Herbert and I went on from bad to worse, in the way of increasing
our debts, looking into our affairs, leaving Margins, and the like
exemplary transactions; and Time went on, whether or no, as he has
a way of doing; and I came of age - in fulfilment of Herbert's
prediction, that I should do so before I knew where I was.
Herbert himself had come of age, eight months before me. As he had
nothing else than his majority to come into, the event did not make
a profound sensation in Barnard's Inn. But we had looked forward to
my one-and-twentieth birthday, with a crowd of speculations and
anticipations, for we had both considered that my guardian could
hardly help saying something definite on that occasion.
I had taken care to have it well understood in Little Britain, when
my birthday was. On the day before it, I received an official note
from Wemmick, informing me that Mr. Jaggers would be glad if I would
call upon him at five in the afternoon of the auspicious day. This
convinced us that something great was to happen, and threw me into
an unusual flutter when I repaired to my guardian's office, a model
In the outer office Wemmick offered me his congratulations, and
incidentally rubbed the side of his nose with a folded piece of
tissuepaper that I liked the look of. But he said nothing
respecting it, and motioned me with a nod into my guardian's room.
It was November, and my guardian was standing before his fire
leaning his back against the chimney-piece, with his hands under
"Well, Pip," said he, "I must call you Mr. Pip to-day.
Congratulations, Mr. Pip."
We shook hands - he was always a remarkably short shaker - and I
"Take a chair, Mr. Pip," said my guardian.
As I sat down, and he preserved his attitude and bent his brows at
his boots, I felt at a disadvantage, which reminded me of that old
time when I had been put upon a tombstone. The two ghastly casts on
the shelf were not far from him, and their expression was as if
they were making a stupid apoplectic attempt to attend to the
"Now my young friend," my guardian began, as if I were a witness in
the box, "I am going to have a word or two with you."
"If you please, sir."
"What do you suppose," said Mr. Jaggers, bending forward to look at
the ground, and then throwing his head back to look at the ceiling,
"what do you suppose you are living at the rate of?"
"At the rate of, sir?"
"At," repeated Mr. Jaggers, still looking at the ceiling, "the -
rate - of?" And then looked all round the room, and paused with his
pocket-handkerchief in his hand, half way to his nose.
I had looked into my affairs so often, that I had thoroughly
destroyed any slight notion I might ever have had of their
bearings. Reluctantly, I confessed myself quite unable to answer
the question. This reply seemed agreeable to Mr. Jaggers, who said,
"I thought so!" and blew his nose with an air of satisfaction.
"Now, I have asked you a question, my friend," said Mr. Jaggers.
"Have you anything to ask me?"
"Of course it would be a great relief to me to ask you several
questions, sir; but I remember your prohibition."
"Ask one," said Mr. Jaggers.
"Is my benefactor to be made known to me to-day?"
"No. Ask another."
"Is that confidence to be imparted to me soon?"
"Waive that, a moment," said Mr. Jaggers, "and ask another."
I looked about me, but there appeared to be now no possible escape
from the inquiry, "Have - I - anything to receive, sir?" On that,
Mr. Jaggers said, triumphantly, "I thought we should come to it!"
and called to Wemmick to give him that piece of paper. Wemmick
appeared, handed it in, and disappeared.
"Now, Mr. Pip," said Mr. Jaggers, "attend, if you please. You have
been drawing pretty freely here; your name occurs pretty often in
Wemmick's cash-book; but you are in debt, of course?"
"I am afraid I must say yes, sir."
"You know you must say yes; don't you?" said Mr.