Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about
that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the
clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it.
And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change for anything he chose to
put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail. Mind I
don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is
particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined,
myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery
in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and
my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done
for. You will, therefore, permit me to repeat, emphatically, that
Marley was as dead as a door-nail. Scrooge knew he was dead? Of
course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were
partners for I don't know how many years. Scrooge was his sole
executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole
residuary legatee, his sole friend, and sole mourner. And even
Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he
was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral,
and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain. The mention of
Marley's funeral brings me back to the point I started from. There
is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly
understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going
to relate. If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet's Father
died before the play began, there would be nothing more remarkable
in his taking a stroll at night, in an easterly wind, upon his own
ramparts, than there would be in any other middle-aged gentleman
rashly turning out after dark in a breezy spot-say St. Paul's
Church-yard, for instance-literally to astonish his son's weak
mind. Scrooge never painted out Old Marley's name. There it stood,
years afterwards, above the warehouse door: Scrooge and Marley. The
firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the
business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley, but he
answered to both names. It was all the same to him.
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