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Scrooge is uncharacteristically moved by the scene of real family life at the Cratchits, and is especially concerned about the fate of Tiny Tim. He asks the Spirit, "with an interest he had never felt before", to tell him if Tiny Tim will live. When the Spirit tells him that if conditions do not change for the family he will indeed die, Scrooge is truly saddened, begging the Spirit, "Oh, no, kind Spirit, say he will be spared!" The Spirit throws Scrooge's own callous words said earlier back at him, words that imply that the poor are of little value, and that if they should die, then more the better, because it will decrease the population. Scrooge "(hangs) his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit, and (is) overcome with penitence and grief".
Scrooge is touched by the scene of real family life, and it brings out a side of him that is sincere and uncynical. As he and the Spirit depart for further explorations, he looks back at the Cratchits with a kind of longing, keeping "his eye upon them, and especially on Tiny Tim, until the last" (Chapter 3).
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