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Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Christmas Carol - Ebenezer Scrooge - Charles Dickens



A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.

by Charles John Huffam Dickens

 

A visit into the life of one Ebenezer Scrooge

A play I composed in 1990 based on Dickens' story of Christmas

 

A Christmas Carol

 

Ghost Story of Christmas

Adapted for the stage from the original novel


My ©1990 rendition for the stage from the original novel written by Charles Dickens

Slightly Formatted for Blog Posting

 

~ Scene Menu ~

 

PROLOGUE

SCENE 1

SCENE 2

SCENE 3

SCENE 4

SCENE 5

SCENE 6

SCENE 7

SCENE 8

SCENE 9

SCENE 10

SCENE 11

SCENE 12

SCENE 13

SCENE 14

SCENE 15

SCENE 16

SCENE 17

SCENE 18

SCENE 19

SCENE 20

SCENE 21

EPILOGUE



Page location & ages deleted from this blog version



CAST OF CHARACTERS
Narrator, Ebenezer Scrooge, Fred (nephew),
Bob Cratchit, Mrs. Cratchit, Peter Cratchit, Martha Cratchit,
Belinda Cratchit, Patricia Cratchit, Mary Cratchit, Tiny Tim Cratchit,
2 Benefactors/Philanthropists, 3 Businessmen, 2 Businessmen,
2 Arguing men, Caroler/Turkey Boy, Carolers, Jacob Marley,
Christmas Past, Christmas Present, Christmas Yet To Come (Future),
3 Schoolboys, Little Ebenezer, Young Ebenezer, Young Scrooge,
Fan (Scrooge's sister), Belle (young), Mrs. Belle, Husband & Children,
Fezziwig, Mrs. Fezziwig, Fezziwig Daughters, Daughter Admirers,
Dick Wilkins, Fiddler, Miner Family, Christine (Fred's Wife),
Fred's Guests, Old Joe, Mrs. Dilber, Laundress, Undertaker's Man,
2 Debtors (John & Caroline), Poulterer, 



                    
Prologue:  Marley Is Dead!
Outside of the establishment called by the dreaded name
'Scrooge & Marley,' townsfolk are busy about their humble,
common affairs. One of them turns to the audience with an
exactive dialogue:
 
                    NARRATOR
 
Marley was dead to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.
The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk,
the undertaker and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And
Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change for anything he chose to
put his hand to.
 
Old Marley was as dead as a doornail.
Though I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail
as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade.
You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically,
that Marley was as dead as a door-nail!
 
Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did.
How could it be otherwise?
Scrooge and he were partners for I don't know how many years.
Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator,
his sole friend, and his sole mourner.
And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event,
but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day
of the funeral, and solemnized it with an undoubted bargain! 
 
There was no doubt that Marley was dead.
This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can
come of this story.
 
Narrator points toward the sign
 
Scrooge never painted out Marley's name.
There it stood, for years afterwards, above the warehouse door:
'Scrooge & Marley.' The firm was known as Scrooge & Marley.
Scrooge answered to both names. It was all the same to him.
 
External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge.
No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him.
No wind that blew was more bitter than he!
 
 
Nobody ever stopped him on the street to say,
'My dear Scrooge, how are you? When will you come to see me?'
No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked
him what it was o'clock, no man or woman ever once in all his
life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge.
 
Scrooge enters and walks toward his business establishment,
as townsfolk slowly move off stage.
 
Even the blind men's dogs appeared to know him; and when they
saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and
up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said,
'No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!'  
 
But what did Scrooge care!  It was the very thing he liked!




MARLEY'S GHOST


ACT 1


STAVE 1


SCENE 1


Scrooge & Marley's establishment




Scrooge stands at his desk, keeping a close eye on his clerk,

Bob Cratchit, who is busily copying letters.

Scrooge's nephew, Fred, enters.



                    FRED
A Merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!
 
                    SCROOGE
Bah! Humbug!
 
                    FRED
Christmas a humbug, uncle! You don't mean that, I am sure?
 
                    SCROOGE
I do. 'Merry Christmas.' What reason have you to be merry?
You're poor enough.
 
                    FRED
Come, then. What right have you to be dismal?
What reason have you to be morose? You're rich enough.
 
                    SCROOGE
Bah! Humbug!
 
                    FRED
Don't be cross, uncle.
 
                    SCROOGE
What else can I be when I live in such a world of fools as this?
Merry Christmas! Out upon Merry Christmas!
What's Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills
without money; a time for finding yourself a year older,
and not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books
and having every item in 'er through a round dozen of months
presented dead against you? If I could work my will,
every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips,
should be boiled with his own pudding,
and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.
 
                    FRED
Uncle!
 
                    SCROOGE
Nephew! Keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine.
 
                    FRED
Keep it? But you don't keep it.
 
                    SCROOGE
Let me leave it alone, then. Much good may it do you!
Much good it has ever done you!
 
                    FRED
There are many things from which I might have derived good,
by which I have not profited, I dare say.
Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought
of Christmas time, when it has come round--apart from the
veneration due to its sacred name and origin,
if anything belonging to it can be apart from that-as a good time;
a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time;
the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year,
when men and women seem by one consent to open their
shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them
as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave,
and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.
And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold
or silver in my pocket, I believe that it HAS done me good,
and WILL do me good; and I say, God bless it!
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
Amen Sir! Amen!  Applauding vigorously.
 
                    SCROOGE
Let me hear another sound from you and you'll keep your
Christmas by losing your situation.
You're quite a powerful speaker, sir.
I wonder why you don't go into parliament.
 
                    FRED
Don't be angry, uncle. Come! Dine with us tomorrow.
 
                    SCROOGE
The day I die and see myself in a cold, dark grave will come
all the more sooner, nephew!
A prophetic view of his upcoming cemetery visit
with CHRISTMAS YET TO COME.
 
                    FRED
Uncle! But why? Why?
 
                    SCROOGE
Why did you get married?
 
 
                    FRED
Because I fell in love.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Because I fell in love!   sarcastically
Good afternoon!
 
                    FRED
Nay, uncle, but you never came to see me before that happened.
Why give it as reason for not coming now?
 
                    SCROOGE
Good afternoon!
 
 
                    FRED
I want nothing from you; I ask nothing of you;
why cannot we be friends?
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Good afternoon!
 
                    FRED
I am sorry, with all my heart, to find you so resolute.
We have never had any quarrel, to which I have been a party.
But I have made the trial in homage to Christmas,
and I'll keep my Christmas humor to the last.
So a 'Merry Christmas,' uncle!
 
                    SCROOGE
Good afternoon!
 
                    FRED
And a 'Happy New Year'.
 
                    SCROOGE
Good afternoon!
 
 as Fred leaves he bids farewell to Bob Cratchit.
 
                    FRED
A Merry Christmas, Bob! And God bless your good wife and family.
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
Thank you, sir. And a Happy New Year to you also!
 
                    SCROOGE
My clerk is another fellow, fifteen shillings a week,
and a wife and family, talking about 'Merry Christmas.'
Bah! Humbug!
 
Fred exits as two robust philanthropists enter.
 
                    MR. CHARLTON
Scrooge and Marley's, I believe.
Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Scrooge or Mr. Marley?
 
                    SCROOGE
Mr. Marley has been dead these seven years.
He died seven years ago, this very night.
 
                    MR. CHARLTON
We have no doubt his liberality is well
represented by his surviving partner.
 
he hand Scrooge his credentials.
 
                    SCROOGE
shaking his head, he forcefully returns the papers.
 
                    MR. BENTLEY
At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge, it is more
than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision
for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time.
Many thousands are in want of common necessaries;
hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.
 
                    SCROOGE
Are there no prisons?
 
                    MR. BENTLEY
Plenty of prisons.
 
                    SCROOGE
And the Union workhouses.  Are they still in operation?
 
                    MR. BENTLEY
They are. Still, I wish I could say they were not.
 
                    SCROOGE
The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigor, then?
 
                    MR. BENTLEY
Both very busy, sir.
 
                    SCROOGE
Oh, good! I was afraid, from what you said at first,
that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course.
I'm very glad to hear it.
 
