Chapter Summary.

Chapter 3 of Great Expectations concluded with Pip slipping off from meeting the escaped prisoner on the marshes and delivering food and a file to him. Chapter 4 begins with Pip back at home, wracked with guilt, and expecting to find a constable waiting for him but no one appears to have noticed the ‘robbery‘. Mrs. Joe asks Pip where he has been and he tells her he went to hear Carols. Preparations are being made for the Christmas Day dinner, consisting of ‘pickled pork and greens, and a pair of roast stuffed fowls‘, along with a ‘handsome mince-pie‘. Pip and Joe visit Church, where Pip feels even more guilt, returning to find the dinner table prepared. The Gargery’s are joined at the forge for Christmas dinner with Mr. Wopsle (the church clerk), Mr. Hubble (the wheelwright) and his wife, Mrs. Hubble, and Mr. Pumblechook (Joe’s uncle and local seed merchant). Pip humourously describes some of the eccentric appearances and mannerisms of the guests. Sat down to dinner at a cramped kitchen table, the guests turn on Pip with their moralistic conversation so much that he compares himself to ‘an unfortunate little bull in a Spanish arena‘. At the end of the main course, Mrs. Joe suggests Pumblechook has a brandy. Pip, with worry, watches as he drinks it before jumping up out of his seat, and the house, in a coughing fit before shouting out ‘Tar!‘. Pip tells the reader that he topped up the brandy he took (to the escaped convict) with tar water. Pumblechook dismisses Mrs. Joe’s worrying about how it got there, much to Pip’s relief. Mrs. Joe suggests that her guests taste a savoury pork-pie, given by Pumblechook. Pip (who took the pie) can’t bear his worry anymore and bolts for the door in fear of being discovered. As he does so, he runs right into a party of musket-carrying soldiers standing at the Gargery doorstep. Chapter 4 ends with one of the soldiers holding out a pair of handcuffs to a guilt-ridden Pip.