wholesalefety ofAshley and Frank.

Melanie and even in her wrath, Scarlett was stunned to hear Melanietake the Lord’s name in vain. “You must hush! She doesn’t know and she—you must hush! Youpromised—”
“Oh, girls!” pleaded Miss Pittypat, her lips trembling.
“What don’t I know?” Scarlett was on her feet, furious, facing the coldly blazing India and theimplocheap louis vuitton handbagsring Melanie.
“Guinea hens,” said Archie suddenly and his voice was contemptuous. Before anyone couldrebuke him, his grizzled head went up sharply and he rose swiftly. “Somebody comin’ up the walk.
‘Tain’t Mr. Wilkes neither. Cease your cackle.”
There was male authority in his voice and the women stood suddenly silent anger fading swiftlyfrom their faces as he stumped across the room to the door.
“Who’s thar?” he questioned before the caller even knocked.
“Captain Butler. Let me in.”
Melanie was across the floor so swiftly that her hoops swayed up violently, revealing herpantalets to the knees, and before Archie could put his hand on the knob she flung the door open.
Rhett Butler stood in the doorway, his black slouch hat low over his eyes, the wild wind whippinghis cape about him in snapping folds. For oncecheap louis vuitton bags his good manners had deserted him. He neithertook off his hat nor spoke to the others in the room. He had eyes for no one but Melanie and hespoke abruptly without greeting.
“Where have they gone? Tell me quickly. It’s life or death.”
Scarlett and Pitty, startled and bewildered, looked at each other in wonderment and, like a leanold cat, India streaked across the room to Melanie’s side.
“Don’t tell him anything,” she cried swiftly. “He’s a spy, a Scalawag!”
Rhett did not even favor her with a glance.
“Quickly, Mrs. Wilkes! There may still be time.”
Melanie seemed in a paralysis of terror and only stared into his face.
“What on earth—” began Scarlett.
“Shet yore mouth,” directed Archie briefly. “You too, Miss Melly. Git the hell out of here, youdamned Scalawag.”
“No, Archie, no!” cried Melanie and she put a shaking hand on Rhett’s arm as though to protecthim from Archie. “What has happened? How did—how did you know?”
On Rhett’s dark face impatience fought with courtesy.
“Good God, Mrs. Wilkes, they’ve all been under suspicion since the beginning—only they’vebeen too clever—until tonight! How do I know? I was playing poker tonight with two drunkenYankee captains and they let it out. The Yankees knew there’d be trouble tonight and they’ve prepared for it. The fools have walked into a trap.”
For a moment it was as though Melanie swayed under the impact of a heavy blow and Rhett’sarm went around her waist to steady her.
“Don’t tell him! He’s trying to trap you!” cried India, glaring at Rhett. “Didn’t you hear him sayhe’d been with Yankee officers tonight?”
Still Rhett did not look at her. His eyes were bent insistently on Melanie’s white face.
“Tell me. Where did they go? Have they a meeting place?”
Despite her fear and incomprehension, Scarlett thought she had never seen a blanker, moreexpressionless face than Rhett’s but evidently Melanie saw something else, something that madeher give her trust. She straightened her small body away from the steadying arm and said quietlybut with a voice that shook:
“Out the Decatur road near Shantytown. They meet in the cellar of the old Sullivan plantation—the one that’s half-burned.”
“Thank you. I’ll ride fast. When the Yankees come here, none of you know anything.”
He was gone so swiftly, his black cape melting into the night, that they could hardly realize hehad been there at all until they heard the spattering of gravel and the mad pounding of a horsegoing off at full gallop.
“The Yankees coming here?” cried Pitty and, her small feet turning under her, she collapsed onthe sofa, too frightened for tears.
“What’s it all about? What did he mean? If you don’t tell me I’ll go crazy!” Scarlett laid handson Melanie and shook her violently as if by force she could shake an answer from her.
“Mean? It means you’ve probably been the cause of Ashley’s and Mr. Kennedy’s death!” Inspite of the agony of fear there was a note of triumph in India’s voice. “Stop shaking Melly. She’sgoing to faint.”
“No, I’m not,” whispered Melanie, clutching the back of a chair.
“My God, my God! I don’t understand! Kill Ashley? Please, somebody tell me—”
Archie’s voice, like a rusty hinge, cut through Scarlett’s words.
“Set down,” he ordered briefly. “Pick up yore sewin’. Sew like nothin’ had happened. For all weknow, the Yankees might have been spyin’ on this house since sundown. Set down, I say, and sew.”
