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Tom Robinson's first visit to assist Mayella Ewell had been "way last spring," according to his court testimony. She had offered him a nickel to "bust up a chiffarobe", which he had declined; since that time, Robinson claimed that every time he was in the area, Mayella Ewell had something for him to do to help her. Scout observes that Mayella "must have been the loneliest person in the world. . .lonelier than Boo Radley". On the day in question, Mayella had sent the children to town to get ice cream with the "seb'm" nickels it had taken her quite some time to save; she asked Tom to come in the house and get something off the chiffarobe (a different one than the one Tom had earlier chopped up for her), and when he stood on the chair, Mayella tried to hug his legs. In his surprise, he hopped off the chair, which fell over, and then Mayella kissed him on the cheek. This description of the incident completes the portrait of Mayella as a pitiful girl living a pitiful life; at nearly twenty years old, she has no friends, no education, has never been on a date or had any interaction with the opposite sex.
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