The House of Dies Drear
by Virginia Hamilton
The House of Dies Drear Chapter 16 Summary
- It's about 1:30 am, but nobody is tired. Mayhew, Mr. and Mrs. Small, and Thomas are cleaning the kitchen.
- It's obvious that the whole family loves Mayhew, especially Mrs. Small and Thomas.
- Mrs. Small encourages Mayhew to stay in town for a little while. Mayhew says if he doesn't leave soon, she'll have him enrolled in college.
- She says he might like college.
- Mr. Small says that with all of Mayhew's acting experience, college acting classes will seem like kid stuff to him.
- Mayhew grins, saying that he'll probably be here a month, but then he's up for a new role.
- In the meantime, he'll be straightening everything out.
- Mrs. Small finds some instant coffee and paper cups and they all take a break.
- First they talk about getting Mr. Pluto to a doctor. He doesn't believe in them; back when he was growing up his people didn't have access to doctors, and relied on natural medicine.
- This is familiar to Thomas; Great-grandmother Jeffers feels the same way about doctors.
- Mayhew says that he has a plan on how to get him to the hospital.
- He's going to tell Mr. Pluto that he has to check into the hospital so they Darrows will think he's sick. That's how they plan to lure the Darrow to the property, and get Mr. Pluto checked out by a physician.
- So, while Pluto's being doctored Mayhew and the Smalls plan to give the Darrows a taste of their own medicine.
- Mayhew's presence has to stay secret, so the Small will have to help Thomas get to the hospital.
- Everything has to go down tomorrow. He'll have Pesty tell the Darrows that she heard Mr. Pluto talking about finding something valuable.
- They'll definitely come on the property as soon as it gets dark, because for all they know, Mr. Pluto will get out of the hospital the very next day.
- Mrs. Small wonders if it wouldn't be better to just call the police.
- "Martha, there's more to it," Mr. Small tells her (16.38). He suggests they follow whatever plan Mayhew has in mind.
- Of course, Thomas wants to know what it is they don't know. His mother does, too.
- But, Mayhew looks sad at the moment, and she's noticed him looking sad at moments throughout the evening.
- She feels it would be violating his privacy to ask, and Thomas notices his sadness and feels the same way Mrs. Small does.
- He wonders what his father put together that he didn't. Mr. Small always seems to know more than everybody else!
- Worried, Mr. Small asks Mayhew to make sure the plan takes place outside of his house. He doesn't want the kids in any danger.
- Mayhew promises, and assures Mr. Small that nobody will be getting into the house secretly again either.
- Apparently, the mirror in the parlor hangs on a false wall, that leads to a tunnel which is connected to the tunnel under the front steps, the one Thomas found when he was lost on the their first day.
- The tunnel actually goes underground for a long way, all the way under the stream, and on to the Darrow property.
- Mayhew thinks it probably began naturally, but people helping Dies Drear probably expanded it.
- Thomas can't believe he slept in the parlor right next to it.
- The Darrows could have kidnapped him and trapped him in a tunnel.
- Leading the Smalls to the mirror, Mayhew says he'll take off the piece of machinery that allows it to slide open.
- First, he opens it for them, showing them the tunnel.
- The cave is always wet Mayhew tells them. Not a good place for children to run around.
- The intruders must have taken off their shoes or the Small's carpet would have gotten all wet.
- Now Mayhew removes the piece of machinery and the tunnel is blocked off.
- Mrs. Small is very relieved.
- Mayhew suggests that the Smalls get some rest, and says he'll come back in the morning, dressed as Mr. Pluto.
- Before he goes, Thomas asks him about his plan for the Darrows.
- He's says that tomorrow after Mr. Pluto goes to hospital Mr. Small will need to take Thomas to a theatre supply so Thomas can buy some things for Mayhew.
- Then that night somebody is going to babysit Billy and Buster. Mrs. Small, and Thomas are going to dress up as the ghosts of the two murdered slaves, Mr. Small as Dies Drear, and Mayhew as Mr. Pluto, the scary demonic version.
- Mayhew looks sad again, but then he says, "I adopt you as my family of rascals. […] I adopt you each and every one" (16.99) and then he disappears.
- Thomas wants to know how he does it. He hopes Mayhew can teach him how to disappear when he leaves a room, too.
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