shops of New Orleans

riwether continued. “You know as well as I do that the man is a rogue. He always hasbeen and now he’s unspeakable. He is simply not the kind of man decent people receive.”
“No? That’s strange, Mrs. Merriwether. He was in your parlor often enough during the war. Andhe gave Maybelle her white satin wedding dress, didn’t he? Or is my memory wrong?”
Things are so different during the war and nicepeople associated with many men who were notquite— It was all for the Cause and very proper, too. Surely you can’t be thinking of marrying aman who wasn’t in the army, who jeered at men who did enlist?”
“He was, too, in the army. He was in the army eight months. He was in the last campaign andfought at Franklin and was with General Johnston when he surrendered.”
“I had not heard that,” said Mrs. Merriwether and she looked as if she did not believe it either.
“But he wasn’t wounded,” she added, triumphantly.
“Lots of men weren’t.”
“Everybody who was anybody got wounded. I know no one who wasn’t wounded.”
Scarlett was goaded.
“Then I guess all the men you knew were such fools they didn’t know when to come in out of ashower of rain—or of minie balls. Now, let me tell you this, Mrs. Merriwether, and you can take itback to your busybody friends. I’m going to marry Captain Butler and I wouldn’t care if he’dfought on the Yankee side.”
When that worthy matron went out of the house with her bonnet jerking with rage, Scarlett knewshe had an open enemy now instead of a disapproving friend. But she did not care. Nothing Mrs.
Merriwether could say or do could hurt her. She did not care what anyone said—anyone exceptMammy.
Scarlett had borne with Pitty’s swooning at the news and had steeled herself to see Ashley looksuddenly old and avoid her eyes as he wished her happiness. She had been amused and irritated atthe letters from Aunt Pauline and Aunt Eulalie in Charleston, horror struck at the news, forbiddingthe marriage, telling her it would not only ruin her social position but endanger theirs. She hadeven laughed when Melanie with a worried pucker in her brows said loyally: “Of course, CaptainButler is much nicer than most people realize and he was so kind and clever, the way he savedAshley. And after all, he did fight for the Confederacy. But, Scarlett, don’t you think you’d betternot decide so hastily?”
No, she didn’t mind what anybody said, except Mammy. Mammy’s words were the ones thatmade her most angry and brought the greatest hurt“Ah has seed you do a heap of things dat would hu’t Miss Ellen, did she know. An’ it has donesorrered me a plen’y. But disyere is de wust yit. Mahyin’ trash! Yas’m, Ah said trash! Doan gotellin’ me he come frum fine folkses. Dat doan mek no diffunce. Trash come outer de high places,same as de low, and he trash! Yas’m, Miss Scarlett, Ah’s seed you tek Mist’ Charles ‘way frumMiss Honey w’en you din’ keer nuthin’ ‘bout him. An’ Ah’s seed you rob yo own sister of Mist’
Frank. An’ Ah’s heshed mah mouf ‘bout a heap of things you is done, lak sellin’ po’ lumber fergood, an’ lyin’ ‘bout de other lumber gempmums, an’ ridin’ roun’ by yo’seff, exposin’ yo’seff terfree issue niggers an’ gettin’ Mist’ Frank shot, an’ not feedin’ dem po’ convicts nuff ter keep deysouls in dey bodies. Ah’s done heshed mah mouf, even ef Miss Ellen in de Promise Lan’ wuzsayin’ ‘Mammy, Mammy! You ain’ look affer mah chile right!’ Yas’m. Ah’s stood fer all dat but Ahain’ gwine stand fer dis, Miss Scarlett. You kain mahy wid trash. Not w’ile Ah got breaf in mahbody.”
“I shall marry whom I please,” said Scarlett coldly. “I think you are forgetting your place,Mammy.”
“An’ high time, too! Ef Ah doan say dese wuds ter you, who gwine ter do it?”
“I’ve been thinking the matter over, Mammy, and I’ve decided that the best thing for you to dois to go back to Tara. I’ll give you some money and—”
Mammy drew herself up with all her dignity.
“Ah is free, Miss Scarlett. You kain sen’ me nowhar Ah doan wanter go. An’ w’en Ah goes backter Tara, it’s gwine be w’en you goes wid me. Ah ain’ gwine leave Miss Ellen’s chile, an’ dar ain’
no way in de worl’ ter mek me go. An’ Ah ain’ gwine leave Miss Ellen’s gran’chillun fer no trashystep-pa ter bring up, needer. Hyah Ah is and hyah Ah stays!”
“I will not have you staying in my house and being rude to Captain Butler. I am going to marryhim and there’s no more to be said.”
“Dar is plen’y mo’ ter be said,” retorted Mammy slowly and into her blurred old eyes there camethe light of battle.
