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The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain

The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain by Charles Dickens
By: (1812-1870)

The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain, A Fancy for Christmas-Time, (better known as The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain) is a novella by Charles Dickens first published in 1848. It is the fifth and last of Dickens' Christmas novellas. The story is more about the spirit of the holidays than about the holidays themselves, harking back to the first of the series, A Christmas Carol. The tale centers around a Professor Redlaw and those close to him.

First Page:

THE HAUNTED MAN AND THE GHOST'S BARGAIN

CHAPTER I The Gift Bestowed

Everybody said so.

Far be it from me to assert that what everybody says must be true. Everybody is, often, as likely to be wrong as right. In the general experience, everybody has been wrong so often, and it has taken, in most instances, such a weary while to find out how wrong, that the authority is proved to be fallible. Everybody may sometimes be right; "but THAT'S no rule," as the ghost of Giles Scroggins says in the ballad.

The dread word, GHOST, recalls me.

Everybody said he looked like a haunted man. The extent of my present claim for everybody is, that they were so far right. He did.

Who could have seen his hollow cheek; his sunken brilliant eye; his black attired figure, indefinably grim, although well knit and well proportioned; his grizzled hair hanging, like tangled sea weed, about his face, as if he had been, through his whole life, a lonely mark for the chafing and beating of the great deep of humanity, but might have said he looked like a haunted man?

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