A Christmas Carol
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A Christmas Carol

4.1 52
by Charles Dickens
     
 

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Tor Classics are affordably-priced editions designed to attract the young reader. Original dynamic cover art enthusiastically represents the excitement of each story. Appropriate "reader friendly" type sizes have been chosen for each title—offering clear, accurate, and readable text. All editions are complete and unabridged, and feature Introductions and

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Overview

Tor Classics are affordably-priced editions designed to attract the young reader. Original dynamic cover art enthusiastically represents the excitement of each story. Appropriate "reader friendly" type sizes have been chosen for each title—offering clear, accurate, and readable text. All editions are complete and unabridged, and feature Introductions and Afterwords.

This edition of A Christmas Carol includes a Foreword and Biographical Note by Jane Yolen.

Scrooge was a foul old man who wrapped his cold, uncaring heart in chains. Chains of greed. Bigotry. Contempt. Apathy. Selfishness. He detested the world, and was alone. Until the night his long-dead partner Marley appeared.

A hideous spectre forced to walk the earth forever, Marley was damned. As Scrooge would be...unless he agrees to face three ghosts. One would take Scrooge back to the memories he'd buried. One would show Scrooge the world of joy and friendship he'd rejected. One would force Scrooge into the dreadful shadow of the future he'd forged.

Three ghosts of Christmas. Of Christmas Past. Of Christmas Present. Of Christmas Yet to Come. All offering Scrooge a single gift—a chance.

A last chance to give love.

A last chance to join life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This reissued recording of Stewart's touted Broadway performance might prove to be the enduring interpretation of Dickens's beloved tale of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts of past, present, and future who catalyze his transformation. In a production stripped of sound effects, Stewart's theatrical talents take center stage. Reading with a voice that it is at once commanding and fragile, he creates a Scrooge of unexpected complexity and pathos. A spare and dazzling listen that might be the best rendition of the classic since the 1951 Alistair Sim production. (Nov.)
Sunday Express
A sure-fire tear-jerker. At one public reading by Dickens in Boston, there were 'so many pocket handkerchiefs it looked as if a snowstorm had gotten into the hall.
Times
It has it all: a spooky ghost story, a heartwarming redemption, and a great plot with a satisfyingly ending.
From the Publisher
"A handsome, worthy addition to holiday reading traditions." - School Library Journal"

Few of the many interpretations of Dickens's holiday parable can match this handsome edition for atmosphere, mood and sheer elegance. Innocenti's full-page watercolors are striking, full-bodied evocations of 19th-century London, particularly the life and vigor of the city's streets: merchants sell their wares, urchins tumble and play, the gentry ride in their carriages, and the destitute huddle in doorways and keep warm at makeshift stoves. At the same time, the paintings' realism, dramatic intensity, occasional luminosity and almost microscopic observation of detail strongly recall the exquisite art of the Italian Renaissance. Their stateliness is carried through in the book's design: each page of text is boxed with fine sepia rules, overlaid with a delicate, gradually fading wash, and topped by a single, modest ornament. The effect suggests an old manuscript or parchment—one that, every so often, opens a splendid pictorial window on the world of this classic narrative. For all its elegance, however, this is a somber and unsentimental view of Dickens's world. The beautiful and the sordid, the good and the malevolent, are never far apart—a concept that is powerfully suggested through the frequent use of high, oddly angled perspectives, as if readers, along with Scrooge and the spirits, are privy to telling glimpses of life skimmed from above. All ages." - Publisher's Weekly

The Horn Book
“A smooth abridgment. The illustrations are rich and lush.”
School Library Journal
10/01/2015
Gr 4 Up—While there are several versions of the holiday favorite to choose from, those wishing for a solidly classic telling will be more than satisfied with this complete edition. Hans Christian Andersen Award winner Innocenti renders the ink illustration masterfully. Whether the scenes feature a crowded city street; the frightening conversation between Scrooge and the transparent, white-outlined ghost of Marley; or a merry gathering at Fezziwig's warehouse, the detailed, Dickensian atmosphere is perfectly captured. Perspective plays an effective role as well, as when Scrooge's small and solitary head is first seen through the window of his office. The final image also depicts Scrooge through a window, but from the inside looking out into a sunny green field, with Tiny Tim standing close to the man who has become a second father. VERDICT All in all, a handsome, worthy addition to holiday reading traditions.—Joanna Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812504347
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
12/15/1990
Series:
Tor Classics Series
Edition description:
Complete and Unabridged
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
4.17(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.41(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

