Autograph manuscript signed, December 1843
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan before 1900
Compelled by personal financial difficulties, Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in only six weeks, during a period of intense creativity in fall 1843. The original manuscript of A Christmas Carol reveals Dickens's method of composition, allowing us to see the author at work. The pace of writing and revision, apparently contiguous, is urgent, rapid, and boldly confident. Deleted text is struck out with a cursive and continuous looping movement of the pen and replaced with more active verbs—to achieve greater vividness or immediacy of effect— and fewer words for concision. This heavily revised sixty-six-page draft—the only manuscript of the story—was sent to the printer in order for the book to be published on 19 December, just in time for the Christmas market.
"In words—no. Never."
"In what, then?"
"In a changed nature; in an altered spirit; in another atmosphere of life; another Hope as its great end. In everything that made my love of any worth or value in your sight. If this had never been between us," said the girl, looking mildly, but with steadiness, upon him; "tell me, would you seek me out and try to win me now? Ah, no!"
He seemed to yield to the justice of this supposition, in spite of himself. But he said, with a struggle, "You think not."
"How gladly I would think otherwise if I could," she answered, "Heaven and my own soul decide! When I have learned a Truth like this, I know how strong and irresistible it must be. If you were free today, tomorrow, yesterday, can even I believe that you would choose a dowerless orphan girl—you, who in your very confidence with her, weigh everything by Gain; or choosing her, if for a moment you were false enough to your one guiding principle to do so, do I not know that your repentance and regret would surely follow! I do; and I release you—with a full heart, for the love of him you once were."
He was about to speak; but with her head turned from him, she resumed.
"You may—the memory of what is past half makes me hope you will—have pain in this. A very, very brief time, and you will dismiss the recollection of it, gladly, as an unprofitable dream, from which it happened well that you awoke. May you be happy in the life you have chosen!"
She left him; and they parted.
"Spirit!" said Scrooge, "Shew me no more! Conduct me home. Why do you delight to torture me?"
"One shadow more!" exclaimed the Ghost.
"No more!" cried Scrooge. "No more. I don't wish to see it. Shew me no more!" And as he spoke he pressed his hands against his head, and stamped upon the ground.
But the relentess Ghost pinioned him in both his arms, and forced him to observe what happened next.
They were in another scene and place: a room; not very large or handsome, but full of comfort. Near to the winter fire, sat a beautiful young girl, so like the last that Scrooge believed it was the same until he saw her, now a comely matron, sitting opposite her daughter. The noise in this room was perfectly tumultuous, for there were more children there, than Scrooge in his agitated state of mind could
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