“A Christmas Carol” Quotes

“A Christmas Carol,” 1951, Alastair Sim, (The only version worthwhile)

films-1951-scrooge

 Spirit of Christmas Present: says, My time with you is at an end, Ebenezer Scrooge. Will you profit from what I’ve shown you of the good in most men’s hearts?

Ebenezer: I don’t know, how can I promise!

Spirit of Christmas Present: If it’s too hard a lesson for you to learn, then learn this lesson!

[opens his robe, revealing two starving children]

Ebenezer: [shocked] Spirit, are these yours?

Spirit of Christmas Present: They are Man’s. This boy is Ignorance, this girl is Want. Beware them both, but most of all, beware this boy!

Ebenezer: But have they no refuge, no resource?

Spirit of Christmas Present: To quote you, “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”

First Collector: At this festive time of year, Mr. Scrooge, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute.

Ebenezer: Are there no prisons?

First Collector: Plenty of prisons.

Ebenezer: And the union workhouses – are they still in operation?

First Collector: They are. I wish I could say they were not.

Ebenezer: Oh, from what you said at first I was afraid that something had happened to stop them in their useful course. I’m very glad to hear it.

First Collector: I don’t think you quite understand us, sir. A few of us are endeavoring to buy the poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth.

Ebenezer: Why?

First Collector: Because it is at Christmastime that want is most keenly felt, and abundance rejoices. Now what can I put you down for?

Ebenezer: Huh! Nothing!

Second Collector: So, that’s fine, you wish to be anonymous?

Ebenezer: [firmly, but calmly] I wish to be left alone. Since you ask me what I wish sir, that is my answer. I help to support the establishments I have named; those who are badly off must go there.

First Collector: Many can’t go there.

Second Collector: And some would rather die.

(My second favorite quote from the movie:)

Scrooge: “Is that you Marley or you may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”

Marley: I wear the chain I forged in life! I made it link by link and yard by yard! I gartered it on of my own free will and by my own free will, I wore it!

Ebenezer: But it was only that you were an honest man of business!

Jacob Marley: BUSINESS? Mankind was my business! Their common welfare was my business! Ah! You do not know the weight and length of the strong chain you bear yourself! It was as full and as long as this seven Christmas eves ago and you have labored on it since. Ah, it is a ponderous chain!

Spirit of Christmas Past: Your sister, Scrooge, was always a delicate creature, of whom a breath might have withered, but she had a large heart.

Ebenezer: My sister, indeed, had a loving heart.

Spirit of Christmas Past: She dies a married woman and had, I think, children.

Ebenezer: One child.

Spirit of Christmas Past: It’s your nephew, I believe.

Ebenezer: She died giving him life.

Spirit of Christmas Past: As your mother died giving you life, for which your father never forgave you, as if you were to blame for her death.

Ebenezer: [to the Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come] Am I standing in the presence of the Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come? And you’re going to show me the shadows of things that have not yet happened but will happen? Spirit of the Future, I fear you more than any spectre I have met tonight! But even in my fear, I must say that I am too old! I cannot change! I cannot! It’s not that I’m impenitent, it’s just… Wouldn’t it be better if I just went home to bed? No? Well, very well. Lead on.

(To his nephew’s wife,) “Can you forgive a pig-headed old fool with no eyes to see with and no ears to hear with all these years?”

(To Bob Crachet in the office on the day after Christmas late as usual:) “Well, my friend, I’m not going to beat around the bush. I’m simply not going to stand this sort of thing any longer. Which leaves me no choice…but to raise your salary.”

[starts laughing hysterically]

Ebenezer: You’ll want the whole day off tomorrow, I suppose.

Bob Cratchit: If quite convenient, sir.

(My favorite quote from the movie:)

Ebenezer: It’s not convenient. And it’s not fair! If I stopped you half a crown for it, you’d think yourself ill used, wouldn’t you? But you don’t think me ill used if I pay a full day’s wages for no work, hmm?

Bob Cratchit: ‘Tis only once a year, sir.

Ebenezer: That’s a poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every 25th of December.

Bob Cratchit: Yes, sir. I’m sure…I’m very sorry, sir, to cause you such an inconvenience. It’s the family more than me, sir. They put their hearts into Christmas as it were, sir.

Ebenezer: Yes, and put their hands into my pockets as it were, sir. I suppose you’d better have the whole day. But be back all the earlier the next morning.

Bob Cratchit: I will indeed, sir. Thank you, sir! It’s more than generous of you, sir.

Ebenezer: Yes, I know it is, you don’t have to tell me.

(That’s why we have unions)

Ebenezer: [grumpily] I don’t deserve to be so happy.

[starts laughing uncontrollably again]

Ebenezer: I can’t help it!

Housekeeper: “Merry Christmas, Mr. Scrooge! In keeping with the situation!”

To the ghost of Christmas Past: Ebenezer: What is your business here?

Spirit of Christmas Past: Your welfare.

Ebenezer: My welfare?

Spirit of Christmas Past: Your reclamation, then. Take heed, rise, and walk with me.

Spirit of Christmas Past: And as your business prospered, Ebenezer Scrooge, a golden idol took possession of your heart.

Ebenezer: What do you want with me?

Jacob Marley: Much.

Jacob Marley: It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow men! If it goes not 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 turned to happiness! In life, my spirit never rose beyond the limits of our money-changing holes! Now I am doomed to wander without rest or peace, incessant torture and remorse!

Ebenezer: But it was only that you were a good man of business, Jacob!

Jacob Marley: BUSINESS? Mankind was my business! Their common welfare was my business! And it is at this time of the rolling year that I suffer most!

Ebenezer: to his housekeeper, [Giggling] No. Mrs. Dilber – I’m not mad. I want to raise your salary from 2 shillings a week to 16.

Housekeeper: Do you want to see a doctor?

Ebenezer: A doctor? Certainly not, nor the undertaker!

Ebenezer: I’ll send this turkey to Bob Cratchit, and he shan’t know who sent it. It’s twice the size of Tiny Tim!

Ebenezer: (Here’s the essence of religion and belief…somber voice:) “I don’t know anything, I never did know anything, but now I know that I don’t know, all on a Christmas morning.”

Ebenezer: Go, and redeem some other promising young creature, but leave me to keep Christmas in my own way.

Tiny Tim: God bless us, every one!

Ebenezer: I don’t deserve to be so happy.

Ebenezer: But I can’t help it.

Ebenezer: I-I I just can’t help it.

Ebenezer: Shall I stand on my head? I must stand on my head.

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About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. He is associate pastor of partnering parishes, Christ King and St. Bernard parishes in Wauwatosa, WI.
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