The legislature? thought Scarlett in relief

e sick and he, too, attended the Democratic meetings and he wasusually away on the same nights as Frank. On these nights, Archie escorted Pitty, Scarlett, Wadeand little Ella though the back yard to Melanie’s house and the two families spent the eveningstogether. The ladies sewed while Archie lay full length on the parlor sofa snoring, his graywhiskers fluttering at each cheap nike free run rumble. No one had invited him to dispose himself on the sofa and as itwas the finest piece of furniture in the house, the ladies secretly moaned every time he lay down onit, planting his boot on the pretty upholstery. But none of them had the courage to remonstrate withhim. Especially after he remarked that it was lucky he went to sleep easy, for otherwise the soundof women clattering like a flock of guinea hens would certainly drive him crazy.
Scarlett sometimes wondered where Archie had come from and what his life had been before hecame to live in Melly’s cellar but she asked no questions. There was that about his grim one-eyedface which discouraged curiosity. All she knew was that his voice bespoke the mountains to thenorth and that he had been in the army and had lost both leg and eye shortly before the surrender. nike free run plus Itwas words spoken in a fit of anger against Hugh Elsing which brought out the truth of Archie’spast.
One morning, the old man had driven her to Hugh’s mill and she had found it idle, the negroesgone and Hugh sitting despondently under a tree. His crew had not made their appearance thatmorning and he was at a loss as to what to do. Scarlett was in a furious temper and did not scrupleto expend it on Hugh, for she had just received an order for a large amount of lumber—a rushorder at that. She had used energy and charm and bargaining to get that order and now the mill wasquiet.
“Drive me out to the other mill,” she directed Archie. “Yes, I know it’ll take a long time and wewon’t get any dinner but what am I paying you for? I’ll have to make Mr. Wilkes stop what he’sdoing and run me off this lumber. Like as not, his cre nike free trainers uk w won’t be working either. Great balls of fire!
I never saw such a nincompoop as Hugh Elsing! I’m going to get rid of him just as soon as thatJohnnie Gallegher finishes the stores he’s building. What do I care if Gallegher was in the YankeeArmy? He’ll work. I never saw a lazy Irishman yet. And I’m through with free issue darkies. Youjust can’t depend on them. I’m going to get Johnnie Gallegher and lease me some convicts. He’llget work out of them. He’ll—”
Archie turned to her, his eye malevolent, and when he spoke there was cold anger in his rustyvoice.
“The day you gits convicts is the day I quits you,” he said.
Scarlett was startled. “Good heavens! Why?”
“I knows about convict leasin’. I calls it convict murderin’. Buyin’ men like they was mules.
Treatin’ them worse than mules ever was treated. Beatin’ them, starvin’ them, killin’ them. Andwho cares? The Stat nike free e don’t care. It’s got the lease money. The folks that gits the convicts, theydon’t care. All they want is to feed them cheap and git all the work they can out of them. Hell,Ma’m. I never thought much of women and I think less of them now.”
“Is it any of your business?”
“I reckon,” said Archie laconically and, after a pause, “I was a convict for nigh on to fortyyears.”
Scarlett gasped, and, for a moment, shrank back against the cushions. This then was the answerto the riddle of Archie, his unwillingness to tell his last name or the place of his birth or any scrapof his past life, the answer to the difficulty with which he spoke and his cold hatred of the world.
Forty years! He must have gone into prison a young man. Forty years! Why—he must have been alife prisoner and lifers were—“Was it—murder?”
“Yes,” answered Archie briefly, as he flapped the reins. “M’ wife. nike free 5.0 v4 ”
Scarlett’s eyelids batted rapidly with fright. The mouth beneath the beard seemed to move, as ifhe were smiling grimly at her fear. “I ain’t goin’ to kill you, Ma’m, if that’s what’s frettin’ you.
Thar ain’t but one reason for killin’ a woman.”
“You killed your wife!”
“She was layin’ with my brother. He got away. I ain’t sorry none that I kilt her. Loose womenought to be kilt. The law ain’t got no right to put a man in jail for that but I was sont.”
“But—how did you get out? Did you escape? Were you pardoned?”
“You might call it a pardon.” His thick gray brows writhed together as though the effort ofstringing words together was difficult.
“ ‘Long in ‘sixty-four when Sherman come through, I was at Milledgeville jail, like I had beenfor forty years. And the warden he called all us prisoners together and he says the Yankees are acomin’
a-burnin’ and a-killin’. Now if that’s one thing I hates worse than a nigge nike free run 3.0 r or a woman, it’sa Yankee.”
“Why? Had you— Did you ever know any Yankees?”
“No’m. But I’d beam tell of them. I’d beam tell they couldn’t never mind their own bizness. Ihates folks who can’t mind their own bizness. What was they doin’ in Georgia, freein’ our niggersand burnin’ our houses and killin’ our stock? Well, the warden he said the army needed moresoldiers bad, and any of us who’d jine up would be free at the end of the war—if we come outalive. But us lifers—us murderers, the warden he said the army didn’t want us. We was to be sontsomewheres else to another jail. But I said to the warden I ain’t like most lifers. I’m just in forkillin’ my wife and she needed killin’. And I wants to fight the Yankees. And the warden he sawmy side of it and he slipped me out with the other prisoners.”
He paused and grunted.
“Huh. That was right funny. They put me in jail for killin’ and they let me out with a gun in myhand and a free pardon to do more killin’. It shore was good to be a free man with a rifle in myhand again. Us me nike free 3.0 review n from Milledgeville did good fightin’ and killin’—and a lot of us was kilt. Inever knowed one who deserted. And when the surrender come, we was free. I lost this here legand this here eye. But I ain’t sorry.”
