Saturday, December 22, 2012
My favorite character in “A Christmas Carol” is Fezziwig, the businessman under whom Scrooge served his apprenticeship. He offers us a model on how we should treat our colleagues, our staff, and our students. In the story, Fezziwig hosts a Christmas Eve party for his staff and for those who live nearby, often in straightened conditions. Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Past hold this discussion:
"A small matter," said the Ghost, "to make these silly folks so full of gratitude."
"Small!" echoed Scrooge.
The Spirit signed to him to listen to the two apprentices, who were pouring out their hearts in praise of Fezziwig: and when he had done so, said,
"Why! Is it not! He has spent but a few pounds of your mortal money: three or four perhaps. Is that so much that he deserves this praise?"
"It isn't that," said Scrooge, heated by the remark, and speaking unconsciously like his former, not his latter, self. "It isn't that, Spirit. He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count them up: what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune."
He felt the Spirit's glance, and stopped.
"What is the matter?" asked the Ghost.
"Nothing in particular," said Scrooge.
"Something, I think?" the Ghost insisted.
"No," said Scrooge, "No. I should like to be able to say a word or two to my clerk just now! That's all."