cried Scarlett For once

e said “Oh” in a stunned voice and tightened her fingers over her crimson face. The worditself horrified her. Frank always referred to her pregnancy embarrassedly as “your condition,”
Gerald had been won’t to say delicately “in the family way,” when he had to mention such matters,and ladies genteelly referred to pregnancy as being “in nike air max sale a fix.”
“You are a child if you thought I didn’t know, for all your smothering yourself under that hot laprobe. Of course, I knew. Why else do you think I’ve been—”
He stopped suddenly and a silence fell between them. He picked up the reins and clucked to thehorse. He went on talking quietly and as his drawl fell pleasantly on her ears, som cheap nike air max e of the colorfaded from her down-tucked face.
“I didn’t think you could be so shocked, Scarlett. I thought you were a sensible person and I’mdisappointed. Can it be possible that modesty still lingers in your breast? I’m afraid I’m not agentleman to have mentioned the matter. And I know I’m not a gentleman, in view of the fact thatpregnant women do not embarrass me as they should. I find it possible to treat them as normalcreatures and not look at the ground or the sky or anywhere else in the universe except their waistlines—and th cheap nike air max en cast at them those furtive glances I’ve always thought the height of indecency.
Why should I? It’s a perfectly normal state. The Europeans are far more sensible than we are. Theycompliment expectant mothers upon their expectations. While I wouldn’t advise going that far, stillit’s more s nike air max 90 sale ensible than our way of trying to ignore it. It’s a normal state and women should beproud of it, instead of hiding behind closed doors as if they’d committed a crime.”
“Proud!” she cried in a strangled voice. “Proud—ugh!”
“Aren’t you proud to be having a child?”
“Oh dear God, no! I—I hate babies!”
“You mean—Frank’s baby.”
“No—anybody’s baby.”
For a moment she went sick again at this new error of speech, but his voice went on as easily asthough he had not marked it.
“Then we’re different. I like babies.”
“You like them?” she cried, looking up, so startled at the statement that she forgot herembarrassment “What a liar you are!”
“I like babies and I like little children, till they begin to grow up and acquire adult habits ofthought and adult abilities to lie and cheat and be dirty. That can’t be news to you nike air max 90 . You know I like Wade Hampton a lot, for all that he isn’t the boy he ought to be.”
That was true, thought Scarlett, suddenly marveling. He did seem to enjoy playing with Wadeand often brought him presents.
“Now that we’ve brought this dreadful subject into the light and you admit that you expect ababy some time in the not too distant future, I’ll say something I’ve been wanting to say for weeks—two things. The first is that it’s dangerous for you to drive alone. You know it. You’ve been toldit often enough. If you don’t care personally whether or not you are raped, you might consider theconsequences. Because of your obstinacy, you may get yourself into a situation where your gallantfellow townsmen will be forced to avenge you by stringing up a few darkies. And that will bringthe Yankees down on them and someone will nike air max 1 probably get hanged. Has it ever occurred to you thatperhaps one of the reasons the ladies do not like you is that your conduct may cause the neck-stretching of their sons and husbands? And furthermore, if the Ku Klux handles many morenegroes, the Yankees are going to tighten up on Atlanta in a way that will make Sherman’s conductlook angelic. I know what I’m talking about, for I’m hand in glove with the Yankees. Shameful tostate, they treat me as one of them and I hear them talk openly. They mean to stamp out the KuKlux if it means burning the whole town again and hanging every male over ten. That would hurtyou, Scarlett. You might lose money. And there’s no telling where a prairie fire will stop, once itgets started. Confiscation of property, higher taxes, fines for suspected women—I’ve heard themall suggested. The Ku Cheap Nike Air Max 1 Klux—”
“Do you know any Ku Klux? Is Tommy Wellburn or Hugh or—”
He shrugged impatiently.
“How should I know? I’m a renegade, a turncoat, a Scalawag. Would I be likely to know? But Ido know men who are suspected by the Yankees and one false move from them and they are asgood as hanged. While I know you would have no regrets at getting your neighbors on the gallows,I do believe you’d regret losing your mills. I see by the stubborn look on your face that you do notbelieve me and my words are falling on stony ground. So all I can say is, keep that pistol of yourshandy—and when I’m in town, I’ll try to be on hand to drive you.”
