The amazing thing about the manuscript is how much it looks like a manuscript you or I might be working on. Well--ours would probably be inkjet-printed. But the process is the same, the feel of the endeavor is the same. It is entertaining to see the Times' critics dissect the work:
Unwilling to believe that he is being visited by ghosts, Scrooge defiantly tells one spirit that he might be nothing more than the product of indigestion, "more of gravy than of grave about you.'' One way Dickens tweaks this speech is he substitutes the more bland description of a "spot of mustard" for the more visceral "blot of mustard."
That's a lot of words to spill about the change of a single letter, but we can only hope, fervently and in vain, that future readers will get their rocks off the same way while poring over our forgotten 3.5-inch floppies.
The most remarkable thing about "A Christmas Carol," of course, is that it is a Christmas story that doesn't completely suck. There aren't many, are there? We like Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory" (Rhian turned me onto it, as well as the BBC film of it, some years ago), but I can't think of any others offhand.
So what do you think? Got a Christmas book you actually like? Not that we'll go rushing out and buy it, or anything.