When the three of us came to her house, Atticus would sweep off his hat, wave gallantly to her and say, Good evening, Mrs. Dubose! You look like a picture this evening. I never heard Atticus say like a picture of what. He would tell her the courthouse news, and would say he hoped with all his heart she’d have a good day tomorrow. He would return his hat to his head, swing me to his shoulders in her very presence, and we would go home in the twilight. It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.
Calpurnia evidently remembered a rainy Sunday when we were both fatherless and teacherless. Let to its own devices, the class tied Eunice Ann Simpson to a chair and placed her in the furnace room. We forgot her, trooped upstairs to church, and were listening quietly to the sermon when a dreadful banging issued from the radiator pipes, persisting until someone investigated and brought forth Eunice Ann saying she didn't want to play Shadrach any more - Jem Finch said she wouldn't get burnt if she had enough faith, but it was hot down there.
Well, coming out of the courthouse that night Miss Gates was-she goin' down the steps in front of us, you musta not seen her- she was talking with Miss Stephen Crawford. I heard her say it's time somebody taught 'em a lesson, they were gettin' way above themselves, an' the next thing they think they can do is marry us. Jem, how can you hate Hitler so bad an' then turn around and be ugly about folks right at home-
What happened after that had a dreamlike quality: in a dream I saw the jury return, moving like underwater swimmers, and Judge Taylor's voice came from far away, and was tiny. I saw something only a lawyer's child could be expected to see, could be expected to watch for, and it was like watching Atticus walk into the street, raise a rifle to his shoulder and pull the trigger, but watching all the time knowing that the gun was empty.
A boy trudged down the sidewalk dragging a fishing pole behind him. A man stood waiting with his hands on his hips. Summertime, and his children played in the front yard with their friend, enacting a strange little drama of their own invention. It was fall, and his children fought on the sidewalk in front of Mrs. Dubose's. . . . Fall, and his children trotted to and fro around the corner, the day's woes and triumphs on their faces. They stopped at an oak tree, delighted, puzzled, apprehensive. Winter, and his children shivered at the front gate, silhouetted against a blazing house. Winter, and a man walked into the street, dropped his glasses, and shot a dog. Summer, and he watched his children's heart break. Autumn again, and Boo's children needed him. Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.
See there, Heck? Thank you from the bottom of my heart, but I don’t want my boy starting out with something like this over his head. Best way to clear the air is to have it all out in the open. Let the county come and bring sandwiches. I don’t want him growing up with a whisper about him, I don’t want anybody saying, ‘Jem Finch . . . his daddy paid a mint to get him out of that.’ Sooner we get this over with the better. Mr. Finch, Mr. Tate said stolidly, Bob Ewell fell on his knife. He killed himself.
Well how do you know we ain’t Negroes?Uncle Jack Finch says we really don’t know. He says as far as he can trace back the Finches we ain’t, but for all he knows we mighta come straight out of Ethiopia durin’ the Old Testament.Well if we came out durin’ the Old Testament it’s too long ago to matter.That’s what I thought, said Jem, but around here once you have a drop of Negro blood, that makes you all black.
Jack: Atticus, you’ve never laid a hand on her.Atticus: I admit that. So far I've been able to get by with threats. Jack, she minds me as well as she can. Doesn't come up to scratch half the time, but she tries.Jack: That's not the answer.Atticus: No, the answer is she knows I know she tries. That's what makes the difference.
When Atticus came home to dinner he found me crouched down aiming across the street. "What are you shooting at?" "Miss Maudie's rear end."Atticus turned and saw my generous target bending over her bushes. He pushed his hat to the back of his head and crossed the street. "Maudie," he called, "I thought I'd better warn you. You're in considerable peril."Miss Maudie straightened up and looked toward me. She said,"Atticus, you are a devil from hell.