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The House of Dies Drear

The House of Dies Drear


by Virginia Hamilton

The House of Dies Drear Chapter 8 Summary

  • Mr. Small is talking to himself about buying a new lock the next day.
  • Mrs. Small and Thomas are listening to him.
  • He's talking about something being different about Pluto, different from when Mr. Small met him before.
  • He decides that it's the gloves Mr. Pluto was wearing. Maybe, Mr. Small says to himself, Mr. Pluto burned his hands (why Mr. Small would think Mr. Pluto burned his hands will be revealed later on) and is hiding them from people.
  • Mr. Small seems to think Mr. Pluto would be afraid of going to the doctor.
  • Thomas and his mother are still listening as Mr. Small talks to himself about Mr. Pluto.
  • He's asking why Mr. Pluto stays here.
  • Mr. Pluto, he says, lives in between the present and the past.
  • Finally Mr. Small calms down and sits at the table.
  • Mrs. Small has cleaned up the mess Thomas made.
  • She offers Mr. Small some coffee.
  • Thomas is surprised when she offers him some too.
  • He loves black coffee, but she only gives him milky, sweet coffee on holidays.
  • Tonight she's giving it to him black.
  • She reminds him it's his birthday.
  • Over coffee, his parents wish him a happy birthday.
  • Thomas feels really good, and excited, like he and his family are in the middle of something important that's about to happen.
  • He knew that now there would be conversation, and he is glad.
  • Thomas asks his mom if she thinks she'll want to go back to their old home.
  • She thinks for a few moments and then says she doesn't think so.
  • Apparently, she and Mr. Small traveled a lot before looking for the right place to be.
  • Their old home in North Carolina wasn't quite right.
  • She doesn't want to go back there.
  • Thomas brings up Mr. Pluto again, but his father stops him.
  • He reminds Thomas that the next day is Sunday.
  • Mrs. Small gets excited. She forgot!
  • She hasn't unpacked their church clothes yet!
  • Mr. Small says not to worry. They will still have plenty of time in the morning.
  • Thomas is excited to meet new people at church on Sunday.
  • His dad tells him it's time for bed.
  • Too bad he can't explore the house tonight Thomas says.
  • The kitchen isn't as big as it should be, he tells his father.
  • Mr. Small slides some panels to show Thomas that the kitchen was designed with spaces behind the walls where slaves could temporarily hide if hunters came in looking for them.
  • Since his father makes him, Thomas goes up to his room.
  • He wishes it was closer to the stairs. He's wants to hear when somebody goes up or down them.
  • When he gets to his room, he feels a little scared of what it might be like, but bravely enters anyway.
  • His bed is between two windows and there's a fireplace.
  • There's a big chair facing the fireplace, with its back to the windows and the bed.
  • He thinks this is ghostly.
  • There could be a ghost sitting in the chair now.
  • He calls out to the ghost, but doesn't get any answer.
  • Still, he's creeped out, and doesn't think he'll be able to sleep with the chair that way.
  • It's too heavy for him to move though.
  • Suddenly, he's angry at Mr. Pluto for putting the big chair that way.
  • He thinks it was done intentionally to try to scare him.
  • Thomas looks at his stuff. His bookshelf is there, box of books, and the box of his woodcarvings, which he arranges near the fireplace.
  • He unpacks some of his clothes, gets in bed, and looks at the décor, thinking how he wants to change it.
  • Then he gets up and explores the room.
  • He's disappointed that the closet is just a closet, but happy to learn he has his own bathroom.
  • When he hears his parents go into their bedroom, he gets up.
  • He plans to sleep on the couch, so he can hear if anybody tries to get into the house.
  • When he gets downstairs, he begins to feel good about himself because he is being so brave.
  • Unable to stop himself, he falls deeply asleep.
  • As when he was lost under the house, there is the sound of water running.
  • Then, as Thomas sleeps, the big mirror in the hall, next to the front door, opens and something, something like a solid shadow, goes to the stairs and walks up them.
  • The thing stops in front of each of the three bedroom doors, and puts something in the doorjamb of each door.
  • Then it goes back down the stairs, and disappears again through the mirror.
  • The house is quite and still, and soon morning comes.

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