walk there on a Sunday. My little, little child!”

cried Bob. “My little child!”


He broke down all at once. He couldn’t help it. If he

could have helped it, he and his child would have been farther

apart perhaps than they were.


He left the room, and went up-stairs into the room above,

which was lighted cheerfully, and hung with Christmas.

There was a chair set close beside 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. He was reconciled to what

had happened, and went down again quite happy.


They drew about the fire, and talked; the girls and mother

working still. Bob told them of the extraordinary kindness

of Mr. Scrooge’s nephew, whom he had scarcely seen but

once, and who, meeting him in the street that day, and seeing

that he looked a little–“just a little down you know,” said

Bob, inquired what had happened to distress him. “On

which,” said Bob, “for he is the pleasantest-spoken gentleman

you ever heard, I told him. ‘I am heartily sorry for it, Mr.

Cratchit,’ he said, ‘and heartily sorry for your good wife.’

By the bye, how he ever knew that, I don’t know.”


“Knew what, my dear?”


“Why, that you were a good wife,” replied Bob.


“Everybody knows that!” said Peter.


“Very well observed, my boy!” cried Bob. “I hope they

  1. ‘Heartily sorry,’ he said, ‘for your good wife. If I

can be of service to you in any way,’ he said, giving me

his card, ‘that’s where I live. Pray come to me.’ Now, it

wasn’t,” cried Bob, “for the sake of anything he might be

able to do for us, so much as for his kind way, that this was

quite delightful. It really seemed as if he had known our

Tiny Tim, and felt with us.”


“I’m sure he’s a good soul!” said Mrs. Cratchit.


“You would be surer of it, my dear,” returned Bob, “if

you saw and spoke to him. I shouldn’t be at all surprised–

mark what I say!–if he got Peter a better situation.”


“Only hear that, Peter,” said Mrs. Cratchit.


“And then,” cried one of the girls, “Peter will be keeping

company with some one, and setting up for himself.”


“Get along with you!” retorted Peter, grinning.


“It’s just as likely as not,” said Bob, “one of these days;

though there’s plenty of time for that, my dear. But however

and whenever we part from one another, I am sure we

shall none of us forget poor Tiny Tim–shall we–or this

first parting that there was among us?”


“Never, father!” cried they all.


“And I know,” said Bob, “I know, my dears, that when

we recollect how patient and how mild he was; although he

was a little, little child; we shall not quarrel easily among

ourselves, and forget poor Tiny Tim in doing it.”


“No, never, father!” they all cried again.


“I am very happy,” said little Bob, “I am very happy!”


Mrs. Cratchit kissed him, his daughters kissed him, the

two young Cratchits kissed him, and Peter and himself shook

hands. Spirit of Tiny Tim, thy childish essence was from



“Spectre,” said Scrooge, “something informs me that our

parting moment is at hand. I know it, but I know not

how. Tell me what man that was whom we saw lying dead?”


The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come conveyed him, as

before–though at a different time, he thought: indeed, there

seemed no order in these latter visions, save that they were

in the Future–into the resorts of business men, but showed

him not himself. Indeed, the Spirit did not stay for anything,

but went straight on, as to the end just now desired,

until besought by Scrooge to tarry for a moment.


“This court,” said Scrooge, “through which we hurry now,

is where my place of occupation is, and has been for a length

of time. I see the house. Let me behold what I shall be,

in days to come!”


The Spirit stopped; the hand was pointed elsewhere.


“The house is yonder,” Scrooge exclaimed. “Why do you

point away?”


The inexorable finger underwent no change.


Scrooge hastened to the window of his office, and looked

  1. It was an office still, but not his. The furniture was

not the same, and the figure in the chair was not himself.

The Phantom pointed as before.


He joined it once again, and wondering why and whither

he had gone, accompanied it until they reached an iron gate.

He paused to look round before entering.


A churchyard. Here, then; the wretched man whose name

he had now to learn, lay underneath the ground. It was a

worthy place. Walled in by houses; overrun by grass and

weeds, the growth of vegetation’s death, not life; choked up

with too much burying; fat with repleted appetite. A

worthy place!


The Spirit stood among the graves, and pointed down to

One. He advanced towards it trembling. The Phantom was

exactly as it had been, but he dreaded that he saw new

meaning in its solemn shape.


“Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point,”

said Scrooge, “answer me one question. Are these the

shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of

things that May be, only?”


Still the Ghost pointed downward to the grave by which

it stood.


“Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if

persevered in, they must lead,” said Scrooge. “But if the

courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is

thus with what you show me!”


The Spirit was immovable as ever.


Scrooge crept towards it, trembling as he went; and

following the finger, read upon the stone of the neglected

grave his own name, EBENEZER SCROOGE.


“Am I that man who lay upon the bed?” he cried, upon

his knees.


The finger pointed from the grave to him, and back again.


