The "king" and the "duke" based their entire plan on the Wilks girls and their neighbors following their emotions rather than their intellects. From their arrival on the scene, they played to the emotional impact of the circumstances.
when the king says-"Kin any of you gentlemen tell me wher' Mr. Peter Wilks lives?"...one of them says, kind of soft and gentle:"I'm sorry, sir, but the best we can do is to tell you where he did live yesterday evening."...Well, the men gathered around, and sympathized with them, and said all sorts of kind things to them, and carried their carpet-bags up the hill for them, and let them lean on them and cry, and told the king all about his brother's last moments...It was enough to make a body ashamed of the human race.
Because the townspeople were so ready to accept the frauds as being Peter Wilks's brothers, ""Harvey" and "William" were able to add to their original plan upon confirming the presence of the money buried in the basement. They confirmed their image as devoted, caring, bereaved brothers of the departed when they gave the money that had been willed to them to the girls.
Mary Jane she went for him, Susan and the hare-lip went for the duke, and then such another hugging and kissing I never see yet. And everybody crowded up with the tears in their eyes, and most shook the hands off of them frauds, saying all the time: "You dear good souls!-how lovely!-how could you!"
The play for the emotion-based support of the townspeople continued through the funeral in spite of the objections of Doctor Robinson.