"A Christmas Carol", an 1843 novella by Charles Dickens.
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Never out of print since being written over the course of six weeks in 1843, A Christmas Carol introduced the name "Scrooge" and his exclamation "Bah! Humbug!" to the English language. Although the book did not bring Dickens the income he had hoped for, the theme of families gathered together at Christmas had a strong influence on the celebrations of early Victorian England. At the same time the morality tale style portrayal of the redemption of Scrooge caused a sudden burst of charitable giving shortly after publication.
Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
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