A Christmas Carol
Classic Dickens story about a bitter old man, Ebenezer Scrooge, who's given a chance for redemption when three ghosts come to visit him on Christmas Eve.
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Spirit of Christmas Present: "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: "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 (quoting Scrooge): "Are there no prisons?!? Are there no workhouses?!?"
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!"
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: "Humph! Nothing!" Second Collector: "You wish to be anonymous?" Ebenezer: "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."
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." (cont'd)