A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

Characters

Scrooge

Fred

Fred: A merry Christmas, cousin!  God save you!

Scrooge: Bah! Humbug!

Fred: Christmas a humbug, cousin! You don’t mean that, I am sure

Scrooge: I do. Merry Christmas!  What right have you to be merry?  What reason have you to be merry?  You’re poor enough.

Fred: Come, then. What right have you to be dismal?  What reason have you to be morose?  You’re rich enough.

Scrooge:  Bah! Humbug

Fred: Don’t be cross, cousin!

Scrooge: What else can I be, when I live in such a world of fools as this?  Merry Christmas!  Out upon merry Christmas!  What’s Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer; a time for balancing your If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.  He should!

Fred: Cousin!

Scrooge: Cousin Frederick! Keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine.

Fred: Keep it! But you don’t keep it.

Scrooge: Let me leave it alone, then. Much good may it do you!  Much good it has ever done you!

Fred: There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say. Christmas among the rest.  But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round  – as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of in the year, when men and women seem to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people less fortunate than themselves …And therefore, cousin, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!

Scrooge:  You’re quite a powerful speaker, sir. I wonder you don’t go into Parliament!

Fred: Don’t be angry, cousin.  Come!  Dine with us tomorrow.

Scrooge:  Dine? No thanks. Humbug.

Fred: But why? Why?

Scrooge: Why did you get married?

Fred: Because I fell in love.

Scrooge: Love? Because you fell in love! Love, the only other thing in the world more ridiculous than Christmas. Good afternoon!

Fred: But, cousin but you never came to see me before that happened.  Why give it as a reason for not coming now?

Scrooge: Good afternoon.

Fred: I want nothing from you; I ask nothing of you; why can’t we be friends?

Scrooge: Good afternoon.

Fred: Very well. But before I go, allow me to say something. At this festive season of the year, cousin, we should think of the Poor and Homeless, who suffer greatly at the present time.  Women, girls and boys. At the mercy of criminals. They’re cold and hungry, they don’t have a roof over their head.

Scrooge: Are there no prisons?

Fred: There are plenty of prisons.

Scrooge: And the workhouses? Are they still in operation?

Fred: They are.  Still. I wish I could say they were not.

Scrooge: The Poor Law still exists, then?  There are plenty of workhouses for the poor?

Fred: Yes, there are but life inside is very hard….

Scrooge: Oh!  I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had happened and they had closed. I’m very glad to hear they are still open for business!

Fred: But life in the workhouse is miserable; families are divided; something must be done to improve the lives of our fellow human beings, to protect them from ruthless criminals – so those of us who are more fortunate are collecting money for the poor. What shall I put you down for?

Scrooge: Nothing!

Fred: Ah, I see, you wish to be anonymous…

Scrooge: I wish to be left alone. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned – prison and the poor house.  They cost enough; those who are badly off must go there. Good afternoon.

Fred: Many can’t go there. They can’t be separated from their families… they would rather die!

Scrooge: If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.

Fred: But we must all do something to help…

Scrooge: Good afternoon, cousin!

Fred: I am sorry, with all my heart, to find you so resolute.  We have never had any quarrel, to which I have been a party.  But I have tried for the sake of Christmas, and I’ll keep my Christmas humour to the last.  So A Merry Christmas, cousin!

Scrooge: Good afternoon.

Fred: And A Happy New Year!

Scrooge: Good afternoon!

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