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...
Mrs. Cratchit is never given a first name. In A Christmas Carol, we have Ebenezer, Bob, Fred, Fan, Belle, Jacob, Tiny Tim. Even Bob's children are given first names: Belinda and Peter and Martha and company. Mrs. Cratchit remains simply Mrs. Cratchit through the entire book.
Of course, there have been literary explanations for this fact. My favorite, and the one to which I give the most credence, is that Charles Dickens created in Bob and Tiny Tim his version of the Virgin Mary and Christ Child. Dickens is writing a Christmas story. Tiny Tim does carry a little crutch, which is very close to a cross. Bob's last name is very close to the word "creche," which is another term for "manger." In all the illustrations for A Christmas Carol, Bob and Tim are shown together, in poses very similar to illustrations of Mary and the Christ child. Mrs. Cratchit takes a back seat in this narrative, very similarly to the way Joseph takes a back seat in the Jesus narrative.
Mrs. Cratchit, in the passage above, reminds me of just about every mother/grandmother/aunt/mother figure I know. Mrs. Cratchit's pudding is good, but she has to list its failings: the quantity of flour. My wife's grandmother used to point out the defects of every one of her Thanksgiving meals--the turkey was too dry; she forgot the dinner rolls; or the mashed potatoes were lumpy. Mothers don't ever accept the accolades that are given to them. I think it's a mother's belief that she can never do well enough for her family.
The other thing about Mrs. Cratchit is that she is, basically, anonymous. She is everyone's mother. If your mother's name is/was "Frances," then she could be Frances Cratchit. If your mother's name is/was "Olive," then she could be Olive Cratchit. I'm not sure if that was Dickens' intention for not naming Mrs. Cratchit, but let's run with it.
On this Mother's Day weekend, Saint Marty salutes all the anonymous Mrs. Cratchits in the world. And he salutes the Mrs. Cratchits of his life, Betty and Beth.
Confessions of Saint Marty