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Bob’s Your Uncle

Dear Ann,
Having achieved Junior Crone status, I am, generally speaking, a reliable source of advice. Today I have a writing tip: When you can’t think of anything to write, it’s helpful to remember that Charles Dickens is in the public domain.
The door of Scrooge’s counting-house was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters. Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk’s fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal. But he couldn’t replenish it, for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room; and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel, the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at the candle; in which effort, not being a man of a strong imagination, he failed.
At length the hour of shutting up the countinghouse arrived. With an ill-will Scrooge dismounted from his stool, and tacitly admitted the fact to the expectant clerk in the Tank, who instantly snuffed his candle out, and put on his hat.
“You’ll want all day to-morrow, I suppose?” said Scrooge.
“If quite convenient, sir.”
“It’s not convenient,” said Scrooge, “and it’s not fair. If I was to stop half-a-crown for it, you’d think yourself ill-used, I’ll be bound?”
The clerk smiled faintly.
“And yet,” said Scrooge, “you don’t think me ill-used, when I pay a day’s wages for no work.”
The clerk observed that it was only once a year.
“A poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every twenty-fifth of December!” said Scrooge, buttoning his great-coat to the chin. “But I suppose you must have the whole day. Be here all the earlier next morning.”
The clerk promised that he would; and Scrooge walked out with a growl. The office was closed in a twinkling, and the clerk, with the long ends of his white comforter dangling below his waist (for he boasted no great-coat), went down a slide on Cornhill, at the end of a lane of boys, twenty times, in honour of its being Christmas Eve, and then ran home to Camden Town as hard as he could pelt, to play at blindman’s-buff.

[Then there is a bunch of stuff that happens to Scrooge that does not involve Bob Cratchit’s white comforter, so we skip over it.]
But he was early at the office next morning. Oh he was early there. If he could only be there first, and catch Bob Cratchit coming late! That was the thing he had set his heart upon.
And he did it; yes, he did. The clock struck nine. No Bob. A quarter past. No Bob. He was full eighteen minutes and a half behind his time. Scrooge sat with his door wide open, that he might see him come into the Tank.
His hat was off, before he opened the door; his comforter too. He was on his stool in a jiffy; driving away with his pen, as if he were trying to overtake nine o’clock.
“Hallo,” growled Scrooge, in his accustomed voice, as near as he could feign it. “What do you mean by coming here at this time of day?”
“I’m very sorry, sir,” said Bob. “I am behind my time.”
“You are?” repeated Scrooge. “Yes. I think you are. Step this way, if you please.”
“It’s only once a year, sir,” pleaded Bob, appearing from the Tank. “It shall not be repeated. I was making rather merry yesterday, sir.”
“Now, I’ll tell you what, my friend,” said Scrooge, “I am not going to stand this sort of thing any longer. And therefore,” he continued, leaping from his stool, and giving Bob such a dig in the waistcoat that he staggered back into the Tank again; “and therefore I am about to raise your salary.”
Bob trembled, and got a little nearer to the ruler. He had a momentary idea of knocking Scrooge down with it, holding him, and calling to the people in the court for help and a strait-waistcoat.
“A merry Christmas, Bob,” said Scrooge, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back. “A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you for many a year. I’ll raise your salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob. Make up the fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit!”

(Many thanks to my friend Alex, for stoic public posing, and even pretending to hail a cab from a spot where nobody would hail a cab. )
The Foxy Bob Cratchit Scarf will be winging its way to its unsuspecting recipient. I don’t like to brag, but it’s the only scarf I know that provides full body protection from the cold. Eat your heart out, Gap!




  1. how very new york! merry christmas, and bless us, every one!

  2. I love it!

  3. I love it!

  4. You know, that is a great looking scarf…When you were making it I actually had my doubts as to the out come of it. Clearly your vision has come to fruition.
    We could use severals of those here as it’s been in the 20’s the last few days.

  5. Excellent! Your scarf rocks!!

  6. The scarf is amazing and even the most truncated quotes from A Christmas Carol make me mist up in December. A most Dickensian scarf indeed!

  7. Bob Cratchit lives!

  8. Truly magnificent. Unique. Fabu. Adjectives do not suffice. Thanks for the literary commentary and the foxy model. Best. Guy. Scarf. Ever. Congrats!

  9. What?! Alex doesn’t get to keep the scarf? It looks quite handsome on him.

  10. Ok, I have to admit this one was not doing much for me in process but now? I’ve come in from the cold. Loooove it.

  11. I wasn’t quite sure what it was going to look like; now I’ll have to go revisit the background posts, because I really like it. And I do, in fact, have quite a few colors with which to make stripes. . .

