The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

by David Wroblewski

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Part 5, Chapters 3-4 Summary

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Edgar sits beside Almondine’s grave and looks at the house. He remembers when Claude first came to stay with them and told Edgar how he and Gar used to hide cigarettes and alcohol under a floorboard. Edgar had found the floorboard but saw nothing under it except a bottle cap. Then he remembers Ida Paine telling him to “look for the bottle.” He thinks about the shape of the bottle he had visualized in Ida’s hand. In the dark, he goes back to the barn. He hears a dull buzz coming from the telephone. It is only people on the party line. He forces himself to go past the spot where Doctor Papineau had lain. He finds the floorboard where he had found the bottle cap, but it is nailed down. He pries it open with the knife Henry gave him. The space below has been enlarged recently, but there is nothing in there. There could be a hundred different hiding places in the barn, but he could not look for them all. He hears the dogs barking and looks down to find Essay. She is climbing in with the other dogs. In the medicine room, Edgar gets some water in a coffee can. He goes back to the haymow and settles downs to sleep.

Over the months, Glen has become good friends with Claude; he never would have expected this. His hints about Edgar’s involvement in Doctor Papineau’s death are working their way into Glen’s mind. He wonders if the boy is nearby after all, especially after the phone call from a police officer. He wonders what he would say to Edgar if he picked him up. He thinks about his nickname from high school—Ox. It implies stupidity, about which Glen is sensitive. He thinks about the laughter at the station when he mentioned that Trudy interpreted Edgar’s signs when Glen questioned him. He would like to talk to Edgar again and imagines him speaking out loud, saying he is sorry. This will imply remorse, but it will also imply involvement, which is something Glen is thinking about since his conversation with Claude.

Claude comes to Glen’s house to tell him about Edgar’s note on the kitchen table. He is vague about what he told Trudy about the note. He tells Glen about Prestone, which is almost pure ether. He and Glen devise a plan to use the Prestone to knock Edgar out and take him away before Trudy can interfere. Glen drives out to the Sawtelle place late one night, ready to take action.

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Part 5, Chapters 1-2 Summary


Part 5, Chapters 5-6 Summary