08/02/2023

Dickens /Christmas /The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain

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The Haunted Man and the Ghosts’ Bargain – 1848 – A Christmas tale


This, the last of the Christmas books, reverts to the supernatural. It was first published on 19 Dec 1848, the illustrators were Sir John Tenniel, Frank Stone, William Clarkson Stanfield and John Leech.
THE STORY:
A chemistry professor, Mr Redlaw, is beset with painful memories.

A phantom appears to him on Christmas Eve, it is a double of himself, not so much a ghost as Redlaw’s phantom twin. It grants him the ability to forget his painful memories, to ‘forget the sorrow, wrong, and trouble you have known…’ He reluctantly agrees to the arrangement.

Sadly, those he comes into contact with will also forget their sorrows. He goes to see Denham who has had a long-term illness and has been faithfully served by his nurse, Milly Swidger. Hetoo forgets his sorrowsbut is rude to Milly. Redlaw realises that it is something of a curse and tries to hide away from people.

In the case of 87-year old Philp Swidger, this means he forgets what makes him happy and he sinks into senility.

When he comes into contact with a Cratchit-like family, the Tetterby family their forgetting makes them callous.

Milly’s memories of her lost child have prompted a benevolence in her. Her goodness helps to reverse the ‘gift’ of forgetfulness in Mr Redlaw.


CHARACTERS:
·       Redlaw, Professor
·       Swidger, William
·       Swidger, Milly
·       Swidger, Philip
·       Tetterby family
·       Longford, Edmund

Redlaw and the Swidgers

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