When it came near him, Scrooge bent down upon his knee; for in the very air through which this Spirit moved it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery. It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible, save one outstretched hand. But for this, it would have been difficult to detach its figure from the night and separate it from the darkness by which it was surrounded.
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, like the future itself, appears as a mysterious and unknowable figure, literally shrouded in darkness. Here, the narrator describes the scene when the Ghost first appears to Scrooge. The Ghost takes Scrooge to future events and points to the details Scrooge needs to see, but does not answer any questions. Such foreboding silence causes him to be the most frightening of the Spirits, both to Scrooge and the reader.
Scrooge glanced towards the Phantom. Its steady hand was pointed to the head. The cover was so carelessly adjusted that the slightest raising of it, the motion of a finger on Scrooge’s part, would have disclosed the face. He thought of it, felt how easy it would be to do, and longed to do it; but had no more power to withdraw the veil than to dismiss the spectre at his side…. “Spirit!” he said, “this is a fearful place. In leaving it I shall not leave its lesson, trust me. Let us go!” Still the Ghost pointed with an unmoved finger to the head.
Despite not speaking or being able to manipulate objects, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come easily communicates with Scrooge. Here, he wants Scrooge to look at a corpse, but Scrooge can’t bring himself to do so—he feels too frightened by what he might see. Later, when Scrooge continues to refuse to look at the corpse’s face, the Ghost transports him to the corpse’s gravestone. At least Scrooge can read the stone and learn the lesson the Ghost is trying to teach.
The Spirit pointed from the grave to him, and back again. “No, Spirit! Oh, no, no!” The finger was still there. “Spirit!” he cried, tight clutching at his robe, “hear me! I am not the man I was. I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse! Why show me this, if I am past all hope!” For the first time the hand appeared to shake.
Scrooge’s words here indicate that he knows he is the dead man mourned by no one. Scrooge asks if he can change his fate, hoping that is the Ghost’s point in showing his future. The Spirit’s shaking hand, as described by the narrator, seems to display pity for Scrooge. If the Ghost serves as only the messenger, he may feel for Scrooge, and may not know whether Scrooge’s future can be changed.