Rhett, I’m so afraid

er bedroom, picking at the supper tray Mammy had brought her, listeningto the wind hurling itself out of the night. The house was frighteningly still, quieter even than whenFrank had lain in the parlor just a few hours before. Then there had been tiptoeing feet and hushedvoices, muffled knocks on the door, nike free neighbors rustling in to whisper sympathy and occasional sobsfrom Frank’s sister who had come up from Jonesboro for the funeral.
But now the house was cloaked in silence. Although her door was open she could hear nosounds from below stairs. Wade and the baby had been at Melanie’s since Frank’s body wasbrought home and she missed the sound of the boy’s feet and Ella’s gurgling. There was a truce inthe kitchen and no sound of quarreling from Peter, Mammy and Cookie floated up to her. EvenAunt Pitty, downstairs in the library, was not rocking her creaking chair in deference to Scarlett’s sorrow.
No one intruded upon her, believing that she wished to be left alone with her grief, but to be leftalone was the last thing Scarlett desired. Had it only been grief that companioned her, she couldhave borne it as she had borne o nike free run 3.0 ther griefs. But, added to her stunned sense of loss at Frank’sdeath, were fear and remorse and the torment of a suddenly awakened conscience. For the firsttime in her life she regretting things she had done, regretting them with a sweeping superstitiousfearthatmad(was) e her cast sidelong glances at the bed upon which she had lain withFrank.
She had killed Frank. She had killed him just as surely as if it had been her finger that pulled thetrigger. He had begged her not to go about alone but she had not listened to him. And now he wasdead because of her obstinacy. God would punish her for that. But there lay upon her conscienceanother matter that was heavier and more frightening even than causing his death—a matter whichhad never troubled her until she looked upon his coffined face. There had been something helplessand pathetic in that still face which had accused her. God would punish her for marrying him whenhe really loved Suellen. She would have to cower at the seat of judgment and answer for that lieshe told him coming back from the Yankee camp in his buggy.
Useless for her to argue now that the end justified the means, that she was driven into trappinghim, that the fate of too many people hung on her for her to consider either his or Suellen’s rightsand happiness. The truth stood out boldly and she cowered away from it. She had married himcoldly and used him coldly. And she had made him unhappy during the last six months when shecould have made him very happy. God would punish her for not being nicer to him—punish herfor all her bullyings and proddings and storms of temper and cutting remarks, for alienating hisfriends and shaming him by operating the mills and building the saloon and leasing convicts.
She had made him very unhappy and she knew it, but he had borne it all like a gentleman. Theonly thing she had ever done that gave him any real happiness was to present him with Ella. Andshe knew if she could have kept from having Ella, Ella would never have been born.
She shivered, frightened, wishing Frank were alive, so she could be nice to him, so very nice tohim to make up for it all. Oh, if only God did not seem so furious and vengeful! Oh, if only theminutes did not go by so slowly and the house were not so still! If only she were not so alone!
If only Melanie were with her, Melanie could calm her fears. But Melanie was at home, nursingAshley. For a moment Scarlett thought of summoning Pittypat to stand between her and herconscience but she hesitated. Pitty would probably make matters worse, for she honestly mournedFrank. He had been more her contemporary than Scarlett’s and she had been devoted to him. Hehad filled to perfection Pitty’s need for “a man in the house,” for he brought her little presents andharmless gossip, jokes and stories, read the paper to her at night and explained topics of the day toher while she mended his socks. She had fussed over him and planned special dishes for him andcoddled him during his innumerable colds. Now she missed him acutely and repeated over andover as she dabbed at her red swollen eyes: “If only he hadn’t gone out with the Klan!”
