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An old bitter miser is given a chance for redemption when he is haunted by three ghosts on Christmas Eve.
Spirit of Christmas Present: My time with you is at an end, Ebenezer Scrooge. Will you profit from what I've shown you of the good in most men's hearts? Ebenezer: I don't know, how can I promise! Spirit of Christmas Present: If it's too hard a lesson for you to learn, then learn this lesson! [opens his robe, revealing two starving children] Ebenezer: [shocked] Spirit, are these yours? Spirit of Christmas Present: They are Man's. This boy is Ignorance, this girl is Want. Beware them both, but most of all, beware this boy! Ebenezer: But have they no refuge, no resource? Spirit of Christmas Present: [quoting Scrooge] Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?
First Collector: At this festive time of year, Mr. Scrooge, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute. Ebenezer: Are there no prisons? First Collector: Plenty of prisons. Ebenezer: And the union workhouses - are they still in operation? First Collector: They are. I wish I could say they were not. Ebenezer: Oh, from what you said at first I was afraid that something had happened to stop them in their useful course. I'm very glad to hear it. First Collector: I don't think you quite understand us, sir. A few of us are endeavoring to buy the poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. Ebenezer: Why? First Collector: Because it is at Christmastime that want is most keenly felt, and abundance rejoices. Now what can I put you down for? Ebenezer: Huh! Nothing! Second Collector: You wish to be anonymous? Ebenezer: [firmly, but calmly] I wish to be left alone. Since you ask me what I wish sir, that is my answer. I help to support the establishments I have named; those who are badly off must go there. First Collector: Many can't go there. Second Collector: And some would rather die.
Jacob Marley: I wear the chain I forged in life! I made it link by link and yard by yard! I gartered it on of my own free will and by my own free will, I wore it!
Ebenezer: You have my sympathy. Jacob Marley: Ah! You do not know the weight and length of strong chain you bear yourself! It was as full and as long as this seven Christmas eves ago and you have labored on it since. Ah, it is a ponderous chain!
Spirit of Christmas Past: Your sister was always a delicate creature, of whom a breath might have withered, but she had a large heart. Ebenezer: She had. Spirit of Christmas Past: She dies a married woman and had, I think, children. Ebenezer: One child. Spirit of Christmas Past: Your nephew. Ebenezer: She died giving him life. Spirit of Christmas Past: As your mother died giving you life, for which your father never forgave you, as if you were to blame.
Ebenezer: But it was only that you were an honest man of business! Jacob Marley: BUSINESS? Mankind was my business! Their common welfare was my business!
Ebenezer: Who are you? Jacob Marley: Ask me who I was. Ebenezer: All right, all right, who WERE you then? Jacob Marley: In life, I was your partner, Jacob Marley. Ebenezer: Well, in that case, CAN you sit down? Jacob Marley: I can.
Mrs. Dilber: Are you all right, Mr. Scrooge? Ebenezer: [ecstatic] I... I don't know. I don't know anything. I never did know anything. Ebenezer: [starts laughing] Ebenezer: But now I KNOW that I don't know anything! [begins to sing and clap his hands] Ebenezer: I don't know anything!/ I never did know anything!/ But now I know that I don't know/ All on a Christmas morning! [speaking again] Ebenezer: Shall I stand on my head? I must stand on my head. [He does so, and Mrs. Dilber runs out screaming]
Ebenezer: You see that toothpick? Jacob Marley: I do. Ebenezer: But you're not looking at it! Jacob Marley: Yet I see it, notwithstanding. Ebenezer: Well, then, I'll just swallow this and be tortured by a legion of hobgoblins, all of my own creation! It's all HUMBUG, I tell you, HUMBUG!
Bob Cratchit: Mr. Scrooge? Ebenezer: I'm busy. Bob Cratchit: Well, it's about Mr. Marley, sir! He's dying! Ebenezer: Well, what do you want me to do about it? If he's dying, he's dying.
Ebenezer: Through the window? Spirit of Christmas Past: Are you afraid? Ebenezer: Well... I am a mortal, and liable to fall. Spirit of Christmas Past: Bear but a touch of my hand, and you will be upheld in more than this.