  12. LOVE it! I didn’t understand why you did the half-and-half stripes and seamed, but now that I see the pictures, I see that it is “reversable” depending on which side is at the top as the wearer winds it around his or her neck! Awesome! 🙂

  13. Oh, is there a scarf in those pictures? I didn’t notice a scarf. =)

  14. Admittedly, I like solids over stripes and especially over multi-color stripes, but balanced against a solid overcoat this scarf is very nice. Much nicer than the picture in my head.
    And your model/photographs are great!

  15. a MIGHTY scarf indeed! so many sheep….or were they lambs? i am feeling your warmth here in CA!

  16. It IS a mighty scarf. Does Alex get to keep it?

  17. That is one ginormous scarf…..

  18. Holeeee, I just clicked on the latest Snippet! Cell phone popcorn! I’ve never heard of this before, I’m screaming too!
    And more exclamation marks!!

  19. What a great post! What a great scarf! Merry Christmas, every one.

  20. That is not a scarf, that is a walking blanket! Gorgeous though.

  21. OMG! Alex! How handsome and mature (always handsome, but garsh, he looks SO GROWN UP!!)

  22. I have the warm and fuzzies, many thanks.

  23. Dickens can’t be beat, can he? You make me want to read A Christmas Carol again. It’s just such wonderful writing, and such deep, charming characters.
    The scarf/muffler looks fantastic. I think it’s about 100 times nicer than the Gap one. No surprise there…

  24. Have we established what a smoking bishop is?

  25. That scarf looks so fabulous worn! Even cooler than not being worn. (I guess that’s the whole point…) Love it, love it, love it. And so will the lucky recipient. If not, point them to this blog so they can appreciate the beauty of it. And how much everyone else loves it.

  26. Foxy Bob Cratchit, indeed! A truly fab creation. Thanks for the Dickens as well – all spirit lifting stuff!

  27. Just as mouthwatering as Fruit Stripe Gum…

  28. Love the Dickens out of your scarf.

  29. Thanks so much for the pictures! Now I finally understand the construction. You have done a fabulous job, and please thank Alex for ALL of us!

  30. And weirdly, having posted my question about a smoking bishop here, I discovered a friend’s post on the same topic–http://frtim.wordpress.com/2008/12/17/smoking-bishop/

  31. Great scarf and great to read some Dickens!

  32. It looks fantastic! Especially the first photo where it’s all knotted up. Your model is perfect! the hat!

  33. I agree that Alex should get one of his very own. Beautiful.

  34. LOVE the scarf!
    Merry Christmas, Ann and Happy Hannukah to you Kay!

  35. Eat your heart out Gap, indeed! I’M eating my heart out, wishing I had me one of those beauties. (You can come clean, Kay; it’s really in the mail to me, right? I’m going to be the recipient, right? Huh? Right? The Spirit of Festivus Future told me so in a dream…)
    Merry, merry. :):)

  36. OMG – it’s great! The Sartorialist needs to know about this scarf.

  37. OMG – it’s great! The Sartorialist needs to know about this scarf.

  38. Hmmm . . . maybe I would be knitting faster if I had that sort of model to work with . . . Lovely Scarf too, of course.

  39. The scarf is beautiful! As is the model. What I really love, because I am either a senior crone or have read to much British fiction, is the title today, “Bob’s your uncle” Whenever I say that, people just stare. SO Thank you for making me feel less alone! (I think it must be that I am in this manic pre-holiday fog. The house isn’t decorated. (No one seems to be taking me up on, “Walk by the tree-stick an ornament on.” I still have 1/2 a scarf and a mitten to go, and I just invited my SIL and her 8 kids to lunch on the 24th. (did I tell you I work full time thru the 23rd?)
    Why do we do these things?

  40. I’ve been following the scarf with interest, thinking it was perhaps one of the strangest projects I have seen and actually not very, you know, attractive. Wow! That is really good looking! Now, seeing it on the hoof, I realize you have shown your usual good taste. Alex isn’t bad either.

  41. Will we be seeing more of Alex? Hmmm?

  42. Gorgeous scarf! I hope the ends don’t fall into the smoking bishop…it’s so hard to get those wretched stains out.

  43. You just CAN NOT find such projects and posts on any other knit blog. I’m saying it, you guys win every time. Many, many thanks for another great year and another great book.

  44. “Junior Crone.” Good one. Me, too.


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