The Thinking 
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December 23, 2012


Wood engraving by Sol Eytinge from "A Christmas Carol in Prose: being a ghost story of Christmas", publisher: Ticknor and Fields (Boston), 1869, Diamond Edition.

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:

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