Once his affair was made public in 1858, Dickens went on the warpath, slandering his estranged wife in newspaper after newspaper and letter after letter. According to him, Catherine was a "donkey," an "unloving and unloved mother," not his intellectual equal, and entirely to blame for saddling him with so many noisy-ass children. What, was he banging her under the influence of hypnosis? Note that his annoyance over so many kids didn't stop him from claiming custody of nine of them, with only the oldest, Charles Jr., being financially independent enough to flip his father the finger and stay with his mom.
Creating that whole "White Christmas" thing helped keep Dickens in the public's good graces, but so did Catherine's outright refusal to rebut. She never reacted to Dickens' abuse and never rebuffed his public letters, or even spoke to a journalist. Literally her only comeback came on her deathbed in 1879, when she handed over a collection of letters Dickens wrote to her, with the plain request: "Give these to the British Museum, that the world may know he loved me once."
Ebenezer Scrooge Was Based On A Real Guy, Who Was Not A Penny-Pinching Grump
So A Christmas Carol is more of a "Do as I say, not as I do" morality tale. But hey, there's no shortage of hypocritical creatives in the world. What takes Dickens to the next level is the fact that one of his most famous characters is inspired by some random nobody who in no way deserved to be immortalized as a miserly penny-pincher. In 1841, Dickens was due to give a talk in Edinburgh and needed to kill some time beforehand. So he decided to walk through a graveyard, because the Victorians never got around to inventing non-creepy ways to have fun (we'll come back to that in a moment). While this may seem like the setup to his lesser-known work Attack Of The Zombie Scotsmen, that night's stroll in fact led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge.
As Dickens walked through what we assume was a thick Scottish fog, he saw the gravestone for a guy named Ebenezer Lennox Scroggie. The grave identified him as a "meal man," a reference to the fact that he sold cornmeal. But due to a combination of the gloom and Dickens' own mild dyslexia, he mistook the words for "mean man." Which, damn, talk about a rough way to be remembered.