4. The idea being an alarming one, he scrambled out of bed and groped his way to the window. He was obliged to rub the frost off with the sleeve of his dressing gown before he could see anything and could see very little then. All he could make out was that it was still very foggy and extremely cold and that there was no noise of people running to and fro and making a great stir, as there unquestionably would have been if night had beaten off bright day and taken possession of the world. This was a great relief because "three days after sight of this First of Exchange pay to Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge or his order," and so forth, would have become a mere United States security if there were no days to count by.
5. Scrooge went to bed again, and thought, and thought, and thought it over and over, and could make nothing of it. The more he thought, the more perplexed he was; and the more he endeavored not to think, the more he thought Marley's ghost bothered him exceedingly. Every time he resolved within himself, after mature inquiry, that it was all a dream, his mind flew back, like a strong spring released, to its first position, and presented the same problem to be worked all through, "Was it a dream or not?"
6. Scrooge lay in this state until the chime had gone three quarters more, when he remembered, on a sudden, that the ghost had warned him of a visitation when the bell tolled one. He resolved to lie awake until the hour was past, and, considering that he could no more go to sleep than go to heaven, this was perhaps the wisest resolution in his power.
7. Light flashed up in the room upon the instant, and the curtains of his bed were drawn. It was a strange figure -- like a child: yet not so like a child as like an old man, viewed through some supernatural medium, which gave him the appearance of having receded from the view and being diminished to a child's proportions. Its hair, which hung about its neck and down its back, was white as if with age; and yet the face had not a wrinkle in it, and the tenderest bloom was on the skin. The arms were very long and muscular; the hands the same as if its hold were of uncommon strength. Its legs and feet, most delicately formed, were, like those upper members, bare. It wore a tunic of the purest white and round its waist was bound a lustrous belt, the sheen of which was beautiful. It held a branch of fresh green holly in its hand; and, in singular contradiction of that wintry emblem, had its dress trimmed with summer flowers. But the strangest thing about it was that from the crown of its head there sprung a bright clear jet of light, by which all this was visible; and which was doubtless the occasion of its using, in its duller moments, a great extinguisher for a cap, which it now held under its arm.
8. As its belt sparkled and glittered now in one part and now in another, and what was light one instant, at another time was dark, so the figure itself fluctuated in its distinctness: being now a thing with one arm, now with one leg, now with twenty legs, now a pair of legs without a head, now a head without a body: of which dissolving parts, no outline would be visible in the dense gloom wherein they melted away. And in the very wonder of this, it would be itself again, distinct and clear as ever.
9. "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."
10. "Long past?" inquired Scrooge: observant of its dwarfish stature.
"No. Your past."
Perhaps, Scrooge could not have told anybody why, if anybody could have asked him; but he had a special desire to see the Spirit in his cap and begged him to be covered.
11. "What!" exclaimed the ghost, "would you so soon put out, with worldly hands, the light I give? Is it not enough that you are one of those whose passions made this cap, and force me through whole trains of years to wear it low upon my brow!"
Scrooge reverently disclaimed all intention to offend or any knowledge of having wilfully bonneted the Spirit at any period of his life. He then made bold to inquire what business brought him 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.
Jane Eyre written by Charlotte Bronte
1. With Bewick on my knee, I was then happy: happy at least in my way. I feared nothing but interruption, and that came too soon. The breakfast-room door opened.
2. "Boh! Madam Mope!" cried the voice of John Reed; then he paused: he found the room apparently empty. "Where the dickens is she!" he continued. "Lizzy! Georgy! (calling to his sisters) Jane is not here: tell mama she is run out into the rain - bad animal!"
3. "Glad I drew the curtain," thought I; and I wished fervently he might not discover my hiding place. John Reed could not have found it out himself; he was not quick either of vision or conception; but Eliza just put her head in at the door, and said at once -
"She is in the window seat, John."
4. And I came out immediately, for I trembled at the idea of being dragged forth by John.
"What do you want?" I asked, with shyness.
"Say, 'What do you want, Master Reed?'" was John's answer. "I want you to come here;" and seating himself in an arm-chair, he showed by a gesture that I was to approach and stand before him.
5. John Reed was a schoolboy of fourteen years old; four years older than I, for I was but ten. Large and stout for his age, with a dingy and unwholesome skin; thick lines in a large face, heavy limbs and large extremities. He gorged himself habitually at the table, which made him gave him a dim and bleared eye and flabby cheeks. He ought now to have been at school; but his mama had taken him home for a month or two, "on account of his delicate health." Mr. Miles, the master, affirmed that he would do very well if he had fewer cakes and sweetmeats, but the mother's heart turned from an opinion so harsh, and inclined rather to the more refined idea that John's sickness was due to over-word and, perhaps, to missing after home.
6. John had not much affection for his mother and sisters, and antipathy toward me. He bullied and punished me; not two or three times in the week, nor once or twice in the day, but continually: every nerve I had feared him, and every morsel of flesh in my bones shrank when he came near. There were moments when I was bewildered by the terror he inspired, because I had no safety from his threats or his punishments.
7. The servants did not like to offend their young master by taking my side against him, and Mrs. Reed was blind and deaf on the subject: she never saw him strike or heard him abuse me, though he did both now and then in her very presence. More frequently, however, he did it behind her back.