“Oh,” said Scarlett, weakly.
She tried to remember what she had heard about the releasing of the Milledgeville convicts inthat last desperate effort to stem the tide of Sherman’s army. Frank had mentioned it that Christmasof 1864. What had he said? But her memories of that time were too chaotic. Again she felt the wildterror of those days, heard the siege guns, saw the line of wagons dripping blood into the red roads,saw the Home Guard marching off, the little cadets and the children like Phil Meade and the oldmen like Uncle Henry and Grandpa Merriwether. And the convicts had marched out too, to die inthe twilight of the Confederacy, to freeze in the snow and sleet of that last campaign in Tennessee.
For a brief moment she thought what a fool this old man was, to fight for a state which hadtaken forty years from his life. Georgia had taken his youth and his middle years for a crime thatwas no crime to him, yet he had freely given a leg and an eye to Georgia. The bitter words Rhett had spoken in the early days of the war came back to her, and she remembered him saying hewould never fight for a society that had made him an outcast. But when the emergency had arisenhe had gone off to fight for that same society, even as Archie had done. It seemed to her that allSouthern men, high or low, were sentimental fools and cared less for their hides than for wordswhich had no meaning.
She looked at Archie’s gnarled old hands, his two pistols and his knife, and fear pricked heragain. Were there other ex-convicts at la nike free run 2 review rge, like Archie, murderers, desperadoes, thieves,pardoned for their crimes, in the name of the Confederacy? Why, any stranger on the street mightbe a murderer! If Frank ever learned the truth about Archie, there would be the devil to pay. Or ifAunt Pitty—but the shock would kill Pitty. And as for Melanie—Scarlett almost wished she couldtell Melanie the truth about Archie. It would serve her right for picking up trash and foisting it offon her friends and relatives.
“I’m—I’m glad you told me, Archie. I—I won’t tell anyone. It would be a great shock to Mrs.
Wilkes and the other ladies if they knew.”
“Huh. Miz Wilkes knows. I told her the night she fuss let me sleep in her cellar. You don’t thinkI’d let a nice lady like her take me into her house not knowin’?”
“Saints preserve us!” cried Scarlet, aghastMelanie knew this man was a murderer and a woman murderer at that and she hadn’t ejectedhim from her house. She had trusted her son with him and her aunt and sister-in-law and all herfriends. And she, the most timid of females, had not been frightened to be alone with him in cheap nike free run 2 herhouse.
“Miz Wilkes is right sensible, for a woman. She lowed that I was all right She ‘lowed that a liarallus kept on lyin’ and a thief kept on stealin’ but folks don’t do more’n one murder in a lifetime.
And she reckoned as how anybody who’d fought for the Confederacy had wiped out anything badthey’d done. Though I don’t hold that I done nothin’ bad, killin’ my wife. … Yes, Miz Wilkes isright sensible, for a woman. … And I’m tellin’ you, the day you leases convicts is the day I quitsyou.”
Scarlett mad nike free review e no reply but she thought,“The sooner you quit me the better it will suit me. A murderer!”
How could Melly have been so—so— Well, there was no word for Melanie’s action in taking inthis old ruffian and not telling her friends he Was a jailbird. So service in the army wiped out pastsins! Melanie had that mixed up with baptism! But then Melly was utterly silly about theConfederacy, its veterans, and anything pertaining to them. Scarlett silently damned the Yankeesand added another mark on her score against them. They were responsible for a situation thatforced a woman to keep a murderer at her side to protect her.
Driving home with Archie in the chill twilight, Scarlett saw a clutter of saddle horses, buggiesand wagons outside the Girl of the Period Saloon. Ashley was sitting on his horse, a strained alertlook on his face; the Simmons boys were leaning from their buggy, making emphatic gestures; Hugh Elsing, his lock of brown hair falling in his eyes, was waving his hands. GrandpaMerriwether’s pie wagon was in the center of the tangle and, as she came closer, Scarlett saw thatTommy Wellburn and Uncle Henry Hamilton were crowded on the seat with him.
“I wish,” thought Scarlett irritably, “that Uncle Henry wouldn’t ride home in that contraption.
He ought to be ashamed to be seen in it. It isn’t as though he didn’t have a horse of his own. Hejust does it so he and Grandpa can go to the saloon together every night”
As she came abr nike free running shoes east the crowd something of their tenseness reached her, insensitive though shewas, and made fear clutch at her heart.
“Oh!” she thought. “I hope no one else has been raped! If the Ku Klux lynch just one moredarky the Yankees will wipe us out!” And she spoke to Archie. “Pull up. Something’s wrong.”
“You ain’t goin’ to stop outside a saloon,” said Archie.
“You heard me. Pull up. Good evening, everybody. Ashley—Uncle Henry—is somethingwrong? You all look so—”
The crowd turned to her, ripping their hats and smiling, but there was a driving excitement intheir eyes.
“Something’s right and something’s wrong,” barked Uncle Henry. “Depends on how you look atit. The way I figure is the legislature couldn’t have done different.”
The legislature? thought Scarlett in relief. She had little interest in the legislature, feel nike free 3.0 sale ing that itsdoings could hardly affect her. It was the prospect of the Yankee soldiers on a rampage again thatfrightened her.
“What’s the legislature been up to now?”
“They’ve flatly refused to ratify the amendment,” said Grandpa Merriwether and there was pridein his voice. “That’ll show the Yankees.”
“And there’ll be hell to pay for it—I beg your pardon, Scarlett,” said Ashley.
“Oh, the amendment?” questioned Scarlett, trying to look intelligent.

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