MONTHLY SPECIAL * December 2001 (1)
 Charles Dickens


A Christmas Carol
Stave Two (The First of the Three Spirits)
A Lonely Boy

   "You recollect the way?" inquired the Spirit.

   "Remember it!" cried Scrooge with fervour--"I could walk it blindfold."

   "Strange to have forgotten it for so many years!" observed the Ghost. "Let us go on."

   They walked along the road; Scrooge recognising every gate, and post, and tree; until a little market-town appeared in the distance, with its bridge, its church and winding river. Some shaggy ponies now were seen trotting towards them with boys upon their backs, who called to other boys in country gigs and carts, driven by farmers.

All these boys were in great spirits, and shouted to each other, until the broad fields were so full of merry music, that the crisp air laughed to hear it.

   "These are but shadows of the things that have been," said the Ghost. "They have no consciousness of us."

   The jocund travellers came on; and as they came, Scrooge knew and named them every one. Why was he rejoiced beyond all bounds to see them! Why did his cold eye glisten, and his heart leap up as they went past! Why was he filled with gladness when he heard them give each other Merry Christmas, as they parted at cross-roads and bye-ways, for their several homes! What was merry Christmas to Scrooge? Out upon merry Christmas! What good had it ever done to him?

   "The school is not quite deserted," said the Ghost. "A solitary child, neglected by his friends, is left there still."

   Scrooge said he knew it. And he sobbed.

   They left the high-road, by a well remembered lane, and soon approached a mansion of dull red brick, with a little weathercock-surmounted cupola on the roof, and a bell hanging in it. It was a large house, but one of broken fortunes; for the spacious offices were little used, their walls were damp and mossy, their windows broken, and their gates decayed. Fowls clucked and strutted in the stables; and the coach-houses and sheds were over-run with grass.

Nor was it more retentive of its ancient state, within; for entering the dreary hall, and glancing through the open doors of many rooms, they found them poorly furnished, cold, and vast. There was an earthy savour in the air, a chilly bareness in the place, which associated itself somehow with too much getting up by candle-light, and not too much to eat.

   They went, the Ghost and Scrooge, across the hall, to a door at the back of the house. It opened before them, and disclosed a long, bare, melancholy room, made barer still by lines of plain deal forms and desks. At one of these a lonely boy was reading near a feeble fire; and Scrooge sat down upon a form, and wept to see his poor forgotten self as he had used to be.

   Not a latent echo in the house, not a squeak and scuffle from the mice behind the panelling, not a drip from the half-thawed water-spout in the dull yard behind, not a sigh among the leafless boughs of one despondent poplar, not the idle swinging of an empty store-house door, no, not a clicking in the fire, but fell upon the heart of Scrooge with a softening influence, and gave a freer passage to his tears.

   The Spirit touched him on the arm and pointed to his younger self, intent upon his reading. Suddenly a man, in foreign garments: wonderfully real and distinct to look at: Stood outside the window, with an axe stuck in his belt, and leading an ass laden with wood by the bridle.

   "Why, it's Ali Baba!" Scrooge exclaimed in ecstasy. "It's dear old honest Ali Baba! Yes, yes, I know! One Christmas time, when yonder solitary child was left here all alone, he did come, for the first time, just like that. Poor boy! And Valentine," said Scrooge, "and his wild brother, Orson; there they go! And what's his name, who was put down in his drawers, asleep, at the Gate of Damascus; don't you see him! And the Sultan's Groom turned upside-down by the Genii; there he is upon his head! Serve him right. I'm glad of it. What business had he to be married to the Princess!"

   To hear Scrooge expending all the earnestness of his nature on such subjects, in a most extraordinary voice between laughing and crying; and to see his heightened and excited face; would have been a surprise to his business friends in the city, indeed.

『クリスマス・キャロル』 第二節 (第一の精)より


「覚えているか、ですと? 目隠ししてたって行けますぞ。」スクルージは大声で興奮気味に答えました。






なぜスクルージは彼らを見て無性に嬉しくなったのでしょう? 少年たちが通り過ぎる時、彼の冷たい瞳も輝き、心踊ったのはなぜでしょう? 少年たちは辻や脇道で分かれてそれぞれの家に向かう時に「よいクリスマスを!」と言い合うのでしたが、それを聞いて心が喜びでいっぱいになったのは、なぜでしょう?

「よいクリスマス」がスクルージにとって何だというのでしょうか? いまいましいクリスマスなんて! クリスマスがどんないいことをしてくれたというのでしょうか?










「やあ、アリ・ババだ!」スクルージは有頂天になって叫び声をあげました。「ありゃぁ、なつかしい正直者のアリ・ババだ! そうだそうだ、そうだった! いつだったかのクリスマス、あのひとりぼっちの子供がここにぽつんと取り残されていた時に、初めてやって来たんだった、あんなふうに。かわいそうに。

「それと、ヴァレンタインと兄の野生児オルソンも、ほれ! 何という名前だったか、あのダマスカスの門のところで眠ったまま箪笥に入れられておったのは。見えませんか? それから、魔物の力でひっくり返しにされた、サルタンの婿も。あそこで逆立ちになっとるぞ! いい気味だ。なんであいつが王女と結婚なんぞ!」


Charles Dickens (1812-1860)

Dickens については、December 2000 を参照のこと。

A Christmas Carol in Prose -- Being a Ghost Story of Christmas (1843) は、1849年までの間に5編が書かれることになるクリスマス物語の第1弾であり、その中で最もよく知られた作品である。その中から、三つのクリスマスの光景を抜粋した。

(1) 過去のクリスマスのゴーストに連れて行かれた自分の少年時代。少年スクルージはただ一人、クリスマス休みの寄宿学校に残されている(家庭の事情があった)。少年は本を読み、その物語の世界に浸ることで孤独を忘れていたのだった。少年の心細さと寂しさとに重なるわびしい学校の描写は、しかし私たちにとってもどこか懐かしい。

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