"I have tasted your tripe, you know, and you can't 'chaff ' me!" Says Alderman Cute in Dicken's Christmas story The Chimes. I wonder now whether Dickens might have had a crush on the letter "C?" As many know, but some do not, Dickens published five Christmas stories, and thought that each topped the last. Readers, however, found a clear winner in A Christmas Carol. The Chimes goes much further into the evils of the "class society" and much deeper into melodrama than anything Scrooge experienced. A real tear-jerker, but one that makes the modern reader feel halfway through, that his tears are all "jerked-out" already.
The other Christmas tales are: The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life, and The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain. All fascinating stories, and for greatly divergent reasons they all seem to fall short of our accepted favorite, the Carol. Yet they all contain that Dickensian Christmas atmosphere. Think of them as Christmas Carol extenders that broaden and deepen our appreciation of that perfect tale.
I wonder now whether Poe rather fancied an "N?" More on that later in: The Ranven Revisited.