Thursday, December 24, 2009
Merry Christmas from Moth Woman Press
Image above: illustration by Maraja
AN EXCERPT FROM MY CHILDHOOD COPY OF A CHRISTMAS CAROL BY CHARLES DICKENS, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY MARAJA
... But now, the plates being changed by Miss Belinda, Mrs. Cratchit left the room alone - too nervous to bear witnesses - to take the pudding up, and bring it in.
Suppose it should not be done enough! Suppose it should break in turning out! Suppose somebody should have got over the wall of the back-yard and stolen it, while they were merry with the goose - a supposition at which the two young Cratchits became livid! All sorts of horrors were supposed.
Hallo! A great deal of steam! The pudding was out of the copper. A smell like a washing day! That was the cloth. A smell like an eating-house and a pastry-cook's next door to each other, with a laundress's next door to that! That was the pudding! In half a minute Mrs. Cratchit entered - flushed, but smiling proudly - with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top.
Oh, a wonderful pudding! Bob Cratchit said, and calmly too, that he regarded it as the greatest success achieved by Mrs. Cratchit since their marriage. Mrs. Cratchit said that, now the weight was off her mind, she would confess she had had her doubts about the quantity of flour. Everybody had something to say about it, but nobody said or thought it was at all a small pudding for a large family. It would have been flat heresy to do so. Any Cratchit would have blushed to hint at such a thing.
At last the dinner was all done, the cloth was cleared, the hearth swept, and the fire made up. The compound in the jug being tasted, and considered perfect, apples and oranges were put upon the table, and a shovel full of chestnuts on the fire. Then all the Cratchit family drew around the hearth in what Bob Cratchit called a circle, meaning half a one; and at Bob Cratchit's elbow stood the family display of glass. Two tumblers and a custard cup without a handle.
These held the hot stuff from the jug, however, as well as golden goblets would have done, and Bob served it out with beaming looks, while the chestnuts on the fire sputtered and cracked noisily. Then Bob proposed -
'A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears. And God bless us!'
Which all the family re-echoed.
'God bless us every one!' said Tiny Tim, the last of all.
From A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, originally published in 1843
This edition made and printed in Italy by Fratelli Fabri Editori, Milan
for the Publishers W. H. Allen and Co. Ltd., Essex Street, London WC2
Published in Australia by Golden Press Pty. Ltd., Sydney
© Fratelli Frabri Editori, 1959