The Right to Be Happy (1916)
- Summaries (1)
Scrooge was a "grouch," the greatest the world of literature has ever known. His former partner, Jacob Marley, had been dead more than seven years when the eventful Christmas Eve closed in on London. So imbued had Scrooge become with greed for money that his world, his sun, moon and stars were represented in bank notes and the securities he dealt in. He had not given Marley a thought since the day he buried him, and Scrooge celebrated that day by driving the best of business bargains. On this Christmas Eve Bob Cratchit, his faithful clerk, had been sent home with a gruff word instead of a "Merry Christmas" and had been told because he was to have the day off he must come to work extra early on the following morning. Scrooge's nephew had made his accustomed call to ask the old "grouch" to dine with him; and Scrooge had been his usual surly self in refusing. Kind-hearted collectors for charity had called, and Scrooge had turned them away with a snarl. There was no Christmas spirit, so far as Scrooge was concerned, and in his accustomed mood of "grouchiness" he ate his lonely meal and went to his lodgings, embittered, morose and decidedly "anti-Christmas" in spirits. In lodgings so cold that anybody but Scrooge would freeze, the old "grouch" prepared to spend the night. He was so miserly that he would not burn coal or use candles to dispel the gloom. Outside the cold was growing more intense; the merry voices of young and old picking up Christmas cheer and passing glad tidings in friendly salutations, grated on Scrooge's ears and made him hate more bitterly the world and everybody in it. Suddenly Scrooge is aroused by the clanking of chains and footfalls on the stairs, and before he realized what was transpiring the ghost of Jacob Marley was standing at Scrooge's elbow. The subsequent events transpired through the visits of three ghostly messengers: Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future. These apparitions led Scrooge through his childhood, youth and manhood; recalled in vivid reality the varying phases of his career, and Christmas Future shows him what he may expect, under conditions that involve his change of heart and attitude toward mankind. When Scrooge awakens we see his change of heart, exemplified in wondrous ways; behold him as the kindly man, bubbling over with the Christmas spirit; see him transfigured, a lovable and kindly old man, solely bent upon making up in charitable and humane deeds for the wasted years of his ill-spent life.
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