A Christmas Carol


Huge gold lettering on the binding of a book.  Quite unexpectedly, it reads:

                        GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Beside it on a shelf are other books: OLIVER TWIST, DAVID COPPERFIELD, and,
of course, A CHRISTMAS CAROL.  A small hand reaches for this last and pulls
it off the shelf.  A sober-faced, young GIRL, maybe ten years old, clutches
the book to her bosom and intently carries it out of the room and into:


A cheerily-lit sitting-room in London, England, one Christmas Eve in the
1860s.  The girl carries the book to a corner of the room where a man sits
before a large picture window revealing a snow covered street under a night
sky.  Handsome, in his late twenties, with a pleasant voice, obviously a
favorite uncle -- he is surrounded by a noisy circle of children and young
adults.  He is to be the NARRATOR of the story.  They are pestering him for
something and he is waving them off.

                I don't know why you should want to hear
                this story again.  You must have heard it
                a dozen times by now.

                                THE SKEPTICAL ADOLESCENT
                A hundred.

                                THE ADOLESCENT WHO
                                WISHED HE WAS AN ADULT
                A thousand.  But it's good for a laugh.

                                THE SKEPTICAL ADOLESCENT
                And it's your story as much as it is
                anyone's.  Isn't it?

                        (genuine modesty)
                Maybe it is.  But I'm not sure I'm
                necessarily the right one to tell it.

                                THE SKEPTICAL ADOLESCENT
                Aw, that's not true.  Grandmother says
                you're the only one who knows how to tell
                it right.

The others, particularly the younger children, murmur agreement. The ten year
old girl presses through the little crowd with the book in her hand.

                                THE TEN YEAR OLD GIRL
                Please.  We want to hear it from you.

She hands the Narrator the book.  He smiles at it and sets it in his lap
unopened as the ten year old girl sits at his feet.  Slowly, some of the
others begin to sit down too.

                        (off the book)
                Oh, now, you know, I don't really need this.

The Narrator, staring at the book, is suddenly lost in thought and talks as
much to himself as to the others.

                I've been telling this story every Christmas
                now for oh, I don't know how many years.
                Since I was a boy.  And I know it by heart.
                It always begins the same way.

A pause.

                                THE TEN YEAR OLD GIRL
                        (very quietly)
                How does it begin?

The Narrator abruptly looks up.  Everyone is now seated.  They stare at him
expectantly.  And without any warning, he begins.

                Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
                This must be distinctly understood or
                nothing wonderful can come of the story
                I am going to relate. So, remember, Old
                Marley was as dead as a door-nail.   The
                registrar of his burial was signed by
                Ebenezer Scrooge.  And Scrooge's name was
                good on the London Exchange for anything
                he chose to put his hand to.

As he speaks, the view of the street through the window behind him blurs and
resolves itself into a view of the London Exchange.


Late afternoon on Christmas Eve, in the year 1843.  The Exchange is packed
with well-dressed businessmen who hurry up and down, and chink the money in
their pockets, and converse in groups, and look at their watches, and trifle
thoughtfully with their great gold seals; and so forth. Among their number
PENDULOUS EXCRESCENCE.  Also present is a man with a sharp and bitter face
-- and as bald as Patrick Stewart, give or take a hair.  This is EBENEZER
SCROOGE.  Scrooge is bundling up his coat and heading for the exit when the
fat man makes eye contact with him.

                                FAT MAN WITH A MONSTROUS CHIN
                Ah, Mister Scrooge...

                Your servant, sir.

                                FAT MAN WITH A MONSTROUS CHIN
                Are you off home to keep Christmas?

                I am not in the habit of keeping Christmas,

                                RED-FACED MAN WITH A
                                PENDULOUS EXCRESCENCE
                Then why are you leaving so early?

                Christmas has a habit of keeping men from
                doing business.

                                RED-FACED MAN WITH A
                                PENDULOUS EXCRESCENCE
                Come, it's in the nature of things that ants
                toil and grasshoppers sing and play, Mister

                An ant is what it is and a grasshopper is what
                it is and Christmas, sir, is a humbug.  Good

The two men laugh at Scrooge as he exits the Exchange.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:


Moments later, on the massive stone steps just outside the Exchange, a
shivering, POORLY-DRESSED MAN sees Scrooge walking toward him.  Scrooge pays
him no heed and walks past.  The man follows and clutches at Scrooge's
sleeve.  The two men descend the steps together.

                                POORLY-DRESSED MAN
                Mister Scrooge, sir.

                Who are you?

                                POORLY-DRESSED MAN
                Samuel Wilson, sir.

                Oh, yes.  You owe me a little matter of
                twenty-odd pounds, I believe. Well, if you
                want to pay it, come to my place of business.
                I don't conduct my affairs in the teeth of
                inclement weather.

                                POORLY-DRESSED MAN
                I-I can't pay you, sir.

                I'm not surprised.

                                POORLY-DRESSED MAN
                Not unless you give me more time.

                Did I ask you for more time to lend you
                the money?

                                POORLY-DRESSED MAN
                Oh, no, sir.

                Then why should you ask for more time to
                pay it back?

                                POORLY-DRESSED MAN
                I can't take my wife to a debtors' prison.

                Then leave her behind.  Why should she go
                to a debtors' prison anyway?  She didn't
                borrow the twenty pounds.  You did.  What
                has your wife got to do with it?  For that
                matter, what have I got to do with it?  Good

Scrooge tries to walk off but the man clutches at his sleeve.

                                POORLY-DRESSED MAN
                But, Mister Scrooge.  It's Christmas!

Scrooge shakes the man off.

                Christmas has even less to do with it, my
                dear sir, than your wife has or I have.
                You'd still owe me twenty pounds that
                you're not in the position to repay if it
                was the middle of a heat wave on August
                Bank holiday.  Good afternoon.

Scrooge stalks away as the stunned man stands and stares at him.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:


Outside Scrooge's counting-house.  Cold, bleak, biting weather.  People in
the street go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts,
and stamping their feet upon the pavement stones to warm them. The city
clocks strike three, but it's quite dark already. Candles flare in the
windows of the neighbouring offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable
brown air. The fog comes pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and is so
dense that although the street is narrow, the houses opposite are mere
phantoms. The sign above the counting-house door reads:

                        SCROOGE & MARLEY

A tall man -- whom we will come to know as Scrooge's nephew, FRED -- rapidly
walks up to the door, opens it, and enters.


Scrooge's clerk, BOB CRATCHIT, sits in a dismal little cell, a sort of tank,
copying letters. There's a very small fire, so small that it looks like
there's only one lump of coal.  The clerk puts on his white comforter, trying
-- and failing -- to warm himself at the candle. Fred appears, all in a glow;
his face ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkle, and his breath smokes in the
cold.  He grins at Bob Cratchit who raises an eyebrow, surprised to see him.
Fred crosses to the doorway of an adjacent office in which someone sits,
hunched over a desk, busily writing.

                A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!

The person at the desk spins around, glaring at the intruder.  It's Scrooge.

                Bah!  Humbug!

                Christmas a humbug, uncle?  You don't mean
                that, I am sure.

                I do.  Merry Christmas! What right have you
                to be merry? What reason have you to be
                merry? You're poor enough.

                Come, then. What right have you to be
                dismal? What reason have you to be morose?
                You're rich enough.

Scrooge has no better answer ready.

                Bah! Humbug.

                Don't be cross, uncle.

Fred enters the office and crosses to a gothic window in the wall from which
is visible the ancient tower of a church.

                What else can I be 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, 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!


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

                Keep it! But you don't keep it.

                Let me leave it alone, then. 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. 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!

Bob Cratchit, still in the tank, involuntarily applauds. Becoming immediately
sensible of the impropriety, he quickly pokes the fire, and extinguishes the
last frail spark.

                        (to Bob Cratchit)
                Let me hear another sound from you and
                you'll keep your Christmas by losing your
                        (to his nephew)
                You're quite a powerful speaker, sir. I
                wonder you don't go into Parliament.

                Don't be angry, uncle. Come! Dine with
                us to-morrow.
                        (a long pause)
                Will you come see us?

                Oh, I'll see you all right...  I'll see
                you in hell.

                But why? Why?

                Why did you get married?

                Because I fell in love.

Scrooge looks at him as if falling in love was the only thing in the world
more ridiculous than a merry Christmas.

                Because you fell in love! Good afternoon!

                Uncle, you never came to see me before that
                happened. Why give it as a reason for not
                coming now?

                Good afternoon.

                I want nothing from you; I ask nothing of
                you; why can't we be friends?

                Good afternoon.

                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.

                And a Happy New Year!

                Good afternoon.

Fred leaves the room with a wry grin. On his way out the front door and
buttoning his coat, he exchanges greetings with Bob Cratchit.

                How is Mrs Cratchit and all the small,
                assorted Cratchits?

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                Very good, sir.

                All champing at the bit waiting for
                Christmas to begin, eh?

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                Oh, yes, sir. All very eager.

                And the little lame boy.  Which one is he?

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                Tim, sir.

                That's right. How is he?

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                We're in high hopes he's getting better, sir.

                Good.  A merry Christmas to you.

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                Same to you, sir, I'm sure.

                Thank you.

Bob Cratchit watches Fred exit, then glances at Scrooge's office, surprised
to find Scrooge glaring at him.

                And you!  Fifteen shillings a week, and a
                wife and family, talking about a merry
                Christmas. I'll retire to Bedlam.

Bob Cratchit watches Scrooge shake his head and return to his desk.


Not long after, TWO PORTLY GENTLEMEN, pleasant to behold, stand, with their
hats off, in Scrooge's office. They hold books and papers in their hands,
and bow to him. The 1st Gentleman glances at a list.

                                1ST GENTLEMAN
                Scrooge and Marley's, I believe.
                Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr
                Scrooge, or Mr Marley?

                Mr Marley has been dead these seven years.
                He died seven years ago, this very night.

The two gentlemen exchange glances while Scrooge grins malevolently at them.
 The first gentleman hands his credentials to Scrooge.

                                1ST GENTLEMAN
                        (to Scrooge)
                We have no doubt his liberality is well
                represented by his surviving partner.

At the ominous word "liberality", Scrooge frowns, shakes his head, and hands
the credentials back.  The 2nd Gentleman takes pen in hand.

                                2ND GENTLEMAN
                At this festive season of the year, Mr
                Scrooge, it is more than usually desirable
                that we should make some slight provision
                for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly
                at the present time. Many thousands are in
                want of common necessities; hundreds of
                thousands are in want of common comforts,

                Are there no prisons?

The gentleman lays down his pen.

                                2ND GENTLEMAN
                Plenty of prisons.

                And the Union workhouses?  Are they still
                in operation?

                                1ST GENTLEMAN
                They are. Still. I wish I could say they
                were not.

                The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full
                vigour, then?

                                1ST GENTLEMAN
                Both very busy, sir.

                Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at
                first, that something had occurred to
                stop them in their useful course.  I'm
                very glad to hear it.

                                1ST GENTLEMAN
                Under the impression that they scarcely
                furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to
                the multitude, a few of us are attempting to
                raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and
                drink, and means of warmth.  What shall I
                put you down for?


                                1ST GENTLEMAN
                You wish to be anonymous?

                I wish to be left alone.  Since you ask me
                what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer.
                I don't make merry myself at Christmas and
                I can't afford to make idle people merry.
                I help to support the establishments I have
                mentioned: they cost enough: and those who
                are badly off must go there.

                                1ST GENTLEMAN
                Many can't go there; and many would rather

                If they would rather die, they had better
                do it, and decrease the surplus population.
                Besides -- excuse me -- I don't know that.

                                1ST GENTLEMAN
                But you might know it.

                It's not my business. It's enough for a
                man to understand his own business, and not
                to interfere with other people's. Mine
                occupies me constantly. Good afternoon,

Scrooge returns to his paperwork as the gentlemen exchange astonished looks.


The fog and darkness have thickened.  People run about with flaring torches,
proffering their services to go before horses in carriages, and conduct them
on their way. At the corner, some labourers repair gas-pipes, and have
lighted a great fire in an iron basket, round which a party of ragged men
and boys gather: warming their hands and winking their eyes before the blaze
in rapture. The water-plug being left in solitude, its overflowings have
sullenly congealed, and turned into misanthropic ice. The brightness of the
shops where holly sprigs and berries crackle in the lamp-heat of the windows,
make pale faces ruddy as they pass. A lean woman emerges from the butchers'
with a package of meat.


A small BOY nervously approaches Scrooge's window to regale him with a
Christmas carol: but at the first sound of "God bless you, merry gentleman!
May nothing you dismay!" Scrooge seizes a ruler with such energy of action
that the singer flees in terror.


The moment the boy has fled, Scrooge's threatening countenance relaxes and
he grins, rather pleased with himself.

Scrooge glances at the church tower, nearly invisible in the fog, as its
clock STRIKES the hour, with tremulous vibrations afterwards as if its teeth
were chattering in its frozen head.  Time to shut up the counting-house.
With an ill-will, Scrooge dismounts from his stool, and nods to Bob Cratchit,
who instantly snuffs his candle out, and puts on his hat.

                You'll want all day tomorrow, I suppose?

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                If quite convenient, Sir.

                It's not convenient, and it's not fair.
                If I was to stop half-a-crown for it,
                you'd think yourself ill-used, I'll be

Bob Cratchit smiles faintly.

                And yet, you don't think me ill-used,
                when I pay a day's wages for no work.

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                It's only once a year, Mr Scrooge.

