Chapter 42 Summary
When Victor knocks on Ida’s door, he finds her awake, along with Riccio, Mosca, and Hornet. They all rush to the door, but they look confused when they see him. Then Hornet notices that Victor has Bo, sleeping in his arms, and she cries out in shock. Although Victor his curious to hear what is going on, he is more concerned with his aching arms. He asks where he can set Bo down, and Ida takes him to her attic. Victor tucks the little boy into one of the attic beds, wrapping him in an extra blanket to make sure he stays warm.
Ida and the other children watch Victor tuck Bo in. When he turns around, it occurs to him that Prosper is not among them. Ida explains that this is why they all got up in the middle of the night. Hornet noticed an hour ago that Prosper was not in his bed, and she woke Ida. Since then, they have looked all through the house, the yard, and the local square. Prosper is nowhere to be found.
The older children and the adults all go down to the living room so they can talk without waking Bo. Victor is so worried about Prosper that he has trouble telling the story about how he came to rescue Bo. When Ida hears about Esther Hartlieb’s quick decision to abandon her nephew, she is as outraged as Victor was a few hours ago. She exclaims:
What on earth is she thinking of? The boy isn’t like a shoe she can try on and then throw away again because it doesn’t fit her!
Victor is disappointed that he did not get to reunite the brothers. He turns on the three children and angrily asks them why they did not do a better job of watching Prosper. Mosca defends himself, and Hornet starts to cry. Seeing this, Victor’s anger vanishes. He calls the Hartliebs’ hotel and asks the porter if Prosper is hanging around, but he isn’t. Everyone stares glumly at each other, imagining the scene in the morning when Bo finds out that his brother is gone.
Exhausted and unhappy, Victor admits that he needs a few hours of sleep before he can look for Prosper. His detective duties and his adventures with the children have kept him up at all hours lately, and he is so exhausted that he cannot think. Ida offers him the air mattress Prosper was supposed to use, and Victor collapses there. Everyone else goes to bed, too, but none of them falls asleep easily. Only Bo sleeps well because only he is unaware that his brother is missing.