Chapter 2 Summary

The Hartliebs are correct: Prosper and Bo are in Venice. The boys are cleaner and better fed than anyone would expect them to be, and they are not alone. As the Hartliebs meet with Victor in his office, the boys are shopping with their new friend Hornet. The shopkeeper smiles at Bo and comments that he is like a little angel. Afterward, the three children walk through the streets of Venice together.

Prosper worries that his aunt may be searching for his brother. He feels it is necessary to keep a low profile, so he shouts at Bo when Bo allows some Japanese tourists to take his picture. Hornet tries to make peace, saying that Esther must have given up on the boys by now, but nothing seems to alleviate Prosper’s worries.

A few minutes later, Bo finds a lost wallet. Prosper shouts at him again but Bo swears that he has not been stealing. Prosper stole sometimes when they first ran away, and he hated it. In contrast, Bo thinks stealing is a fun game. Prosper worries that his brother will get caught, and then they will have to go back to Aunt Esther, who will refuse to let the boys see each other ever again.

Prosper reflects that it was easier than he expected to run away from home and to make his way to Venice. However, life got difficult as soon as they arrived. Their money ran out almost immediately. The air was cooler than he expected, and Bo soon developed a bad cough that refused to heal. Prosper got so desperate that he nearly turned himself in to the police. But then he met Hornet, who took him and Bo to her hideout. There they met two other children, Riccio and Mosca, and Hornet explained how they survived. A boy named Scipio, who calls himself the Thief Lord, looks after the whole gang and gives them money so they can live.

It has been several weeks since then, and Bo has begun to idolize the Thief Lord. Prosper worries about this—as he worries about everything—but Hornet consoles him. She points out that Scipio has never invited anyone to accompany him on his burglaries; if he ever does, he will not ask a five year old. This comforts Prosper but only a little. Although he is grateful to Scipio for giving them money and food, it bothers Prosper that Scipio is a thief.