MONTHLY SPECIAL * December 2001 (2)
 Charles Dickens


from A Christmas Carol
Stave Three (The Second of the Three Ghosts)
Christmas Morning

   The house fronts looked black enough, and the windows blacker, contrasting with the smooth white sheet of snow upon the roofs, and with the dirtier snow upon the ground; which last deposit had been ploughed up in deep furrows by the heavy wheels of carts and waggons; furrows that sed and re-crossed each other hundreds of times where the great streets branched off, and made intricate channels, hard to trace, in the thick yellow mud and icy water.

The sky was gloomy, and the shortest streets were choked up with a dingy mist, half thawed, half frozen, whose heavier particles descended in a shower of sooty atoms, as if all the chimneys in Great Britain had, by one consent, caught fire, and were blazing away to their dear hearts' content. There was nothing very cheerful in the climate or the town, and yet was there an air of cheerfulness abroad that the clearest summer air and brightest summer sun might have endeavoured to diffuse in vain.

   For the people who were shovelling away on the housetops were jovial and full of glee; calling out one another from the parapets, and now and then exchanging a facetious snowball--better-natured missile far than many a wordy jest--laughing heartily if it went right, and not less heartily if it went wrong.

The poulterers' shops were still half open, and the fruiterers' were radiant in their glory. There were great round, pot-bellied baskets of chestnuts, shaped like the waistcoats of jolly old gentlemen, lolling at the doors, and tumbling out into the street in their apoplectic opulence.

There were ruddy, brown-faced, broad-girthed Spanish Onions, shining in the fatness of their growth like Spanish Friars; and winking from their shelves in wanton slyness at the girls as they went by, and glanced demurely at the hung-up mistletoe.

There were pears and apples, clustered high in blooming pyramids; there were bunches of grapes, made in the shopkeepers' benevolence to dangle from conspicuous hooks, that people's mouths might water gratis as they passed; there were piles of filberts, mossy and brown, recalling, in their fragrance, ancient walks among the woods, and pleasant shufflings ankle deep through withered leaves; there were Norfolk Biffins, squab and swarthy, setting off the yellow of the oranges and lemons, and, in the great compactness of their juicy persons, urgently entreating and beseeching to be carried home in paper bags and eaten after dinner.

The very gold and silver fish, set forth among these choice fruits in a bowl, though members of a dull and stagnant-blooded race, appeared to know that there was something going on, and, to a fish, went gasping round and round their little world in slow and passionless excitement.

『クリスマス・キャロル』 第三節 (第二の精)より











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。

(2) スクルージが現在のクリスマスのゴーストと出かけたクリスマスの朝の町。イギリスの冬はかなり寒く暗い。それでも誰もが心浮かれそうな光景が繰り広げられている。なお、果物屋の店先での「宿り木飾り」云々は、「宿り木のクリスマス飾りの下では女性にキスをしてもよい」というイギリス独特の風習に関わるものである。

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