A Christmas Carol

STAVE ONEMARLEY'S GHOSTMARLEY 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 door-nail.Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of iron-mongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. 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 assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and 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.The mention of Marley's funeral brings me back to the point I started from. There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet's father died before the play began, there would be nothing more remarkable in his taking a stroll at night, in an easterly wind, upon his own ramparts, than there would be in any other middle-aged gentleman rashly turning out after dark in a breezy spot—say Saint Paul's Churchyard for instance—literally to astonish his son's weak mind.Scrooge never painted out old Marley's name. There it stood, years afterward, above the warehouse door: Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley, but he answered to both names. It was all the same to him.Oh! but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone,Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire, secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait, made his eyes red, his thin lips blue, and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn't know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often "came down" handsomely, and Scrooge never did.Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, "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. 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 tailsas 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. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing ones call "nuts" to Scrooge.Once upon a time—of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve—old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house. It was cold, bleak, biting weather, foggy withal, and he could hear the people in the court outside go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavement stones to warm them. The city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already—it had not been light all day—and candles were flaring in the windows of the neighboring offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air. The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense without, that, although the court was of the narrowest, the houses opposite were mere phantoms. To see the dingy cloud come drooping down, obscuring everything, one might have thought that Nature lived hard by, and was brewing on a large scale.The door of Scrooge's counting-house was open, that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who, in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters. Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk's fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal. But he couldn't replenish it, for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room;and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel, the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at the candle; in which effort, not being a man of a strong imagination, he failed."A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!" cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge's nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach."Bah!" said Scrooge. "Humbug!"He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost, this nephew of Scrooge's, that he was all in a glow; his face was ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkled, and his breath smoked again."Christmas a humbug, uncle!" said Scrooge's nephew. "You don't mean that, I am sure?" "I do," said Scrooge. "Merry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You're poor enough." "Come, then," returned the nephew gaily. "What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You're rich enough."Scrooge, having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said "Bah!" again; and followed it up with "Humbug!" "Don't be cross, uncle!" said the nephew."What else can I be," returned the uncle, "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 yearolder, and not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books, and having every item in 'em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you? If I could work my will," said Scrooge indignantly, "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. He should!" "Uncle!" pleaded the nephew."Nephew!" returned the uncle sternly, "keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine." "Keep it!" repeated Scrooge's nephew. "But you don't keep it." "Let me leave it alone, then," said Scrooge. "Much good may it do you! Much good it has ever done you!" "There are many things from which I might have derived good by which I have not profited, I dare say," returned the nephew, "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, Ibelieve that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"The clerk in the tank involuntarily applauded. Becoming immediately sensible of the impropriety, he poked the fire, and extinguished the last frail spark forever."Let me hear another sound from you," said Scrooge, "and you'll keep your Christmas by losing your situation! You're quite a powerful speaker, sir," he added, turning to his nephew. "I wonder you don't go into Parliament." "Don't be angry, uncle. Come! Dine with us to-morrow."Scrooge said that he would see him——Yes, indeed, he did. He went the whole length of the expression, and said that he would see him in that extremity first."But why?" cried Scrooge's nephew. "Why?" "Why did you get married?" said Scrooge."Because I fell in love." "Because you fell in love!" growled Scrooge, as if that were the only one thing in the world more ridiculous than a merry Christmas. "Good afternoon!" "Nay, uncle, but you never came to see me before that happened. Why give it as a reason for not coming now?""Good