Chapter 1

Marleywasdead:tobeginwith.Thereisnodoubtwhateveraboutthat.Theregisterofhisburialwassignedbytheclergyman,theclerk,theundertaker,andthechiefmourner.Scroogesignedit.AndScrooge’snamewasgoodupon‘Change,foranythinghechosetoputhishandto.

OldMarleywasasdeadasadoor-nail.

Mind!Idon’tmeantosaythatIknow,ofmyownknowledge,whatthereisparticularlydeadaboutadoor-nail.Imighthavebeeninclined,myself,toregardacoffin-nailasthedeadestpieceofironmongeryinthetrade.Butthewisdomofourancestorsisinthesimile;andmyunhallowedhandsshallnotdisturbit,ortheCountry’sdonefor.Youwillthereforepermitmetorepeat,emphatically,thatMarleywasasdeadasadoor-nail.

Scroogeknewhewasdead?Ofcoursehedid.Howcoulditbeotherwise?ScroogeandhewerepartnersforIdon’tknowhowmanyyears.Scroogewashissoleexecutor,hissoleadministrator,hissoleassign,hissoleresiduarylegatee,hissolefriend,andsolemourner.AndevenScroogewasnotsodreadfullycutupbythesadevent,butthathewasanexcellentmanofbusinessontheverydayofthefuneral,andsolemniseditwithanundoubtedbargain.ThementionofMarley’sfuneralbringsmebacktothepointIstartedfrom.ThereisnodoubtthatMarleywasdead.Thismustbedistinctlyunderstood,ornothingwonderfulcancomeofthestoryIamgoingtorelate.

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