The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

by David Wroblewski

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Part 5, Chapters 5-6 Summary

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Edgar has hidden himself high atop the stack of hay bales in the mow. He listens to the actions below in the kennel, where his mother is working with the pups. He hears the sound of the back door as Claude goes inside the house. He freezes when he hears footsteps climbing the stairs but relaxes when they retreat down below. He takes a drink of water from the coffee can then urinates in the corner. When he cannot take the heat anymore, he climbs down the straw and takes a breath of the cooler air. He worries that Claude has heard him. He decides he will wait until sunset for any further action.

Back on top of the bales, Edgar hears Claude enter the vestibule door of the kennel. Claude calls out twice to him, but Edgar stays silent. He feels the bales being removed one by one. Edgar peeks over the edge and sees that Claude is clearing a space from the stack to expose one section of the floor. Claude pries up a floorboard, reaches in, and takes out a bottle with an old-fashioned shape, a glass stopper, and a label with black markings—just as he had seen in his vision at Ida Paine’s store. Claude covers the bottle with loose straw, and then replaces the bales. After Claude leaves, Edgar examines the hole where Claude had retrieved the bottle. The bottle itself is not where Claude had left it. Edgar hears Claude move the truck alongside the barn.

Edgar confronts his mother as she is working with the pups; he warns her to be quiet. She asks him why he did not come back the day following Doctor Papineau’s death when she signaled him, and he says that people were looking for him. Trudy told people that the vet’s death was an accident, so there was nothing to fear. Edgar asks his mother if she found his note on the table. When she does not know anything about the note, Edgar tells her that Claude found it first and did not tell her. Trudy thinks about all this implies. Edgar tells her that Claude is hiding something in the barn that must be found. He asks her if she has seen “him” in the rain; he is talking about Gar but she is confused as to his meaning. Edgar promises to come back for good after he has taken care of things with Claude. He tells her that he put Essay in with the pups, but she says that Claude would have told her if he had seen Essay. Edgar says that Claude is hoping he will go away again. Edgar takes off through the fields toward his hiding spot.

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Part 5, Chapters 7-8 Summary