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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, And Run." As Mr. Small moves toward Pluto, the man disappears into the darkness.
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