                A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket
                every twenty-fifth of December,

Scrooge buttons his great-coat to the chin.

                But I suppose you must have the whole day.
                Be here all the earlier next morning!

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                I will.  I promise.

Scrooge walks out into the street with a growl. Bob Cratchit closes the
office in a twinkling.


A coatless, shivering Bob Cratchit locks the front door and rushes off with
the long ends of his white comforter dangling below his waist.


Scrooge eats a melancholy dinner in a melancholy tavern; the newspapers he
has just read lie in a stack on his table; he studies his banker's-book.


A dark and threatening building. Nobody lives in it but Scrooge, the other
rooms are all let out as offices. The yard is so dark that Scrooge gropes
with his hands through the fog and frost to the black old doorway of the
house on which is a fairly large knocker. Scrooge puts his key in the lock
of the door and glances at the knocker.  Without its undergoing any
intermediate process of change, the knocker is no longer a knocker, but
Marley's face. Scrooge gasps.


Marley's face. Not in impenetrable shadow as the other objects in the yard
are, but with a dismal light about it, like a bad lobster in a dark cellar.
Not angry or ferocious, the face looks at Scrooge as Marley used to look:
with ghostly spectacles turned up upon its ghostly forehead; the hair
curiously stirred, as if by breath or hot-air;  eyes wide open but perfectly
motionless. That, and its livid colour, make it horrible; but its horror
seems to be in spite of the face and beyond its control, rather than a part
of its own expression. As Scrooge lets go of the key and stares fixedly at
this phenomenon, it becomes a knocker again. Startled, Scrooge puts his hand
upon the key, turns it sturdily, walks in, and lights his candle.


Scrooge pauses to look cautiously behind the door, as if he half expects to
see Marley's pigtail sticking out into the hall. But there's nothing on the
back of the door, except the screws and nuts that hold the knocker on.
Scrooge closes the door with a bang.  The sound echoes through the house like
thunder. He fastens the door, walks across the hall, and up the stairs,
slowly, trimming his candle as he goes.


A grand old flight of stairs, very wide, very dark.  Scrooge peers up into

the darkness and, for a moment, he thinks he sees a something that looks like
a hearse going on before him in the gloom. He pauses, blinks, shakes his
head, then continues, muttering to himself.


A suspicious, slightly unnerved Scrooge walks through his gloomy suite of
rooms -- sitting-room,  lumber-room, bed-room -- to be sure that everything's
all right.  In the sitting-room, he finds nobody under the table, nobody
under the sofa; a small fire in the grate; spoon and basin ready; and a
little saucepan of gruel (Scrooge has a cold in his head) upon the hob.
Lumber-room as usual. Old fire-guard, old shoes, two fish-baskets, washing-
stand on three legs, and a poker.

Bed-room as usual.  Nobody under the bed; nobody in the closet.  Suddenly, he
sees a ghostly white shape in the darkness on the opposite side of the room.
 Scrooge tenses up for a moment until he realizes it's only his
dressing-gown, hung up in a suspicious attitude against the wall.

Quite satisfied, he closes his door, and locks himself in; in fact, he
double-locks himself in, not his custom. Secured against surprise, he returns
to the bed-room, takes off his cravat and starts to put on his dressing-gown,
slippers, and night-cap.


Having changed clothes, Scrooge sits down before the fire to take his gruel.

It's a very low fire and Scrooge sits close to it. The fireplace is an old
one, built by some Dutch merchant long ago, and paved all round with quaint
Dutch tiles, designed to illustrate the Scriptures. Cains and Abels,
Pharaoh's daughters, Queens of Sheba, Angelic messengers descending through
the air on clouds like feather-beds, Abrahams, Belshazzars, Apostles putting
off to sea in butter-boats, hundreds of figures.  Scrooge takes a mouthful
of gruel and glances at the fireplace.  FLASH CUT of every tile adorned with
Marley's face as it was on the door-knocker.  Scrooge blinks -- and sees that
the tiles have returned to normal.

Scrooge rises and paces the room, feeling unsettled. After several turns, and
more than a few nervous glances at the fireplace, he sits down again. As he
throws his head back in the chair, his glance happens to rest upon a bell, a
disused bell, that hangs in the room. As he looks, the bell begins to swing.
It swings so softly at the outset that it scarcely makes a sound; but soon it
rings out loudly, and for the next twenty seconds, so does every bell in the
house. Throughout, an uneasy look slowly crosses Scrooge's face.

All at once, the bells cease. Scrooge relaxes, but only for a moment: a
clanking noise comes from deep down below, as if some person were dragging a
heavy chain over the casks in the wine-merchant's cellar. The sound of a
downstairs door flying open with a booming sound, and then the clanking
noise much louder, on the floors below; then coming up the stairs; then
coming straight towards his door. Scrooge starts talking to himself.

                It's humbug still! I won't believe it.

The colour leaves Scrooge's face though, when, without a pause, the source of
the noise comes on through the heavy door, and passes into the room before
Scrooge's very eyes. Upon its coming in, the dying flame leaps up in the
fire-place and falls again.

The same face: the very same. JACOB MARLEY'S GHOST in his pigtail, usual
waistcoat, tights, and boots; the tassels on the latter bristling, like his
pigtail, and his coat-skirts, and the hair upon his head. A wrapper, a folded
kerchief is bound about Marley's head and chin.  A long chain is clasped
about his middle, wound about him like a tail; and made of cash-boxes, keys,
padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel. Marley's body
is transparent so that Scrooge, observing him closely, can look through his
waistcoat and see the two buttons on his coat behind. Scrooge feels the need
to crack a joke to keep down his terror.

                I'd often heard it said that you had no
                heart, Marley, but I never believed it
                until now.

Scrooge stares into the ghost's death-cold eyes and reverts to his cold and
caustic self.

                How now! What do you want with me?


                Who are you?

                Ask me who I was.

                Who were you then?

                In life I was your partner, Jacob Marley.

                Can you -- can you sit down?

                I can.

                Do it, then.

Marley sits down on the opposite side of the fireplace, as if he were quite
used to it. Scrooge stares at the ghost's fixed, glazed eyes as it sits
perfectly motionless though its hair, and skirts, and tassels, still quiver
as if by the hot vapour from an oven.

                You don't believe in me.

                I don't.

                What evidence would you have of my reality
                beyond that of your senses?

                I don't know.

                Why do you doubt your senses?

                Because a little thing affects them. A
                slight disorder of the stomach makes them
                cheat. 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!  You see this toothpick?

Scrooge holds up a toothpick.  The ghost's eyes do not move.

                I do.

                You are not looking at it.

                But I see it, notwithstanding.

                Well! I have but to swallow this, and be for
                the rest of my days persecuted by a legion
                of goblins, all of my own creation. Humbug,
                I tell you; humbug!

At this, the spirit raises a frightful cry, and shakes its chain with such a
dismal and appalling noise, that Scrooge holds on tight to his chair, to save
himself from falling in a swoon.  Marley starts taking off the bandage round
its head, as if it were too warm to wear in-doors.  When Marley's lower jaw
drops down to his breast, Scrooge falls on his knees, and clasps his hands
before his face.

                Mercy!  Dreadful apparition, why do you
                trouble me?

                Man of the worldly mind!  Do you believe
                in me or not?

                I do. I must. But why do spirits walk the
                earth, and why do they come to me?

                It is required of every man that the spirit
                within him should walk abroad among his
                fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and if
                that spirit goes not go forth in life, it is
                condemned to do so after death. It is
                doomed to wander through the world -- oh,
                woe is me! -- and witness what it cannot
                share, but might have shared on earth, and
                turned to happiness!

Again Marley raises a cry, and shakes his chain, and wrings his shadowy hands.

                You are fettered. Tell me why?

                I wear the chain I forged in life. I made
                it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded
                it on of my own free will, and of my own
                free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange
                to you?

Scrooge trembles more and more.

                Or would you know the weight and length of
                the strong coil you bear yourself? It was
                full as heavy and as long as this, seven
                Christmas Eves ago. You have laboured on
                it, since. It is a ponderous chain!

Scrooge glances about him on the floor, in the expectation of finding himself
surrounded by some fifty or sixty fathoms of iron cable: but he sees nothing.

                Jacob. Old Jacob Marley, tell me more.
                Speak comfort to me, Jacob.

                I have none to give.  It comes from other
                regions, Ebenezer Scrooge, and is conveyed
                by other ministers, to other kinds of men.
                Nor can I tell you what I would. A very
                little more, is all permitted to me. I
                cannot rest, I cannot stay, I cannot
                linger anywhere. My spirit never walked
                beyond our counting-house -- mark me! --
                in life my spirit never roved beyond the
                narrow limits of our money-changing hole;
                and weary journeys lie before me!

                You must have been very slow about it,


                Seven years dead. And travelling all the

                The whole time.  No rest, no peace.
                Incessant torture of remorse.

                You travel fast?

                On the wings of the wind.

                You might have got over a great quantity
                of ground in seven years.

Marley screams another cry, and clanks his chain hideously.

                Oh! captive, bound, and double-ironed!
                Not to know, that ages of incessant
                labour by immortal creatures, for this
                earth must pass into eternity before the
                good of which it is susceptible is all
                developed. Not to know that any Christian
                spirit working kindly in its little sphere,
                whatever it may be, will find its mortal
                life too short for its vast means of
                usefulness. Not to know that no space of
                regret can make amends for one life's
                opportunities misused! Yet such was I!
                Oh! such was I!

                But you were always a good man of business,

                Business! Mankind was my business. The
                common welfare was my business; charity,
                mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were,
                all, my business. The dealings of my trade
                were but a drop of water in the comprehensive
                ocean of my business!

Marley holds up his chain at arm's length, as if that were the cause of all
his unavailing grief, and flings it heavily to the floor again.

                At this time of the year, I suffer most.
                Why did I walk through crowds of
                fellow-beings with my eyes turned down,
                and never raise them to that blessed Star
                which led the Wise Men to a poor abode?
                Were there no poor homes to which its light
                would have conducted me!

Scrooge shivers.

                Hear me! My time is nearly gone.

                I will.  But don't be hard upon me! Don't
                be flowery, Jacob!

                How it is that I appear before you in a
                shape that you can see, I may not tell.
                I have sat invisible beside you many and
                many a day.

Scrooge shivers at this, and wipes the perspiration from his brow.

                That is no light part of my penance.  I am
                here to-night to warn you, that you have yet
                a chance and hope of escaping my fate. A
                chance and hope of my procuring, Ebenezer.

                You were always a good friend to me.

                You will be haunted ... by Three Spirits.

Scrooge's jaw drops almost as low as Marley's had done.

                Is that the chance and hope you mentioned,

                It is.

                I -- I think I'd rather not.

                Without their visits, you cannot hope to
                shun the path I tread. Expect the first
                to-morrow, when the bell tolls One.

                Couldn't I take 'em all at once, and have
                it over, Jacob?

                Expect the second on the next night at the
                same hour. The third upon the next night
                when the last stroke of Twelve has ceased
                to vibrate. Look to see me no more; and look
                that, for your own sake, you remember what
                has passed between us.

Scrooge ventures to raise his eyes again, and finds his supernatural visitor
confronting him in an erect attitude, with its chain wound over and about its
arm.  Marley takes his wrapper and wraps it round its head, as before.
Scrooge winces at the clicking sound Marley's teeth make, when his jaws are
brought together by the bandage.  Marley walks backward from him; and with
every step, the nearby window raises itself a little, so that when the ghost
reaches it, it's wide open. He beckons Scrooge to approach, which he does.
When they get within two paces of each other, Marley holds up his hand,
warning him to come no nearer. Scrooge stops, not so much in obedience, as in
surprise and fear: for on the raising of the hand, he becomes sensible of
confused noises in the air; incoherent sounds of lamentation and regret;
wailings inexpressibly sorrowful and self-accusatory. Marley, after listening
for a moment, joins in the mournful dirge; and floats out the window into the
bleak, dark night.  Scrooge follows to the window: desperate in his
curiosity. He looks out.


The foggy air is filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in
restless haste, and moaning as they go. Every one of them wears chains like
Marley's; some few (they might be guilty governments) are linked together;
none are free. Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives. One
old ghost, in a white waistcoat, with a monstrous iron safe attached to its
ankle, cries piteously at being unable to assist a WRETCHED WOMAN with an
infant, whom it sees below, upon a neighboring door-step. The misery with
them all is, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human
matters, and have lost the power for ever. Whether these creatures fade into
the mist, or the mist enshrouds them, is unclear. But they and their spirit
voices fade together; and the night becomes as it had been when Scrooge
walked home.


Scrooge closes the window, and examines the door by which the Ghost had
entered. It's still double-locked, as he had locked it with his own hands --
the bolts are undisturbed. He tries to say "Humbug!" but stops at the first


Scrooge closes his bed-room door and crosses to his bed.  Without undressing,
he gets in, and falls asleep instantly. The light from the fire in the
sitting-room is visible under the closed bed-room door.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:


Scrooge awakes in darkness, some time later.  The fire has gone out in the
sitting-room.  As the chimes of a neighbouring church strike twelve, Scrooge
counts with his fingers.

                Twelve? It was past two when I went to bed.

Scrooge scrambles out of bed, and gropes his way to the window. He rubs the
frost off with the sleeve of his dressing-gown but all he can make out is
that it's very foggy and very quiet.

                Hmmph! Clock must be wrong. Icicle must
                have got into the works.