Ebenezer: [to Bob Cratchit] Well, my friend, I'm not going to beat around the bush. I'm simply not going to stand this sort of thing any longer. Which leaves me no choice, but to raise your salary. [starts laughing hysterically]
Mr. Jorkin: [about Scrooge and Marley] In short, gentlemen, if you want to save the fair name of the company by accepting their generous offer, they become the company!
Ebenezer: I must have a label... label label label label label!
Ebenezer: What is your business here? Spirit of Christmas Past: Your welfare. Ebenezer: My welfare? Spirit of Christmas Past: Your reclamation, then. Take heed, rise, and walk with me.
Ebenezer: What do you want with me? Jacob Marley: Much.
Mrs. Dilber: Merry Christmas, Mr. Scrooge! In keeping with the situation!
Spirit of Christmas Present: You've never seen the like of me before, have you? Ebenezer: Never, and I wish the pleasure had been indefinitely postponed.
Mrs. Dilber: Bob's yer uncle Mr. Scrooge!
Ebenezer: Bob, I haven't taken leave of my senses. I've come to them.
Mrs. Dilber: [to Bob Cratchit] I've come to say that Mister Marley ain't expected to make it through the night, and that if Mister Scrooge wishes to take his leave of him, he'd best nip along sharply, or there won't be no Mister Marley to take leave of, as we know the use of the word. He's breathing very queer - when he does breathe at all.
Ebenezer: Who is that? The doctor? Mrs. Dilber: The undertaker. Ebenezer: You don't believe in letting the grass grow under your feet, do you? The Undertaker: Ours is a very competitive profession, sir.
Ebenezer: [grumpily] I don't deserve to be so happy. [starts laughing uncontrollably again] Ebenezer: I can't help it!
Ebenezer: [to Fred's wife] Can you forgive a pig-headed old fool with no eyes to see with and no ears to hear with all these years?
Ebenezer: [to the Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come] I am standing in the presence of the Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come? And you're going to show me the shadows of things that have not yet happened but will happen? Spirit of the Future, I fear you more than any spectre I have met tonight! But even in my fear, I must say that I am too old! I cannot change! I cannot! It's not that I'm inpenitent, it's just... Wouldn't it be better if I just went home to bed? [pause] Ebenezer: No? Well, very well. Lead on.
Mrs. Dilber: [Scrooge raises her pay from 2 shillings a week to 16] Do you want to see a doctor? Ebenezer: A doctor? Certainly not, nor the undertaker!
Ebenezer: Waiter! More bread. Waiter: Ha'penny extra, sir. Ebenezer: [pauses] No more bread.
Ebenezer: I'll send it to Bob Cratchit, and he shan't know who sent it. It's twice the size of Tiny Tim!
Mrs. Dilber: [of Jacob Marley] Is he dead? Ebenezer: Yes. Mrs. Dilber: [to the undertaker] It's just like you said! The Undertaker: I always know.
Ebenezer: [to himself, laughing] A merry Christmas, Ebenezer! You old HUMBUG! Oh, and a happy new year! As if you deserved it!
Spirit of Christmas Past: And as your business prospered, Ebenezer Scrooge, a golden idol took possession of your heart, as Alice said it would.
Jacob Marley: It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow men! If it 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!
Ebenezer: [singing] I don't know anything, I never did know anything, but now I know that I don't know, all on a Christmas morning.
Jacob Marley: Look to see me no more. But look here, that you may remember for your own sake what has passed between us! Ebenezer: Why do they lament? Jacob Marley: They seek to interfere for good in human matters, and have lost their power forever.
Mrs. Dilber: A guinea? For me? What for? Ebenezer: I'll give you a guess! Mrs. Dilber: [pause] To keep me mouth shut?
Ebenezer: [Giggling] No. Mrs. Dilber - I'm not mad. [He ruffles his hair so that it looks wild] Ebenezer: Even if I look it!
