Advent Calendar for Grown-ups
DECEMBER 12 Mr. Fezziwig’s Ball
This jolly couple are Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig, two lovable characters featured in that perennial favourite Charles Dicken’s seasonal novella A Christmas Carol.
Mr. Fezziwig is the owner of a warehouse business for whom Ebenezer Scrooge worked as an apprentice with Dick Wilkins; and in Stave 2 of A Christmas Carol, has a Christmas Ball for his family, friends and employees. Old Fezziwig is a happy man with a large Welch (or welsh) wig. Here Fezziwig and his beloved Wife are shown dancing to ‘Sir Roger de Coverley,’ a lively tune popular in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Scrooge revisits Fezziwig with the Ghost of Christmas Past. Fezziwig is one of the few people to whom Scrooge is thankful, for he 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. Since Fezziwig is the elder Scrooge’s opposite in many ways—in kindness, generosity, affection for his employees, relationship with family, and apparent happiness—Scrooge is thus confronted with the fact that his own choices have diverged greatly from those of someone he admires. He has a sudden and painful stab of remorse for how he has treated his own employee, Bob Cratchett.
The only 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!
From Paul Bommer: Illustration, design & Print-making. Used by permission.