Chapter 31 Summary

That night, Hornet feeds Bo hot milk with honey and then settles down to read to him from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Within a few minutes, Bo is fast asleep, cuddled up next to Hornet’s body. As soon as he closes his eyes, Hornet nods good-bye to the rest of the gang. Prosper tiptoes out with Mosca and Riccio. It is almost time for the meeting with the Conte.

The three boys fit easily in Mosca’s little rowboat. They make their way to the northern part of the city, which Prosper has only seen once in the past. The houses there are not quite as big as are the houses in the city center, but they are still very old. The boys tie up by the shore and wait.

Ida Spavento comes in her own boat with her housekeeper’s husband—the dour man who “looks as if he eats children for breakfast”—in the driver’s seat. They have picked Scipio up on the way. They arrive a bit late, and Ida apologizes, saying that they got lost and that “the Thief Lord was also not very punctual.” Scipio whines that he had trouble getting away from his father, and Riccio says he would not have minded if Scipio had not come at all.

Ida gives Prosper the wooden wing, and the little group discusses the plan for the meeting. Mosca suggests that Ida and her friend stay far back in her boat so the Conte will not see them and grow suspicious. She agrees and shows them the binoculars she has brought along so she can see. She suggests, however, that the boys all join her in her boat as soon as the Conte leaves. She doubts he will stay in Venice’s canals; it is far more likely that he will sail out to one of the islands on the lagoon. Prosper and Riccio are both uncomfortable on the water, so this idea makes them nervous. However, they realize it is a good plan, so they agree.

Just before they move to the meeting spot, Prosper says that Scipio needs to come with the rest of the gang in Mosca’s boat. He points out that the Conte knows Scipio as the Thief Lord and might not like it if he does not come to the meeting in person. Riccio clearly does not like this idea, but he cannot argue with the logic. Scipio joins the other boys and, at exactly 1:00 in the morning, they row toward the meeting place. Ida’s boat lingers far behind them, almost impossible to see in the darkness.