Cubitt visits a bar and has several whiskeys on the local green grocer. Sitting there, seeing his handsome reflection in the bar mirror, he gathers confidence. He thinks about how he is involved in important, life-and-death matters. He tells his companions that there will be more death before it’s all over, but then he realizes that he’s alone. He leaves, thinking he’ll go see Colleoni and ask about joining his gang.
Cubitt is attempting to impress his fellow bar goers but ends up only impressing himself. He’s right, though, about there being more death looming on the horizon. This is not the right time to approach Colleoni about a job, but Cubitt seems unaware of just how much he’s had to drink.
Cubitt sits down in a glass shelter by the sea. An old gentleman is there, too. He can’t seem to stop coughing. The air is cold and misty. It’s low tide. Cubitt thinks he hears the lilt of a violin. It reminds him of Spicer and of his mother, who died 20 years before and who, during a séance, told him she was on the seventh plane where everything was beautiful and good. He leaves the shelter and heads in the direction of the violin. A large crowd is gathered at Concert Hall for a performance. Out at sea, two ships blow their sirens at one another. Cubitt goes to the bathroom to rid himself of the whiskey. He looks up at the lights of the Cosmopolitan, intimidated and lonely.
Cubitt, like Pinkie, is moved by music. His memory of talking to his dead mother during a séance harkens back to Ida, who places a great deal of faith in the occult. Cubitt is very much alone. He has quit his job as one of Pinkie’s men and, apparently friendless, wanders aimlessly around Brighton, rejoicing and despairing in turn. The Cosmopolitan is Brighton’s most impressive building. It reminds Cubitt of his failures.
Cubitt stops and puts a penny in an automated fortuned telling machine. The fortune is more of a character description than anything. It tells Cubitt that he is genial and well-meaning, and that his lack of initiative is counter-balanced by his common sense and that he will succeed where others have failed.
The “fortune” is almost humorously inaccurate. Cubitt may be genial and well-meaning, but his common sense is questionable and the evening is not proving a success for him; neither is his work in Pinkie’s gang.
Cubitt keeps walking along the boards, feeling a deep longing for real affection from someone. He considers going back to Frank’s, but he knows that would be a mistake. Cubitt left Pinkie angry enough to kill again, so it’s best to avoid him. Cubitt sticks his last penny in a machine labeled “Love Letter,” and gets a letter that he considers to be beautifully worded—literature, even. Cubitt is deeply moved by the man’s words to his lady love. He thinks that such eloquence is the result of falling for a real woman and not a buer. Buers make you want to carve their faces up, but real women inspire such poetry. The letter is from John, which his Cubitt’s first name. He takes it to be an omen.
Like Dallow and Pinkie, Cubitt knows next to nothing about women and romantic love. While his drunkenness makes him more susceptible to sentimentality, his declaring a boilerplate love letter “literature” is proof of his ignorance. Like his compatriots, Cubitt lumps women into one of two categories: a buer or a “real” woman. One type inspires violence, the other poetry. No wonder John Cubitt is walking the pier alone.
Cubitt makes his way to the Cosmopolitan where he asks for Mr. Colleoni. A page goes in search of him, bringing back Crab instead. Crab has changed a great deal since Cubitt last saw him, and not just in his appearance. He speaks in a posh accent and is part of something greater than Cubitt. Cubitt haltingly asks Crab about his chances of working for Colleoni. Crab, puffing on a cigar, suggests he get out of the mob altogether, saying there’s no way Colleoni would hire him. Also, Crab says, Colleoni is going legitimate—considering politics, as the police have immense faith in him.
Cubitt’s decision to approach Colleoni and ask him for a job is an act of treason against his own gang. It also hints at desperation on Cubitt’s part. Cubitt is humiliated when Crab tells him Colleoni has no job openings at this time. Crab’s suggestion to Cubitt that he leave organized crime echoes the police inspector and Colleoni telling Pinkie the same.
Crab promises to put in a good word for Cubitt for old time’s sake and leaves. Cubitt is despondent. He sees a large woman, a woman Crab referred to as “fine,” sitting alone at a table drinking port. It’s Ida. Cubitt thinks of the love letter and sees Ida as a worthy recipient of such beautiful words. He heads for her table, and she welcomes him, saying she couldn’t help but overhear that he knew Pinkie. Cubitt feels an instant connection. Ida is not high class. He can tell. She’s of his rank. He’s anxious to talk to someone and she seems the perfect woman for his confidences.
Like Hale before him, Cubitt is attracted to Ida’s voluptuousness. Unlike Hale, he identifies with her low-class demeanor. The connection he feels is a stroke of good luck for Ida, who just happens to be in the right place at the right time to hear Cubitt’s drunken confidences. Ida is a smooth operator, asking Cubitt how he knows Pinkie, and Cubitt is in exactly the right mood to throw his boss under the bus.
Ida asks Cubitt if he’s a friend of Pinkie’s. Cubitt tells her no. She says good, because it’s not safe to be friends with Pinkie. She mentions that Fred had been friendly with him, and look where that got him. Cubitt drunkenly blurts out that he’s never liked killing; carving is okay but killing is different. He mentions Kite and tells Ida how that was all an accident; a razor slipped. Then he mentions that Pinkie’s getting married, and Ida gets angry. She calls Rose a little fool. Cubitt is anxious to get out. He suddenly needs air. The room is too hot. Ida tries her best to detain him. Cubitt starts to say that the memory of Brighton rock haunts him, but he cuts himself off.
Cubitt’s drunken talk about Kite’s death being accidental is yet another suggestion that he might have died by a friendly hand, perhaps by Pinkie’s. Ida has become personally invested in Rose's welfare. She wants the girl to think like her, but that is not possible for Rose, whose perception of reality is tinted by her traumatic childhood and her belief in Catholic doctrine.
Ida tells Cubitt to wait for her. She wants a wash and then the two of them will take a walk outside. In truth, she goes in search of Phil, since she wants a witness. When they get back to the bar, though, Cubitt is gone. Ida is not worried, though. She has the information she needs. She knows now that Pinkie and his gang killed Hale and that Brighton rock, the candy, is somehow involved. She tells Phil that they’re not done, though. They have an added mission. They have to keep Rose from marrying Pinkie.
Ida’s asking Cubitt to wait for her while she washes is reminiscent of the day she asked Hale to do the same. Cubitt’s disappearance is, of course, less dire. He is merely drunk and in need of fresh air—his life is not in danger. Ida’s quest has expanded. She now wants not only to solve Hale’s murder but to save Rose as well.