Joe comes to visit Pip in London. Because Pip worries that Joe will disapprove of his opulent lifestyle and that Drummle will look down on him because of Joe, Joe’s visit is strained and awkward. He tries to tell Pip the news from home: Wopsle, for instance, has become an actor. But Pip acts annoyed with him until Joe mentions that Estella has returned to Satis House and that she wishes to see Pip. Pip suddenly feels more kindly toward Joe, but the blacksmith leaves before Pip can improve his behavior.
“Pip, dear old chap, life is made of ever so many partings welded together, as I may say, and one man’s a blacksmith, and one’s a whitesmith, and one’s a goldsmith, and one’s a coppersmith. Diwisions among such must come. . . .”
Hoping to see Estella and to apologize to Joe, Pip travels home, forced to share a coach with a pair of convicts, one of whom is the mysterious stranger who gave Pip money in the pub. Though this man does not recognize Pip, Pip overhears him explaining that the convict Pip helped that long-ago night in the marshes had asked him to deliver the money to Pip. Pip is so terrified by his memory of that night that he gets off the coach at its first stop within the town limits. When he arrives at his hotel, he reads a notice in a newspaper, from which he learns that Pumblechook is taking credit for his rise in status.
When he travels to Satis House the next day, Pip pictures himself as a triumphant knight riding to rescue the Lady Estella from an evil castle. He encounters Orlick, now Miss Havisham’s porter, at the gate. When he sees Estella, he is stunned: she has become a ravishing young woman. Despite his newfound fortune, Pip feels horribly inadequate around her, as unworthy and clumsy as ever. Miss Havisham goads him on, snapping at him to continue to love Estella. Pip walks with Estella in the garden, but she treats him with indifference, and he becomes upset. Pip realizes that she reminds him of someone, but he can’t place the resemblance. Back inside, he discovers Jaggers there and feels oppressed by the lawyer’s heavy presence.
The next day, Pip tells Jaggers about Orlick’s past, and Jaggers fires the man from Miss Havisham’s employ. Pip is mocked by the tailor’s apprentice as he walks down the street. He returns in low spirits to London, where Herbert tries to cheer him up, though he also tries to convince him that, even if Miss Havisham is his secret benefactor, she does not intend for him to marry Estella. Herbert confesses to Pip that he, too, is in love and, in fact, has a fiancée named Clara, but he is too poor to marry her.
Pip and Herbert go to the theater, where Wopsle plays a ridiculous Hamlet. Pip takes the hapless actor out to dinner following the play, but his mood remains sour.
Pip receives a note from Estella, ordering him to meet her at a London train station. He arrives very early and encounters Wemmick, who takes him on a brief tour of the miserable grounds of Newgate Prison. Pip feels uncomfortable in the dismal surroundings, but Wemmick is oddly at home, even introducing Pip to a man who has been sentenced to death by hanging.