“Rhett, do you really—is it to protect me that you—”
“Yes, my dear, it is my much advertised chivalry that makes me protect you.” The mocking lightbegan to dance in his black eyes and all signs of earnestness fled from his face. “And why?
Because of my deep love for you, Mrs. Kennedy. Yes, I have silently hungered and thirsted for youand worshipped you from afar; but being an honorable man, like Mr. Ashley Wilkes, I haveconcealed it from you. You are, alas, Frank’s wife and honor has forbidden my telling this to you.
But even as Mr. Wilkes’ honor cracks occasionally, so mine is cracking now and I reveal my secretpassion and my—”
Chapter 39
THE TRAIN was very late and the long, deeply blue twilight of June was settling over thecountryside when Scarlett alighted in Jonesboro. Yellow gleams of lamplight showed in the storesand houses which remained in the village, but they were few. Here and there were wide gapsbetween the buildings on the main street where dwellings had been shelled or burned. Ruinedhouses with shell holes in their roofs and half the walls torn away stared at her, silent and dark. Afew saddle horses and mule teams were hitched outside the wooden awning of Bullard’s store. Thedusty red road was empty and lifeless, and the only sounds in the village were a few whoops anddrunken laughs that floated on the still twilight air from a saloon far down the street.
The depot had not been rebuilt since it was burned in the battle and in its place was only awooden shelter, with no sides to keep out the weather. Scarlett walked under it and sat down onone of the empty kegs that were evidently put there for seats. She peered up and down the streetfor Will Benteen. Will should have been here to meet her. He should have known she would takethe first tram possible after receiving his laconic message that Gerald was dead.
She had come so hurriedly that she had in her small carpetbag only a nightgown and a toothbrush, not even a change of underwear. She was uncomfortable in the tight black dress she hadborrowed from Mrs. Meade, for she had had no time to get mourning clothes for herself. Mrs.
Meade thin now, and Scarlett’s pregnancy being advanced, the dress was doublyuncomfortab(was) le. Even in her sorrow at Gerald’s death, she did not forget the appearance she wasmaking and she looked down at her body with distaste. Her figure was completely gone and herface and ankles were puffy. Heretofore she had not cared very much how she looked but now thatshe would see Ashley within the hour she cared greatly. Even in her heartbreak, she shrank fromthe thought of facing him when she was carrying another man’s child. She loved him and he lovedher, and this unwanted child now seemed to her a proof of infidelity to that love. But much as shedisliked having him see her with the slenderness gone from her waist and the lightness from herstep, it was something she could not escape now.
She patted her foot impatiently. Will should have met her. Of course, she could go over toBullard’s and inquire after him or ask someone there to drive her over to Tara, should she find hehad been unable to come. But she did not want to go to Bullard’s. It was Saturday night andprobably half the men of the County would be there. She did not want to display her condition inthis poorly fitting black dress which accentuated rather than hid her figure. And she did not want tohear the kindly sympathy that would be poured out about Gerald. She did not want sympathy. Shewas afraid she would cry if anyone even mentioned his name to her. And she wouldn’t cry. Sheknew if she once began it would be like the time she cried into the horse’s mane, that dreadfulnight when Atlanta fell and Rhett had left her on the dark road outside the town, terrible tears thattore her heart and could not be stopped.
No, she wouldn’t cry! She felt the lump in her throat rising again, as it had done so often sincethe news came, but crying wouldn’t do any good. It would only confuse and weaken her. Why, oh,why hadn’t Will or Melanie or the girls written her that Gerald was ailing? She would have takenthe first train to Tara to care for him, brought a doctor from Atlanta if necessary. The fools—all ofthem! Couldn’t they manage anything without her? She couldn’t be in two places at once and thegood Lord knew she was doing her best for them all in Atlanta.
She twisted about on the keg, becoming nervous and fidgety as Will still did not come. Wherewas he? Then she heard the scrunching of cinders on the railroad tracks behind her and, twistingher body, she saw Alex Fontaine crossing the tracks toward a wagon, a sack of oats on hisshoulder.
