Great Expectations Chapter 36: A Word or Two With My Guardian...
Back in London, financial matters are going from bad to worse for Herbert and Pip. Pip's twenty-first birthday is rapidly approaching, and he anticipates it with some excitement, thinking that perhaps his benefactor will reveal his or her identity on that day.
When his birthday arrives, Pip is summoned toJaggers' office. Jaggers allows Pip to ask several questions about his benefactor, though what he gets in return is not a big revelation but an envelope with five-hundred pounds in it. This, Jaggers says, is a gift from the benefactor. From now on, he continues, Pip will be given five-hundred pounds a year to handle on his own, and Jaggers will no longer act as a financial overseer.
Pip invites Jaggers for dinner, and while he's waiting for the lawyer to get ready, he starts talking to Wemmick. Now that he has money in his pocket, Pip's thoughts have turned to finding a way to help Herbert out financially. Wemmick, however, is in his "office-mode," and can offer nothing besides the hard-nosed advice that it's less risky to throw your money off a bridge than to use it to help a friend. Pip realizes that he might get different advice from Wemmick at his home, and resolves to visit him there soon and ask for this same advice.
Jaggers comes to dinner with Pip and Herbert, and something about his official manner makes both boys very melancholy. It's not so happy, Pip thinks, to be celebrating a birthday in such a "guarded and suspicious world" (339) as this one through which Jaggers moves.