Are you the Spirit, sir, whose coming was foretold to
me.’ asked Scrooge.
The voice was soft and gentle. Singularly low, as if
instead of being so close beside him, it were at a distance.
‘Who, and what are you.’ Scrooge demanded.
‘I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.’
‘Long Past.’ inquired Scrooge: observant of its dwarfish stature.
‘No. Your past.’
Scrooge reverently disclaimed all intention to offend. He then made bold to inquire what business brought her there.
“Your welfare,” said the Ghost.
Scrooge expressed himself much obliged, but could not help thinking that a night of unbroken rest would have been more conducive to that end. The Spirit must have heard him thinking, for it said immediately:
“Your reclamation, then. Take heed.”
It put out its hand as it spoke, and clasped him gently by the arm.
“Rise. And walk with me.”
It would have been in vain for Scrooge to plead that the weather and the hour were not adapted to pedestrian purposes; that bed was warm, and the thermometer a long way below freezing; that he was clad but lightly in his slippers, dressing-gown, and nightcap; and that he had a cold upon him at that time. The grasp, though gentle, was not to be resisted. He rose: but finding that the Spirit made towards the window, clasped his robe in supplication.
“I am mortal,” Scrooge remonstrated, “and liable to fall.”
“Bear but a touch of my hand there,” said the Spirit, laying it upon her heart, “and you shall be upheld in more than this.”
As the words were spoken, they passed through the wall, and stood upon an open country road, with fields on either hand. The city had entirely vanished. Not a vestige of it was to be seen.
– A Christmas Carol, Stave 2: The First of the Three Spirits