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He didn’t go through the diningroom, but went down the back hallway and entered the kitchen from the rear door. Aunt Alexandra and I met him. The diningroom door opened again and Miss Maudie joined us. Calpurnia had half risen from her chair.“Cal,” Atticus said, “I want you to go with me out to Helen Robinson’s house—”“What’s the matter?” Aunt Alexandra asked, alarmed by the look on my father’s face.
“Tom’s dead.”Aunt Alexandra put her hands to her mouth.“They shot him,” said Atticus. “He was running. It was during their exerciseperiod. They said he just broke into a blind raving charge at the fence and startedclimbing over. Right in front of them—”“Didn’t they try to stop him? Didn’t they give him any warning?” AuntAlexandra’s voice shook.“Oh yes, the guards called to him to stop. They fired a few shots in the air, then tokill. They got him just as he went over the fence. They said if he’d had two goodarms he’d have made it, he was moving that fast. Seventeen bullet holes in him.They didn’t have to shoot him that much. Cal, I want you to come out with meand help me tell Helen.”“Yes sir,” she murmured, fumbling at her apron. Miss Maudie went to Calpurniaand untied it. Edit Description
“Oh yes, the guards called to him to stop. They fired a few shots in the air, then to kill. They got him just as he went over the fence. They said if he’d had two good arms he’d have made it, he was moving that fast. Seventeen bullet holes in him. They didn’t have to shoot him that much. Cal, I want you to come out with me and help me tell Helen.” “Yes sir,” she murmured, fumbling at her apron. Miss Maudie went to Calpurnia and untied it. “This is the last straw, Atticus,” Aunt Alexandra said. “Depends on how you look at it,” he said. “What was one Negro, more or less, among two hundred of ‘em? He wasn’t Tom to them, he was an escaping prisoner.” Atticus leaned against the refrigerator, pushed up his glasses, and rubbed his eyes. “We had such a good chance,” he said. “I told him what I thought, but I couldn’t in truth say that we had more than a good chance. I guess Tom was tired of white men’s chances and preferred to take his own.
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