A Christmas Carol - THE END OF IT

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Arthur Rackham created this image for the 1915 edition of “A Christmas Carol.” Published by J.B. Lippincott Company, it is online courtesy Project Gutenberg.  The drawing illustrates a section of “Stave Five” and shows Scrooge as a changed man:  "Now, I'll tell you what, my friend," said Scrooge [playing a joke on Bob Cratchit]. "I am not going to stand this sort of thing any longer."  


Scrooge awakens, on Christmas morning, a changed man.  He shocks everyone who previously knew him with his Christmas-Day actions. 

He anonymously sends Bob Cratchit and his family the "prize turkey," so they can enjoy a wonderful Christmas dinner.  He more-than-generously gives to the poor (although he'd previously refused to give anything at all).  He surprises his nephew, Fred, by accepting the invitation to share Christmas with his family.

In short ... Scrooge is determined to live a better life and learn from the ghostly visits.

With this story, Charles Dickens touched a nerve with the people of his city (London), his country (England) and the rest of the world.  Instantly popular, the novella was already in its second printing weeks after its release. 

Although Dickens did not reintroduce Christmas celebrations, per se, he greatly contributed to the "spirit of the season" by reminding everyone to think of others (especially those who are less-fortunate).  And so it continues to this day when this 1843-work remains part of the annual holiday celebrations.

Hereafter is an abridged version of "Stave Five," from Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."  You can listen to an abridged version of "The End of It" by selecting "Narration" for this chapter.

Yes! and the bedpost was his own.  The bed was his own, the room was his own.  Best and happiest of all, the Time before him was his own, to make amends in!

Running to the window, he opened it, and put out his head.  No fog, no mist, no night; clear, bright, stirring, golden Day.

“What’s to-day, my fine fellow?” said Scrooge, calling downward to a boy in Sunday clothes, who perhaps had loitered in to look about him.

“To-day!  Why, Christmas Day.”

“It’s Christmas Day!” said Scrooge to himself.  “I haven’t missed it.  Hallo, my fine fellow!  Do you know the Poulterer’s, in the next street but one, at the corner?” Scrooge inquired.

“I should hope I did,” replied the lad.

“An intelligent boy!” said Scrooge.  “A remarkable boy!  Do you know whether they’ve sold the prize Turkey that was hanging up there?  Not the little prize Turkey, the big one?”

“What, the one as big as me?”

“A delightful boy!  It’s a pleasure to talk to him.  Yes!”

“It’s hanging there now,” replied the boy.

“Is it?” said Scrooge. “Go and buy it, and tell ’em to bring it here, that I may give them the direction 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 half-a-crown!”

The boy was off like a shot.

“I’ll send it to Bob Cratchit’s!” whispered Scrooge. “He sha’n’t know who sends it. It’s twice the size of Tiny Tim.”

The hand in which he wrote the address was not a steady one, but write it he did, somehow, and went down-stairs to open the street door, ready for the coming of the poulterer’s man. It was a Turkey!  He never could have stood upon his legs, that bird. He would have snapped ’em short off in a minute, like sticks of sealing-wax.

Scrooge dressed himself, and at last got out into the streets.  The people were by this time pouring forth.  Walking with his hands behind him, Scrooge regarded every one with a delighted smile.

In the afternoon he turned his steps towards his nephew’s house.

He passed the door a dozen times, before he had the courage to go up and knock. But he made a dash, and did it.

“Is your master at home, my dear?” said Scrooge to the girl.

“Yes, sir.”

“Where is he, my love?” said Scrooge.

“He’s in the dining-room, sir, along with mistress.”

“He knows me,” said Scrooge, with his hand already on the dining-room lock. “I’ll go in here, my dear.  Fred!”

“Why bless my soul!” cried Fred, “who’s that?”

“It’s I.  Your uncle Scrooge.  I have come to dinner.  Will you let me in, Fred?”

Let him in!  It is a mercy he didn’t shake his arm off.  He was at home in five minutes.  Nothing could be heartier.  His niece looked just the same.  So did Topper when he came.  So did the plump sister when she came.  Wonderful party, wonderful games, wonderful unanimity, won-der-ful happiness!

But he was early at the office next morning.  Oh, he was early there.  If he could only be there first, and catch Bob Cratchit coming late!  That was the thing he had set his heart upon.    

And he did it.  The clock struck nine.  No Bob.  A quarter past.  No Bob.  Bob was full eighteen minutes and a half, behind his time.

Bob’s hat was off, before he opened the door; his comforter, too.  He was on his stool in a jiffy, driving away with his pen, as if he were trying to overtake nine o’clock.

“Mr. Cratchit!!” growled Scrooge, in his accustomed voice, as near as he could feign it.

“What do you mean by coming here at this time of day?”

“I am very sorry, sir,” said Bob. “I am behind my time.”

“You are?” repeated Scrooge.  “Yes.  I think you are.  Step this way, sir, if you please.”

“It’s only once a year, sir,” pleaded Bob.  “It shall not be repeated.  I was making rather merry yesterday, sir.”

“Now, I’ll tell you what, my friend,” said Scrooge, “I am not going to stand this sort of thing any longer.  And therefore,” Scrooge continued, “I am about to raise your salary!”

Bob trembled, and had a momentary idea of calling to the people in the court for help.

“A merry Christmas, Bob!” said Scrooge, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back.  “A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you, for many a year!  I’ll raise your salary, and endeavor to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop!  Make up the fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit!”

Scrooge was better than his word.  He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did NOT die, he was a second father.

He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.  Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but his own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.

He had no further intercourse with Spirits; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.

May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!

And ... from everyone at AwesomeStories ... have a wonderful holiday season!

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5189stories and lessons created

Original Release: Dec 23, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Mar 12, 2016

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"THE END OF IT" AwesomeStories.com. Dec 23, 2013. Dec 13, 2019.
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