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It has been years since I’ve read this story. I havee seen a few versions of the movie since then. The description of the cold is so well done that I can see and feel it (the heat’s running here which is a blessing). I thought the nephew’s description of Christmas was worth noting.
“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!”
I have always loved the way Scrooge excused away the spector of Marley in spite of what he sees:
“Why do you doubt your senses?”
“Because,” said Scrooge, “a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”
Marley and the description of the spirits Scrooge sees as Marley is leaving do a great job of explaining our purpose and why anything less than that is a failure.
The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power for ever.
The second section is so sad, to see how Scrooge was and how he changed and lost so much as he became the man he is now, seeking Gain at the expense of everything else.
Christmas Present appears in section 3. Scrooge’s attitude has changed and he’s teachable now. He sees Bob Cratchit’s family and has a chance to see what they think of him. He sees people all over who celebrate Christmas, no matter how poor or how far from home. Then he goes to his nephew’s and gets caught up in the fun and laughter of the party. As the time ends he meets Want and Ignorance.
Section 4 is about the Ghost of Christas Yet To Come. I haven’t read the story in a long time and haven’t even seen a movie version in a number of years. But I remember Scrooge being more stubborn. I prefer this version, teachable and desiring to change.
“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?
We see that Tiny Tim dies and Scrooge learns that when he dies no one mourns him and those whose debt he holds rejoice at his death.
In stave 5 he wakes up in his own bed. I have always loved this part and my best memories of the movie versions are how they portray this changed man with a second chance at life.
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.
It took me two weeks to make it all the way through this short story, but I’m glad I read it again. It is a wonderful way to learn and encourage the Christmas spirit.