already white. He had a mighty respect for Mr. Dombey, and rendered him due homage; but as he was of a genial temper himself, and never wholly at his ease in that stately presence, he was disquieted by no jealousy of the many conferences enjoyed by Mr. Carker, and felt a secret satisfaction in having duties to discharge, which rarely exposed him to be singled out for such distinction. He was a great musical amateur in his way--after business; and had a paternal affection for his violoncello, which was once in every week transported from Islington, his place of abode, to a certain club-room hard by the Bank, where quartettes of the most tormenting and excruciating nature were executed every Wednesday evening by a private party.

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.

This was Carker the Manager. Mr. Carker the Junior, Walter's friend, was his brother; two or three years older than he, but widely removed in station. The younger brother's post was on the top of the official ladder; the elder brother's at the bottom. The elder brother never gained a stave, or raised his foot to mount one. Young men passed above his head, and rose and rose; but he was always at the bottom. He was quite resigned to occupy that low conditions: never complained of it: and certainly never hoped to escape from it.

`How do you do this morning?' said Mr. Carker the Manager, entering Mr. Dombey's room soon after his arrival one day: with a bundle of papers in his hand.

`How do you do, Carker?' said Mr. Dombey, rising from his chair, and standing with his back to the fire. `Have you anything there for me?'

`I don't know that I need trouble you,' returned Carker, turning over the papers in his hand. `You have a committee to-day at three, you know.'

`And one at three, three-quarters,' added Mr. Dombey.

`Catch you forgetting anything!' exclaimed Carker, still turning over his papers. `If Mr. Paul inherits your memory, he'll be a troublesome customer in the house. One of you is enough.'

`You have an accurate memory of your own,' said Mr. Dombey.

`Oh! I!' returned the manager. `It's the only capital of a man like me.'

Mr. Dombey did not look less pompous or at all displeased, as he stood leaning against the chimneypiece, surveying his (of course unconscious) clerk, from head to foot. The stiffness and nicety of Mr. Carker's dress, and a certain arrogance of manner, either natural to him or imitated from a pattern not far off, gave great additional effect to his humility. He seemed a man who would contend against the power that vanquished him, if he could, but who was utterly borne down by the greatness and superiority of Mr. Dombey.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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