Scout learns many things about the women who attend the missionary circle of the Maycombe A.M.E. Church South in this chapter. Even before the tea,
Ladies in bunches always filled me with vague apprehension and a firm desire to be elsewhere...
Mrs. Grace Merriweather, "certainly... the most devout lady in Maycomb," proves to be the most hypocritical women in the room. She laments about the terrible conditions of the Mruna tribe in Africa, promising financial aid and support for the missionary who is attempting to Christianize them. But her charity obviously does not begin at home: She resents the mood of Maycomb's black population, who are unhappy with the conviction of Tom Robinson, and she considers firing her maid, Sophy, for being "sulky."
Another example of Mrs. Merriweather's hypocrisy comes when she criticizes Atticus (without naming him)--in his own house--for his "misguided" decision to defend Tom, all the while eating the food and refreshments that Atticus has purchased for the tea party. Miss Maudie angrily responded,
"His food doesn't stick going down, does it?"
A third example of Mrs. Merriweather's pretentiousness comes when she criticizes First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt visit to Birmingham in support of equal rights for Negroes. Calling the First Lady a "born hypocrite(s)," Mrs. Merriweather claims that
"... we don't have that sin on our shoulders down here... Down here we say you just live your way and we'll live ours."
But even young Scout recognizes the real hypocrites,
... where on its surface, fragrant ladies rocked slowly, fanned gently and drank cool water.