Chapter 45 Summary
Barbarossa stayed on the merry-go-round far too long. He is extremely small—smaller even than Bo. Scipio fishes the broken wing out of the bushes and stares at it; he looks frightened. He suggests having a new wing made, but Renzo says that the Valaressos tried that. The merry-go-round does not work without the original, and there is no way to repair the splintered wing that is left. Scipio shouts at Barbarossa for ruining his plans and making him stay an adult forever. Barbarossa, who still thinks Scipio is Dottor Massimo, is confused—but he quickly thinks of a way to use this new information for blackmail. Scipio laughs at his angry threats, pointing out that nobody will believe “such a little squirt.”
Renzo, too, is furious at Barbarossa. Renzo has spent most of his life figuring out the secret of the merry-go-round and tracking the lost wing. Barbarossa’s flailing kick has destroyed Renzo’s life’s work. He stalks away to check on the dogs that Barbarossa poisoned, and he orders Prosper and Scipio to bring the tiny child back to the house. Barbarossa, who has not yet fully understood the situation, watches in confusion as Renzo leaves. “That impertinent little twerp!” he says.
Neither Scipio nor Prosper has much interest in defending the little Barbarossa from Renzo, so Scipio picks the tiny child up and carries him toward the house. Scipio is so tall and strong that Prosper has trouble keeping up with him. He watches as Scipio stares at the sky and the trees on the way. When they reach the house, Scipio says:
Everything has shrunk.... The whole world is suddenly so small. I feel like I don’t fit into it anymore.
Morosina wants to feed Barbarossa to the dogs, but Renzo has another idea. He says that Barbarossa should pay for the broken merry-go-round. Barbarossa claims that it is not his fault he broke it, but Renzo points out that Barbarossa trespassed on his island and poisoned his dogs. These crimes were completely his fault.
Renzo demands all of Barbarossa’s money. When Barbarossa refuses, Renzo does not seem too upset. He says he will simply drop Barbarossa off at the orphanage. Barbarossa protests that this is blackmail. Renzo shrugs, clearly unconcerned with the idea of blackmailing a despicable person like Barbarossa. Nobody else offers to help, and Barbarossa is too small and weak to defend himself. He accepts the offer, muttering that it is still blackmail.