Scrooge lights a candle and sits on the edge of his bed, looking at his
bedside alarm clock.  It reads twelve.

                Twelve! Why, it isn't possible. I can't
                have slept through a whole day and far
                into another night.

He picks up the clock and checks it, then seems to remember something.

                        (voice over)
                Now, of course, the Ghost had warned Mr
                Scrooge that a spirit would visit him
                when the bell tolled one ...

Scrooge appears to make a decision of some kind and begins to fiddle with his

                        (voice over)
                ... So he resolved to lie awake until the
                hour was past; and, considering that he
                could no more go to sleep than go to Heaven,
                this was perhaps the wisest decision he
                could make. Naturally, he didn't want to
                be caught dozing off, so he made sure to
                set the alarm on his clock to go off
                precisely at one.

Scrooge sets the alarm, draws open all the bed-curtains so he may keep a
sharp look-out on the room, and sits up in bed -- waiting for his visitor.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:


About an hour later.  Scrooge, warily sitting up in bed, watches the clock
tick to one.  The tinny alarm bell goes off.  Scrooge looks around the room.


He sighs -- whether in relief or disappointment or embarrassment, it's hard
to tell -- blows out the candle, glances at the door where, the fire having
gone out, no light shines through from the sitting-room.  Scrooge draws all
the bed-curtains shut, curls up under the covers, and with a peaceful,
satisfied look on his face, shuts his eyes.

A long pause.

The church bell sounds with a deep, dull, hollow, melancholy ONE. Scrooge's
eyes pop open and a wave of dread passes over his face.  A wickedly bright
light flashes up in the room, and the curtains of Scrooge's bed are instantly
drawn aside.  Scrooge, starting up into a half-recumbent attitude, finds
himself face to face with the unearthly visitor who drew them:

It's a weird, impressive figure -- like a child: yet not so like a child as
like an old man, viewed through some supernatural medium, which gives him the
appearance of having receded from the view, and being diminished to a child's
proportions. Its hair, which hangs about its neck and down its back, is white
as if with age; and yet the face has not a wrinkle in it, and the tenderest
bloom is on the skin. The arms are very long and muscular; the hands the
same, as if its hold were of uncommon strength. Its legs and feet, most
delicately formed, are, like those upper members, bare. It wears a tunic of
the purest white. Round its waist is bound a lustrous belt, with a beautiful
sheen. It holds a branch of fresh green holly in its hand; and, in singular
contradiction of that wintry emblem, has its dress trimmed with summer
flowers. From the crown of its head there springs a bright clear jet of
light, by which all this is visible; and which is doubtless why it uses, in
its duller moments, a great extinguisher for a cap, which it now holds under
its arm.

Its belt sparkles and glitters now in one part and now in another.  And it is
continuously morphing: what is light one instant, at another time is dark, so
the figure itself fluctuates in its distinctness -- being now a thing with
one arm, now with one leg, now with twenty legs, now a pair of legs without a
head, now a head without a body -- of which dissolving parts, no outline is
visible in the dense gloom wherein they melt away and then re-form, distinct
and clear as ever.

                Are you the Spirit, sir, whose coming was
                foretold to me?

                                THE GHOST
                I am!

The voice is soft and gentle. Singularly low, as if instead of being so close
beside Scrooge, it's at a distance.

                Who, and what are you?

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.

                Long past?

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                No. Your past.

Scrooge winces and blinks at the light coming from the Ghost's crown.

                I wonder if you might, er, put a hat on.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                What!  Would you so soon put out, with
                worldly hands, the light I give? Is it not
                enough that you are one of those whose
                passions made this cap, and force me through
                whole trains of years to wear it low upon
                my brow!

                I didn't mean to offend. Er, what business
                brings you here?

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                Your welfare!

                Well, I'm much obliged, but I wonder if a
                good night's sleep wouldn't be more conducive
                to that end.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                Your reclamation, then. Take heed!

The Ghost puts out its strong hand as it speaks, and clasps him gently by the

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                Rise! and walk with me!

Scrooge rises, but finding that the Ghost leads him toward the window, clasps
his robe in supplication.

                It's the middle of the night;  it's below
                freezing;  I'm wearing slippers, a
                dressing-gown, and a nightcap;  I'm mortal.
                And I'm liable to fall.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                Bear but a touch of my hand there ...
The Ghost points to its heart.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                ... and you shall be upheld in more than

Scrooge touches the Ghost's heart and they pass through the wall.


Scrooge and the Ghost stand on an open, sunlit country road, with fields on
either hand.  It's a clear, cold, winter day, with snow upon the ground.
Scrooge looks about and clasps his hands together.

                Good Heaven! I was bred in this place. I
                was a boy here!

The Ghost gazes upon him mildly.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                Your lip is trembling.  And what is that
                upon your cheek?

                        (an unusual catching in his voice)
                It's a pimple.
                I beg you, Spirit, lead me where you would.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                You recollect the way?

                Remember it! I could walk it blindfold.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                Strange to have forgotten it for so many
                years! Let us go on.

They walk along the road; Scrooge points out every gate, and post, and tree;
A little market-town appears in the distance, with a bridge, a church, and a
winding river. Some shaggy ponies, with boys upon their backs, trot down the
road towards Scrooge and the Ghost.  The boys call to other boys in country
gigs and carts, driven by farmers. All are in great spirits, and shout to
each other.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                        (to Scrooge)
                These are but shadows of the things that
                have been.  They have no consciousness of

The jocund travellers approach; and as they pass by, Scrooge's cold eye
glistens. He hears them wish each other Merry Christmas, as they part at
cross-roads and bye-ways, for their several homes.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                The school is not quite deserted.  A
                solitary child, neglected by his friends,
                is left there still.

                        (grim again)
                I know it.


Scrooge and the Ghost leave the high-road and approach a mansion of dull red
brick, with a little weathercock-surmounted cupola, on the roof, and a bell
hanging in it. It's a large house, but one of broken fortunes; for the
spacious offices are little used, their walls are damp and mossy, their
windows broken, and their gates decayed. Fowls cluck and strut in the
stables; and the coach-houses and sheds are over-run with grass. The Ghost
and Scrooge cross to a door at the back of the house. It opens before them,
and discloses:


A long, bare, melancholy room, made barer still by lines of plain deal forms
and desks. At one of these, a lonely boy reads near a feeble fire; Scrooge
sits down upon a form, and weeps to see his poor forgotten self as he used to
be. The Ghost joins him.

                Poor boy!

Scrooge dries his eyes with his cuff, then mutters, puts his hand in his
pocket, and looks about him.

                I wish ... but it's too late now.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                What is the matter?

                Nothing. Nothing. There was a boy singing a
                Christmas carol at my window last night. I
                should like to have given him something:
                that's all.

The Ghost smiles thoughtfully, and waves its hand.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                Let us see another Christmas!

Scrooge's younger self suddenly morphs into an older boy, and the room
becomes a little darker and more dirty. The panels shrink, the windows crack;
fragments of plaster fall out of the ceiling; But his former self is still
alone: all the other boys have gone home again for the holidays.

Young Scrooge is not reading now, but walking up and down despairingly.
Scrooge looks at the Ghost, and with a mournful shaking of his head, glances
anxiously towards the door. It opens; and a little girl, much younger than
the boy, stands at the threshold, looking in. It's Scrooge's sister FAN. The
elder Scrooge is amazed to see her.



Fan steps toward him, arms outstretched as if to give him a hug and he
responds.  But as she darts forward, her body passes through his -- for she
is but a shadow -- and puts her arms about the neck of the younger Scrooge,
and kisses him.  Though disappointed, the elder Scrooge turns to watch the
youngsters embrace.

                Dear, dear brother.  I have come to bring
                you home, dear brother!

She claps her tiny hands, and bends down to laugh.

                To bring you home, home, home!

                                YOUNG SCROOGE
                Home, little Fan?

                Yes! Home, for good and all. Home, for ever
                and ever. Father is so much kinder than he
                used to be, that home's like Heaven!

                                YOUNG SCROOGE
                For you, perhaps.  But not for me.  He
                doesn't know me or even what I look like.
                Same as I hardly know you, now that you're
                quite a woman.

                He spoke so gently to me one dear night when
                I was going to bed, that I was not afraid to
                ask him once more if you might come home; and
                he said Yes, you should; and sent me in a coach
                to bring you. And you're to be a man! And are
                never to come back here; but first, we're to be
                together all the Christmas long, and have the
                merriest time in all the world.

                                YOUNG SCROOGE
                You are quite a woman, little Fan!

She claps her hands and laughs, and tries to touch his head; but being too
little, laughs again, and stands on tiptoe to embrace him. Then she begins to
drag him, in her childish eagerness, towards the door; and he, nothing loth
to go, accompanies her.


Young Scrooge's trunk is tied on to the top of a coach, not long after. Young
Scrooge and Fan bid an old schoolmaster good-bye, get in, and drive gaily
down the country road: the quick wheels dash the hoar-frost and snow from off
the dark leaves of the evergreens like spray.


The Elder Scrooge and the Ghost stand at the road-side and watch the coach go
by, its two passengers laughing and talking.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                Always a delicate creature, whom a breath
                might have withered.  But she had a large

                So she had.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                She died a woman.  And had, as I think,

                One child.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                True.  Your nephew!

Scrooge seems uneasy in his mind.


The Ghost casually peers over Scrooge shoulder and when Scrooge turns 'round
to follow his gaze, he is startled to see:


A busy thoroughfare of a city, where shadowy pedestrians pass and shadowy
carts and coaches battle for the way. The dressing of the shops shows that
here too it's Christmas time again; but it's evening, and the streets are
lighted up. Scrooge and the Ghost stand near a warehouse door to which the
Ghost points.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                Know it?

                Know it!  I apprenticed here!

The Ghost, using a half dozen arms that fade in and out of view, gestures
"After you" and Scrooge enters.


At sight of an old GENTLEMEN in a Welch wig, sitting behind such a high desk,
that if he were two inches taller he would knock his head against the
ceiling, Scrooge lets out a gasp and turns to the Ghost behind him.

                Why, it's old Fezziwig! Bless his heart;
                it's Fezziwig alive again!

Old Fezziwig lays down his pen, and looks up at the clock, which points to
the hour of seven. He rubs his hands; adjusts his capacious waistcoat;
laughs, and calls out in a comfortable, oily, rich, fat, jovial voice.

                Yo ho, there! Ebenezer! Dick!

Immediately, EBENEZER -- Scrooge's younger self, now a grown man -- comes
briskly in, accompanied by his fellow-'prentice, DICK.

                        (to the Ghost)
                Dick Wilkins, to be sure!  Bless me, yes.
                There he is. He was very much attached to me,
                was Dick. Poor Dick! Dear, dear!

                Yo ho, my boys! No more work to-night.
                Christmas Eve, Dick. Christmas, Ebenezer!
                Let's have the shutters up...
                        (claps his hands, sharply)
                ... before a man can say, Jack Robinson!

Dick and Ebenezer charge into the street with the shutters -- one, two, three
-- have them up in their places -- four, five, six -- bar 'em and pin 'em --
seven, eight, nine -- and come back before the count of twelve, panting like
race-horses. Fezziwig skips down from the high desk, with wonderful agility.

                Hilli-ho! Clear away, my lads, and let's
                have lots of room here! Hilli-ho, Dick!
                Chirrup, Ebenezer!


In a minute, Dick and Ebenezer have every movable packed off, the floor swept
and watered, the lamps trimmed, fuel heaped on the fire; and the warehouse is
as snug, and warm, and dry, and bright a ball-room.

A fiddler with a music-book enters, goes up to the lofty desk, tunes his
instrument and starts to play.  MRS. FEZZIWIG, one vast substantial smile,
enters. Three MISS FEZZIWIGS, beaming and lovable, enter. Six young followers
whose hearts they broke, enter. All the young men and women employed in the
business enter, one after another; some shyly, some boldly, some gracefully,
some awkwardly, some pushing, some pulling -- twenty couple at once; hands
half round and back again the other way; down the middle and up again; round
and round in various stages of affectionate grouping; as the dance ends, old
Fezziwig, clapping his hands, crying out, "Well done!"  The fiddler buries his
 face in a pot of porter and then pops up again, refreshed, to keep playing.

Throughout, Scrooge and the Ghost watch.  Or, rather, the Ghost watches and
Scrooge lives and re-lives every moment.  He points out the guests to the
Ghost and talks about them animatedly, though we can't hear him over all the
noise.  Eventually, he ditches the Ghost like a bad blind date and follows
his younger self 'round the room, listening in on conversations and laughing
along with various jokes.

More dancing.  Also eating: cake, negus, a great piece of Cold Roast, a great
piece of Cold Boiled, mince-pies, and plenty of beer. The fiddler strikes up
"Sir Roger de Coverley." Old Fezziwig dances with Mrs. Fezziwig -- an
impressive display: advance and retire, hold hands with your partner, bow and
curtsey; corkscrew; thread-the-needle, and back again to your place.  Young
Ebenezer, too, dances up a storm as his elder self looks on in amazement.

The clock strikes eleven as the party winds down. Mr and Mrs Fezziwig take
their stations, one on either side of the door, and shake hands with every
person individually as he or she goes out, wishes him or her a Merry
Christmas. When everyone has gone but the two 'prentices, they do the same to
them;  Suddenly, all is very quiet as the young men are left to clean up.

Scrooge remembers the Ghost, and becomes conscious that it's looking full
upon him, while the light upon its head burns very clear.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                A small matter to make these silly folks so
                full of gratitude.


