Charles Halloway – Will's father – watches the boys run off and wishes he could follow. He dreams of his own boyhood.
He ruminates on the two boys, noting that Jim is "all bramblehair and itchweed" (3.5) while Will is "the last peach, high on a summer tree" (3.6). Charles Halloway sees that the friendship between the two boys has altered them both. For instance, Jim runs slower to stay with Will, although his natural instinct is to move fast; Will runs faster to stay with Jim although his natural instinct is to move slowly.
Soon after, Charles Halloway leaves the library and heads to the neighborhood saloon for his nightly drink. A man at the bar is talking about how the Indians dubbed alcohol "Fire-water." This man offers Charles a drink; Charles replies that someone inside him needs the drink. He is referring to the boy he once was, but does not say this aloud.