afternoon," said Scrooge."I want nothing from you; I ask nothing of you; why cannot we be friends?" "Good afternoon!" said Scrooge."I am sorry, with all my heart, to find you so resolute. We have never had any quarrel, to whichI 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!" "Good afternoon," said Scrooge."And a happy New Year!" "Good afternoon!" said Scrooge.His nephew left the room without an angry word, notwithstanding. He stopped at the outer door to bestow the greetings of the season on the clerk, who, cold as he was, was warmer than Scrooge, for he returned them cordially."There's another fellow," muttered Scrooge, who overheard him; "my clerk, with fifteen shillings a week, and a wife and family, talking about a merry Christmas. I'll retire to Bedlam."This lunatic, in letting Scrooge's nephew out, had let two other people in. They were portly gentlemen, pleasant to behold, and now stood with their hats off, in Scrooge's office. They had books and papers in their hands, and bowed to him."Scrooge and Marley's I beieve," said one of the gentlemen, referring to his list. "Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Scrooge, or Mr. Marley?" "Mr. Marley has been dead these seven years," Scrooge replied. "He died seven years ago, this very night." "We have no doubt his liberality is well represented by his surviving partner," said the gentleman, presenting his credentials.It certainly was; for they had been two kindred spirits. At the ominous word "liberality," Scrooge frowned, and shook his head, and handed the credentials back."At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge," said the gentleman, taking up a pen, "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." "Are there no prisons?" asked Scrooge."Plenty of prisons," said the gentleman, laying down the pen again."And the Union workhouses?" demanded Scrooge. "Are they still in operation?" "They are. Still," returned the gentleman, "I wish I could say they were not." "The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigor, then?" said Scrooge."Both very busy, sir." "Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course," said Scrooge. "I'm very glad to hear it." "Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude," returned the gentleman, "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?" "Nothing!" Scrooge replied."You wish to be anonymous?" "I wish to be left alone," said Scrooge. "Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is myanswer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas, and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned—they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there." "Many can't go there; and many would rather die.""If they would rather die," said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides—excuse me—I don't know that." "But you might know it," observed the gentleman."It's not my business," Scrooge returned. "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!"Seeing clearly that it would be useless to pursue their point, the gentlemen withdrew. Scrooge resumed his labors with an improved opinion of himself, and in a more facetious temper than was usual with him.Meanwhile the fog and darkness thickened so that people ran about with flaring links, proffering their services to go before horses in carriages, and conduct them on their way. The ancient tower of a church, whose gruff old bell was always peeping slyly down at Scrooge out of a Gothic window in the wall, became invisible, and struck the hours and quarters in the clouds, with tremulous vibrations afterward, as if its teeth were chattering in its frozen head up there. The cold became intense. In the main street, at the corner of thecourt, some laborers were repairing the gas-pipes, and had lighted a great fire in a brazier, round which a party of ragged men and boys were gathered, warming their hands and winking their eyes before the blaze, in rapture. The water-plug being left in solitude, its overflowings suddenly congealed, and turned to misanthropic ice. The brightness of the shops, where holly sprigs and berries crackled in the lamp heat of the windows, made pale faces ruddy as they passed. Poulterers' and grocers' trades became a splendid joke; a glorious pageant, with which it was next to impossible to believe that such dull principles as bargain and sale had anything to do. The Lord Mayor, in the stronghold of the mighty Mansion House, gave orders to his fifty cooks and butlers to keep Christmas as a Lord Mayor's household should; and even the little tailor, whom he had fined five shillings on the previous Monday for being drunk and bloodthirsty in the streets, stirred up tomorrow's pudding in his garret, while his lean wife and baby sallied out to buy the beef.Foggier yet, and colder! Piercing, searching, biting cold. If the good Saint Dunstan had but nipped the Evil Spirit's nose with a touch of such weather as that, instead of using his familiar weapons, then, indeed, he would have roared to lusty purpose. The owner of one scant young nose, gnawed and mumbled by the hungry cold as bones are gnawed by dogs, stooped down at Scrooge's keyhole to regale him with a Christmas carol; but at the first sound of Scrooge seized the ruler with such energy of action, that the singer fled in terror, leaving the keyhole to the fog and even more congenial frost."God rest you, merry gentleman, May nothing you dismay"At length the hour of shutting up the counting-house arrived. With an ill will Scrooge dismounted from his stool, and tacitly admitted the fact to the expectant clerk in the tank, who instantly snuffed his candle out, and put on his hat."You'll want all day to-morrow, I suppose?" said Scrooge."If quite convenient, sir." "It's not convenient," said Scrooge, "and it's not fair. If I was to stop half a crown for it, you'd think yourself ill used, 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 every twenty-fifth of December!" said