The Spirit signs to him to listen to the two apprentices.  We overhear a
snatch of the conversation as they tidy the room.

                What a sweet old man is Mr Fezziwig!

                The sweetest!  Didja see him dancin' with
                the Missus -- and the look on his face?

                Oh, yes!

                He was in Heaven -- and fully deserved to

                And where the devil did he find that

                Oh, wasn't he marvelous? Nothing's too good
                for Fezziwig. I'd say this year's party was
                finer than the last -- if such a thing is

As the boys head into another room, the Ghost turns to Scrooge.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                Fezziwig spent but a few pounds of your
                mortal money: three or four perhaps. Is that
                so much that he deserves this praise?

                It isn't that. It isn't that, Spirit. He
                has the power to render us happy or unhappy;
                to make our service light or burdensome; a
                pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies
                in words and looks; in things so slight and
                insignificant that it is impossible to add
                and count 'em up: what then? The happiness
                he gives, is quite as great as if it cost
                a fortune.

The Ghost raises an eyebrow at this, and Scrooge stops.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                What is the matter?

                Nothing particular.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                Something, I think?

                No. No. I should like to be able to say a
                word or two to my clerk just now. That's all.

Suddenly, the room darkens as young Ebenezer re-enters and turns down the

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                My time grows short.

The room continues to darken until the scene fades to black.


The black hole of a freshly dug grave -- on a frosty green cemetery lawn
under a sunny blue sky.  Nearby is Ebenezer, older now, a man in the prime of
life, but without the harsh and rigid lines of later years: merely a few
signs of care and avarice. An eager, greedy, restless motion afflicts his
eye. He sits on a bench under a shady tree watching a fair young girl in a
mourning-dress placing flowers by a tombstone -- her tears sparkle in the
light that shines out of the Ghost of Christmas Past, who stands on the
opposite side of the 'stone. An astonished Scrooge stands beside the Ghost,
staring at her, his face just inches from hers.

                Belle ...

He reaches out to touch her, but she abruptly turns and crosses to his
younger self, going from sunshine to shade.  BELLE joins Ebenezer on the
bench and takes up what appears to be an ongoing conversation.

                It matters little, to you, very little.
                Another idol has displaced me; and if it
                can cheer and comfort you in time to come,
                as I would have tried to do, I have no
                just cause to grieve.

                What Idol has displaced you?

                A golden one.

                        (tries to be reasonable)
                This is the even-handed dealing of the
                world! There is nothing on which it is so
                hard as poverty; and there is nothing it
                professes to condemn with such severity
                as the pursuit of wealth!

                You fear the world too much.  All your
                other hopes have merged into the hope of
                being beyond the chance of its sordid
                reproach. I have seen your nobler
                aspirations fall off one by one, until
                the master-passion, Gain, engrosses you.
                Have I not?

                What then? Even if I have grown so much
                wiser, what then? I am not changed towards

Belle shakes her head.

                Am I?

                Our engagement 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.

                I was a boy. 'Tis true, I am not now what I
                was then.

                I am. That which promised happiness when
                we were one in heart, is fraught with
                misery now that we are two. How often and
                how keenly I have thought of this, I will
                not say. It is enough that I have thought
                of it, and can release you from our

                Have I ever sought release?

                In words? No. Never.

                In what, then?

                In a changed nature; in an altered spirit;
                in another atmosphere of life; another Hope
                as its great end. In everything that made
                my love of any worth or value in your sight.
                If this had never been between us, tell me,
                would you seek me out and try to win me now?
                Ah, no!

He seems to yield to the justice of this supposition, in spite of himself.

                You think not.

                I would gladly think otherwise if I could,
                Heaven knows! When I have learned a Truth
                like this, I know how strong and
                irresistible it must be. But if you were
                free to-day, to-morrow, yesterday, can
                even I believe that you would choose a
                dowerless girl -- you who, in your very
                confidence with her, weigh everything by
                Gain: or, choosing her, if for a moment
                you were false enough to your one guiding
                principle to do so, do I not know that
                your repentance and regret would surely
                follow? I do; and I release you from our
                engagement. With a full heart, for the love
                of him you once were.

A pause.  He is about to speak; but with her head turned from him, she

                You may -- the memory of what is past half
                makes me hope you will -- have pain in this.
                A very, very brief time, and you will dismiss
                the recollection of it, gladly, as an
                unprofitable dream, from which it happened
                well that you awoke. May you be happy in the
                life you have chosen!

Abruptly, she rises and leaves him.

                Spirit! Show me no more! Conduct me home. Why
                do you delight to torture me?

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                One shadow more!

                No more! No more. I don't wish to see it.
                Show me no more!

But the relentless Ghost pinions his arms, and turns him 'round to observe:


A room, not very large or handsome, but full of comfort and Christmas
decorations. All is quiet.  Falling snow is visible out the windows.  Near
the fireplace, sits a beautiful young girl, nearly identical to Belle.  Belle
herself, now a comely matron, is also by the fire -- sitting opposite her
daughter. Scrooge gazes upon them in awe, particularly the daughter.

                        (voice over)
                I suspect it must have staggered Mr Scrooge
                to see these women, especially the younger
                one, because had he played his cards
                differently, a woman such as she might well
                have called him father, and been like a
                spring-time for him in the haggard winter
                of his life.
                Of course, he might well have had more than
                one child ...

Nearly a dozen children explode into the room, making a tumultuous noise, but
no one seems to care; on the contrary, the mother and daughter laugh
heartily, and enjoy it very much; and the latter mingles with them and gets
clobbered ruthlessly. They stream around a startled Scrooge, running, jumping
and playing with enormous energy.

                        (voice over)
                ... Oh, what would I not have given to be
                one of those children! Though I never could
                have been so rude, no, no! I wouldn't for
                the wealth of all the world have behaved so
                wildly, God bless my soul!

Upon a knocking at the door, the children stampede immediately, and the
daughter is borne towards it in the centre of the flushed and boisterous
group, just in time to greet their father, who comes home laden with
Christmas toys and presents.  Shouting and struggling, the kids swarm their
father, BELLE'S HUSBAND: scaling him, with chairs for ladders, to dive into
his pockets, despoil him of brown-paper parcels, hold on tight by his cravat,
hug him round the neck, pummel his back, and kick his legs in irrepressible
affection! They shout with wonder and delight at each package they receive.
Belle has risen from her chair to watch the proceedings and happens to stand
next to Scrooge who watches her and her family closely, no doubt pondering
what might have been.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:


Later that evening.  Gift-wrapping litters the floor.  The children have gone
to bed and all is quiet again.  Scrooge and the Ghost look on as Belle's
husband, having his eldest daughter leaning fondly on him, sits down with her
and her mother at the fireside;  The husband turns to his wife with a smile.

                                BELLE'S HUSBAND
                Belle, I saw an old friend of yours this

                Who was it?

                                BELLE'S HUSBAND

                How can I?  Tut, don't I know. Ebenezer

                                BELLE'S HUSBAND
                Scrooge it was. I passed his office window;
                and as it was not shut up, and he had a
                candle inside, I could scarcely help seeing
                him. His partner lies upon the point of
                death, I hear; and there he sat alone. Quite
                alone in the world, I do believe.

Scrooge, sitting beside the Ghost on the far side of the room, shuts his eyes
and shakes his head.

                Spirit! Remove me from this place.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
                I told you these were shadows of the things
                that have been. That they are what they are,
                do not blame me!

                Remove me! I cannot bear it!

Scrooge turns upon the Ghost, and sees that it looks at him with an oddly
morphing face, in which there momentarily appear fragments of all the faces
it has shown him: his younger selves, Fan, the Fezziwigs, Dick Wilkins,
Belle, etc.  Terrified, Scrooge physically attacks the Ghost.

                Leave me! Take me back. Haunt me no longer!

The Ghost offers no visible resistance of its own but remains undisturbed by
Scrooge's attack, the light from its head burns high and bright; Scrooge
seizes the extinguisher-cap from under its arm and presses it down upon the
Ghost's head. The Ghost seems to shrink beneath it, so that the extinguisher
covers its whole form; but though Scrooge presses it down with all his force,
he can't hide the light, which streams from under it, in an unbroken flood
upon the ground. In a last great effort, he throws the whole of his body atop
the cap and the light goes out.  Blackness.


The room is dark -- no light shines under the bed-room door from the sitting-
room. Scrooge -- in roughly the same position we last saw him -- lies in his
bed atop his pillow.  In the middle of a prodigiously tough snore, Scrooge
awakens with a start and sits up in bed.  He lights his candle and looks
around.  His bedside clock reads five minutes to one.

                        (voice over)
                Now, Marley's Ghost had warned Scrooge that
                a second spirit would haunt him at the
                stroke of one.  I don't mind telling you
                that Scrooge was now prepared for a good
                broad field of strange appearances, and
                that nothing between a baby and a rhinoceros
                would have astonished him very much. By this
                time, he was ready for almost anything ...

From the church clock, the chimes strike one.  Scrooge steels himself.

                        (voice over)
                ... But, you see, he was not by any means
                ready for nothing ...

And nothing is exactly what happens.  After a lengthy pause, Scrooge checks
his clock, sighs and, with a last look around, blows out the candle and lies
down on the bed.  Suddenly, he bolts straight up -- staring at his bed-room
door.  Light is again streaming in from the sitting-room.  Scrooge gets up
softly and shuffles in his slippers to the door.  His hand is on the lock
when a voice from the sitting-room calls out.

                Scrooooooge?  Come in, Scrooge!

A trembling Scrooge opens the door and enters:


It's his own room, but it's undergone a transformation. The walls and ceiling
are so hung with living green, that it looks a perfect grove; from every part
of which, bright gleaming berries glisten. Crisp leaves of holly, mistletoe,
and ivy reflect back the light like so many little mirrors; and a mighty
blaze roars in the fire-place. Heaped up on the floor, to form a kind of
throne, are turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, great joints of meat,
sucking-pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince-pies, plum-puddings, barrels of
oysters, red-hot chestnuts, cherry-cheeked apples, juicy oranges, luscious
pears, immense twelfth-cakes, and seething bowls of punch, that make the
chamber dim with their delicious steam. In easy state upon this couch, there
sits a jolly Giant, glorious to see: who carries a glowing torch, in shape
not unlike Plenty's horn, and holds it up, high up, to shed its light on
Scrooge, as he comes peeping round the door.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT
                Come in! Come in and know me better, man!

Scrooge enters timidly.  The Spirit's eyes are clear and kind, but Scrooge
does not look at them.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT
                I am the Ghost of Christmas Present!  Look
                upon me!

Scrooge does so. The ghost wears a simple green robe, or mantle, bordered
with white fur, hanging so loosely on the figure, that its capacious breast
is bare, as if disdaining to be warded or concealed by any artifice. Its
feet, observable beneath the ample folds of the garment, are also bare; and
on its head it wears no other covering than a holly wreath, set here and
there with shining icicles. Its dark brown curls are long and free: free as
its genial face, its sparkling eye, its open hand, its cheery voice, its
unconstrained demeanour, and its joyful air. Girded round its middle is an
antique scabbard; but with no sword in it, and the ancient sheath is eaten up
with rust.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT
                You have never seen the like of me before?


                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT
                Have never walked forth with my elder
                brothers born in these later years?

                I don't think I have.  I am afraid I have
                not. Have you had many brothers, Spirit?

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT
                Approximately eighteen hundred and

                A tremendous family to provide for!

The Ghost of Christmas Present smiles and rises.

                Spirit, conduct me where you will. I went
                forth last night on compulsion, and I learnt
                a lesson which is working now. To-night, if
                you have aught to teach me, let me profit by

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT
                Touch my robe!

Scrooge does as he's told, and holds it fast. Holly, mistletoe, red berries,
ivy, turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, meat, pigs, sausages, oysters,
pies, puddings, fruit, and punch, all vanish instantly. So does the room, the
fire, the ruddy glow, the hour of night...


Scrooge and the Spirit wander the city streets on Christmas morning, where
the severe weather causes the people to make a rough, but brisk and not
unpleasant kind of music, in scraping the snow from the pavement in front of
their dwellings, and from the tops of their houses.  Scrooge and the Spirit
see that the corner poulterer's shop is still open, and in its window hang
two Prize Turkeys.  One is the size of a boy, the other a little smaller.
Happy crowds pour forth into the streets on their way to church, dressed in
their Sunday best.  Scrooge and the Spirit press on into Camden Town.


On the threshold of the door, Scrooge watches as the Spirit smiles and stops
to bless Bob Cratchit's four-roomed house with an unspoken prayer.


MRS CRATCHIT, Bob Cratchit's wife, dressed out but poorly in a twice-turned
gown, but brave in ribbons, which are cheap and make a goodly show for
sixpence; and she lays the table-cloth, assisted by BELINDA, second of her
daughters, also brave in ribbons; while the adolescent Master PETER Cratchit
plunges a fork into the saucepan of potatoes, then into his mouth. Two
smaller Cratchits, boy and girl, come tearing in, screaming something
incomprehensible; and basking in luxurious thoughts of sage-and-onion, these
young Cratchits dance about the table. The eldest, Peter Cratchit, blows the
fire, until the slow potatoes, bubbling up, knock loudly at the saucepan-lid.

                                MRS. CRATCHIT
                What has ever got your precious father then.
                And your brother, Tiny Tim! And Martha warn't
                as late last Christmas Day by half-an-hour!

