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Panorama of Bisbee, Arizona.

The Ghosts of Copper Canyon: Visiting Bisbee, AZ

Last Updated on May 19, 2023

Arizona ghost towns were not uncommon after mines closed and workers moved on to more lucrative prospects. But unlike other towns where mine employees and their families left and entire communities disappeared into the desert dust, Bisbee did not die.

It’s true that the ghost of copper haunts the town. Its presence can still be felt everywhere when visiting Bisbee, AZ. After all, it was copper that put Bisbee on the map.

This intrepid town, however, lived on, thanks to an influx of creative free spirits who were drawn to this once raucous mining boom city.

They breathed new life into what could have been a dying place and made it their home. As a result, Bisbee has been restored into an eclectic art town full of galleries, restaurants, and fascinating small hotels. So much so that Bisbee was voted “Best Historical Small Town” by readers of USA Today.

Mining is Born in Bisbee

In 1877, a reconnaissance detail of U.S. army scouts and cavalrymen ventured through the Mule Mountains searching for renegade Apache. What trackers discovered instead was an outcropping of ore and mountains filled with rich minerals.

The rumor of silver in “them thar hills” began attracting prospectors in the late 1870s. A few years later, their diggings caught the interest of some San Francisco investors, among them, Judge DeWitt Bisbee, for whom the town is named. Silver had been mined in nearby Tombstone, but it was the rich vein of copper and other less-than-precious metals that would make Bisbee’s fortune.

Mining in the Mule Mountains proved successful and the population of Bisbee soon soared. By 1910, it was the largest city between New Orleans and San Francisco . Thousands of miners toiled underground removing six billion dollars-worth of minerals from the mines, mostly in copper.

Bisbee sported nearly 50 saloons and bordellos along Brewery Gulch to keep the cowboys and miners entertained. As Arizona’s most populous town, Bisbee enjoyed its reputation as “the liveliest spot between El Paso and San Francisco.”

With the growing industrialization of America and the expanding role of electricity in modernizing our nation, the copper mines thrived. Two world wars and the Korean War stimulated the demand for even more copper. In almost a century of mining, 8 billion pounds of copper, 102 million ounces of silver and 2.8 million ounces of gold along with a vast amount of zinc, lead and manganese were harvested from the mines.

However, by 1974, ore reserves had largely been depleted and mining operations closed the following year.

Rebirth as an Eclectic Small Town

Visiting Bisbee, AZ Main Street.

Tucked into a narrow valley and built into the steep slopes of Tombstone Canyon only 90 miles from Tucson , the Bisbee of today was actually reinvented in the early 1980s. Aging hippies and burned-out urban dwellers seeking to escape the stresses of city life began arriving. The cool mountainous terrain and Victorian architecture conjured up a sort of 1960s San Francisco feel and artists were drawn to Bisbee like a moth to a flame.

Bisbee remains one of the best-preserved historic small towns in the Southwest. Old brick buildings still line narrow winding streets, and miners’ shacks cling along the sharp slopes overlooking downtown. Concrete stairs climb the steep canyon sides to more old homes perched precariously on towering hillsides.

When visiting Bisbee, AZ, you’ll find the locals are a quirky mix of retired miners and their families, hippie jewelry makers, enterprising restaurateurs and boutique owners from all over the world. Bisbee is truly a walk-through history that made my husband and I feel as if we’d somehow wandered into a time warp connecting the present with the past.

Copper Queen Mine and Hotel

Copper Queen Mine Tour.

For a fascinating lesson in mining history, we paid a visit to Bisbee’s famed Copper Queen Mine. Tours are led by Bisbee’s retired copper miners. Visitors don yellow slickers, hardhats and miner’s headlamps before descending 1,500 feet underground by rail car to a cool 47-degree mine shaft containing the old deserted workings of the famous mine.

