Chapters 26-28 Summary
Mr. Carker the Manager comes to Leamington to discuss some business affairs with Mr. Dombey. He gives his employer Florence’s message of love; Mr. Dombey greets this message with silence and a red face. Mr. Dombey confesses to Carker that he regrets sending Walter to Barbados, which Mr. Carker says is a little late.
Since Mr. Carker is going to stay in Leamington for a few days, Mr. Dombey introduces him to Mrs. Skewton and Edith. While Mr. Dombey and Mr. Carker discuss business, Major Bagstock and Mrs. Skewton discuss the possibility of arranging the marriage of Mr. Dombey and Edith. Mrs. Skewton says that Edith has been sad since her husband’s death, and Major Bagstock points out the Mr. Dombey would be a good catch, although Mrs. Skewton accuses the Major of being mercenary. Major Bagstock and Mr. Carker learn to enjoy each other’s company, playing backgammon while Mr. Dombey sits and watches. At night, Major Bagstock sends his servant, known only as the Native, to light Mr. Carker’s way to his bedroom.
As he is out walking, Mr. Carker comes across Edith, sitting on a bench and crying. An old woman smoking a pipe comes up and offers to tell her fortune. Edith says that she already knows her fortune, so the old woman warns that, unless she is given money, she will make the fortune come upon her. Mr. Carker interrupts and gives the fortune teller money to make her go away. The old woman tells Edith, “One child dead, and one child living. One wife dead, and one wife coming.”
Mr. Carker continues to compliment Edith to bring her and Mr. Dombey together, since the latter is so cold in manner. Carker requests that she play the piano, then the harp, and then sing, all of which she does. One evening, Edith breaks down in front of her mother, telling her that she feels that she has no voice in her future, that she has been bid upon at an auction and is going to the highest bidder.
Florence and Susan discuss Mr. Carker, whom both remember as having come frequently to the house. Florence never liked him and thinks that perhaps this is why her father has denied her his love, as Carker is his friend. As Florence and Susan return home, they are surprised to find scaffolding around the house, where a major redecoration is going on. Mr. Dombey introduces her to Mrs. Skewton and Edith, who he says will be Florence’s new mother. Florence clings to her and cries. Edith promises her that she will try to make her new step-daughter happy, and Florence hopes that Edith will be the pathway by which she might at last learn to make her father love her.