"A Christmas Carol," Vocabulary from Chapters 1-2

December 9, 2013
Here is some vocabulary from the tale of the thawing of a heart at Christmas: Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol." (etext found here)

Learn these word lists for the novel: Chapters 1-2, Chapter 3, Chapters 4-5
You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge: a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!
The city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already -- it had not been light all day -- and candles were flaring in the windows of the neighboring offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air.
It was the voice of Scrooge's nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach.
If I could work my will,' said Scrooge indignantly, '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.'
'There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,' returned the nephew.
Becoming immediately sensible of the impropriety, he poked the fire, and extinguished the last frail spark forever.
But I have made the trial in homage to Christmas, and I'll keep my Christmas humor to the last.
'At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge,' said the gentleman, taking up a pen, 'it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time.
Scrooge resumed his labors with an improved opinion of himself, and in a more facetious temper than was usual with him.
Meanwhile the fog and darkness thickened so, that people ran about with flaring links, proffering their services to go before horses in carriages, and conduct them on their way.
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.
Scrooge took his melancholy dinner in his usual melancholy tavern; and having read all the newspapers, and beguiled the rest of the evening with his banker's-book, went home to bed.
It was with great astonishment, and with a strange, inexplicable dread, that as he looked, he saw this bell begin to swing.
Though he looked the phantom through and through, and saw it standing before him; though he felt the chilling influence of its death-cold eyes; and marked the very texture of the folded kerchief bound about its head and chin, which wrapper he had not observed before; he was still incredulous, and fought against his senses.
Scrooge was not much in the habit of cracking jokes, nor did he feel, in his heart, by any means waggish then.
The truth is, that he tried to be smart, as a means of distracting his own attention, and keeping down his terror; for the spectre's voice disturbed the very marrow in his bones.
There was something very awful, too, in the spectre's being provided with an infernal atmosphere of its own.
'You must have been very slow about it, Jacob,' Scrooge observed, in a business-like manner, though with humility and deference.
The Ghost, on hearing this, set up another cry, and clanked its chain so hideously in the dead silence of the night, that the Ward would have been justified in indicting it for a nuisance.
'Oh! captive, bound, and double-ironed,' cried the phantom, 'not to know, that ages of incessant labor by immortal creatures, for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed!
The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business.
Not so much in obedience, as in surprise and fear: for on the raising of the hand, he became sensible of confused noises in the air; incoherent sounds of lamentation and regret; wailings inexpressibly sorrowful and self-accusatory.
And being, from the emotion he had undergone, or the fatigues of the day, or his glimpse of the Invisible World, or the dull conversation of the Ghost, or the lateness of the hour, much in need of repose; went straight to bed, without undressing, and fell asleep upon the instant.
He resolved to lie awake until the hour was passed; and, considering that he could no more go to sleep than go to Heaven, this was, perhaps, the wisest resolution in his power.
The curtains of his bed were drawn aside; and Scrooge, starting up into a half- recumbent attitude, found himself face to face with the unearthly visitor who drew them: as close to it as I am now to you, and I am standing in the spirit at your elbow.
For as its belt sparkled and glittered now in one part and now in another, and what was light one instant, at another time was dark, so the figure itself fluctuated in its distinctness: being now a thing with one arm, now with one leg, now with twenty legs, now a pair of legs without a head, now a head without a body
Scrooge reverently disclaimed all intention to offend or any knowledge of having wilfully bonneted the Spirit at any period of his life.
Scrooge expressed himself much obliged, but could not help thinking that a night of unbroken rest would have been more conducive to that end.
They left the high-road, by a well-remembered lane, and soon approached a mansion of dull red brick, with a little weathercock- surmounted cupola, on the roof, and a bell hanging in it.
Nor was it more retentive of its ancient state, within; for entering the dreary hall, and glancing through the open doors of many rooms, they found them poorly furnished, cold, and vast.
Not a latent echo in the house, not a squeak and scuffle from the mice behind the paneling, not a drip from the half-thawed water-spout in the dull yard behind, not a sigh among the leafless boughs of one despondent poplar, not the idle swinging of an empty store-house door, no, not a clicking in the fire, but fell upon the heart of Scrooge with a softening influence, and gave a freer passage to his tears.
Suddenly a man, in foreign garments: wonderfully real and distinct to look at: stood outside the window, with an axe stuck in his belt, and leading by the bridle an ass laden with wood.
To hear Scrooge expending all the earnestness of his nature on such subjects, in a most extraordinary voice between laughing and crying; and to see his heightened and excited face; would have been a surprise to his business friends in the city, indeed.
'Bring down Master Scrooge's box, there!' and in the hall appeared the schoolmaster himself, who glared on Master Scrooge with a ferocious condescension, and threw him into a dreadful state of mind by shaking hands with him.
He then conveyed him and his sister into the veriest old well of a shivering best-parlor that ever was seen, where the maps upon the wall, and the celestial and terrestrial globes in the windows, were waxy with cold.
Although they had but that moment left the school behind them, they were now in the busy thoroughfares of a city, where shadowy passengers passed and repassed; where shadowy carts and coaches battle for the way, and all the strife and tumult of a real city were.
And when old Fezziwig and Mrs. Fezziwig had gone all through the dance; advance and retire, both hands to your partner, bow and curtsey, corkscrew, thread-the-needle, and back again to your place; Fezziwig 'cut'-cut so deftly, that he appeared to wink with his legs, and came upon his feet again without a stagger.
He corroborated everything, remembered everything, enjoyed everything, and underwent the strangest agitation.
He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil.
His face had not the harsh and rigid lines of later years; but it had begun to wear the signs of care and avarice.
Another idol has displaced me; and if it can cheer and comfort you in time to come, as I would have tried to do, I have no just cause to grieve.
But the relentless Ghost pinioned him in both his arms, and forced him to observe what happened next.
Near to the winter fire sat a beautiful young girl, so like that last that Scrooge believed it was the same, until he saw her, now a comely matron, sitting opposite her daughter.
It is enough that by degrees the children and their emotions got out of the parlor, and by one stair at a time, up to the top of the house; where they went to bed, and so subsided.

Rate this wordlist:

Do you have a comment?

Share it with the Visual Thesaurus community.

Your comments:

Sign in to post a comment!

We're sorry, you must be a subscriber to comment.

Click here to subscribe today.

Already a subscriber? Click here to login.

Create a new Word List