Actually, this passage is spoken by the Ghost of Christmas Present after Scrooge witnesses the Cratchit family at Christmas, and more so when he sees Tiny Tim for the first time, for Scrooge sees that Tiny Tim is suffering from some fatal disease, most likely polio for Tiny Tim is on crutches. He knows that if Tiny Tim does not have good medical attention, he will die, so he asks the Ghost of Christmas Present to
"Tell [him] if Tiny Tim will live."
The Ghost of Christmas Present replies by saying,
"I see a vacant seat. . . in the poor chimney corner, and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die."
After hearing Tiny Tim's fate, Scrooge's response is pleasingly surprising...
(The entire section contains 2 answers and 411 words.)