a faintly familiar voice

om without, houses looked black and silent and wrapped in sleep but, within, voiceswhispered vehemently into the dawn. Not only those involved in the night’s raid but every memberof the Klan was ready for flight and in almost every stable along Peachtree Street, horses stoodsaddled in the darkness, pistols in holsters and food in saddlebags. All that prevented a wholesaleexodus was India’s whispered message: “Captain Butler says not to run. The roads will bewatched. He has arranged with that Watling creature—” In dark rooms men whispered: “But whyshould I trust that damned Scalawag Butler? It may be a trap!” And women’s voices implored:
“Don’t go! If he saved Ashley and Hugh, he may save everybody. If India and Melanie trust him—” And they half trusted and stayed because there was no other course open to them.
Earlier in the night, the soldiers had knocked at a dozen doors and those who could not or wouldnot tell where they had been that night were marched off under arrest. René Picard and one of Mrs.
Merriwether’s nephews and the Simmons boys and Andy Bonnell were among those who spent thenight in jail. They had been in the ill-starred foray but had separated from the others after theshooting. Riding hard for home nike jordans cheap they were arrested before they learned of Rhett’s plan. Fortunatelythey all replied, to questions, that where they had been that night was their own business and notthat of any damned Yankees. They had been locked up for further questioning in the morning. Oldman Merriwether and Uncle Henry Hamilton declared shamelessly that they had spent the eveningat Belle Watling’s sporting house and when Captain Jaffery remarked irritably that they were too old for such goings on, they wanted to fight him.
Belle Watling herself answered Captain Jaffery’s summons, and before he could make knownhis mission she shouted that the house was closed for the night. A passel of quarrelsome drunkshad called in the early part of the evening and had fought one another, torn the place up, brokenher finest mirrors and so alarmed the young ladies that all business had been suspended for thenight. But if Captain Jaffery wanted a drink, the bar was still open—Captain Jaffery, acutely conscious of the grins of his men and feeling helplessly that he wasfighting a mist, declared angrily that he wanted n nike jordans son of mars either the young ladies nor a drink and demandedif Belle knew the names of her destructive customers. Oh, yes, Belle knew them. They were herregulars. They came every Wednesday night and called themselves the Wednesday Democrats,though what they meant by that she neither knew or cared. And if they didn’t pay for the damageto the mirrors in the upper hall, she was going to have the law on them. She kept a respectablehouse and— Oh, their names? Belle unhesitatingly reeled off the names of twelve under susp nike air jordan icion,Captain Jaffery smiled sourly.
“These damned Rebels are as efficiently organized as our Secret Service,” he said. “You andyour girls will have to appear before the provost marshal tomorrow.”
“Will the provost make them pay for my mirrors?”
“To hell with your mirrors! Make Rhett Butler pay for them. He owns the place, doesn’t he?”
Before dawn, every ex-Confederate family in town knew everything. And their negroes, whohad been told nothing, knew everything too, by that black grapevine telegraph system which defieswhite understanding. Everyone knew the details of the raid, the killing of Frank Kennedy andcrippled Tommy Wellburn and how Ashley was wounded in carrying Frank’s body away.
Some of the feeling of bitter hatred the women bore Scarlett for her share in the tragedy wasmitigated by the knowledge that her husband was dead and she knew it and could not admit it andhave the poor comfort of claiming his body. Until morning light disclosed the bodies and theauthorities notified her, she m Cheap buy nike air jordan basketball shoes ust know nothing. Frank and Tommy, pistols in cold hands, laystiffening among the dead weeds in a vacant lot. And the Yankees would say they killed each otherin a common drunken brawl over a girl in Belle’s house. Sympathy ran high for Fanny, Tommy’swife, who had just had a baby, but no one could slip through the darkness to see her and comforther because a squa cheap nike jordans d of Yankees surrounded the house, waiting for Tommy to return. And there wasanother squad about Aunt Pitty’s house, waiting for Frank.
Before dawn the news had trickled about that the military inquiry would take place that day. Thetownspeople, heavy eyed from sleeplessness and anxious waiting, knew that the safety of some oftheir most prominent citizens rested on three things—the ability of Ashley Wilkes to stand on hisfeet and appear before the military board, as though he suffered nothing more serious than amorning-after headache, the word of Belle Watling that these men had been in her house allevening and the word of Rhett Butler that he had been with them.