Bisbee’s historic small-town legacy is preserved, not only in its architecture and mining landscape, but in the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum located in the center of town. A Smithsonian affiliate, the old red brick building was constructed in 1897 to serve as the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Offices. Colorful exhibits, photos, and artifacts offer a glimpse into the everyday life of Bisbee’s early mining community.

Built over a century ago, the Copper Queen Hotel is the grand dame of Bisbee. General John “Black Jack” Pershing, John Wayne, Theodore Roosevelt, and mining executives from all over the world have stayed at this hotel which maintains the ambience of the Victorian era Old West.

The hotel also allegedly hosts three resident ghosts and a journal located at the front desk contains descriptions of guests’ encounters.

Mailing a postcard from the Copper Queen Post Office is a must when visiting Bisbee, AZ. This historic relic of the past is a natural gathering site for residents who come to pick up their mail in lockboxes as there is no home mail delivery.

The Copper Queen library, the oldest, continuously-operated public library in Arizona, established in 1882 is also located in this historic site.

Shopping in Bisbee is an eye-candy experience. Its array of galleries, boutiques and design shops is impressive. Fine art, handcrafted jewelry, pottery, Adirondack furniture, antiques, collectables, vintage clothing and metallic creations are just some of the items on display. A quirky shop called Wildflower Jewelry & Art creates pieces from repurposed roofing copper, vintage tins, aluminum cans, discarded puzzle tin boxes and even plastic Starbucks gift cards.

For a small town , Bisbee boasts 40 restaurants offering a myriad of choices from cafes and cantinas to saloons and fine dining. Santiago’s is a colorful Mexican restaurant with a fun and playful vibe. Café Roka, hailed as the best dining in Bisbee uses locally sourced ingredients and is housed in a fascinating 1907 historic art deco building. It certainly deserves all the accolades it has received.

Is Bisbee Still Haunted?

Supernatural sightings and ghostly apparitions have occurred not just in the Copper Queen Hotel, but in other venues such as The Oliver House, a former bordello now a bed and breakfast and The Lavender Pit, an abandoned open pit copper mine.

Even the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum is reputed to be a hotspot for paranormal activity. Visitors have shared stories of unexplained footsteps, disembodied voices, and the feeling of being watched while exploring the exhibits.

Whether one believes in the supernatural or not, Bisbee’s ghostly tales add an extra layer of intrigue to the town’s unique character. But it’s best said that perhaps it’s the ghost of copper itself that permeates the town and gives Bisbee its rich legacy.

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The Ghosts of Copper Canyon: Visiting Bisbee, AZ

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why does marleys ghost visit scrooge

Use These Maps to Find Ghost Towns in Your Area

Plan your next road trip around some of these spooky spots..

Image for article titled Use These Maps to Find Ghost Towns in Your Area

Visiting a (genuine) ghost town is one of the closest things we have to time travel. This is especially the case when you come across a building or home that looks as though its occupants suddenly disappeared during the course of a day, without packing up any belongings before they left.

And while some ghost towns—like Bodie, California , which is now a state historic park—are well-known tourist destinations, others are harder to find (sometimes because they’re quite literally off the beaten path). There’s also the possibility that there’s a nearby ghost town you never even knew existed.

Fortunately, there are various interactive maps that can point explorers in the right direction. Here are a few examples.

Ghost Towns of America

To create the “ Ghost Towns of America ” map, the team at the telematics company Geolab researched more than 3,800 ghost towns located across all 50 states. To use the map, click on the state you’d like to explore, and you’ll get a brief summary of its ghost towns, including the total number of ghost towns, and the county and metropolitan area that are home to the most abandoned hamlets. The map also offers a more in-depth look at 10 of the country’s ghost towns.

Ghost Town Gallery

The good news: The interactive map on the Ghost Town Gallery website contains fare more detailed information than the one discussed above. The bad news: It only provides that information for ghost towns across nine states in the western part of the U.S. (Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah).

