Background.

A Christmas Carol.
  • You’re quite a powerful speaker, sir, I wonder you don’t go into Parliament” is a quotation from A Christmas Carol (Stave 1).

Context.

Quotation said by Ebenezer Scrooge to his nephew, Fred.

Fred visits his uncle on Christmas Eve and invites him to a family dinner. Scrooge replies harsly, saying he wants to be alone. Fred, a jovial character in the story, is determined he will stay cheerful, despite his uncle’s bitterness during an exchange of words.

In this quote, Scrooge is mocking Fred’s talkative and outgoing character, the opposite of his own miserable and reclusive nature.


Illustration from the original publication of A Christmas Carol showing Ebenezer Scrooge being visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley.
Illustration from the original publication of A Christmas Carol showing Ebenezer Scrooge (left), here being visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, bound by the chains he forged in life.

Character Profile: Fred.

Fred is the nephew of Ebenezer Scrooge, the son of his beloved but now dead little sister, Fran. He is Scrooge’s only living relative and also the only person who attempts to pull him out of the miserable isolated world he lives in. Fred is the antithesis of Scrooge in appearance and spirit. He visits his uncle on Christmas Eve and invites him to a family dinner. A jovial character, Fred refuses to let Scrooge’s miserly attitude dampen his sprits despite his uncle’s rebuttals.

Source.

Taken from the following passage of Stave 1 (Marley’s Ghost) of A Christmas Carol:

“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,” returned the nephew. “Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round—apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that—as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”

The clerk in the Tank involuntarily applauded. Becoming immediately sensible of the impropriety, he poked the fire, and extinguished the last frail spark for ever.

“Let me hear another sound from you,” said Scrooge, “and you’ll keep your Christmas by losing your situation! You’re quite a powerful speaker, sir,” he added, turning to his nephew. “I wonder you don’t go into Parliament.

“Don’t be angry, uncle. Come! Dine with us to-morrow.”

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You’re quite a powerful speaker, sir, I wonder you don’t go into Parliament.
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