Chapter 37 Summary
Hornet sits on her bed in the orphanage. She closes her eyes and thinks of the hideout in the Star-Palace and imagines the voices of her friends. The Star-Palace was cold, but to Hornet the orphanage feels colder. It is lunchtime, and although Hornet is hungry, she cannot eat. She thinks of the spaghetti Mosca always made. He made it too salty, and he usually burned it—but it is the only thing she can imagine wanting to eat right now.
Hornet looks out the window and sees an adult couple walking in through the gates. She wonders if they are planning to adopt a child. She knows they will not adopt her; people only want to adopt little children. Older kids, like Hornet, just have to survive until they grow up. Hornet presses her cheek to the window glass and wishes there were some way to accomplish this without staying in the orphanage. She knows she cannot go home. She has parents, but they are too horrible to go back to. She resolves never to reveal her real name to the nuns, no matter what.
A sister comes in and calls, “Caterina?” Hornet jumps, shocked that someone has figured out her name. The nun, however, is pleased. She scolds Hornet for not telling them about her godmother. Hornet, who does not think she has a godmother, frowns in silent confusion. The nun does not notice. She chatters about the godmother’s fame and the wonderful gifts she has made to the orphanage.
Hornet steps into an office, where Ida embraces her and scolds her for running away. Hornet is happy to be rescued and plays along willingly. The man with Ida winks, and Hornet realizes he is Victor in disguise. Ida introduces him as her lawyer and then tells the nun a longwinded tale about Caterina’s bad habit of running away every time her parents have “little quarrels.”
The story Ida tells is so convincing that Hornet almost believes it herself. The nuns gush about Ida’s photographs and the donations she has made to the orphanage, and they happily say that Caterina can leave right away. They promise to send Ida the necessary paperwork as soon as they can. As they walk away, Victor comments on how sad it is that so many children are left behind. Ida agrees and adds that children should have someone “to take them in their arms and be grateful for them every day.”
Hornet runs happily along the canals for a few minutes, feeling happy and free. Then she remembers Bo and the others, and she asks about them. Ida explains that Riccio and Mosca are staying with her and that everyone is out looking for Prosper. However, Esther Hartlieb has custody of Bo, and there is nothing any of them can do about it.