December 23, 2012
WHEN the Ghost of Christmas Past appears to the hard-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge on the night of Christmas Eve and takes him on a journey back in time, one of the episodes of Scrooge’s past that they revisit is a party at the warehouse of Scrooge’s former employer, Mr. Fezziwig.
The scene has been played countless times in countless remakes and adaptations of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. But in all these interpretations, Mr. Fezziwig remains fundamentally the same.
The Industrial Revolution is transforming London into an impersonal, Scrooge-like city. Fezziwig stands for another world. He is the paternal employer who treats his workers like extended family. His warehouse on Christmas Eve is transformed into a festive ballroom, with the good cheer and generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig presiding over all. Mrs. Fezziwig is “one vast substantial smile.” When Fezziwig dances “a positive light appear[s] to issue” from his calves.
Mr. Fezziwig is everything Scrooge is not.
Here is the scene from Stave Two of The Christmas Carol: