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Looking to make a change, ready to make the move to electric? Did you know you can save up to €2,500 across the electric range at Frank Keen MG? Choose from the fully electric MG ZS SUV, MG 4 hatchback, and the MG 5 estate. But don't delay, this offer is available for a limited time only. Go to frankkeenmg. Ie and book your test drive today, or visit our showrooms in Ballymount, Dublin 22. Terms and conditions apply. Visit frankkeenmg. Ie for more information. He may just be the meanest Christmas villain of all time. A man who counts his money while children starve, who mocks the sick and begruges his most loyal friends even the tiniest bit of happiness. Oh, yes, he's the OG of bad guys. All right. Dorothy vapor, the Grinch, Baltimore, all rolled into one evil lump of a man. Now, but just you wait. This nasty piece of work will get his comeuppance in the most unexpected and satisfying way. I'm speaking, of course, of Ebenezer-Scrooge. I'm Keith Morrison, and this is Season 2 of Morrison mysteries. Our story is set in the 1840s, London, England. It's winter, cold, and bleak, but it's Christmas Eve.


The warmth and joy of the season of giving permeate the gray fog of the city in all places but one, the tiny shriveled heart of Ebenezer-Scrooge. As we begin, Scrooge is sitting in his office, barking orders at his kindhearted clerk, Bob Cratchett, who's only hoping to have Christmas off to spend time with his family, especially his desperately ill son, Tiny Tim. But Lowe's and Scrooge doesn't give a thought to any of that. No. Cratchett's family means nothing to Scrooge, and Christmas? A passing annoyance. A waste of valuable time. Yes, and meanness, Scrooge was second to none, except just possibly to his old business partner, the greedy Jacob Marley, who pinched his last penny and died seven years before the Christmas Eve of our story. In fact, it's thoughts of Marley that begin Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Marley was dead to begin with. There was no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, the chief mourner, Scrooge signed it, and Scrooge's name was good for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a doorknale. Scrooge and he were partners for I don't know how many years.


Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assigned, his sole friend, and his sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event. Scrooge never painted out old Marley's name. There it stood years afterwards, above the warehouse door, Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge and sometimes Marley. But he answered to both names. It was all the same to him. Oh, but he was a tight fisted hand to the grindstone, Scrooge. A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, courting, covetous old sinner, hard and sharp as flint, secret and self-contained and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gate, made his eyes red, his thin lips blue, and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say with glad some looks, My dear Scrooge, how are you? When will you come to see me? No begars implored him to bestow a trifle. No children asked him what it was o'clock. No man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place of Scrooge.


But what did Scrooge care? It was the very thing he liked to edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance. Once upon the time of all the good days of the year on Christmas Eve, old Scrooge sat busy in his counting house. It was cold, bleak, biting weather, fogy, and he could hear the people in the court outside go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts and stabbing their feet upon the pavement stones to warm them. The city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already, and were flowering in the windows of the neighboring offices like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air. The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense that although the court was the narrowest, the houses opposite were mere phantoms. The door of Scrooge's counting house was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond was copying letters. Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk's fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal. But he couldn't replenish it for Scrooge kept the coal box in his own room.


Therefore, the clerk put on his white comforter and tried to warm himself at the candle, in which effort, not being a man of strong imagination, he failed. 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. He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost, this nephew of Scrooge's, that he was all aglow. His face was ruddy and handsome. His eyes sparkled. Christmas a humbug, Uncle, said Scrooge's nephew. You don't mean that, I'm sure. I do, said Scrooge. Merry Christmas? What right of you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You're poor enough. Come, then, returned the nephew galy. What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You're rich enough. Scrooge, having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said, Bah, again, and followed it up with a bug. Don't be cross, uncle, said the nephew. What else can I be? Returned the uncle, When I live in such a world of fools as this.


Merry Christmas? Out with merry Christmas. What's Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money? A time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer. If I could work my will, said Scrooge indignately, every idiot who goes about with Merry Christmas on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a steak of holly through his heart. He should. Uncle pleaded the nephew. Nephew, returned the uncle sternly. Keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mind. But I have always thought of Christmas, said the nephew, as a good time. A kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time. The only time I know of in the long calendar of the year when men and women seemed, by one, consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, to think of people below them as if they really were a fellow passenger to the grave and not just another race of creatures bound on other journeys. Therefore, Uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe it's done me good and will do me good, and I say God bless it.


