A Christmas Carol
How we cite our quotes:
For again Scrooge saw himself. He was older now; a man in the prime of life. His face had not the harsh and rigid lines of later years; but it had begun to wear the signs of care and avarice. There was an eager, greedy, restless motion in the eye, which showed the passion that had taken root, and where the shadow of the growing tree would fall. (2.110)
Dickens's characters never stick to the old adage that books can't be judged by their covers. In his world, you can always tell the general goodness or badness of anyone just by looking at them. Here, as soon as Scrooge starts to be a little too into the money stuff, his face immediately reflects the new preoccupation. He practically turns green.
It was his own room. There was no doubt about that. But it had undergone a surprising transformation. The walls and ceiling were so hung with living green, that it looked a perfect grove; from every part of which, bright gleaming berries glistened. The crisp leaves of holly, mistletoe, and ivy reflected back the light, as if so many little mirrors had been scattered there; and such a mighty blaze went roaring up the chimney, as that dull petrification of a hearth had never known in Scrooge's time, or Marley's, or for many and many a winter season gone. Heaped up on the floor, to form a kind of throne, were turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, great joints of meat, sucking-pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince-pies, plum-puddings, barrels of oysters, red-hot chestnuts, cherry-cheeked apples, juicy oranges, luscious pears, immense twelfth-cakes, and seething bowls of punch, that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam. In easy state upon this couch, there sat a jolly Giant, glorious to see; who bore a glowing torch, in shape not unlike Plenty's horn, and held it up, high up, to shed its light on Scrooge, as he came peeping round the door. (3.5)
Have you ever watched HGTV or any of the home makeover shows on other channels? Doesn't this sound eerily like the final "reveal" of the way the designer has transformed a useless space into an inviting one? It's like a magical party planner just dropped by Scrooge's place to spruce it up a bit.
After a while [Fred and his guests] played at forfeits; for it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself. Stop! There was first a game at blind-man's buff. […] He always knew where the plump sister was. He wouldn't catch anybody else. If you had fallen up against him (as some of them did), on purpose, he would have made a feint of endeavouring to seize you, which would have been an affront to your understanding, and would instantly have sidled off in the direction of the plump sister. She often cried out that it wasn't fair; and it really was not. But when at last, he caught her; when, in spite of all her silken rustlings, and her rapid flutterings past him, he got her into a corner whence there was no escape; then his conduct was the most execrable. […] No doubt she told him her opinion of it, when, another blind-man being in office, they were so very confidential together, behind the curtains. (3.117)
Yet another kind of transformation—a children's game that takes on a totally different meaning when played in an adult context.