AROMA 1: SMOKE
Aroma 1 is SMOKE. The air of Dickensian London would have been thick with smoke. We know that Dicken's was troubled by the industrialisation of life, viewing it as unhealthy and exploitative, especially of children, a theme of social commentary which recurs frequently in his novels. As well as the industrial context, wood burning fireplaces were a common source of heating and cooking. Imagine a wintery Dickensian street, wood smoke pouring out of rooftops, and perhaps a street seller roasting Chestnuts in an open fire their blackening skins, a common Christmas treat of Dicken's era. The Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge to see a bustling city street, full of shops selling Christmas produce. Dicken's describes the scene as follows: ‘Great, round, pot-bellied baskets of chestnuts, shaped like the waistcoats of jolly old gentlemen, lolling at the doors, and tumbling out into the street in their apoplectic opulence', the roasted Chestnut's themselves providing a foil for Scrooge's miserly ways.
After the Cratchit's enjoy their Christmas Lunch during Scrooge's vision of Christmas present, "the heart is swept and the fire made up" and a "shovel-full of chestnuts" is put on the open fire. As the scene comes to a close, "while the chestnuts on the fire sputtered and cracked noisily", Tiny Tim delivers his famous line, "God bless us, every one".