                    MR. CHARLTON
Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian
cheer of mind or body to the multitude, a few of us are
endeavoring to raise a fund to buy the poor some meat and drink,
and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time,
of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices.
What shall I put you down for?
 
                    SCROOGE
Nothing!
 
                    MR. BENTLEY
You wish to be anonymous?
 
                    SCROOGE
I wish to be left alone. Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen,
that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas,
and I can't afford to make idle people merry.
I support the establishments I have mentioned - they cost enough;
and those who are badly off must go there.
 
                    MR. CHARLTON
Many can't go there; and many would rather die.
 
                    SCROOGE
If they would rather die, they had better do it,
and decrease the surplus population.
Besides -- excuse me -- I don't know that.
 
                    MR. CHARLTON
But you might know it!
 
                    SCROOGE
It's not my business. It's enough for a man to understand
his own business, and not to interfere with other people's.
Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, gentlemen!
 
                    MR. BENTLEY
Good day to you, Mr. Scrooge!
 
                    MR. CHARLTON
Mr. Scrooge!
 
as they exit a caroler enters through the door.
 
                    CAROLER
God bless you merry gentleman!
May nothing you dismay!
 
Scrooge grabs a large ruler and runs toward him.
He screams and runs away swiftly.
Scrooge sits while Bob Cratchit still copies busily at his desk.
 
A BELL signals closing hour.
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
Shall I close up now, sir?
 
                    SCROOGE
And you'll want the whole day tomorrow, I suppose?
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
If quite convenient, sir.
 
                    SCROOGE
It's not convenient, and it's not fair. If I were to stop
half-a-crown for it, you'd think yourself ill-used, I'll be bound?
And yet you don't think me ill-used,
when I pay a day's wages for no work.
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
It is but once a year, sir.
 
                    SCROOGE
A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every twenty-fifth
of December! But I suppose you must have the whole day.
Be here all the earlier next morning.
 
They both ready themselves to exit.
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
I will, sir.  Thank you!
 
                    SCROOGE
Close the door, Cratchit.
I'm off for that poor excuse of a dinner at the tavern.
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
A Merry Christmas, sir!
 
                    SCROOGE
Bah! Humbug I tell you!
 
As Scrooge exits, carolers enter the scene
singing 'Joy to the World.' Scrooge walks toward them.
Bob Cratchit closes the shop door and scurries off.
 
                    SCROOGE
Be off you! What joy could this world entertain
on such a miserable evening as this?
 
The children run off.
 
Bah! Humbug!



Scrooge exits . . . as he leaves, lights dim, snow blizzard sounds get louder,

snow blizzard sounds get louder, shop door and furnishings are removed.

The door to his home, with knocker, is positioned.

Scrooge's bed, with curtains is placed back into position.

Adult and child carolers enter singing - A CHOSEN CAROL - as the scene is changed.



SCENE 2




Returning to his home from dinner,

Scrooge comes to his door and while fumbling for his keys,

sees an apparition of Marley's face on his door's knocker.



                    SCROOGE
Marley!
 
As he enters he looks back at the door.
 
Pooh, pooh!
 
Scrooge closes the door abruptly.
 
The lights go on &; off while the door is removed.
 
Scrooge sits in his bedroom chair and picks up a bowl
of gruel from a stool. He looks at the fireplace and again
sees Marley's apparition. Looking terrified...
 
Marley!
 
Getting up he drops his gruel and says,
 
Humbug!
 
After walking around the room he again sits.
Bells and chimes suddenly sound, then stop as fast as
they had started. A loud creaking is heard, followed
by a slam of a large heavy cellar door. Scrooge stands.
 
It's humbug still! I won't believe it.
 
He then hears the approaching of chains dragging as Marley's
ghost enters with old ripped clothes, chains money boxes,
ledgers, keys and money bags.
 
                    SCROOGE
How now! What do you want with me?
 
                    JACOB MARLEY
Much!
 
                    SCROOGE
Who are you?
 
                    JACOB MARLEY
Ask me who I was.
 
                    SCROOGE
Who were you then? You're particular, for a shade.
 
                    JACOB MARLEY
In life I was your partner, Jacob Marley.
You don't believe in me!
 
                    SCROOGE
I don't.
 
                    JACOB MARLEY
What evidence would you have of my reality
beyond that of your senses?
 
                    SCROOGE
I don't know.
 
                    JACOB MARLEY
Why do you doubt your senses?
 
                    SCROOGE
Because a little thing affects them.
A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats.
You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard,
a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato.
There's more of gravy than of grave about you,
Whatever you are! You see this toothpick?
 
                    JACOB MARLEY
I do.
 
                    SCROOGE
You are not looking at it.
 
                    JACOB MARLEY
But I see it, notwithstanding.
 
                    SCROOGE
Well! I have but to swallow this, and be for the rest
of my days persecuted by a legion of goblins,
all of my own creation. Humbug, I tell you! Humbug!
 
Marley's ghost gives an agonizing wail,
shaking his chains forcefully. Scrooge falls to his knees.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Mercy! Dreadful apparition, why do you trouble me?
 
                    JACOB MARLEY
Man of the worldly mind! Do you believe in me or not?
 
                    SCROOGE
I do. I must.
But why do spirits walk the earth, and why do they come to me?
 
                    JACOB MARLEY
It is required of every man, that the spirit within him
should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide;
and if that spirit goes not forth in life,
it is condemned to do so after death.
It is doomed to wander through the world - oh, woe is me!
And witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth,
and turned to happiness!
 
The spectre raises the chains with a single moan.
 
                    SCROOGE
You are fettered. Tell me, why?
 
                    JACOB MARLEY
I wear the chain I forged in life. I made it link by link,
and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will,
and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you;
Or would you know the weight and length of the strong coil
you bear yourself? It was full as heavy, and as long as this,
seven Christmas Eves ago. You have labored on it, since.
It is a ponderous chain!
 
                    SCROOGE
Jacob. Old Jacob Marley, tell me more. Speak comfort to me, Jacob.
 
                    JACOB MARLEY
I have none to give. It comes from other regions,
Ebenezer Scrooge, and is conveyed by other ministers,
to other kinds of men. Nor can I tell you what I would.
A very little more is all permitted to me.
I cannot rest, I cannot stay, I cannot linger anywhere.
My spirit never walked beyond our counting-house - mark me!
- in life my spirit never roved beyond the narrow limits
of our money-changing hole; and weary journeys lie before me!
 
                    SCROOGE
You must have been very slow about it, Jacob.
 
                    JACOB MARLEY
Slow!           moaning with a sense of desperation.
 
                    SCROOGE
Seven years dead, and travelling all the time!
 
                    JACOB MARLEY
The whole time. No rest, no peace. Incessant torture of remorse.
 
                    SCROOGE
You travel fast?
 
                    JACOB MARLEY
On the wings of the wind.
 
                    SCROOGE
You might have got over a great quantity of ground in seven years.
 
The ghost, on hearing this,
clanks its chain and moans a great blood curdling cry.
 
                    JACOB MARLEY
Oh! captive, bound, and double-ironed, not to know,
that ages of incessant labor, by immortal creatures,
for this earth must pass into eternity before the good
which it is susceptible is all developed.
Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly
in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find mortal life
too short for its vast means of usefulness.
Not to know that no space of regret can make amends
for one life's opportunity misused. Yet such was I! Oh! Such was I!
 
                    SCROOGE
But you were always a good man of business, Jacob.
 
                    JACOB MARLEY
Business! Mankind was my business.
The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance,
and benevolence, were all my business.
The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the
comprehensive ocean of my business!  he moans
At this time of the rolling year, I suffer most.
Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with
my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star
which led the Wise Men to a poor abode;
were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me?
he wails again.  Here me! My time is nearly gone.
 
                    SCROOGE
I will. But don't be hard upon me! Don't be flowery, Jacob! Pray!
 
                    JACOB MARLEY
How it is that I appear before you in a shape that you can see,
I may not tell. I have sat invisible beside you many and many a day.
That is no light part of my penance. I am here tonight to warn you,
that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate.
A chance and hope of my procuring, Ebenezer.
 
                    SCROOGE
You were always a good friend to me. Thank you.
 
                    JACOB MARLEY
You will be haunted by three Spirits.
 
                    SCROOGE
Is that the chance and hope you mentioned, Jacob?
 
