Pip receives a note from Estella informing him that she is coming to London and that Miss Havisham wants him to meet her at the coach. Pip, anxious to see Estella, arrives at the coach station five hours early.
Estella does not express any personal eagerness to see Pip —their meeting simply fulfills her daughterly obligation to obey Miss Havisham's wishes.
While he's waiting, Pip bumps into Wemmick who invites Pip to come along to Newgate Prison. Pip notes that prisons at that time were decrepit and that soldiers, criminals, and debtors lived in the same conditions. At the prison, Wemmick is on friendly, familiar terms with all the guards and prisoners. Pip notes that he "walked among the prisoners much as a gardener might walk among his plants."
This scene illustrates the dire prison conditions in post-Industrial Revolution London. Wemmick is likened to a gardener walking among his plants—as a man of law, he profits from criminality as a gardener would from his crops.
Back at the coach station, Pip is disturbed by the constant "taint" of criminals and prisons in his life, starting with his childhood encounter with convicts on the marshes. He tries to shake off the dust and scent of Newgate. When Estella arrives, he again wonders who it is she reminds him of.
Even though Pip has, in his mind, dramatically improved himself since childhood, he can't seem to escape a persistent association with prisons. The association itself feels imprisoning. Yet his effort to escape from this "taint" is ironic, given the coming revelations about who Pip's patron actually is.