The thought of her frail, sweet little boy brought a tear to Mrs. Cratchit's eye as surely as the thought of her husband's employer filled her heart with anger. She pictured Mr. Scrooge's face in her mind: his pointed nose, shriveled cheeks, red eyes and thin blue lips. She despised him. He took advantage of her husband's kind and humble nature, treated him as if he were a slave rather than an employee and paid him a pittance for his long, hard hours of work each day.

"But I'll not let the thought of that heartless old sinner ruin my Christmas!" she resolved and walked across the little hallway to knock on the door of the larger of the two bedrooms in the modest four-room home. Opening the door, she called out to the five sleeping children who shared the room, the three girls in one small bed, the two boys on a tiny cot.

"Time to get up my darlings," exclaimed Mrs. Cratchit. "It's Christmas morning and I'll wager Father Christmas has left something for each of you as you are such good and obedient children!"

Cheers and shrieks of delight were heard as five bright young faces emerged from beneath piles of clean but ragged quilts and threadbare blankets. Soon they rose, threw on their clothes and headed downstairs where their mother, by this time, was lighting a fire and heating water for tea in a large cast iron kettle.

The children lined up expectantly at the foot of the staircase. Their mother, seeing the joy shining from their bright faces in anticipation of the delights left for them by Father Christmas said, "All right then. One of you go wake your father. He won't want to miss seeing you open your stockings!"