Chapter 27

 

            Something weird happened to Judge Taylor one Sunday night.  He was lost in a book when he noticed a scratching noise.  “Hush,” he said to Ann Taylor, his fat dog.  Then he realized he was speaking to an empty room; the scratching noise was coming from the rear of the house.  Judge Taylor clumped to the back porch to let Ann out and found the screen door swinging open.  A shadow on the corner of the house caught his eye, and that was all he saw of the visitor.  Mrs. Taylor came home from church to find her husband in his chair, lost in the writing of Bob Taylor, with a shotgun across his lap.  I bet that his “visitor” was Bob Ewell who was mad at him because he appointed Atticus to Tom’s case, which meant the judge wanted Tom to have a fair chance.

            Something happened to Helen Robinson too.  Mr. Link Deas, who had been Tom’s boss, created a job for Helen because he felt so badly about what happened to Tom.  Helen had to walk nearly a mile out of her way to work in order to avoid the Ewell place.  The Ewells would swear at her if she tried to use the public road that ran past their house.  When Link Deas realized that Helen was coming the long way to work, he asked her why.  He got very mad and went to the Ewell house.  He yelled out to Bob that he would have him arrested if he kept bothering Helen.  But Bob kept annoying her.  He would follow behind her saying foul, evil things.  Link Deas threatened again to have him arrested and eventually he stopped bothering her.

            Halloween was approaching, and this year we were having a pageant.  Mrs. Grace Merriweather had composed an original pageant, and I was going to be a ham.  She thought I would be adorable if some of the children were costumed to represent the county’s agricultural products:  Cecil Jacobs would be dressed up to look like a cow; Agnes Boone would make a lovely butterbean, another child would be a peanut, and on down the line.  Our only duties, as far as I could gather from our two rehearsals, were to enter from stage left as Mrs. Merriweather identified us.  When she called out “PORK”, that was my cue.

            A few hours before the pageant I practiced my part for Calpurnia in the kitchen and she said I was wonderful.  I wanted to go across the street to show Miss Maudie, but Jem said she’d probably be at the pageant anyway.

            After that, it didn’t matter whether they went or not.  Jem said he would take me. Thus began our longest journey together.