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At the beginning of chapter 28, Pip is trying to decide whether he should stay with Joe or in a hotel. He would much rather stay in a hotel, yet he know in the back of his mind that he should go home to stay with Joe. The quote mentioned, refers to the moment Pip deceives himself into thinking he should stay in the hotel. Swindlers are deceivers and the quote explains that “swindlers” are more affecting if they are self-swindlers. This means that deceiving yourself is more influencing than someone else deceiving you.