Mr. Armin prevents Widge from drowning in the river. When they are back on land, they continue their search for Nick. Widge reveals to Mr. Armin that he knows who hired Nick to take the play he stole, but he does not know where that person can be found, other than that he comes from Leicester. This information does give Mr. Armin enough of a clue so that they go to Aldersgate, and there, with the help of a beggar, they find Falconer. Mr. Armin confronts the man and, telling him they suspect him of stealing Mr. Shakespeare's play, begins to search his saddlebag. A duel ensues, and while the men are fighting, Widge takes the playbook from the saddlebag, and although he entreats the men to stop their fight, they pay him no heed (Chapter 26).
Although it seems that Mr. Armin is on the defensive during most of the violent duel, in the end he deals Falconer a death blow, driving his sword through his opponent's midsection. Dying, Falconer peels off his makeup to reveal that he is really Mr. Bass, and he communicates the lifelong frustration he encountered as an extremely talented but unappreciated theatre man which led him to become a thief. Falconer then dies, and the constable comes to take away the body, acquitting Mr. Armin of wrongdoing when he learns the details of the duel. Mr. Armin and Widge return to the Chamberlain's Men, and when Widge's situation is explained to them, they are lenient and permit him to stay on as a prentice. Grateful for the chance to make something of his life, he works frenetically through the summer and fall, and his only regret is that he does not know what has happened to Julia.
One day just before Christmas, Widge, Sander, and Mr. Pope run into Julia on the street. She has learned that in France, women are allowed to become actresses, and has saved her money and will be leaving for that country in the morning. Widge is happy for her good fortune, but devastated to see her go, and for the first time since he was a child, allows himself to cry. After Julia has left, Widge reflects on the new concepts about which he has learned since coming to the Chamberlain's Men. He realizes that the most important ones have to do with "honesty and trust, loyalty and friendship...family...and home" (Chapter 27).