Scrooge wakes in the darkness and hears the bells of a nearby church tolling twelve. He realizes that it is impossible for the hour to be midnight because it was almost two o'clock when he went to sleep, yet it is too dark for it to be noon. And the idea of sleeping through an entire day seems impossible as well, but his bedside clock also confirms the hour as twelve. Then he remembers that Marley said another ghost would come to him at one o'clock, so Scrooge lies awake, waiting for the hour.
At the stroke of one o'clock, a light flashes in his room and a hand draws back the curtains of his bed. The ghost is a strange figure with hair that is white with age, but a face that bears no wrinkles. The long, white tunic the ghost wears is girded by a belt with a sprig of holly symbolizing winter tucked in it, but spring flowers hem the bottom of the tunic. The ghost is a visualization of the contradictions of youth and age as well as the contradictions of winter and spring. From his head shines a radiant beam of light, and under his arm he carries a hat that resembles a candlesnuffer. It is the Ghost of Christmas Past and he takes Scrooge to the previous Christmases of his life.
Scrooge and the ghost revisit Scrooge's early childhood when Scrooge spent Christmas alone at his boarding school. Seeing his boyhood classmates brings Scrooge to tears. Looking at the boy spending his Christmas with only the characters in the stories he reads to keep him company, Scrooge regrets that he did not give anything to the boy who sang a carol at the counting house door earlier that evening.
That vision fades to one of the following year when Scrooge's young sister, Fannie, came to get him from school and take him home for Christmas. Ebenezer sees her and is moved to tears again for her sweetness and her frailty because with the image of her when she…