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Neither Atticus nor Alexandra found out about Jem's and Scout's visit to Calpurnia's church for nearly a week. But after the children had heard various gossip about the family on the streets of Maycomb the following Saturday, Scout turned to Atticus for a quick vocabulary lesson.
"What's rape?" I asked him that night.
He sighed, and said rape was the carnal knowledge of a female by force and without consent.
It was only then that Scout told Atticus that she had previously asked Calpurnia about the word on their way home from church, and that Cal had told her to ask her father. Scout proceeded to describe "in detail" about their trip to First Purchase Church.
Atticus seemed to enjoy it, but Aunt Alexandra, who was sitting in a corner quietly sewing, put down her embroidery and stared at us.
Shortly afterward, Atticus and Alexandra got into an argument of which Scout only heard parts, but it soon became evident that Alexandra believed that someone was no longer needed around the house. To Scout, it sounded as if her Aunty believed it was time for her to go. But it soon became clear: It was Cal who Aunty wanted fired.
I breathed again. It wasn't me, it was only Calpurnia they were talking about.
In any case, it was not a subject that Atticus would even consider. For once, he stood up to his sister: Cal was going nowhere.
"... Calpurnia's not leaving this house until she wants to. You may think otherwise, but I couldn't have got along without her all these years. She's a faithful member of this family, and you'll just have to accept things the way they are... We still need Cal as much as we ever did."
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