Mr. Bulstrode is a wealthy banker in Middlemarch. He's devoutly religious, and makes a big show of it. Despite that hypocrisy, though, he does do a lot of good with his money. For example, he funds the Fever Hospital where Lydgate works. But he also has a shady past: before the start of the novel, he worked as a partner at a kind of large-scale pawnbroker in London. The company made its money on stolen property, and Bulstrode managed to convince himself that it wasn't wrong for him to work there. After the owner died, Bulstrode married his widow and inherited the entire company's worth of wealth. This wouldn't be so bad, except that he managed to elbow the daughter, Will Ladislaw's mother, out of the inheritance in the process. He tries to give Will some money to atone for what he did in the past, but Will refuses.