Stave two tells the story of Scrooge's encounter with the first of the three spirits whose visits were foretold by the ghost of Jacob Marley. The spirit identifies itself as "the Ghost of Christmas Past...your past."
It returns Scrooge to scenes from his earlier years, where Scrooge is an unseen and unheard observer who nonetheless eagerly takes in the action and discovers new insights as he watches the scenes. Scrooge regrets not having given something to the "boy singing a Christmas carol at my door last night" after seeing himself as a lonely young boy.
Scrooge feels some regrets about the way he treated Bob Cratchit after remembering his apprenticeship and observing the Christmas Eve party hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Fessiwig.
He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil....I should like to be able to say a word or two to my clerk just now.
In their final stop, Scrooge and the Ghost look in on the woman Scrooge had loved until his love of money grew stronger, now a loving wife and mother, and Scrooge understands that "another creature, quite as graceful and as full of promise, might have called him father, and been spring-time in the haggard winter of his life."
Overcome with remorse and regrets at what could have been, Scrooge begs to be released from the Ghost's influence. Extinguishing the Ghost's light, he finds himself alone in his bed.