Atticus had originally told Jem and Scout (and Dill) to stay at home on the day of the trial, but after he had come home for lunch, the children decided to take a look for themselves. They managed to attain seats in the balcony of the courtroom amidst Tom's black friends who were attending the trial. The kids remained unseen by Atticus until they were pointed out by B. B. Underwood after Calpurnia arrived to report them missing. The children desperately wanted to see the jury's verdict, since they had already witnessed the entire proceeding (aside from Scout's and Dill's break with Dolphus Raymond).
Calpurnia wanted to "--skin every one of you, alive..." Aunt Alexandra "nearly fainted." Miss Rachel had "run distracted looking for you--" But Atticus realized that the children had already seen the worst of it--the false accusations and charge of rape by Mayella and Tom, and the racist treatment of Tom by the prosecutor, Mr. Gilmer. When Jem begged to "Please let us hear the verdict, please sir," Atticus relented.
"Well, you've heard it all, so you might as well hear the rest."
Atticus later told Alexandra that
"This is their home, sister... We've made it this way for them, they might as well learn to cope with it."