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Real Scrooge 'was Dutch gravedigger'

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« on: December 24, 2007, 07:21:36 pm »

Real Scrooge 'was Dutch gravedigger'
By Richard Alleyne
Last Updated: 2:13am GMT 24/12/2007

He is synonymous with the traditional image of the Victorian English Christmas but Ebenezer Scrooge may have his roots much further afield.

According to Sjef de Jong, a Dutch academic, the Charles Dickens character may have been inspired by the real life of Gabriel de Graaf, a 19th century gravedigger who lived in Holland.

De Graaf, a drunken curmudgeon obsessed with money, was said to have disappeared one Christmas Eve, only to emerge years later as a reformed character.

While Dickens never travelled to Holland, he may have heard of de Graaf, who attributed his transformation to visions from dwarves, through his friend Hans Christian Andersen.

It has been widely accepted that Scrooge was an expansion of an earlier Dickens character, Gabriel Grub, from The Pickwick Papers.

Grub almost mirrored the life of his namesake in Bronkhurst, 20 miles from Arnhem, Holland.

"According to local people, the real Gabriel was a terrible man, unpleasant, addicted to alcohol and violent to children. Because he was so keen on money, he even dug graves on Christmas Eve. Then he disappeared. All he left was an empty bottle of gin in the grave," Dr de Jong said.

"Years later, Gabriel showed up saying he had changed after dwarves showed him a vision of a poor young child that died because nobody cared."

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« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2007, 07:26:45 pm »

Rich scrooges least likely to buy drinks round
Last Updated: 2:09am GMT 24/12/2007

People earning above the average are the least likely to buy a round of drinks, researchers claim in a report released yesterday.

Employees on a salary of between 69,000 and 83,000 a year even admit they are slow to get to the bar first, a study of 1,000 adults found.

The personal finance website,, says its research finds that workers earning between 14,000 and 28,000 are more likely to "stand their round" than those on higher rates of pay.

advertisementLawyers and engineers are most likely to keep a close check on who has bought a round of drinks, while hairdressers and beauticians never bother, says the report.

High earners are most likely to get annoyed if someone misses their round.

David Kuo, the head of, said: "Round buying can be a social and financial minefield but it is important to strike a balance between generosity and being over the top.

"Spendthrifts can be seen as scrooges at this time of year, and while you should certainly be fair and not cheat your friends out of drinks, ultimately it's important to live within your means.";jsessionid=SQPAHS4IJYJWTQFIQMFSFFWAVCBQ0IV0?xml=/news/2007/12/21/nround221.xml
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