A Christmas Carol in Prose : Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.
Autograph manuscript signed, December 1843
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan before 1900
this rate; and began to quake exceedingly.
"Hear me!" cried the Ghost. "My time is nearly gone."
"I will," said Scrooge. "But don't be hard upon me! Don't be flowery, Jacob! Pray!"
"How it is that I appear before you in a shape that you can see, I may not tell. I have sat invisible beside you, many and many a day."
It was not an agreeable idea. Scrooge shivered, and wiped the perspiration from his brow.
"That is no light part of my penance," pursued the Ghost. "I am here tonight to warn you that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate. A chance and hope of my procuring, Ebenezer."
"You were always a good friend to me," said Scrooge. "Thank'ee!"
"You will be haunted," resumed the Ghost, "by three spirits."
Scrooge's countenance fell, almost as low as the Ghost's had done.
"Is that the chance and favor that you mentioned, Jacob?" he demanded in a faultering voice.
"I—I think I'd rather not," said Scrooge.
"Without their visits," said the Ghost, "you cannot hope to shun the path I tread. Expect the first tomorrow, when the bell tolls one."
"Couldn't I take 'em all at once, and have it over, Jacob?" hinted Scrooge.
"Expect the second, on the next night at the same hour. The third on the next night at the same hour. Look to see me no more; and look that for your own sake you remember what has passed between us!"
When it had said these words, the spectre took its wrapper from the table, and bound it round its head, as before. Scrooge knew this, by the smart sound its teeth made, when the jaws were brought together by the bandage. He ventured to raise his eyes again, and found his supernatural visitor confronting him in a erect attitude, with his chain wound over and about his arm.
The apparition walked backward from him; and at every step it took, the window raised itself a little; so that when the spectre reached it, it was wide open. It beckoned Scrooge to approach, which he did. When they were within two paces of each other, Marley's Ghost held up its hand, warning him to come no nearer. Scrooge stopped.
Not so much in obedience, as in surprise and fear; for on the raising of the hand, he became sensible of confused noises in the