If there were only someone who could comfort her, quiet her fears, explain to her just what werethese confused fears which made her heart sink with such cold sickness! If only Ashley—but sheshrank from the thought. She had almost killed Ashley, just as she had killed Frank. And if As nike free trainers uk hley ever knew the real truth about how she lied to Frank to get him, knew how mean she had been toFrank, he could never love her any more. Ashley was so honorable, so truthful, so kind and he sawso straightly, so clearly. If he knew the whole truth, he would understand. Oh, yes, he wouldunderstand only too well! But he would never love her any more. So he must never know the truthbecause he must keep on loving her. How could she live if that secret source of her strength, hislove, were taken from her? But what a relief it would be to put her head on his shoulder and cryand unburden her guilty heart!
The still house with the sense of death heavy upon it pressed about her loneliness until she feltshe could not bear it unaided any longer. She arose cautiously, pushed her door half-closed andthen dug about in the bottom bureau drawer beneath her underwear. She produced Aunt Pitty’s“swoon bottle” of brandy which she had hidden there and held it up to the lamp. It was nearly half-empty. Surely she hadn’t drunk cheap nike free run that much since last night! She poured a generous amount into herwater glass and gulped it down. She would have to put the bottle back in the cellaret beforemorning, filled to the top with water. Mammy had hunted for it, just before the funeral when thepallbearers wanted a drink, and already the air in the kitchen was electric with suspicion betweenMammy, Cookie and Peter.
nike free run plus The brandy burned with fiery pleasantness. There was nothing like it when you needed it. Infact, brandy was good almost any time, so much better than insipid wine. Why on earth should itbe proper for a woman to drink wine and not spirits? Mrs. Merriwether and Mrs. Meade hadsniffed her breath most obviously at the funeral and she had seen the triumphant look they hadexchanged. The old cats!
She poured another drink. It wouldn’t matter if she did get a little tipsy tonight for she was goingto bed soon and she could gargle cologne before Mammy came up to unlace her. She wished shecould get as completely and thoughtlessly drunk as Gerald used to get on Court Day. Then perhapsshe could forget Frank’s sunken face accusing her of ruining his life an nike free review d then killing him.
She wondered if everyone in town thought she had killed him. Certainly the people at thefuneral had been cold to her. The only people who had put any warmth into their expressions ofsympathy were the wives of the Yankee officers with whom she did business. Well, she didn’t carewhat the town said about her. How unimportant that seemed beside what she would have to answerfor to God!
She took another drink at the thought, shuddering as the hot brandy went down her throat. Shefelt very warm now but still she couldn’t get the thought of Frank out of her mind. What fools menwere when they said liquor made people forget! Unless she drank herself into in nike free 3.0 sale sensibility, she’dstill see Frank’s face as it had looked the last time he begged her not to drive alone, timid,reproachful, apologetic.
The knocker on the front door hammered with a dull sound that made the still house echo andshe heard Aunt Pitty’s waddling steps crossing the hall and the door opening. There was the soundof greeting and an indistinguishable murmur. Some neighbor calling to discuss the funeral or tobring a blanc mange. Pitty would like that. She had taken an important and melancholy pleasure int nike free 3.0 review alking to the condolence callers.
She wondered incuriously who it was and, when a man’s voice, resonant and drawling, rose above Pitty’s funereal whispering, she knew. Gladness and relief flooded her. It was Rhett. She hadnot seen him since he broke the news of Frank’s death to her, and now she knew, deep in her heart,that he was the one person who could help her tonight.
“I think she’ll see me,” Rhett’s voice floated up to her.
“But she is lying down now, Captain Butler, and won’t see anyone. Poor child, she is quiteprostrated. She—”
“I think she will see me. Please tell her I am going away tomorrow and may be gone some time.
It’s very important.”
“But—” fluttered Aunt Pittypat.
Scarlett ran out into the hall, observing with some astonishment that her knees were a littleunsteady, and leaned over the banisters.
“I’ll be down terrectly, Rhett,” she called.
She had a glimpse of Aunt Pittypat’s plump upturned face, her eyes owlish with surprise anddisapproval. Now it’ll be all over town that I conducted myself mo nike free running shoes st improperly on the day of myhusband’s funeral, thought Scarlett, as she hurried back to her room and began smoothing her hair.