                    JACOB MARLEY
It is.
 
                    SCROOGE
I - I think I'd rather not.
 
                    JACOB MARLEY
Without their visits you cannot hope to shun the path I tread.
Expect the first tomorrow, when the bell tolls one.
 
                    SCROOGE
Couldn't I take them all at once, and have it over, Jacob?
 
                    JACOB MARLEY
Expect the second on the next night at the same hour.
The third upon the next night when the last stroke of twelve
has ceased to vibrate. Look to see me no more; and look that,
for your own sake, you remember what has passed between us!
 
The ghost slowly exits, dragging its eternal chain
It gives a long last wail reminding Scrooge to . . .
 
. . . Remember, Ebenezer! 
 
Scrooge races to his bed and draws the curtains
to the roaring sound of thunder and lightning.



People dressed as ghosts in chains may run the stage at this time.

The lights fade out to darkness.



STAVE 2


SCENE 3




As Scrooge is asleep the bell chimes toward twelve.

He awakens!



THE  FIRST  OF  THE  THREE  SPIRITS
    
 
                    SCROOGE
Twelve! It was past two when I went to bed.
The clock must be wrong. An icicle must have got into the works.
Twelve! Why, it isn't possible that I can have slept through
a whole day and far into another night.
It isn't possible that anything has happened to the sun,
and this is twelve at noon!
 
He closes the curtains - the bell sounds ding-dong
Scrooge awakens and looks out.
 
                    SCROOGE
A quarter past.
 
The bell tolls - ding-dong - again.
 
                    SCROOGE
Half past!
 
Another ding-dong is heard from the bell.
 
                    SCROOGE
A quarter to it.
 
The bell gives a resonating ONE toll.
 
                    SCROOGE
The hour itself, and nothing else!
 
CHRISTMAS PAST enters with a flash of light
and is brightly back-lighted.
 
                    SCROOGE
Are you the Spirit, the Spectre, whose coming was foretold to me?
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
I am.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Who, and what are you?
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.
 
                    SCROOGE
Long past?
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
No, your past.
 
                    SCROOGE
I believe I would rather have your countenance
extinguished from my presence.
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
What! Would you so soon put out the light I give?
 
                    SCROOGE
What is your concern then,  for me?
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
Your welfare.
 
                    SCROOGE
Thank you for that concern, but I think a night of
unbroken rest will be more conductive to that end, dear spirit.
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
Your reclamation, then. Take heed! Rise, walk with me!
 
                    SCROOGE
I am a mortal, and liable to fall.
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
Bear but the touch of my hand there,
and you shall be upheld in more than this!
 
 
 



Scrooge holds fast the robe as the stage darkens.

The school desk and scenery are placed.



SCENE 4




                    SCROOGE
Good Heavens! I was schooled in this place. I was a boy here!
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
Your lip is trembling. And what is that upon your cheek?
 
                    SCROOGE
It's nothing, but the coldness of the winter air.
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
You recollect the way?
 
                    SCROOGE
Remember it, I could walk it blindfold!
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
Strange you have forgotten it for so many years! Let us go on.
 
 
3 little boys run on stage miming a snowball fight.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Tim! Gregory! And oh! My good friend William! Hello! Hello!
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
These are but shadows of the things that have been.
They have no consciousness of us.
 
                    BOY 1 - TIM
I'll get you with a snowball, Gregory!                 Throws ball.
 
                    BOY 2 - GREGORY
I'll bet your Christmas pudding you cannot, Tim!
 
Little Ebenezer enters the scene hoping to play.
 
                    BOY 3 - WILLIAM
Come on! We'll be last to catch the coach home for Christmas!
 
The boys run offstage leaving Little Ebenezer all alone.
He sadly lowers his head and walks offstage.
 
                    SCROOGE
Poor boy! I wish, - but it's too late now.
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
What is the matter?
 
                    SCROOGE
Nothing. Nothing. There was a boy singing
a Christmas Carol at my door last night.
I should like to have given him something; that's all.
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
Let us see another Christmas!
 
Young Ebenezer enters, walking with head down
and he sits at his desk crying.
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
The school is not quite deserted. A solitary child,
neglected by his friends, is left there still.
 
                    SCROOGE
I know.        He sobs.
 
 
Fan enters, [solo] runs and hugs Ebenezer.
 
 
                    FAN
Dear, dear brother. I have come to bring you home, dear brother!
To bring you home, home, home!
 
                    YOUNG EBENEZER
Home, little Fan?
 
                    FAN
Yes! Home for good and all. Home, for ever and ever.
Father is so much kinder than he used to be,
that home is like heaven! He spoke so gently to me one night
when I was going to bed, that I was not afraid to ask him
once more if you might come home; and he said Yes, you should;
and he sent me in a coach to bring you. And you're to be a man!
And are never to come back here; but first,
we're to be together all the Christmas long,
and have the merriest time in all the world.
 
 
                    YOUNG EBENEZER
You are quite a woman, little Fan!
 
                    FAN
Come! Come, Ebenezer!
 
                    OFFSTAGE  VOICE
Bring down Master Scrooge's box, there. He's going home!
 
 
Fan takes Young Ebenezer's arm and they race off.
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
Always a delicate creature, whom a breath might have withered,
but she had a large heart!
 
                    SCROOGE
So she had. You're right. I will not gainsay it, Spirit. God forbid!
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
She died a woman, and had, as I think, children.
 
                    SCROOGE
One child.
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
True. Your nephew!
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Yes.             He appears notable bothered in mind.



The lights fade as they come upon another scene

on the opposite side of stage center.



SCENE 5




Fezziwig is seen seated at a draftsman style table

as Christmas Past and Scrooge approach.



                    CHRISTMAS PAST
You know this place?
 
                    SCROOGE
Know it. I was an apprentice here! Why, its old Fezziwig!
Bless his heart; it's Fezziwig - alive again!
 
                    FEZZIWIG
Yo ho, there! Ebenezer! Dick!
 
                    SCROOGE
Dick Wilkins, to be sure!
 
Young Ebenezer and Dick Wilkins enter.
 
                    SCROOGE
Bless me, yes. There he is.
He was very much attached to me, was Dick. Poor Dick! Dear, dear!
 
                    FEZZIWIG
Yo ho, my boys! No more work tonight. Christmas Eve, Dick.
Christmas, Ebenezer! Let's have the shop closed up,
before a man can say 'Jack Robinson!'
 
Dick and Ebenezer remove props from stage.
 
                    FEZZIWIG
Hilli-ho! Clear away, my lads, and let's have lots of room here!
Hilli-ho, Dick! Chirrup, Ebenezer!
 
Fiddler enters and starts playing.
He is followed by Mrs. Fezziwig, three young Miss Fezziwigs,
six young awe-struck admirers and more, as needed.
They dance in a circle, returning up the center.
The second song starts - Sir Roger de Coverley.
 
As the party ends, The Fezziwigs station themselves by the
stage curtain exit, bidding a Merry Christmas to departing guests,
until only Dick and Ebenezer remain.
 
During this time, Scrooge has been jumping about
as though he was out of his wits.
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
A small matter to make these silly folks so full of gratitude.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Small!
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
Why! Is it not? He has spent but a few pounds of your mortal money:
three of four perhaps. Is that so much that he deserves this praise?
 
 
                    SCROOGE
It isn't that! It isn't that, Spirit.
He has the power to render us happy or unhappy;
to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil.
Say that his power lies in words and looks;
in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible
to add and count them up: what then?
The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.
 
He looks sheepishly and guiltily at the Ghost.
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
What is the matter?
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Nothing particular.
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
Something, I think?
 
                    SCROOGE
No, no. I should like to be able to say a word or two to my clerk,
Bob Cratchit, just now. That's all.
 
Young Ebenezer turns down the lamp. He and Dick exit as the stage darkens.
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
My time grows short. Quick!



SCENE 6




A park bench is brought in and, as lights go up,

Young Ebenezer Scrooge, with top-hat, is seen sitting with Belle.

She is sad and crying.



                    BELLE
It matters little. To you, very little. Another Idol has displaced me;
and if it can cheer and comfort you in time to come,
as I would have tried to do, I have no just cause to grieve.
 
 
                    YOUNG SCROOGE
What Idol has displaced you?
 
