The narrative never tells us where Mary is from. If she is from the South, she must have been raised in an enlightened family that was not racist in any way. Indeed, this section is the second instance in the novel when Mary tells Rufus that there is no difference between black people and white people. She says that Rufus is a fine name for any person. Earlier on, she insists that Rufus never mention the way that Victoria smelled. Mary is clearly extremely sensitive to plight of black people at the time; even though Rufus likes the way Victoria smelled, Mary knows that any comment could be taken the wrong way due to the racially charged society of the time.