Buried deep in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens lays a romance. Let’s explore this brief account.
When two young people meet for the first time, there’s a dance, emotional and mental. They size each other up to determine if he or she is someone to whom a life-long commitment can be given.
Over time love develops like an aloe growing steadily and filled with essential juice. Love finds expressions in myriad ways—a simple walk, a laugh, a flower, a snowflake which bounces from mitten to glove or a tear of joy gently wiped by a finger.
So it was with Ebenezer and Belle, his beloved. As they struggled in London of the early 1800s, wealth did not enrobe them. They worked and survived the daily drudgery of life on this planet traversing the cosmos.
Belle noticed as time went on that her beloved Ebenezer changed from that happy boy that she knew to an aging man who sought his fortune at all cost. She saw his noble aspirations disappear like the sunset on the Thames. His passion of youth turned to the passion of gain.
Their contract of love became null and void because Ebenezer became a man she did not know. The man before her was someone she did not like. Like an uncared aloe the vital juice of the plant dried up leaving dead roots and lifeless branches.
When confronted with her evidence, Ebenezer chose not to refute her arguments. Belle released him from his pledge of love so many years before.
Perhaps she saw a sigh of relief in her former beloved. They parted. As she walked out the door, Dickens does not relate what Ebenezer thought and did.
We know the fate which awaited Ebenezer. Belle would marry a man named Tut and have a brood of children, especially an oldest daughter which was a mirror image of her when she was that age. The Ghost of Christmas Past allowed Ebenezer to see this. Ebenezer began to realize what he had lost so many years before when that door closed behind his beloved Belle.
By the end of the story Ebenezer regained those noble aspirations which Belle loved. He once again became the boy she fell in love with in the dreary London town.
Did Ebenezer ever cross paths with Belle? Dickens does not say, but since it is February, the month of romance and dreams, let’s briefly imagined this scenario:
Ebenezer reads in the paper about the death of Belle’s husband. He has Bob send flowers to the funeral with a personal note.
Several weeks go by and as Ebenezer walks to his house, around the corner a stately lady catches his eye. As he looks at her grace, he recognizes his beloved Belle.
She smiles as she walks toward him. He pauses as she reaches him. In her hand is the card which accompanied the flowers, which he wrote with his own hand.
The words cascade from his soul like a gentle waterfall. His words were simple yet profound: “My dearest Belle, please accept my deepest condolences for the lost of Tut. He was a finer man than I. You chose wisely. If there is anything that I can do for you and the children do not hesitate to let me know. Yours always, Ebenezer…”
What happened next? It depends on your view of romance and fate and second chances.
Does love truly die? Is there no hope for its resurrection in the human heart?
G. D. Williams © 2012