Quoyle reluctantly agrees to go out for a drink with Tert Card. Card tells Quoyle he is leaving Killick-Claw to go work in St. John's, writing a newsletter for oil suppliers. Much to Quoyle's disgust, Card is apathetically leaving behind his home and family. Card also makes threats to Quoyle about the change the jobs will take at the newspaper.
The Christmas pageant is a huge tradition in Killick-Claw. Bunny and her friend Marty Buggit perform a song together, but the real star is Beety, who does a skit in which she tells and acts out a story about Billy Pretty and another local old woman, Auntie Flizzard. Christmastime brings up painful childhood memories for Quoyle, but mostly, he cannot stop thinking about Petal. He and Wavey exchange gifts, but Quoyle is thinking about Petal's only gift to him; Petal did not buy Quoyle anything for Christmas, but once went into the refrigerator and presented him with two brown eggs that Quoyle had bought himself. The day after Christmas, Quoyle and Dennis Buggit take some homemade bread up to Nolan and talk about getting him put in a home.
Jack Buggit tells Quoyle that he will be the new managing editor (and will have a host of other responsibilities), now that Tert Card is leaving. They will also be upgrading the "home" section to a "lifestyles" page, which will address social and technological changes instead of provincial recipes and crafts. A new guy, Benny, will take over the S.A. stories, replacing Nutbeem. Quoyle takes over Tert Card's desk, removing the oil tanker picture from the wall. He finds Benny's sexual abuse stories far less interesting than Nutbeem's. Quoyle begins his work covering all kinds of local stories, and vows he will never let a typo go by. He sends a copy of the new masthead (with his name) to Partridge and sends the aunt a clip about Silver Melville. As it turns out, Silver and the steward from her boat were captured in Hawaii.
Partridge calls Quoyle to tell him about a tragic end to their old paper. A rioter went into the office and killed almost the entire staff, including Al Catalog and Ed Punch. According to Partridge, riots are sweeping the country. Quoyle realizes he might be dead if he had stayed in Mockingburg, New York.
Jack and Quoyle have a meeting about the paper diromg a cod-gutting session. Jack is upset over fishing quotas and the overall disempowerment of local fishermen. Quoyle asks if he can stop running fake ads in the paper, and replace them with news stories.
Quoyle is trying to figure out if he (as next of kin) should sign the papers that would keep his cousin Nolan in an institution for life. He and Wavey go down to St. John's where she enjoys shopping while Quoyle goes to visit Nolan in the asylum. Quoyle brings a photograph of a poodle as a present, and Nolan feels ashamed for his past malicious gestures toward Quoyle. Quoyle thinks he will look into another home in Killick-Claw in an attempt to get Nolan out of the crazy-bin. Nolan tells Quoyle a story of the aunt aborting a child as a result of a sexual encounter with Guy; it seems obvious that he raped her. Quoyle leaves, and he and Wavey have a lovely night together in St. John's. Nolan did not seem so crazy, but in the morning he has stabbed everyone with the glass from Quoyle's photograph gift.