said Rhett and for a moment

to say it in front of ladies. If you ladies’ll step out of the room—”
“I won’t go,” cried Melanie, dabbing angrily at her eyes with her handkerchief. “I have a right toknow. Where was my husband?”
“At Belle Watling’s sporting house,” said Rhett, looking abashed. “He was there and Hugh andFrank Kennedy and Dr. Meade and—and a whole lot of them. Had a party. Big party. Champagne.
Girls—”“At—at Belle Watling’s?”
Melanie’s voice rose until it cracked with such pain that all eyes turned frightenedly to her. Herhand went clutching at her bosom and, before Archie could catch her, she had fai nike free run 3.0 nted. Then ahubbub ensued, Archie picking her up, India running to the kitchen for water, Pitty and Scarlettfanning her and slapping her wrists, while Hugh Elsing shouted over and over: “Now you’ve doneit! Now you’ve done it!”
“Now it’ll be all over town,” said Rhett savagely. “I hope you’re satisfied, Tom. There won’t bea wife in Atlanta who’ll speak to her husband tomorrow.”
“Rhett, I had no idea—” Though the chill wind was blowing through the open door on his back,the captain was perspiring. “Look here! You take an oath they were at—er—at Belle’s?”
“Hell, yes,” growled Rhett “Go ask Belle herself if you don’t believe me. Now, let me carryMrs. Wilkes to her room. Give her to me, Archie. Yes, I can carry her. Miss Pitty, go ahead with alamp.”
He took Melanie’s limp body from Archie’s arms with ease.
“You get Mr nike free 3.0 review . Wilkes to bed, Archie. I don’t want to ever lay eyes or hands on him again afterthis night.”
Pitty’s hand trembled so that the lamp was nike free run plus a menace to the safety of the house but she held itand trotted ahead toward the dark bedroom. Archie, with a grunt, got an arm under Ashley andraised him.
“But—I’ve got to arrest these men!”
Rhett turned in the dim hallway.
“Arrest them in the morning then. They can’t run away in this condition—and I never knewbefore that it was illegal to get drunk in a sporting house. Good God, Tom, there are fifty witnessesto prove they were at Belle’s.”
“There are always fifty witnesses to prove a Southerner was somewhere he wasn’t,” said thecaptain morosely. “You come with me, Mr. Elsing. I’ll parole Mr. Wilkes on the word of—”
“I am Mr. Wilkes’ sister. I will answer for his appearance,” said India coldly. “Now, will youplease go? You’ve caused enough trouble for one night. nike free ”
“I regret it exceedingly.” The captain bowed awkwardly. “I only hope they can prove theirpresence at the—er—Miss—Mrs. Watling’s house. Will you tell your brother that he must appearbefore the provost marshal tomorrow morning for questioning?”
India bowed coldly and, putting her hand upon the door knob, intimated silently that his speedy retirement would be welcome. The captain and the sergeant backed out, Hugh Elsing with them,and she slammed the door behind them. Without even looking at Scarlett, she went swiftly to eachwindow and drew down the shade. Scarlett, her knees shaking, caught hold of the chair in whichAshley had been sitting to steady herself. Looking down at it, she saw that there was a dark moistspot , larger than her hand, on the cushion in the back of the chair. Puzzled, her hand went over itand, to her horror, a sticky red wetness appeared on her palm.
“India,” she whispered, “India, Ashley’s—he’s hurt.”
“You fool! Did you think he was really drunk?” India snapped down the last shade and startedon flying feet for the bedroom, with Scarlett close behind her, her heart in her throat. Rhett’s bigbody barred the doorway but, past his shoulder, Scarlett saw Ashley lying white and still on thebed. Melanie, strangely quick for one so recently in a faint, was rapidly cutting off his blood-soaked shirt with embroide nike free 3.0 sale ry scissors. Archie held the lamp low over the bed to give light and oneof his gnarled fingers was on Ashley’s wrist.
“Is he dead?” cried both girls together.
“No, just fainted from loss of blood. It’s through his shoulder,” said Rhett.
“Why did you bring him here, you fool?” cried India, “Let me get to him! Let me pass! Why didyou bring him here to be arrested?”
“He was too weak to travel. There was nowh nike free trainers uk ere else to bring him, Miss Wilkes. Besides—doyou want him to be an exile like Tony Fontaine? Do you want a dozen of your neighbors to live inTexas under assumed names for the rest of their lives? There’s a chance that we may get them alloff if Belle—”
“Let me pass!”
“No, Miss Wilkes. There’s work for you. You must go for a doctor— Not Dr. Meade. He’simplicated in this and is probably explaining to the Yankees at this very minute. Get some otherdoctor. Are you afraid to go out alone at night?”
“No,” said India, her pale eyes glittering. “I’m not afraid.” She caught up Melanie’s hooded capewhich was hanging on a book in the hall. “I’ll go for old Dr. Dean.” The excitement went out ofher voice as, with an effort, she forced calmness. “I’m sorry I called you a spy and a fool. I did notunderstand. I’m deeply grateful for nike free run 2 review what you’ve done for Ashley—but I despise you just thesame.”
