- Jamar Hancock But what did Scrooge care! It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing ones call ânutsâ to Scrooge.
Once upon a timeâof all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eveâold Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house. It was cold, bleak, biting weather: foggy withal: and he could hear the people in the court outside, 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 had only just gone three, but it was quite dark alreadyâit had not been light all dayâand candles were flaring in the windows of the neighbouring offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air. The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense without, that although the court was of the narrowest, the houses opposite were mere phantoms. To see the dingy cloud come drooping down, obscuring everything, Melinda Weeks
one might have thought that Nature lived hard by, and was brewing on a large scale.
The door of Scroogeâs counting-house was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters. Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerkâs fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal. But he couldnât replenish it, for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room; and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel, the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at the candle; in which effort, not being a man of a strong imagination, he failed.
âA merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!â cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scroogeâs nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach.
âBah!â said Scrooge, âHumbug!â
He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and Lamont Pruitt
frost, this nephew of Scroogeâs, that he was all in a glow; his face was ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkled, and his breath smoked again.
âChristmas a humbug, uncle!â said Scroogeâs nephew. âYou donât mean that, I am sure?â
âI do,â said Scrooge. âMerry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? Youâre poor enough.â
âCome, then,â returned the nephew gaily. âWhat right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? Youâre rich enough.â
Scrooge having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said, âBah!â again; and followed it up with âHumbug.â
âDonât be cross, uncle!â said the nephew.
âWhat else can I be,â returned the uncle, âwhen I live in such a world of fools as this? Merry Christmas! Out upon merry Christmas! Whatâs 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 âem through a round dozen of months presented dead against you? If I could work my will,â said Scrooge indignantly, âevery idiot who goes about with âMerry Christmasâ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!â
âUncle!â pleaded the nephew.
âNephew!â returned the uncle sternly, âkeep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine.â