                    BELLE
A golden one!
 
                    YOUNG SCROOGE
This is the even-handed dealing of the world!
There is nothing on which it is so hard as poverty;
and there is nothing it professes to condemn with
such severity as the pursuit of wealth!
 
                    BELLE
You fear the world too much. All your other hopes have merged
into the hope of being beyond the chance of its sordid reproach.
I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one,
until the master-passion, Gain, engrosses you. Have I not?
 
 
                    YOUNG SCROOGE
What then? Even if I have grown so much wiser, what then?
I am not changed toward you.
 
 
She shakes her head.
 
 
                    YOUNG SCROOGE
Am I?
 
                    BELLE
Our contract is an old one. It was made when we were both poor
and content to be so, until, in good season,
we could improve our worldly fortune by our patient industry.
You are changed. When it was made, you were another man.
 
                    YOUNG SCROOGE
I was a boy.
 
                    BELLE
Your own feeling tells you that you were not what you are. I am.
That which promised happiness when we were one in heart,
is fraught with misery now that we are two.
How often and how keenly I have thought of this, I will not say.
It is enough that I have thought of it, and can release you.
 
                    YOUNG SCROOGE
Have I ever sought release?           He looks surprised.
 
                    BELLE
In words. No. Never.
 
                    YOUNG SCROOGE
In what, then?
 
                    BELLE
In a changed nature, in an altered spirit,
in another atmosphere of life; another Hope as its great end.
In everything that made my love of any worth or value in your sight.
If this had never been between us, tell me,
would you seek me out and try to win me now? Ah, no!
 
                    YOUNG SCROOGE
You think not.
 
                    BELLE
Heaven knows! When I have learned a Truth like this,
I know how strong and irresistible it must be.
But if you were free today, tomorrow, yesterday,
can even I believe that you would choose a dowerless girl-
you who, in your very confidence with her, weigh everything by Gain:
or, choosing her, if for a moment you were false enough to your
one guiding principle to do so, do I not know that your
repentance and regret would surely follow? I do; and I release you.
With a full heart, for the love of him you once were.
 
 
He appears about to speak, but Belle resumes.
 
 
                    BELLE
You may - the memory of what is past half makes me hope you will-
have pain in this. A very, very brief time, and you will dismiss
the recollection of it, gladly, as an unprofitable dream,
from which it happened well that you awoke.
May you be happy in the life you have chosen!
 
 
Belle runs off crying, as the lights start to fade, during
which time the bench is removed and replaced by a table and chairs.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Spirit, show me no more! Conduct me home.
Why do you delight to torture me?
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
One shadow more!
 
                    SCROOGE
No more, no more. I don't wish to see it. Show me no more!
 
 
The lights go out as scene is changed to the home of Mrs. Belle.
The Spirit says one line during this blackness:
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
Yes! Ebenezer Scrooge! One more shadow!



SCENE 7




As the lights go up, a beautiful young maiden is seen sitting with her mother-now Mrs. Belle.

The room is not elegant, but homey. And there are 2-3 other children playing in this room.



a VOICE is heard offstage in the distance:
 
                    HUSBAND
Hello, hello! I'm home!
 
 
                    YOUNG MAIDEN
It's father! He's home!
 
 
He enters with arms full of Christmas presents.
Everyone is gasping, ooh-ing and ah-ing.
 
 
                    HUSBAND
Belle, I saw an old friend of yours this afternoon.
 
 
                    MRS. BELLE
Who was it?
 
                    HUSBAND
Guess!
 
                    MRS. BELLE
How can I? Tut, I don't know.          She laughs.     Mr. Scrooge.
 
 
                    HUSBAND
Mr. Scrooge it was. I passed his office window;
and as it was not shut up, and he had a candle inside,
I could scarcely help seeing him.
His partner lies upon the point of death, I hear;
and there he sat alone. Quite alone in the world, I do believe.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Spirit! Remove me from this place.
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PAST
I told you these were shadows of the things that have been.
That they are what they are, do not blame me!
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Remove me! I cannot bear it!
 
 
Scrooge falls to his knees looking up to the Ghost.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Leave me! Take me back. Haunt me no longer!



As he is shaking the Spirit's clothing the lights fade out. He returns to bed and Christmas present exits.

The props are removed and Scrooges bed is rolled back in place.

We now await the appearance of CHRISTMAS PRESENT.



ACT 2


STAVE 3


SCENE 8




THE SECOND OF THE THREE SPIRITS

A small platform which descends by a few steps is placed at curtain entrance.

With Scrooge in bed, curtains drawn, the BELL resonates the toll of ONE again, as lights come up.

As Scrooge awakens and looks out of the curtains, he hears the sound of ever-increasing laughter.

The curtains open to reveal CHRISTMAS PRESENT.



                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
Come! Come here and know me better, man!
I am the Ghost of Christmas Present. Look upon me!
You have never seen the like of me before!
 
                    SCROOGE
Never.
 
                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
Have you never walked forth with any of my previous brothers, man?
 
                    SCROOGE
I don't think I have, I am afraid I have not.
Have you had many brothers, Spirit?
 
                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
More than eighteen hundred!
 
                    SCROOGE
A tremendous family to provide for!
 
 
Scrooge speaks in a humble, but firm manner.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Spirit, conduct me where you will. I went forth last night
on compulsion, and I have learned a lesson which is working now.
Tonight, if you have aught to teach me, let me profit by it.
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
Touch my robe!
 
 
Upon Scrooge's touch, the lights flicker and Christmas music
is heard playing softly in the background.
People start crossing the stage, in a hurried manner,
from both sides of the stage. Suddenly one cries out:
 
 
                    MAN 1
The Grocers'! Oh the Grocers'! They are soon to close.
 
 
As he crosses, another man bumps into him.
 
 
                    MAN 2
Watch where you be going now!
 
                    MAN 1
Who are you to tell me to watch? You're the bumbler!
 
 
The Spirit sprinkles Joy and Peace from his horn of plenty on the two.
 
                    MAN 2
I am truly sorry fellow. Here we are, arguing on this most Holy Day.
 
                    MAN 1
Forgive me, man. I am at fault, and have a Merry Christmas!
 
                    MAN 2
And a Happy New Year to you, my friend!
 
 
As they depart, more people keep crossing carrying dinners
and bags of food. The Spirit sprinkles liberally, from his horn,
on each as they pass by.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Is there a peculiar flavor in what you sprinkle from your horn?
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
There is. My own.
 
                    SCROOGE
Would it apply to any kind of dinner this day?
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
To any kindly given. To a poor one most.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Why to a poor one most?
 
                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
Because it needs it most.
 
                    SCROOGE
Spirit. I wonder you, of all the beings in the many worlds about us,
should desire to cramp these people's opportunities of innocent enjoyment.
 
                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
I!
 
                    SCROOGE
You would deprive them of their means of dining every seventh day,
often the only day on which they can be said to dine at all.
You seek to close these places on the Seventh Day?
 
                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
I seek!
 
                    SCROOGE
Forgive me if I am wrong. It has been your done in your name,
or at least in that of your family.
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
There are some upon this earth of yours, who lay claim to know us,
and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy,
bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are as strange to us
and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived.
Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
I will! I will, Spirit.



The stage darkens and we go to still another scene--The Cratchit household.



SCENE 9




THE CRATCHIT HOUSEHOLD.
 
                    MRS. CRATCHIT
What has ever got your precious father then. And your brother Tiny Tim!
And Martha wasn't as late last Christmas Day by half-an-hour?
 
Martha enters.
 
                    MARTHA CRATCHIT
Here's Martha, mother!
 
                    PATRICIA CRATCHIT
Here's Martha, mother!
 
                    BELINDA CRATCHIT
Here she is, mother!
 
                    MARY CRATCHIT
Hurrah! There's such a goose, Martha!
 
                    MRS. CRATCHIT
Why, bless your heart alive, my dear, how late you are!
 
 
They kiss and embrace.
 
 
                    MARTHA CRATCHIT
We'd a deal of work to finish up last night,
and had to clear away this morning, mother!
 
                    MRS. CRATCHIT
Well! Never mind so long as you are come,
sit down by the fire, my dear, and have a warm, Lord bless you!
 
                    PETER CRATCHIT
No, no! There's father coming.
 
