The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain is an 1848 ghost story by Charles Dickens. It is the final novella in Dickens' series of five Christmas Books, the first and best known of which is A Christmas Carol.
The characters in The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain include a professor of chemistry named Redlaw, his students, Redlaw's servants William and Milly Swidger and the Tetherby family who rent a room to one of the professor's students. Redlaw is an unhappy man who spends a lot of time thinking about wrongs done to him in the past.
Redlaw is haunted by a spirit which is his own ghostly double, looking and dressing exactly like the professor. The ghost tells Redlaw that it can take away his painful memories. Redlaw is hesitant at first but eventually accepts the ghost's offer and forgets all the wrongs that were done to him in the past. However, instead of feeling happy, Redlaw finds that he feels angry at the world in general but does not understand why.
With the exception of Milly Swidger, all of the other characters that Redlaw comes into contact with gradually become as angry and bitter as the professor. Towards the end of the story, Milly states that painful memories serve an important purpose. People need to remember those who have wronged them in the past so that they can forgive them and, as a result, grow and develop as human beings. At that point, all of the characters cease to be angry and Professor Redlaw becomes a more humble and also a kinder person.
- The Chimes
- The Cricket on the Hearth
- The Battle of Life
- "Thurlow's Christmas Story"
- "William Wilson"