The town writhed at these last two! Belle Watling! To ow nike jordans release dates e their men’s lives to her! It wasintolerable! Women who had ostentatiously crossed the street when they saw Belle coming,wondered if she remembered and trembled for fear she did. The men felt less humiliation at taking their lives from Belle than the women did, for many of them thought her a good sort. But theywere stung that they must owe lives and freedom to Rhett Butler, a speculator and a Scalawag.
Belle and Rhett, the town’s best-known fancy woman and the town’s most hated man. And theymust be under obligation to them.
Another thought that stung them to impotent wrath was the knowledge that the Yankees andCar petbaggers would laugh. Oh, how they would laugh! Twelve of the town’s most prominentcitizens revealed as habitual frequenters of Belle Watling’s sporting house! Two of them killed in afight over a cheap little girl, others ejected from the place as too drunk to be tolerated even byBelle and some under arrest, refusing to admit they were there when everyone knew they werethere!
Atlanta was right in fearing that nike jordans retro the Yankees would laugh. They had squirmed too long beneathSouthern coldness and contempt and now they exploded with hilarity. Officers woke comrades andretailed the news. Husbands roused wives at dawn and told them as much as could be decently toldto women. And the women, dressing hastily, knocked on their neighbors’ doors and spread thestory. The Yankee ladies were charmed with it all and laughed until tears ran down their faces. Thiswas Southern chivalry and gallantry for you! Maybe those women who carried their heads so highand snubbed all attempts at friendliness wouldn’t be so uppity, now that everyone knew wheretheir husbands spent their time when they were supposed to be at political meetings. Politicalmeetings! Well, that was funny!
But even as they laughed, they expressed regret for Scarlett and her tragedy. After all, Scarlettwas a lady and one of the few ladies in Atlanta who were nice to Yankees. She had already wontheir sympathy by the fact that she had to work because her husband couldn’t or wouldn’t supporther properly. Even though her husband was a sorry one, it was dreadful that the poor thing shoulddiscover he had been untrue to her. And it was doubly dreadful that his death should occursimultaneously with the discovery of his infidelity. After all, a poor husband was better than nohusband at all, and the Yankee ladies decided they’d be extra nice to Scarlett But the others, Mrs.
Meade, Mrs. Merriwether, Mrs. Elsing, Tommy Wellburn’s widow and most of all, Mrs. AshleyWilkes, they’d laugh in their faces every time they saw them. That would teach them a littlecourtesy.
Much of the whispering that went on in the dark roo nike air jordans retro ms on the north side of town that night wason this same subject. Atlanta ladies vehemently told their husbands that they did not care a rapwhat the Yankees thought. But inwardly they felt that running an Indian gantlet would be infinitelypreferable to suffering the ordeal of Yankee grins and not being able to tell the truth about theirhusbands.
Dr. Meade, beside himself with outraged dignity at the position into which Rhett had jockeyedhim and the others, told Mrs. Meade that, but for the fact that it would implicate the others, hewould rather confess and be hanged than say he had been at Belle’s house.
“It is an insult to you, Mrs. Meade,” he fumed.
“But everyone will know you weren’t there for—for—”
“The Yankees won’t know. They’ll have to believe it if we save our necks. And they’ll laugh.
The very thought that nike jordans for men anyone will believe it and laugh infuriates me. And it insults you because—my dear, I have always been faithful to you.”
“I know that,” and in the darkness Mrs. Meade smiled and slipped a thin hand into the doctor’s.
“But I’d rather it were really true than have one hair of your head in danger.”
“Mrs. Meade, do you know what you are saying?” cried the doctor, aghast at the unsuspectedrealism of his wife.”
“Yes, I know. I’ve lost Darcy and I’ve lost Phil and you are all I have and, rather than lose you,I’d have you take up your permanent abode at that place.”
“You are distrait! You cannot know what you are saying.”
“You old fool,” said Mrs. Meade tenderly and laid her head against his sleeve.
Dr. Meade fumed into silence and stroked her cheek and then exploded again. “And to be underobligation to that Butler m nike jordans retro 4 an! Hanging would be easy compared to that. No, not even if I owe himmy life, can I be polite to him. His insolence is monumental and his shamelessness about hisprofiteering makes me boil. To owe my life to a man who never went in the army—”
“Melly said he enlisted after Atlanta fell.”
“It’s a lie. Miss Melly will believe any plausible scoundrel. And what I can’t understand is whyhe is doing all this—going to all this trouble. I hate to say it but—well, there’s always been talkabout him and Mrs. Kennedy. I’ve seen them coming in from rides together too often this last year.
