A speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top.

Background.

A Christmas Carol.
  • A speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top” is a quotation from A Christmas Carol (Stave 3).

Context.

Dickens humourously describes a Christmas pudding in the popular festive short story A Christmas Carol. The pudding has been cooked in the Cratchit household.

The Ghost of Christmas Present, the second of the three spirits that haunt the miser Ebenezer Scrooge, in order to prompt him to repent his selfish ways, has taken Scrooge to see the family of his clerk, Bob Cratchit. There, he witnesses the Cratchit family enjoy a Christmas meal including a Chritmas pudding.


Illustration from Stave 3 of the original publication of A Christmas Carol showing the
Ghost of Christmas Present visiting Ebenezer Scrooge.

Character Profile: Bob Cratchit.

The abused, underpaid clerk of Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit is a kind but very poor man with a large family and a very sick son, Tim. He works for Scrooge, copying letters in a cold dismal little room. Bob Cratchit represents the opposite qualities to Scrooge including kindness, generosity and a love of his family members. He wears tattered clothes as he cannot afford a coat. Cratchit is treated poorly by Scrooge and given a weekly salary that is insufficient to provide his family with a proper Christmas dinner.

Source.

Taken from the following passage in Stave 3 (The Second Of The Three Spirits) of A Christmas Carol:

Hallo! A great deal of steam! The pudding was out of the copper. A smell like a washing-day! That was the cloth. A smell like an eating-house and a pastrycook’s next door to each other, with a laundress’s next door to that! That was the pudding! In half a minute Mrs. Cratchit entered—flushed, but smiling proudly—with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top.

Oh, a wonderful pudding! Bob Cratchit said, and calmly too, that he regarded it as the greatest success achieved by Mrs. Cratchit since their marriage. Mrs. Cratchit said that now the weight was off her mind, she would confess she had had her doubts about the quantity of flour. Everybody had something to say about it, but nobody said or thought it was at all a small pudding for a large family. It would have been flat heresy to do so. Any Cratchit would have blushed to hint at such a thing.

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A speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top.
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2019-01-07T17:16:30+00:00Categories: A Christmas Carol|Tags: , |

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