The boys discover that Julian is actually Julia, and that she has disguised herself as a boy over the last few months to pursue her dream of acting and her love of the theatre. Nick's drunkenness gets worse, and Widge and Sander are sent to find him in whatever tavern he has parked himself before the performance that night starts. They do succeed in locating him, but watch as Nick picks a fight with a student and fights a duel with him. Apparently, the student stabs Nick, killing him.
Chapter 22 begins as Widge attacks the student to get him away from Nick. Although it was a serious wound, what he had learnt working for Dr. Bright enabled him to see that no artery had been severed. Widge treats the wound, and says he protected Nick because he would have done the same for him. Sander says that he doubts this to be true.
Widge talks to Julia about why she disguised herself and she replies that everybody plays the roles that other people expect of them. She talks about how her love of theatre began and how important it is to her. Because now she is unable to act for the company, Widge needs to play the part of Ophelia in their performance in front of the Queen, and this is something that terrifies Widge.
In chapter 21 of the book "The Shakespeare Stealer" Nick is at a loss for words when he finds out that Julian is a girl. He is irritated when he realizes that he has been fencing with girl for almost a year.
Saunder feels sorry for Julian because he knows that they won't let her continue to perform. Mrs. Phillips bandages Julian's wound. The sharers let her perform since she already knows the lines. It was nearly p[performance time and no one had seen Nick.
Widge asks Saunders if he thought that Wdige could ever be a player. Widge feels bad about the secret that he carries and woners how Julian could carry hers for so long.
They find Nick in an ale house drinking his ale. Nick tells them he will go to the Globe when he feels like it. Nick and a student get into an argument and then a fight. They fought with swords and Nick was losing. He pulled his dagger and so did the student. During he fight the student stabs Nick in the throat. He falls to the ground and Widge curses the student.
In chapter 22 Widge picks up a stool and knocks the blade out of the student's hand. He checks Nick and realizes the wound has not severed any arteries. He dos what he can to stop the flow of blood.
The authorities come but Nick is not charged. The other men had fled. They return to the theater where Nick asks why Julian hides who she is. She tells him because it is worth it to act.
Widge is given the part of Ophelia in the play since Nick is injured. He has to take it so the show can go on. He thinks to himself that if Julian can play a boy, he can play a girl.