Christmas is behind us but, heeding the advice of Charles Dickens, we are going to keep it all the year! Before the festive season reached its climax I set a little quiz based on the original text of A Christmas Carol, and here are the answers:
1: Which publishing house produced A Christmas Carol (even though it was funded by Dickens himself)?
A Christmas Carol was published by Chapman and Hall
2: Who was the illustrator of the first edition?
3: On what date was the book published?
19 December 1843
4: How many copies were printed for the first edition?
The first run was of 6,000 which sold almost instantly
5: What is the full title of the book?
A Christmas Carol In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas
1: Assuming the story is set in 1843, in what year did Jacob Marley die?
‘He died seven years ago, this very night’ Therefore on 24 December 1836
2: Who would have been on the throne at the time of Marley’s death?
William IV reigned until his death on 20th June 1837, when he was succeeded by Queen Victoria
3: What time of day is it when we first enter Scrooge’s office?
The clocks had just struck 3
4: What does the Clerk use to warm himself?
His comforter (scarf) and his candle
5: What is the name of the first visitor to the office on that evening?
Scrooge’s nephew, Fred
4: How many charity collectors come to solicit Scrooge on Christmas Eve?
6: where does Bob Cratchit slide on the ice before going home?
He slides on Cornhill, which sets Scrooge’s office in the very heart of the financial heart of London
7: Where is his home and what connection does it have to Charles Dickens?
Bob Cratchit’s home is in Camden Town, the region in which the Dickens family resided when they moved to London in 1822. Charles was aged 10 at the time.
8: Who built Scrooge’s fireplace?
‘The fireplace was an old one, built by some Dutch merchant long ago.‘
9: After Jacob Marley floats through the window who else does Scrooge see?
‘The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste, and moaning as they went. Every one of them wore chains like Marley’s Ghost; some few (they may be guilty governments) were linked together; none were free. Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives. He had been quite familiar, with one old Ghost, in a white waistcoat, with a monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle, who cried piteously at being unable to assist wretched woman with an infant, whom it saw below, upon a doorstep. The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power for ever.’
10: In my film what Churchyard did I use to film the opening scenes?
The Churchyard of St James’ Church, Cooling, Kent, which inspired Charles Dickens in the creation of the opening chapters of Great Expectations.
1: What is the second Chapter called?
The First of the Three Spirits
2: What does the Ghost of Christmas Past carry under its arm?
‘A Great extinguisher’, or candle snuffer
3: What book was the young Ebenezer reading at school?
4: Who wrote it?
Daniel Defoe, in 1719
5: What did the Headmaster of the school give to Ebenezer and his sister before their journey home?
‘Here he produced a decanter of curiously light wine, and a block of curiously heavy cake, and administered instalments of those dainties to the young people….’
6: What country dance did the fiddler accompany at Fezziwig’s party?
Sir Roger de Coverley
7: What was the name of Ebenezer’s fellow apprentice at Fezziwig’s?
8: When Ebenezer is shown the house of his ex fiancée, there is a scare about the baby – what did the family think had happened?
‘The terrible announcement that the baby had been taken the act of putting a doll’s frying pan into his mouth, and was more than suspected of having swallowed a fictitious turkey, glued on a wooden platter.’
9: When Belle’s husband walked past the office window of Scrooge and Marley’s what day of the year was it likely to have been?
As he tells Bell that ‘Jacob Marley lies upon the point of death so I hear’ it is likely to be Christmas Eve.
10: In my film all of the scenes from the past were filmed in the Crypt of Rochester Cathedral – which of Dickens novels does the Cathedral feature strongly in?
The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Charles Dickens’ final, unfinished, novel is set in the fictional cathedral city of Cloiseterham, and also features Eastgate House which also appears in my film as various different locations.
1: What is the time when Scrooge finally gets out of bed?
2: What does the Ghost of Christmas Present wear around its waist?
An empty Scabbard
`3: Outside the fruiterers’ shop there were ‘piles of filberts’. What is a filbert?
4: What was Bob Cratchit’s weekly wage?
15 shillings, or 15 ‘bob’
5: How many children did Mr and Mrs Cratchit have?
6: Peter, Belinda, Martha, Tim and the ‘two youngest Cratchits – boy and girl’
6: In my film version of A Christmas Carol I used an an Elizabethan alms house called The Six Poor Traveller’s House to represent the Cratchit’s home. Charles Dickens wrote a short story about the house – what was it called, and why?
The essay was called The Seven Poor Traveller’s House. The house could only accommodate 6 people, but Dickens as the narrator became the seventh
7: Why did Mrs Cratchit’s Christmas pudding smell like a washing day?
Traditionally a Christmas pudding is wrapped in muslin while it steams
8: After leaving The Cratchit’s house the Spirit suddenly removes Scrooge from the city and shows him simple Christmas celebrations in three remote locations: where are they?
A mine, in a lighthouse and onboard a boat at sea
9: According to Charles Dickens ‘..there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as…’ what? (hint, it is NOT Covid19!)
Laughter and good humour
10: What is the answer to Fred’s ‘Yes or No’ game?
1: What is the title of Stave 4?
The Last of the Spirits
2: How many wealthy merchants in total does Scrooge watch discussing his own death?
3: What is Mrs Dilber’s occupation?
She is a Laundress
4: How does old Joe keep a tally of how much he will pay each of his visitors?
Keeps a record by chalking figures on the wall
5: When Scrooge sees the vision of a dead body under a ragged sheet, there is an animal in the room also, what is it?
6: Scrooge is shown the vison of a husband and wife who are in debt to him – what is the wife’s name?
7: What is Mrs Cratchit doing when Scrooge returns to the house?
8: Where does Tiny Tim’s body lie in the vision of the future?
In the upstairs room of the house
9: The Spirit leads Scrooge to a churchyard, but what establishment do they pass on the way?
His own house which he notices is occupied by someone else
10: There is an actual grave to Ebenezer Scrooge in the UK – where and why?
In the city of Shrewsbury, where the George C Scott movie was filmed. It was a clause in the filming contract that the stone be left in the churchyard for tourism purposes.
1: How does Charles Dickens describe the ringing of the church bells on Christmas morning?
He was checked in his transports by the churches ringing out the lustiest peals he had ever heard. Clash, clang, hammer; ding dong, bell. Bell, dong, ding; hammer, clang, clash! Oh, glorious, glorious!‘
2: How much does Scrooge promise the boy on the pavement if he brings the poulterer back to the house?
3: How much does he promise him if returns within 5 minutes?
4: ‘I shall love it as long as I live!’ cried Scrooge, patting it with his hand. ‘What an honest expression it has on its face!’ What is Scrooge talking about?
The knocker on his door
5: How many times did Scrooge pass his Nephew’s door before he plucked ‘up the courage to go up and knock?
A dozen times
6: What time did Bob Cratchit arrive for work on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas)?
7: What did Scrooge tell Bob to buy for himself, before he dotted ‘another i’?
A coal scuttle
8: And what drink did he promise him?
9: Who was responsible for filming and editing my film version of A Christmas Carol?
10: What are the final words of the novel?
‘And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!’
I hope that you enjoyed this little diversion, have a very happy and safe 2021