Scrooge, buttoning his greatcoat to the chin. "But I suppose you must have the whole day. Be here all the earlier next morning."The clerk promised that he would; and Scrooge walked out with a growl. The office was closed in a twinkling, and the clerk, with the long ends of his white comforter dangling below his waist (for he boasted no greatcoat), went down a slide on Cornhill, at the end of a lane of boys, twenty times, in honor of its being Christmas Eve, andthen ran home to Camden Town, as hard as he could pelt, to play at blindman's buff.Scrooge took his melancholy dinner in his usual melancholy tavern; and having read all the newspapers, and beguiled the rest of the evening with his banker's book, went home to bed. He lived in chambers which had once belonged to his deceased partner. They were a gloomy suite of rooms, in a lowering pile of building up a yard, where it had so little business to be, that one could scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house, playing at hide-and-seek with other houses, and have forgotten the way out again. It was old enough now, and dreary enough, for nobody lived in it but Scrooge, the other rooms being all let out as offices. The yard was so dark that even Scrooge, who knew its every stone, was fain to grope with his hands. The fog and frost so hung about the black old gateway of the house, that it seemed as if the Genius of the Weather sat in mournful meditation on the threshold.Now it is a fact that there was nothing at all particular about the knocker on the door, except that it was very large. It is also a fact that Scrooge had seen it, night and morning, during his whole residence in that place; also that Scrooge had as little of what is called fancy about him as any man in the City of London, even including—which is a bold word—the corporation, aldermen, and livery. Let it also be borne in mind that Scrooge had not bestowed one thought on Marley, since his last mention of his seven-years-dead partner that afternoon. And then let any man explain to me, if hecan, how it happened that Scrooge, having his key in the lock of the door, saw in the knocker, without its undergoing any intermediate process of change—not a knocker, but Marley's face.Marley's face. It was not in impenetrable shadow, as the other objects in the yard were, but had a dismal light about it, like a bad lobster in a dark cellar. It was not angry or ferocious, but looked at Scrooge as Marley used to look: with ghostly spectacles turned up on its ghostly forehead. The hair was curiously stirred, as if by breath or hot air; and though the eyes were wide open, they were perfectly motionless. That, and its livid color, made it horrible; but its horror seemed to be in spite of the face, and beyond its control, rather than a part of its own expression.As Scrooge looked fixedly at this phenomenon it was a knocker again.To say that he was not startled, or that his blood was not conscious of a terrible sensation to which it had been a stranger from infancy, would be untrue. But he put his hand upon the key he had relinquished, turned it sturdily, walked in, and lighted his candle.He did pause, with a moment's irresolution, before he shut the door; and he did look cautiously behind it first, as if he half expected to be terrified with the sight of Marley's pigtail sticking out into the hall. But there was nothing on the back of the door, except the screws and nuts that held the knocker on, so he said, "Pooh, pooh!" and closed it with a bang.The sound resounded through the house likethunder. Every room above, and every cask in the wine-merchant's cellars below, appeared to have a separate peal of echoes of its own. Scrooge was not a man to be frightened by echoes. He fastened the door, and walked across the hall, and up the stairs, slowly, too, trimming his candle as he went.You may talk vaguely about driving a coach and six up a good old flight of stairs, or through a bad young Act of Parliament; but I mean to say you might have got a hearse up that staircase, and taken it broadwise, with the splinter-bar toward the wall, and the door toward the balustrades, and done it easy. There was plenty of width for that, and room to spare; which is perhaps the reason why Scrooge thought he saw a locomotive hearse going on before him in the gloom. Half a dozen gas-lamps out of the street wouldn't have lighted the entry too well, so you may suppose that it was pretty dark with Scrooge's dip.Up Scrooge went, not caring a button for that. Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it. But before he shut his heavy door, he walked through his rooms to see that all was right. He had just enough recollection of the face to desire to do that.Sitting-room, bedroom, lumber-room. All as they should be. Nobody under the table, nobody under the sofa; a small fire in the grate; spoon and basin ready; and the little saucepan of gruel (Scrooge had a cold in his head) upon the hob. Nobody under the bed; nobody in the closet; nobody in his dressing-gown, which was hanging up in a suspicious attitude against the wall. Lumber-roomas usual. Old fire-guard, old shoes, two fish-baskets, washing-stand on three legs, and a poker.Quite satisfied, he closed his door, and locked himself in; double-locked himself in, which was not his custom. Thus secured against surprise, he took off his cravat, put on his dressing-gown and slippers, and his night-cap, and sat down before the fire to take his gruel.It was a very low fire indeed; nothing on such a bitter night. He was obliged to sit close to it, and brood over it, before he could extract the least sensation of warmth from such a handful of fuel. The fireplace was an old one, built by some Dutch merchant long ago, and paved all round with quaint Dutch tiles, designed to illustrate the Scriptures. There were Cains and Abels, Pharaoh's daughters, Queens of Sheba, angelic messengers descending through the air on clouds like feather-beds, Abrahams, Belshazzars, Apostles