Chapter 34 Summary

Ida drops Scipio off two blocks from home. He walks slowly through the snowy streets, feeling “strong and free.” He does his best not to spoil the feeling with memories of his fight with the gang or with the knowledge that he will soon be back in the mansion where he is made to feel “small and weak” all the time.

When Scipio is almost home, he spots a police boat parked outside his house. His heart is pounding as he opens the front door and sneaks inside. Moments later, two police officers walk down the stairs holding Hornet between them. It turns out that they caught her in the Stella. When the Massimos’ maid discovered that Scipio was missing, the police brought Hornet to be questioned by the doctor.

Hornet has revealed nothing to the police, not even her name, but Scipio is struck by how “sad and lost” she looks. She pretends not to know Scipio, and Scipio says he has never seen her before. Dottor Massimo concludes that Scipio had nothing to do with the gang of child thieves squatting in his theater, but he demands to know where Scipio went. Scipio claims he just wanted to look at the snow. His father scoffs at this, but the police officers seem more understanding. One of them says that everyone acts foolish in the snow, including adults.

The police officers take Hornet away. As she passes Scipio on the stairs, she whispers that Bo is with his aunt. Scipio wonders whether the detective betrayed them. He is dying to know where Prosper, Riccio, and Mosca have gone, but he can reveal nothing of these worries in front of his father.

Dottor Massimo tells Scipio that he will be locked in his room at night from now on. When Scipio refuses to respond, the doctor tells him he looks stupid when he acts stubborn. Scipio knows that his father wishes they were more alike, but Scipio is not “as big as him, as interesting, as disciplined, controlled, dependable, or reasonable.” In other words, he is not an adult.

Scipio asks his father why it is so bad for a group of street children to live in the Stella when the building is not being used for anything else. Dottor Massimo scoffs at this question; he acts as if it is the most foolish idea in the world. Scipio continues to deny knowing Hornet, but he begs his father to use his influence to find someone to give her a home. Dottor Massimo waves away these requests, ascribing them to childish fancy. As he goes back to bed, he mutters that his night is ruined.