: The Children's Book Of Christmas Stories

"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


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!