Mr. Small tells Thomas not to be scared. The second Mr. Pluto isn't really peeling his skin off.
The second Mr. Pluto tells Thomas that he's been wearing a fake beard, and what he peeled off was "stage makeup" (15.2).
Mr. Small says that the man actually looks enough like Mr. Pluto that he doesn't need makeup. He has the same green eyes for sure.
The man says he thought it would be hard to fool Mr. Small. He asks Mr. Small if he suspected him right away, and Mr. Small says there were a few things that made him suspicious.
He didn't mean to scare Thomas though, the man tells them.
Thomas says he knew that Mr. Pluto wouldn't have been strong enough and fast enough to catch him that first night.
When the man says that he had trouble catching Thomas, Thomas feels happy.
The man says that his name is Mayhew Skinner – Mr. Pluto's son.
Beginning to understand, Thomas asks why Mayhew was pretending to be Pluto.
Explaining, he says that he did it because he didn't know if the Smalls were nice people.
Pluto had gotten really sick in January, and the Darrows had always been at war with him.
Mr. Pluto had kept the Darrows from the cavern so far by "being devilish" (15.14), but since he's been sick he's been afraid they would see his weakness and invade the cavern.
Plus, Mr. Pluto has been afraid that the Darrows would hurt the Smalls.
As Thomas father understands, Mr. Pluto wasn't suspicious of the Small, only Mayhew.
Mayhew is angry, and he explains that the Darrows, and the other people in town, including the church members, had always treated his dad terribly, for no good reason. He says he "hates" (15.18) those people.
He simply believed that the Smalls would be "no better than the rest" (15.18).
Thomas hasn't heard any one talk like this before and he's amazed.
Mayhew explains that Mr. Carr had gotten hold of him when Pluto got sick.
The younger man is an actor.
He's lived away from the town since his mother left Mr. Pluto and took Mayhew with him.
Mr. Pluto and Mayhew's mother are "the son and daughter of slaves" (15.24).
Mayhew resents Mr. Pluto for not leaving with him and his mother.
He thinks that Mr. Pluto is too attached to the house of Dies Drear because he's stuck in the past, stuck in history the same way that Mr. Small is.
Mr. Pluto was obsessed with protecting the house of Dies Drear, the history of the house, and even the ghost legend. In Pluto's mind, Dies Drear is still alive.
Mr. Small says that some people give up their history to be free.
Mayhew says he is one of those people. He accuses Mr. Small of romanticizing slavery.
But, Mr. Small says he just wants the truth about slavery to be known.
When the two men see how anxious Thomas is, they decide to save their argument for later.
Pesty is close to Thomas making it known that she is definitely on his side, above anybody else's.
Anyhow, Mayhew continues. After Mr. Carr contacted him and told him that his father was sick and that the Smalls were moving in, he came down.
He explains that until just a few weeks ago, he didn't even know about the cavern and the treasure.
Pluto asks Mayhew if he's mad at him for keeping it a secret for so long.
Mayhew is mad. He grew up in extreme poverty. The money from just a little bit of the treasure could have made a big difference in his life.
If the treasure was their inheritance, then why shouldn't they use it to their own benefit.
Mr. Pluto says that the treasure wasn't theirs to use, but to protect!
Thomas asks Mayhew if he plans to tell the foundation (which owns the house and land) about the treasure.
Mr. Small offers to help Mayhew make the decision.
Mayhew says he needs to get Pesty home, it's getting late.
This reminds him of his wife, alone with the twins, afraid in the house.
Mayhew asks him what happened, why she's afraid.
Mr. Small admits that he and Thomas had come here to accuse Pluto of vandalism.
They thought he was trying to get rid of them.
He tells them about the mess in the kitchen.
Mr. Pluto gets very upset, and seems to feel sick. Mayhew and Mr. Small help him to his bed, then, with Thomas, they take Pesty home.
Pesty tells Mayhew that the Darrows, but not Mac, and not River Lewis, had vandalized the kitchen, to try, as Mr. Small guessed, to scare Mrs. Small so they would move.
It makes Thomas happy that Mac didn't participate; he's starting to imagine they could be friends.
Mayhew sees that Wilbur, Russell, and River Ross Mac Darrow's older brothers, are the ones behind the mess in the kitchen.
Thomas thinks they should call the police, but Mayhew laughs, saying that it will be easier to just give them a taste of their own medicine.
Mr. Small wants to know what he has in mind and he's says he'll tell him after he takes Pesty home.
Pesty says she wants to hear the plan! Mayhew promises her she'll be part of things.
Mr. Small and Thomas are home now.
Mayhew asks if he can stop by after he drops Pesty off, so he can share his plan.
Thomas asks if he's going to need help with it, and Mayhew says that he and the Smalls are "about to become a company of actors" (15.96).