Chapter 5 - The End of it
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!
``I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!''
Scrooge repeated, as he scrambled out of bed. ``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 knees!''
He was so fluttered and so glowing with his good intentions,
that his broken voice would scarcely answer to his call. He
had been sobbing violently in his conflict with the Spirit, and
his face was wet with tears.
``They are not torn down,'' cried Scrooge, folding one of
his bed-curtains in his arms, ``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
His hands were busy with his garments all this time: turning
them inside out, putting them on upside down, tearing them,
mislaying them, making them parties to every kind of
``I don't know what to do!'' cried Scrooge, laughing and
crying in the same breath; and making a perfect Laocoön of
himself with his stockings. ``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!
He had frisked into the sitting-room, and was now standing
there: perfectly winded.
``There's the saucepan that the gruel was in!'' cried
Scrooge, starting off again, and going round the
``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 had been out of practice for so many
years, it was a splendid laugh, a most illustrious laugh. The
father of a long, long line of briliant laughs!
``I don't know what day of the month it is!'' said
Scrooge. ``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 was checked in his transports by the churches ringing out
the lustiest peals he had ever heard. Clash, clang, hammer,
ding, dong, bell. Bell, dong, ding, hammer, clang, clash! Oh,
Running to the window, he opened it, and put out his
cold, piping for the blood to dance to; Golden sunlight;
Heavenly sky; sweet fresh air; merry bells. Oh, glorious.
``What's to-day?'' cried Scrooge, calling downward to a
boy in Sunday clothes, who perhaps had loitered in to look
``Eh? '' returned the boy, with all
his might of wonder.
``What's to-day, my fine fellow?'' said Scrooge.
``To-day?'' replied the boy. ``Why,
``It's Christmas Day!'' said Scrooge to himself. ``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. Hallo, my fine fellow!''
``Hallo!'' returned the boy
``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?'' returned the boy.
``What a delightful boy!'' said Scrooge. ``It's a
pleasure to talk to him. Yes, my buck!''
``It's hanging there now,'' replied the boy.
``Is it?'' said Scrooge. ``Go and buy it.''
``Walk-er!'' exclaimed the boy.
``No, no,'' said Scrooge, ``I am in earnest. Go and buy
it, and tell 'em to bring it here, that I may give them the
irection 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!''
``I'll send it to Bob Cratchit's!'' whispered Scrooge,
rubbing his hands, and splitting with a laugh. ``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!''
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. As
he stood there, waiting his arrival, the knocker caught his
``I shall love it, as long as I live!'' cried Scrooge,
patting it with his hand. ``I scarcely ever looked at it
before. What an honest expression it has in its face! It's a
wonderful knocker! -- Here's the Turkey. Hallo! Whoop!
How are you! Merry Christmas!''
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.
``Why, it's impossible to carry that to Camden Town,''
said Scrooge. ``You must have a cab.''
The chuckle with which he said this, and the chuckle with
which he paid for the Turkey, and the chuckle with which he
paid for the cab, and the chuckle with which he recompensed the
boy, were only to be exceeded by the chuckle with
which he sat down breathless in his chair again, and chuckled
till he cried.
Shaving was not an easy task, for his hand continued to
shake very much; and shaving requires attention, even when you
don't dance while you are at it. But if he had cut the end of
his nose off, he would have put a piece of sticking-plaister
over it, and been quite satisfied.
He dressed himself all in his best,
and at last got out into the streets. The people were by this
time pouring forth, as he had seen them with the Ghost of
Christmas Present; and walking with his hands behind him,
Scrooge regarded every one with a delighted smile. He looked
so irresistibly pleasant, in a word, that three or four
good-humoured fellows said, ``Good morning, sir! A merry
Christmas to you!'' And Scrooge said often afterwards, that
of all the blithe sounds he had ever heard, those were the
blithest in his ears.
He had not gone far, when coming on towards him he beheld
the portly gentleman, who had walked into his
counting-house the day before, and said, ``Scrooge and
Marley's, I believe?'' It sent a pang across his heart to
think how this old gentleman would look upon him when they met;
but he knew what path lay straight before him, and he took it.
``My dear sir,'' said Scrooge, quickening his pace, and
taking the old gentleman by both his hands. ``How do you do?
I hope you succeeded yesterday. It was very kind of you. A
merry Christmas to you, sir!''
``Yes,'' said Scrooge. ``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 --'' here Scrooge whispered
in his ear.
``Lord bless me!'' cried the gentleman, as if his breath
were gone. ``My dear Mr Scrooge, are you serious?''
``If you please,'' said Scrooge. ``Not a farthing less.
A great many back-payments are included in it, I assure you.
Will you do me that favour?''
``My dear sir,'' said the other, shaking hands with him. ``I don't know what to say to such
``don't say anything, please,'' retorted Scrooge.
``Come and see me. Will you come and see me?''
``I will!'' cried the old gentleman. And it was clear he
meant to do it.
``Thank 'ee,'' said Scrooge. ``I am much obliged to
you. I thank you fifty times. Bless you!''
He went to church, and walked about the streets, and watched
the people hurrying to and fro, and patted children on the
head, and questioned beggars, and looked down into the kitchens
of houses, and up to the windows: and found that everything
could yield him pleasure. He had never dreamed that any walk
-- that anything -- could give him so much happiness.
In the afternoon he turned his steps towards his nephew's
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. Nice girl! Very.
``Where is he, my love?'' said Scrooge.
``He's in the dining-room, sir, along with mistress. I'll
show you up-stairs, if you please.''
``Thank 'ee. He knows me,'' said Scrooge, with his hand
already on the dining-room lock. ``I'll go in here, my
He turned it gently, and sidled his face in, round the door.
They were looking at the table (which was spread out in great
array); for these young housekeepers are always nervous on such
points, and like to see that everything is right.
``Fred!'' said Scrooge.
Dear heart alive, how his niece by marriage started! Scrooge
had forgotten, for the moment, about her sitting in the corner
with the footstool, or he wouldn't have done it, on any
``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. So did every one when they
came. Wonderful party, wonderful games, wonderful unanimity,
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
And he did it; yes he did! The clock struck nine. No Bob.
A quarter past. No Bob. He was full eighteen minutes and a
half, behind his time. Scrooge sat with his door wide open,
that he might see him come into the Tank.
His 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.
``Hallo!'' 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, if you please.''
``It's only once a year, sir,'' pleaded Bob, appearing
from the Tank. ``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,'' he continued, leaping from his stool, and giving
Bob such a dig in the waistcoat that he staggered back into the
Tank again: ``and therefore I am about to raise your
Bob trembled, and got a little nearer to the ruler. He had
a momentary idea of knocking Scrooge down with it; holding him,
and calling to the people in the court for help and a
``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 endeavour to assist your struggling family, and we
will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas
bowl of smoking bishop, Bob! Make up the
fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i,
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 he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he
was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this
globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill
of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would
be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should
wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less
attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite
enough for him.
He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever
afterwards; 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!