Great Expectations Chapters 12 and 13
by Charles Dickens

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Chapters 12 and 13 Summary

Chapter 12

Thinking about the fight he had with the pale young gentleman, Pip is concerned that he will be harshly disciplined. He hesitates to go to Miss Havisham’s, but when he examines the fight’s location and the windows above it, he determines that it is not likely that anyone saw the fight. Deciding that he will probably not be punished, he returns to Miss Havisham's home. Miss Havisham has become weaker and now often uses a wheelchair that requires another person to push it. Pip pushes her chair during long walks, sometimes lasting several hours. Pip spends some ten months visiting Miss Havisham daily, and during these visits, they converse. As these visits continue, Mrs. Joe talks with Uncle Pumblechook about the possible benefits of Pip’s routine visits.

Miss Havisham encourages Pip to comment on Estella’s looks. She says that the girl is turning into a heartbreaker and encourages her to show no mercy to young men. She also comments on Pip’s growing taller. She questions him about Joe and tells him to bring Joe when he visits again. Miss Havisham puts forward the idea of Pip starting his apprenticeship at the forge without delay.

Chapter 13

Joe dresses as elegantly as he can for his visit the next day. Mrs. Joe, complaining about being left out of the invitation, visits Pumblechook. Joe’s Sunday best seems inappropriate to the embarrassed Pip, who believes Joe belongs only in work clothes. When visiting Miss Havisham, Joe does not communicate directly with the old lady but instead uses Pip as an intermediary, addressing his responses to her questions to Pip instead of her. They discuss Pip's apprenticeship and finalize a deal in which Miss Havisham gives Joe twenty-five guineas to take Pip as his apprentice. She then informs Pip that his visits will now end.

After leaving Satis House, Pip and Joe go to Pumblechook’s house. Joe attempts to soothe his wife’s anger and turns over the money to her. Pumblechook escorts them to the Town Hall, where Pip is formally contracted as a bound apprentice. Pumblechook claims full credit for clinching the deal, and to celebrate his achievement, they dine at the Blue Boar. Later that night, as Pip turns in, he admits to feeling wretched about this new development, as he has turned against blacksmithing, which he liked in the past.