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From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler


by E.L. Konigsburg

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Chapter 5 Summary

  • Claudia is not only big on learning, she's also big on cleanliness. Why do you think they both thought to bring toothbrushes? 
  • On Saturday, after going to the automat, she drags them to the Laundromat to get their clothes washed. After all, runaways or not, they can't be seen in smelly clothes. That's horribly irresponsible. 
  • After being stuck in a musty museum for so long, Jamie wants to go to a department store and watch TV. Yay for new technology instead of centuries-old artifacts!
  • Claudia puts her foot down, though. They are going to the library to research Michelangelo, and that's that. 
  • At the library, Claudia splits their duties; Claudia will read all the books on Michelangelo, while Jamie skims and tries to memorize the pictures. It's a pretty ambitious undertaking, but Claudia's self-confidence and determination are through the roof. 
  • After a hearty dose of research that would make any PhD candidate proud, they take a break and do real kid things: they go play in Central Park and buy food from a vendor outside the museum. 
  • Then it's time to re-enter the museum and go through their usual routine of hiding in the bathrooms for a set amount of time while they wait for the guards to leave.
  • Jamie goes into the bathroom booth to hide, but when the guards come into the bathroom, they don't leave right away. Instead, he hears two voices talking about moving the statue. 
  • He's terrified that Claudia will get caught because she doesn't know that people are out and about in the museum at night to move the statue. 
  • So he tries to get through to her in the only way he knows how: telepathy. He tries to send Claudia some serious brain signals to stay put.
  • Amazingly enough, when they finally meet at the bed, Claudia's safe and sound and hasn't been thrown out of the museum. She says that she didn't get his messages, but somehow she knew to wait longer than usual. 
  • Did we mention that Claudia's into cleanliness? Of course she'd be the kind of kid who insists that they figure out a way to take a bath, even when they're on the lam. 
  • In the museum's restaurant, there is a huge fountain that Claudia and Jamie get into in order to bathe. 
  • People don't just look at the fountain while they eat, though. They throw coins in too! Claudia and Jamie quickly realize that they've found an easy source of income—and end up collecting a whole $2.87 during their bath time. It may not be a huge fortune, but it sure beats waiting for their allowance. 
  • They can't resist going to the Great Hall for one more peek at the angel statue. But after that, it's time for bed. They're not savages, after all. 
  • In bed, Jamie asks a pretty good question. He wants to know if Claudia misses home at all. The truth is that neither of them really misses home. After all, who would trade adventure and freedom for school and chores like emptying out the wastebaskets? Not the Kinkaid duo, that's for sure. 

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