Finished The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain, the last of Dickens' Christmas books. I finished it before Christmas, but am only blogging about it now. Professor Redlaw is a man with many painful and troubling memories. He is visited by a spirit in the shape of himself. This spirit offers to relieve Redlaw of the memories of all the painful slights he has received at the hands of others. Redlaw accepts this offer, but is told that it's outcome will spread to all those he comes into contact with. So, something that sounds like a good thing is really not good at all. Redlaw becomes cold, bitter and unsympathetic to those around him. As he moves among the people in his life, they too lose their patience and compassion. All but Milly. Milly is a beacon of light and understanding. Redlaw knows this and does what he can to shield her from his influence, but it matters not. She is unaffected by it. In fact, at one point Milly says "It is important to remember past sorrows and wrongs so that you can then forgive those responsible and, in doing so, unburden your soul and mature as a human being." This is of course the moral of the tale. It's certainly worth thinking about. Some of us carry perceived and actual slights around with us for years. Being capable of forgiveness is a quality of strength, although some things will always remain unforgivable.