                    BELINDA CRATCHIT
Hide, Martha, hide!
 
 
BOB CRATCHIT enters carrying TINY TIM upon his shoulders.
TINY TIM bears a small crutch and wears an iron leg-frame.
 
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
Why, where's our Martha?
 
                    MRS. CRATCHIT
Not coming.
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
Not coming! Not coming upon Christmas Day?
 
 
                    MARTHA CRATCHIT
Here I am, father. I can't let them tease you so!             
 
They embrace.
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
It would not have been Christmas at all without you, dear Martha!
 
 
                    MRS. CRATCHIT
And how did little Tim behave?
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
As good as gold, and better. Somehow he gets thoughtful,
sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things
you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people
saw him in the church, because he was a cripple,
and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day,
who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see. Bob's voice is shaky.
Tim is really getting to be much stronger and hearty; isn't he my dear?
 
                    MRS. CRATCHIT
I wish it so.                     She looks at him with great doubt.
 
                    PETER CRATCHIT
Tim! Sit here by the fire and have a warm.
 
                    MRS. CRATCHIT
Patricia! Belinda! Bring Master Peter and fetch the goose!
 
They exit to get the food.
While the others are out, Bob seats Tim at the table.
Upon return, all are seated.
 
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
There never was such a goose!
 
 
                    TINY TIM
Hurrah!        Hitting his spoon and fork on the table.
 
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
Oh! And such a wonderful pudding!
 
 
                    PATRICIA CRATCHIT
Such a lovely dinner, mother!
 
                    BELINDA CRATCHIT
Yes, mother! Oh, yes!
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
A toast! A merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God bless us!
 
                    PETER CRATCHIT
Yes, a toast!
 
                    TINY TIM
God bless us every one!
 
                    SCROOGE
Spirit, tell me if Tiny Tim will live?
 
                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
I see a vacant seat in the poor chimney corner,
and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved.
If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die.
 
                    SCROOGE
No, no! Oh, no, kind Spirit, say he will be spared.
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future,
none other of my race will find him here. What then?
If he be like to die, he had better do it,
and decrease the surplus population. 
 
Scrooge is overcome with penitence and grief,
and lowers his head in shame.
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
Man, if man be in your heart, not adamant, forbear your wickedness
until you have discovered what the surplus is, and where it is.
Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die?
It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless
and less fit to live than millions like this poor man's child. Oh God!
To hear the insect on the leaf pronouncing who shall survive
among his hungry brothers in the dust!
 
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
MR. SCROOGE. I give you Mr. Scrooge, the founder of the feast.
 
 
Scrooge looks up in shock then turns away,
but the Spirit turns him back.
 
 
                    MRS. CRATCHIT
The founder of the feast, indeed! I wish I had him here.
I'd give him a piece of my mind to feast upon,
and I hope he'd have a good appetite for it.
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
My dear, the children! Christmas Day.
 
 
                    MRS. CRATCHIT
It should be Christmas Day, I am sure.
On which one drinks the health of such an odious, stingy, hard,
unfeeling man as Mr. Scrooge. You know he is, Robert!
Nobody knows it better than you do, poor fellow!
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
My dear, Christmas Day.
 
                    MRS. CRATCHIT
I'll drink his health for your sake and the day's, not for his.
Long life to him! A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
He'll be very merry and very happy, I have no doubt!
 
They all raise their glasses.
 
 
                    EVERYONE
To Mr. Scrooge.
 
 
As the lights SLOWLY fade, Scrooge keeps his eye on Tiny Tim
as Bob relates about Master Peter's possible employ.
 
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
I have a situation in my eye for Master Peter which, if obtained,
will bring in a full five-and-sixpence weekly.
 
 
                    MARY CRATCHIT
Such a man of business! Master Peter!



The girls laugh as the lights fade out completely.



SCENE 10




As lights come up they find themselves observing a family of miners

an old man, his wife and three children. They are shabbily dressed, but happy.



                    SCROOGE
What place is this?
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
A place where miners live, who labor in the bowels of the earth.
But they know me. See!
 
 
                    CHILD
Quotes from Matthew chapter 1 verses 18-23. Bible
 
 
                    OLD WOMAN
Now we shall sing a song of Christmas.
 
 
                    EVERYONE
They sing 'Joy To The World' as the lights fade.
This is a sobering reminder to him of the carolers he drove away
from himself after leaving work for dinner that very night.



Now they are off to Scrooge's nephew, Fred's home.



SCENE 11




FRED'S home is alive with activity.

They enter the scene playing - blindman’s buff. Some chairs are scattered about the room, with a small table in the center.

Fred, his wife - Christine, Mr. Topper, Phyllis, Mr. Belvue and his wife - Dorothy, Mr. Thomas and his steady - Kate start conversing.



                    FRED
He said that Christmas was a humbug, as I live! He believed it too!
 
 
                    CHRISTINE
More shame for him, Fred!
 
 
                    KATE
I don't believe it.
 
 
                    MR. TOPPER
Surely not, Fred.
 
 
                    FRED
He's a comical old fellow, that's the truth, and not so pleasant
as he might be. However, his offenses carry their own punishment,
and I have nothing against him.
 
 
                    CHRISTINE
I'm sure he is very rich, Fred. At least you always tell me so.
 
 
                    FRED
What of that, my dear! His wealth is of no use to him.
He doesn't do any good with it.
He doesn't make himself comfortable with it.
He hasn't the satisfaction of thinking  laughing
that he is ever going to benefit US with it.
 
 
                    CHRISTINE
I have no patience with him!
 
 
                    PHYLLIS
I have none either.
 
 
                    KATE
Neither have I.
 
 
                    MR. BELVUE
He is a churlish sort and I have no patience with those type.
 
 
                    FRED
Oh, I have! I am sorry for him;
I couldn't be angry with him if I tried.
Who suffers by his ill whims! Himself, always.
Here, he takes it into his head to dislike us,
and he won't come and dine with us. What's the consequence?
He doesn't lose much of a dinner.
 
 
                    MR. THOMAS
He surely does!
 
 
                    MR. BELVUE
A fabulous dinner, I say.
 
 
                    FRED
Well! I'm very glad to hear it, because I haven't great faith
in these young housekeepers. What do you say, Topper?
 
 
                    MR. TOPPER
Being nothing but a poor, wretched and lonely bachelor,
I am not in a proper position to be a critic of
a good wife's cooking endeavors!
 
                    CHRISTINE
Do go on, Fred. He never finishes what he begins to say!
He's a ridiculous fellow!
 
 
                    FRED
Laughing  I was only going to say,
that the consequences of his taking a dislike to us,
and not making merry with us, is, as I think,
that he loses some pleasant moments, which could do him no harm.
I am sure he loses pleasanter companions than he can find
in his own thoughts, either in his moldy old office,
or his dusty chambers. I mean to give him the same chance every year,
whether he likes it or not, for I pity him.
He may rail at Christmas till he dies,
but he can't help thinking better of it - I defy him
if he finds me going there, in good temper, year after year,
and saying Uncle Scrooge, how are you?
If it only puts him in the vein to leave his poor clerk fifty pounds,
that's something; and I think I shook him, yesterday.
 
They all laugh in disbelief.
 
 
                    DOROTHY
I truly think not, Fred. Laughing
 
 
                    KATE
Enough of this! Let's play a game.
 
 
                    MR. TOPPER
How about the game - Yes and No?
 
 
As they chatter softly in the background,
the Spirit beckons Scrooge to leave.
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
My time runs short.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Here is a game. It is new to me. Excitedly
One half hour, Spirit, only one!
 
 
                    CHRISTINE
Fred will start. He's good with this sort.
 
 
                    FRED
Yes, I will!
 
 
                    KATE
Is it alive?
 
 
                    FRED
Yes.
 
 
                    DOROTHY
Does it walk?
 
 
                    FRED
Yes.
 
 
                    PHYLLIS
Does it lay eggs?
 
 
                    FRED
No.
 
 
                    MR. THOMAS
Is it savage, man?
 
 
                    FRED
Yes.
 
 
                    MR. TOPPER
Does it growl and grumble?
 
 
                    FRED
Yes.
 
                    CHRISTINE
Is it of a disagreeable kind?
 
