Tony learns his catechism and prepares for his first communion, under the direction of Father Byrnes. Tony hopes that when he takes communion all his questions about the ways of God will be answered. He debates with his friend Florence, who does not believe in God. The discussion make them late for Father Byrnes's class. Florence is punished for being late, but Tony is excused. The priest teaches them about sin and hell, and gives them a vivid picture of what eternity means for those who are damned.
The characterization of Florence is developed. As a boy who does not believe in God, he acts as a foil for the highly religious Tony. (A foil is a character who sets off another by contrast.) The seriousness of the discussion between Tony and Florence is followed by Father Byrnes's somber teaching, but the feisty irreverence shown by Bones and Horse provides the reader with some welcome comic moments.