A Christmas Carol

by: Charles Dickens

Stave Two: The First of the Three Spirits

1

“Bear but a touch of my hand there,” said the Spirit, laying it upon his heart, “and you shall be upheld in more than this!” As the words were spoken, they passed through the wall, and stood upon an open country road, with fields on either hand. The city had entirely vanished. Not a vestige of it was to be seen. The darkness and the mist had vanished with it, for it was a clear, cold, winter day with snow upon the ground. “Good Heaven!” said Scrooge, clasping his hands together, as he looked about him. “I was bred in this place. I was a boy here!”

2

He was not reading now, but walking up and down despairingly. Scrooge looked at the Ghost and, with a mournful shaking of his head, glanced anxiously towards the door. It opened; and a little girl, much younger than the boy, came darting in, and putting her arms about his neck, and often kissing him, addressed him as her “Dear, dear brother.” “I have come to bring you home, dear brother!” said the child, chapping her tiny hands, and bending down to laugh. “To bring you home, home, home!”

3

In came the fiddler with a music-book, and went up to the lofty desk and made an orchestra of it…. In came Mrs. Fezziwig, one vast, substantial smile. In came the three Miss Fezziwigs, beaming and loveable…. In came all the young men and women employed in the business…Away they all went, twenty couple at once, hands half round and back again the other way, down the middle and up again… There were more dances, and there were forfeits, and more dances, and there was cake and there was negus, and there was a great piece of Cold Roast, and there was a great piece of Cold Boiled, and there were mince pies, and plenty of beer.

4

“Our contract is an old one. It was made when we were both poor and content to be so, until, in good season, we could improve our worldly fortune by our patient industry. You are changed. When it was made, you were another man…. Your own feeling tells you that you were not what you are,” she returned. “I am. That which promised happiness when we were one in heart, is fraught with misery now that we are two.”

5

He turned upon the Ghost, and seeing that it looked upon him with a face in which, in some strange way, there were fragments of all the faces it had shown him, wrestled with it. “Leave me! Take me back! Haunt me no longer!” In the struggle… Scrooge observed that is light was burning high and bright; and dimply connecting that with its influence over him, he seized the extinguisher cap, and by a sudden action pressed it down upon its head.