Chapter 7 Summary

When Victor sees the boys board the vaporetto, he must admit that he has lost them. He kicks a post and hurts his foot. He limps home, muttering to himself that he is a fool for letting a twelve-year-old boy slip past him so easily. He did not recognize Riccio, but he is sure he did not see Bo. He wonders where the little boy is and whether he is safe. It bothers Victor that Prosper was out on the streets of Venice without Bo.

All the way home, Victor kicks things and mutters to himself. People stare at him, but he ignores them. He tells himself that he never should have taken a job of finding children. He should have stuck to the sorts of jobs he knows better. He does not need the Hartliebs’ money; he has enough work to pay the bills and feed his turtles without it.

By the time Victor gets home, he is beginning to calm down. He limps up the stairs to his apartment, consoling himself that he now has at least two pieces of information. Prosper is in Venice as his aunt and uncle believed. That must mean that Bo is in Venice as well. Victor hobbles out to his balcony and feeds his turtle.

Victor is really angry about failing to catch Prosper because he is worried. Victor has pinned the boys’ picture to his wall, and he has not been able to stop thinking about them since the Hartliebs left. He wonders where the boys are sleeping and how they stay warm on the coldest nights. He wonders what they will do if Venice floods, as it often does in winter. He thinks about all of the city’s many run-down churches and houses, and he hopes the children have found a safe, dry place to spend their nights.

Victor promises himself that he will find the boys. He eats dinner, doctors his foot, and takes care of a mound of paperwork. As he does so, he decides that he should visit Saint Mark’s Square, the place where he spotted Prosper, more often for a while. He can drink coffee or feed pigeons to keep himself looking busy as he watches for the boys. After all, he tells himself, almost everyone in Venice passes through Saint Mark’s Square quite often. He reasons that runaway children probably go there as much as anyone else does.