He must have done it because of her.”
“If it was because of Scarlett, he wouldn’t have lifted his hand. He’d have been glad to seeFrank Kennedy hanged. I think it’s because of Melly—”
“Mrs. Meade, you can’t be insinuating that there’s ever been nike jordans for kids anything between those two!”
“Oh, don’t be silly! But she’s always been unaccountably fond of him ever since he tried to getAshley exchanged during the war. And I must say this for him, he never smiles in that nasty-niceway when he’s with her. He’s just as pleasant and thoughtful as can be—really a different man.
You can tell by the way he acts with Melly that he could be decent if he wanted to. Now, my ideaof why he’s doing all this is—” She paused. “Doctor, you won’t like my idea.”
“I don’t like anything about this whole affair!”
“Well, I think he did it partly for Melly’s sake but mostly because he thought it would be a hugejoke on us all. We’ve hated him so much and showed it so plainly and now he’s got us in a fixwhere all of you have your choice of saying you were at that Watling woman’s house and shamingyour nike jordans self and wives before the Yankees—or telling the truth and getting hanged. And he knowswe’ll all be under obligation to him and his—mistress and that we’d almost rather be hanged thanbe obliged to them. Oh, I’ll wager he’s enjoying it.”
The doctor groaned. “He did look amused when he took us upstairs in that place.”
“Doctor,” Mrs. Meade hesitated, “what did it look like?”
“What are you saying, Mrs. Meade?”
“Her house. What did it look like? Are there cut-glass chandeliers? And red plush curtains anddozens of full-length gilt mirrors? And were the girls—were they unclothed?”
“Good God!” cried the doctor, thunderstruck, for it had never occurred to him that the curiosityof a chaste woman concerning her unchaste sisters was so devouring. “How can you ask suchimmodest questions? You are not yourself. I will mix you a sedative.”
“I don’t want a sedative. I want to know. Oh, dear, this is my only chance to know what a badhouse looks like and now you are mean enough not to tell me!”
“I noticed nothing. I assure you I was too embarrassed at finding myself in such a place to takenote of my surroundings,” said the doctor formally, more upset at this unsuspected revelation of hiswife’s character than he had been by all the previous events of the evening. “If you will excuse menow, I will try to get some sleep.”
“Well, go to sleep then,” she answered, disappointment in her tones. Then as the doctor leanedover to remove his boots, her voice spoke from the darkness with renewed cheerfulness. “I imagineDolly has gotten it all out of old man Merriwether and she can tell me about it.”
“Good Heavens, Mrs. Meade! Do you mean to tell me that nice women talk about such thingsamong them—”
“Oh, go to bed,” said Mrs. Meade.
It sleeted the next day, but as the wintry twilight drew on the icy particles stopped falling and acold wind blew. Wrapped in her cloak, Melanie went bewilderedly down her front walk behind astrange negro coachman, who had summoned her mysteriously to a closed carriage waiting in frontof the house. As she came up to the carriage the door was opened and she saw a woman in the dimulterior.
Leaning closer, peering inside, Melanie questioned: “Who is it? Won’t you come in the house?
It’s so cold—”
“Please come in here and set with me a minute, Miz Wilkes,” came a faintly familiar voice, anembarrassed voice from the depths of the carriage.
“Oh, you’re Miss—Mrs.—Watling!” cried Melanie. “I did so want to see you! You must comein the house.”
“I can’t do that, Miz Wilkes.” Belle Watling’s voice sounded scandalized. “You come in hereand set a minute with me.”
Melanie entered the carriage and the coachman closed the door behind her. She sat down besideBelle and reached for her hand.
“How can I ever thank you enough for what you did today! How can any of us thank youenough!”
“Miz Wilkes, you hadn’t ought of sent me that note this mornin’. Not that I wasn’t proud to havea note from you but the Yankees might of got it. And as for sayin’ you was goin’ to call on me tothank me—why, Miz Wilkes, you must of lost your mind! The very idea! I come up here as soon as ‘twas dark to tell you you mustn’t think of any sech thing. Why, I—why, you—it wouldn’t befittin’ at all.”
“It wouldn’t be fitting for me to call and thank a kind woman who saved my husband’s life?”
“Oh, shucks, Miz Wilkes! You know what I mean!”
Melanie was silent for a mome

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