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Scout's neighbor, Miss Maudie Atkinson, didn't seem too concerned about her house burning down. The fire was not put out until dawn, and when the children wanted to commiserate with her, Atticus "shook his head to tell us she did not want to talk." But later that afternoon, Maudie was in a chipper mood. She was not "grievin'," as Scout had expected. Maudie decided that when she did rebuild, it would be a smaller house so she would have more room for her precious gardens. She would take in boarders as well. It was Atticus who told Jem and Scout that
... Miss Maudie would stay with Miss Stephanie for the time being. (Chapter 8)
Maudie and Stephanie were old friends, but there was one thing that Maudie wasn't about to give up "just because I'm staying with her": the secret recipe for her renowned Lane cake. Maudie wanted to bake one for Mr. Avery as thanks for his efforts to save her furniture, but she knew she would have to wait until "Stephanie Crawford's not looking."
In To Kill A Mockingbird, Miss Maudie is a unique character and she is not like most of the other residents of "the tired old town" (ch 1) of Maycomb County, with a voice "to shut anyone up" (ch 5). She observes Scout and Jem but doesn't interfere and, at first, she is "a benign presence" who allows the children to play as long as they do not spoil her precious garden, especially her azaleas. Scout soon considers Miss Maudie her friend and asks questions knowing that she will always get an honest answer from Miss Maudie. Miss Maudie loves her garden and considers time spent inside her house, except for when she's baking, as time "wasted."
It is apparent that Miss Maudie is not a "foot-washing Baptist," because, as she tells Scout, they believe that she spends too much time in her garden when she should be reading her Bible, to the point of even telling Miss Maudie that she and her beautiful flowers are "going to hell" (ch 5).
One winter day, the children make a snowman and are very pleased with their achievements. The weather is very cold and when Miss Maudie's house burns down in the middle of the night, the children watch on helplessly as it "devours" her whole house. Luckily, some of her belongings have been preserved by some of the men trying to help. Progress is slow because of the fire truck and the inadequate fire hoses. Eventually, however, the fire is brought under control and extinguished. In chapter 8, Atticus tells the children that Miss Maudie will stay with Miss Stephanie Crawford, another neighbor who Scout knows is "the neighborhood scold" (ch 1). She is a sharp contrast to the honest and forthright Miss Maudie; she prides herself on her local knowledge while actually she is just a gossip.
Miss Maudie stayed with Miss Stephanie.
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