Pip returns to London, where Herbert tells Pip about a story he had heard from Provis the night before. About twenty years ago, Provis had a young, fiery, jealous wife who strangled another woman to death and threatened to murder their toddler daughter, which Provis believes she did. During his wife's murder trial with Mr. Jaggers, he hid to spare her his damning testimony about the murdered child. Compeyson had used his knowledge of the circumstances to blackmail Provis into working harder for even less pay. Part of Provis' tenderness towards young Pip was nostalgia for his own child.
Provis' generosity towards Pip was inspired by true paternal love. Meanwhile, the threads of the novel are all coming together, as it is now clear that Molly is Provis's former wife and that...
Pip realizes that Provis is Estella's father and tells Herbert.
...Provis' daughter is alive after all—she's Estella! Not how it does not even occur to Pip that this now makes Estella somehow of lesser birth than even he is. She's the daughter of a criminal, after all. His love for her makes such thoughts inapplicable.