During this conversation, Walter had looked from one brother to the other with pain and amazement. — Fred Barnard's fourteenth illustration for Dickens's Dombey and Son, Household Edition (1877), p. 92 (scene from chap. xiii). Wood engraving by the Dalziels, 4 ¼ x 5 ½ inches (10.7 cm high by 13.8 cm wide), framed. Running head: "Mr. Dombey takes leave of his son," 92. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]

Passage Illustrated: Carker's Revealing His True Disposition

"John Carker," said the Manager, when this was done, turning suddenly upon his brother, with his two rows of teeth bristling as if he would have bitten him, "what is the league between you and this young man, in virtue of which I am haunted and hunted by the mention of your name? Is it not enough for you, John Carker, that I am your near relation, and can’t detach myself from that —"

"Say disgrace, James," interposed the other in a low voice, finding that he stammered for a word. "You mean it, and have reason, say disgrace."

"From that disgrace," assented his brother with keen emphasis, "but is the fact to be blurted out and trumpeted, and proclaimed continually in the presence of the very House! In moments of confidence too? Do you think your name is calculated to harmonise in this place with trust and confidence, John Carker?"

"No," returned the other. "No, James. God knows I have no such thought."

"What is your thought, then?" said his brother, "and why do you thrust yourself in my way? Haven’t you injured me enough already?"

"I have never injured you, James, wilfully."

"You are my brother,’ said the Manager. ‘That’s injury enough."

"I wish I could undo it, James."

"I wish you could and would."

During this conversation, Walter had looked from one brother to the other, with pain and amazement. He who was the Senior in years, and Junior in the House, stood, with his eyes cast upon the ground, and his head bowed, humbly listening to the reproaches of the other. Though these were rendered very bitter by the tone and look with which they were accompanied, and by the presence of Walter whom they so much surprised and shocked, he entered no other protest against them than by slightly raising his right hand in a deprecatory manner, as if he would have said, "Spare me!" So, had they been blows, and he a brave man, under strong constraint, and weakened by bodily suffering, he might have stood before the executioner. [Chapter 13, "Shipping Intelligence and Office Business," 91]


In this companion piece to Barnard's other illustration for Chapter 13, "You respect nobody, Carker, I think," said Mr. Dombey. "No?" inquired Carker, with another wide and most feline show of his teeth., Barnard captures that moment when Carker permits his mask tio slip in front of junior clerk Water Gaye. Even as he pretends to be the ever-reliable subordinate with Mr. Dombey, he grossly resents his inferior position, and reveals his true nature in this scene with his older brother, John, who embezzled from the firm as a young clerk, but was retrained in his lowly status by Mr. Dombey's father rather than fired outright, leaving a perpetual stain on the name "Carker." Dickens describes his younger brother, James, in terms that enable Barnard to realize him visually:

Mr. Carker was a gentleman thirty-eight or forty years old, of a florid complexion, and with two unbroken rows of glistening teeth, whose regularity and whiteness were quite distressing. It was impossible to escape the observation of them, for he showed them whenever he spoke; and bore so wide a smile upon his countenance (a smile, however, very rarely, indeed, extending beyond his mouth), that there was something in it like the snarl of a cat. He affected a stiff white cravat, after the example of his principal, and was always closely buttoned up and tightly dressed. His manner towards Mr. Dombey was deeply conceived and perfectly expressed. He was familiar with him, in the very extremity of his sense of the distance between them. "Mr. Dombey, to a man in your position from a man in mine, there is no show of subservience compatible with the transaction of business between us, that I should think sufficient. I frankly tell you, Sir, I give it up altogether. I feel that I could not satisfy my own mind; and Heaven knows, Mr Dombey, you can afford to dispense with the endeavour." If he had carried these words about with him printed on a placard, and had constantly offered it to Mr. Dombey’s perusal on the breast of his coat, he could not have been more explicit than he was.

Phiz's and Eytinge's Carker Plates for Dombey and Son

Left: Detail of Carker in his speeding carriage, On a Dark Road (Chapter 55, March 1848). Left of centre: detail of the charming, well-dressed Carker on horseback, and full picture: Mr. Carker introduces himself to Florence and the Skettles Family (Chapter 24, May 1847). Right: Sol Eytinge, Junior, introduces Carker as Dombey's obsequious confidant (Chapter 13, 1867 edition).

Related Material including Other Illustrated Editions of Dombey and Son

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.]


Dickens, Charles. Dombey and Son. Illustrated by Phiz. (Hablot K. Browne). London: Chapman and Hall, 1848.

_______. Dombey and Son. Illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz). 8 coloured plates. London and Edinburgh: Caxton and Ballantyne, Hanson, 1910.

_______. Dombey and Son. Illustrated by Fred Barnard [62 composite wood-block engravings]. The Works of Charles Dickens. The Household Edition. 22 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, 1877. XV.

"Dombey and Son — Sixty-two Illustrations by Fred Barnard." Scenes and Characters from the Works of Charles Dickens, Being Eight Hundred and Sixty-six Drawings by Fred Barnard, Gordon Thomson, Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz), J. McL. Ralston, J. Mahoney, H. French, Charles Green, E. G. Dalziel, A. B. Frost, F. A. Fraser, and Sir Luke Fildes. London: Chapman and Hall, 1907.

Created 27 March 2017

Last modified 17 December 2020