The clerk involuntarily applauded, and then becoming immediately sensible of the impropriety, he poked the fire and extinguished the last frail spark forever. Let me hear another sound from you, said Scrooge, and you'll keep your Christmas by losing your situation. Don't be angry, Uncle. Come dine with us tomorrow, said the nephew. Why did you get married? Said Scrooge. Because I fell in love. Because you fell in love? Growled Scrooge as if that were the only one thing in the world more ridiculous than a merry Christmas. Good afternoon! Nay, Uncle, but you never came to see me before that happened. Why give it as a reason for not coming now? Good afternoon! Said Scrooge. I want nothing from you. I asked nothing of you. Why can't we be friends? Good afternoon, said Scrooge. I am sorry with all my heart to find you so resolute. We've never had any quarrel, to which I've been a party. But I've made the trial an homage to Christmas, and I'll keep my Christmas humor to the last. So a merry Christmas, Uncle. Good afternoon, said Scrooge. And a happy New Year. Good afternoon, said Scrooge. His nephew left the room without an angry word, notwithstanding.


He stopped at the outer door to bestow the greetings of the seasoned on the clerk, who, cold as he was, was warmer than Scrooge, for he returned them cordially. There's another fellow, muttered Scrooge, who overheard him. My clerk was 15 shillings a week and a wife and family talking about a merry Christmas. The clerk, in letting Scrooge's nephew out, had let two other people in. They were porkly gentlemen, pleasant to behold, and now stood with their hats off in Scrooge's office. They had books and papers in their hands, and they bowed to him. Scrooge and Marley's, I believe, said one of the gentlemen, referring to his list, Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Scrooge or Mr. Marley? Mr. Marley has been dead these seven years, Scrooge replied. He died seven years ago this very night. At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge, said the gentleman, taking up a pen, It is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and the destitute who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessities. Hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.


Are there no prisons? Asked Scrooge. Plenty of prisons, said the gentleman laying down the pen again. Then the union work houses? Demanded Scrooge. Are they still in operation? They are still, returned the gentleman. I wish I could say they were not. A few of us are endeavoring to raise a fund to buy the poor some meat and drink and means of warmth. We choose this time because it's a time of all others when want is keenly felt and abundance rejoices. We're What shall I put you down for? Nothing, Scrooge applied. You wish to be anonymous? I wish to be left alone, said Scrooge. Since you asked me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make myself marry at Christmas, and I can't afford to make idol people marry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned, and they cost enough. Those who are badly off must go there. Well, many can't go there, and many would rather die. If they would rather die, said Scrooge, they better do it and decrease the surplus population. It's not my business. It's enough for a man to understand his own business. And not to interfere with other peoples.


Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, gentlemen. Seeing clearly that it would be useless to pursue their point, the gentleman withdrew. Meanwhile, the fog and darkness thickened. The cold became intense, piercing, searching, biting cold. The owner of one cold young nose stoop down at Scrooge's keyhole to regale him with a Christmas carol. With a diverse sound of, God bless you, merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay. Scrooge seized the ruler with such an energy of action that the singer fled in terror, leaving the keyhole to the fog and the frost. At length, the hour of shutting up the counting house arrived. With an ill will, Scrooge dismanted from his stool and tacitly admitted the fact to the expectant clerk, who instantly snuffed his candle out and put on his hat. You want all day tomorrow, I suppose, said Scrooge. If quite convenient, sir. It's not convenient, said Scrooge, and it's not fair. If I was to stop half a crown for it, you'd think yourself ill-used, I'll be bound. The clerk smiled faintly, And yet? Said Scrooge, You don't think me ill-used when I pay a day's wages for no work? The clerk observed that that was only once a year.


A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every 25th of December, says Scrooge, buttoning his great coat to the chin. But I suppose you must have the whole day. Be here all the earlier the next morning. The clerk promised that he would, and Scrooge walked out with a growl. And so kindly, Bob Cratchett has been given Christmas Day off and rushes home to be with his family. Scrooge is also on his way home, miserable as ever. But if he thinks Christmas has made him unhappy, well, he has no idea. Hi, it's Alex Baskin, and I've been executive producing some of your favorite Bravo shows for over 15 years, including Vanderpamp Rules, The Real Houseweds of Beverly Hills, The Real Houseweds of Orange County, and many more. But my next project is going behind the scenes of what it really takes to make those shows and others. I'm joined by Bravo Talent, executives, and other people in the know to give you the stories that you only think you know. It's called Bravo's Hot Mike. Sign up at bravoTV. Com/podcast. Hey, guys, Willy Geist here reminding you to check out the Sunday Sitdown podcast. On this week's episode, I get together with four-time Oscar nominee Willem de Vo to talk about his latest film, Poor Things, the stunning, fantastical movie that has Hollywood talking and a long career that ranges from Platoon to Spiderman.


