After dinner, Charlie brings Mr. Redmond and Mrs. Redmond a trolley full of wood to thank them for their kindness. Mrs. Redmond has bought a gramophone to help Charlie practice his footwork, but Charlie tells the Redmonds he wants to quit boxing. They are disappointed, but Mrs. Redmond agrees to lend Charlie the gramophone anyway. Mrs. Redmond leaves, covering her mouth with her hand to hide her teeth, which are poorly cared for and starting to rot. Once she’s gone, Mr. Redmond expresses concern that Charlie is caught up with Squizzy Taylor, especially since he has heard of trouble brewing between Squizzy and the criminals in Fitzroy. He suggests that Charlie try racing professionally. Charlie remembers Mr. Cornwall’s desperation and agrees to try this new line of work.
A gramophone, also called a phonograph, was an old-fashioned record player widely used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Mrs. Redmond spent her own limited resources to buy a gramophone for Charlie, highlighting the Redmond’s kindness and dedication to supporting their neighbors. Mr. Redmond continues to play a fatherly role to Charlie, worrying about his involvement in crime and urging him to put his skills to better use. Charlie trusts Mr. Redmond and listens to what he has to say. Charlie loves to run, and he has not lost his ambition––he still hopes that his passion for running can give him a better life. He is coming to accept, though, that he won’t find the better life he dreams of in Squizzy Taylor’s world.
When Charlie gets home, the family’s duck––who has been renamed Harry––attacks him. Charlie uses the quick thinking and footwork Mr. Redmond taught him and smacks Harry aside. Charlie goes inside, where Mrs. Feehan and Jack are sleeping peacefully next to the fire, and he thinks about how much he owes Squizzy Taylor for helping his family. Charlie lays Jack to sleep in his bassinette, and Charlie and Mrs. Feehan talk about the baby. Jack is an easy topic of conversation, but the mundanity makes Charlie miss the way conversation flowed when his father was alive.
Even simple, mundane moments remind Charlie of his father. This demonstrates how reminders of loss can be unpredictable, as even happy moments can be tinged with grief. Still, Charlie is glad to see his family content, even if that contentment comes from illegally earned funds. Charlie is realizing the downsides to a life of crime, but he still feels indebted to Squizzy Taylor, which prevents him from immediately leaving behind his life of crime.
Charlie puts a record on the gramophone he borrowed and tries to convince his mother to dance. When Mr. Feehan was alive, Mr. and Mrs. Feehan used to dance together all the time. Charlie starts dancing, but it is trickier than he expected, and Mrs. Feehan smiles at his attempts. She dances with him and comments that Charlie is growing up to be like his father. She tells Charlie that her family didn’t approve of her marriage to Mr. Feehan, but she isn’t sorry she married him. She hugs Charlie and whispers that she misses his father. Charlie tells her that he does, too.
Once again, Charlie adopts a caretaking role for his mother as he takes the initiative to work through their grief together. He has previously lamented how only wealthy families play music in their houses. Now, Mrs. Redmond’s gramophone enables Charlie to seize the privilege of carefree fun and share it with his mother. Mrs. Feehan, in response, allows herself to be emotionally vulnerable in front of her son. Charlie and his mother become equals as they comfort each other in grief.