 
                    FRED
Yes.
 
 
 
                    KATE
Does it live in London?
 
 
                    FRED
Yes.
 
 
                    MR. BELVUE
Is it ever sold in the market for food?
 
 
                    FRED
No.
 
 
                    DOROTHY
Is it found in a zoo?
 
 
                    FRED
No.
 
 
                    PHYLLIS
Does it live in a menagerie?
 
 
                    FRED
No.
 
 
                    MR. TOPPER
Is it led by a leash?
 
 
                    FRED
No.
 
 
                    MR. BELVUE
Is it a horse?
 
 
                    FRED
No.
 
 
                    PHYLLIS
Is it a donkey?
 
 
                    FRED
No.
 
 
                    DOROTHY
Is it a cow?
 
 
                    FRED
No.
 
 
                    CHRISTINE
Is it a bull?
 
 
                    FRED
No.
 
 
                    MR. BELVUE
Is it a tiger?
 
 
                    FRED
No.
 
 
                    KATE
Is it a dog?
 
 
                    FRED
No.
 
 
                    MR. THOMAS
Is it a pig?
 
 
                    FRED
No.
 
 
                    CHRISTINE
Is it a cat?
 
 
                    FRED
No.
 
 
                    MR. TOPPER
Is it a bear?
 
 
                    FRED
No.
 
 
                    PHYLLIS
I have found it out! I know what it is, Fred! I know what it is!
 
 
 
                    FRED
What is it?
 
 
                    PHYLLIS
It's your Uncle Scro-o-o-o-oge!
 
 
Everyone laughs
 
 
                    FRED
He has given us plenty of merriment, I am sure,
and it would be ungrateful not to drink his health.
Here is a glass of mulled wine ready to our hand at the moment;
and I say, Uncle Scrooge!
 
 
                    EVERYONE
Well! Uncle Scrooge!
 
 
                    FRED
A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to the old man, whatever he is!
He wouldn't take it from me, but he may have it,
nevertheless. Uncle Scrooge!
 
 
The lights fade while only Scrooge &; the Spirit remain visible.
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
My time grows short.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Are Spirit's lives so short?
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
My life upon the globe is very brief, it ends tonight.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Tonight!
 
                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
Tonight at midnight. Hark! The time is drawing near.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask,
but I see something strange, and not belonging to yourself,
protruding from your skirts. Is it a foot or a claw?
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
It might be a claw, for flesh there is upon it, look here.
 
He opens his robe/curtain to reveal two children,
a boy and a girl, IGNORANCE and WANT. Scrooge turns in horror.
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
Oh, man! Look here. Look, look, down here!
 
 
Scrooge looks back
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Spirit! Are they yours?
 
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
They are Mans. And they cling to me, appealing from their Fathers.
This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want.
Beware them both, and all of their decree,
but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written
which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it then!
Slander those who tell it you! Admit it for your factious purposes,
and make it worse. And abide the end!
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Have they no refuge or resource?
 
 
                    CHRISTMAS PRESENT
Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?



As the lights fade out the BELL tolls TWELVE.

Lights return at the very stroke of TWELVE to reveal CHRISTMAS FUTURE.



THE LAST OF THE SPIRITS


SCENE 12




The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (FUTURE) stand before Scrooge.

The lights flicker as sounds of thunder and lightning rip in the background.

The Spirit is dressed in the traditional 'Grim Reaper' attire.



                    SCROOGE
I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come?
 
 
CHRISTMAS FUTURE says nothing, but points onward.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
You are about to show me shadows of the things that have not happened,
but will happen in the time before us. Is that so, Spirit?
 
 
CHRISTMAS FUTURE gives one slow . . . nod.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Ghost of the Future! I fear you more than any spectre I have seen.
But as I know your purpose is to do me good,
and as I hope to live to be another man from what I was,
I am prepared to bear you company, and do it with a thankful heart.
Will you not speak to me?
 
 
CHRISTMAS FUTURE only points onward, silently.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Lead on! Lead on! This night is waning fast,
and it is precious to me, I know. Lead on, Spirit!



As they walk, lights slowly come up on three business men, who are softly conversing.

The Spirit points toward them. Scrooge listens attentively.



SCENE 13




THE  BUSINESSMEN
 
 
                    MR. HENRY
No. I don't know much about it, either way. I only know he's dead.
 
 
                    MR. KINGSBURY
When did he die?
 
 
                    MR. HENRY
Last night I believe.
 
 
                    MR. WELLINGTON
Why, what was the matter with him? I thought he'd never die.
 
 
                    MR. HENRY
God knows.
 
 
                    MR. WELLINGTON
What has he done with his money?
 
 
                    MR. HENRY
I haven't heard. Left it to his company, perhaps.
He hasn't left it to me. That's all I know.
 
Everyone laughs
 
                    MR. HENRY
It's likely to be a very cheap funeral,
for upon my life I don't know of anybody to go to it.
Suppose we make up a party and volunteer?
 
 
                    MR. KINGSBURY
I don't mind going if a lunch is provided.
But I must be fed, if I am to go.
 
Everyone laughs
 
 
                    MR. HENRY
Well, I am the most disinterested among you, after all,
for I never wear black gloves, and I never eat lunch.
But I'll offer to go, if anybody else will.
When I come to think of it, I'm not at all sure that
I wasn't his most particular friend, for we used to stop
and speak whenever we met. Well, good afternoon, gentlemen!
 
As they stroll away, two men enter - left &; right.
 
                    MAN #1
How are you?
 
 
                    MAN #2
Fine! And how are you?
 
 
                    MAN #1
Well! Old Scratch has got his own at last, hey?
 
 
                    MAN #2
So I am told. Cold, isn't it?
 
 
                    MAN #1
Seasonable for Christmas time. You're not a skater, I suppose?
 
 
                    MAN #2
No. No. Something else to think of. Good morning!



They part without another word as CHRISTMAS FUTURE points onward!



SCENE 14




The Spirit and Scrooge come upon a parlor operated by a snide called - old Joe.

The charwoman ( Mrs. Dilber), the undertaker's assistant

and the laundress all appear at one instance with bundles.

The have a strong COCKNEY accent.



                    MRS. DILBER
Let the charwoman alone to be first!
Let the laundress alone to be second,
and let the undertaker's man alone to be third.
Look here, old Joe, here’s a chance!
If we haven't all three met here at the same time without meaning it!
 
 
                    OLD JOE
You couldn't have met in a better place.
Come into my parlor, You were given free access of it long ago,
you know; and the other two ain't strangers.   He laughs
We're all suitable to our calling, we're well matched. Come in, come in!
 
 
                    LAUNDRESS
What odds then! What odds, Mrs. Dilber.
 
 
                    MRS. DILBER
Every person has a right to take care of themselves. He always did.
 
 
                    LAUNDRESS
That's true, indeed! No man more so. Why then, don't stand staring
as if you was afraid, woman; who's the wiser?
We're not going to pick holes in each other's coats, I suppose?
 
 
                    UNDERTAKER'S MAN
No, indeed!
 
 
                    MRS. DILBER
No, indeed! We should hope not.
 
 
                    LAUNDRESS
Very well then! That's enough.
Who's the worse for the loss of a few things like these?
Not a dead man, I suppose.
 
 
                    MRS. DILBER
No, indeed.   Laughing.
If he wanted to keep 'em after he was dead,
that wicked old screw, why wasn't he natural in his lifetime?
If he had been, he'd have had somebody to look after him
when he was struck with Death,
instead of lying gasping out his last there, alone by himself.
 
 
                    LAUNDRESS
It's the truest word that ever was spoke. It's a judgment on him.
 
 
                    MRS. DILBER
I wish it was a little heavier judgment,
and it should have been, you may depend upon it,
if I could have laid my hands on anything else.  Laughing
Open the bundle, old Joe, and let me know the value of it.
Speak out plain.
I'm not afraid to be first, nor afraid for them to see it.
We knew pretty well that we were helping ourselves,
before we met here, I believe. It's no sin. Open the bundle, Joe.
 
 
                    UNDERTAKER'S MAN
I need to be first. I must be going.
 
 
Joe opens his bag.
 
 
                    OLD JOE
A pencil case, pair of cuff-links, a ring and a broach. That's all?
 