“I appreciate frankness—and I thank you for it.” Rhett bowed and his lip curled down in anamused smile. “Now, go quickly and by back ways and when you return do not come in this houseif you see signs of soldiers about.”
India shot one more quick anguished look at Ashley, and, wrapping her cape about her, ranlightly down the hall to the back door and let herself out quietly into the night.
Scarlett, straining her eyes past Rhett, felt her heart beat again as she saw Ashley’s eyes open.
Melanie snatched a folded towel from the washstand rack and pressed it against his streamingshoulder and he smiled up weakly, reassuringly into her face. Scarlett felt Rhett’s hard penetratingeyes upon her, knew that her heart was plain upon her face, but she did not care. Ashley was bleeding, perhaps dying and she who loved him had torn that hole through his shoulder. Shewanted to run to the bed, sink down beside it and clasp him to her but her knees trembled so thatshe could not enter the room. Hand at her mouth, she stared while Melanie packed a fresh towelagainst his shoulder, pressing it hard as though she could force back the blood into his body. Butthe towel reddened as though by magic.
How could a man bleed so much and still live? But, thank God, there was no bubble of blood athis lips—oh, those frothy red bubbles, forerunners of death that she knew so well from thedreadful day of the battle at Peachtree Creek when the wounded had died on Aunt Pitty’s lawn withbloody mouths.
“Brace up,” said Rhett, and there was a hard, faintly jeering note in his voice. “He won’t die.
Now, go cheap nike free run take the lamp and hold it for Mrs. Wilkes. I need Archie to run errands.”
Archie looked across the lamp at Rhett.
“I ain’t takin’ no orders from you,” he said briefly, shifting his wad of tobacco to the othercheek.
“You do what he says,” said Melanie sternly, “and do it quickly. Do everything Captain Butlersays. Scarlett, take the lamp.”
Scarlett went forward and took the lamp, holding it in both hands to keep from dropping it.
Ashley’s eyes had closed again. His bare chest heaved up slowly and sank quickly and the redstream seeped from between Melanie’s small frantic fingers. Dimly she heard Archie stump acrossthe room to Rhett and heard Rhett’s low rapid words. Her mind was so fixed upon Ashley that ofthe first half-whispered words of Rhett, she only heard: Take my horse … tied outside … ride likehell.”
A cheap nike free run 2 rchie mumbled some question and Scarlett heard Rhett reply: “The old Sullivan plantation.
You’ll find the robes pushed up the biggest chimney. Burn them.”
“Um,” grunted Archie.
“And there’s two—men in the cellar. Pack them over the horse as best you can and take them tothat vacant lot behind Belle’s—the one between her house and the railroad tracks. Be careful. Ifanyone sees you, you’ll hang as well as the rest of us. Put them in that lot and put pistols near them—in their hands. Here—take mine.”
Scarlett, looking across the room, saw Rhett reach under his coat tails and produce two revolverswhich Archie took and shoved into his waist band.
“Fire one shot from each. It’s got to appear like a plain case of shooting. You understand?”
Archie nodded as if he understood perfectly and an unwilling gleam of respect sh nike free running shoes one in his coldeye. But understanding was far from Scarlett. The last half-hour had been so nightmarish that shefelt nothing would ever be plain and clear again. However, Rhett seemed in perfect command ofthe bewildering situation and that was a small comfort.
Archie turned to go and then swung about and his one eye went questioningly to Rhett’s face.
Archie grunted and spat on the floor.
“Hell to pay,” he said as he stumped down the hall to the back door.
Something in the last low interchange of words made a new fear and suspicion rise up inScarlett’s breast like a chill ever-swelling bubble. When that bubble broke—“Where’s Frank?” she cried.
Rhett came swiftly across the room to the bed, his big body swinging as lightly and noiselesslyas a cat’s.
“All in good time,” he said and smiled briefl nike free review y. “Steady that lamp, Scarlett. You don’t want toburn Mr. Wilkes up. Miss Melly—”
Melanie looked up like a good little soldier awaiting a command and so tense was the situation itdid not occur to her that for the first time Rhett was calling her familiarly by the name which onlyfamily and old friends used.
“I beg your pardon, I mean, Mrs. Wilkes. …”
“Oh, Captain Butler, do not ask my pardon! I should feel honored if you called me ‘Melly’
without the Miss! I feel as though you were my—my brother or—or my cousin. How kind you areand how clever! How can I ever thank you enough?”
“Thank you,” said Rhett and for a moment he looked almost embarrassed. “I should neverpresume so far, but Miss Melly,” and his voice was apologetic, “I’m sorry I had to say that Mr.
Wilkes was in Belle Watling’s house. I’m sorry to have nike free 5.0 v4 involved him and the others in such a—But I had to think fast when I rode away from here and that was the only plan that occurred to me.
I knew my word would be accepted because I have so many friends among the Yankee officers.

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