Our mother died when I was two, so I never felt her absence. She was a Graham from Montgomery; Atticus met her when he was first elected to the state legislature. He was middle-aged then, she was fifteen years his junior. Jem was the product of their first year of marriage; four years later I was born, and two years later our mother died from a sudden heart attack. They said it ran in her family. I did not miss her, but I think Jem did. He remembered her clearly, and sometimes in the middle of a game he would sigh at length, then go off and play by himself behind the car-house. When he was like that, I knew better than to bother him.
It doesn’t make sense to me. Looks like if Mr. Arthur was hankerin’ after heaven he’d come out on the porch at least. Atticus says God’s loving folks like you love yourself— Miss Maudie stopped rocking, and her voice hardened. You are too young to understand it, she said, but sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hand of—oh, of your father. I
As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it—whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash. Atticus was speaking so quietly his last word crashed on our ears. I looked up, and his face was vehement. There’s nothing more sickening to me than a low-grade white man who’ll take advantage of a Negro’s ignorance. Don’t fool yourselves—it’s all adding up and one of these days we’re going to pay the bill for it. I hope it’s not in you children’s time.
She printed DEMOCRACY in large letters. ‘Democracy,’ she said. ‘Does anybody have a definition?’ ‘Us,’ somebody said. I raised my hand, remembering an old campaign slogan Atticus had once told me about. ‘What do you think it means, Jean Louise?’ ‘Equal rights for all, special privileges for none!,’ I quoted.