last word you'd associate with him.
Yet, one woman gave her heart to him...was engaged to him...and had her heart broken by him!
Her name was Belle!
She appears twice in A Christmas Carol, during Scrooge's journey with the Ghost of Christmas Past.
First, we see how the young Scrooge choose between his love of money and love of her.
we see how, after the breakup, she married a good man and together they
raised a loving family, giving Scrooge a look at what "might have been"
had he chosen to remain with her!
Almost every adaptation shows the first incident, but omits the second scene
(usually due to running time or page count constraints), thus many people have never known
how Belle's life turned out after Scrooge left her!
Here's the section about Belle from A Christmas Carol's Stave Two...
For again Scrooge saw himself.
older now; a man in the prime of life.
His face had not the harsh and
rigid lines of later years; but it had begun to wear the signs of care
There was an eager, greedy, restless motion in the eye,
which showed the passion that had taken root, and where the shadow of
the growing tree would fall.
He was not alone, but sat by the side of a fair young girl in a
mourning-dress: in whose eyes there were tears, which sparkled in the
light that shone out of the Ghost of Christmas Past.
“It matters little,” she said, softly. “To you, very
little. Another idol has displaced me; and if it can cheer and comfort
you in time to come, as I would have tried to do, I have no just cause
“What Idol has displaced you?” he rejoined.
“A golden one.”
“This is the even-handed dealing of the world!” he said.
“There is nothing on which it is so hard as poverty; and there is
nothing it professes to condemn with such severity as the pursuit of
“You fear the world too much,” she answered, gently.
your other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of
its sordid reproach. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by
one, until the master-passion, Gain, engrosses you. Have I not?”
“What then?” he retorted. “Even if I have grown so
much wiser, what then? I am not changed towards you.”
She shook her head.
“Our contract is an old one.
It was made when we were both poor
and content to be so, until, in good season, we could improve our
worldly fortune by our patient industry.
You are changed.
was made, you were another man.”
“I was a boy,” he said impatiently.
“Your own feeling tells you that you were not what you are,”
That which promised happiness when we were
one in heart, is fraught with misery now that we are two.
How often and
how keenly I have thought of this, I will not say.
It is enough that I
have thought of it, and can release you.”
“Have I ever sought release?”
“In words. No. Never.”
“In what, then?”
“In a changed nature; in an altered spirit; in another atmosphere
of life; another Hope as its great end.
In everything that made my love
of any worth or value in your sight.
If this had never been between us,”
said the girl, looking mildly, but with steadiness, upon him; “tell
me, would you seek me out and try to win me now?
He seemed to yield to the justice of this supposition, in spite of
But he said with a struggle, “You think not.”
“I would gladly think otherwise if I could,” she answered,
“Heaven knows! When I have learned a Truth like this, I
know how strong and irresistible it must be.
But if you were free
to-day, to-morrow, yesterday, can even I believe that you would choose a
dowerless girl—you who, in your very confidence with her, weigh
everything by Gain: or, choosing her, if for a moment you were false
enough to your one guiding principle to do so, do I not know that your
repentance and regret would surely follow?
I do; and I release you.
a full heart, for the love of him you once were.”
He was about to speak; but with her head turned from him, she resumed.
“You may—the memory of what is past half makes me hope you
will—have pain in this.
A very, very brief time, and you will
dismiss the recollection of it, gladly, as an unprofitable dream, from
which it happened well that you awoke.
May you be happy in the life you
She left him, and they parted.
“Spirit!” said Scrooge, “show me no more!
home. Why do you delight to torture me?”
“One shadow more!” exclaimed the Ghost.
“No more!” cried Scrooge.
“No more. I don’t wish
to see it. Show me no more!”
But the relentless Ghost pinioned him in both his arms, and forced him
to observe what happened next.
They were in another scene and place; a room, not very large or
handsome, but full of comfort.
