Jacob Marley was born on March 8th, 1784, to John and Elizabeth Marley in the Westminster area of London, England, just a couple of miles by carriage to the London Stock Exchange. Westminster, located along the River Thames, is one of the most important boroughs of London. It is home to Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, St. James Palace, and the Houses of Parliament. John was a dapper young gentleman and successful businessman in London, as Elizabeth was a beautiful, elegant, and bubbly woman that always greeted anyone with a kindhearted smile. They both would dress in the latest English fashion and lived in a beautiful two story home that was well decorated with the most stylish decor.
Once John felt they were well-established they decided it was time to raise a family of their own. Jacob’s birth was a terrible one for Elizabeth that would result in her death two weeks later. He was the first and only child of the couple, a couple which was deeply in love since they first met. John would never forgive his son for the death of his beloved, or so it seemed to Jacob, and their relationship would become very cold and distant. John would slowly die from heartbreak in 1801, leaving a young Jacob to fend for himself.
If Jacob learned anything from his father, it was the importance of financial security. His father seemed like two different people, the vigorous and sharp-witted businessman, and the hollow emotionless father at home. John worked for the Exchange as a speculator in stocks, and did quite well. London was experiencing tremendous growth during the Industrial Revolution, and John was able to capitalize on this growth with his shrewd business manners and negotiating skills. Even though he portrayed these characteristics he was still liked by most of his peers, always fair in his dealings. By the time Jacob would start his own banking and speculating business London had become the largest city in the world. Sadly, Jacob would not inherit the same personal traits in his business dealings as his father.
On the other hand, living in a large house for only two residents gave them plenty of space to ignore each other. Jacob mistook John’s quiet and distant demeanor to mean that he no longer wanted his son. In all fairness to Jacob, he was too young to understand the pain his father was going through, nor did he have the capability to help ease his father’s pain. At the same time, John did not do a very good job of maintaining a close relationship with his only child. Jacob was a painful reminder every day, and even though he never actually blamed his son for the tremendous loss he felt, he definitely gave that impression to young Jacob….
…….Jacob followed Ebenezer as he headed home. The others watched as Scrooge would walk past his fellow mankind as if they did not exist. It was obvious that those familiar with Ebenezer knew better than to greet him, but others would throw out the occasional ′Merry Christmas′ that would be quickly followed by a ′Bah Humbug’. The evening had progressed itself into a very dark and dreary night. The fog was so thick you could cut it with a knife. The bitter, piercing, cold biting like a rabid dog. Normal landmarks along the route were impossible to see.
Ebenezer stopped along his usual route at his usual stop to have his usual dinner. He read the day’s news, and went over some of his record books from work. Even though this was an occurrence that happened regularly there were never any interactions with those around him that you would expect from a ’regular’. Those around him learned early on to keep their distance from him. Jacob knew this route well. It led directly to his former Earthly home. A dreary looking abode with an appearance that fit the weather. In fact, it fittingly looked more like a place for business than for residence. Scrooge had returned to live in Jacob’s home after the death of his partner so that he would be much closer to the office.
But on this night, of all nights, Ebenezer felt peculiar concerning the commute home, to the point he thought he heard someone call his name. Jacob decided to start his evening with Scrooge a little early, and occasionally threw out his name as only a spirit could. Ebenezer rarely was scared of anything, but tonight he felt something different in the cold, crisp air. Each time he thought he heard his name, he couldn’t decide if it was that or just the wind howling between the buildings. Ebenezer would catch himself looking over his shoulders as if to find someone following him home.
For some reason, Jacob was having a little fun at Ebenezer’s expense. A quiet ’Scrooooge’ would be thrown out now and then on the journey home. He forgot what it was like to truly enjoy himself. Of course it happened so rarely in his own life that it was easy to see why. As he whisked his way down his own familiar path, he tried hard to think back to when the last time he enjoyed himself this much. Sadly, he couldn’t recall.
As they arrived at Jacob’s former abode, he decided to have a little more enjoyment and stuck his face through the door from inside and placed it directly in the large knocker attached to the front. Marley stared deeply into old Scrooge’s eyes as he fumbled for his keys. Startled, Ebenezer glared back. He had not thought about the looks of his former partner since he passed away, except on those rare occasions someone mistook him for Marley. But now he could see his former partner as he last saw him alive. Even down to the reading glasses that Jacob would keep on his forehead. Marley even went as far as to put the bandage back around his jaw that he wore during those painful final days of his mortal life. Then he was gone…..