“But Ah ain’ never thought ter say it ter none of Miss Ellen’s blood. But, Miss Scarlett, lissen terme. You ain’ nuthin’ but a mule in hawse harness. You kin polish a mule’s feet an’ shine his hidean’ put brass all over his harness an’ hitch him ter a fine cah’ige. But he a mule jes’ de same. Hedoan fool nobody. An’ you is jes’ de same. You got silk dresses an’ de mills an’ de sto’ an’ demoney, an’ you give yo’seff airs lak a fine hawse, but you a mule jlouis vuitton outletes’ de same. An’ you ain’ foolin’
nobody, needer. An’ dat Butler man, he come of good stock and he all slicked up lak a race hawse,but he a mule in hawse harness, jes’ lak you.”
Mammy bent a piercing look on her mistress. Scarlett was speechless and quivering with insult.
“Ef you say you gwine mahy him, you gwine do it, ‘cause you is bullhaided lak yo’ pa. But‘member dis, Miss Scarlett, Ah ain’ leavin’ you. Ah gwine stay right hyah an’ see dis ting thoo.”
Without waiting for a reply, Mammy turned and left Scarlett and if she had said: “Thou shalt seeme at Philippi!” her tones would not have been more ominous.
While they were honeymooning in New Orleans Scarlett told Rhett of Mammy’s words. To hersurprise and indignation he laughed at Mammy’s statement about mules in horse harness.
“I have never heard a profound truth expressed so succinctly,” he said. “Mammy’s a smart oldsoul and one of the few people I know whose respect and good will I’d like to have. But, being amule, I suppose I’ll never get either from her. She even refused the ten-dollar gold piece which I,in my groomlike fervor, wished to presentcheap louis vuitton bags uk her after the wedding. I’ve seen so few people who didnot melt at the sight of cash. But she looked me in the eye and thanked me and said she wasn’t afree issue nigger and didn’t need my money.”
“Why should she take on so? Why should everybody gabble about me like a bunch of guineahens? It’s my own affair whom I marry and how often I marry. I’ve always minded my ownbusiness. Why don’t other people mind theirs?”
“My pet, the world can forgive practically anything except people who mind their own business.
But why should you squall like a scalded cat? You’ve said often enough that you didn’t mind whatpeople said about you. Why not prove it? You know you’ve laid yocheap louis vuitton bagsurself open to criticism so oftenin small matters, you can’t expect to escape gossip in this large matter. You knew there’d be talk ifyou married a villain like me. If I were a low-bred poverty-stricken villain, people wouldn’t be somad. But a rich, flourishing villain—of course, that’s unforgivable.”
“I wish you’d, be serious sometimes!”
“I am serious. It’s always annoying
Chapter 48
SHE DID HAVE FUN, more fun than she had had since the spring before the war. New Orleanswas such a strange, glamorous place and Scheap louis vuitton handbagscarlett enjoyed it with the headlong pleasure of apardoned life prisoner. The Carpetbaggers were looting the town, many honest folk were drivenfrom their homes and did not know where to look for their next meal, and a negro sat in thelieutenant governor’s chair. But the New Orleans Rhett showed her was the gayest place she hadever seen. The people she met seemed to have all the money they wanted and no cares at all. Rhettintroduced her to dozens of women, pretty women in bright gowns, women who had soft handsthat showed no signs of hard work, women who laughed at everything and never talked of stupidserious things or hard times. And the men she met—how thrilling they were! And how differentfrom Atlanta men—and how they fought to dance with her, and paid her the most extravagantcompliments as though she were a young belle.
These men had the same hard reckless look Rhett wore. Their eyes were always alert, like menwho have lived too long with danger to be ever quite careless. They seemed to have no pasts orfutures, and they pol cheap louis vuitton itely discouraged Scarlett when, to make conversation, she asked what orwhere they were before they came to New Orleans. That, in itself, was strange, for in Atlanta everyrespectable newcomer hastened to present his credentials, to tell proudly of his home and family, totrace the tortuous mazes of relationship that stretched over the entire South.
But these men were a taciturn lot, picking their words carefully Cheap Louis Vuitton Bags/Shoes/Belts/Luggage/Sunglasses/Wallets UK Sale . Sometimes when Rhett wasalone with them and Scarlett in the next room, she heard laughter and caught fragments ofconversation that meant nothing to her, scraps of words, puzzling names—Cuba and Nassau in theblockade days, the gold rush and claim jumping, gun running and filibustering, Nicaragua andWilliam Walker and how he died against a wall at Truxillo. Once her sudden entrance abruptlyterminated a conversation about what had happened to the members of Quantrill’s band of guerillas,and she caught the names of Frank and Jesse James.
But they were all well mannered, beautifully tailored, and they evidently admired her, so itmattered little to Scarlett that they chose to live utterly in the present. What really mattered wasthat they were Rhett’s friends and had large houses and fine carriages, and they took her and Rhetlouis vuittontdriving, invited them to suppers, gave parties in their honor. And Scarlett liked them very well.
Rhett was amused when she told him so.
“I thought you would,” he said and laughed.
