To Kill a Mockingbird

Chapter 4

By Harper Lee

My school year went on pretty uneventfully .  One day while walking home alone, I ran past the Radley’s house as I normally do.  This time, however, something caught my eye.  I took a deep breath, turned around, and went back.

Next to the Radley house there were two tall oak trees .  One of the trees had a knot-hole  and there was some shiny tinfoil  sticking out of it.  I stuck my hand in the knot-hole and pulled out two pieces of chewing gum (Wrigley’s Double-Mint).  I quickly snatched it up and ran home, even though I wanted to cram  it into my mouth.  Once I got to the porch, I inspected my find.  I sniffed and licked it, and when I didn’t die, I put the gum in my mouth.

Jem came home and wondered where I got the gum.  I finally told him that I found it in the Radley’s tree.  Jem yells, “Spit it out right now!  Don’t you know you’re not supposed to even touch the trees over there?  You’ll get killed if you do!” and I obeyed .

Summer was on the way, which was our favorite season.  It also meant that Dill was coming soon.

On the last day of school, we were let out early.  As Jem and I walked past the Radley’s oak trees, I saw shiny tinfoil again in the knot-hole.  We both ran over, grabbed the prize and hurried home to examine it.  It was a small jewelry box covered in tinfoil wrappers.  Inside the box were twoIndian-head pennies that were really old.  Since this was pretty special, I began to think that this knot-hole might be someone’s special hiding place.  We tried to think of who walked that way and who might be using this as their hiding spot.  We didn’t know if we should keep them or put them back.  Jem said that we should keep them until school starts and then ask everyone if it's theirs.  I noticed Jem looking back at the Radley’s house for a long time and seemed to be real thoughtful.

Dill Finally arrives! Dill suggests picking up where they left off play-acting, but I’m tired of those.  I thought it would be fun to roll in the tire.  “I’m first!”  I announced.  I folded myself in the tire and Jem pushed me hard down the sidewalk.  I was getting dizzy and couldn’t get it to stop because it was going so fast.  I hear Jem yelling behind me.  All of a sudden I bumped into something and stopped.  I lay on the cement for a while and hear Jem’s voice:  “Scout, get away from there, come on!”  I opened my eyes and realized I was at the front of the Radley’s steps.  Jem came to get me and panicked .  We both scurried out of there without the tire.  Jem and I argued about who should go back and get the tire.  Jem scowled  and went back for it.  He told me I was acting like a girl and there was nothing to it.

Calpurnia called us in for some lemonade.  As we enjoyed our lemonade, Jem decided that we should play act using the Radleys as our characters.  All throughout the summer we perfected our act .  We added dialogue and made it long.  One day when we were rehearsing one act, Atticus watched us.  He told us that he hoped we were not play acting about the Radleys, Jem and I argued over whether or not we should continue acting this out since Atticus told us not to. Atticus didn't think it was very nice.

 Atticus’s seeing us do this play-acting was the first reason I wanted to stop doing this.  The second reason had to do with what happened earlier that day.  After I rolled into the Radley’s yard, I heard not only Jem’s voice yelling but also another sound.  It was a soft sound.  Someone inside of the house was laughing....