The first of the three spirits to visit Scrooge (as foretold by the ghost of Marley), is the Ghost of Christmas Past. He takes Scrooge on a journey back to episodes from his early life, including his unhappy boyhood. We're introduced to the pathetic sight of poor young Ebenezer, all alone at his boarding school on Christmas Day. All the other children are at home with their families, enjoying the festive season. But not Ebenezer. He's utterly miserable, sitting by himself without a single soul to offer him any Christmas cheer.
Scrooge must be different to the other boys, an outsider in some respects. It's noticeable that none of his classmates or anyone working at the school have offered him the chance to spend Christmas with them. Or if they did, he chose not to accept their invitations. There must be something about him, about his personality, that keeps him apart from other people. Although his beloved Fan comes to take him home, and although he subsequently comes to enjoy Christmas as a young man, there's a sense that Scrooge the miserable old miser is reverting back to the young Ebenezer of his school days: alone, unloved, and wracked by self-pity.