putting off to sea in butter-boats, hundreds of figures to attract his thoughts; and yet that face of Marley, seven years dead, came like the ancient Prophet's rod, and swallowed up the whole. If each smooth tile had been a blank at first, with power to shape some picture on its surface from the disjointed fragments of his thoughts, there would have been a copy of old Marley's head on every one."Humbug!" said Scrooge; and walked across the room.After several turns, he sat down again. As he threw his head back in the chair, his glance happened to rest upon a bell, a disused bell, that hung in the room, and communicated, for somepurpose now forgotten, with a chamber in the highest story of the building. It was with great astonishment, and with a strange, inexplicable dread, that, as he looked, he saw this bell begin to swing. It swung so softly in the outset that it scarcely made a sound; but soon it rang out loudly, and so did every bell in the house.This might have lasted half a minute, or a minute, but it seemed an hour. The bells ceased, as they had begun, together. They were succeeded by a clanking noise, deep down below; as if some person were dragging a heavy chain over the casks in the wine-merchant's cellar. Scrooge then remembered to have heard that ghosts in haunted houses were described as dragging chains.The cellar door flew open with a booming sound, and then he heard the noise, much louder, on the floors below; then coming up the stairs; then coming straight toward his door."It's humbug still!" said Scrooge. "I won't believe it!"His color changed, though, when, without a pause, it came on through the heavy door, and passed into the room before his eyes. Upon its coming in, the dying flame leaped up, as though it cried, "I know him! Marley's Ghost!" and fell again.The same face, the very same. Marley, in his pigtail, usual waistcoat, tights and boots; the tassels on the latter bristling like his pigtail, and his coat-skirts, and the hair upon his head. The chain he drew was clasped about his middle. It was long, and wound about him like a tail; and it wasmade (for Scrooge observed it closely) of cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel. His body was transparent; so that Scrooge, observing him, and looking through his waistcoat, could see the two buttons on his coat behind.Scrooge had often heard it said that Marley had no bowels, but he had never believed it until now.No, nor did he believe it even now. Though he looked the phantom through and through, and saw it standing before him; though he felt the chilling influence of its death-cold eyes, and marked the very texture of the folded kerchief bound about its head and chin, which wrapper he had not observed before, he was still incredulous, and fought against his senses."How now!" said Scrooge, caustic and cold as ever. "What do you want with me?" "Much!"—Marley's voice, no doubt about it."Who are you?" "Ask me who I was.""Who were you, then?" said Scrooge, raising his voice. "You're particular, for a shade." He was going to say, "to a shade," but substituted this, as more appropriate."In life I was your partner, Jacob Marley." "Can you—can you sit down?" asked Scrooge, looking doubtfully at him."I can." "Do it, then."Scrooge asked the question, because he didn't know whether a ghost so transparent might find himself in a condition to take a chair; and feltin the event of its being impossible, it might involve the necessity of an embarrassing explanation. But the Ghost sat down on the opposite side of the fireplace, as if he were quite used to it."You don't believe in me," observed the Ghost."I don't," said Scrooge."What evidence would you have of my reality beyond that of your own senses?" "I don't know," said Scrooge."Why do you doubt your senses?" "Because," said Scrooge, "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!"Scrooge was not much in the habit of cracking jokes, nor did he feel, in his heart, by any means waggish then. The truth is, that he tried to be smart, as a means of distracting his own attention, and keeping down his terror, for the specter's voice disturbed the very marrow in his bones.To sit staring at those fixed glazed eyes in silence, for a moment, would play, Scrooge felt, the very deuce with him. There was something very awful, too, in the specter's being provided with an infernal atmosphere of his own. Scrooge could not feel it himself, but this was clearly the case; for though the Ghost sat perfectly motionless, his hair, and skirts, and tassels were still agitated as by the hot vapor from an oven."You see this toothpick?" said Scrooge, returning quickly to the charge, for the reason just assigned;and wishing, though it were only for a second, to divert the vision's stony gaze from himself."I do," replied the Ghost."You are not looking at it," said Scrooge."But I see it," said the Ghost, "not-withstanding." "Well!" returned Scrooge, "I have but to swallow this, and be for the rest of my days persecuted by a legion of goblins all my own creation. Humbug, I tell you; humbug!"At this the spirit raised a frightful cry, and shook his chain with such a dismal and appalling noise, that Scrooge held on tight to his chair, to save himself from falling in a swoon. But how much greater was his horror when, the phantom taking off the bandage round his head, as if it were too warm to wear indoors, his lower jaw dropped down upon his breast!Scrooge fell upon his knees, and clasped his hands before his face."Mercy!" he said. "Dreadful apparition, why do you trouble me?" "Man of the worldly mind!" replied the Ghost, "do you believe in me or not?" "I do," said Scrooge. "I must. But why do spirits walk the earth, and why do they come to me?" "It is required of every man," the Ghost returned, "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!