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Let Us Read
3. Follow your teacher reading the text (Part I and then Part II) and say why Mr Scrooge changed.
A Christmas Carol
(after Ch. Dickens)
Have you ever heard about Christmas carols?1 They are religious songs sung at Christmas. At Christmas time groups of people sing carols, both indoors and outdoors. They usually collect money for homeless and poor people. Sometimes carol singers, especially children, go along the streets from house to house, singing in front of each house and asking for money. But there is a Christmas carol which is not a song or a hymn [himn], it is a story told more than a century and a half ago by one of the most wonderful storytellers in the world — Charles Dickens, the famous English writer.
Once upon a time old Ebenezer Scrooge was busy in his office. It was Chrismas Eve. The weather was cold and foggy.
The door of Scrooge’s office was opened so that he could keep an eye on his clerk,1 Cratchit I'kraetfit], who was writing letters. Scrooge paid him less than a pound a week. That was not half enough for Cratchit’s large family. Scrooge did not like to spend his money, that is why the fire in his office was very small and Bob Cratchit’s hands were so cold that he could hardly write.
Suddenly, a young and cheerful2 voice cried, “Merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!” It was Scrooge’s nephew.
“Humbug!”3 said Scrooge, using his favourite word. “Merry Christmas! You have no right to be merry.4 You are poor.” Scrooge was telling the truth: his nephew was poor but he was a happy man because he was married to a woman whom he loved. Scrooge could not understand that. He thought that love was even sillier than a Merry Christmas. Scrooge’s nephew wanted to invite his uncle to have Christmas dinner with him and his young wife but Scrooge did not want to hear about it and the young man left wishing his uncle and Cratchit a Merry Christmas again.
Five minutes later Scrooge had two more visitors with papers in their hands. They were collecting money for poor people and told Scrooge that thousands of people were in need of the simplest things, even food and clothes. This time Scrooge got really angry and refused to give money for charity.5 He said that the place for poor people was in prison or the work house. Seeing that it was useless to say anything more, the two men left.
It grew colder and colder outside. The fog and darkness thickened so that the ancient church tower was hardly seen. A boy sang a Christmas carol outside the front door of Scrooge’s office.
Scrooge got even angrier. He picked up a big ruler and opened the door so quickly that the frightened small singer ran away as fast as he could.
At last it was time to shut up the office. The next day was the twenty-fifth of December and the office had to be closed for Christmas Day. As soon as Scrooge walked out, Bob Cratchit closed the office and ran home. He didn’t put on a coat as he didn’t have one. He ran home to play Christmas games with his children.
Scrooge took his melancholy1 dinner in his melancholy tavern; read several new papers and went home to bed. His house was old and dark for nobody lived in it but Scrooge.
He was sitting alone before his small fire when he heard his doorbell ring. Then the heavy door of Scrooge’s room opened and Scrooge saw ... a ghost. Scrooge recognised him at once: it was the ghost of Marley ['mcdi], his partner, who had died several years before. Marley’s Ghost was wearing a long and heavy chain2. Scrooge became very frightened. “Why do you trouble me?” he asked the ghost. Marley’s Ghost explained that he had been very selfish when he was alive3. He had been interested only in money and had not cared about people outside his office. Now he had no rest and no peace.
“I wear the chain I made in life link by link4. Do you know, Ebenezer Scrooge, the weight and length of the chain you wear yourself? I am here tonight to tell you that you still have a chance and hope not to go my way. Tonight you will see Three Spirits.5 The first will come tomorrow at one in the morning.” With these words the Ghost walked to the window and disappeared into the dark night. And Scrooge went straight to bed, without undressing, and fell asleep at once.
On the next day Ebenezer Scrooge had three visitors — the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. With the first Ghost Scrooge travelled to the past and remembered how lonely and unhappy he was once long ago when he was a schoolboy. He remembered his kind sister who brought him home from school on Christmas Eve many years ago and they were together and had the merriest time in the world. His sister had a large and kind heart but she was not very strong and died soon after she had a child — Scrooge’s nephew.
The Ghost of Christmas Present changed Scrooge’s home completely. He hung the walls with evergreens6: holly, mistletoe,7 and ivy.8 He made a bright fire in the fireplase, filled the room with turkeys, geese, meat, pies, puddings, cakes and fruit. Then the Ghost took Scrooge to Bob Cratchit’s poor house. Bob, his wife and their six children were at home. They could not see Scrooge but he could see and hear everything. The smallest boy called Tiny Tim was a very weak child and it was clear that he would not live long.
Mrs Cratchit cut up the goose and then brought the pudding in. There was not enough food for such a large family but nobody noticed that. Everybody said to Mrs Cratchit how much they loved the goose and the pudding.
“A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears,”
“Let’s drink to Mr Scrooge who gave us this dinner,” Bob Cratchit said. “Long life to him! A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”
They were not a rich family; they were not well-dressed; their shoes were cheap. But they were happy, grateful and pleased with one another.
The Ghost showed Scrooge his nephew’s home too. There Scrooge’s nephew was talking to his wife. They were talking about him.
“He is a funny old man,” said his nephew, “and he isn’t very pleasant either. His money is of no use to him. He can’t do any good with it. I can’t be angry with him. I am sorry for him. I’d like to drink to his health. A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to the Old Man!”
The Ghost disappeared and Scrooge saw the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, the Ghost of the Future. This Ghost was very silent, he just took Scrooge to the centre of London, not far from his office. The Spirit showed him a group of businessmen, and Scrooge came up to them to listen to their talk. They were also talking about him. The Ghost showed him a grave with his name, Ebenezer Scrooge, on it. There were no flowers there. Nobody came to remember him. “No, Spirit! Oh, no, no!” he cried upon his knees. “I am not the man I was. Good Spirit, I’ll start a new life! I will keep Christmas in my heart all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present and the Future. I will always remember this lesson!”
Suddenly the Ghost disappeared and Scrooge was in his room again. Scrooge felt very happy: the time before him was his own. “A Merry Christmas to everybody! A Happy New Year to all the world!” said Scrooge.
Ebenezer Scrooge kept his word: the very first thing he did was to send a huge turkey to Bob Cratchit’s house. Then he put on his best clothes and got out into the street. He smiled at everyone he met. He met the gentleman who had walked into his office the day before, asking for money for the poor.10 Scrooge gave him a lot of money. “My dear sir,” said the gentleman, shaking hands with him, “I don’t know what to say to such kindness.”
In the afternoon Scrooge went to his nephew’s house. And that was wonderful. He felt at home in 5 minutes. Everybody was as happy as could be.
Scrooge did it all, and much more. And to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, as good a man, as the good old city knew.
Ghosts did not visit him anymore, and people said that he knew how to keep Christmas better than anybody else. And so, as Tiny Tim said, God bless us, everyone!
4. Put the sentences in the right order.
5. Say “True,” “False” or “Don’t know”.
* * * * * Let Us Talk * * * * *
6. Describe these places adding as many details as you would like.
7. Imagine the three ghosts and describe them.
* * * * * Let Us Write * * * * *
8. Draw a picture of one of the ghosts (one you like/dislike most) and write 5—10 sentences about it.
9. Write a short story about Tiny Tim.