You can get our conversation now for free wherever you download your podcasts. Scrooge took his melancholy dinner in his usual melancholy tavern. And having read all the newspapers and beguiled the rest of the evening with his banker's book, went home to bed. He lived in Chambers, which had once belonged to his deceased partner. They were a gloomy suite of rooms and a lowering pile of building up a yard where it had so little business to be that one could scarcely help fencing it must have run there when it was a young house playing hide and seek with other houses and forgotten the way out again. It was old enough now and drury enough, but nobody lived in it but Scrooge. The yard was so dark that even Scrooge, who knew it's every stone, was fanned agrope with his hands. The fog and frost so hung about the black old gateway of the house that it seemed as if the genius of the weather sat in mournful meditation on the threshold. Now, it's a fact that there was nothing at all particular about the knocker on the door, except that it was very large. It's also a fact that Scrooge had seen it night and morning during his whole residency in that place.


Let it also be borne in mind that Scrooge had not bestowed one thought on Marley since his last mention of his seven years dead partner that afternoon. And then let any man explain to me, if he can, how it happened that Scrooge, having his key in the lock of the door, saw in the knocker without its undergoing any intermediate process of change. Not a knocker, but Marley's face. It was not an impenetrable shadow as the other objects in the art were but had a dismal light about it. It was not angry or ferocious, but looked at Scrooge as Marley used to look with ghostly spectacles turned up on its ghostly forehead. The hair was curiously stirred, as if by breath or hot hair. And though the eyes were wide open, they were perfectly motionless. That and its livid color made it horrible. As Scrooge looked fixedly at this phenomenon, it was a knocker again. To say that he was not startled or that his blood was not conscious of a terrible sensation would be untrue. But he put his hand upon the key he had relinquished, turned it sturtily, walked in, and lighted his candle.


He did pause for the moment's irresolution before he shut the door. And he did look cautiously behind at first, as if he have expected to be terrified with the sight of Marley's piggtail sticking out into the hall. But there was nothing on the back of the door except the screws and nuts that held the knocker on. So he said, Poo-po. And closed it with a bang. The sound resounded through the house by thunder. But Scrooge was not a man to be frightened by echoes. He fastened the door and walked across the hall and up the stairs, slowly too, trimming his candle as he went. Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it. But he walked through his rooms to see that all was right. He had just enough recollection of the face to desire to do that. Sitting room, bedroom, lumber room, all as they should be. Nobody under the table, nobody under the sofa. A small fire in the gate, spoon and basin ready, and the little saucepan of gruel upon the stove. Nobody under the bed, nobody in the closet, nobody in his dressing gown, which was hanging up in a suspicious attitude against the wall.


Quite satisfied, he closed his door and locked himself in, double-locked himself in, which was not his custom. Thus secured against surprise, he took off his cravet, put on his dressing gown and slippers and his nightcap, and sat down before the fire to take his rule. It was a very low fire indeed, nothing on such a bitter night. He was obliged to sit close to it and brewed over it before he could extract the least sensation of warmth from such a handful of fuel. The fireplace was an old one, built by some Dutch merchant long ago, and paved all the way around with quaint Dutch tiles designed to illustrate the scriptures. There were Caines and Abels and Pharaoh's daughters, queens of Sheba, hundreds of figures to attract his thoughts. Yet that face of Marley, seven years dead, came like the ancient prophets wrought and swallowed up the whole, 'Bumbug, ' said Scrooge, and walked across the room. After several turns, he sat down again. As he threw his head back in the chair, his glance happened to rest upon a bell, a disused bell that hung in the room. It was with great astonishment now and with a strange, inexplicable dread that as he looked, he saw this bell begin to swing.


It swung so softly in the outset that it scarcely made a sound. But soon it rang out loudly, and so did every bell in the house. This might have lasted half a minute or a minute, but it seemed an hour. The bells ceased as they had begun. Together, they were succeeded by a clanking noise deep down below, as if some person were dragging a heavy chain. The cellar door flew open with a booming sound, and then he heard the noise much louder on the floors below, then coming up the stairs, then coming straight toward his door. It's humbug still, says Scrooge. I won't believe it. His color changed, though. When, without a pause, it came on through the heavy door. And passed into the room before his eyes. Upon its coming in, the dying flame leaped up as though it cried, I know him, Marley's Ghost, and fell again. The same face, the very same. Marley in his piggetail, waistcoat, tights, and boots. The chain he drew was clashed about his middle. It was long and wound about him like a tail, and it was made, for Scrooge observed it closely of cash boxes, keys, paddlocks, ledgers, Ds, and heavy purses, rot, and steel.