Ebenezer: You'll want the whole day off tomorrow, I suppose. Bob Cratchit: If quite convenient, sir. Ebenezer: It's not convenient. And it's not fair! If I stopped you half a crown for it, you'd think yourself ill used, wouldn't you? But you don't think me ill used if I pay a day's wages for now work, hmm? Bob Cratchit: 'Tis only once a year, sir. Ebenezer: That's a poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every 25th of December. Bob Cratchit: Yes, sir. I'm sure I'm very sorry, sir, to cause you such an inconvenience. It's the family more than me, sir. They put their hearts into Christmas as it were, sir. Ebenezer: Yes, and put their hands into my pockets as it were, sir. I suppose you'd better have the whole day. But be back all the earlier the next morning. Bob Cratchit: I will indeed, sir. Thank you, sir! It's more than generous of you, sir. Ebenezer: Yes, I know it is, you don't have to tell me.
Jacob Marley: In life, my spirit never rose beyond the limits of our money-changing holes! Now I am doomed to wander without rest or peace, incessant torture and remorse! Ebenezer: But it was only that you were a good man of business, Jacob! Jacob Marley: BUSINESS? Mankind was my business! Their common welfare was my business! And it is at this time of the rolling year that I suffer most!
Spirit of Christmas Past: [to Scrooge] Alice. The same Alice you had sworn to love for all eternity. She is not changed by the harshness of the world, but you are.
Ebenezer: I don't deserve to be so happy. [laughing] Ebenezer: But I can't help it. [laughs and throws his pen away] Ebenezer: I-I I just can't help it.
Alice: Are you more rested? Alice's Patient: I am. Bless your dear, gentle heart. You know, I didn't think there was anyone like you left in the whole wide world.
Ebenezer: [as Marley lies on his death bed] Well, Jacob! Have they seen to you properly? Last rites and such? [Marley nods] Ebenezer: There's nothing i can do? [Marley nods again] Ebenezer: Oh? What, particularly? Jacob Marley: [rasping] While... there's still time... Ebenezer: Time? Time for what? Jacob Marley: [rasping] Wrong... we were wrong. Ebenezer: Wrong? Well, we can't be right all the time , can we? Nobody's perfect. You mustn't reproach yourself, Jacob. We've been no worse than the next man, or no better if it comes to that. Jacob Marley: [rasping] Save... yourself. Ebenezer: Save myself? Save myself from what? [Marley breathes his last] Ebenezer: Speak...! [pauses as he realizes Marley is dead]
Ebenezer: Are you the spirit whose coming was foretold to me? Spirit of Christmas Past: I am. Ebenezer: Who and what are you? Spirit of Christmas Past: I am the Ghost of Christmas Past. Ebenezer: Long past? Spirit of Christmas Past: No, your past.
Tiny Tim: God bless us, every one!
Spirit of Christmas Present: So! Is your heart still unmoved towards us, then? Ebenezer: I'm too old and beyond hope! Go and redeem some younger, more promising creature, and leave me to keep Christmas in my own way! Spirit of Christmas Present: Mortal! We Spirits of Christmas do not live only one day of our year. We live the whole three-hundred and sixty-five. So is it true of the Child born in Bethlehem. He does not live in men's hearts one day of the year, but in all days of the year. You have chosen not to seek Him in your heart. Therefore, you will come with me and seek Him in the hearts of men of good will.
Ebenezer: Go, and redeem some other promising young creature, but leave me to keep Christmas in my own way.
Ebenezer: [at a homeless shelter where Alice is working] Spirit, are these people real, or are they shadows? Spirit of Christmas Present: They are real. We are the shadows. Ebenezer: Both of us? Spirit of Christmas Present: Did you not cut yourself off from you fellow man when you lost the love of that delicate creature?
Spirit of Christmas Present: Come in! Come in, and know me better, man!
Ebenezer: [to the Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come] Before I draw nearer to that stone, tell me! Are these the shadows of things that must be, or are they the shadows of things that MIGHT be?
Alice: May you be happy in the life you've chosen. Young Ebenezer Scrooge: [angrily] Thank you! I shall be!
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