“No, Spirit! Oh no, no!”


The finger still was there.


“Spirit!” he cried, tight clutching at its robe, “hear me!

I am not the man I was. I will not be the man I must

have been but for this intercourse. Why show me this, if I

am past all hope!”


For the first time the hand appeared to shake.


“Good Spirit,” he pursued, as down upon the ground he

fell before it: “Your nature intercedes for me, and pities

  1. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you

have shown me, by an altered life!”


The kind hand trembled.


“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it

all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the

Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I

will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I

may sponge away the writing on this stone!”


In his agony, he caught the spectral hand. It sought to

free itself, but he was strong in his entreaty, and detained it.

The Spirit, stronger yet, repulsed him.


Holding up his hands in a last prayer to have his fate

reversed, he saw an alteration in the Phantom’s hood and dress.

It shrunk, collapsed, and dwindled down into a bedpost.


Charles Dickens

Christmas Day 2021

King James Version

Luke:  Chapter 2

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

25DEC2021 – Quote of the Day – A Christmas Carol – Part 21

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

by Charles Dickens

(OCF editing – Part 21)

He recoiled in terror, for the scene had changed, and now

he almost touched a bed: a bare, uncurtained bed: on which,

beneath a ragged sheet, there lay a something covered up,

which, though it was dumb, announced itself in awful



The room was very dark, too dark to be observed with

any accuracy, though Scrooge glanced round it in obedience

to a secret impulse, anxious to know what kind of room it

was. A pale light, rising in the outer air, fell straight upon

the bed; and on it, plundered and bereft, unwatched, unwept,

uncared for, was the body of this man.


Scrooge glanced towards the Phantom. Its steady hand

was pointed to the head. The cover was so carelessly adjusted

that the slightest raising of it, the motion of a finger upon

Scrooge’s part, would have disclosed the face. He thought

of it, felt how easy it would be to do, and longed to do it;

but had no more power to withdraw the veil than to dismiss

the spectre at his side.


Oh cold, cold, rigid, dreadful Death, set up thine altar

here, and dress it with such terrors as thou hast at thy

command: for this is thy dominion! But of the loved,

revered, and honoured head, thou canst not turn one hair

to thy dread purposes, or make one feature odious. It is

not that the hand is heavy and will fall down when released;

it is not that the heart and pulse are still; but that the

hand WAS open, generous, and true; the heart brave, warm,

and tender; and the pulse a man’s. Strike, Shadow, strike!

And see his good deeds springing from the wound, to sow

the world with life immortal!


No voice pronounced these words in Scrooge’s ears, and

yet he heard them when he looked upon the bed. He

thought, if this man could be raised up now, what would be

his foremost thoughts? Avarice, hard-dealing, griping cares?

They have brought him to a rich end, truly!


He lay, in the dark empty house, with not a man, a

woman, or a child, to say that he was kind to me in this

or that, and for the memory of one kind word I will be

kind to him. A cat was tearing at the door, and there was

a sound of gnawing rats beneath the hearth-stone. What

they wanted in the room of death, and why they were so

restless and disturbed, Scrooge did not dare to think.


“Spirit!” he said, “this is a fearful place. In leaving it,

I shall not leave its lesson, trust me. Let us go!”


Still the Ghost pointed with an unmoved finger to the



“I understand you,” Scrooge returned, “and I would do

it, if I could. But I have not the power, Spirit. I have

not the power.”


Again it seemed to look upon him.


“If there is any person in the town, who feels emotion

caused by this man’s death,” said Scrooge quite agonised,

“show that person to me, Spirit, I beseech you!”


The Phantom spread its dark robe before him for a

moment, like a wing; and withdrawing it, revealed a room

by daylight, where a mother and her children were.


She was expecting some one, and with anxious eagerness;

for she walked up and down the room; started at every

sound; looked out from the window; glanced at the clock;

tried, but in vain, to work with her needle; and could hardly

bear the voices of the children in their play.


At length the long-expected knock was heard. She hurried

to the door, and met her husband; a man whose face was

careworn and depressed, though he was young. There was

a remarkable expression in it now; a kind of serious delight

of which he felt ashamed, and which he struggled to repress.


He sat down to the dinner that had been hoarding for

him by the fire; and when she asked him faintly what news

(which was not until after a long silence), he appeared

embarrassed how to answer.


“Is it good?” she said, “or bad?”–to help him.


“Bad,” he answered.


“We are quite ruined?”


“No. There is hope yet, Caroline.”


“If he relents,” she said, amazed, “there is! Nothing is

past hope, if such a miracle has happened.”


“He is past relenting,” said her husband. “He is dead.”


She was a mild and patient creature if her face spoke

truth; but she was thankful in her soul to hear it, and she

said so, with clasped hands. She prayed forgiveness the next

moment, and was sorry; but the first was the emotion of

her heart.