United States Ghost Towns

Yes, the interactive map on looks a bit outdated, but it’s also one of the most comprehensive and useful ones out there . Again, start by clicking on a state. That will bring up a map of the state divided into numbered sections, and a list of ghost towns below, including the section of the map where they’re located.

You’ll need to pinpoint the exact locations of the towns yourself, but if you click on each name, you’ll be directed to a page giving you the low-down on the ghost town. This includes:

  • The county where it’s located
  • The type of vehicle you need to access the town (i.e. if a two-wheel drive car is fine, or if a four-wheel drive or off-road vehicle is required)
  • The local climate
  • The best time of year to visit
  • Whether its an entire ghost town, or a mix of abandoned and occupied homes and other structures.

Finally, there’s a paragraph or two on the history of each town, as well as comments on whether or not the remains are worth the visit.

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by SCR Staff

Bringing the Spirits of "A Christmas Carol" to Life

why does marleys ghost visit scrooge

Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by four spirits who aim to change his ways and save him from a lonely, haunted end. Each spirit enlightens Scrooge about what he needs most—from humanity to love to a warning of what could be.

The Ghost of Jacob Marley

“Mankind was my business!  The common welfare was my business. Charity, mercy, patience, kindness were all my business!  And now, I cannot rest.”

  • Jacob Marley is the first spirit to visit Scrooge and warn him of his impending visits from the spirits of Past, Present and Yet-to-Come. He is punished to wander the Earth in chains for living a life full of avarice and uncaring attitude towards others. He warns Scrooge not only of what is to come, but what he could become if he continues on his current path. Despite being the only spirit who personally knows Scrooge and the only friend he ever had, Marley is direct and as  A Christmas Carol  director John-David Keller puts it, “The least friendly.”
  • Marley’s chains represent the selfishness he exhibited in life. He unwittingly forged it through his many careless acts, "I wear the chain I forged in life​. I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.” (Charles Dickens,  A Christmas Carol ) Jacob Marley died seven years before the events of  A Christmas Carol .
  • Many adaptations have stayed true to the Dickens descriptions. Although, in the movie  A Muppet Christmas Carol , Jacob Marley is split into two characters, Jacob and Robert, played by the heckling duo Statler and Waldof.

Michael Manuel as Jacob Marley's Ghost. Photo by Jenny Graham.

Michael Manuel as Jacob Marley's Ghost. Photo by Jenny Graham.

Spirit of Christmas Past

“These are but shadows of the things that have been. They have no consciousness of us.”

The Spirit of Christmas Past is Scrooge’s second visitor ​whom Keller believes, “Is there to reawaken Scrooge’s humanity.” This shows Scrooge who he once was and the moments that led him to be the curmudgeon he is. In the original novel, the spirit is described as a childlike figure with an illuminated head—similar to a candle—that is ever changing in number of arms and legs. The light it emits is often thought to represent the illumination of the mind the spirit presents to Scrooge.

  • Due to the unique description of this spirit, many adaptations have interpreted the look and characterization of the spirit differently.
  • In SCR’s production, the wand the spirit carries acts as a representation of the illuminating light that Dickens describes in his novel. His costume also is from an earlier time period.
  • The Spirit of Christmas Past has been interpreted as elderly men, angelic women, children and even as a cab driver in the movie adaptation  Scrooged .
  • In a 2009 movie of  A Christmas Carol,  the Spirit of Christmas Past is represented faithfully to its Dickens description.

​Jennifer Parsons as The Spirit of Christmas Past. Photo by ​Jenny Graham.

​Jennifer Parsons as The Spirit of Christmas Past. Photo by ​Jenny Graham.

Spirit of Christmas Present

“They know me wherever they hum a Christmas tune, or have a Christmas thought, or remember some bygone Christmas Day and the hopes that went with it.”

