As he returns home, Pip is overwhelmed by a sense of guilt for having helped the convict. He even expects to find a policeman waiting for him at Joe’s house. When Pip slips into the house, he finds no policemen, only Mrs. Joe busy in the kitchen cooking Christmas dinner. Pip eats breakfast alone with Joe. The two go to church; Mrs. Joe, despite her moralizing habits, stays behind.
Christmas dinner is an agonizing affair for Pip, who is crowded into a corner of the table by his well-to-do Uncle Pumblechook and the church clerk, Mr. Wopsle. Terrified that his sneaking out of the house to help the convict will be discovered, Pip nearly panics when Pumblechook asks for the brandy and finds the bottle filled with tar-water. His panic increases when, suddenly, several police officers burst into the house with a pair of handcuffs.
My convict looked round him for the first time, and saw me. . . .See Important Quotations Explained
Pip is sure that the policemen have come to arrest him, but all they want is for Joe to fix their handcuffs. The bumbling policemen tell Pip and Joe that they are searching for a pair of escaped convicts, and the two agree to participate in the manhunt. Seeing the policemen, Pip feels a strange surge of worry for “his” convict.
After a long hunt, the two convicts are discovered together, fighting furiously with one another in the marsh. Cornered and captured, Pip’s convict protects Pip by claiming to have stolen the food and file himself. The convict is taken away to a prison ship and out of Pip’s life—so Pip believes—forever.
Joe carries Pip home, and they finish their Christmas dinner; Pip sleepily heads to bed while Joe narrates the scene of the capture to Mrs. Joe and the guests. Pip continues to feel powerfully guilty about the incident—not on his sister’s account, but because he has not told the whole truth to Joe.
After the incident, some time passes. Pip lives with his guilty secret and struggles to learn reading and writing at Mrs. Wopsle’s school. At school, Pip befriends Biddy, the granddaughter of the teacher. One day, Joe and Pip sit talking; the illiterate Joe admires a piece of writing Pip has just done. Suddenly, Mrs. Joe bursts in with Pumblechook. Highly self-satisfied, they reveal that Pumblechook has arranged for Pip to go play at the house of Miss Havisham, a rich spinster who lives nearby. Mrs. Joe and Pumblechook hope she will make Pip’s fortune, and they plan to send him home with Pumblechook before he goes to Miss Havisham’s the next day. The boy is given a rough bath, dressed in his suit, and taken away by Pumblechook.