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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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What were Scout's troubles at her aunt's house on Christmas in Chapter 9 of To Kill a Mockingbird?

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Although Scout loved her Aunt Alexandra's cooking and visiting with her Uncle Jack, she hated having to visit Atticus's old home at Finch's Landing.

No amount of sighing could induce Atticus to spend Christmas day at home.

She didn't care for her Uncle Jimmy, Alexandra's husband, who had only spoken to her once in her life. Worse still was her Cousin Francis, Alexandra's grandson.

Talking to Francis gave me the sensation of settling slowly to the bottom of the ocean. He was the most boring child I ever met.

It didn't take long for Francis to anger Scout. First, he referred to Dill as "that little runt." Then he called Atticus a "nigger-lover," before making the claim that Scout's father was "ruinin' the family." Scout quickly collared Francis, but he got away. Scout planned her next attack.

When stalking one's prey, it's best to take one's time. Say nothing, and sure as eggs, he will become curious and emerge.

Francis continued to deliberately antagonize Scout, and when he

... crooned softly, "Nigger-lover..."
     This time I split my knuckle to the bone on his front teeth. My left impaired, I sailed in with my right...

Uncle Jack broke up the one-sided fight, and then he spanked Scout, assuming she had provoked the argument. When Scout had finally settled down, she explained to her uncle what Francis had said about Atticus. The two made up, and Jack bandaged her bloody knuckles. 

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