Christmas At Fezziwig's Warehouse





CHARLES DICKENS



Yo ho! my boys, said Fezziwig. No more work to-night; Christmas Eve,

Dick! Christmas, Ebenezer! Let's have the shutters up, cried old

Fezziwig with a sharp clap of his hands, before a man can say Jack

Robinson....



Hilli-ho! cried old Fezziwig, skipping down from the high desk with

wonderful agility. Clear away, my lads, and let's have lots of room

here! Hilli-ho, Dick! Cheer up, Ebenezer!



Clear away! There was nothing they wouldn't have cleared away, or

couldn't have cleared away, with old Fezziwig looking on. It was done in

a minute. Every movable was packed off, as if it were dismissed from

public life forevermore; the floor was swept and watered, the lamps were

trimmed, fuel was heaped upon the fire; and the warehouse was as snug,

and warm, and dry, and bright a ball-room as you would desire to see

upon a winter's night.



In came a fiddler with a music-book, and went up to the lofty desk and

made an orchestra of it and tuned like fifty stomach-aches. In came Mrs.

Fezziwig, one vast, substantial smile. In came the three Misses

Fezziwig, beaming and lovable. In came the six followers whose hearts

they broke. In came all the young men and women employed in the business

In came the housemaid with her cousin the baker. In came the cook with

her brother's particular friend the milkman. In came the boy from over

the way, who was suspected of not having board enough from his master,

trying to hide himself behind the girl from next door but one who was

proved to have had her ears pulled by her mistress; in they all came,

anyhow and everyhow. Away they all went, twenty couple at once; hands

half round and back again the other way; down the middle and up again;

round and round in various stages of affectionate grouping, old top

couple always turning up in the wrong place; new top couple starting off

again, as soon as they got there; all top couples at last, and not a

bottom one to help them.



When this result was brought about the fiddler struck up Sir Roger de

Coverley. Then old Fezziwig stood out to dance with Mrs. Fezziwig. Top

couple, too, with a good stiff piece of work cut out for them; three or

four and twenty pairs of partners; people who were not to be trifled

with; people who would dance and had no notion of walking.



But if they had been thrice as many--Oh, four times as many--old

Fezziwig would have been a match for them, and so would Mrs. Fezziwig.

As to her, she was worthy to be his partner in every sense of the term.

If that's not high praise, tell me higher and I'll use it. A positive

light appeared to issue from Fezziwig's calves. They shone in every part

of the dance like moons. You couldn't have predicted at any given time

what would become of them next. And when old Fezziwig and Mrs. Fezziwig

had gone all through the dance; advance and retire; both hands to your

partner, bow and courtesy, corkscrew, thread the needle, and back again

to your place; Fezziwig cut--cut so deftly that he appeared to wink

with his legs, and came upon his feet again without a stagger.



When the clock struck eleven the domestic ball broke up. Mr. and Mrs.

Fezziwig took their stations, one on either side of the door, and

shaking hands with every person individually, as he or she went out,

wished him or her a Merry Christmas!





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