His body was transparent, so that Scrooge, observing him and looking through his waistcoat could see the two buttons on his coat behind. Though he looked the phantom through and through and saw it standing before him, though he felt the chilling influence of its death-cold eyes, he was still incredibly and fought against his senses. How now, said Scrooge, caustic and cold as ever, what do you want with me? Much, Marlene. Marley's voice, no doubt about it. Who are you? Ask me who I was. Who were you then? Said Scrooge, raising his voice. In life, I was your partner, Jacob Marley. Christmas Eve, and Debeneath or Scrooge is face to face with the ghost of his old partner, Jacob Marley. The ghost is weighed down with the paraphernalia of their greedy money lending business, old ledgers and money boxes and padlocks and keys. In life, Marley had been every bit as cheap and nasty as Scrooge. What could he want now? In death? Oh, no. Our story continues. Can you sit down? Asked Scrooge, looking doubtfully at him. I can. Do it then. Scrooge asked the question because he didn't know whether a ghost so transparent might find himself in a condition to take a chair and felt that in the event of its being impossible, it might involve the necessity of an embarrassing explain.


I'm not a nation. But the ghost sat down on the opposite side of the fireplace as if he was quite used to it. You don't believe in me, observed the ghost. I don't, said Scrooge. What evidence would you have of my reality beyond that of your senses? I don't know, said Scrooge. Why do you doubt your senses? Because, said Scrooge, a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheat. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, or a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are. Scrooge was not much in the habit of cracking jokes, nor did he feel in his heart by any means waggish then. The truth is that he tried to be smart as a means of distracting his own attention and keeping down his terror. The ghost's voice disturbed the very marrow of his bones. To sit, staring at those fixed, glazed eyes, in silence for a moment, would play Scrooge felt the very loose with him. There was something very awful, too, in the specters being provided with an infernal atmosphere of its own.


Scrooge could not feel it himself, but this was clearly the case, for though the ghost sat perfectly motionless, its hair and skirts and tassels were all still agitated, as if by the hot labor from an oven. Do you see this toothpick? Said Scrooge, returning quickly to the charge for the reason just assigned and wishing, though it were only for a second to divert the vision stony gaze from himself. I do, replied the ghost. You're not looking at it, said Scrooge, but I see it, said the ghost, notwithstanding. Well, returned Scrooge, I have to but swallow this and be for the rest of my days, persecuted by a legion of goblins, all of my own creation. Humbug, I tell you. Humbug. The spirit raised a frightful cry and shook its chain with such a dismal and appalling noise that Scrooge held on tight to his chair to save himself from falling in a swoon. But how much greater was his horror? When the phantom taking off the bandage round its head as if it were too warm to wear indoors as its lower jaw dropped down upon its breast. Scrooge fell upon his knees and clasped his hands before his face.


Mercy, he said. Dreadful appearance. Why do you trouble me? Man of the worldly mind, replied the ghost, Do you believe in me or not? I do, said Scrooge. I must. But why do spirits walk the earth and why do they come to me? It is required of every man, the ghost returned, that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow men and travel far and wide. And if that spirit does not go forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world. Oh, woe is me, and witness what it cannot share but might have shared on earth and turn to happiness. Again, the specter raised a cry and shook its chain and wrung its shadowy hands. You are Federn, said Scrooge, tumbling. Tell me why. I wear the chain I forged in life, the gladly ghost. I made it, link by link and yard by yard. I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will, I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you? Scrooge trembled more and more. Or would you know, pursued the ghost, the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself?