 
                    UNDERTAKER'S MAN
It is not an extensive plunder.
 
 
Joe hands him some money
 
 
                    OLD JOE
That's your account, and I wouldn't give you another sixpence,
if I was to be boiled for not doing it. Who's next?
 
 
                    MRS. DILBER
I am! There's sheets and towels, some clothes, two silver teaspoons,
a pair of sugar tongs, and his shoes.
 
 
Joe hands her some money
 
 
                    OLD JOE
I always give too much to the ladies. It's a weakness of mine,
and that's the way I ruin myself. That's your account.
If you asked me for another penny, and made it an open question,
I'd repent of being so liberal and knock off half-a-crown.
 
 
                    LAUNDRESS
And now undo my bundle, Joe.
 
 
                    OLD JOE
What do you call this? Bed-curtains!
 
 
                    LAUNDRESS
Ah! Bed-curtains!
 
 
                    OLD JOE
You don't mean to say you took 'em down,
rings and all, with him lying there?
 
 
                    LAUNDRESS
Yes, I do. Why not?
 
 
                    OLD JOE
You were born to make your fortune, and you'll certainly do it.
 
 
                    LAUNDRESS
I certainly shan't hold my hand,
when I can get anything in it by reaching it out,
for the sake of such a man as He was, I promise you, Joe.
Don't drop the blankets, now.
 
 
                    OLD JOE
His blankets?
 
 
                    LAUNDRESS
Who else's do you think?
He isn't likely to take cold without 'em, I dare say.
 
 
As everyone laughs, Joe throws them slightly away from himself.
 
 
                    OLD JOE
I hope he didn't die of anything catching? Eh?
 
 
                    LAUNDRESS
Don't be afraid of that. I ain't so fond of his company
that I'd loiter about him for such things, if he did.
Ah, you may look through that shirt till your eyes ache;
but you won't find a hole in it, nor a threadbare place.
It's the best he had, and a fine one too.
They'd have wasted it, if it hadn't been for me.
 
 
                    OLD JOE
What do you call wasting of it?
 
 
                    LAUNDRESS
Putting it on him to be buried in, to be sure.   laughing
Somebody was fool enough to do it, but I took it off again.
If calico ain't good enough for such a purpose,
it isn't good enough for anything. It's quite as becoming to the body.
He can't look uglier than he did in that one.
 
 
Scrooge has been looking on in horror.
 
 
                    LAUNDRESS
Laughing   This is the end of it, you see!
He frightened everyone away from him when he was alive,
to profit us when he was dead!    More laughter.
 
 
 
The scene fades as the Spirit &; Scrooge walk to...
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Spirit! I see, I see.
The case of this unhappy man might be my own.
My life tends that way, now. Merciful Heaven, what is this?
 
 
They come upon a bed with no curtains. Only a covered corpse lays alone.
 
CHRISTMAS FUTURE beckons Scrooge to pull the sheet
covering the corpse back. But he won't.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Spirit! This is a fearful place.
In leaving it, I shall not leave its lesson, trust me. Let us go!
 
 
CHRISTMAS FUTURE points toward the corpse's head.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
I understand you, and I would do it, if I could.
But I have not the power, Spirit. I have not the power.
 
 
CHRISTMAS FUTURE appears to be looking at him.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
If there is any person in the town who feels emotion caused by
this man's death, show that person to me, Spirit, I beseech you!



As the lights fade to darkness, we find them at yet, another household.



SCENE 15




As the lights come up, we find an anxious woman pacing her floor.

She is eagerly awaiting her husband. Finally, he arrives and enters.



THE DEBTORS.
 
 
                    CAROLINE
Is it good, John; Or bad?
 
 
                    JOHN
Bad!
 
                    CAROLINE
We are quite ruined, then?
 
 
                    JOHN
No. There is hope yet, Caroline.
 
 
                    CAROLINE
If he relents, there is!
Nothing is past hope, if such a miracle has happened.
 
 
                    JOHN
He is past relenting. He is dead.
 
 
                    CAROLINE
What the half-drunken woman whom I told you of last night said to me,
when I tried to see him and obtain a week's delay;
and what I thought was a mere excuse to avoid me,
turns out to have been quite true. He was not only very ill,
but dying, then. To whom will our debt be transferred?
 
 
                    JOHN
I don't know. But before that time we shall be ready with the money;
and even though we were not, it would be a bad fortune indeed to find
so merciless a creditor in his successor.
We may sleep tonight with light hearts, Caroline!
 
Scrooge addresses the Spirit.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Let me see some tenderness connected with a death,
or that dark chamber, Spirit, which we left just now,
will be forever present to me.



As lights fade, we find the Spirit &; Scrooge at the Cratchit home.



SCENE 16




Mrs. Cratchit and the children are huddled around as Peter is reading from the Bible.

Mark 9:35-37 entire section.



The CRATCHIT HOME.
 
 
                    PETER CRATCHIT
...And He took a child, and set him in the midst of them...
 
 
                    MRS. CRATCHIT
The color hurts my eyes.      obviously crying
 
 
                    PATRICIA CRATCHIT
The color? Ah, poor Tiny Tim!
 
 
                    MRS. CRATCHIT
They're better now again. It makes them weak by candle-light;
and I wouldn't show weak eyes to your father when he comes home,
for the world. It must be near his time.
 
 
                    PETER CRATCHIT
Past it rather.
But I think he has walked a little slower than he used to,
these few last evenings, mother.
 
 
                    MRS. CRATCHIT
I have known him to walk with - I have known him to walk with
Tiny Tim upon his shoulder, very fast indeed.
 
 
                    PETER CRATCHIT
And so have I. Often.
 
 
                    MARTHA CRATCHIT
And so have I.
 
 
                    MRS. CRATCHIT
But he was very light to carry, and his father loved him so,
that it was no trouble, no trouble.
And there is your father at the door!
 
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
Good evening, my dear ones.
 
 
Bob sits, sadly
 
 
                    BELINDA CRATCHIT
Don't mind it, father. Don't be grieved!
 
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
Little Tim is at rest now. Everything will be done long before Sunday.
 
 
                    MRS. CRATCHIT
Sunday! You went today, then, Robert?
 
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
Yes, my dear. I wish you could have gone.
It would have done you good to see how green a place it is.
But you'll see it often.
I promised him that I would walk there on a Sunday.
My little, little child!    starts crying    My little child!
 
 
Mrs. Cratchit holds him saying 'Oh Bob'.
 
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
I saw Mr. Scrooge's nephew, Fred, today.
I've scarcely seen him but once, he inquired
as to why I looked 'just a little down', on which,
for he is the pleasantest-spoken gentleman you ever heard.
'I am heartily sorry for it, Mr. Cratchit,' he said,
'and heartily sorry for your good wife.'
By the by, how he ever knew that, I don't know.
 
 
                    MRS. CRATCHIT
Knew what, my dear?
 
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
Why, that you were a good wife.
 
 
                    PETER CRATCHIT
Everybody knows that!
 
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
Very well observed, my boy! I hope they do. 'Heartily sorry,' he said,
'for your good wife. If I can be of service to you in any way,' he said,
giving me his card, 'that's where I live. Pray come to me.'
Now, it wasn't for the sake of anything he might be able to do for us,
so much as for his kind way, that this was quite delightful.
It really seemed as if he had known our Tiny Tim, and felt with us.
 
 
                    MRS. CRATCHIT
I'm sure he's a good soul!
 
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
You would be surer of it, my dear, if you saw and spoke to him.
I shouldn't be at all surprised - mark what I say!
if he got Peter a better situation.
 
 
                    MRS. CRATCHIT
Only hear that, Peter.
 
 
                    MARY CRATCHIT
And then, Peter will be keeping company with someone,
and setting up for himself.
 
 
                    PETER CRATCHIT
Get along with you!
 
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
It's just as likely as not, one of these days;
though there's plenty of time for that, my dear.
But however and whenever we part from one another,
I am sure we shall none of us forget Tiny Tim -
or this first parting that there was among us?
 
 
                    EVERYONE
Never, father.
 
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
And I know, I know, my dears, that when we recollect how patient
and how mild he was; although he was a little, little child,
we shall not quarrel easily among ourselves,
and forget poor Tiny Tim in doing it.
 
