Pip is not enthusiastic about receiving Biddy's letter telling him that Joe Gargery is coming to see him in London. He notes that he received the letter "not with pleasure, though I was bound to (Joe) by so many ties...if I could have kept him away by paying money, I certainly would have paid money". Pip, having become a "gentleman", is ashamed of Joe, and ashamed of himself for feeling that way. Pip has developed a snobbish attitude, although it is not Herbert or Herbert's father whose reaction to Joe he dreads the most, but Bentley Drummle's, a character whom Pip strongly dislikes. Pip is not unaware of of the irony of his own feelings, observing that "so throughout life our worst weaknesses and meannesses are committed for the sake of people whom we most despise.
Joe arrives the next day, and his visit is indeed uncomfortable for all. Joe's unrefined mannerisms are grossly out of place at the formal dinner table, and Pip's behavior makes Joe feel inferior. Joe does bring news from Estella, and conveys her desire to see Pip again. Pip is excited to receive this news, and tries to be a little nicer to Joe, but it is too late. Joe is leaving, and tells Pip that he will not come again, but that Pip can come visit him at the forge, where the situation will undoubtedly be more comfortable (Chapter 27).