warming their hands and winking their eyes before theblaze in rapture. The water-plug being left in solitude, itsoverflowing sullenly congealed, and turned tomisanthropic ice. The brightness of the shops where hollysprigs and berries crackled in the lamp heat of thewindows, made pale faces ruddy as they passed.Poulterers' and grocers' trades became a splendid joke; aglorious pageant, with which it was next to impossible tobelieve that such dull principles as bargain and sale hadanything to do. The Lord Mayor, in the stronghold of themighty Mansion House, gave orders to his fifty cooks andbutlers to keep Christmas as a Lord Mayor's householdshould; and even the little tailor, whom he had fined fiveshillings on the previous Monday for being drunk andbloodthirsty in the streets, stirred up to-morrow's puddingin his garret, while his lean wife and the baby sallied outto buy the beef.Foggier yet, and colder! Piercing, searching, biting cold.If the good Saint Dunstan had but nipped the Evil Spirit'snose with a touch of such weather as that, instead of usinghis familiar weapons, then indeed he would have roaredto lusty purpose. The owner of one scant young nose,gnawed and mumbled by the hungry cold as bones aregnawed by dogs, stooped down at Scrooge's keyhole toregale him with a Christmascarol: but at the first soundof`God bless you, merry gentleman! May nothing youdismay!'
Scrooge seized the ruler with such energy of action, thatthe singer fled in terror, leaving the keyhole to the fog andeven more congenial frost.At length the hour of shutting up the counting-housearrived. With an ill-will Scrooge dismounted from hisstool, and tacitly admitted the fact to the expectant clerkin the Tank, who instantly snuffed his candle out, and puton his hat.`You'll want all day to-morrow, I suppose?' saidScrooge.`If quite convenient, sir.'`It's not convenient,' said Scrooge, `and it's not fair. IfI was to stop half-a-crown for it, you'd think yourself illused,I'll be bound?'The clerk smiled faintly.`And yet,' said Scrooge, `you don't think me ill-used,when I pay a day's wages for no work.'The clerk observed that it was only once a year.`A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket everytwenty-fifth of December!' said Scrooge, buttoning hisgreat-coat to the chin. `But I suppose you must have thewhole day. Be here all the earlier next morning.'The clerk promised that he would; and Scrooge walkedout with a growl. The office was closed in a twinkling,and the clerk, with the long ends of his white comforterdangling below his waist (for he boasted no great-coat),went down a slide on Cornhill, at the end of a lane ofboys, twenty times, in honour of its being Christmas Eve,
Beloved in Christmases past, and sure to remain a favorite into Christmases of the future, Dickens’ popular holiday tale is the perfect Christmas present. The uplifting tale follows the mysterious and magical events that transform the miserly, miserable Ebenezer Scrooge into as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man�? as ever lived.