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This quotation from Atticus is spoken to his brother Jack during their Christmas together at Finch's Landing and, later, in Maycomb. Jack has separated Scout from the pummeling she was giving her Cousin Francis, and then he spanked her before determining the reasons for their fight. Jack followed Atticus back to his home in Maycomb in order to make up with Scout, and after hearing Scout's story, he apologizes to her and binds up her bloody hand. When she asks him "What's a whore-lady?", Jack launches into a tale about Lord Melbourne blowing "feathers in the air"--his way of avoiding the subject. When Jack told Atticus the story, Atticus responded firmly.
"Jack! When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness' sake. But don't make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion quicker than adults, and evasion simply muddles 'em." (Chapter 9)
The quote is found near the end of Chapter 9 (on page 87 in my old paperback from 1982).
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