Vanessa Place
FICTION
 

Gone with the Wind

"Dey cook done died, an' dey ain' bought a new one. Dey got a fe'el han' cookin', an' de niggers tells me she is de wustest cook in de state." "Good God! Why don't they buy another cook?""Huccome po' w'ite trash buy any niggers? Dey ain' never owned mo'n fo' at de mostes'."There was frank contempt in Jeems' voice. His own social status was assured because the Tarletons owned a hundred negroes and, like all slaves of large planters, he looked down on small farmers whose slaves were few. "I'm going to beat your hide off for that," cried Stuart fiercely. Don't you call Abel Wynder 'po' white.' Sure he's poor, but he ain't trash; and I'm damned if I'll have any man, darky or white, throwing off on him. "Airs? Me put on airs fo' dem cheap niggers? Nawsuh, Ah got better manners. Ain' Miss Beetriss taught me manners same as she taught y'all?" "You, Rosa! Drap me Miss Scarlett's shawl." Then, more loudly: "Wuthless nigger! She ain' never whar she does nobody no good. Now, Ah got ter climb up an' git it mahseff." "She doan never git no res' on her piller fer hoppin' up at night time nursin' niggers an po' w'ite trash dat could ten' to deyseff," grumbled Mammy in a monotone as she went down the stairs toward the carriage which was waiting in the side drive. Slattery hated his neighbors with what little energy he possessed, sensing their contempt beneath their courtesy, and especially did he hate "rich folks' uppity niggers." The house negroes of the County considered themselves superior to white trash, and their unconcealed scorn stung him, while their more secure position in life stirred his envy. By contrast with his own miserable existence, they were well-fed, well-clothed and looked after in sickness and old age. They were proud of the good names of their owners and, for the most part, proud to belong to people who were quality, while he was despised by all. "Mist' Gerald," said Pork, gratefully rolling up the shirt as Gerald fumed, "whut you needs is a wife, and a wife whut has got plen'y of house niggers." Gerald upbraided Pork for his impertinence, but he knew that he was right. He wanted a wife and he wanted children and, if he did not acquire them soon, it would be too late. So, Ellen, no longer Robillard, turned her back on Savannah, never to see it again, and with a middle-aged husband, Mammy, and twenty "house niggers" journeyed toward Tara. "Ah has said time an' again, it doan do no good doin' nuthin' fer w'ite trash. Dey is de shiflesses, mos' ungrateful passel of no-counts livin'. An' Miss Ellen got no bizness weahin' herseff out waitin' on folks dat did dey be wuth shootin' dey'd have niggers ter wait on dem. An' Ah has said—" Her voice trailed off as she went down the long open passageway, covered only by a roof, that led into the kitchen. Mammy had her own method of letting her owners know exactly where she stood on all matters. She knew it was beneath the dignity of quality white folks to pay the slightest attention to what a darky said when she was just grumbling to herself. She knew that to uphold this dignity, they must ignore what she said, even if she stood in the next room and almost shouted. It protected her from reproof, and it left no doubt in anyone's mind as to her exact views on anysubject. Then the music broke into the rollicking strains of "Johnny Booker, he'p dis Nigger!" and Scarlett thought she would scream. She wanted to dance. She wanted to dance. "Fer you. Miss Melly. A lil nigger boy brung it." "Soun' ter me lak her bag full an' she need milkin' bad," said Prissy, regaining some measure of control. "Spec it one of Mist' MacIntosh's dat de niggers driv in de woods an' de Yankees din'git." "Ah's sceered of cows, Miss Scarlett. Ah ain' nebber had nuthin' ter do wid cows. Ah ain' no yard nigger. Ah's a house nigger." "You're a fool nigger, and the worst day's work Pa ever did was to buy you," said Scarlett slowly, too tired for anger. "And if I ever get the use of my arm again, I'll wear this whip out on you." There, she thought, I've said "nigger" and Mother wouldn't like that at all. "Miss Scarlett, dem trashy niggers done runned away an' some of dem went off wid de Yankees an'—""How many are left?" "Dey's