 
                    EVERYONE
Oh, never, father!
 
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
I am very happy. I am very happy!
 
 
The children all gather to hug and kiss their sad father
as the lights fade away on the scene.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Spectre! Something informs me that our parting moment is at hand.
I knew it, but I know not how.
Tell me what man that was whom we saw lying dead?



CHRISTMAS FUTURE points onward - to the churchyard cemetery.



SCENE 17




As the lights slowly go up, they reveal the tombstones of the dead.

The Spirit stands among them, POINTING to one.



THE CHURCHYARD CEMETERY.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point,
answer me one question.
Are these the shadows of the things that Will be,
or are they shadows of things that May be, only?
 
 
CHRISTMAS FUTURE only points at the grave.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which,
if preserved in, they must lead. But if the courses be departed from,
the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!
 
 
CHRISTMAS FUTURE only points as a narrow beam of light reveals
the name upon the stone as -   Ebenezer  Scrooge.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Am I that man who lay upon the bed?
 
 
CHRISTMAS FUTURE only points to the grave.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
No, Spirit! Oh, no, no!
 
 
The Spirit's finger is steadfast.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Spirit! Hear me! I am not the man I was.
I will not be the man I must have been but for the intercourse.
Why show me this, if I am past all hope! 
 
 
At this CHRISTMAS FUTURE'S hand shakes for the first time as it points.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Good Spirit. Your nature intercedes for me, and pities me.
Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me,
by an altered life!
 
 
CHRISTMAS FUTURE'S hand again trembles.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future.
The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.
I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.
The child who was born in Bethlehem will rule in my heart every day!
Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!



Scrooge reaches, grabbing Christmas Future's hand as the lights fade out.

They come up again with Scrooge shaking his bedpost.



ACT 3


STAVE 5


SCENE 18




THE END OF IT

SCROOGE'S BEDCHAMBER.

He is shaking his bedpost.



                    SCROOGE
I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!
The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.
The child who was born in Bethlehem will rule in my heart every day!
Oh Jacob Marley! Heaven, and the Christmas Time be praised for this!
I say it on my knees, old Jacob, on my knees!
 
 
He suddenly realizes he is in his bed, with curtains.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
They are not torn down, 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 they will!
 
 
He jumps and leaps about his bedroom.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
I don't know what to do! I am as light as a feather,
I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy.
I am as giddy as a drunken man. A Merry Christmas to everybody!
A Happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!
He points There's the saucepan that the gruel was in!
He prances by the fireplace.
There's the door, by which the Ghost of Jacob Marley entered!
There's the corner where the Ghost of Christmas Present stood!
It's all right, it's all true, it all happened.  He laughs
I don't know what day of the month it is!
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 here!
 
Scrooge sees BOY walking below - at audience level
 
 
                    SCROOGE
You, there! Boy!
 
 
                    BOY
Who? Me, sir?
 
 
                    SCROOGE
What's today?
 
 
                    BOY
Eh?
 
 
                    SCROOGE
What's today, my fine fellow?
 
 
                    BOY
Today! Why, Christmas Day!
 
 
                    SCROOGE
It's Christmas Day! 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!
 
 
                    BOY
Hallo!
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Do you know the Poulterer's in the next street, at the corner?
 
 
                    BOY
I should hope I did.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
An intelligent boy! 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?
 
 
                    BOY
What, the one as big as me?
 
 
                    SCROOGE
What a delightful boy! It's a pleasure to talk to him. Yes, my buck!
 
 
                    BOY
It's hanging there now.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Is it? Go and buy it.
 
 
                    BOY
Walk-er!
 
 
                    SCROOGE
No, no, I am in earnest. 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 runs off like a shot.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
I'll send it to Bob Cratchit's. He shan't know who sends it,
It's twice the size of Tiny Tim.
 
 
As Scrooge waits by his door for the Poulterer,
he sees his door knocker - He pats it with his hand.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
I shall love it, as long as I live!
I scarcely ever looked at it before.
What an honest expression it has in its face!
It's a wonderful knocker!
 
 
The boy &; Man appear with the Turkey.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Here's comes the Turkey. Hallo! Whoop! How are you! Merry Christmas!
Why, it's impossible to carry that to Camden Town. You must catch a cab.
 
 
Scrooge pays the BOY. Then pays the Poulterer for the Turkey and the cab.



The lights fade out as Scrooge disappears to dress.

One faintly highlighted figure approaches. A Philanthropist.



SCENE 19




As Scrooge exits his abode, he encounters

one of the Philanthropists he turned away the night before.



RETURN OF A PHILANTHROPIST.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
My dear, sir! How do you do? I hope you succeeded yesterday.
It was very kind of you. A Merry Christmas to you, sir!
 
 
                    MR. CHARLTON
Mr. Scrooge?
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Yes. 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 to...
Scrooge whispers into his ear.
 
 
                    MR. CHARLTON
Lord bless me! My dear Scrooge, are you serious?
 
 
                    SCROOGE
If you please. Not a farthing less.
A great many back-payments are included in it, I assure you.
Will you do me that favor?
 
 
                    MR. CHARLTON
My dear sir, I don't know what to say to such munifi--
 
Scrooge interrupts.
 
                    SCROOGE
Don't say anything, please. Come and see me. Will you come and see me?
 
 
                    MR. CHARLTON
I will!
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Thank you! I am much obliged to you.
I thank you fifty times. Bless you!



The lights fade, as we find Scrooge pacing in front of his nephew's home.



SCENE 20




FRED'S CHRISTMAS DINNER PARTY.

Scrooge is busily pacing in front, trying to work up the courage to go to the door.



                    SCROOGE
I must go in. I must go in!  He darts for the door.
 
 
He knocks at the door.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Is your master at home, my dear?  - Nice girl! Very.
 
 
                    MAID
Yes, sir.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Where is he, my love?
 
 
                    MAID
He's in the dining-room, sir, along with mistress.
I'll show you to a waiting room, if you please.
 
 
Scrooge enters the dining-room instead.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Thank you all the same. He knows me. I'll go in here, my dear.
 
 
Scrooge enters the room.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Fred!
 
 
Scrooge's niece is startled and nearly falls over.
 
 
                    FRED
Why bless my soul! Who's that?
 
 
                    SCROOGE
It's I. Your uncle Scrooge. I have come to dinner.
Will you let me in, Fred?
 
 
Fred grabs his hand shaking it almost off!
 
 
                    FRED
Why, yes, dear uncle! Why, yes!
 
 
Everyone greets him with excitement.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
After dinner, how about a game of Yes and No!



Lights fade as we go back to Scrooge &; Marley's.



SCENE 21




Scrooge is seated as Bob Cratchit enters a full

eighteen minutes and a half behind his time.



SCROOGE &; MARLEY'S.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Hallo! What do you mean by coming here at this time of day?
 
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
I'm very sorry, sir. I am behind my time.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
You are? Yes. I think you are. Step this way, sir, if you please.
 
 
                    BOB CRATCHIT
It's only once a year, sir. It shall not be repeated.
I was making rather merry yesterday, sir.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Now, I'll tell you what, my friend.
I am not going to stand for this sort of thing any longer.
And therefore... and therefore... and therefore...
I am about to raise your salary!
 
 
Bob Cratchit nearly falls over backward.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
A Merry Christmas, Bob! 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, Bob! 
 
 
Bob Cratchit, still in shock, smiles.
 
 
                    SCROOGE
Make up the fires, and buy another coal-scuttle
before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit!



The lights fade out as the narrator enters.



EPILOGUE




NARRATOR ENTERS.



                    NARRATOR
 
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. 
 
Tiny Tim enters from side-stage as Scrooge enters on the opposite side.
They run to the center and Tiny Tim jumps into Scrooge's arms in a hug.
Tiny Tim is then hoisted to Scrooge's shoulder and the skip offstage.
 
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 onset;
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 encounters with Spirits,
but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, even 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!
 
After the cast finishes the bow - Tiny Tim shouts:
 
                    TINY TIM
God bless Us, Every One!



FINIS


 

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#GhostofChristmasPast
#GhostofChristmasPresent
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#Fezziwig
#BobCratchit
#Fred
#Belle
#Fan
#PeterCratchit
#MarthaCratchit
#VictorianeraBritain
#DramaPlay
 

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