(Chapters 26 to 28)
Jaggers invites Pip, Herbert, Drummle and Startop to dinner at his house.
They meet first at Jaggers’ office and Pip is intrigued by Jaggers’ cleaning
ritual. He meticulously cleans his hands between clients or court cases, hence the continual scent of soap that surrounds him, but he has never witnessed the final act, just prior to Jaggers heading for home.
In addition to the usual washing, Jaggers also scrubs his face, gargles his throat and uses a penknife to scrape underneath his fingernails.
Although Jaggers lives in a large house, he only uses three rooms.
Over dinner, Jaggers engages in questioning his guests, as he likes to
obtain information concerning their personalities. He is particularly interested in Drummle and refers to him as the spider.
Jaggers personally attends to his guests, but he receives some help from his
maid. She is, according to Wemmick, a caged animal who has been tamed by Jaggers. Pip notices a deep scar on the maid’s wrist. The drink flows freely at dinner and some of the young men
quarrel. Jaggers announces that he has work left to do and ushers his guests out.
Something that Pip has been dreading is a visit from Joe, and he receives a
note that Joe will meet him at the Barnard Inn. When Joe arrives he is ill at ease and he looks ridiculous in his Sunday clothes, and he continually fidgets with his hat. He further annoys Pip by calling
him ‘sir’ and making silly statements like ‘he would not keep a pig here because it is too close’. His table manners also embarrass Pip and he struggles with his fork and food. Finally Joe delivers the
message sent by Miss Havisham, which is the main purpose of his visit.
It is that Estella is back and would like to see him. Joe leaves shortly afterwards and again Pip feels guilt that he did not make Joe feel more comfortable. He decides to go after him, but is too late.
Pip journeys home on the coach and two of the passengers are convicts who
are being transferred to the hulks. Pip recognizes one of them as the man who had given him the shilling and 2 x '1 notes. They are talking about Pip’s convict saying that he was made ‘a lifer’.
Pip has decided to stay at the Blue Boar Inn and although he plans to see
Joe, he keeps finding excuses to avoid the meeting. He reads the local newspaper where there is an article about Pumblechook who claims to be Pip’s first benefactor.
Jaggers’ life is his work and although he lives in a substantial house, it
needs work done to it.
He is interested in Drummle because he views him as a potential client. Jaggers’ legal work deals with the seedier side of life; usually characters that have a short temper and get themselves into trouble. Jaggers has taken on the role of guardian for Pip and warns him to stay clear of Drummle. He obtains his living from these undesirables and feels contamination from them, hence the ritualistic hand washing and cleaning. It is his way of separating himself from the criminal world and from any emotional attachments in his life.
His maid is an interesting character who had a wild nature, which has been
tamed and controlled by Jaggers. The ugly scar on her wrist is evidence of a violent past, and she waits almost in fear for commands from Jaggers.
Joe’s visit to London and Pip is a disaster.
He feels uncomfortable in his Sunday clothes and Pip does nothing to put him at ease. Pip refers sarcastically in the book to his hat being like ‘a bird’s nest’. However, Joe keeps his dignity intact, delivering his message from Miss Havisham and departing quickly. He realizes that he will not be able to spend time with Pip in London, and he decides that Pip will not see him again in these clothes. Joe tells Pip that he is welcome at the forge any time he likes.
Pip is in turmoil as he feels guilt and shame, which is mingled with pride
He has a habit of demeaning those closest to him, whether it is Joe or
He has a knack of waiting just long enough not to have to be honorable, and just when he has good thoughts; these are lost again e.g. when he finds an excuse not to visit Joe when he goes back home to see Miss Havisham.
Pip seems unable to shake off his connections with convicts.
Yet again, the episode in the churchyard with Magwitch resurrects itself when he shares the coach with the two convicts. Try as he might to be upper class, he just cannot escape his lower class roots, which have a tight grip on him.