Alexandra doesn't seem to be in control at the Missionary Circle tea like she normally is, even though she was hosting it. Mrs. Merriweather's bluster ruled the day, at least until Miss Maudie put her in her place. Mrs. Merriweather made some unflattering comments about Maycomb's black population and her black maid, Sophy, and then she went after an unnamed individual.
"I tell you there are some good but misguided people in this town... who think they're doing right... Now far be it from me to say who... but all they did was stir 'em up."
Although Mrs. Merriweather didn't dare mention the person's name, it was Atticus of whom she spoke, the same man who paid for the food and beverages they were drinking. Miss Maudie couldn't restrain herself.
"His food doesn't stick going down, does it?"
Alexandra loved the social life of Maycomb, but she loved her brother more, and she "gave Miss Maudie a look of pure gratitude." Scout didn't understand the comment or the gravity of the look, but she understood that her aunt was happy with Miss Maudie's remark. Scout was so impressed that she was more than willing to emulate her aunt for the rest of the afternoon.
After all, if Aunty could be a lady at a time like this, so could I.