There is no cause for concern. The coroner's report states that he died of a weak heart. But Ida is not satisfied. She doesn't understand why Hale left her when she went to the lavatory. "I'd like to 'ave asked some questions", she says (32). Her curiosity is reinforced by the apathy of those around her:
'"You oughtn't to fuss about that, Ida. It's none of your business."' '"I know," she said. "It's none of mine." But it's none of anybody's, her heart repeated to her: that was the trouble: no one but her to ask questions' (34)
She attends his cremation where she and Hale's landlady are the only mourners. The clergyman concludes that "Truth is beauty and there is more beauty for us, a truth loving generation, in the certainty that our brother is at this moment reabsorbed in the universal spirit" (35). Ida is touched by the 'easy pathos' of the lonely, unloved Fred, also called Charles, disappearing in smoke, becoming 'part of the smoke nuisance over London', of the clergyman smiling gently 'like a conjurer who has produced his nine hundred and fortieth rabbit without a hitch' (34-36).
'Ida wept... But while she wept a determination grew... Vengeance was Ida's, just as much as reward was Ida's... Ida was going to begin at the beginning and work right on. She was a sticker' (36-37). So Ida sets out to discover the truth behind Hale's death. She starts by visiting the girl that was questioned at the inquest, the girl that Fred had tried to pick up on the sea-front. She gets little information from her, only a vague description of Pinkie and the idea that Pinkie was after him for money that Fred had borrowed. Her next call is to the spirit world. She gets out her ouija board and asks "Are you there, Fred?... What happened to you, Fred?" (43). The results are hardly clear - "FRESUCILLEYE" - but Ida, with a superstitious faith and a conviction that Fred did not die from natural causes makes sense of it: "Why it's clear as clear. Fre is short for Fred and Suici for Suicide and Eye; that's what I always say - an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." (44).
The coroner's verdict that Hale died of natural causes is of as little comfort to Pinkie and his gang as it is to Ida. They are somehow disconcerted: "That verdict sort of shook us all. What did they mean by it? We did kill him, Pinkie?" (46). Pinkie thinks Spicer is 'milky' but he, too, is not entirely satisfied. He is worried about Rose. He meets her for a date and tries to warn her to forget about Hale and the man that left the card in the restaurant, not to 'get mixed up in things' (47). He tells her of another girl that got 'mixed up in things' and had her face burnt by vitriol. He produces a bottle of vitriol and shows her its effect on the wood of the pier. This demonstration frightens Rose but impresses her also. She is struck with awe at what seems to be power in someone so young as Pinkie and at his apparent knowledge and experience.
His warning is particularly apt. When she protests, "I wouldn't get mixed up with a mob like that", he tells her, "You can't always help it. It sort of comes that way" (47). His warning applies not only to her but also to him. In his attempts to tie up the last loose thread of Hale's murder, Rose, he is getting mixed up in a mob that he never thought that he would associate with. Age and experience, women and sex are 'sort of coming his way'.
Pinkie returns to his gang. Two subscriptions of protection money have not been paid. Brewer and Tate have not paid up. Pinkie ignores the advice of Spicer and Dallow that they should lie low for a bit after the murder of Hale. Pinkie goes to see Brewer. Brewer tells Pinkie that he is paying protection money to Colleoni now that Kite is dead. Pinkie slashes him with a razor and he pays up.
Pinkie receives a letter from Colleoni. The thick, luxurious writing paper contrasts with the squalour of Pinkie's lodgings but Pinkie will not concede that Colleoni is more powerful. He has an obstinate pride, an immature self-confidence. He visits Colleoni in the opulent surroundings of The Cosmopolitan where Colleoni stays. Colleoni warns him that he should give up his protection racket. Colleoni's patronizing tone does nothing to undermine Pinkie's grandiose pride but serves instead to strengthen his self-belief and confirm him in his ambitions of power. He knows that it is Colleoni who has arranged for a policeman to wait outside the hotel and take him from there to the police station where he is given a similar warning. He is not impressed. His conviction is made firmer rather than weaker:
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