A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens. The very name elicits, in all of us, memories of Christmas past, if you’ll excuse the pun, and you will excuse the pun. Yes one way or another this historic piece has touched each and every one of us in some form or fashion. A Christmas Carol truly is a cultural staple, and arguably Dickens’ best work.
What few people know however is that later drafts of the piece lack an integral character Dickens himself once referred to as “the purest, most interesting character ever penned”. I have selected some excerpts from which I hope you, the reader, may glean some insight as to this great man’s true, artistic intention. I have taken the liberty of highlighting in red the passages missing in later drafts. Dear reader, I publish here, a lost draft, of, Charles Dickens’, A Christmas Carol.
Once upon a time—of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve—old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house. His secretary had just come back from lunch. Her name… was Carol
. It was cold, bleak, biting weather: foggy withal: and he could hear the people in the court outside, go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavement stones to warm them. Mostly though he heard the sound of Carol taking off her massive christmas sweater at her desk. For it was adorned with hideous stitched reindeer and elves and bells and so it rattled. It rattled much like the chains of the next character you, the reader, will meet. Oh god. That’s a huge spoiler I’ll have to remember to take this out in later drafts and also right now stop typing my thoughts stream of consciousness as I am breaking the fourth wall and had no intention of doing so. 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 neighbouring offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air. “Ew gross!” Shouted Carol in an attempt to make conversation, “Those candles flaring in the windows over there look like ruddy smears upon this palpable brown air”. The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole. (Editor’s note: Is “Chink” considered racist yet?)
“A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!” cried a cheerful voice. 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.
“Bah!” said Scrooge, “Humbug!”
“Christmas!” cried Carol, “Christmas Carol!”
And so two historic catchphrases were born. He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost, this nephew of Scrooge’s, that he was all in a glow; his face was ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkled, and his breath smoked again. Carol’s breath smoked again as well. Because she was smoking, again as well.
Ahh. Yes. Literature. Dickens’ publisher and fans of course hated the character of “Christmas Carol”. Why is she fat in a world where everyone else is starving? Cried some. Why is she clearly american? Still others cried. What exactly is her function in the office/story at all? It seems all she ever does is come in from lunch and say her name. She’s very desperate and is making us uncomfortable. Still cried even more fans and publishers. This next passage though is amongst the most controversial. As we find Carol can see Scrooge’s ghosts as well.
It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. But for this it would have been difficult to detach its figure from the night, and separate it from the darkness by which it was surrounded. He felt that it was tall and stately when it came beside him, and that its mysterious presence filled him with a solemn dread. He knew no more, for the Spirit neither spoke nor moved. Carol stood in the corner sipping loudly a large Coke.
“I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?” said Scrooge.
The Spirit answered not, but pointed onward with its hand.
“You are about to show me shadows of the things that have not happened, but will happen in the time before us,” Scrooge pursued. “Is that so, Spirit?”
“How do you know all this? He hasn’t even said anything.” Exclaimed Carol in a shrill, upsetting tone “You’re doing such great guess work. Keep it up! Christmasssss Carol!”
“Ghost of the Future!” Scrooge exclaimed, “I fear you more than any spectre I have seen. But as I know your purpose is to do me good”
“How do you know that’s his purpose?!” screeched Carol
“But as I know your purpose is to do me good” continued Scrooge. “And as I hope to live to be another man from what I was, I am prepared to bear you company, and do it with a thankful heart. Will you not speak to me?”
“Yeah! Say somethin’ ya creepy ol puss” added Carol.
It gave him no reply. Carol thrust herself toward the horrifying spectre expecting nothing less than to tear it bone from bone for being slightly rude. She clutched at the great beast’s dark hood and yanked with a surprising amount of force revealing the face of the anonymous, omniscient, spirit. The face was familiar. The face. Was hers. Scrooge looked on as not one, but two Christmas Carols stood staring at one another in the room. One in a hideous christmas sweater, the other in ancient black robes meant for traveling through time silently.
“Oh Hiiiii” Said one Christmas Carol.
“Oh Hiiii” Replied the other.
“You know it’s almost christmas?” Questioned the original Christmas Carol
“I know! Where does the time go?!? I feel like it was just thanksgiving.” Remarked the Spectre Christmas Carol. The Carols of course cackled.
“How’s Bill?” Said one.
“Haven’t seen him in ages.” quipped the other.
The next fifty pages of this particular draft are a continuation of this conversation between the two Christmas Carols in which they mostly ask how “Bill” is doing. Rest assured, even in this draft. There is no “Bill”. To this day scholars wonder who the Carols are referring to. At one point Scrooge tries to interject but Carol tells him to “go buy a turkey and shove it up his ass”. Again, a massive spoiler for those of you who know the ending of the novel. Speaking of, let’s turn now finally to that historic, final passage, as it is written in this draft.
Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. Followed only by Christmas Carol, Tiny Tim’s “first father”. For of course Bob Cratchit had been killed by her hand. Scrooge became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, and those people were huge dicks because who the hell would laugh at such a clearly positive transformation? Dicks. That’s who. So he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. Ugly. Blind. Laughing. Dicks. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.
He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but MUCH intercourse with BOTH christmas Carols. And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas Carol well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed of his new fathers, God bless Us, Christmas Carol!
And there you have it. Now that I, in a bout of heroism, have released this manuscript to the public, history may decide which version of this work will truly stand the test of time as art. And so if you enjoy this version and wish for it to stand victorious on the other side of this century, then I implore you. Share this post on the last great, truly empirical registrar and bastion of historical significance in our society: Facebook.