In Stage Two, Chapter XXVII, Pip receives a tardy message from Joe, who asks to visit Pip. And, even though the message, written by Biddy, expresses Joe's wish that Pip "excuse it [the visit] for the love of poor old days," Pip has these feelings about Joe's visit:
Not with pleasure, though I was bound to him by so many ties; no, with considerable disturbance and some mortification, and a keen sense of incongruity If I could have kept him away by paying money, I certainly would have paid money. I had little objection to his being seen by Herbert or his father, for both of whom I had respect; but I had the sharpest sensitivenss as to his being seen by Drummle, whom I held in contempt. So throughout life, our worst weaknesses and meannesses are usually committed for the sake of the people whom we most despise.
When Joe arrives, Pip confesses that he wants to run away as he recognizes Joe by "his clumsy maner of coming upstairs." After Pip greets Joe, the man who has been both a father and a friend to him, is askward and clumsy in the London lodging. He places his hat on the mantelpiece only to have it fall. As he tries to converse with Herbert, Joe fixes his attention on the recalcitrant hat that topples again, making a comedy of Joe's efforts to appear polished. He becomes so nervous that he his eyes "attracted in such strange directions," he coughs, and sits so far from the table that he drops much of his food. Pip remarks,
I had neither the good sense nor the good feling to know that this was all my fault, and that if I had been easier with Joe, Joe would have been easier with me. I felt impatient of him and out of temper with him.
After the meal as Joe takes his leave, he tells Pip that he will not return to London as he is "wrong out of the forge." Realizing the simple dignity in Joe, Pip hurries ashamedly out after him after he recovers himself, but Joe is gone.