The House of Dies Drear
by Virginia Hamilton
The House of Dies Drear Chapter 14 Summary
- Now they are walking deeper underground. There are stalactites hanging from the cave ceilings.
- Thomas remembers what he heard about stalactites and stalagmites – both are found in limestone caves and caused by dripping water with calcium in it.
- The stalactites look like monsters to him.
- Pesty and Mr. Pluto are waiting, watching them come forward.
- They walk deeper into the cavern and down a staircase.
- Mr. Pluto is sitting behind a huge desk. He, Thomas thinks, "is the king!" (14.12).
- Mr. Small thinks he dreaming, and that Pluto is "The Lord of the Underworld" (14.13).
- The cave is full of treasure, from fine clothes and carpets, to native American canoes, to all kinds of gold, jewels, and other fine things.
- One huge section of the cave wall was full of glassware in amazing colors.
- Mr. Small realizes that this is the collection of riches that must have belonged to Dies Drear before he died.
- When Thomas marvels out loud, his father says that some of that glass is extremely old.
- Pesty stands up and walks toward the glass and climbs onto a ladder near it.
- She begins polishing glass and proudly tells Thomas that her job is to keep the glass clean.
- Mr. Pluto has some very old ledger books in his hands. He tells Thomas and Mr. Small that these are old account books kept by slave holders.
- They were a record of slaves that were bought and sold.
- He clarifies that they were not Dies Drear's records. (Dies Drear was not a slave owner.) He doesn't know where Dies Drear got the records.
- Now Mr. Pluto apologizes for not talking to Mrs. Small at church today. He felt sick, and has been sick for some time.
- Then he congratulates Mr. Small on finding him, on finding the treasure.
- When he first met Mr. Small, he thought he'd be the one to find him.
- Pesty was the only other person to have found it. At first Mr. Pluto thought she'd tell River Darrow, but she hadn't.
- She is completely trustworthy and loves hanging out with Mr. Pluto.
- Suddenly, Mr. Pluto becomes upset, talking wildly about the Darrows and about ghosts.
- Thomas begins to see that Pluto is not the devil, but just a man grown old, a person like his Great-grandmother Jeffers.
- He feels bad for thinking he was the devil.
- Pluto begins to apologize for tricking Thomas and his father.
- Mr. Small doesn't understand and asks him to be clear.
- It wasn't the Smalls Pluto was out to trick, but rather the Darrows.
- He was sure they would find out Mr. Pluto was sick and use the information to rob him.
- River Swift Darrow was a young man when Mr. Pluto was.
- River claimed that his grandfather was a Mohegan (a Native American tribe) and that he had come to the town with Dies Drear.
- He wanted the treasure and believed it was his.
- Mr. Small asks if there are other hidden places he hasn't seen on the property.
- Again, Pluto apologizes for his tricks, but then Thomas and Mr. Small hear another voice.
- They turn.
- What Thomas sees makes him lose all his strength and slide to the ground.
- It's another Mr. Pluto!
- I knew it! Mr. Small exclaims.
- Thomas thinks he has everything figured out now.
- Pluto can multiply himself as many times as he wants, and he made all the beautiful things in the cavern with his magical powers!
- He is angry and he jumps on the second Pluto pulling at his beard.
- The second Pluto is strong, and he throws Thomas down.
- Thomas starts screaming because pieces of Pluto's beard are stuck to his hands!
- The second Pluto calls Thomas's name. When Thomas looks up, Pluto recites the first part of a poem about masks and hiding.
- (The poem is "We Wear the Mask" by Paul Lawrence Dunbar (1872-1906). Check it out here.)
- The second Pluto starts peeling back the skin from his face.
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