Tulkinghorn presents some papers to Mr. George and asks him to compare the handwriting with that of Captain Hawdon (Nemo). George refuses to cooperate and does not even admit that he possesses any of Hawdon's writing. He says that he has no head for business and that he wants to seek advice from a friend before he has anything more to do with the matter. He then goes to seek counsel of a former military comrade, Matthew Bagnet, owner of a musician's shop. Matthew, in turn, consults his wife, a personable and sensible woman; her advice is that George should avoid all involvement with people who are "too deep" for him. George then goes back to Tulkinghorn and refuses to give the lawyer any assistance.
Angry, Tulkinghorn says that he wants nothing to do with the man who harbored Gridley, a "threatening, murderous, dangerous fellow." A clerk, passing by, hears this phrase and mistakenly supposes it applies to George himself.
Readers are inclined to view George Rouncewell even more favorably now that he mistrusts and opposes the sinister Tulkinghorn and is a warm friend of the likable Bagnet family. Readers also sense that George's opposing the lawyer entails danger.