A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Retold by Kieran McGovern
5.1 Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come The Third and final ghost visits Scrooge
THE Spirit slowly silently approached. When it came near him, Scrooge bent down upon his knee.
A deep black garment hid its head, its face, its form. It left nothing visible except an outstretched hand. He knew no more, for the Spirit neither spoke nor moved. "You are the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come? Ghost of the Future! I fear you more than any spectre I have seen. But I hope to live
to be another man from what I was. Will you not speak to me?" It gave him no reply. The hand was pointed straight before them. "Lead on! Lead on! The night is ending fast. Lead on, Spirit!" Into the future The Spirit takes Scrooge back into the city. A group of business men are standing together. He recognises the place and the people Scrooge advanced to listen to their talk. "No," said a great fat man with an enormous chin, "I don't know much about it either way. I only know he's dead." "When did he die?" asked another. "Last night, I believe." "Why, what was the matter with him? I thought he'd never die." "God knows," said the first, with a yawn. "What has he done with his money?" asked a red-faced gentleman. "I haven't heard," said the man with the large chin. "He hasn't left it to me. That's all I know. Bye, bye!" He died alone The Spirit then shows thieves taking away the few possessions of the man who has died. One justifies why he is stealing these things
"If he had been kind in his lifetime, he'd have had somebody to look after him when he died. Instead he lay there gasping out his last there, alone by himself." "What do you call this?â€? said the other thief, rolling out some material. â€œBed-curtains!" "Ah! Bed-curtains! Don't drop that oil upon the blankets." "His blankets?" "Whose else's do you think? He isn't likely to be cold without them." Scrooge listened to this dialogue in horror. "Spirit! I see, I see. The case of this unhappy man might be my own. My life tends that way, now. Merciful Heaven, what is this!" A body The scene had changed, and now he almost touched a bare bed. Unwatched, unwept, uncared for, was the body of this unknown man. "Spirit, let me see some tenderness connected with a death!" cried Scrooge The Ghost conducted him to poor Bob Cratchit's house, and found the mother and the children seated round the fire. Tiny Tim has recently died. Bob has been looking for a suitable grave for him It was quiet. Very quiet. The noisy little Cratchits were as still as statues in one corner. They sat looking up at Peter, who had a book 3
before him. The mother and her daughters were doing needle-work. The mother laid her work upon the table, and put her hand up to her face. "It’s near the time for your father to come home," she said. "Past it rather," Peter answered, shutting up his book. "But I think he has walked a little slower these few last evenings, mother." "I have known him walk with -- I have known him walk with Tiny Tim upon his shoulder, very fast indeed." "And so have I," cried Peter. "Often." "But he was very light to carry, and his father loved him so. It was no trouble. And there is your father at the door!" Bob weeps for his son She hurried out to meet him; and Bob, poor fellow, came in. The two young Cratchits got upon his knees and laid, each child, a little cheek against his face Bob was very cheerful with them, and spoke pleasantly to all the family. Mrs Cratchit said: “You went today, then, Robert?" "Yes, my dear," said Bob. "It’s a beautiful green place. But you'll see it often. I promised him that I would walk there on a Sunday. My little, little child! My little child!"
He broke down all at once. He couldn't help it. "Spirit," said Scrooge, "something informs me that our parting moment is at hand. I know it, but I know not how. Tell me what man that was, with the covered face, whom we saw lying dead?" Among the graves The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come took him to a dismal churchyard. The Spirit stood among the graves, and pointed down to one. "Answer me one question,â€™ said Scrooge. â€˜Are these the shadows of the things that will be? Or are they shadows of the things that only may be?" Still the Ghost pointed downward to the grave by which it stood. "But can this be changed?" The Spirit did not move. Scrooge crept towards it, trembling as he went. Following the finger he read upon the stone of the neglected grave his own name: EBENEZER SCROOGE. No, Spirit! "Am I that man who lay upon the bed? No, Spirit! O no, no! Spirit! Hear me! I am not the man I was. I will not be the man I was going to be. Why show me this, if I am past all hope? 5
Tell me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me by an altered life." For the first time the kind hand faltered. "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 strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. O, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!" Final Part Glossary/Vocabulary At hand - coming near Faltered - hesitated, stopped Garment - something to wear Grieve - feeling of deep loss Engagement - promise to marry Matter with - the problem Sponge - used to clean Tenderness - kind feeling Yawn - open mouth when sleepy A glossary, comprehension exercises, key quotes and other learning activities related to this text are here: http://christmascarol.esolebooks.com/ 6