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The children's seemingly innocent excursion to the Radley's back porch ends in near disaster. A shadow--most certainly that of Boo--scares them from the porch; Mr. Radley fires a shotgun blast into the air; Jem loses his pants and is later discovered by Miss Stephanie in his underwear; Dill is forced to concoct a lie about playing "strip poker"; and after everything has settled down, Jem decides to return to the Radleys' to recover his pants. Scout tries to talk him out of going back to the Radleys, worried that he might "get your head shot off." But Jem has a reason for returning: He doesn't want to lose Atticus's trust in him.
"I--it's like this, Scout," he muttered. "Atticus ain't ever whipped me since I can remember. I wanta keep it that way." (Chapter 6)
Jem knows that Atticus will want to see his lost pants in the morning, and Jem doesn't want his father to find out about the children lying or having been on the Radley property without permission. He already feels guilty about the deception and has figured out that "We shouldn'a done that tonight, Scout." So, he undertakes an early morning return mission after Atticus is asleep, successfully returning with the pants--and a surprise that he doesn't reveal to Scout until a week later.
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