“What the half-drunken woman whom I told you of last

night, said to me, when I tried to see him and obtain a

week’s delay; and what I thought was a mere excuse to avoid

me; turns out to have been quite true. He was not only

very ill, but dying, then.”


“To whom will our debt be transferred?”


“I don’t know. But before that time we shall be ready

with the money; and even though we were not, it would be

a bad fortune indeed to find so merciless a creditor in his

successor. We may sleep to-night with light hearts, Caroline!”


Yes. Soften it as they would, their hearts were lighter.

The children’s faces, hushed and clustered round to hear what

they so little understood, were brighter; and it was a happier

house for this man’s death! The only emotion that the

Ghost could show him, caused by the event, was one of



“Let me see some tenderness connected with a death,” said

Scrooge; “or that dark chamber, Spirit, which we left just

now, will be for ever present to me.”


Charles Dickens

Christmas in the Woke World

Christmas Cooking, Sony A7 III, Sony 90mm f\2.8 macro lens

If you have very religious friends then you know that many people have always felt that the public face of Christmas has always been tainted by the commercial nature of the holiday in our culture.  They are outraged that the secular elements of Christmas overshadow the sacred nature of the holiday.

Maybe from their point of view what is happening in the culture now is no worse than the former commercialism.  Well, now it’s everyone else’s turn to be outraged.  Of course, the present outrage isn’t confined to commercialism.  We’re dealing with the destruction of a whole civilization and its replacement by nihilism.  But maybe the course of action everyone will be forced to adopt is basically the same as that taken by religious people living in a secular society.  The religious communities have to provide analogs for all the secular institutions around them.  They send their children to religious grammar and high schools.  Their churches sponsor children’s sports teams and fraternal organizations and social occasions where families can get together and young people can find friends.  And these organizations can act as networking opportunities for professional advancement and community projects.  Even politics can be centered around church membership.

If you don’t happen to be religious this may pose a problem in today’s woke society.  Outside of churches the Left has exerted massive pressure to warp and control the other organizations existing in the world today.  Public schools are hotbeds of homosexual recruitment and even stranger things like the indoctrination of middle-school kids into the transgender delusion.  The Boy Scouts have been co-opted, the large corporations are saturated with diversity, inclusion and equity programming and the federal government is an occupying army.

So, there’s only one way forward.  You have to do it all yourself.  Anything you want to preserve about Christmas, you are going to have to sponsor personally.  So, let’s say you want to encourage the religious aspects of Christmas.  Then you are going to have to make sure you bring the kids to church and tell them what you believe.  And if there are cultural traditions or family traditions you want to preserve then you better take the time to teach the kids and the grandkids about them and why they are important.  And let’s face it, if you don’t really believe in the importance of these things, you won’t be able to convince anyone else that they are important.

Luckily for me, I love old fashioned Christmas.  I love getting together with the family and eating a great big meal and passing the time together playing games and telling stories about the old days to the kids and talking about the minor news and events in the family and the community.  I love to put on some old movie like “A Christmas Carol” or “A Christmas Story” and introduce it to another generation.  I love to spend time with my kids and grandkids and hear about their lives and maybe provide a sympathetic ear to someone who needs to talk or make the encouraging noises that everyone likes to hear and sometimes really needs.  And if the talk turns to things going on in the larger world state your opinion honestly and fearlessly.  Don’t mince words about the Democrats and especially not about the truly insane fringes of the Left.

And Christmas is just one chapter of what needs to be done.  Every aspect of normal life and Western Civilization needs the same treatment.  Be vocal and comfortable about cheerleading for the good things in the old culture that need to be defended and nurtured.  Encourage the kids to think about important parts of their lives that they will have to attend to.  Finding a job, finding a spouse, raising a family.  These are things that don’t go without saying.  Say them.  Provide practical help for things like career counseling, finding activities, even providing them with help like a lift to a job or an activity.  After all most parents are stretched pretty thin.  If a granddad has the time, he should make himself useful.

So that’s enough talk.  We’re headed out Christmas Eve in the afternoon to one of my daughters.  That’s going to be fun.  And then Christmas dinner is at my house and that will be grand.  All the grandkids will be there and I will be in my glory.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

24DEC2021 – Quote of the Day – A Christmas Carol – Part 20

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

by Charles Dickens

(OCF editing – Part 20)


They left the busy scene, and went into an obscure part

of the town, where Scrooge had never penetrated before,

although he recognised its situation, and its bad repute. The

ways were foul and narrow; the shops and houses wretched;

the people half-naked, drunken, slipshod, ugly. Alleys and

archways, like so many cesspools, disgorged their offences of

smell, and dirt, and life, upon the straggling streets; and the

whole quarter reeked with crime, with filth, and misery.


