A Christmas Carol: Stave One.
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, in a lowering pile of building up a yard, where it had so little business to be, that one could scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house, playing at hide-and-seek with other houses, and have forgotten the way out again. It was old enough now, and dreary enough, for nobody lived in it but Scrooge, the other rooms being all let out as offices. The yard was so dark that even Scrooge, who knew its every stone, was fain to grope 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 is a fact, that there was nothing at all particular about the knocker on the door, except that it was very large. It is also a fact, that Scrooge had seen it, night and morning, during his whole residence in that place; also that Scrooge had as little of what is called fancy about him as any man in the City of London, even including — which is a bold word — the corporation, aldermen, and livery. Let it also be borne in mind that Scrooge had not bestowed one thought on Marley, since his last mention of his seven-year’s 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.
Marley’s face. It was not in impenetrable shadow as the other objects in the yard were, but had a dismal light about it, like a bad lobster in a dark cellar. It was not angry or ferocious, but looked at Scrooge as Marley used to look: with ghostly spectacles turned up upon its ghostly forehead. The hair was curiously stirred, as if by breath or hot-air; and, though the eyes were wide open, they were perfectly motionless. That, and its livid colour, made it horrible; but its horror seemed to be in spite of the face and beyond its control, rather than a part of its own expression.
As Scrooge looked fixedly at this phenomenon, it was a knocker again.
Imagine you are Marley. Write a paragraph about being stuck on the door knocker from Marley’s point of view.
Now change the view point to that of Scrooge. Perhaps create a lonely hearts advertisement for the reformed Scrooge!
We tried a few short Marley monologues at the Phoenix Writers’ group the other week. Here’s my effort…
Bloody hell, I’m glad I’m dead. It’s a damn sight warmer, more scenic and you never have to worry about who’s coooking dinner.
Well, not much seems changed around here. Same fog. Same door. Same dreary black gate.
Ouch. That felt strange. I think old Scrooge touched me. He’s got hot hands.Unbelievable when you think about his ways.
You know the funny thing is, I’ve never been this close to him before. Never.
God he’s ugly! And lined as an old pound note. Now I can smell him too. He smells of dust and dark corners. And loneliness too.
Poor Scrooge. Does he know what’s coming?
Carol Ann Duffy 15 ideas!
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