Chapter 3 – The Second of the Three Spirits
Scrooge woke up in the middle of a snore, just before the clock struck one again. He sat up in his bed and waited for the second ghost to come. And there it was – the Ghost of Christmas Present. It had curly brown hair, sparkling eyes and it wore a simple green robe with white fur. Its feet were bare and on its head it wore a holly wreath.
The ghost took Scrooge to Bob Cratchit’s house – a very poor little dwelling. In the kitchen you could see Mrs Cratchit preparing Christmas dinner. Her children were cheerfully running around. Then the door opened and Bob Cratchit came in with Tiny Tim upon his shoulders. Tiny Tim was Bob Cratchit’s youngest son. He bore a little crutch and had an iron frame around his limbs.
“On our way home, Tiny Tim told me that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple. It might be pleasant to them to remember on Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk and blind men see.” Bob’s voice trembled when he said this.
Then Christmas dinner was ready, and everyone sat down at the table. As the Cratchits were very poor, it was not much they had for Christmas dinner. But still everyone was joyful and you could feel that they all had the Christmas Spirit in their hearts.
“A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears! God bless us!” said Bob Cratchit.
“God bless us every one!” said Tiny Tim.
He sat very close to his father’s side upon his little stool. Bob held his little hand, as if he feared to lose him.
“Spirit,” said Scrooge, who felt sorry for the boy, “tell me if Tiny Tim will live.”
“I see an empty seat,” replied the ghost, “and a crutch without an owner. If these shadows don’t change in the future, the child will die.”
This made Scrooge very sad, but the spirit went on and took Scrooge to his nephew’s house. Fred and his friends had a very cheerful party and played games. Scrooge really enjoyed their party and wanted to stay for another while but in a second it all faded and Scrooge and the spirit were again on their travels.
They visited many homes in many places: they saw sick people who were cheerful; people in foreign lands who were close at home, poor people who felt rich that day – all because of the Christmas Spirit.
Suddenly, Scrooge noticed something strange about the ghost. Two children-like figures were at the ghost’s feet – a boy and a girl. But, they looked old and dreadful, like little monsters. Scrooge was shocked.
“Spirit, are they your creatures?” Scrooge asked.
“They are Man’s creatures,” said the spirit “The boy is Ignorance. The girl is Want. Beware them both, but most of all beware this boy” said the spirit.
“Have they no place they can go?” asked Scrooge.
“Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?” the spirit turned on Scrooge with his own words.
The bell struck twelve. The Ghost of Christmas Present disappeared. And at the last stroke of the bell, Scrooge saw the third ghost coming towards him.