—andwitness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!"Again the specter raised a cry, and shook his chain and wrung his shadowy hands."You are fettered," said Scrooge trembling. "Tell me why?" "I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "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?"Scrooge trembled more and more."Or would you know," pursued the Ghost, "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 glanced about him on the floor, in the expectation of finding himself surrounded by some fifty or sixty fathoms of iron cable; but he could see nothing."Jacob!" he said imploringly. "Old Jacob Marley, tell me more! Speak comfort to me, Jacob!" "I have none to give," the Ghost replied. "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!"It was a habit with Scrooge, whenever he becamethoughtful, to put his hands in his breeches pockets. Pondering on what the Ghost had said, he did so now, but without lifting up his eyes, or getting off his knees."You must have been very slow about it, Jacob," Scrooge observed in a business-like manner, though with humility and deference."Slow!" the Ghost repeated."Seven years dead," mused Scrooge. "And traveling all the time?" "The whole time," said the Ghost. "No rest, no peace. Incessant torture of remorse." "You travel fast?" said Scrooge."On the wings of the wind," replied the Ghost."You might have got over a great quantity of ground in seven years," said Scrooge.The Ghost, on hearing this, set up another cry, and clanked his chain so hideously in the dead silence of the night, that the Ward would have been justified in indicting it for a nuisance."Oh! captive, bound and double-ironed," cried the phantom, "not to know that ages of incessant labor, by immortal creatures, for this earth, must pass into eternity before the good of 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 its 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 opportunities misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!" "But you were always a good man of business,Jacob," faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself."Business!" cried the Ghost, wringing his hands again. "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 held up his chain at arm's-length, as if that were the cause of all his unavailing grief, and flung it heavily upon the ground again."At this time of the rolling year," the specter said, "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?"Scrooge was very much dismayed to hear the specter going on at this rate, and began to quake exceedingly."Hear me!" cried the Ghost. "My time is nearly gone." "I will" said Scrooge. "But don't be hard upon me! Don't be flowery, Jacob! Pray!" "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."It was not an agreeable idea. Scrooge shivered, and wiped the perspiration from his brow."That is no light part of my penance," pursued the Ghost. "I am here to-night to warn you, that you have yet a chance and hope of escapingmy fate. A chance and hope of my procuring, Ebenezer." "You were always a good friend to me," said Scrooge. "Thankee!" "You will be haunted," resumed the Ghost, "by Three Spirits."Scrooge's countenance fell almost as low as the Ghost's had done."Is that the chance and hope you mentioned, Jacob?" he demanded in a faltering voice."It is." "I—I think I'd rather not," said Scrooge."Without their visits," said the Ghost, "you cannot hope to shun the path I tread. Expect the first to-morrow, when the bell tolls One." "Couldn't I take 'em all at once, and have it over, Jacob?" hinted Scrooge."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!"When he had said these words, the specter took his wrapper from the table, and bound it round his head, as before. Scrooge knew this, by the smart sound his teeth made when the jaws were brought together by the bandage. He ventured to raise his eyes again, and found his supernatural visitor confronting him in an erect attitude, with his chain wound over and about his arm.The apparition walked backward from him; and at every step he took, the window raised itself alittle, so that when the specter reached it, it was wide open. He beckoned Scrooge to approach, which he did. When they were within two paces of each other, Marley's Ghost held up his hand, warning him to come no nearer. Scrooge stopped.Not so much in obedience, as in surprise and fear; for on the raising of the hand he became sensible of confused noises in the air; incoherent sounds of lamentation and regret; wailings inexpressibly sorrowful and self-accusatory. The specter, after listening for a moment, joined in the mournful dirge; and floated out upon the bleak, dark night.Scrooge followed to the window, desperate in his curiosity. He looked out.The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste, and moaning as they went. Every one of them wore chains like Marley's Ghost; some few (they might be guilty governments) were linked together; none were free. Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives. He had been quite familiar with one old ghost, in a white waistcoat, with a monstrous iron safe attached to his ankle, who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant, whom he saw below, upon a door-step. The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power forever.Whether these creatures faded into mist, or mist enshrouded them, he could not tell. But they and their spirit voices faded together; and the night became as it had been when he walked home.Scrooge closed the window, and examined the door by which the Ghost had entered. It was double-locked, as he had locked it with his own hands, and the bolts were undisturbed. He tried to say "Humbug!" but stopped at the first syllable. And being, from the emotion he had undergone, or the fatigues of the day, or his glimpse of the Invisible World, or the dull conversation of the Ghost, or the lateness of the hour, much in need of repose, went straight to bed, without undressing, and fell asleep on the instant.All new material in this book copyright © 1988 by Jane Yolen.

