Last time, a party of soldiers came to the forge
to have the blacksmith mend a pair of handcuffs -- they were in
pursuit of convicts escaped from the Hulks. The cuffs being repaired,
Joe, Pip, and Mr. Wopsle followed the soldiers out to the marshes,
to watch the outcome of the manhunt. The soldiers overtook the two
convicts in the midst of a struggle, and the convict Pip knew as
the "young man" complained that the other (the convict Pip had first
encountered) had tried to murder him. Pip's convict denounced the
young man, saying he couldn't do better than to send this young
"gentleman" back to the Hulks. Seeing Pip, he also confessed to
having stolen food and a file from the village forge.
Also in the last issue, Pip described the beginnings of his education, at Mr. Wopsle's great-aunt's school; and we were introduced to Biddy -- a sweet-tempered, helpful little girl who officiates at lessons when Mr. Wopsle's great aunt (inevitably) falls asleep. Pip, beginning to learn to read and write, began to coach Joe too (Joe is illiterate except for his own name). One evening, in the midst of a mutual endeavor to spell, they were interrupted by Mrs. Joe and Uncle Pumblechook returning from the market. Mrs. Joe, excited, brought word that Pip was to go and play at Miss Havisham's in town. Miss Havisham is a rich, but reclusive, old lady.