“Why not?” her suspicions aroused as always by his laughter.
“They’re all second-raters, black sheep, rascals. They’re all adventurers or Carpetbag aristocrats.
They all made their money speculating in food like your loving husband or out of dubiousgovernment contracts or in shady ways that won’t bear investigation.”
“I don’t believe it You’re teasing. They’re the nicest people …”
“The nicest people in town are starving,” said Rhett. “And living politely in hovels, and I doubtif I’d be received in those hovels. You see, my dear, I was engaged in some of my nefariousschemes here during the war and these people have devilish long cheap louis vuittonmemories! Scarlett, you are aconstant joy to me. You unerringly manage to pick the wrong people and the wrong things.”
“But they are your friends!”
“Oh, but I like rascals. My early youth was spent as a gambler on a river boat and I canunderstand people like that. But I’m not blind to what they are. Whereas you”— he laughed again—“you have no instinct about people, no discrimination between the cheap and the great. Sometimes,I think that the only great ladies you’ve ever associated with were your mother and MissMelly and neither seems to have made any impression on you.”
“Melly! Why she’s as plain as an old shoe and her clothes always look tacky and she never hastwo words to say for herself!”
“Spare me your jealousy, Madam. Beauty doesn’t make a lady, nor clothes a great lady!”
“Oh, don’t they! Just you wait, Rhelouis vuitton wholesalett Butler, and I’ll show you. Now that I’ve—we’ve gotmoney, I’m going to be the greatest lady you ever saw!”
“I shall wait with interest,” he said.
More exciting than the people she met were the frocks Rhett bought her, superintending thechoice of colors, materials and designs himself. Hoops were out now, and the new styles werecharming with the skirts pulled back from the front and draped over bustles, and on the bustleswere wreaths of Sowers and bows and cascades of lace. She thought of the modest hoops of thewar years and she felt a little embarrassed at these new skirts which undeniably outlined herabdomen. And the darling little bonnets that were not really bonnets at all, but flat little affairsworn over one eye and laden with fruits and flowers, dancing plumes and fluttering ribbons! (Ifonly Rhett had not been scheap louis vuitton shoeso silly and burned the false curls she bought to augment her knot ofIndian-straight hair that peeked from the rear of these little hats!) And the delicate convent-madeunderwear! How lovely it was and how many sets she had! Chemises and nightgowns andpetticoats of the finest linen trimmed with dainty embroidery and infinitesimal tucks. And the satinslippers Rhett bought her! They had heels three inches high and huge glittering paste buckles onthem. And silk stockings, a dozen pairs and not a one had cotton tops! What riches!
She recklessly bought gifts for the family. A furry St. Bernard puppy for Wade, who had alwayslonged for one, a Persian kitten for Beau, a coral bracelet for little Ella, a heavy necklace withmoonstone pendants for Aunt Pitty, a complete set of Shakespeare for Melanie and Ashley, anelaborate livery fo r Uncle Peter, including a high silk coachman’s hat with a brush upon it, dresslengths for Dilcey and Cookie, expensive gifts for everyone at Tara.
“But what have you bought for Mammy?” questioned Rhett, looking over the pile of gifts spreadout on the bed in their hotel room, and removing the puppy and kitten to the dressing room.
“Not a thing. She was hateful. Why should I bring her a present when she called us mules?”
“Why should you so resent hearing the truth, my pet? You must bring Mammy a present Itwould break her heart if you didn’t—and hearts like hers are too valuable to be broken.”
“I won’t take her a thing. She doesn’t deserve it.”
Then I’ll buy her one. I remember my mammy always said that when she went to Heaven shewanted a taffeta petticoat so stiff that it would stand by itself and so rustly that tcheap louis vuitton beltshe Lord God wouldthink it was made of angels’ wings. I’ll buy Mammy some red taffeta and have an elegant petticoatmade.”
“She won’t take it from you. She’d die rather than wear it.”
“I don’t doubt it But I’ll make the gesture just the same.”
The shops of New Orleans were so rich and exciting and shopping with Rhett was an adventure.
Dining with him was an adventure too, and one more thrilling than shopping, for he knew what toorder and how it should be cooked. The wines and liqueurs and champagnes of New Orleans werenew and exhilarating to her, acquainted with only homemade blackberry and scuppernong vintagesand Aunt Pitty’s “swoon” brandy; but oh, the food Rhett ordered! Best of all things in New Orleanswas the food. Remembering the bitter hungry days at Tara and her more recent penury, Scarlett feltthat she couldlouis vuitton handbags never eat enough of these rich dishes. Gumboes and shrimp Creole, doves in wineand oysters in crumbly patties full of creamy sauce, mushrooms and sweetbreads and turkey livers,fish baked cunningly in oiled paper and limes. Her appetite never dulled, for whenever sheremembered the everlasting goobers and dried peas and sweet potatoes at Tara, she felt an urge togorge herself anew of Creole dishes.

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