As if on cue, MARTHA, the eldest daughter, enters.

                Here's Martha, mother!

                                THE TWO SMALL CRATCHITS
                Here's Martha, mother! Hurrah! There's such
                a goose, Martha!

                                MRS. CRATCHIT
                Why, bless your heart alive, my dear, how
                late you are!

Mrs Cratchit, kisses Martha, and takes off her shawl and bonnet for her with
officious zeal.

                We'd a deal of work to finish up last night
                and had to clear away this morning, mother!

                                MRS. CRATCHIT
                Well! Never mind so long as you are come.
                Sit ye down before the fire, my dear, and
                have a warm, Lord bless ye!

                                THE TWO SMALL CRATCHITS
                No, no! There's father coming.  Hide,
                Martha, hide!

So Martha hides herself, and, to Scrooge's surprise -- for until now, he
hadn't a clue as to whose house this was -- in comes little Bob Cratchit, the
father, with at least three feet of comforter hanging down before him; and
his threadbare clothes darned up and brushed, to look seasonable; and TINY
TIM upon his shoulder. He sets Tim down gently.  Alas for Tiny Tim, he bears
a little crutch, and has his limbs supported by an iron frame.  He limps
badly, favoring his right leg.  Bob looks around.

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                Why, where's our Martha?

                                MRS. CRATCHIT
                Not coming.

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                Not coming!  Not coming upon Christmas Day!

Martha doesn't like to see him disappointed, even if it were only in joke; so
she comes out prematurely from behind the closet door, and runs into his
arms, while the two young Cratchits help Tiny Tim to the wash-house, that he
might hear the pudding singing in the copper. Bob hugs Martha to his heart's
content until she breaks away to tend to the supper.  Husband and wife are
alone for a moment.

                                MRS. CRATCHIT
                And how did little Tim behave in church?

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                As good as gold, and better. Somehow he
                gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so
                much, and thinks the strangest things
                you ever heard. He told me, coming home,
                that he hoped the people in church saw
                him, because he was a cripple, and it
                might be pleasant to them to remember
                upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars
                walk, and blind men see.
                        (a long pause)
                He's growing stronger and heartier every
                day, isn't he?

The look that crosses Mrs Cratchit's face is not encouraging.

                                MRS. CRATCHIT
                Yes, dear.  He is.

With his active little crutch, Tiny Tim returns, escorted by his brother and
sister to his stool before the fire;

                                THE TWO SMALL CRATCHITS
                The goose is cooked!  The goose is cooked!


Bob Cratchit turns up his cuffs and compounds some hot mixture in a jug with
gin and lemons, and stirs it round and round and puts it on the hob to
simmer;  Peter, and the two ubiquitous young Cratchits fetch the goose and
carry it to the table.  Mrs Cratchit pours the gravy, hissing hot; Peter
mashed the potatoes with incredible vigour; Miss Belinda sweetens up the
apple-sauce; Martha dusts the hot plates; Bob takes Tiny Tim beside him in a
tiny corner at the table; the two young Cratchits set chairs for everybody,
not forgetting themselves. At last, the table is set -- goose, apple-sauce
and mashed potatoes.

                        (to the Spirit, matter-of-fact)
                Hmmph.  Not much of a goose.

                                TINY TIM
                Bless us, O Lord! and these Thy gifts,
                which we are about to receive from Thy
                bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

A breathless pause, as Mrs Cratchit, looking slowly all along the carving-
knife, prepares to plunge it in the breast; but when she does, and when the
long expected gush of stuffing issues forth, one murmur of delight arises all
round the table, and even Tiny Tim, excited by the two young Cratchits, beats
on the table with the handle of his knife, and feebly cries "Hurrah!"  In a
moment, everyone's mouth is full.

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                        (to Mrs Cratchit)
                I don't believe there ever was such a goose
                cooked. So tender.

                        (to Mrs Cratchit)
                And delicious.

                                ONE OF THE SMALL CRATCHITS
                        (to Mrs Cratchit)
                And big.

                                MRS CRATCHIT
                And cheap.

                                TINY TIM
                        (to Mrs Cratchit)
                It's lovely, Mother.  This a goose we shall
                remember for as long as we live.

                                MRS. CRATCHIT
                Thank you, Tim.

After a DISSOLVE, Miss Belinda changes the plates.  Mrs Cratchit is visibly

                                MRS. CRATCHIT
                I can't stand to look at the pudding.
                Suppose it should not be done enough?
                Suppose it should break in turning out?

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                        (mock horror)
                Suppose somebody should have got over
                the wall of the back-yard, and stolen it,
                while we were eating the goose?

Bob's mouth makes a perfect O and his eyebrows almost leave his head.  The
two small Cratchits become livid and start yelling at him. Everyone roars
with laughter at this, even Mrs Cratchit.  Belinda bursts into the room
accompanied by a great deal of steam and, in an instant, the pudding is out
of the copper like a speckled cannon-ball, hard and firm, blazing in half of
half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck
into the top.  Everyone oohs and aahhhs as Mrs Cratchit blushes and smiles

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                Oh, a wonderful pudding!

Bob Cratchit holds up a glass to propose a toast.

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears.
                God bless us!

Which all the family re-echoes.

                                TINY TIM
                God bless us every one!

The family drinks and gets to work on the pudding.  Tim sits very close to
his father's side upon his little stool. Bob holds Tim's withered little hand
in his, as if he wished to keep him by his side, and dreaded that he might be
taken from him.  Scrooge watches them with fascination -- it's a side of
Cratchit he's never thought of.  Without taking his eyes off them, he nods to
the Spirit.

                Spirit ... tell me if Tiny Tim will live.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT
                I see a vacant seat in the poor chimney-
                corner, and a crutch without an owner,
                carefully preserved. If these shadows
                remain unaltered by the Future, the child
                will die.

                No, no. Oh, no, kind Spirit! say he will
                be spared.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT
                If these shadows remain unaltered by the
                Future, none other of my race will find him
                here. What then?
                        (assuming Scrooge's voice)
                If he be like to die, he had better do it,
                and decrease the surplus population.

Overcome with penitence and grief, Scrooge hangs his head to hear his own
words quoted.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT
                Man, if man you be in heart, not adamant,
                forbear that wicked cant until you have
                discovered What the surplus is, and Where
                it is. Will you decide what men shall live,
                 what men shall die? It may be, that in the
                sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and
                less fit to live than millions like this
                poor man's child. Oh God! to hear the
                Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too
                much life among his hungry brothers in the

Scrooge bends before the Spirit's rebuke, and trembling, casts his eyes upon
the ground.

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                Mr Scrooge!

Scrooge looks up, startled to hear someone call his name. Bob Cratchit holds
a glass up to him, making a toast.

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                I'll give you Mr Scrooge, the Founder of
                the Feast!

                                MRS. CRATCHIT
                The Founder of the Feast indeed! I wish I
                had him here. I'd give him a piece of my
                mind to feast upon, and I hope he'd have
                a good appetite for it.

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                        (gently chiding)
                My dear, the children; Christmas Day.

                                MRS. CRATCHIT
                It should be Christmas Day, I am sure, on
                which one drinks the health of such an
                odious, stingy, hard, unfeeling man as Mr
                Scrooge. You know he is, Robert! Nobody
                knows it better than you do, poor fellow!

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                My dear, have some charity.  It's Christmas

                                MRS. CRATCHIT
                I'll drink his health for your sake and the
                Day's, not for his. Long life to him. A
                merry Christmas and a happy new year! He'll
                be very merry and very happy, I have no

The children drink the toast after her, the first time they show no
heartiness. Tiny Tim drinks last of all, not caring. Scrooge sees he is the
Ogre of the family and turns away from them, toward the window where the
evening sun sets.


Scrooge and the Spirit stand on a bleak and desert moor, where monstrous
masses of rude stone are cast about, as though it were the burial-place of
giants; where nothing grows but moss and furze, and coarse, rank grass. Down
in the west the setting sun leaves a streak of fiery red, which glares upon
the desolation for an instant, like a sullen eye, and frowning lower, lower,
lower yet, was lost in the thick gloom of darkest night.

                What place is this?

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT
                A place where Miners live, who labour in
                the bowels of the earth. But they know me.

A light shines from the window of a hut, and swiftly Scrooge and the Spirit
advance towards it. Passing through the wall of mud and stone, they find:


A cheerful FAMILY assembled round a glowing fire. An old, old man and woman,
with their children and their children's children, and another generation
beyond that, all decked out gaily in their holiday attire. The old man, in a
quiet but fervent voice, sings them a Christmas song, and they all join in
the chorus.  The Spirit gestures to Scrooge to hold his robe, and the two
rise up through the roof of the hut and high into:


They fly above the moor, speeding out to sea. To Scrooge's horror, looking
back, he sees the last of the land, a frightful range of rocks, behind them;


The Spirit and Scrooge: two rapidly moving silhouettes skimming the ocean's


Built upon a dismal reef of sunken rocks, some league or so from shore, on
which the waters chafe and dash, there stands a solitary lighthouse. Great
heaps of sea-weed cling to its base, and storm-birds -- born of the wind one
might suppose, as sea-weed of the water -- rise and fall about it, like the
waves they skim.


Two LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS have made a fire, that through the loophole in the
thick stone wall sheds out a ray of brightness on the awful sea. Joining
their horny hands over the rough table at which they sat, they toast each
other a Merry Christmas in their can of grog; and one of them -- the elder,
with his face all damaged and scarred with hard weather, as the figure-head
of an old ship might be -- strikes up the song heard in the miners' hut. Just
outside their window, a hundred ten feet in the air, Scrooge and the Spirit
watch.  The Spirit gives Scrooge a tug -- and off they fly.


As the sun rises on a distant horizon, Scrooge and the Spirit observe: the
helmsman at the wheel as a fellow sailor quietly wishes him a Merry
Christmas; the look-out in the bow as he hums a carol; two officers on watch
exchanging gifts; dark, ghostly figures in their several stations; but every
man among them, lost in thought. In the galley, an illiterate sailor dictates
a letter to a friend.

                My dearest, dearest Emily.  The holiday
                season finds my thoughts turning ever more
                to you ...
                        (to the friend)
                How's that, so far?

The friend merely looks at him and shrugs.

                I should like to have been home this
                Christmas, but I am afraid I have been
                shanghaied ....

From behind him, Scrooge hears a long, hearty -- and familiar -- laugh.
After a moment, he recognises it.


He turns toward the laugh, suddenly finding himself in:


A bright, dry, gleaming room in a finely-appointed house.  The Spirit,
standing smiling by Scrooge's side, looks at Scrooge's nephew with approving
affability. Scrooge's nephew Fred laughs: holding his sides, rolling his
head, and twisting his face into the most extravagant contortions: Scrooge's
NIECE, by marriage, laughs as heartily as he. And their assembled friends
being not a bit behindhand, roar out lustily.

                He said that Christmas was a humbug, as I
                live! He believed it too!

                More shame for him, Fred!

Scrooge's niece is exceedingly pretty. With a dimpled, surprised-looking,
capital face; a ripe little mouth, that seems made to be kissed -- as no
doubt it often is; She is seated in a large chair with a footstool, in a snug
corner right by the door -- and never leaves this position.

                                ONE OF THE GUESTS
                I should very much like to meet your uncle,
                Fred.  The droll way in which you portray
                him makes me curious.

                He's a comical old fellow, that's the truth:
                and not so pleasant as he might be. However,
                his offences carry their own punishment, and
                I have nothing to say against him.

                I'm sure he is very rich, Fred. At least you
                always tell me so.

                What of that, my dear? His wealth is of no
                use to him. He don't do any good with it.
                He don't make himself comfortable with it.
                He hasn't the satisfaction of thinking --
                ha, ha, ha! -- that he is ever going to
                benefit Us with it.

                I have no patience with him.

                                ANOTHER WOMAN
                Nor I.

                Oh, I have! I am sorry for him; I couldn't
                be angry with him if I tried. Who suffers
                by his ill whims? Himself, always. Here,
                he takes it into his head to dislike us,
                and he won't come and dine with us. What's
                the consequence? He don't lose much of a

                Indeed, I think he loses a very good dinner.
                Really, Fred, I think you're being awfully

                If that's so, it may be because my mother,
                God rest her saintly soul, was very fond
                of him.  She loved him.

The Spirit glances at Scrooge who tries to appear unmoved.

                But do go on, Fred.
                        (to the guests)
                He never finishes what he begins to say.
                He is such a ridiculous fellow!

                I was only going to say, that the
                consequence of his taking a dislike to us,
                and not making merry with us, is, as I
                think, that he loses some pleasant moments,
                which could do him no harm. I am sure he
                loses pleasanter companions than he can find
                in his own thoughts, either in his mouldy
                old office, or his dusty chambers. I mean
                to give him the same chance every year,
                whether he likes it or not, for I pity him.
                He may rail at Christmas till he dies, but
                he can't help thinking better of it -- I
                defy him -- if he finds me going there, in
                good temper, year after year, and saying
                Uncle Scrooge, how are you? If it only puts
                him in the vein to leave his poor clerk
                fifty pounds, that's something; and I think
                I shook him yesterday.

Before Fred finishes, one of the female guests has begun to play a simple
little tune upon the harp; and the others choose partners and take to dancing
about the room. There might be twenty people there, young and old, but they
all dance.  The rhythm is infectious and Scrooge keeps time with his feet,
enjoying himself in a quiet way. The Spirit seems greatly pleased to find him
in this mood.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:


Later that evening.  Everyone is seated.  Scrooge's niece is in her usual
chair by the door.  Scrooge and the Spirit -- whose hair has by now greyed
considerably -- stand nearby.  One of the guests, TOPPER, stands in the
center of the room trying to keep everyone's attention.

