Dombey and Son
1. Dombey and Son
Dombey sat in the corner of the darkened room in the great arm-chair by the bedside,
and Son lay tucked up warm in a little basket bedstead, carefully disposed on a low
settee immediately in front of the fire and close to it, as if his constitution were
analogous to that of a muffin, and it was essential to toast him brown while he was very
Dombey was about eight-and-forty years of age. Son about eight-and-forty minutes.
Dombey was rather bald, rather red, and though a handsome well-made man, too stern
and pompous in appearance, to be prepossessing. Son was very bald, and very red,
and though (of course) an undeniably fine infant, somewhat crushed and spotty in his
general effect, as yet. On the brow of Dombey, Time and his brother Care had set some
marks, as on a tree that was to come down in good time - remorseless twins they are
for striding through their human forests, notching as they go - while the countenance of
Son was crossed with a thousand little creases, which the same deceitful Time would
take delight in smoothing out and wearing away with the flat part of his scythe, as a
preparation of the surface for his deeper operations.
Dombey, exulting in the long-looked-for event, jingled and jingled the heavy gold watch-
chain that depended from below his trim blue coat, whereof the buttons sparkled
phosphorescently in the feeble rays of the distant fire. Son, with his little fists curled up
and clenched, seemed, in his feeble way, to be squaring at existence for having come
upon him so unexpectedly.
'The House will once again, Mrs Dombey,' said Mr Dombey, 'be not only in name but in
fact Dombey and Son;' and he added, in a tone of luxurious satisfaction, with his eyes
half-closed as if he were reading the name in a device of flowers, and inhaling their
fragrance at the same time; 'Dom-bey and Son!'
The words had such a softening influence, that he appended a term of endearment to
Mrs Dombey's name (though not without some hesitation, as being a man but little used
to that form of address): and said, 'Mrs Dombey, my - my dear.'
A transient flush of faint surprise overspread the sick lady's face as she raised her eyes
'He will be christened Paul, my - Mrs Dombey - of course.'
She feebly echoed, 'Of course,' or rather expressed it by the motion of her lips, and
closed her eyes again.
'His father's name, Mrs Dombey, and his grandfather's! I wish his grandfather were alive
this day! There is some inconvenience in the necessity of writing Junior,' said Mr