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Meet the Author

Considered by many to be the greatest novelist of the English language, Charles John Hummham Dickens was born Februrary 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, England. Some of his most populars works include Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Nicholas Nickleby, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
February 7, 1812
Date of Death:
June 18, 1870
Place of Birth:
Portsmouth, England
Place of Death:
Gad's Hill, Kent, England
Education:
Home-schooling; attended Dame School at Chatham briefly and Wellington

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A Christmas Carol (Classics for Young Readers Series) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I once heard it said that to appreciate Dickens best, one should read his stories aloud. I have never had the time to try to do this, but having just listened to a new unabridged reading of A Christmas Carol from Random House, I can see the validity of the statement. Playing the CD's I felt as if the narrator was, in the words of Dickens himself, 'standing in the spirit at your elbow.' And what a narrator! The multi-talented Jim Dale reads the story...no, that is not correct...Jim Dale PERFORMS the story. I counted 42 voices in the three-hour recording. Jim Dale is well known for his over 200 voices (and counting) bringing to life all of the characters in the Harry Potter books, which he also records for Random House's Listening Library. I first saw Jim Dale in the 1977 Disney movie Pete's Dragon where he played the bumbling villain. The next year he played three hilarious characters in another Disney film, Hot Lead and Cold Feet. I was lucky to see him in two musicals on Broadway, in Barnum, and Me and My Girl. Both very memorable performances. I plan to see him next month as he sings and dances Scrooge in Madison Square Garden's Christmas Carol - The Musical. I figure if he is great in the audiobook, he will be even better on stage. An actor has only two tools...his voice and his body. In the audiobooks, of course, only the voice can be used. And Dale's voice talents are well showcased here. I often found myself laughing out loud, thanks to the combined genius of Dickens and Dale. In a couple of cases, the genius is pure Dale. At one point he adds a bit of a dog's panting that really cracked me up. I have seen and/or heard other wonderful actors do one-man renditions of A Christmas Carol. A number of years ago a friend played a tape for me of John Gielgud doing an abridged version. I saw Patrick Stewart do his acclaimed one man show on Broadway; from the first row! And I have seen the author's great-great grandson, Gerald Dickens do his skilled and energetic version several times. They are all memorable and it would be impossible to say which was the best. But I can heartily recommend that Jim Dale's version be added to the family library. It is complete, it is accurate and it is a virtuoso performance. Although I certainly know the story well, I found by listening to the audiobook I was paying closer attention to the lesser known parts...the parts that, to be honest, I usually would skim over when rereading the book. In fact, there were several sections where I felt as if I were hearing them for the first time. Marvelous sections. I couldn't believe I had missed them in the past. Maybe Jim Dale's voice just made them more vibrant than my own inner voice. I suppose that asking me to review Jim Dale reading A Christmas Carol really isn't fair. One of my favorite performers reading my favorite story by my favorite author! But surely I am not alone. Dickens is universally known as England's greatest novelist. I wouldn't be surprised if Jim Dale was gaining a reputation as one of the world's greatest readers of audiobooks. They are both master storytellers. And to quote the Dickens himself, 'If that's not high praise, tell me higher, and I'll use it.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
Since 1843 the timeless story A Christmas Carol has been as much a part of our holiday season as Santa and wreaths on the door. Many of us have heard it dozens of times; others may be hearing it for the first time. For those who have heard it - what's old is new again with this incredible performance by acclaimed actor Jim Dale. For those who have not heard it as yet - let this recording be your introduction. Mr. Dale is the quintessential Ebenezer Scrooge, the most miserly of misers. Without missing a beat this talented performer becomes the ebullient, hopeful Bob Cratchit, as well as the chillingingly mysterious Christmas Eve visitors - the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future. Well remembered for the characters he enlivened with the Harry Potter audio books, Mr. Dale has garnered a bevy of awards including a Tony Award, four Drama Desk Awards, a Grammy Award, and an Academy Award nomination. This year there's more frosting on the cake - in the 2003 Royal Birthday Honours List, Queen Elizabeth II bestowed Jim Dale with an MBE, Member of the Order of the British Empire. Hearing this reading of 'A Christmas Carol' is not only a superb listening experience but a heartwarming reminder of the meaning of Christmas.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She wanted to leap but fear of hurting darkfur stopped her. "Stop it Scourge." She snarled. "Darkfur has done nothing."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She padded in and made a nest away from everyone else and slept.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bark