Jolly, giant and only able to exist for a single year’s Christmas Day, the Spirit of Christmas Present offers Scrooge the idea of empathy and community. “He shows Scrooge what he is missing. The other aspect of life he needs,” Keller says. The spirit guides Scrooge to both moments of joy and festivity, as well as moments of hardship. At the end of their journey he presents two children to Scrooge, Ignorance and Want. He warns him to beware of them and at the stroke of midnight, the Spirit fades away.

  • The Ghost of Christmas present represents many of the Christmas ideals including generosity, empathy and celebration.
  • He typically is first seen on a throne of a large feast in Scrooge’s home to further illustrate the idea of sharing one’s riches with the community.
  • In Dickens’ novel, the Spirit is able to freely change size and towers over Scrooge when they meet.

Richard Soto as The Spirit of Christmas Present. Photo by Jenny Graham.

Richard Soto as The Spirit of Christmas Present. Photo by Jenny Graham.

Spirit of Christmas Yet-to-Come

“Spirit, I know that I, like all men, must die—but not having lived as I have! Not alone, unmourned, so poor in heart.”

The Spirit of Christmas Yet-to-Come is a silent specter ​who leads Scrooge on his final journey through a Christmas that could occur if he continues on his path. A cold spirit who is reminiscent of the grim reaper, this Spirit offers Scrooge two forms of grief and, as Keller puts it, “forces him to figure it out on his own.” The final moment with the Spirit thrusts an awakening upon Scrooge and reinforces the idea that he shouldn’t waste time.

  • The Spirit does not utter one single line and simply points Scrooge towards his answers. Keller believes that he “says nothing but at the same time says the most.”
  • In the novel, Dickens does not refer to this character as a spirit or ghost like the previous two. He simply refers to it as a “phantom.”
  • Scrooge is quick to dismiss the Spirits of Christmas Past and Present initially. But when the Spirit of Christmas Yet-to-Come arrives, he is quick to seek its message and even begs mercy from it at the end of their journey.
  • His interaction with the final spirit shows how much Scrooge has learned from his visitors.

Rosney Mauger as The Spirit of Christmas Yet-to-Come. Photo by Jenny Graham.

Rosney Mauger as The Spirit of Christmas Yet-to-Come. Photo by Jenny Graham.

03 Dec 2021

  • A Christmas Carol

why does marleys ghost visit scrooge

About the author

South Coast Repertory

South Coast Repertory is a Tony Award-winning theatre is known for producing classics, contemporary hits and world premieres, for having the largest new-play development program in the nation and for advancing the art of theatre in service to the community. 

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A Christmas Carol

What was the main reason Marley's ghost visited Scrooge?

from the book the a christmas carol

Marley visits Scrooge to warn and show him what will happen if he does not change his life. Marley also announces the upcoming arrival of visitors..... the Spirits.

Marley comes to Scrooge to warn him that he is needed to change. He warns him that bad times will happen if Scrooge doesn't change. The Spirits will also come later to meet Scrooge.

A Christmas Carol (Book)

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Marley’s Ghost

Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the church, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. [1] Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good for anything he chose to put his hand to.

Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were business partners for I don’t know how many years. Scrooge was his only administrator, his only friend, his only mourner.

Scrooge never painted out old Marley’s name, however. There it yet was, years afterwards, above the warehouse door — Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called him Scrooge, and sometimes they called him Marley. He answered to both names. It was all the same to him.

Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, that Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! External heat and cold had little influence on him. No warmth could warm him, and no cold could cool him. No wind that blew was more bitter than he. Foul weather didn’t know what to do with him. The heaviest rain and snow and hail and sleet could brag of the advantage over him in only one respect — they often “came down” handsomely, and Scrooge never did.

Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with friendly looks, “My dear Scrooge, how are you? When will you come to see me?” No beggars asked Scrooge for a few coins; no children asked him what time it was; no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place. But what did Scrooge care! It was the very thing he liked.

Stop and check

Scrooge and Marley were:

  • business partners
  • the same person with two names

Describe Scrooge in your own words.

