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Posts Tagged ‘chain forged in life’

The ghost of Jacob Marley visits Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (1843); Illustration by Arthur Rackham (1915)

‘Mercy! [Scrooge] said. ‘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 man,’ the Ghost returned, ‘that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, 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 – oh, woe is me! – and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!’

Marley's Ghost by John Leech (1843) from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (1943)

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

‘You are fettered,’ said Scrooge, trembling. ‘Tell me why?’

‘I wear the chain I forged in life,’ replied the Ghost. ‘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. Is its pattern strange to you?’

Scrooge trembled more and more.

‘Or would you know,’ pursued the Ghost, ‘the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this seven Christmas Eves ago. You have labored on it since. It is a ponderous chain!'”

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