me, Miss Scarlett, an' Mammy. She been nussin' de young Misses all day. An' Dilcey, she settin' up wid de young Misses now. Us three, Miss Scarlett." "Us three" where there had been a hundred. "How could I go off wid them trashy niggers, Miss Scarlett, after yo' pa been so good to buy me and my little Prissy and yo' ma been so kine?" "You hesh yo' mouf, you Injun-nigger!" Mammy turned with threatening violence on Dilcey. "Miss Scarlett, dat a fe'el han's bizness. Ah's allus been a house nigger."Tears trembled in Pork's hurt eyes. Oh, if only Miss Ellen was here! She understood such niceties and realized the wide gap between the duties of a field hand and those of a house nigger. Pork set up an outcry which she found infuriating. There might be Yankees or mean niggers at Twelve Oaks. The faint niggery smell which crept from the cabin increased her nausea and, without strength to combat it, she kept on retching miserably while the cabins and trees revolved swiftly around her. Time and again, Ellen had said: "Be firm but be gentle with inferiors, especially darkies." But if she was gentle the darkies would sit in the kitchen all day, talking endlessly about the good old days when a house nigger wasn't supposed to do a field hand's work. Pork, Mammy and Prissy set up outcries at the idea of working in the fields. They reiterated that they were house niggers, not field hands. Mammy, in particular, declared vehemently that she had never even been a yard nigger. She had been born in the Robillard great house, not in the quarters, and had been raised in Ole Miss' bedroom, sleeping on a pallet at the foot of the bed. I sorry 'bout my Prissy. She mighty wuthless. Look lak she all nigger lak her pa. Her pa was mighty flighty." "Didja dig in the nigger cabins?" "You look like a nigger," murmured Scarlett, burrowing her head wearily into its soft pillow. "And you look like the end man in a minstrel show," replied Melanie equably. "You young Misses ought ter tek shame, leavin' po' Miss Pitty 'lone, wid half her frens daid an' de other half in Macom, an' 'Lanta full of Yankee sojers an' trashy free issue niggers." "Whut's wrong wid you, nigger?" inquired Mammy with a grin. "Isyou gittin' too ole ter perteck yo' own Missus?" "Miss Scarlett, you don't never go to Jonesboro often and I'm glad you don't. It ain't no place for a lady these days. But if you'd been there much, you'd know there's a mighty rough bunch of Scallawags and Republicans and Carpetbaggers been runnin' things recently. They'd make you mad enough to pop. And then, too, niggers pushin' white folks off the sidewalks and—" And if they want to come down on you for extra taxes a dozen times, they can do it. Just like a nigger can kill a white man and not get hung or—" He paused, embarrassed, and the memory of what had happened to a lone white woman on an isolated farm near Lovejoy was in both their minds. . . . "Those niggers can do anything against us and the Freedmen's Bureau and the soldiers will back them up with guns and we can't vote or do nothin' about it." "Listen to me," she began swiftly, the words tumbling out one over the other. "I'm tired of it all, I tell you. Bone tired and I'm not going to stand it any longer. I've struggled for food and for money and I've weeded and hoed and picked cotton and I've even plowed until I can't stand it another minute. I tell you, Ashley, the South is dead! It's dead! The Yankees and the free niggers and the Carpetbaggers have got it and there's nothing left for us. Ashley, let's run away!" Made a lot of money, Will said, swindling the niggers or the government, one or tuther, or confiscating folks' cotton and swearing it was Confederate government cotton. Those damned nigger lovers daring to come here and taunt her about her poverty! "Huh!" said Mammy. "Doan do no good ter sweet talk me, Miss Scarlett. Ah been knowin' you sence Ah put de fust pa'r of diapers on you. Ah's said Ah's gwine ter 'Lanta wid you an' gwine Ah is. Miss Ellen be tuhnin' in her grabe at you gwine up dar by yo'seff wid dat town full up wid Yankees an' free niggers an' sech like." Mammy threw him an annihilating glance. "A hired hack!" she rumbled. "Nigger, does you know who we is?"Mammy was a country