With the Ghost of Christmas Past in Stave Two, Ebenezer Scrooge finds himself a young man, sitting beside "a fair young girl in a mourning-dress" who tells him that he has changed as all his other hopes have
"merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of its [money's] sordid reproach. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one, until the master-passion, Gain, engrosses you...."
The young lady tells Scrooge that when they were poor, he was another man. Now, he is changed and what once promised happiness now is fraught with misery as they are two. She adds that if he were now choosing a girlfried, he would not choose her, but, instead, would select someone who could bring him "Gain," and view their separation as an "unprofitable dream." As she breaks off the engagement, she adds that she hopes he will be "happy in the life you have chosen."