Tiny Tim's Ride

"Tiny Tim's Ride," vignette for "Stave 3. The Second of the Three Spirits" by Sol Eytinge, Jr., 4.5 cm high by 9.1 cm wide. The third vignette for the Diamond Edition of Dickens's A Christmas Carol in Prose: being a ghost story of Christmas (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1869), top, page 56. Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

The scene of Bob Cratchit's carrying his crippled son home from church which Eytinge depicts at the head of the third stave is unusual compared to those scenes in the previous illustrations in that it does not directly involve Scrooge, and we do not see these characters from his perspective. Rather, Scrooge and the Spirit of Christmas Present overhear the Cratchit family's conversation as they await Bob's arrival, and then listen as Bob rehearses for them what the lad said to him as they made with their way home through the streets of Camden Town:

He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk and blind men see. ["Stave Three, The Second of the Three Spirits"]

As in "In the Tank", Bob is wearing his white, three-foot comforter, and trots past an area railing carrying Tiny Tim and his little crutch. The "iron frame" or legbrace that Dickens mentions as enclosing Tim's limbs is is not evident. The aerial perspective at the right is exaggerated to include a church in the right-hand margin, and the steps at the left appear to be snow-covered. This, then, is the scene that the Cratchits, Scrooge, and his guide imagine, for it does not actually occur in the text. A similar scene by Harold Coping, executed some fifty-five years later, "Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim", has impressed itself upon the popular mind, and has often been realised in cinematic and television adaptations — even though Dickens never described it.


Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol in Prose: being a ghost story of Christmas, il. Sol Eytinge, Junior. The Diamond Edition. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1869.

Hearne, Michael Patrick, ed. The Annotated Christmas Carol. New York: Avenel, 1989.

Last modified 29 December 2010