negro but she had not always been a country negro and she knew that no chaste woman ever rode in a hired conveyance—especially a closed carriage—without the escort of some male member of her family. Even the presence of a negro maid would not satisfy the conventions. "Come 'way frum dar, Miss Scarlett! A hired hack an' a free issue nigger! Well, dat's a good combination." "Ah ain' no free issue nigger," declared the driver with heat. "Ah b'longs ter Ole Miss Talbot an' disyere her cah'ige an' Ah drives it ter mek money fer us." "Den us'll walk," said Mammy sternly. "Drive on, nigger." "Free issue country niggers," snorted Mammy. "Ain' never seed a proper cah'ige in dere lives. An' impident lookin', too." "Riding, hell!" he said in the same level voice. "You've been working with those hands, working like a nigger. What's the answer? Why did you lie to me about everything being nice at Tara?" "It sho is good ter see home folks," she said. "How is you, Mist' Frank? My, ain' you lookin' fine an' gran'! Effen Ah'd knowed Miss Scarlett wuz out wid you, Ah wouldn' worrit so. Ah'd knowed she wuz tekken keer of. Ah come back hyah an' fine she gone an' Ah been as 'stracted as a chicken wid its haid off, thinkin' she runnin' roun' dis town by herseff wid all dese trashy free issue niggers on de street. Huccome you din' tell me you gwine out, honey? An' you wid a cole!" "No, now that I am free of the toils, I'll frankly admit that I'm as guilty as Cain. I did kill the nigger. He was uppity to a lady, and what else could a Southern gentleman do? And while I'm confessing, I must admit that I shot a Yankee cavalryman after some words in a barroom. I was not charged with that peccadillo, so perhaps some other poor devil has been hanged for it, long since." She remembered the hot sun, the soft red earth under her sick head, the niggery smell of the cabin behind the ruins of Twelve Oaks, remembered the refrain her heart had beaten: "I'll never be hungry again. I'll never be hungry again." She drove the long miles to the mill with only the disapproving Uncle Peter to protect her and the woods were full of free niggers and Yankee riffraff. "Sugar, you don't need any more sawmills!" cried Frank, appalled. "What you ought to do is sell the one you've got. It's wearing you out and you know what trouble you have keeping free darkies at work there—""Free darkies are certainly worthless," Scarlett agreed, completely ignoring his hint that she should sell. "Mr. Johnson says he never knows when he comes to work in the morning whether he'll have a full crew or not. You just can't depend on the darkies any more. They work a day or two and then lay off till they've spent their wages, and the whole crew is like as not to quit overnight. The more I see of emancipation the more criminal I think it is. It's just ruined the darkies. Thousands of them aren't working at all and the ones we can get to work at the mill are so lazy and shiftless they aren't worth having. And if you so much as swear at them, much less hit them a few licks for the good of their souls, the Freedmen's Bureau is down on you like a duck on a June bug." "Sugar, you aren't letting Mr. Johnson beat those—" "Of course not," she returned impatiently. "Didn't I just say the Yankees would put me in jail if I did?" "I'll bet your pa never hit a darky a lick in his life," said Frank. "Well, only one. A stable boy who didn't rub down his horse after a day's hunt. But, Frank; it was different then. Free issue niggers are something else, and a good whipping would do some of them a lot of good." "Wait till I've gone and then scream if you've got to. I'll tell you about it while Frank saddles the horse. That damnedóWilkerson has caused enough trouble already. I know how he did you about your taxes. That's just one of his meannesses. But the worst thing was the way he kept the darkies stirred up. If anybody had told me I'd ever live to see the day when I'd hate darkies! Damn their black souls, they believe anything those scoundrels tell them and forget every living thing we've done for them. Now the Yankees are talking about letting the darkies vote. And they won't let us vote. Why, there's hardly a handful of Democrats in the whole County who aren't