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After Mrs Dubose's rant against their father, Jem grabs Scout's baton, cuts off all the tops of Mrs. Dubose's camellia bushes, and then snaps her baton in half. Scout watches, amazed, and begins to scream. They return home and gloomily await Atticus's return, knowing that they will be in trouble. Atticus comes home carrying green camellia buds and Scout's broken baton. He makes Jem go to Mrs. Dubose's house and apologize to her in person. Scout and Atticus discuss the necessity of keeping one's head even when times get hard. Atticus explains that he has to follow his conscience, no matter what anyone else in the town says. Jem returns from Mrs. Dubose's house. Atticus tells him one can't hold a sick old lady responsible for what she says. Jem explains that Mrs. Dubose wants him to read out loud to her every afternoon for a full month.