12th December, Mr Fezziwig’s Ball
Mr. Fezziwig is the owner of the business for whom Ebenezer Scrooge worked as an apprentice with Dick Wilkins, and in Stave 2 of “A Christmas Carol” he gives a Christmas ball for his family, friends and employees. Old Fezziwig is a happy man with a large Welch (or welsh) wig, and he and his beloved wife are shown here dancing the “Sir Roger de Coverley,” a lively tune, popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Scrooge revisits Fezziwig with the Ghost of Christmas Past and, realising that Fezziwig is one of the few people to whom he is thankful, says, “He has the power to render us happy or unhappy, to make our service light or burdensome, a pleasure or a toil…The happiness he gives is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.” Scrooge is reminded how much he once appreciated Fezziwig, and since Fezziwig might be the elder Scrooge’s model — in kindness, generosity, affection for his employees, relationship with family and apparent happiness — Scrooge is confronted with the fact that his own choices have diverged from those of one he admired. Consequently, he has a stab of remorse for how he has treated his own employee, Bob Cratchett.
The other Fezziwigs mentioned by Dickens are the couple’s three unnamed daughters, described as “beaming and lovable,” and courted collectively by six young gentlemen!
Yo ho, my boys! Hilli-ho! Chirrup!
Illustration copyright © Paul Bommer