A Christmas Carol: the First of Three Spirits

on 10 December 2009

"The school is not quite deserted," said the Ghost.  "A solitary child, neglected by his friends, is left there still."

Scrooge said he knew it.  And he sobbed.

They left the high-road, by a well-remembered lane, and soon approached a mansion of dull red brick, with a little weathercock-surmounted cupola, on the roof, and a bell hanging in it.  It was a large house, but one of broken fortunes; for the spacious offices were little used, their walls were damp and mossy, their windows broken, and their gates decayed.  Fowls clucked and strutted in the stables; and the coach-houses and sheds were over-run with grass.  Nor was it more retentive of its ancient state, within; for entering the dreary hall, and glancing through the open door of many rooms, they found them poorly furnished, cold and vast.  There was an earthy savour in the air, a chilly bareness in the place, which associated itself somehow with too much getting up by candle-light, and not too much to eat.

They went, the Ghost and Scrooge, across the hall, to a door at the back of the house.  It opened before them, and disclosed a long, bare, melancholy room, made barer still by lines of plain deal forms and desks.  At one of these a lonely boy was reading near a feeble fire; and Scrooge sat down upon a form, and wept to see his poor forgotten self as he used to be."

Charles Dickens

2 comments:

Bird said...

You know I've never read a Christmas Carol (not shocking, I know) but I like these little excerpts. I feel like I'm catching up on my cultural education.

Erin P said...

I love love love LOVE that book. I need to get it out again. Have you ever seen the version they have published in Dickens' own hand? It's actually in his handwriting, with cross-outs and corrections right in the text. It's a special thing to look at how he wrote it.