The ancient tower of a church, whose gruff old bell was always peeping slily down at Scrooge out of a Gothic window in the wall, became invisible, and struck the hours and quarters in the clouds, with tremulous vibrations afterwards, as if its teeth were chattering in its frozen head up there.
He lived in chambers which had once belonged to his deceased partner. They were a gloomy suite of rooms, in a lowering pile of building up a yard, where it had so little business to be, that one could scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house, playing at hide-and-seek with other houses, and have forgotten the way out again.
Stave One: Marley's Ghost, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, 1843.
These are two of the little wonderful Christmas delights Charles Dickens sewed throughout his story. I listened to the audio book while I was going blind for the 40 Hour Famine, and when the narrator read these parts aloud, I just sat in silence warmly tingling with excitement. Charles Dickens is one of those marvelously underrated, quiet, witty men. He has a great deal of things to point out, but though his wit is just as vibrant and glorious as other writers, it's many times more discreet, and sensitive, and vital and pulsating with the humanity of a wonderfully authentic person. What he was like in real life, how the 'deuce' will we ever really know? The glimpse of his being that peeps unabashedly out of his writing is as lovely a thing to get acquainted with.