Jacob Marley's Warning

Today I've partially watched at least three versions of Dickens' 1843 A Christmas Carol. It's a story from which I cannot tire. Ebenezer Scrooge is the archetypal Victorian businessman, albeit having somewhat exaggerated qualities. He believes in thrift and hard work; self reliance is the watchword. The poor are such because they are idle; their dying will merely help adjust the surplus population. 
 
By the time the story is through, and the spirits have done their work and Scrooge is a redeemed character. 

“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.” 

In 1996, I played Jacob Marley in our school play. Wrapped in heavy chains, I spoke his words which still issue fair warning to our own generation:

“You are fettered," said Scrooge, trembling. "Tell me why?"
"I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it".