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a good adaptation of the book. This is an easy read for young adolescents.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought it for my younger brother who became an independent reader! and even though he struggled with some vocabs he learned a lot! I think it is well written for adolescents.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have at least 8 movie DVDs of "A Christmas Story", and they all emphasize, de-emphasize, or delete certain scenes. They are all quite faithful to the book however. The book is much smaller than I expected, and easily read in a evening or two.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Book a Christmas Carol was a good book, but yes it is very confusing. Description and summary of main points The book was about a man named Scrooge who seems to not like anything and Christmas is one of them. When he was a boy he was engaged to a beautiful woman and she left him because he was to selfish. As he got older he began his own business and stuff. Evaluation I like it a lot and I suggest you to read it. Conclusion It teaches people a very good lesson Your final review I like the book and the movie is good too hopefully one day you'll read it and get a good lesson out of it like did.
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The Christmas Carol is a very entertaining story. The characters are well written. And the setting adds to the story. A favorite point of the story to me is when the ghost of Christmas past comes to show Scrooge all that he's lost. Some other points are; first Marley comes to warn Scrooge of the three impending ghosts, then when the ghost of the past comes to show Scrooge the people in life that he loved and lost, thirdly the ghost of Christmas present arrives and shows Scrooge his nephew, and last but not least when the ghost of Christmas to come, arrives to show Scrooge what will happen to Scrooge if he does not change his ways. "The Christmas Carol" is about a very selfish man named Scrooge. Scrooge treats every one other than himself terribly. He often snaps at his apprentice, Bob Cratchit, his nephew, Fred, and even the two portly men who come to ask him to donate money for the homeless shelter. However, the story makes a pleasant change whenever the ghost of Marley, his old business partner, arrives to warn him of three ghosts. But Scrooge passes this off as nothing and soon forgets. Although to his shock he is visited later that night by the ghost of the past, present, and future. After all of the ghosts come and go Scrooge wakes up as a new man, he is kind to every one now. After all of the ghosts come and go, Scrooge awakens as a new man, and a kind one at that. I found the "Christmas Carol" to be a very enjoyable book that many people will adore reading.
Breanna_Utt More than 1 year ago
Introduction One of the themes of this novel is that people can change by learning from their mistakes. I have learned not to be greedy when someone is giving me something because Scrooge, the main character in this story, went into the future and saw the devastating results of his greed. The reason I am reviewing this book is because it was my favorite book, which my class read this year. Description and summary of main points This story is very interesting and fun to read during the Christmas time. I enjoyed reading Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. I think if you sit down and take the time to read this story, you will like it. My opinion on the book is that it is a really good Christmas story. This Story is where Scoorge goes to Christmas past, present, and future and is forced to change how he is acting toward his renters. Evaluation The main characters were: Scoorge and Old Marley. When you are receiving money or a present, you don't have to have a return of what you gave. If Scrooge gave you money he was sure he had to have the same amount of money that he gave them back in a certain amount of time. If he didn't he would keep on until he got it, no matter how it made others feel. Conclusion Scoorge was a very mean and stingy old man. He always needed paid back for what he gave or let people borrow. He didn't like it when people didn't pay him rent. He would keep reminding them if he didn't get it on time or he would raise the rent rate to a higher amount of money. Your final review My review for this book was really good. The characters in the story found out what was going to happen in his past, present, and future. The story was great and you never knew what was going to happen. I would highly recommend this story for 6th through 9th graders. This book is a really good book to read. When I was reading it I didn't want to put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago