Scrooge, and one for old and for young, for sick and for well, for Father Christmas and for Father Crachit and for all the little Crachits; for everyone everywhere who had heard the holiday bells, there was a toast given. Then when the uproar ceased for a moment, low and sweet spoke Tiny Tim alone: "God bless us every one!" Clearly it rang out in the earnest childish voice.

Ask the Crachits old and young, whose smile they most desired, whose applause they most coveted, whose errands they almost fought with one another to run, whose sadness or pain could most affect the family happiness, and with one voice they would answer, "Tim's!" It was Christmas Day, and in all the suburbs of London there was to be no merrier celebration than at the Crachits.

"What has ever got your precious father, then?" said Mrs. Crachit. "And your brother, Tiny Tim! And Martha warn't as late last Christmas Day by half an hour!" "Here's Martha, mother!" cried the two young Crachits. "Hurrah! there's such a goose, Martha!" "Why, bless your heart alive, dear, how late you are!" said Mrs. Crachit, kissing the daughter, who lived away from home, a dozen times.

"Well, never mind as long as you are come!" "There's father coming!" cried the two young Crachits, who were everywhere at once. "Hide, Martha, hide!" So Martha hid herself, and in came little Bob, the father, with at least three feet of comforter hanging down before him, and his threadbare clothes darned up and brushed to look seasonable; and Tiny Tim upon his shoulder.

His active little crutch was heard upon the floor, and back came Tiny Tim before another word was spoken, escorted by his brother and sister to his stool before the fire; and while Bob compounded some hot mixture in a jug and put it on the hob to simmer, Master Peter and the two young Crachits went to fetch the goose, with which they soon returned in high procession.

There never was such a goose! its tenderness and size, flavour and cheapness, were the themes of universal admiration. Eked out by apple-sauce and mashed potatoes, every one had enough, and the youngest Crachits were steeped in sage and onion to the eyebrows! But now, the plates being changed, Mrs. Crachit left the room alone too nervous to bear witnesses to take the pudding up, and bring it in.

Crachit made the gravy hissing hot; Master Peter mashed the potatoes with incredible vigour; Miss Belinda sweetened up the apple sauce; Martha dusted the hot plates; Bob took Tiny Tim beside him in a corner at the table; the two young Crachits set chairs for everybody, not forgetting themselves, and mounting guard upon their posts, crammed spoons into their mouths, lest they should shriek for goose before their turn came to be helped.

To be sure, Bob Crachit had but fifteen "Bob" himself a week on which to clothe and feed all the little Crachits, but what they lacked in luxuries they made up in affection and contentment, and would not have changed places, one of them, with any king or queen. While Bob took Tiny Tim to church, preparations for the feast were going on at home. Mrs.

At last the dishes were set on and grace was said. It was succeeded by a breathless pause, as Mrs. Crachit, looking slowly along the carving knife, prepared to plunge it in the breast. When she did one murmur of delight arose all round the board, and even Tiny Tim, excited by the two young Crachits, beat on the table with the handle of his knife, and feebly cried "Hurrah!"

Martha didn't like to see him disappointed, if it were only in joke; so she ran out from behind the closet door, and ran into his arms, while the two young Crachits hustled Tiny Tim, and bore him off into the wash-house, that he might hear the pudding singing in the copper. "And how did little Tim behave?" asked Mrs.