A Christmas Carol

How did people treat Scrooge?

Stave one


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People treated Scrooge with the utmost respect and deference. Note, this doesn't reflect how they saw him as a person, but rather how they behaved toward him. The people who weren't required to interact with Scrooge generally said nothing and did nothing. They looked the other way and tried to stay out of his path. No one who didn't have business with the man approached him.

"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 tails as though they said, `No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!'

Scrooge's nephew wanted nothing more than to include and spend time with him.

`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?'

And his clerk.....

`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 great-coat 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.


A Christmas Carol