Far in this den of infamous resort, there was a low-browed,

beetling shop, below a pent-house roof, where iron, old rags,

bottles, bones, and greasy offal, were bought. Upon the floor

within, were piled up heaps of rusty keys, nails, chains, hinges,

files, scales, weights, and refuse iron of all kinds. Secrets

that few would like to scrutinise were bred and hidden in

mountains of unseemly rags, masses of corrupted fat, and

sepulchres of bones. Sitting in among the wares he dealt in, by a

charcoal stove, made of old bricks, was a grey-haired rascal,

nearly seventy years of age; who had screened himself from the

cold air without, by a frousy curtaining of miscellaneous

tatters, hung upon a line; and smoked his pipe in all the luxury

of calm retirement.


Scrooge and the Phantom came into the presence of this

man, just as a woman with a heavy bundle slunk into the

shop. But she had scarcely entered, when another woman,

similarly laden, came in too; and she was closely followed by

a man in faded black, who was no less startled by the sight

of them, than they had been upon the recognition of each

other. After a short period of blank astonishment, in which

the old man with the pipe had joined them, they all three

burst into a laugh.


“Let the charwoman alone to be the first!” cried she who

had entered first. “Let the laundress alone to be the second;

and let the undertaker’s man alone to be the third. Look

here, old Joe, here’s a chance! If we haven’t all three met

here without meaning it!”


“You couldn’t have met in a better place,” said old Joe,

removing his pipe from his mouth. “Come into the parlour.

You were made free of it long ago, you know; and the other

two an’t strangers. Stop till I shut the door of the shop.

Ah! How it skreeks! There an’t such a rusty bit of metal

in the place as its own hinges, I believe; and I’m sure there’s

no such old bones here, as mine. Ha, ha! We’re all suitable

to our calling, we’re well matched. Come into the

parlour. Come into the parlour.”


The parlour was the space behind the screen of rags. The

old man raked the fire together with an old stair-rod, and

having trimmed his smoky lamp (for it was night), with the

stem of his pipe, put it in his mouth again.


While he did this, the woman who had already spoken

threw her bundle on the floor, and sat down in a flaunting

manner on a stool; crossing her elbows on her knees, and

looking with a bold defiance at the other two.


“What odds then! What odds, Mrs. Dilber?” said the

woman. “Every person has a right to take care of themselves.

He always did.”


“That’s true, indeed!” said the laundress. “No man

more so.”


“Why then, don’t stand staring as if you was afraid,

woman; who’s the wiser? We’re not going to pick holes in

each other’s coats, I suppose?”


“No, indeed!” said Mrs. Dilber and the man together.

“We should hope not.”


“Very well, then!” cried the woman. “That’s enough.

Who’s the worse for the loss of a few things like these?

Not a dead man, I suppose.”


“No, indeed,” said Mrs. Dilber, laughing.


“If he wanted to keep ’em after he was dead, a wicked old

screw,” pursued the woman, “why wasn’t he natural in his

lifetime? If he had been, he’d have had somebody to look

after him when he was struck with Death, instead of lying

gasping out his last there, alone by himself.”


“It’s the truest word that ever was spoke,” said Mrs.

Dilber. “It’s a judgment on him.”


“I wish it was a little heavier judgment,” replied the

woman; “and it should have been, you may depend upon it,

if I could have laid my hands on anything else. Open that

bundle, old Joe, and let me know the value of it. Speak out

plain. I’m not afraid to be the first, nor afraid for them to

see it. We know pretty well that we were helping ourselves,

before we met here, I believe. It’s no sin. Open the bundle,



But the gallantry of her friends would not allow of this;

and the man in faded black, mounting the breach first,

produced his plunder. It was not extensive. A seal or two,

a pencil-case, a pair of sleeve-buttons, and a brooch of no

great value, were all. They were severally examined and

appraised by old Joe, who chalked the sums he was disposed

to give for each, upon the wall, and added them up into a

total when he found there was nothing more to come.


“That’s your account,” said Joe, “and I wouldn’t give

another sixpence, if I was to be boiled for not doing it.

Who’s next?”


Mrs. Dilber was next. Sheets and towels, a little wearing

apparel, two old-fashioned silver teaspoons, a pair of

sugar-tongs, and a few boots. Her account was stated on the wall

in the same manner.


“I always give too much to ladies. It’s a weakness of mine,

and that’s the way I ruin myself,” said old Joe. “That’s

your account. If you asked me for another penny, and made

it an open question, I’d repent of being so liberal and knock

off half-a-crown.”


“And now undo my bundle, Joe,” said the first woman.


Joe went down on his knees for the greater convenience

of opening it, and having unfastened a great many knots,

dragged out a large and heavy roll of some dark stuff.


“What do you call this?” said Joe. “Bed-curtains!”


“Ah!” returned the woman, laughing and leaning forward

on her crossed arms. “Bed-curtains!”


“You don’t mean to say you took ’em down, rings and

all, with him lying there?” said Joe.


“Yes I do,” replied the woman. “Why not?”


