A Christmas Carol
How we cite our quotes:
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. (1.71)
The only thing Cratchit has any control over is how he spends his time away from work, which is why every second of this time counts for him.
When Scrooge awoke, it was so dark, that looking out of bed, he could scarcely distinguish the transparent window from the opaque walls of his chamber. He was endeavouring to pierce the darkness with his ferret eyes, when the chimes of a neighbouring church struck the four quarters. So he listened for the hour.
To his great astonishment the heavy bell went on from six to seven, and from seven to eight, and regularly up to twelve; then stopped. Twelve! It was past two when he went to bed. The clock was wrong. An icicle must have got into the works. Twelve! (2.1-2)
Okay, so here's a question (and it's kind of a doozy): do the ghosts make time go backwards?
You wouldn't believe how those two fellows went at it! They charged into the street with the shutters—one, two, three—had 'em up in their places—four, five, six—barred 'em and pinned 'em—seven, eight, nine—and came back before you could have got to twelve, panting like race-horses.
"Hilli-ho!" cried old Fezziwig, skipping down from the high desk, with wonderful agility. "Clear away, my lads, and let's have lots of room here! Hilli-ho, Dick! Chirrup, Ebenezer!"
Clear away! There was nothing they wouldn't have cleared away, or couldn't have cleared away, with old Fezziwig looking on. It was done in a minute. (2.90-92)
See, Scrooge? This is how to spend your time. There isn't a wasted moment in the rush to set the Fezziwig place up for the party. The text even counts out the seconds as Ebenezer and Dick bustle around, and we are treated a bunch of colloquialisms having to do with time going lickety-split: "in a minute," "before a man can say Jack Robinson," and comparing the apprentices to "race horses charging" to the hunting party cry of "Hilly-ho!".