The House of Dies Drear
by Virginia Hamilton
The House of Dies Drear Chapter 7 Summary
- This is the first time Mrs. Small has seen Pluto, and her stance shows she is protective of her family.
- Pluto steps into the house, respectfully.
- He is extremely tall, and he has a curly white beard, white hair, and droopy shoulders.
- His eyes are bright green, and his skin is dark brown.
- Something about his clothes seems out of time, and out of place, but Mrs. Small can't quite decide what it is.
- One thing is that he's very "well-groomed," more like a man from the city.
- She apologizes for staring at him.
- In a nice way, he takes her hand. He has on gloves! Then he steps back.
- Mrs. Small introduces Thomas to him. She says she knows he's already met Mr. Small.
- Pluto says he's happy to meet Mrs. Small.
- He tells her he thought that Thomas was one of the bad people who sometimes come around to bother him.
- Thomas notices that Mr. Pluto's eyes are darting around in a "shifty" (7.14) way, and he wonders why.
- When Thomas looks at his father, he's in for a shock. Mr. Small is looking at Mr. Pluto so intensely his face looks like it's caught in a "spasm" (7.16).
- Mr. Pluto doesn't seem to notice, and when Thomas looks back at his father, his father's face is calm and normal.
- Thomas wonders if he imagined it.
- Mr. Small greets Mr. Pluto, and thanks him for unpacking and arranging the furniture.
- Pluto says he hopes the family likes the way he arranged things. Thomas notices that Pluto won't look Mr. Small in the eye.
- Suddenly, Mr. Small changes the subject, asking Mr. Pluto how the horses are doing.
- Mr. Pluto seems startled, but says the horses are fine. To Thomas's surprise, his dad keeps grilling Pluto about the horses.
- Apparently, the black one has been sick.
- Mr. Small doesn't seem satisfied with Mr. Pluto's answers.
- Mr. Pluto gets theatrical and says that the horses have been scared by "haunted things" (7.31).
- Thomas gets excited now, but Mr. Small shushes him.
- He thinks Pluto looks like he might be laughing just a little bit, but Mr. Small doesn't see it.
- Now Mr. Small asks Mr. Pluto about Pesty, and why she was riding his horse today.
- Mr. Pluto says that Pesty is really good with animals.
- Then he says that when it's nighttime, the black horse gets so spooked that Mr. Pluto has "to hobble him so he won't burst his heart with running" (7.41).
- ("Hobble" means to "impair". Mr. Pluto does something to keep the horse from being able to run at night.)
- At this point, Mr. Small gets excited. He says Pluto isn't making any "sense" (7.41).
- Mr. Pluto repeats the word "sense" (7.42) a few times and looks sad.
- Then he says:
"When hoot owl screeching, westward flies,
Gauge the sun…
Look to Dies,
- As Mr. Small moves toward Pluto, the man disappears into the darkness.
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