He wrote a timid letter to Mr Melmotte, which had no result; and then, on the next Friday, again went into the City and there encountered perturbation of spirit and sheer loss of time, as the reader has already learned. Squercum was a thorn in the side of all the Bideawhiles.

'I suppose you give it up about the letter having been signed by my client, said Squercum to the elder of the two younger Bideawhiles. 'I give up nothing and I assert nothing, said the superior attorney. 'Whether the letter be genuine or not we had no reason to believe it to be otherwise.

On Monday morning, it was on the preceding Thursday that he had made his famous speech in Parliament, one of the Bideawhiles had come to him in the City. He had told Mr Bideawhile that all the world knew that just at the present moment money was very 'tight' in the City.

So Squercum raged among the Bideawhiles, who were unable altogether to shut their doors against him. They could not dare to bid defiance to Squercum, feeling that they had themselves blundered, and feeling also that they must be careful not to seem to screen a fault by a falsehood.

In the whole course of his business, in all the records of the very respectable firm to which he belonged, there had never been such a thing as this. Of course Mr Longestaffe had been the person to blame, so at least all the Bideawhiles declared among themselves. He had been so anxious to have dealings with the man of money that he had insisted that the title-deeds should be given up.

Did you ever hear of such a thing; the very house pulled down, my house; and all done without a word from me in the matter? I don't suppose such a thing was ever known before, since properties were properties. Then he uttered sundry threats against the Bideawhiles, in reference to whom he declared his intention of 'making it very hot for them.

It might be that the Longestaffes and Bideawhiles and Squercums should know that he was a forger, but their knowledge would not produce a verdict. He, as member for Westminster, as the man who had entertained the Emperor, as the owner of one of the most gorgeous houses in London, as the great Melmotte, could certainly command the best half of the bar.

He did sharp things no doubt, and had no hesitation in supporting the interests of sons against those of their fathers. In more than one case he had computed for a young heir the exact value of his share in a property as compared to that of his father, and had come into hostile contact with many family Bideawhiles. He had been closely watched.

Slow and Bideawhile's office, from whom no slightest rumour emanated; and as they had been in part collected by Squercum, who was probably less prudent. The Bideawhiles were still perfectly sure that Dolly had signed the letter, believing the young man to be quite incapable of knowing on any day what he had done on the day before. Squercum was quite sure that his client had not signed it.

He did not know whom to be loudest in abusing, his father, the Bideawhiles, or Mr Melmotte. And then it was said that he had signed that letter! He was very open in his manner of talking about his misfortune at the club. His father was the most obstinate old fool that ever lived. As for the Bideawhiles, he would bring an action against them. Squercum had explained all that to him.