Chapter 4 – The Last of the Spirits
Slowly and silently the ghost came nearer. It was very tall and wore a deep black piece of clothing, which covered its whole body and left nothing of it visible but one outstretched hand.
“Are you the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come?” asked Scrooge, “I fear you more than any other spirit.”
The ghost did not say a word, and Scrooge was really scared. They wandered through the city and Scrooge heard some men talking about a person who had died. Scrooge knew the men and wanted to find out, whom they were talking about. But the spirit moved on.
They next stopped in an area where thieves and liars lived. They had stolen things with them and made fun of the person who once owned those things.
“Ha, ha!” laughed a woman, “He frightened everybody away from him when he was alive, to profit us when he was dead! Ha, ha, ha!”
After that, the ghost led Scrooge through streets that were familiar to him; and as they went along, Scrooge looked here and there to find himself, but nowhere was he to be seen. They entered poor Bob Cratchit’s house and found the mother and the children by the fire. Quiet. Very quiet. The noisy little Cratchits were as still as statues. When Bob Cratchit came in, the children hurried to greet him. Then the two young Cratchits got upon his knees and laid their little cheeks against his face as if to say, “Don’t mind it, father. Don’t be sad.”
“You went there today?” said his wife.
“Yes, my dear,” returned Bob. “I wish you could have gone. It would have done you good to see how green the place is. But you’ll see it often. I promised him that we would walk there every Sunday. My little, little child.” cried Bob. “My little child.”
He broke down in tears. He couldn’t help it. If he could have helped it, he and his child would have been farther apart perhaps than they were.
The ghost moved on and took Scrooge to a churchyard. The spirit stood among the graves and pointed down to one. Scrooge slowly went towards it and following the ghost’s finger read upon the stone of the grave his own name, Ebenezer Scrooge.
“Spirit!” Scrooge cried, “hear me. I am not the man I was! I will not be the man I must have been so far! Why show me this if I am past all hope? Good Spirit, I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the past, the present, and the future. The spirits of all three shall be within me. I will not ignore the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me that I may change my fate!”
Full of fear, Scrooge caught the spirit’s hand. But the spirit suddenly changed – it shrunk and faded and finally turned into a bedpost.