Trembling they obeyed, even Pitty picking up a sock and holding it in shaking fingers while hereyes, wide as a frightened child’s went around the circle for an explanation.
“Where is Ashley? What has happened to him, Melly?” cried Scarlett.
“Where’s your husband? Aren’t you interested in him?” India’s pale eyes blazed with insanemalice as she crumpled and straightened the torn towel she had been mending.
“India, please!” Melanie had mastered her voice but her white, shaken face and tortured eyesshowed the strain under which she was laboring. “Scarlett, perhaps we should have told you but— but—you had been through so much this afternoon that we—that Frank didn’t think—and youwere always so outspoken against the Klan—”
“The Klan—”
At first, Scarlett spoke the word as if she had never heard it before and had no comprehension ofits meaning and then:
“The Klan!” she almost screamed it. “Ashley isn’t in the Klan! Frank can’t be! Oh, he promisedme!”
“Of course, Mr. Kennedy is in the Klan and Ashley, too, and all the men we know,” cried India.
“They are men, aren’t they? And white men and Southerners. You should have been proud of himinstead cheap louis vuitton of making him sneak out as though it were something shameful and—”
“You all have known all along and I didn’t—”
“We were afraid it would upset you,” said Melanie sorrowfully.
“Then that’s where they go when they’re supposed to be at the political meetings? Oh, hepromised me! Now, the Yankees will come and take my mills and the store and put him in jail—oh,what did Rhett Butler mean?”
India’s eyes met Melanie’s louis vuitton outletin wild fear. Scarlett rose, flinging her sewing down.
“If you don’t tell me, I’m going downtown and find out. I’ll ask everybody I see until I find—”
“Set,” said Archie, fixing her with his eye. “I’ll tell you. Because you went gallivantin’ thisafternoon and got yore-self into trouble through yore own fault, Mr. Wilkes and Mr. Kennedy andthe other men are out tonight to kill that thar nigger and that thar white man, if they can catchthem, and wipe out that whole Shantytown settlement. And if what that Scalawag said is true, theYankees suspected sumpin’ or got wind somehow and they’ve sont out troops to lay for them. Andour men have walked into a trap. And if what Butler said warn’t true, then he’s a spy and he isgoin’ to turn them up to the Yankees and they’ll git kilt just the same. And if he does turn them up,then I’ll kill him, Cheap Louis Vuitton Bags/Shoes/Belts/Luggage/Sunglasses/Wallets UK Sale if it’s the last deed of m’ life. And if they ain’t kilt, then they’ll all have to lightout of here for Texas and lay low and maybe never come back. It’s all yore fault and thar’s bloodon yore hands.”
Anger wiped out the fear from Melanie’s face as she saw comprehension come slowly acrossScarlett’s face and then horror follow swiftly. She rose and put her hand on Scarlett’s shoulder.
“Another such word and you go out of this house, Archie,” she said sternly. “It’s not her faultShe only did—did what she felt she had to do. And our men did what they felt they had to do.
People must do what they must do. We don’t all think alike or act alike and it’s wrong to—to judgeothers by ourselves. How can you and India say such cruel things when her husband as well asmine may be—may be—”
“Hark!” interrupted Archie softly. “Set, Ma’m. Thar’s horses.”
Melanie sank into a chair, picked up one of Ashlecheap louis vuitton shoesy’s shirts and, bowing her head over it,unconsciously began to tear the frills into small ribbons.
The sound of hooves grew louder as horses trotted up to the house. There was the jangling of bits and the strain of leather and the sound of voices. As the hooves stopped in front of the house,one voice rose above the others in a command and the listeners heard feet going through the sideyard toward the back porch. They felt that a thousand inimical eyes looked at them through theunshaded front window and the four women, with fear in their hearts, bent their heads and pliedtheir needles. Scarlett’s heart screamed in her breast: “I’ve killed Ashley! I’ve killed him!” And inthat wild moment she did not even think that she might have killed Frank too. She had no room inher mind for any picture save that of Ashley, lying at the feet of Yankee cavalrymen, his fair hairdappled with blood.
As the harsh rapid knocking sounded at louis vuittonthe door, she looked at Melanie and saw come over thesmall, strained face a new expression, an expression as blank as she had just seen on Rhett Butler’sface, the bland blank look of a poker player bluffing a game with only two deuces.
“Archie, open the door,” she said quietly.
