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Scout sure gets her stomach full of female gossip and religious posturing during the Missionary Circle gathering in Chapter 24 of To Kill a Mockingbird. It was a big day for Aunt Alexandra and her circle, who "were fighting the good fight all over the house." Scout was curious about the group and
...wondered why ladies put on their hats to go across the street. Ladies in bunches always filled me with vague apprehension and a firm desire to be elsewhere, but this feeling is what Aunt Alexandra called being "spoiled."
Scout inadvertently gave the women (all but Miss Maudie, that is) a good laugh when she answered what seemed to be a simple question with an honest answer.
Miss Maudie's gold bridgework twinkled. "You're mighty dressed up, Miss Jean Louise," she said. "Where are your britches?"
"Under my dress."
Scout didn't seem to be too happy when Miss Stephanie jested with her about following in her daddy's footsteps and becoming a lawyer. Nor was she happy when Mrs. Merriweather spoke in a condescending manner toward her. She didn't quite understand Miss Maudie's critical remark to Mrs. Merriweather concerning her servant, Sophie, but Scout knew that Maudie's
... brevity was icy. Something had made her deeply angry.
Equally mystifying to Scout was "the look of pure gratitude" that Aunt Alexandra gave Miss Maudie.
... and I wondered at the world of women... I was more at home in my father's world.
However, Scout understood Atticus clearly when he quietly announced to his sister that Tom Robinson had been killed. She saw that Maudie and Alexandra were truly alarmed at the news, but she admired how they quickly pretended to recover so they could return to the circle of ladies as if nothing had happened. And they expected the same of Scout.
"Not a sign," said Miss Maudie. "Are you together again, Jean Louise?"
... After all, if Aunty could be a lady at a time like this, so could I.
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