                Now, then, it's a Game called Yes and No.
                        (to Fred)
                Since you're the host, you'll go first.

But Fred is reluctant and waves him off.  The others jeer at him to take part
and he forces himself to rise.

                        (to the Spirit)
                I think we should at least stay until the
                guests have departed.

                        (to Topper)
                Oh, dear.  What do I have to do?

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT
                I'm afraid that cannot be done.

                Here is a new game. One half hour, Spirit,
                only one!

                        (to Fred)
                You think of something, anything, and the
                rest of us must find out what it is; But you
                may only answer our questions 'yes' or 'no',
                as the case may be.

                Ah, all right.  Well .... Oh, I've got it.

                You've thought of something?

                Yes. Fire away.

                                NOT TOO BRIGHT GUEST
                Is it animal, vegetable, or mineral?

                        (to the guest)
                No, no, no.  It has to be a question he can
                answer 'yes' or 'no'.
                        (to Fred)
                Are you thinking of an animal?


                                NOT TOO BRIGHT GUEST
                Living or dead?

Everyone giggles at the Not Too Bright Guest.  Topper sits down.

                                SOMEONE ELSE
                Is it living?


                                ANOTHER GUEST
                A wild animal?

                Well ...

                                SOMEONE ELSE
                Can it be found in London?

                Yes.  I'm afraid so.

                                ANOTHER GUEST
                Does it live in a menagerie?

                No!  Wouldn't go near it.

                                THE PLUMP SISTER
                Is it a horse?


                Is it an ass?

At this, Fred roars with laughter; and is so inexpressibly tickled, that he
doubles over and stamps his foot.


                Is it a cow?

The Spirit gives Scrooge a look as if to say: "They can't hear you..." and
Scrooge scowls as if to say: "Shut up.  I'm having fun."

                                SOMEONE ELSE
                Does it walk the streets?


                Is it some kind of rat?

                        (laughs, clutches his sides)
                No!  Maybe a pack-rat.

                Wait!  Is it a man?

Fred bites his lip to keep from laughing and nods, Yes.

                                THE PLUMP SISTER
                I have found it out! I know what it is, Fred!
                I know what it is!

                                SEVERAL GUESTS
                What is it? What?

                                THE PLUMP SISTER
                It's your Uncle Scro-o-o-o-oge!


Everybody, even the Spirit, roars with laughter, except Scrooge, who is
stunned -- and a trifle humiliated.  The niece, right beside Scrooge, grins
mischievously and wags a finger at Fred.

                That's not fair!  When I asked 'Is it an
                ass?', you should have answered 'yes'!

Everybody roars even louder at this, except Scrooge, who is now completely
humiliated.  Fred picks up his glass of wine.

                He has given us plenty of merriment, I am
                sure, and it would be ungrateful not to
                drink his health. I say, 'Uncle Scrooge!'"

                                SEVERAL GUESTS
                Well! Uncle Scrooge. Here's to 'im!

                A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to
                the old man, whatever he is! He wouldn't
                take it from me, but may he have it,
                nevertheless. Uncle Scrooge!

The Ghost and Scrooge exchange glances.  The niece drinks and sets down her
empty glass.


Where someone else sets down an empty glass:  a wretched woman with an infant
-- the one Scrooge saw from his window during the visit of Marley's Ghost --
one of many destitute people, wrapped in blankets, lying on cots in the
crowded room.  Scrooge watches as a young BOY comes around to pick up her
glass.  Others like him attend to a multitude of the sick and the poor.

                                WRETCHED WOMAN
                Thank you.  Thank you, so much.

                Do you feel rested now?

                                WRETCHED WOMAN
                I do. Bless your dear gentle heart. You know,
                my dear, I-I'm very grateful for all you're
                doing.  If I'd've known you people were here,
                I'd've come sooner.  And brought friends.
                There are a lot of people I know who could
                use your help--  Tell me, why-why aren't
                there more places like this?

The boy doesn't quite know how to respond.

                I don't know.

He can only smile weakly, touch her arm, and move on.  He walks past a couple
of familiar faces: the two portly gentlemen who paid a visit to Scrooge the
day before seeking a charitable donation.  They stand off to one side
surveying the scene with mixed emotions.

                                2ND GENTLEMAN
                Quite a turn-out.

                                1ST GENTLEMAN
                More than expected.
                We haven't enough funds to last until next

                                2ND GENTLEMAN
                Something will turn up, I'm sure.

Scrooge observes the 1st Gentleman pulling a fancy watch from his pocket and
staring at it.  The 2nd Gentleman looks him over sympathetically.

                                2ND GENTLEMAN
                It's been long day.  Thinking about going
                home to the family?

The 1st Gentleman shakes his head, No.

                                1ST GENTLEMAN
                Thinking about selling a watch.

The watch reads but a few minutes before midnight.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:


The church clock reads but a few minutes before midnight.  Scrooge and the
Spirit stand below it.  While Scrooge remains unaltered in his outward form,
the Ghost has grown older, clearly older, its hair whitened with age. Scrooge
squints at the Spirit as they stand together.

                Your hair is grey.  Are spirits' lives so

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT
                My life is very brief. It ends to-night.


                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT
                To-night at midnight.

Scrooge's gaze goes from the clock to the Spirit's robe.

                Forgive me if I am not justified in what I
                ask, but I see something strange, and not
                belonging to yourself, protruding from your
                skirts. Is it a foot or a claw?

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT
                It might well be a claw, for all the flesh
                there is upon it.  Look here.

From the foldings of its robe, it brings two children; wretched, abject,
frightful, hideous, miserable. They kneel down at its feet, and cling upon
the outside of its garment.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT
                Oh, Man! look here. Look, look, down here!

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, has pinched, and twisted them, and pulled
them into shreds.

                Spirit! are they yours?

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT
                They are Man's.  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!

The Spirit stretches out its hand towards the city.

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT
                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?

                                THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT
                        (assuming Scrooge's voice)
                Are there no prisons?  Are there no

Scrooge winces at this. The church bell strikes twelve. Scrooge looks about
him.  The Spirit is gone.  Another, a solemn Phantom, draped and hooded,
comes, like a mist along the ground, towards him.

                        (to himself)
                Midnight.  The last of the spirits.

The Phantom slowly, gravely, silently approaches. Scrooge bends down upon his
knee; for in the very air through which this Phantom moves it seems to
scatter gloom and mystery. It is shrouded in a deep black garment, which
conceals its head, its face, its form, and leaves nothing of it visible save
one outstretched hand. But for this it would be difficult to detach its
figure from the night, and separate it from the darkness by which it is
surrounded.  It is tall and stately and its mysterious presence fills Scrooge
with a solemn dread. The Phantom neither speaks nor moves.

                I am in the presence of the Ghost of
                Christmas Yet To Come?

The Phantom answers not, but points onward with its hand.

                You are about to show me shadows of the
                things that have not happened, but will
                happen in the time before us.  Is that so,

The upper portion of the garment contracts for an instant in its folds, as if
the Phantom had nodded its head.

                Ghost of the Future! 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 gives him no reply. The hand points straight before them.

                Lead on! Lead on! The night is waning fast,
                and it is precious time to me, I know. Lead
                on, Spirit!

The Phantom moves away as it had come towards him. Scrooge follows in its
shadow, which seems to bear him up and carry him along.


They scarcely seem to enter the Exchange; for the Exchange rather seems to
spring up about them, and encompass them of its own act. They stand amongst
the businessmen;  The Phantom stops and points to one little knot of men.
Scrooge peers at them.  Among them are the fat man and the red-faced man he
had spoken to the day before.

                Yes, I know these gentlemen.  Business

The Phantom continues to point.  Scrooge takes the hint and advances to
listen to their talk.

                                FAT MAN WITH A MONSTROUS CHIN
                No, I don't know much about it, either way.
                I only know he's dead.

                                2nd MAN
                When did he die?

                                FAT MAN WITH A MONSTROUS CHIN
                Last night, I believe.

                                3rd MAN
                Why, what was the matter with him? I thought
                he'd never die.

                                FAT MAN WITH A MONSTROUS CHIN
                God knows.

                                RED-FACED MAN WITH A
                                PENDULOUS EXCRESCENCE
                What has he done with his money?

                                FAT MAN WITH A MONSTROUS CHIN
                I haven't heard. Left it to his Company,
                perhaps. He hasn't left it to me. That's all
                I know.

Everyone laughs.

                                FAT MAN WITH A MONSTROUS CHIN
                It's likely to be a very cheap funeral, for
                upon my life I don't know of anybody to go
                to it. Suppose we make up a party and

                                RED-FACED MAN WITH A
                                PENDULOUS EXCRESCENCE
                I don't mind going if a lunch is provided.
                But I must be fed, if I make one.

Another laugh.

                                FAT MAN WITH A MONSTROUS CHIN
                Well, I am the most disinterested among you,
                after all, 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!

The men stroll away, and mix with other groups. Scrooge looks towards the
Spirit for an explanation. The Phantom glides on into another street.


The Phantom's finger points to two middle-aged men meeting on the massive
stone steps.

                        (to the Phantom)
                I know these men, perfectly. Men of
                business: very wealthy, and of great
                importance. I've made a point always of
                standing well in their esteem -- in a
                business point of view, that is; strictly

                                1st BUSINESSMAN
                How are you?

                                2nd BUSINESSMAN
                How are you?

                                1st BUSINESSMAN
                Well! Old Scratch has got his own at last,

                                2nd BUSINESSMAN
                So I am told. Cold, isn't it?

                                1st BUSINESSMAN
                Seasonable for Christmas time. You're not
                a skaiter, I suppose?

                                2nd BUSINESSMAN
                No. No. Something else to think of. Good

The two men part. A puzzled Scrooge follows the Phantom through the streets.


A busy street corner.  Scrooge peers curiously at the Phantom.

                I am rather surprised that you should
                attach importance to conversations
                apparently so trivial.

No response from the Phantom.

                They must have some hidden purpose, or
                else you wouldn't be showing them to me.
                Is that right?

No response.

                They could scarcely have any bearing on
                the death of Jacob, my old partner, for
                his death was in the Past, and this is
                the Future.

Scrooge looks around at the multitudes of pedestrians pouring past him.

                I can't help but notice that this is my
                accustomed corner, and I see by the clock
                that this is my usual time of day for being
                here... but I see no likeness of myself.

Caught up in what he's saying, Scrooge fails to see the Phantom move off.

                Not that I'm surprised, you understand.
                You see, I've been revolving in my mind a,
                er, change of life.  And I should like to
                think...  that is, I rather hope... that my
                not being here is the result of my having
                carried out some, ah, resolutions regarding --

Scrooge suddenly notices that the Phantom has moved on down the street and
hurriedly follows it.


Scrooge trails the Phantom, looking over this neighborhood, near sunset.  The
ways are foul and narrow; the shops and houses wretched; the people half-
naked, drunken, slipshod, ugly. Alleys and archways, like so many cesspools,
disgorge their offences of smell, and dirt, and life, upon the straggling
streets; and the whole quarter reeks with crime, with filth, and misery.


A low-browed, beetling shop, below a pent-house roof, where iron, old rags,
bottles, bones, and greasy offal, are bought. Upon the floor within, are
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 are
bred and hidden in mountains of unseemly rags, masses of corrupted fat, and
sepulchres of bones. Sitting in among the wares he deals in, by a charcoal
stove, made of old bricks, is a grey-haired rascal, nearly seventy years of
age who smokes his pipe in all the luxury of calm retirement. This is OLD JOE.

Scrooge and the Phantom come into his presence, just as a CHARWOMAN with a
heavy bundle slinks into the shop. But she has scarcely entered, when another
woman, a LAUNDRESS, similarly laden, comes in too; and she is closely
followed by a man in faded black, an UNDERTAKER, who is 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 Old Joe joins them, they
all three burst into a laugh.

                        (to all)
                Let the charwoman alone to be the first!
                Let the laundress alone to be the second;
                and let the undertaker's man alone to be
                the third.
                        (to Old Joe)
                Look here, old Joe, here's a chance! If we
                haven't all three met here without meaning

                                OLD JOE
                You couldn't have met in a better place.
                Come into the parlour. You were made free
                of it long ago, you know; and the other two
                ain't strangers. Stop till I shut the door
                of the shop.

He shuts the door which creaks badly.

                                OLD JOE
                Ah! There ain'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.

They follow him into:


A space behind a screen of rags. Old Joe rakes the fire together with an old
stair-rod, and having trimmed his smoky lamp, with the stem of his pipe, puts
it in his mouth again. While he does this, the charwoman throws her bundle on
the floor, and sits 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?
                Every person has a right to take care of
                themselves. He always did!

                That's true, indeed! 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!

                We should hope not.

                Very well, then! That's enough. Who's the
                worse for the loss of a few things like
                these? Not a dead man, I suppose.

                No, indeed!

                If he wanted to keep 'em after he was
                dead, a wicked old screw, 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.
                It's a judgment on him.

                I wish it was a little heavier judgment,
                and it should have been, you may depend
                upon it, if I could have laid my hands on
                anything else.
                        (turns to Old Joe)
                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, Joe.

