Chapter 20

 

Chapter 20

 

            Mr. Dolphus Raymond, the man who lives with a black woman and has mixed children, offered Dill a sip of his drink to settle his stomach.  I said, “Dill, you watch out, now,” because I knew Mr. Raymond drank alcohol out of that bottle in the brown paper bag. 

            Dill let go of the straw and said, “Scout, it’s nothing but Coca-Cola!”

            Mr. Raymond leaned up against the tree-trunk.  “You little folks won’t tell on me now, will you?  It’d ruin my reputation if you did.”

            “You mean all you drink in that sack’s Co-Cola?  Just plain Co-Cola?”

            “Yes, ma’am,” Mr. Raymond nodded.  I liked his smell: it was of leather, horses, and cottonseed.  He wore the only English riding boots I had ever seen.  “That’s all I drink, most of the time.”

            “Then you just pretend to be drunk?  Why?”

            “Well,” Mr. Raymond said, “Some folks don’t like that I lie with a black woman since I’m white.  So even though I don’t care what they think, I try to give ‘em a reason.  It helps folks if they can latch onto a reason.  When I come to town, which is seldom, if I weave a little and drink out of this sack, folks can say Dolphus Raymond is drunk on whiskey – and that’s why he won’t change his ways.  He can’t help himself, that’s why he lives the way he does.”

            I told Mr. Raymond, “That ain’t honest, making yourself out badder than you already –“

            “It ain’t honest but it’s mighty helpful to folks.  Secretly, Scout, I’m not much of a drinker, but you see they could never, ever understand that I live like I do because that’s the way I want to live.”

            Mr. Raymond also said, “Dill was crying and feeling sick about the racism he saw in that courtroom.  But when he gets older he won’t cry anymore.”

 

            Jem, Dill and I went back into the courtroom in time to hear Atticus’s closing statement.  He was telling the jury… “Gentlemen, I remind you that this is a simple case.  If you convict Tom Robinson, you must be sure beyond all reasonable doubt that he is guilty.  This case should never have even come to trial.  This case is as simple as black and white.”  I noticed Atticus was sweating. 

            “The state has not produced any evidence that Mayella was ever raped.  Their two witnesses, Mayella and Bob Ewell, didn’t have their stories straight.  The defendant is not guilty, but somebody in this courtroom is.  I have pity for Mayella, but she has accused an innocent man to get rid of her own guilt.  She feels guilt because she liked a black man and tried to kiss him.  Our society does not allow this.  Now she seeks to destroy him so that she doesn’t have to face her own guilt.  She must destroy the evidence of her offense.  Tom did not rape Mayella.  All he did was try to get away when she kissed him.  Don’t let your prejudices get the better of you and make you think he’s guilty just because he’s black.”

            As Atticus finished his speech we saw Calpurnia making her way up the middle aisle of the courtroom, walking straight toward Atticus.