Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 578
Edgar lies awake, thinking about what his father’s ghost had been trying to sign to him: H-A-A-something-I. Thinking more, he realizes that the third letter was most likely a C instead of an A. He still, however, does not understand what his father was trying to say. He goes downstairs...
(The entire section contains 578 words.)
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Edgar lies awake, thinking about what his father’s ghost had been trying to sign to him: H-A-A-something-I. Thinking more, he realizes that the third letter was most likely a C instead of an A. He still, however, does not understand what his father was trying to say. He goes downstairs where his mother apologizes for snapping at him the night before. He tells her that he cannot sleep. He is going out to the barn to think up some names for the puppies.
On a piece of paper, Edgar tries to guess what the missing letter is, like in the game of Hangman. He is reasonably sure that the fourth letter was an H, making the word HACHI. He thinks it might be part of a word that he remembers seeing someplace in his grandfather’s letters. He searches through the files until he finds a letter from Charles Adwin, who was a congressman and former ambassador to Japan. Adwin tells his grandfather that he has tracked down the people who own a dog named Hachiku. Adwin tried to get one of Hachiku’s puppies for Sawtelle, but the owners were unwilling to send a puppy overseas. In a second letter, Adwin tells Edgar’s grandfather that he has acquired a puppy of his own, one descended from Hachiku. He is willing to give Sawtelle one of the puppy's offspring when the time comes. Edgar is glad that he has solved the mystery of what his father wanted him to find, but he does not understand yet how it is connected to Claude.
Despite what Trudy has told Edgar, Claude does not move in with his things. He continues to come to work, but there are days that he misses. Edgar had observed a white spot in the grass in front of the barn door. Thinking it strange, he pokes at it with a spade. He picks some of the grass to smell. His mother, noticing him, asks what he is doing. Edgar asks her if the spot looks normal to her. She looks, and then leaves.
Edgar overhears Claude talking to Doctor Papineau. They are discussing a business deal that will be settled Saturday night at a fish boil. It will involve a loan from the vet, and Claude tells him that this will increase his investment to twenty percent. The only detail that Edgar picks up is that somebody will start with "twelve" for a pilot run. When it is time to leave for the fish boil on Saturday, Edgar refuses to go. Instead, he goes to the kennel and looks at old photographs. He sees a picture of Claude with a dog; the label on the photo says the dog is named Forte. This makes Edgar think of the stray dog.
Claude and Trudy discuss breeding their female dogs. When Claude suggests a certain pairing, Edgar points out that each of those dogs is descended from the same sire. Edgar instead suggests an alternative male dog, Gleam, which belongs to a neighbor. Later, Claude asks Edgar what is on his mind. Edgar gives him the sign for “murder.” Claude does not respond except to praise him for his suggestion about breeding the dogs. Soon after, Edgar is training the puppies when he remembers that Claude had acted as if he were searching for something on the ground outside the barn on the day Gar died. Edgar plans to use this knowledge to trap Claude.