But the undertaker mounts the breach first and produces his plunder of which
there's not much: a seal or two, a pencil-case, a pair of sleeve-buttons,
and a brooch of no great value. Old Joe examines and appraises them and then
chalks up his asking price for each, upon the wall, and adds them up into a

                                OLD JOE
                        (to the undertaker)
                That's your account, and I wouldn't give
                another sixpence, if I was to be boiled for
                not doing it. Who's next?

The laundress is next. Sheets and towels, a little wearing apparel, two old-
fashioned silver teaspoons, a pair of sugar-tongs, and a few boots. Old Joe
chalks her account on the wall in the same manner.  As he does, Scrooge turns
to the Phantom beside him.

                This is disgusting.  I can't look at this.
                Haven't you anything better to show me?

Scrooge turns his back on the group and stares at the wall.

                                OLD JOE
                I always give too much to ladies. It's a
                weakness of mine, and that's the way I ruin
                myself.  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.

Joe goes down on his knees for the greater convenience of opening her bundle,
and having unfastened a great many knots, drags out a large and heavy roll of
some dark stuff. It's Scrooge's bed-curtains.

                                OLD JOE
                What do you call this?  Bed-curtains?

The charwoman laughs and leans forward on her crossed arms.

                Ah! Bed-curtains!

                                OLD JOE
                You don't mean to say you took them down,
                rings and all, with him lying there?

                Yes I do.  Why not?

Scrooge, still with his back to the scene, listens to this dialogue in horror.

                Huh!  Rings and all!

                                OLD JOE
                You were born to make your fortune, 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

Old Joe pulls out some more material.

                Joe, don't drop that oil upon the blankets,

                                OLD JOE
                His blankets?

                Whose else's do you think?  He isn't likely
                to take cold without 'em, I dare say.

Old Joe stops and looks up.

                                OLD JOE
                I hope he didn't die of anything catching?

                Don't you be afraid of that. I ain'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.

                                OLD JOE
                What do you call wasting of it?

                Putting it on him to be buried in, to be
                sure. Somebody was fool enough to do it,
                but I took it off again. If calico ain'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.

As they sit grouped about their spoil, in the scanty light afforded by Old
Joe's lamp, the three watch old Joe put the various items out of sight and
produce a flannel bag with money in it.  He doles out payment to each.
Scrooge turns to watch.

                Ha, ha! 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!

A sickened Scrooge turns to the Phantom.

                Spirit! I see, I see. The case of this
                unhappy man might be my own. My life tends
                that way, now. That is the lesson I am to
                draw from this poor man's fate, is it not?

The Phantom, as if in anger at Scrooge's stupidity, violently lashes out --
spreading its dark robe over Scrooge, momentarily blinding him -- then whips
the robe away to reveal:


Scrooge finds himself in a dark room, almost touching a bed: a bare,
uncurtained bed.

                Merciful Heaven, what is this?

The room is very dark, too dark to be observed with any accuracy, though
Scrooge glances 'round it, anxious to know what kind of room it was. A pale
light, rising in the outer air, falls straight upon the bed; and on it,
plundered and bereft, unwatched, unwept, uncared for, is the body of a man.

                        (voice over)
                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.

Under the voice over: Scrooge glances towards the Phantom. Its steady hand
points to the covered head. Scrooge hesitantly approaches the dead man and
attempts to uncover its face.  But he cannot bring himself to do so.  His
hand shakes and he backs away. A cat meows somewhere in the dark.  Scrooge,
his face dripping with sweat, turns to the Phantom.

                Spirit! This is a fearful place. In leaving
                it, I shall not leave its lesson, trust me.
                Let us go!

Still the Phantom points with an unmoved finger to the head.

                I understand you and I would look at this
                dead man's face, if I could. But I have
                not the power, Spirit. I have not the power.

The Phantom seems to look upon him.

                If there is any person in the town, who
                feels emotion caused by this man's death,
                show that person to me, Spirit, I beseech

The light that falls from above instantly flashes, momentarily blinding
Scrooge.  When his eyes clear:


Scrooge stands in a room by daylight, where a mother and her children sit.
The children play quietly.  The mother looks out the window; glances at the
clock, and tries, but in vain, to work with her needle. At the sound of a
knock, she hurries to the door, and meets her husband; a man whose face,
though young, is careworn and depressed. There is a remarkable expression in
it now; a kind of serious delight of which he feels ashamed, and which he
struggles to repress.

                Tell me the news.

He appears embarrassed how to answer.

                Is it good ... or bad?


                We are quite ruined?

                No. There is hope yet, Caroline.

                If he relents, there is. Nothing is past
                hope, if such a miracle has happened.

                He is past relenting. He is dead.

After a long moment, the news sinks in.

                I am thankful in my soul to hear that.
                        (a little less convincingly)
                May God forgive me for having said such a

She clasps her hands together in joy.

                When I tried to see him and obtain a
                week's delay, his charwoman told me he was
                ill; 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,

                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!

Their hearts are clearly lighter. The children's faces, hushed and clustered
round to hear what they so little understood, are brighter; Standing in the
sunlight, next to a window, Scrooge slowly turns to the Phantom.

                So ... it's a happier house for this man's
                death!  Is that the only emotion you can
                show me -- pleasure?
                But then I don't suppose one can find much
                tenderness connected with a death?

The Phantom reaches up and pulls down the window-shade, blocking the sun,
darkening the room.  The Phantom releases the shade and it snaps up and out
of view to reveal a night sky and the reflection of a lit fireplace in the
glass.  Scrooge looks at the glass a moment before turning to see where he


Mrs. Cratchit and the children sit round the fire. Quiet. Very quiet. The
noisy little Cratchits are as still as statues in one corner, and sit looking
up at Peter, who has a book before him. The mother and her daughters sew.

                        (reads aloud)
                ...  He shall cover thee with his feathers,
                and under his wings shalt thou trust: his
                truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
                Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by
                night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
                Nor for the pestilence that walketh in
                darkness; nor for the destruction that
                wasteth at noonday.  A thousand shall fall
                at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right
                hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
                Because thou hast made the Lord, which is
                my refuge, even the most High, thy
                habitation;  There shall no evil befall
                thee, neither shall any plague come nigh
                thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels
                charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy
                ways.  Because he hath set his love upon
                me, therefore will I deliver him: I will
                set him on high, because he hath known my
                name. He shall call upon me, and I will
                answer him: I will be with him in trouble;
                I will deliver him, and honour him....

Peter looks up to see Mrs Cratchit lay her work upon the table and put her
hand up to her face.

                Shall I stop reading?

                                MRS. CRATCHIT
                No, no.  It's only the colour.  It hurts my

Scrooge is puzzled by this: he peers intently at the group.  Black is the
colour of the material in the women's hands.  Mrs. Cratchit regains her

                                MRS. CRATCHIT
                They're better now again. 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. But I think he has walked a
                little slower than he used to these last
                few evenings, mother.

Peter shuts his Bible. They are very quiet again. A long pause, and then Mrs
Cratchit speaks in a steady, cheerful voice, that only faulters once.

                                MRS. CRATCHIT
                I have known him walk with -- I have known
                him walk with Tiny Tim upon his shoulder,
                very fast indeed.

                And so have I.  Often.

                                MRS. CRATCHIT
                But he was very light to carry, and his
                father loved him so, that it was no trouble:
                no trouble.

A noise stirs her.

                                MRS. CRATCHIT
                And there is your father at the door!

Bob in his comforter comes in -- alone. As the family greets him with his cup
of tea in an unusually subdued fashion, it finally dawns on Scrooge what has

                Oh, my God...

The Phantom makes no move.  Scrooge watches as the Cratchit family draws
about the fire; Peter tries to read silently to himself; the girls and mother
return to their sewing; Bob sips his tea.

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                I ran into Mr. Scrooge's nephew in the
                street today.  He thought I looked a little
                -- just a little down, you know -- and he
                inquired as to what had happened to distress
                me. On which, 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

                                MRS. CRATCHIT
                Knew what?

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                Why, that you were a good wife.

Mrs. Cratchit smiles.

                Everybody knows that.

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                I hope they do. "Heartily sorry," he said,
                "for your good wife. If I can be of service
                to you in any way, be sure to let me know"
                -- and he handed me his card. Now, it wasn't
                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.

                                MRS. CRATCHIT
                I'm sure he's a good soul.

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                You would be surer of it, if you saw and
                spoke to him. I shouldn't be at all surprised
                if he got Peter a better situation.

                                MRS. CRATCHIT
                Hear that, Peter?

                And then, Peter will be keeping company with
                someone, and setting up for himself.

                Get along with you!

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                        (to Peter)
                It's just as likely as not, one of these
                days; though there's plenty of time for
                        (to all)
                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

                                THE CHILDREN
                Never, father!  No.  Of course not.

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                And I know... I know 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.

                                THE CHILDREN
                No, never, father!  That's right.

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                        (at the point of tears)
                I am very happy.  I am very happy.

Mrs Cratchit kisses him, his daughters kiss him, the two young Cratchits kiss
him, and Peter shakes his hand. Bob abruptly leaves the room, and goes
upstairs.  The family members look at one another with concern.


A bedroom, cheerfully lit, and hung with Christmas decorations. Bob enters
hesitantly and sits down in a chair close to the bed.  After he composes
himself with an unspoken prayer, he leans over and kisses the face of Tiny
Tim, whose body we now see stretched out, lifeless, on the bed. Bob breaks
down all at once.

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                        (nearly inaudible)
                My little, little child. My little child.

Scrooge watches grimly from the far side of the room.  The Phantom stands
beside him.  Scrooge shuts his eyes.

                        (to the Phantom)
                Tell me what man that was whom we saw lying

When Scrooge opens his eyes...


Scrooge and the Phantom are halfway between Scrooge's counting-house and the
church tower opposite it.  The Phantom leads Scrooge toward the church.  But
Scrooge, seeing the counting-house, grasps the Phantom's robe.

                Wait.  That is where my place of occupation
                is, and has been for a length of time. Let
                me behold what I shall be, in days to come.

The Phantom stops; the hand points elsewhere.

                My office is yonder.  Why do you point away?

The inexorable finger undergoes no change.

                Just wait a moment, please.

Scrooge rushes off.


Scrooge nervously hastens to the window of his office, and looks in. It's an
office still, but not his. The furniture is not the same, and the figure in
the chair is not himself.


The Phantom points as before. Scrooge joins the Phantom once again, confused,
and accompanies it until they reach an iron gate. He pauses to look round
before entering.


A row of gravestones.  Walled in by houses; overrun by grass and weeds.  The
Phantom stands among the graves, and points down to One. Scrooge advances
towards it, trembling. Then stops.

                Before I draw nearer to that stone to which
                you point, 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 Phantom points downward to the grave by which it stands.

                Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends,
                to which, if persevered in, they must lead.
                But if the courses be departed from, the
                ends will change. Say it is thus with what
                you show me!

The Phantom is immovable as ever. Scrooge creeps toward the grave, trembling;
and following the finger, reads upon the stone of the neglected grave his own
name, Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge falls to his knees.

                Am I that man who lay upon the bed?

The finger points from the grave to Scrooge, and back again.

                No, Spirit! Oh no, no!

The finger still is there. Scrooge scrambles to his feet and clutches the
Phantom's robe.

                Spirit!  Hear me! I am not the man I was.
                I will not be the man I must have been but
                for this intervention. Why show me this,
                if I am past all hope?

For the first time, the hand appears to shake. Scrooge falls down before it,
sobbing violently, his face wet with tears.

                Good Spirit.  Your nature intercedes for
                me, and pities me. Assure me that I yet may
                change these shadows you have shown me, by
                an altered life!

The kind hand trembles.

                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, as he catches the spectral hand, Scrooge sees an alteration in
the Phantom's hood and dress. It shrinks, collapses, and dwindles down into a


Yes! and the bedpost is his own. Scrooge lets go of the post and scrambles
out of bed, falling to his knees.  He is out of his mind, babbling like a

                I will live in the Past, the Present, and
                the Future! 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

Scrooge folds a bed-curtain over his arm.

                They are not torn down.  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!

Scrooge's hands are busy with his garments all this time: turning them inside
out, putting them on upside down, tearing them, mislaying them, etc. He
laughs and cries in the same breath, stumbling out of the bed-room.


Scrooge stands there: perfectly winded.

                I don't know what to do!  I am as light as
                a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am
                as merry as a school-boy. I am as giddy as
                a drunken man. A merry Christmas to every-
                body! A happy New Year to all the world!
                Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!

Scrooge starts off again, going round the fire-place.

                There's the saucepan that the gruel was in!
                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 has been out of practice for so many years, it's 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!
                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 pauses as the church bell rings out the hour.  Scrooge starts babbling
along with it.

                Clash, clang, hammer, ding, dong, bell!
                Bell, dong, ding, hammer, clang, clash!
                Oh, glorious, glorious!

He runs to the window, hurls it open, and looks out.


Not a trace of fog or darkness.  Golden sunlight; Heavenly blue sky; merry
bells. Not too many people on the street.

                Oh, glorious. Glorious!

Scrooge spots a BOY IN SUNDAY CLOTHES, loitering on the sidewalk below.

                What's to-day?

                                BOY IN SUNDAY CLOTHES

                What's to-day, my fine fellow?

                                BOY IN SUNDAY CLOTHES
                To-day? Why, Christmas Day.

                        (to himself)
                It's Christmas Day! 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.
                        (to the boy)
                Hallo, my fine fellow!

                                BOY IN SUNDAY CLOTHES

                Do you know the Poulterer's, in the next
                street but one, at the corner?