She buttoned her black basque up to the chin and pinned down the collar with Pittypat’s mourningbrooch. I don’t look very pretty she thought, leaning toward the mirror, too white and scared. For amoment her hand went toward the lock box where she kept her rouge hidden but she decidedagainst it. Poor Pittypat would be upset in earnest if she came downstairs pink and blooming. Shepicked up the cologne bottle and took a large mouthful, carefully rinsed her mouth and then spitinto the slop jar.
She rustled down the stairs toward the two who still stood in the hall, for Pittypat had been tooupset by Scarlett’s action to ask Rhett to sit down. He was decorously clad in black, his linen frillyand starched, and his manner was all that custom demanded from an old friend paying a call ofsympathy on one bereaved. In fact, it was so perfect that it verged on the burlesque, thoughPittypat did not see it. He was properly apologetic for disturbing Scarlett and regretted that in hisrush of closing up business before leaving town he had been unable to be present at the funeral.
“Whatever possessed him to come?” won dered Scarlett. “He doesn’t mean a word he’s saying.”
“I hate to intrude on you at this time but I have a matter of business to discuss that will not wait.
Something that Mr. Kennedy and I were planning—”
“I didn’t know you and Mr. Kennedy had business dealings,” said Aunt Pittypat, almostindignant that some of Frank’s activities were unknown to her.
“Mr. Kennedy was a man of wide interests,” said Rhett respectfully. “Shall we go into theparlor?”
“No!” cried Scarlett, glancing at the closed folding doors. She could still see the coffin in thatroom. She hoped she never had to enter it again. Pitty, for once, took a hint, although with none toogood grace.
“Do use the library. I must—I must go upstairs and get out the mending. Dear me, I’ve neglected it so this last week. I declare—”
She went up the stairs with cheap nike free run 2 a backward look of reproach which was noticed by neither Scarlettnor Rhett. He stood aside to let her pass before him into the library.
“What business did you and Frank have?” she questioned abruptly.
He came closer and whispered. “None at all. I just wanted to get Miss Pitty out of the way.” Hepaused as he leaned over her. “It’s no good, Scarlett.”
“The cologne.”
“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.”
“I’m sure you do. You’ve been drinking pretty heavily.”
“Well, what if I have? Is it any of your business?”
“The soul of courtesy, even in the depths of sorrow. Don’t drink alone, Scarlett. People alwaysfind it out and it ruins the reputation. And besides, it’s a bad business, this drinking alone. What’sthe matter, honey?”
He led her to the rosewood sofa and she sat down in silence.
“May I close t nike free 5.0 v4 he doors?”
She knew if Mammy saw the closed doors she would be scandalized and would lecture andgrumble about it for days, but it would be still worse if Mammy should overhear this discussion ofdrinking, especially in light of the missing brandy bottle. She nodded and Rhett drew the slidingdoors together. When he came back and sat down beside her, his dark eyes alertly searching herface, the pall of death receded before the vitality he radiated and the room seemed pleasant andhome-like again, the lamps rosy and warm.
“What’s the matter, honey?”
No one in the world could say that foolish word of endearment as caressingly as Rhett, evenwhen he was joking, but he did not look as if he were joking now. She raised tormented eyes to hisface and somehow found comfort in the blank inscrutability she saw there. She did not kn nike free run 2 review ow whythis should be, for he was such an unpredictable, callous person. Perhaps it was because, as he oftensaid, they were so much alike. Sometimes she thought that all the people she had ever knownwere strangers except Rhett.
“Can’t you tell me?” he took her hand, oddly gentle. “It’s more than old Frank leaving you? Doyou need money?”
“Money? God, no! Oh, Rhett, I’m so afraid.”
“Don’t be a goose, Scarlett, you’ve never been afraid in your life.”
“Oh, Rhett, I am afraid!”
The words bubbled up faster than she co

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