|“And how did little Tim behave?” asked Mrs. Cratchit. - “As good as gold,” said Bob, “and better!"|
|“Hurrah! Come in!” cried the two young Cratchits, who were everywhere at once.|
|Then ...oh, a wonderful pudding! Bob Cratchit said, and calmly too, that he regarded it as the greatest success achieved by Mrs. Cratchit since their marriage.|
|It was succeeded by a breathless pause ...|
|... as Mrs. Cratchit, looking slowly all along the carving-knife, prepared to plunge it in the pudding; but when she did, one murmur of delight arose all round the board...|
|“A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God bless us!”
Which all the family re-echoed.
“God bless us every one!” said Tiny Tim, the last of all.
“tell me if Tiny Tim will live.” - “I see a vacant seat,” replied the Ghost, “in the poor chimney-corner, and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die.”
“No, no,” said Scrooge. “Oh, no, kind Spirit! say he will be spared.”
“If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, none other of my race,”
returned the Ghost, “will find him here. What then? If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”
Scrooge hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit, and was overcome with penitence and grief.
“Man,” said the Ghost, “if man you be in heart, not adamant, forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered What the surplus is, and Where it is. Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child!”
Many thanks to Charles Dickens, who -as everybody knows - is the author of the original "Ghost Story of Christmas":