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Alexandra wakes Jean Louise up by screaming at her, since the whole town is buzzing with the gossip that she and Henry had been swimming naked in the river. Atticus is much more sanguine. He sees the humor in the situation.
They go to church, where Uncle Jack is waiting for them on the church steps. Uncle Jack is ten years younger than Atticus. Atticus paid for Uncle Jack’s medical education, and was eventually paid back, but supporting his brother prevented Atticus from starting his own family until age forty. Uncle Jack did so well that he retired early and now spends his days reading Victorian literature. Jean Louise goes into Sunday School and promptly dozes off.
Jean Louise and Alexandra sit on one side of the church while Uncle Jack and Atticus sit together on the other. After collection, the Maycomb Methodists sing a hymn they call the Doxology, which they’ve sung the same way for generations. This Sunday, however, the music director, Herbert Jemson, directs the organist to play it with a completely different rhythm. The congregation does not alter, and the result is cacophony.
Mr. Stone the new minister, takes his text from the Bible, specifically twenty-first chapter of Isaiah, verse six: For thus hath the Lord said unto me, / Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth. (Sound familiar?) Jean Louise can’t concentrate on the sermon, since she’s too busy being indignant at the music. After the service, Uncle Jack scolds Herbert for messing up the Doxology. Herbert says that a music instructor from New Jersey had recently told him to pep up Southern hymns like the Doxology. Uncle Jack scoffs.
On Sunday afternoon, Henry and Atticus go to a political meeting at the courthouse. Jean Louise finds a pamphlet in the living room titled “The Black Plague.” The pamphlet is full of racist declarations, such as claiming that black people are inferior because their skulls are thicker. Jean Louise is horrified. Alexandra tells Jean Louise that Atticus had brought it home from a meeting of the Maycomb County Citizen’s Council.
Jean Louise marches to the courthouse and sneaks up to the Colored balcony, where she and Jem used to watch Atticus litigate. All the men of Maycomb, from the least reputable to the most respected, are there. Atticus and Henry are there, too. The only man not present is Uncle Jack.
Take a Study Break!