For galactic N and late R type irregularly variable carbon stars, a comparison is made of airborne infrared spectrophotometry to spectral flux distributions derived from model atmospheres. Although the agreement is good in several respects, the H(-) emission peak at 1.6 microns, so prominent in the models, is significantly weakened in the stellar spectrophotometry. It seems unlikely that molecular bands in the stars can completely obliterate this peak. A plausible explanation is that hydrogen is deficient in these stars, most probably from an episode of mass loss. The resultant cold shells surrounding these stars should be amenable to observation by IRAS, or other far-infrared observatories.