Near to the winter fire sat a beautiful
young girl, so like that last that Scrooge believed it was the same,
until he saw her, now a comely matron, sitting opposite her
The noise in this room was perfectly tumultuous, for there
were more children there, than Scrooge in his agitated state of mind
could count; and, unlike the celebrated herd in the poem, they were not
forty children conducting themselves like one, but every child was
conducting itself like forty.
The consequences were uproarious beyond
belief; but no one seemed to care; on the contrary, the mother and
daughter laughed heartily, and enjoyed it very much; and the latter,
soon beginning to mingle in the sports, got pillaged by the young
brigands most ruthlessly.
What would I not have given to be one of them!
Though I never could have been so rude, no, no! I wouldn’t for the
wealth of all the world have crushed that braided hair, and torn it
down; and for the precious little shoe, I wouldn’t have plucked it
off, God bless my soul! to save my life.
As to measuring her waist in
sport, as they did, bold young brood, I couldn’t have done it; I
should have expected my arm to have grown round it for a punishment, and
never come straight again.
And yet I should have dearly liked, I own, to
have touched her lips; to have questioned her, that she might have
opened them; to have looked upon the lashes of her downcast eyes, and
never raised a blush; to have let loose waves of hair, an inch of which
would be a keepsake beyond price: in short, I should have liked, I do
confess, to have had the lightest licence of a child, and yet to have
been man enough to know its value.
But now a knocking at the door was heard, and such a rush immediately
ensued that she with laughing face and plundered dress was borne towards
it the centre of a flushed and boisterous group, just in time to greet
the father, who came home attended by a man laden with Christmas toys
Then the shouting and the struggling, and the onslaught
that was made on the defenceless porter! The scaling him with chairs for
ladders to dive into his pockets, despoil him of brown-paper parcels,
hold on tight by his cravat, hug him round his neck, pommel his back,
and kick his legs in irrepressible affection!
The shouts of wonder and
delight with which the development of every package was received!
terrible announcement that the baby had been taken in the act of putting
a doll’s frying-pan into his mouth, and was more than suspected of
having swallowed a fictitious turkey, glued on a wooden platter!
immense relief of finding this a false alarm!
The joy, and gratitude,
They are all indescribable alike.
It is enough that by
degrees the children and their emotions got out of the parlour, and by
one stair at a time, up to the top of the house; where they went to bed,
and so subsided.
And now Scrooge looked on more attentively than ever, when the master of
the house, having his daughter leaning fondly on him, sat down with her
and her mother at his own fireside; and when he thought that such
another creature, quite as graceful and as full of promise, might have
called him father, and been a spring-time in the haggard winter of his
life, his sight grew very dim indeed.
“Belle,” said the husband, turning to his wife with a smile,
“I saw an old friend of yours this afternoon.”
“Who was it?”
“How can I? Tut, don’t I know?” she added in the same
breath, laughing as he laughed. “Mr. Scrooge.”
“Mr. Scrooge it was.
I passed his office window; and as it was not
shut up, and he had a candle inside, I could scarcely help seeing him.
His partner lies upon the point of death, I hear; and there he sat
Quite alone in the world, I do believe.”
“Spirit!” said Scrooge in a broken voice, “remove me
from this place.”
“I told you these were shadows of the things that have been,”
said the Ghost.
“That they are what they are, do not blame me!”
“Remove me!” Scrooge exclaimed, “I cannot bear it!”
He turned upon the Ghost, and seeing that it looked upon him with a
face, in which in some strange way there were fragments of all the faces
it had shown him, wrestled with it.
“Leave me! Take me back. Haunt me no longer!”
Most illustrators of the many editions that have been printed over
the decades have also bypassed the conclusion of Belle's plotline.
But not the celebrated Arthur Rackham!
The legendary illustrator did not one, but two color illustrations just for the short conclusion to Belle's story in Stave Two!
We at Atomic Kommie Comics™ just had to include both of them in our A Christmas Carol collection!
One, Belle & Children shows Scrooge's once-love playing with her kids.
The other, Belle's Family portrays the children crowding around their father (whom, had he chosen differently, Scrooge could have been) as he comes home, laden with presents!
And now, you can have either of them on a host of Christmas collectibles by clicking HERE!