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In Chapter 8 of To Kill a Mockingbird Jem and Scout learn that Mrs. Radley has died, but the news does not seem to affect the neighborhood since little has been seen of her. In contrast, the emergence of her son, Boo Radley, rocks the little neighborhood--that is, at least after Miss Maudie's house catches on fire. And, as the fire gainst strength in the frozen temperatures, Atticus orders his children to go down the block and stand before the Radley house.
When Miss Maudie's house becomes engulfed in fire, there is little that can be done but watch the scorched building burn. Finally, the tin roof quells the fire and Atticus and the children go into Stephanie Crawford's home in order to warm up and have hot chocolate. Once in the comfort of the house, Atticus scolds Jem and Scout for not waiting where he had instructed. Jem demurs, "Why, we did. We stayed--" But, Atticus asks him, "Then whose blanket is that?" Jem tries to explain that Mr. Nathan was at Miss Maudie's helping with the mattress, and Atticus stops his protests by telling him,
"That's all right, son...." Looks like all of Maycomb was out tonight, in one way or another."
Amazed, Jem and Scout are momentarily speechless, but later Jem tells his sister that if she had turned around, she would have seen him. Later, Miss Maudie teaches the children, saying that she would have had the presence of mind to have turned around when Boo placed the blanket upon her shoulders. Certainly, Boo is stealthy as he as also filled the knothole surreptitiously, as well, in his furtive attempts at friendship.
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