Chapter 10 Summary

In the morning, Riccio visits Barbarossa to tell him that the Thief Lord will take the job. Barbarossa is pleased, but he admits that he is only a messenger for his client; he does not know exactly what the job is. He says that he will ask his client what the Thief Lord needs to do next. Riccio returns to the shop every day until, three days later, Barbarossa announces that he has received a reply.

Barbarossa is trimming his beard as he explains that his client wants to meet the Thief Lord in the Basilica San Marco. He says that “the Conte” likes to be mysterious but that he is a good business partner. Riccio asks if the man is really a count, and Barbarossa says he is. He suspects that the man is from a family called Valaresso, although he does not know for sure. Riccio has never met a member of the nobility before, but he is familiar with their names from the palaces and museums of Venice. The idea of meeting a nobleman excites him. He listens eagerly as Barbarossa explains that the Conte is as secretive as the Thief Lord is. The redbeard advises that nobody ask “nosy questions” of the Conte, lest they scare the man away.

Riccio agrees to Barbarossa’s conditions readily; he is eager to get back to his friends to tell them about the arrangement. However, Barbarossa insists on carefully discussing all the details of the meeting. He tells Riccio that it is very important to arrive at the basilica punctually at three o’clock the following day and to look for the Conte in a particular confession booth.

Before Riccio leaves, Barbarossa adds a final condition to the arrangements: the Thief Lord may bring any friends he wishes—“apes, elephants, or even his little children”—but he must attend the meeting in person. The Conte is being very secretive about his job—he refuses even to tell Barbarossa the details. Riccio thinks privately that this is wise, but he also knows that Scipio will not like having to go to the meeting himself. Barbarossa says that there is no way around it and that his customer needs to get a sense of the Thief Lord before deciding whether to trust him. When Riccio continues to balk, Barbarossa shrugs and says that the Thief Lord cannot have the job. Defeated, Riccio says goodbye and goes to deliver the news to the others.