“You were born to make your fortune,” said Joe, “and

you’ll certainly do it.”


“I certainly shan’t hold my hand, when I can get anything

in it by reaching it out, for the sake of such a man as He

was, I promise you, Joe,” returned the woman coolly. “Don’t

drop that oil upon the blankets, now.”


“His blankets?” asked Joe.


“Whose else’s do you think?” replied the woman. “He

isn’t likely to take cold without ’em, I dare say.”


“I hope he didn’t die of anything catching? Eh?” said

old Joe, stopping in his work, and looking up.


“Don’t you be afraid of that,” returned the woman. “I

an’t so fond of his company that I’d loiter about him for

such things, if he did. Ah! you may look through that

shirt till your eyes ache; but you won’t find a hole in it, nor

a threadbare place. It’s the best he had, and a fine one too.

They’d have wasted it, if it hadn’t been for me.”


“What do you call wasting of it?” asked old Joe.


“Putting it on him to be buried in, to be sure,” replied

the woman with a laugh. “Somebody was fool enough to

do it, but I took it off again. If calico an’t good enough for

such a purpose, it isn’t good enough for anything. It’s quite

as becoming to the body. He can’t look uglier than he did

in that one.”


Scrooge listened to this dialogue in horror. As they sat

grouped about their spoil, in the scanty light afforded by

the old man’s lamp, he viewed them with a detestation and

disgust, which could hardly have been greater, though they

had been obscene demons, marketing the corpse itself.


“Ha, ha!” laughed the same woman, when old Joe,

producing a flannel bag with money in it, told out their

several gains upon the ground. “This is the end of it, you

see! He frightened every one away from him when he was

alive, to profit us when he was dead! Ha, ha, ha!”


“Spirit!” said Scrooge, shuddering from head to foot. “I

see, I see. The case of this unhappy man might be my own.

My life tends that way, now. Merciful Heaven, what is


Charles Dickens

23DEC2021 – Quote of the Day – A Christmas Carol – Part 19

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

by Charles Dickens

(OCF editing – Part 19)




THE Phantom slowly, gravely, silently, approached. When

it came near him, Scrooge bent down upon his knee; for in

the very air through which this Spirit moved it seemed to

scatter gloom and mystery.


It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed

its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible

save one outstretched hand. But for this it would have been

difficult to detach its figure from the night, and separate it

from the darkness by which it was surrounded.


He felt that it was tall and stately when it came beside

him, and that its mysterious presence filled him with a

solemn dread. He knew no more, for the Spirit neither

spoke nor moved.


“I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To

Come?” said Scrooge.


The Spirit answered not, but pointed onward with its



“You are about to show me shadows of the things that

have not happened, but will happen in the time before us,”

Scrooge pursued. “Is that so, Spirit?”


The upper portion of the garment was contracted for an

instant in its folds, as if the Spirit had inclined its head.

That was the only answer he received.


Although well used to ghostly company by this time,

Scrooge feared the silent shape so much that his legs trembled

beneath him, and he found that he could hardly stand when

he prepared to follow it. The Spirit paused a moment, as

observing his condition, and giving him time to recover.


But Scrooge was all the worse for this. It thrilled him

with a vague uncertain horror, to know that behind the

dusky shroud, there were ghostly eyes intently fixed upon

him, while he, though he stretched his own to the utmost,

could see nothing but a spectral hand and one great heap

of black.


“Ghost of the Future!” he exclaimed, “I fear you more

than any spectre I have seen. But as I know your purpose

is to do me good, and as I hope to live to be another

man from what I was, I am prepared to bear you company,

and do it with a thankful heart. Will you not speak

to me?”


It gave him no reply. The hand was pointed straight

before them.


“Lead on!” said Scrooge. “Lead on! The night is

waning fast, and it is precious time to me, I know. Lead

on, Spirit!”


The Phantom moved away as it had come towards him.

Scrooge followed in the shadow of its dress, which bore him

up, he thought, and carried him along.


They scarcely seemed to enter the city; for the city rather

seemed to spring up about them, and encompass them of its

own act. But there they were, in the heart of it; on

‘Change, amongst the merchants; who hurried up and down,

and chinked the money in their pockets, and conversed in

groups, and looked at their watches, and trifled thoughtfully

with their great gold seals; and so forth, as Scrooge had

seen them often.


The Spirit stopped beside one little knot of business men.

Observing that the hand was pointed to them, Scrooge

advanced to listen to their talk.


“No,” said a great fat man with a monstrous chin, “I

don’t know much about it, either way. I only know he’s



“When did he die?” inquired another.


“Last night, I believe.”


“Why, what was the matter with him?” asked a third,

taking a vast quantity of snuff out of a very large snuff-box.

“I thought he’d never die.”


“God knows,” said the first, with a yawn.


