I read Stave 2 of A Christmas Carol in one sitting because I just could not put it down. It covers Scrooge’s visit by the first spirit. I once again loved Dickens’ writing style, and he was able to capture Scrooge’s emotions beautifully. I really loved Scrooge’s confusion when he first wakes up and then hears the clock going off. And what I really, really loved was getting a glimpse into hard, mean Scrooge’s past, when he was a nice, joyful child and young man who enjoyed Christmas and being with friends and family. With each glimpse of Christmases past, we see how Scrooge is slowly sinking into his greed and isolation. I think I’m with Sheery in feeling that losing his Belle, the woman he loved, was probably one of the last straws before he became who he is in the present story. It’s sort of like losing his good friend in life, he lost all connection with the outside world and lost himself in his greed.
One of my favorite passages is when the first spirit shows him his last encounter with Belle:
“Our contract is an old one. It was made when we were both poor and content to be so, until, in good season, we could improve our worldly fortune by our patient industry. You are changed. When it was made, you were another man.”
“I was a boy,” he said impatiently.
“Your own feeling tells you that you were not what you are,” she returned. “I am. That which promised happiness when we were one in heart, is fraught with misery now that we are two. How often and how keenly I have thought of this, I will not say. It is enough that I have thought of it, and can release you.”
“Have I ever sought release?”
“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….”
I never would have thought that Dickens could write such heart-wrenching words. As I read this, I could really feel what Scrooge’s poor fiancee was going through, giving up the man she once loved and had hoped to have a long and happy life with. (Mind you, I’m sometimes a sucker for a good sappy and heart-breaking love story..)
I’ll be posting my thoughts on Stave 3 later this week 🙂 For more info on the read-a-long, or to read what others have to say about A Christmas Carol, stop by Sheery’s blog.