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Jack asks how bad it will be, and Atticus says that it couldn't be worse - the case comes down to a black man's word against the word of the white Ewell family, and the jury couldn't possibly take Tom's word over the word of white people. Atticus just hopes that he can get his children through the ordeal without having them catch "Maycomb's usual disease," when "people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up." Atticus hopes that Jem and Scout will look to him for their answers rather than to the townspeople. Then he calls out Scout's name and tells her to go to bed. She runs back to her room. Years later, the narrator, an aged Scout, explains she eventually came to understand that Atticus wanted her to hear everything he said.