"Then you would do us a great service by accepting it so that we will not have to carry it back home with us," declared Bob, handing the goose over to the housekeeper who had by this time flung open the front door of Mr. Scrooge's house so that she might take the wonderful and unexpected gift she was being offered by this poorly dressed but kindly man.
"Thank ye," she said, tears filling her old gray eyes. "Thank ye and happy Christmas to ye!"
Tipping his hat to the housekeeper and echoing her sentiments, Bob turned to his sons and the three began to navigate back through the crowded streets of people on their way to their Christmas dinners; this time the Cratchit men did not have the heat of the just-baked goose to help keep them warm against the cold, bleak, biting weather. Yet the thought of the wonderful feast that awaited them at home distracted them from the freezing wind that nipped at their noses—that enormous turkey dressed and ample enough for second, even third servings for everyone in the Cratchit household, the applesauce, the roasted potatoes dripping with butter, Mrs. Cratchit's pudding, and Bob's punch…
"Oh Heavens!" cried Bob, picking up the pace to walk even more briskly than they already were, inspired by the freezing temperature, "I've not even begun my punch!"
Soon they arrived back at the small but cozy Cratchit house and within minutes Bob was mixing together the ingredients for his special punch in a large brown jug (which usually contained milk for the youngest Cratchit children) and observing with satisfaction the scene of busy preparation taking place in his home: Mrs. Cratchit was now dressed out in a twice-turned gown and wearing the green ribbons her husband had presented her with just that morning as she attended to and supervised every detail of the feast now being created. Peter plunged a fork into the saucepan of potatoes, and getting the corners of his monstrous shirt collar (Bob's private property, conferred upon his son and heir in honor of the day) into his mouth, removed them instantly, looking around in hopes that none of his brothers or sisters had taken note.
By three o'clock all the Cratchits, including Martha, the oldest daughter now apprenticed at a millinery shop, sat down at the well-laid table to enjoy their Christmas feast. After a brief prayer of thanksgiving to the one whose birth was celebrated on this day, Bob carved the enormous turkey and began heaping ample servings on each plate.
When each one had eaten so much turkey, applesauce and potatoes that little room was left, Mrs. Cratchit entered - flushed, but smiling proudly - with the pudding, like a speckledcannon-ball, so hard and firm, ablaze with ignited brandy, and decorated with Christmas holly stuck into the top.
"Oh, what a wonderful pudding!" BobCratchit exclaimed, and added that he regarded it as the greatest culinary success achieved by Mrs. Cratchit since their marriage. Mrs. Cratchit confessed she had had her doubts about the quantity of flour and was relieved that it now seemed to have been just the right amount. Everyone had something to say about it, but nobody said or thought it was at all a small pudding for a large family. It would have been flat heresy to do so. Any Cratchit would have blushed to hint at such a thing.
At last the dinner was all done, the cloth was cleared, the hearth swept, and the fire made up. The compound in the jug being tasted, and considered perfect, apples and oranges were put upon the table, and a shovel-full of chestnuts on the fire. Then all the Cratchit family drew round the hearth, and the family's set of glassware—consisting of two tumblers and a custard-cup without a handle—was laid out. These modest glasses held the hot stuff from the jug, however, as well as golden goblets would have done; and Bob served it out with beaming looks, while the chestnuts on the fire sputtered and cracked noisily. Then Bob proposed a series of toasts:
"A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God bless us!" he declared, and all the family re-echoed.
"Mr. Scrooge!" said Bob next. "I'll give you Mr. Scrooge, the Founder of the Feast!"
To this pronouncement the Cratchit family responded with utter silence until Mrs. Cratchit finally spoke.
"The Founder of the Feast indeed!" cried Mrs. Cratchit, reddening. "I wish I had him here. I'd give him a piece of my mind to feast upon, and I hope he'd have a good appetite for it."
"My dear," said Bob, "the children. Christmas Day."
"It should be Christmas Day, I am sure," said she, "on which one drinks the health of such an odious, stingy, hard, unfeeling man as Mr. Scrooge. You know he is, Robert. Nobody knows it better than you do, poor fellow."
"My dear," was Bob's mild answer, "Christmas Day."
"I'll drink his health for your sake and the Day's," said Mrs. Cratchit, "not for his. Long life to him. A merry Christmas and a happy new year! He'll be very merry and very happy, I have no doubt, feasting on our goose!"
"But mother," began Tiny Tim, "Mr. Scrooge was not…"
"That's all right Tim," interrupted his father. "Let's have no more mention of Mr. Scrooge for now. Have you forgotten our tradition?"