One Christmas eve, old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house. [2] It was cold, bleak, biting, foggy weather; and the city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already.

The door of Scrooge’s counting-house was open so that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, Bob Cratchit, who, in a sad little room, was copying letters. Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk’s fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one piece of coal. But the clerk couldn’t add to it, for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room; and if the clerk came in with the shovel, he feared Scrooge would simply dismiss him on the spot. That’s why the clerk put on his white scarf, and tried to warm himself at the candle; in which effort, not being a man of a strong imagination, he failed.

“A merry Christmas, uncle!” It was the cheerful voice of Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, who came into the office so quickly that this was the first hint Scrooge had of his approach.

“Bah!” said Scrooge; “humbug!” [3]

“Christmas a humbug, uncle! You don’t mean that, I am sure!”

“I do. Forget merry Christmas! What’s Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, and not an hour richer? If I had my will, every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly [4] through his heart!”


“Nephew, keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine.”

“Keep it! But you don’t keep it.”

“Let me leave it alone, then. No good may it do you! No good it has ever done you!”

“There are many things from which I might have derived [5] good, by which I have not profited, I dare say, Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round — not only its religious part, but everything else — as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow travelers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say yes to Christmas!”

The clerk in the next room involuntarily applauded. [6]

“Let me hear another sound from you,” said Scrooge, “and you’ll keep your Christmas by losing your job! You’re quite a powerful speaker, sir,” he added, turning to his nephew.” I wonder why you don’t become a politician.”

“Don’t be angry, uncle. Come! Dine with us tomorrow.”

Scrooge refused, and not politely.

“But why?” cried Scrooge’s nephew. “Why?”

“Why did you get married?”

“Because I fell in love.”

“Because you fell in love!” growled Scrooge, as if that were the only one thing in the world more ridiculous than a merry Christmas. “Goodbye!”

“No, uncle, but you never came to see me before that happened. Why give it as a reason for not coming now?”


“I want nothing from you; I ask nothing of you; why can’t we be friends?”

“I am sorry, with all my heart, to find you like this. We have never fought before. I came, in honor of Christmas, and I will keep my Christmas spirit still. So a Merry Christmas, uncle!”


“And a Happy New Year!”


Stop and Check

Scrooge and Fred are:

Describe Fred in your own words.

The clerk, in letting Scrooge’s nephew out, had let two other people in. They were large gentlemen, and they now stood, with their hats off, in Scrooge’s office. They had books and papers in their hands, and bowed to him.

“Scrooge and Marley’s, I believe,” said one of the gentlemen, referring to his list. “Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Scrooge, or Mr. Marley?”

“Mr. Marley has been dead these seven years. He died seven years ago, this very night.”

“At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some small effort to help the poor who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessities; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”

“Are there no prisons?”

“Plenty of prisons, but there are those in need who have committed no crime. A few of us are trying to raise funds to buy the poor some food and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly [7] felt, and Abundance [8] rejoices. What shall I put you down for?”


“You wish to be anonymous?”

“I wish to be left alone. Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas, and I can’t afford to make idle [9] people merry. I help to support the prisons and the workhouses [10] — they cost enough — and those who are badly off must go there.”

“Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”

“If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

And with that, Scrooge dismissed the two men with another short “Goodbye.”

What were the two men doing? What was Scrooge’s reaction?

The time came for the counting-house to close for the day. With an ill-will Scrooge, got up from his stool, and his clerk instantly snuffed his candle out and put on his hat.

“You’ll want all day off tomorrow, I suppose?”

“If quite convenient, sir.”

“It is not convenient, and it’s not fair. If I was to stop even half your pay for it, you’d think yourself mightily ill-used, I imagine?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And yet you don’t think me ill-used when I pay a day’s wages for no work.”

“It’s only once a year, sir.”

“A poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every twenty-fifth of December! But I suppose you must have the whole day. Be here all the earlier next morning.”