                                BOY IN SUNDAY CLOTHES
                I should hope I did.

                        (to himself)
                An intelligent boy! A remarkable boy!
                        (to the boy)
                Do you know whether they've sold the prize
                Turkey that was hanging up there? Not the
                little prize Turkey; the big one?

                                BOY IN SUNDAY CLOTHES
                What, the one as big as me?

                        (to himself)
                What a delightful boy! It's a pleasure to
                talk to him.
                        (to the boy)
                Yes, my buck!

                                BOY IN SUNDAY CLOTHES
                It's hanging there now.

                Is it? Go and buy it.

The boy stares in disbelief for a moment, then thumbs his nose at Scrooge in

                                BOY IN SUNDAY CLOTHES

                No, no, I am in earnest. Go and buy it,
                and tell 'em to bring it here, that I may
                give them the directions 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

The boy takes off running down the street.


Scrooge rubs his hands and laughs. He writes Bob Cratchit's address on a slip
of paper with an unsteady hand.

                I'll send it to Bob Cratchit's! 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!


Moments later, Scrooge opens the street door, ready for the coming of the
poulterer's man. As he stands there, with the slip of paper in his hand, the
knocker catches his eye. He pats it with his hand.

                I shall love it, as long as I live! I
                scarcely ever looked at it before. What an
                honest expression it has in its face! It's
                a wonderful knocker!

The boy and the POULTERER'S MAN arrive with a gigantic turkey.

                        (to the knocker)
                Here's the Turkey.
                        (to the turkey-bearers)
                Hallo! Whoop! How are you! Merry Christmas!

Scrooge inspects the turkey -- it never could have stood upon its legs, that
bird. It would have snapped 'em short off in a minute, like sticks of

                Why, it's impossible to carry that to Camden
                Town. You must have a cab.

Scrooge chuckles as he says this, and we go into a


Scrooge chuckles as he pays for the Turkey, chuckles as he pays for the cab,
chuckles as he recompenses the boy, chuckles as he sits down breathless in
his sitting-room chair again, and chuckles till he cries.

Scrooge shaves at his wash-basin.  His hand shakes very much; partly because
he is laughing and dancing with joy. At one point, he nicks himself and
laughs even harder.

Out in the street, Scrooge is dressed in his Sunday best. By this time,
crowds pour forth, as he had seen them with the Ghost of Christmas Present;
Walking with his hands behind him, Scrooge regards every one with a delighted
smile. He looks so irresistibly pleasant that three or four good-humoured
fellows say, "Good morning, sir! A merry Christmas to you!"  Scrooge reacts
as if these are the sweetest sounds he's ever heard and returns the greeting.

Farther down the street, Scrooge suddenly tenses up.  Coming on towards him
he sees the portly gentleman, who had walked into his counting-house the day
before, and said, "Scrooge and Marley's, I believe?" Scrooge slows down for a
moment, then resolves himself to what he must do.  He quickens his pace and
takes the gentleman by both his hands.

                My dear sir. How do you do? I hope you
                succeeded yesterday. It was very kind of
                you. A merry Christmas to you, sir!

                                1st GENTLEMAN
                Mr Scrooge?

                Yes. 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 --

Scrooge whispers in his ear. The gentleman reacts as if his breath were gone.

                                1st GENTLEMAN
                Lord bless me!  My dear Mr Scrooge, are
                you serious?

                If you please.  Not a farthing less. A great
                many back-payments are included in it, I
                assure you. Will you do me that favour?

                                1st GENTLEMAN
                        (shakes Scrooge's hand)
                My dear sir.  I don't know what to say to
                such munificence.

                Don't say anything, please.  Come and see me.
                Will you come and see me?

                                1st GENTLEMAN
                I will!

                Thank 'ee.  I am much obliged to you. I
                thank you fifty times. Bless you!


Several views of Scrooge in church.  It's been years since his last visit and
he looks around nervously upon entering. During the singing of a hymn,
everyone knows the words by heart, save Scrooge -- who rapidly thumbs
through a hymn-book, until the little boy sitting on his right hands him his
own hymn-book opened to the correct page, whereupon Scrooge nods to him in
thanks.  Later, Scrooge pulls out a huge wad of bills and puts entirely too
much money in the collection plate before handing it to the astonished woman
on his left -- and upon seeing her startled look, he hastily removes a few
more bills from the wad and places them in the plate with an impish grin.

Scrooge walks about the streets, watches the people hurrying to and fro, pats
children on the head, questions beggars, looks down into the kitchens of
houses, up into the windows: and finds that all these things yield him


In a nice part of town.  Scrooge paces uncertainly outside. He slowly
approaches the front door but at the last moment, he returns to the sidewalk.
 Finally, he takes a deep breath, finds the courage to go up and knock, and
makes a dash for it.  He knocks and stands there, tight-lipped and shaking
nervously.  No answer.  He begins to leave.  A maid opens the door.

                Is your master at home, my dear?

                Yes, sir.

                Where is he, my love?

                He's in the sitting-room, sir, along with
                mistress. I'll show you in, if you please.


The maid leads Scrooge to the closed sitting-room door.

                Thank 'ee. He knows me. I'll go just in,
                my dear.

Scrooge crosses to the sitting-room and tenses up as he puts his hand on the
doorknob. The maid sees this and watches Scrooge curiously.  Scrooge looks up
to see her staring at him.  From his face, it's clear to her that he is
scared to enter and she gives him a reassuring nod and smile.  Scrooge
returns the smile and, taking a deep breath, he turns the doorknob gently and
sidles his face in, round the door.


Scrooge sees his nephew Fred surrounded by his party guests -- all laughing a
long, hearty laugh, exactly as Scrooge had heard it when with the Spirit.

                He said that Christmas was a humbug, as I
                live! He believed it too!


Scrooge flings the door open and startles his niece who is, as before,
sitting in the chair in the corner right by the door.  Scrooge is at once
apologetic and turns to her.

                Oh, I'm so sorry.  I forgot you were there.

She doesn't know quite what to make of that.  Scrooge's back is momentarily
turned toward his nephew who gazes on him in disbelief.

                Why bless my soul!  Who's that?

Scrooge turns around to face his astonished nephew, then nervously threads
his way through the guests to confront him.

                It's I. Your uncle Scrooge.

An awkward pause ensues as everyone merely stares at Scrooge -- a skunk at a
garden party.  He realizes he must try to break the ice.

                        (flawlessly imitates The Plump Sister)
                It's your Uncle Scro-o-o-o-oge!

Scrooge flashes a happy grin.  The guests stare at him in confusion.  He
grows immediately sober.

                        (to Fred)
                I have come as you asked. Will you let me in, Fred?

                Let you in!  I --

Fred bursts out laughing again and shakes Scrooge's hand so hard, it's a
mercy he doesn't take his arm off. Fred is still laughing as some of the
other guests crowd around Scrooge, greeting him, patting him on the back,
bringing him a drink.  Some of the others move away from him and whisper
among themselves: Surely this isn't the Uncle Scrooge!

                                ONE OF THE GUESTS
                        (to Scrooge)
                You know, I have always wanted to meet you,
                Mr. Scrooge.  The droll way in which your
                nephew portrays you has made me curious.
                I say, have you met Mister...?

One of the female guests has begun to play a simple little tune upon the
harp; and the others choose partners and take to dancing about the room.
There might be twenty people there, young and old, but they all dance.
Including, for the first time in years, Ebenezer Scrooge.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:


The day after Christmas.  Bright sunshine pours into Scrooge's office.  All
is quiet save for the ticking of the clock -- which reads 9:18.  Scrooge sits
behind his desk, grinning like a madman, with his door wide open so that he
might see Bob Cratchit come into his tank-like office.  Bob bursts in, his
hat and comforter already off. He jumps on his stool in a jiffy, driving away
with his pen, as if he were trying to overtake nine o'clock.  Meanwhile,
trying to suppress a grin, Scrooge manages an approximation of his old
caustic personality.

                Cratchit! You're late! What do you mean by
                coming here at this time of day?

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                I am very sorry, sir. I am behind my time.

                You are? Yes. I think you are. Step this
                way, if you please.

Bob reluctantly leaves the Tank and joins Scrooge in the office.

                                BOB CRATCHIT
                It's only once a year, sir. It shall not
                be repeated. I was making rather merry
                yesterday, sir.

                Now, I'll tell you what, my friend.  I am
                not going to stand this sort of thing any
                longer. And therefore ...

Scrooge leaps from his chair, and gives Bob such a dig in the waistcoat that
he staggers back into the Tank again.

                ... and therefore I am about to raise your

Bob gasps, trembles, and inches away from Scrooge, picking up a nearby ruler
to use in self-defense.

                A merry Christmas, Bob! A merrier Christmas,
                Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you
                for many a year!
                I'm going to raise your salary.  And if
                you'll let me, I'd like to try to help your

An incredulous Bob stares at Scrooge for a long, long moment.

                Well, let's discuss it this afternoon, over
                a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob!
                Make up the fires, and buy another
                coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob

Scrooge grins at a still uncertain Bob Cratchit.  The distant sound of
carolers singing an appropriate hymn grows louder.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:


The Narrator looks down at the book in his lap, a quiet smile on his face.
Outside his window, a small group of carolers slowly approach continuing the
hymn.  The young people circled around the Narrator seem edgy and

                And that's the story.

                                THE SKEPTICAL ADOLESCENT
                How much of that was true?

                Well, I was there for some of it. And I
                heard about some of it.
                And I made up the rest.

The children laugh.

                                THE SKEPTICAL ADOLESCENT
                Yeah, but did old man Scrooge really keep
                his word?

                Yes.  In fact, he was better than his word.
                He did everything he said he would, and
                much more.

                                THE TEN YEAR OLD GIRL
                What happened to Tiny Tim?  Did he --?
                Did he --?

                No.  Tiny Tim did not die. And Scrooge was
                like a second father to him.
                        (a faraway look in his eye)
                He became as good a friend, as good a
                teacher, and as good a man, as any person
                could hope to know.

The girl seems reassured.

                                THE SKEPTICAL ADOLESCENT
                Oh, come on.  People just don't change like
                that overnight.

                In fact, a lot of people laughed at him
                when he changed, but he let them laugh,
                and didn't pay any attention to it; I think
                he was smart enough to know that nothing
                good ever happens in this world that people
                won't laugh at it -- at first.  And that
                it's better to make people laugh than make
                them do some other things I can think of.
                His own heart laughed: and I think that was
                good enough for him.

                                THE ADOLESCENT WHO
                                WISHED HE WAS AN ADULT
                And do you mean to say that he had no
                further intercourse with Spirits?

                Ah, well...
                        (mischievous grin)
                After that, he adopted the principle of
                abstinence and no Spirits ever visited him
                again, as far as he knew.

The Narrator glances around at his audience but there are no more questions.
He decides to add a final word.

                Well... It was always said of Mr. Scrooge
                that if anyone knew how to keep Christmas
                well, it was him. If only that could truly
                be said of us. Of all of us.  Merry

The Narrator returns the book to the ten year old girl.

                                THE TEN YEAR OLD GIRL
                        (quietly, to herself)
                ... and may God Bless Us, Every One.

The Narrator smiles.  Outside, the caroling has gotten steadily louder.  A
tapping sound causes everyone to turn to the window, where the carolers
beckon to them.  Everyone in the room hollers ("Hey!" "Look who's here!").
They rise and rush to the front door -- except for the ten year old girl who
lingers to help the Narrator to his feet.  He thanks her and, hand in hand,
they follow the others to the door.  For the first time, we see he carries a
cane.  And limps, favoring his right leg.   Could this be Tiny Tim all grown
up?  They join the little crowd just outside the door -- carolers and
children -- in singing "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" or some such thing.


As they sing, their breath visible in the cold night air, we PAN UP and AWAY
to find ...


A spectral figure leaning over the edge of the roof, peering down, smiling at
the music.  It is MARLEY'S GHOST, a look of peace and satisfaction on its no
longer glassy face.  Marley turns to reveal another ghost right beside him --
Scrooge's.  To the surprise of both, the chain 'round Marley's body jerks to
life and begins to unspool rapidly, falling away from him as if there were a
ship's anchor at the end of it.  In a moment, the chain is gone and Marley is
free.  He clutches his waist and looks himself over. And then beams at
Scrooge gratefully. Scrooge grins, then realizes something.  Suddenly, he
reaches up with his left hand and removes the wrapper that keeps Marley's jaw
in place.  The jaw does not drop.  Marley clicks his teeth together a few
times to test them, then breaks into a broad smile.  He mouths a "Thank you"
to Scrooge.  The two ghosts shake hands.  Scrooge looks down at the wrapper
in his hand and, with a flourish, tosses it over the edge.  The two ghosts
take flight, into a night sky teeming with free spirits, as the group below
finishes singing... a Christmas carol.


A long, silent pause.

FADE IN on what appears to be the FLOOR of Scrooge's room upon which rests
the extinguisher cap last seen covering the Ghost of Christmas Past.  The cap
tips over and the ghost appears from under it in a dazzling burst of light.
The ghost's FACE fills the screen and, after a wink, it begins to morph into
the faces of all the featured actors.  As each actor's face appears, their
credit is superimposed beneath them.  The final image is of Tiny Tim in
Scrooge's arms, giving the old man a hug.

                                TINY TIM
                May God bless us, every one.

The image blurs and spirals away under the extinguisher cap and suddenly all
is dark.