Slipping his knife into his boot top and loosening the pistol in his trouser band, Archie stumpedover to the door and flung it open. Pitty gave a little squeak, like a mouse who feels the trap snapdown, as she saw massed in the doorway, a Yankee captain and a squad of bluecoats. But theothers said nothing. Scarlett saw with the faintest feeling of relief that she knew this officer. Hewas Captain Tom Jaffery, one of Rhett’s friends. She had sold him lumber to build his house. Sheknew him to be a gentleman. Perhaps, as he was a gentleman, he wouldn’t drag them away toprison. He recognized her instantly and, taking off his hat, bowed, somewhat embarrassed.
“Good evening, Mrs. Kennedy. And which of you ladies is Mrs. Wilkes?”
“I am Mrs. Wilkes,” answered Melanie, rising and for all her smallness, dignity flowed from her.
“And to what do I owe this intrusion?”
The eyes of the captain flickered quickly about the room, resting for an instant on each face,passing quickly from their faces to the table and the hat rack as though looking for signs of maleoccupancy.
“I should like to speak to Mr. Wilkes and Mr. Kennedy, if you please.”
“Tcheap louis vuitton bags ukhey are not here,” said Melanie, a chill in her soft voice.
“Are you sure?”
“Don’t you question Miz Wilkes’ word,” said Archie, his beard bristling.
“I beg your pardon, Mrs. Wilkes. I meant no disrespect. If you give me your word, I will notsearch the house.”
“You have my word. But search if you like. They are at a meeting downtown at Mr. Kennedy’sstore.”
“They are not at the store. There was no meeting tonight,” answered the captain grimly. “Wewill wait outside until they return.”
He bowed briefly and went out, closing the door behind him. Those in the house heard a sharporder, muffled by the wind: “Surround the house. A man at each window and door.” There was atramping of feet. Scarlett checked a start of terror as she dimly saw bearded faces peering in the windows at them. Melanie slouis vuitton handbagsat down and with a hand that did not tremble reached for a book on thetable. It was a ragged copy of Les Miserables, that book which caught the fancy of the Confederatesoldiers. They had read it by campfire light and took some grim pleasure in calling it “Lee’sMiserables.” She opened it at the middle and began to read in a clear monotonous voice.
“Sew,” commanded Archie in a hoarse whisper and the three women, nerved by Melanie’s coolvoice, picked up their sewing and bowed their heads.
How long Melanie read beneath that circle of watching eyes, Scarlett never knew but it seemedhours. She did not even hear a word that Melanie read. Now she was beginning to think of Frankas well as Ashley. So this was the explanation of his apparent calm this evening! He had promisedhercheap louis vuitton he would have nothing to do with the Klan. Oh, this was just the kind of trouble she had fearedwould come upon them! All the work of this last year would go for nothing. All her struggles andfears and labors in rain and cold had been wasted. And who would have thought that spiritless oldFrank would get himself mixed up in the hot-headed doings of the Klan? Even at this minute, hemight be dead. And if he wasn’t dead and the Yankees caught him, he’d be hanged. And Ashley,too!
Her nails dug, into her palms until four bright-red crescents showed. How could Melanie read onand on so calmly when Ashley was in danger of being hanged? When he might be dead? Butsomething in the cool soft voice reading the sorrows of Jean Valje an steadied her, kept her fromleaping to her feet and screaming.
Her mind fled back to the night Tony Fontaine had come to them, hunted, exhausted, withoutmoney. If he had not reached their house and received money and a fresh horse, he would havebeen hanged long since. If Frank and Ashley were not dead at this very minute, they were inTony’s position, only worse. With the house surrounded by soldiers they couldn’t come home andget money and clothes without being captured. And probably every house up and down the streethad a similar guard of Yankees, so they could not apply to friends for aid. Even now they might becheap louis vuitton beltsriding wildly through the night, bound for Texas.
But Rhett—perhaps Rhett had reached them in time. Rhett always had plenty of cash in hispocket. Perhaps he would lend them enough to see them through. But that was queer. Why shouldRhett bother himself about Ashley’s safety? Certainly he disliked him, certainly he professed acontempt for him. Then why— But his riddle was swallowed up in a renewed fear for the salouis vuitton wholesalefety ofAshley and Frank.
“Oh, it’s all my fault!” she wailed to herself. “India and Archie spoke the truth. It’s all my fault.
But I never thought either of them was foolish enough to join the Klan! And I never thoughtanything would really happen to me! But I couldn’t have done otherwise. Melly spoke the truth.
People have to do what they have to do. And I had to keep the mills going! I had to have money!
And now I’ll probably lose it all and somehow it’s all my fault!”
After a long time Mel

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