A financial plunger, for a long time considered by all London to he a "great financier." He entertained royalty and was elected to represent Westminster in Parliament. His house of cards about to fall, on the eve of his prosecution for forgery, he committed suicide.
"...a large man, with bushy whiskers and rough thick hair, with heavy eyebrows, and a wonderful look of power about his mouth and chin. This was so strong as to redeem his face from vulgarity.... He looked as though he were purse-proud and a bully"
"Melmotte is a figure of dominating size ...something bigger than anything he has said or done .... a kind of symbolic figure.... In sober fact he is a dirty, bullying, greedy, ignorant charlatan, who tumbles swiftly to absolute ruin." ~-Walpole, p. 166
"...a grotesque and nauseating monstrosity, he personified the commercial corruptions of the time with all their brutalizing effects upon character, as in private, so in public life." - Escott, p.297