mockingbird chapter 30


When the courtroom was quiet, Judge Taylor asked, «Mr. Ewell, did you see that the defendant was having sexual intercourse with your daughter?»

«Yes, I did.»

«You say you were at the window?» asked Mr. Gilmer. «Yes sir.»

«Did you have a clear view of the room?»

«Yes sir.»

«How did the room look?»

«Well, it looked like there was a fight.»

«What did you do when you saw the defendant?»

«Well, I run around the house to get in, but he run out the front door just ahead of me. I sawed who he was, all right. I didn’t run after him because I was too distracted about Mayella. I run in the house and she was lyin’ on the floor and screamin’.»

«Then what did you do?»

«Why, I run for Tate quick as I could. I knowed who it was, all right, lived down yonder in that nigger-nest, passed the house every day. Jedge, I’ve asked this county for fifteen years to clean out that nest down yonder. It’s dangerous to live near them, and they’re devaluin’ my property-»

«Thank you, Mr. Ewell,» said Mr. Gilmer hurriedly.

The witness quickly stepped down from the stand and ran right into Atticus, who had risen to question him. Judge Taylor permitted the court to laugh.

«Just a minute, sir,» said Atticus pleasantly. «Could I ask you a question or two?»

Atticus said that Mr. Ewell had done a lot of running that night. He wanted to know if Mr. Ewell had run for a doctor too.

«Was no need to. I seen what happened and who done it,» Mr. Ewell said.

«No, I mean her physical condition. Did you not think she needed a doctor for her injuries?»

The witness said he never thought of it, he had never called a doctor to any of his children in his life, and if he had it would have cost him five dollars.

Then Atticus asked Mr. Ewell if he had heard what the sheriff had said about his daughter’s injuries and if he agreed with the sheriff’s words.

«Oh yeah,» said the witness. «I hold with everything Tate said. Her eye was blacked and she was mighty beat up.»

Atticus’s next question was: «Mr. Ewell, can you read and write?»

Mr. Gilmer interrupted. «Objection,» he said. «Can’t see what witness’s literacy has to do with the case.»

Atticus said, «Judge, if you’ll allow the question plus another one you’ll soon see.»

«All right, let’s see,» said Judge Taylor, «but make sure we see, Atticus. Overruled.»

Atticus asked Mr. Ewell to write his name on an envelope so that the jury could see. And when he wrote his name, everybody saw that Mr. Ewell was left-handed.

When Atticus finished with his questions, Mr. Gilmer asked Mr. Ewell one more question. «About your writing with your left hand, are you ambidextrous, Mr. Ewell?»

«I most positively am not, I can use one hand good as the other. One hand good as the other,» he added, and looked angrily at the defense table.


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