Old Fashioned Christmas TalesOld Fashioned Christmas Stories
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CHRISTMAS AT FEZZIWIGS 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 ballroom as you would desire to
see on 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 with 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!

*The Fir-Tree.
Teresa Thomas Bohannon
Author of the
FairyTales for Grown-Ups
Shadows In A Timeless Myth
A Very Merry Chase.

Myths      Legends     Beowulf
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