The clerk promised that he would; and Scrooge walked out with a growl.

Scrooge took his melancholy [11] dinner in his usual melancholy tavern; and having read all the newspapers, and spent the rest of the evening with his banker’s book, went home to bed. He lived in an apartment which had once belonged to his dead partner. They were a gloomy [12] suite of rooms in a building that was old enough now, and dreary enough; for nobody lived in it but Scrooge, the other rooms being all rented as offices.

Now it is a fact that there was nothing at all particular about the knocker on the door of this house, except that it was very large; also, that Scrooge had seen it, night and morning, every day; also, that Scrooge did not believe in anything too fancy. And yet Scrooge, having his key in the lock of the door, suddenly saw in the knocker Marley’s face.

Marley’s face, with a dismal light about it, like a bad lobster in a dark cellar. It was not angry or ferocious, [13] but it looked at Scrooge as Marley used to look — with ghostly glasses turned up upon its ghostly forehead.

As Scrooge looked fixedly at this phenomenon, it was a knocker again. He said, “Pooh, Pooh!” and closed the door with a bang. The sound echoed through the house like thunder. He was not a man to be frightened by echoes. He fastened the door, and walked across the hall and up the stairs slowly.

Up Scrooge went, not caring a button for its being very dark. Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it. But before he shut his heavy door, he walked through his rooms to see that all was right. Sitting-room, bedroom, all as they should be. Nobody under the table, nobody under the sofa; a small fire in the grate; spoon and bowl ready; and the little saucepan of gruel. [14] Nobody under the bed; nobody in the closet; nobody in his dressing-gown, which was hanging up in a suspicious attitude against the wall.

Quite satisfied, he closed his door and locked himself in; double-locked himself in, which was not his custom. Thus secured against surprise, he put on his dressing-gown and slippers and his nightcap, and sat down before the very low fire to eat his gruel.

As he threw his head back in the chair, his glance happened to rest upon a bell — an unused bell that hung in the room, and communicated, for some purpose now forgotten, with a room in the highest

floor of the building. It was with great astonishment, and with a strange, inexplicable dread, that, as he looked, he saw this bell begin to swing. Soon it rang out loudly, and so did every bell in the house.

This was succeeded by a clanking noise, deep down below, as if some person were dragging a heavy chain over the casks in the wine-merchant’s cellar.

Then he heard the noise much louder, on the floors below; then coming up the stairs; then coming straight towards his door.

It came on through the heavy door, and a spectre [15] passed into the room before his eyes.

The same face, the very same — Marley. His body was transparent; [16] so that Scrooge, observing him, and looking through his vest, could see the two buttons on his coat behind. Scrooge had often heard it said that Marley had no guts, but he had never believed it until now.

Though he looked the phantom through and through, and saw it standing before him — though he felt the chilling influence of its death-cold eyes, and noticed the very texture of the folded handkerchief bound around its head and chin — he still could not believe what he saw.

“How now!” said Scrooge, mean and cold as ever. “What do you want with me?”

“Much!” — it was Marley’s voice, no doubt about it.

“Who are you?”

“Ask me who I was.”

“Who were you then?”

“In life I was your partner, Jacob Marley.” Receiving no reaction, the ghost continued: “You don’t believe in me.”

“I don’t.”

“Why do you doubt your senses?”

“Because a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are! Dreadful apparition, why do you trouble me?”

“Man of the worldly mind!” replied the Ghost, “do you believe in me or not?”

“I do,” said Scrooge. “I must. But why do spirits walk the earth, and why do they come to me?”

“It is required of every person,” the Ghost returned, “that the spirit within them should walk abroad among other people, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!”

Again the spectre raised a cry, and shook its chain and wrung its shadowy hands.

“You are fettered,” [17] said Scrooge, trembling. “Tell me why?”

“I wear the chain I made in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard of my own free will. Is its pattern strange to you?”

