A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
A Christmas Carol Compassion and Forgiveness Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Stave.Paragraph)
"Home, for good and all. Home, for ever and ever. Father is so much kinder than he used to be, that home's like Heaven! He spoke so gently to me one dear 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 sent me in a coach to bring you. And you're to be a man!" said the child, opening her eyes, "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." (2.70)
There's something weird about the way this backstory just totally skips over the "dad's not crazy anymore!" explanation here, no? So does this mean that their dad was irrationally blaming little Ebenezer for something and now no longer does? Or is the idea that the kids immediately forgive their dad once he becomes "kinder than he used to be" (which, yikes, nice understatement there)?
"I would gladly think otherwise if I could," she answered, "Heaven knows! When I have learned a Truth like this, I know how strong and irresistible it must be. But if you were free to-day, to-morrow, 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." (2.128)
It's funny that however earnest this speech of self-sacrifice from Scrooge's ex-fiancée is meant to be (and it's pretty clear that she really is supposed to be trying to do the right thing here by freeing him from the engagement contract with total understanding), all of it can be read in a hilarious passive-aggressive tone. Which would of course make it wildly vindictive and non-forgiving, and therefore all the more entertaining.
"It should be Christmas Day, I am sure," said she, "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!"
"My dear," was Bob's mild answer, "Christmas Day."
"I'll drink his health for your sake and the Day's," said Mrs. Cratchit, "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!"
The children drank the toast after her. It was the first of their proceedings which had no heartiness. Tiny Tim drank it last of all, but he didn't care twopence for it. Scrooge was the Ogre of the family. The mention of his name cast a dark shadow on the party, which was not dispelled for full five minutes. (3.79-83)
This might be the most psychologically realistic of the novella's ways of showing how people react to Scrooge. Here, the Cratchits run into a conflict between what they ought to be feeling (deference to Mr. Cratchit who is the head of the family and pities Scrooge; general good will because it's Christmas; a sense of Scrooge as a fellow human being), and what they do actually feel—that the man is an Ogre and they have no desire to toast him.