“Good Lord! Isn’t that you, Scarlett?” he cried, dropping the sack and running to take her hand,pleasure written all over his bitter, swarthy little fa nike air max 95 ce. “I’m so glad to see you. I saw Will over atthe blacksmith’s shop, getting the horse shod. The train was late and he thought he’d have time.
Shall I run fetch him?”
“Yes, please, Alex,” she said, smiling in spite of her sorrow. It was good to see a County faceagain.
“Oh—er—Scarlett,” he began awkwardly, still holding her hand, I’m mighty sorry about yourfather.”
“Thank you,” she replied, wishing he had not said it. His words brought up Gerald’s florid faceand bellowing voice so clearly.
“If it’s any comfort to you, Scarlett, we nike air max classic ’re mighty proud of him around here,” Alex continued,dropping her hand. “He—well, we figure he died like a soldier and in a soldier’s cause.”
Now what did he mean by that, she thought confusedly. A soldier? Had someone shot him? Hadhe gotten into a fight with the Scalawags as Tony had? But she mustn’t hear more. She would cryif she talked about him and she mustn’t cry, not until she was safely in the wagon with Will and outin the country where no stranger could see her. Will wouldn’t matter. He was just like a brother.
“Alex, I don’t want to talk about it,” she said shortly.
“I don’t blame you one bit, Scarlett,” said Alex while the dark blood of anger flooded his face.
“If it was my sister, I’d—well, Scarlett, I’ve never yet said a harsh word about any woman, butpersonally I think somebody ought to take a rawhide whip to Suellen.”
What foolishness was he talking about now, she wondered. What had Suellen to do with it all?
“Everybody around here feels the same way about her, I’m sorry to say. Will’s the only one whotakes up for her—and, of course, Miss Melanie, but s Nike Air Max he’s a saint and won’t see bad in anyone and—”
“I said I didn’t want to talk about it,” she said coldly but Alex did not seem rebuffed. He lookedas though he understood her rudeness and that was annoying. She didn’t want to hear bad tidingsabout her own family from an outsider, didn’t want him to know of her ignorance of what hadhappened. Why hadn’t Will sent her the full details?
She wished Alex wouldn’t look at her so hard. She felt that he realized her condition and itembarrassed her. But what Alex was thinki Cheap Air Max ng as he peered at her in the twilight was that her facehad changed so completely he wondered how he had ever recognized her. Perhaps it was becauseshe was going to have a baby. Women did look like the devil at such times. And, of course, shemust be feeling badly about old man O’Hara. She had been his pet. But, no, the change was deeperthan that. She really looked as if she had three square meals a day. And the hunted-animal look hadpartly gone from her eyes. Now, the eyes which had been fearful and desperate were hard. Therewas an air of command, assurance and determination about her, even when she smiled. Bet she ledold Frank a merry life! Yes, she had changed. She was a handsome woman, to be sure, but all thatpretty, sweet softness had gone from her face and that flattering way of looking up at a man, likehe knew more than God Almighty, had utterly vanished.
Well, hadn’t they all changed? Alex looked down at his rough clothes and his face fell into itsusual bitter lines. Sometimes at night when he lay awake, wondering how nike air max his mother was going toget that operation and how poor dead Joe’s little boy was going to get an education and how hewas going to get money for another mule, he wished the war was still going on, wished it had goneon forever. They didn’t know their luck then. There was always something to eat in the army, evenif it was just corn bread, always somebody to give orders and none of this torturing sense of facingproblems that couldn’t be solved—nothing to bother about in the army except getting killed. Andthen there was Dimity Munroe. Alex wanted to marry her and he knew he couldn’t when so manywere already looking to him for support. He had loved her for so long and now the roses werefading from her cheeks and the joy from her eyes. If only Tony hadn’t had to run away to Texas.
Another man on the place would make all the difference in the world. His lovable bad-temperedlittle brother, penniless somewhere in the West. Yes, they had all changed. And why not? He sighedheavily.
“I haven’t thanked you for what you and Frank did for Tony,” he said. “It was you who helpedhim get away, wasn’t it? It was fine of you. I heard in a roundabout way that he was safe in Texas.
I was afraid to write and ask you—but did you or Frank lend him any cheap nike air max trainers money? I want to repay—”
“Oh, Alex, please hush! Not now!” cried Scarlett For once, money meant nothing to her.
Alex was silent for a moment.

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