Pip receives a letter from Biddy telling him that Joe would like to come visit him in London. Biddy tells Pip that his sister is still sick, but that they talk about Pip every night and wonder what he's doing and what he's saying.
Awww. Biddy adds a PS saying that Joe insists on sending a very particular message: "what larks."
Biddy hopes that Pip, now a high falutin' gentleman, won't mind seeing Joe, a poor blacksmith, but she's wrong. Pip is not excited to see Joe. Oh, Pip. Pip is suddenly embarrassed of Joe, and kind of glad that his brother-in-law isn't visiting at the Pockets' house where Bentley Drummle might see him.
Pip has redecorated his London apartment a little bit, and he's hired a young boy to be his servant. Problem: after getting the boy a nice uniform, he realizes that he doesn't really have anything for the boy to do.
He calls the boy the Avenged Phantom (the Avenger for short), because he always hangs around like a ghost, and because he doesn't really have a purpose.
Joe arrives the next day and is thrilled to see Pip, though he's really uncomfortable in Pip's apartment amid all of the finery.
Joe won't shake Herbert's hand because he's too much of a gentleman. Instead he bows a little bit to Herbert in deference to him.
Joe notices the Avenger, but doesn't quite know what to make of him. This is kind of a theme: he also doesn't know what to do with his hat, so he hangs it on the side of a fireplace—where it keeps falling down.
Pip is not really helping this whole situation, and he's relieved when Herbert has to leave.
Joe tells Pip that Mr. Wopsle has left the church to become an actor in London. He and Mr. Wopsle went to go check out a blacking factory the day before, and Joe didn't think it was nearly as cool as the pictures made it look.
Pip is totally unresponsive, but at the same time he can't understand why Joe keeps calling him "sir."
Apparently, Mr. Pumblechook is taking credit all over town for Pip's fortune and is telling everyone that he and Pip were and are the best of friends. Gross.
Finally, Joe tells Pip the reason for his visit: Miss Havisham asked Joe to tell Pip that Estella wants to see him.
Pip suddenly feels much, much better, and he wishes he had known that this was the reason for Joe's visit all along.
With this message passed along, Joe gets ready to leave. In the middle of breakfast. What?
Life has taken them in two different directions, says Joe, and that's just the way it goes.