Scrooge trembled more and more.

“Or do you know,” continued the Ghost, “the weight and length of the strong chains you have yourself? They are as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You have labored on it since. It is a ponderous [18] chain!”

Scrooge glanced about him on the floor with the expectation of finding himself surrounded by some fifty or sixty miles of iron cable, but he could see nothing.

“Jacob,” he said, imploringly. “Old Jacob Marley, tell me more. Speak comfort to me, Jacob!”

“I have none to give,” the Ghost replied. “That comes from other places, Ebenezer Scrooge, and is given by other messengers to other kinds of people. Nor can I tell you what I would like to say. A very little more is all that is permitted to me. I cannot rest, I cannot stay, I cannot linger anywhere. My spirit never walked beyond our counting-house in life; my spirit never traveled beyond the narrow limits of our money-changing hole; and weary journeys lie before me!”

“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” said Scrooge. He thought the same of himself.

“Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind ought to have been my business. The common welfare should have been my business; charity, mercy, forgiveness, and kindness were all to have been my business. The dealings of our company were but a drop of water in the larger ocean of my business!”

It held up its chain at arm’s length, as if that were the cause of all its unending grief, and flung it heavily upon the ground again. Scrooge was very much dismayed to hear the spectre going on at this rate, and began to tremble exceedingly.

“Hear me! My time is nearly gone. I am here tonight to warn you that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate. A chance and hope that I have made possible for you, Ebenezer.”

“You were always a good friend to me. Thank you!”

“You will be haunted by Three Spirits.”

“Is that the chance and hope you mentioned, Jacob? I — I think I’d rather not.”

“Without their visits, you cannot hope to shun the path I tread. Expect the first tomorrow night, when the bell tolls One. Expect the second on the next night at the same hour. The third, upon the next night, when the last stroke of Twelve has ceased to vibrate. Look to see me no more; and look that, for your own sake, you remember what has passed between us!”

It walked backward from him; and at every step it took, the window raised itself a little, so that, when the apparition reached it, it was wide open.

The air was filled with phantoms, wandering here and there in restless haste, and moaning as they went. Every one of them wore chains like Marley’s Ghost; a few (they might be guilty governments) were linked together; none were free. Scrooge knew many personally. He had been quite familiar with one old ghost with a monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle, who cried mournfully at being unable to assist a poor woman with an infant whom it saw below upon a door-step. The misery with all the spirits was, clearly, that they sought to intervene for good — to help in human matters — but had lost the power forever.

Whether these creatures faded into a mist or the mist hid them, he could not tell. But they and their spirit voices faded together; and the night became as it had been when he walked home.

Scrooge closed the window and examined the door by which the Ghost had entered. It was double-locked, as he had locked it with his own hands, and the bolts were undisturbed. Scrooge tried to say, “Humbug!” but stopped at the first syllable. He went straight to bed without undressing, and fell asleep on the instant.

Which words are synonyms?

What happened to Marley? What is his message to Scrooge?

  • someone who is at a funeral, especially a relative or close friend of the dead person ↵
  • the office of an accountant, someone who handles money for others ↵
  • false talk or actions ↵
  • a bush that stays green in winter; often used as a holiday decoration ↵
  • obtained from someone or something else ↵
  • clapped hands ↵
  • strongly ↵
  • a very large or sufficient amount of something; enough for all your needs ↵
  • not active, not working ↵
  • a place where poor people were offered work and a place to sleep ↵
  • a feeling of sadness and despair; without hope ↵
  • dark, sad, unhappy ↵
  • violent and able to cause serious damage or injury ↵
  • a food made with crushed grain and water, often eaten by poor people in the past ↵
  • ghost or spirit ↵
  • clear; able to see through ↵
  • limited or controlled, not allowed to do what one wishes; tied up ↵
  • big and heavy, and therefore slow ↵

A Christmas Carol Copyright © 2019 by Timothy Krause is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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