“What has he done with his money?” asked a red-faced

gentleman with a pendulous excrescence on the end of his

nose, that shook like the gills of a turkey-cock.


“I haven’t heard,” said the man with the large chin,

yawning again. “Left it to his company, perhaps. He hasn’t

left it to me. That’s all I know.”


This pleasantry was received with a general laugh.


“It’s likely to be a very cheap funeral,” said the same

speaker; “for upon my life I don’t know of anybody to go

to it. Suppose we make up a party and volunteer?”


“I don’t mind going if a lunch is provided,” observed the

gentleman with the excrescence on his nose. “But I must

be fed, if I make one.”


Another laugh.


“Well, I am the most disinterested among you, after all,”

said the first speaker, “for I never wear black gloves, and I

never eat lunch. But I’ll offer to go, if anybody else will.

When I come to think of it, I’m not at all sure that I wasn’t

his most particular friend; for we used to stop and speak

whenever we met. Bye, bye!”


Speakers and listeners strolled away, and mixed with

other groups. Scrooge knew the men, and looked towards the

Spirit for an explanation.


The Phantom glided on into a street. Its finger pointed

to two persons meeting. Scrooge listened again, thinking

that the explanation might lie here.


He knew these men, also, perfectly. They were men of business:

very wealthy, and of great importance. He had made a point

always of standing well in their esteem: in a business point

of view, that is; strictly in a business point of view.


“How are you?” said one.


“How are you?” returned the other.


“Well!” said the first. “Old Scratch has got his own at

last, hey?”


“So I am told,” returned the second. “Cold, isn’t it?”


“Seasonable for Christmas time. You’re not a skater, I



“No. No. Something else to think of. Good morning!”


Not another word. That was their meeting, their

conversation, and their parting.


Scrooge was at first inclined to be surprised that the

Spirit should attach importance to conversations apparently so

trivial; but feeling assured that they must have some hidden

purpose, he set himself to consider what it was likely to be.

They could scarcely be supposed to have any bearing on the

death of Jacob, his old partner, for that was Past, and this

Ghost’s province was the Future. Nor could he think of any

one immediately connected with himself, to whom he could

apply them. But nothing doubting that to whomsoever they

applied they had some latent moral for his own improvement,

he resolved to treasure up every word he heard,

and everything he saw; and especially to observe the

shadow of himself when it appeared. For he had an expectation

that the conduct of his future self would give him

the clue he missed, and would render the solution of these

riddles easy.


He looked about in that very place for his own image; but

another man stood in his accustomed corner, and though the

clock pointed to his usual time of day for being there, he

saw no likeness of himself among the multitudes that poured

in through the Porch. It gave him little surprise, however;

for he had been revolving in his mind a change of life, and

thought and hoped he saw his new-born resolutions carried

out in this.


Quiet and dark, beside him stood the Phantom, with its

outstretched hand. When he roused himself from his

thoughtful quest, he fancied from the turn of the hand, and

its situation in reference to himself, that the Unseen Eyes

were looking at him keenly. It made him shudder, and feel

very cold.


Charles Dickens

22DEC2021 – Quote of the Day – A Christmas Carol – Part 18

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

by Charles Dickens

(OCF editing – Part 18)


After tea, they had some music. For they were a musical

family, and knew what they were about, when they sung a

Glee or Catch, I can assure you: especially Topper, who

could growl away in the bass like a good one, and never

swell the large veins in his forehead, or get red in the face

over it. Scrooge’s niece played well upon the harp; and

played among other tunes a simple little air (a mere nothing:

you might learn to whistle it in two minutes), which had

been familiar to the child who fetched Scrooge from the

boarding-school, as he had been reminded by the Ghost of

Christmas Past. When this strain of music sounded, all the

things that Ghost had shown him, came upon his mind; he

softened more and more; and thought that if he could have

listened to it often, years ago, he might have cultivated the

kindnesses of life for his own happiness with his own hands,

without resorting to the sexton’s spade that buried Jacob



But they didn’t devote the whole evening to music. After

a while they played at forfeits; for it is good to be children

sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its

mighty Founder was a child himself. Stop! There was first

a game at blind-man’s buff. Of course there was. And I

no more believe Topper was really blind than I believe he

had eyes in his boots. My opinion is, that it was a done

thing between him and Scrooge’s nephew; and that the

Ghost of Christmas Present knew it. The way he went after

that plump sister in the lace tucker, was an outrage on the

credulity of human nature. Knocking down the fire-irons,

tumbling over the chairs, bumping against the piano,

smothering himself among the curtains, wherever she went,

there went he! He always knew where the plump sister was.

He wouldn’t catch anybody else. If you had fallen up

against him (as some of them did), on purpose, he would

have made a feint of endeavouring to seize you, which would

have been an affront to your understanding, and would instantly

have sidled off in the direction of the plump sister.

She often cried out that it wasn’t fair; and it really was not.

