Philip Pirrip came to be nicknamed Pip because that is how his infant tongue pronounced his name. Pip’s parents died when he was too young to remember them. There are also five deceased infant brothers buried next to his parents. He forms ideas about their physical characteristics by their tombstones. He is raised by his sister and her blacksmith husband.
Pip’s family lives in the marsh country. One evening, Pip finds himself in the overgrown churchyard. He is crying out of fear. He came across an escaped convict that was hiding out amongst the graves. The convict orders him to stop crying, threatening to cut his throat if he doesn’t. He asks Pip his name and where he lives. He eats the bread he finds in Pip’s pocket. Learning Pip’s parents are dead, he asks who Pip lives with. Pip explains that his sister and her blacksmith husband are his guardians.
The convict shows interest in hearing that the husband is a blacksmith. He has an iron attached to his leg. The convict orders Pip to bring him a file and food the next morning. He orders Pip that he is to tell no one that he has seen the convict. The convict tells Pip that he has a friend who is with him that likes to eat the hearts and livers of little boys. If Pip doesn’t do what he is told, the convict will let his friend feast on Pip’s innards. Pip will never be safe, no matter how well guarded he is. The convict’s friend will find a way to get at him.
Pip agrees to do what the convict says. He runs home, keeping an eye out for the convict’s cannibal friend.