It was full, as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas eaves ago, you have labored on it since it's a ponderous chain. Scrooge glanced about him on the floor in the expectation of finding himself surrounded by some 50 or 60 fathoms of iron cable, but he could see nothing. 'Jacob, ' he said imploringly, 'Oh, Jacob, Marley. Tell me more. Speak comfort to me, Jacob. I have none to give, the ghost replied. I cannot rest. I cannot stay. I cannot linger anywhere. My spirit never walked beyond our counting house. Spark me. In my life, my spirit never roved beyond the narrow limits of our money-changing whole, and weary journeys lie before me. It was a habit with Scrooge, whenever he became thoughtful to put his hands in his pants pockets, wondering on what the ghost had said. He did so now, but without lifting up his eyes or getting off his knees. You must have been very slow about it, Jacob. Scrooge observed in a business-like manner, though with humility and deference. Slow, the ghost repeated. Seven years dead, used Scrooge, and traveling all the time. The whole time, said the ghost. No rest, no peace, incessant torture of remorse.


Oh, captive-bound and double-ironed, cried the phantom. No space of regret can make amends for one's lives opportunity, misused. Yet such was I. Oh, such was I. But you were always a good man of business, Jacob, faltered Scrooge. Who now began to apply this to himself. Business, cried the ghost, wringing his hands again, mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business. Charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business. It held up its chain at arm's length as if that were the cause of all its unavailing grief, and flung it heavily upon the ground again. At this time of the rolling year, the ghost said, I suffer most. Why did I walk through crowds of fellow beings with my eyes turned down and never raised them to that blessed star, which led the wise men to a poor abode? Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me? Scrooge was very much dismayed to hear the specter going on at this rate and began to quake exceedingly. Hear me, cried the ghost.


My time is nearly gone. I will, said Scrooge, but don't be hard upon me. Don't be flowery, Jacob, pray. How is it that I appear before you in a shape you can see? I may not tell. I have sat invisible beside you many and many a day. It was not an agreeable idea. Scrooge shivered and wiped the perspiration from his brow. I am here tonight to warn you that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate. A chance and hope of my procuring, Ebenezer. You were always a good friend to me, says Scrooge. Thank you. You will be haunted, presumed the ghost, by three spirits. Scrooge's countenance fell almost as low as the ghosts had done. Is that the chance and hope you mentioned, Jacob? He demanded in a faltering voice. It is. I think I'd rather not, said Scrooge. Without their visit, said the ghost, You cannot hope to shun the path I tread. Expect the first tomorrow, when the bell toes one. Couldn't I take them all at once and have it over, Jacob? He did, Scrooge. They expect the second on the next night at the same hour. The third upon the next night, when the last stroke of 12 has ceased to vibrate, Look to see me no more, and look that, for your own sake, you remember what has passed between us.


When it had said these words, the specter took its wrapper from the table and bound it round its head as before. Scrooge knew this by the smart sound its teeth made and the jaws were brought together by the bandage. He ventured to raise his eyes again. And found his supernatural visitor confronting him in an erect attitude with its chain wound over and about its arm. The operation walked backward from him, and at every step it took, the window raised itself a little so that when the ghost reached it, it was wide open. It beckened screws to approach, which he did. When they were within two paces of each other, Marley's ghost held up its hand, warning him to come no nearer. Scrooge stopped, not so much in obedience as in surprise and fear. For on the raising of the hand, he became sensible of confused noises in the air, incoherent sounds of lamentation and regret, wailing, inexressively, sorrowful, and self-accusatory. The specter, after listening for a moment, joined in the warmful dirge and floated out upon the bleak dark night. Scrooge followed to the window. Desperate in his curiosity, he looked out. The air was filled with phantoms wandering hither and thither in restless haste and moaning as they went.


Every one of them wore chains like Marley's Ghost. Some few, they might be guilty governments, were linked together. None were free. Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives. He had been quite familiar with one old ghost in a white waistcoat with a monstrous iron safe attached to his ankle who cried at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant whom it saw below upon a doorstep. The misery with them all was clearly that they sought to interfere for good in human matters and had lost the power forever. Whether these creatures faded into mist or mist enshrouded them, he could not tell. But they and their spirit voices faded together, and the night became as it had been when he walked home. Scrooge closed the window and examined the door by which the ghost had entered. It was double-locked, as he had locked it with his own hands, and the bolts were undisturbed. He tried to say, A bug, but stopped at the first syllabus. And being from the emotion he had undergone, or the fatigues of the day, or his glimpse of the invisible world or the dull conversation of the ghost, or the lateness of the hour, much in need of repose, he went straight to bed without undressing and fell asleep upon the instant.


Exhausted by his ghostly encounter, Scrooge has collapsed into bed. He'll need his rest because the most stubbornly mean man in all of London is about to take a journey to a terrible place, his own life. To follow that journey and hear the rest of A Christmas Carol, just search, Morris and mystery wherever you get your podcasts. And thank you for listening.