But when at last, he caught her; when, in spite of all her

silken rustlings, and her rapid flutterings past him, he got

her into a corner whence there was no escape; then his

conduct was the most execrable. For his pretending not to

know her; his pretending that it was necessary to touch her

head-dress, and further to assure himself of her identity by

pressing a certain ring upon her finger, and a certain chain

about her neck; was vile, monstrous! No doubt she told

him her opinion of it, when, another blind-man being in

office, they were so very confidential together, behind the



Scrooge’s niece was not one of the blind-man’s buff party,

but was made comfortable with a large chair and a footstool,

in a snug corner, where the Ghost and Scrooge were close

behind her. But she joined in the forfeits, and loved her

love to admiration with all the letters of the alphabet.

Likewise at the game of How, When, and Where, she was

very great, and to the secret joy of Scrooge’s nephew, beat

her sisters hollow: though they were sharp girls too, as Topper

could have told you. There might have been twenty people there,

young and old, but they all played, and so did Scrooge; for

wholly forgetting in the interest he had in what was going on, that

his voice made no sound in their ears, he sometimes came out with

his guess quite loud, and very often guessed quite right, too;

for the sharpest needle, best Whitechapel, warranted not to cut

in the eye, was not sharper than Scrooge; blunt as he took it in

his head to be.


The Ghost was greatly pleased to find him in this mood,

and looked upon him with such favour, that he begged like

a boy to be allowed to stay until the guests departed. But

this the Spirit said could not be done.


“Here is a new game,” said Scrooge. “One half hour,

Spirit, only one!”


It was a Game called Yes and No, where Scrooge’s nephew

had to think of something, and the rest must find out what;

he only answering to their questions yes or no, as the case

was. The brisk fire of questioning to which he was exposed,

elicited from him that he was thinking of an animal, a live

animal, rather a disagreeable animal, a savage animal, an

animal that growled and grunted sometimes, and talked sometimes,

and lived in London, and walked about the streets,

and wasn’t made a show of, and wasn’t led by anybody, and

didn’t live in a menagerie, and was never killed in a market,

and was not a horse, or an ass, or a cow, or a bull, or a

tiger, or a dog, or a pig, or a cat, or a bear. At every fresh

question that was put to him, this nephew burst into a

fresh roar of laughter; and was so inexpressibly tickled, that

he was obliged to get up off the sofa and stamp. At last

the plump sister, falling into a similar state, cried out:


“I have found it out! I know what it is, Fred! I know

what it is!”


“What is it?” cried Fred.


“It’s your Uncle Scro-o-o-o-oge!”


Which it certainly was. Admiration was the universal

sentiment, though some objected that the reply to “Is it a

bear?” ought to have been “Yes;” inasmuch as an answer

in the negative was sufficient to have diverted their thoughts

from Mr. Scrooge, supposing they had ever had any tendency

that way.


“He has given us plenty of merriment, I am sure,” said

Fred, “and it would be ungrateful not to drink his health.

Here is a glass of mulled wine ready to our hand at the

moment; and I say, ‘Uncle Scrooge!'”


“Well! Uncle Scrooge!” they cried.


“A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to the old

man, whatever he is!” said Scrooge’s nephew. “He wouldn’t

take it from me, but may he have it, nevertheless. Uncle



Uncle Scrooge had imperceptibly become so gay and light

of heart, that he would have pledged the unconscious

company in return, and thanked them in an inaudible speech,

if the Ghost had given him time. But the whole scene

passed off in the breath of the last word spoken by his

nephew; and he and the Spirit were again upon their travels.


Much they saw, and far they went, and many homes they

visited, but always with a happy end. The Spirit stood

beside sick beds, and they were cheerful; on foreign lands,

and they were close at home; by struggling men, and they

were patient in their greater hope; by poverty, and it was

rich. In almshouse, hospital, and jail, in misery’s every

refuge, where vain man in his little brief authority had not

made fast the door, and barred the Spirit out, he left his

blessing, and taught Scrooge his precepts.


It was a long night, if it were only a night; but Scrooge

had his doubts of this, because the Christmas Holidays appeared

to be condensed into the space of time they passed

together. It was strange, too, that while Scrooge remained

unaltered in his outward form, the Ghost grew older, clearly

older. Scrooge had observed this change, but never spoke of

it, until they left a children’s Twelfth Night party, when,

looking at the Spirit as they stood together in an open place,

he noticed that its hair was grey.


“Are spirits’ lives so short?” asked Scrooge.


“My life upon this globe, is very brief,” replied the Ghost.

“It ends to-night.”


“To-night!” cried Scrooge.


“To-night at midnight. Hark! The time is drawing



The chimes were ringing the three quarters past eleven at

that moment.


“Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask,” said

Scrooge, looking intently at the Spirit’s robe, “but I see

something strange, and not belonging to yourself, protruding

from your skirts. Is it a foot or a claw?”


