In Chapter 18, Widge is searching in the property room for a playbook to deliver to Falconer, and is inadvertently locked in for the night. When the doors are unlocked in the morning, Mr. Pope asks where he has been, and Widge concocts the story that his old master had waylaid him, but that he had managed to escape and return to the Company. Widge is touched by Mr. Pope's genuine concern, having never experienced anything like it before. During fencing practice, Nick acts up again, and Widge asks Sander why he does not get thrown out. Sander replies that it is because the theatre is "a sort of family," and Nick is like one of their brothers.
Widge is called before Mr. Heminges in Chapter 19. The kind man, believing Widge's story from the day before, tells him that the Company will protect him should his purported master come back. Falconer does not return, however, and Widge enjoys a gloriously happy few weeks. Nick is promoted to play a boy's part, and the others, including Widge, are given bigger roles in the Company as well. The boys go for an outing in the country, and catch Widge using charactery when copying his lines. They are impressed, and curious about it. A "dark-clothed figure" comes down the road, and Widge fears it is Falconer come to take him away, but it is only Mr. Shakespeare.
In Chapter 20, the boys conjecture about why Mr. Shakespeare is always melancholy. Nick does not change his ways, and is demoted from playing boys' roles; making him more angry and dangerous than ever. The Company has been asked to perform Hamlet for the royal court, and everyone is nervous and on edge. During fencing practice, Nick becomes overaggressive and injures his partner, Julian. As Julian's wound is tended, it is discovered that he is not a boy at all, but a girl.
Who is the author of dis book?