Chapter 38 Summary
Riccio eventually finds Prosper outside the hotel where Esther and Max Hartlieb are staying with Bo. Prosper is standing completely still, staring up at the beautiful building, ignoring the crowds of people shoving past him. Riccio says he has been looking for Prosper all day.
Prosper still seems dazed by the loss of his brother. He explains that he has spent the day following his aunt and uncle and Bo. Aunt Esther wasted no time making Bo look like a proper little angel. She had the black ink cut out of his hair and she bought him all new clothes—including a bow tie that he threw away. They took him to several restaurants but he refused to eat. Once, he must have spotted Prosper because he tried to run away, but his uncle captured him and acted as if the little boy were “a naughty puppy.” Prosper has gone inside the hotel to ask which room the Hartliebs are in, but the porter refuses to say.
Riccio, who has been back to Ida’s for dinner and information, begs Prosper to come and sleep there. Prosper shows no interest in the gang’s new living quarters until Riccio says that Ida and Victor rescued Hornet from the orphanage. Hornet wanted to come along to look for Prosper, but Ida advised against it, saying that the police were likely to recognize her and take her back to the orphanage again. Riccio tells Prosper that he can follow Bo again tomorrow but that he has to come back to Ida’s for the night.
On the way to Ida’s, Riccio tries to convince Prosper that Bo is okay. To Riccio, it is hard to imagine life with rich people as being anything but perfect. Prosper says that his aunt and uncle plan to take Bo home at the end of the week. Riccio promises that Victor and Ida will think of some way to get Bo back before that happens.
Then Riccio spots some tourists gasping at the view of the sun setting over the lagoon, and he tells Prosper to wait a moment while he takes advantage of this “opportunity” to relieve a few people of their wallets. Prosper grabs Riccio by the collar and holds him back, saying that Ida will never let the gang stay with her if they act like criminals. Riccio protests that he does not “want to get out of practice,” but Prosper refuses to let go. The tourists remain unaware of this exchange and go on happily watching the sunset.