“It might be a claw, for the flesh there is upon it,” was

the Spirit’s sorrowful reply. “Look here.”


From the foldings of its robe, it brought two children;

wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt

down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its garment.


“Oh, Man! look here. Look, look, down here!” exclaimed

the Ghost.


They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling,

wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where

graceful youth should have filled their features out, and

touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled

hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and

pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat

enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No

change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any

grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has

monsters half so horrible and dread.


Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to

him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but

the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie

of such enormous magnitude.


“Spirit! are they yours?” Scrooge could say no more.


“They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon

them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers.

This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both,

and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for

on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the

writing be erased. Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out

its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye!

Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse.

And bide the end!”


“Have they no refuge or resource?” cried Scrooge.


“Are there no prisons?” said the Spirit, turning on him

for the last time with his own words. “Are there no workhouses?”


The bell struck twelve.


Scrooge looked about him for the Ghost, and saw it not.

As the last stroke ceased to vibrate, he remembered the

prediction of old Jacob Marley, and lifting up his eyes,

beheld a solemn Phantom, draped and hooded, coming, like

a mist along the ground, towards him.

Charles Dickens

Guest Contributor – Chemist – Reclaiming Christmas

Mrs. Chemist and I are still working but plan to take the week between Christmas and New Year’s off.

One of the things I loved the most about Christmas vacation as a child was the lack of responsibility – the absolute immunity from having to do anything. It was glorious!

Then, as I got older, responsibilities started to inject into my Christmas vacation. First it was term papers and other assignments over “Winter Break”. Later, my brief career in retail required I work harder that week than any other week of the year. (Retailers call the week between Christmas and New Years the “Thirteenth month” because they do as much business that week as a typical month through the year. After that it was graduate school when the lab and the instruments were barely used and I could get more work done. Then, early in my professional career, I worked through holidays and weekends to prove myself.

I’m done with that.

Mrs. Chemist and I will spend at least one day doing absolutely nothing: No chores, no shopping, no work, no news – nothing a responsible adult “Needs” to do. We plan to sleep late, enjoy each other, watch movies, eat bad food and just enjoy.

We are really looking forward to it.

Ah, Distinctly I Remember It Was in the Bleak December

Today was a sort of busy day.  Family matters and also, I got a couple of thousand words done for my book.  So, the day was over quickly.  I read through the news and didn’t see anything compelling to rant about.  I watched “The Holly and the Ivy” tonight and that got me back in the spirit of the season but it was late and with the sun gone so early this close to the Winter Solstice I find my energy fails earlier.  So here I am pondering weak and weary upon a midnight dreary.  It seems very quiet tonight.  Possibly that’s just my own stillness but I still want to puzzle out something about the day.

I think what I’m sensing is the contrast between the sacred and the profane.  But maybe it would be better saying good and evil.  I’m thinking about all the positive, life-affirming things tied up with Christmas.  Family, benevolence toward your fellow man, celebration, community and a sense of the holiness of the season.  And then I think about Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, “The Squad,” the awful people in the media, George Soros, all the monsters in the FBI and the Justice Department, the psychopaths in Antifa and BLM.  The idea that these people can exist in the same society that honors Christmas seems inconceivable.

And the answer is that it is inconceivable.  We do not exist in the same society.  Sometimes when it’s convenient, they pretend we are one people but that is patently false.  They believe in none of the things we do.  Every action they perform is to destroy that world that we inherited and love.  Christmas is at the epicenter of all they despise and envy.  Parents and children enjoying time off from work to visit grandparents, aunts, uncles and especially cousins are an indictment of their failures as normal human beings.  Producing and supporting a family is a heresy for them, a sin against Gaia.

So, it is at this time of the rolling year that the stark contrast between my personal world and the official goings on of post-America clash most severely.  Joe Biden is a monster who has lived such a horrible and phony life that he has produced Hunter Biden as his replacement in this world.  And Biden is emblematic of what we see all around us.  Something as moronically named as TikTok had a campaign on it to call in threats to middle schools all over America.  School Boards all over America are threatening concerned parents with arrest if they dare complain about malpractice in the schools over propaganda they are teaching the children.  This is a broken world and it’s not accidental.  It’s a concerted effort to destroy anything that is healthy and good.

So that’s the thing I sense.  It’s the disconnect.  Christmas was always a special time of the year but now it’s an anomaly.  It’s this island of joy and happiness in an ocean of dysfunction and malice.  But because of this very difference and rarity it must be enjoyed and cherished almost desperately.  You have to drain the experience down to the very last drop.  Maybe because it has to last a very long time every minute needs to be put to good use.  And as much as possible exclude the outside world and all its horror from your sight and mind.

So, when you make your plans for the holiday do your utmost to leave the newscasts and the social media far from your eyes.  Concentrate on family, food and fun and recharge those batteries as best you can.  It comes but once a year.