barred from voting, now that they've ruled out every man who fought in the Confederate Army. And if they give the negroes the vote, it's the end of us. Damn it, it's our state! It doesn't belong to the Yankees! By God, Scarlett, it isn't to be borne! And it won't be borne! We'll do something about it if it means another war. Soon we'll be having nigger judges, nigger legislators—black apes out of the jungle—" "Please—hurry, tell me! What did you do?" "Give me another mite of that pone before you wrap it up. Well, the word got around that Wilkerson had gone a bit too far with his nigger-equality business. Oh, yes, he talks it to those black fools by the hour. He had the gall—the—" Tony spluttered helplessly, "to say niggers had a right to—to—white women." "Oh, Tony, no!" "By God, yes! I don't wonder you look sick. But hell's afire, Scarlett, it can't be news to you. They've been telling it to them here in Atlanta." "I—I didn't know." "Well, Frank would have kept it from you. Anyway, after that, we all sort of thought we'd call on Mr. Wilkerson privately by night and tend to him, but before we could— You remember that black buck, Eustis, who used to be our foreman?" "Yes." "Came to the kitchen door today while Sally was fixing dinner and— I don't know what he said to her. I guess I'll never know now. But he said something and I heard her scream and I ran into the kitchen and there he was, drunk as a fiddler's bitch—I beg your pardon, Scarlett, it just slipped out." "Go on." "I shot him and when Mother ran in to take care of Sally, I got my horse and started to Jonesboro for Wilkerson. He was the one to blame. The damned black fool would never have thought of it but for him. And on the way past Tara, I met Ashley and, of course, he went with me. He said to let him do it because of the way Wilkerson acted about Tara and I said No, it was my place because Sally was my own dead brother's wife, and he went with me arguing the whole way. And when we got to town, by God, Scarlett, do you know I hadn't even brought my pistol, I'd left it in the stable. So mad I forgot—" He paused and gnawed the tough pone and Scarlett shivered. The murderous rages of the Fontaines had made County history long before this chapter had opened. "So I had to take my knife to him. I found him in the barroom. I got him in a corner with Ashley holding back the others and I told him why before I lit into him. Why, it was over before I knew it," said Tony reflecting. "First thing I knew, Ashley had me on my horse and told me to come to you folks. Ashley's a good man in a pinch. He keeps his head." Frank came in, his greatcoat over his arm, and handed it to Tony. It was his only heavy coat but Scarlett made no protest. She seemed so much on the outside of this affair, this purely masculine affair. "But Tony—they need you at home. Surely, if you went back and explained—" "Frank, you've married a fool," said Tony with a grin, struggling into the coat. "She thinks the Yankees will reward a man for keeping niggers off his women folks. So they will, with a drumhead court and a rope. Give me a kiss, Scarlett. Frank won't mind and I may never see you again. Texas is a long way off. I won't dare write, so let the home folks know I got this far in safety." She let him kiss her and the two men went out into the driving rain and stood for a moment, talking on the back porch. Then she heard a sudden splashing of hooves and Tony was gone. She opened the door a crack and saw Frank leading a heaving, stumbling horse into the carriage house. She shut the door again and sat down, her knees trembling. Now she knew what Reconstruction meant, knew as well as if the house were ringed about by naked savages, squatting in breech clouts. Now there came rushing to her mind many things to which she had given little thought recently, conversations she had heard but to which she had not listened, masculine talk which had been checked half finished when she came into rooms, small incidents in which she had seen no significance at the time, Frank's futile warnings to her against driving out to the mill with only the feeble Uncle Peter to protect her. Now they fitted themselves together into one horrifying picture. The negroes were on top and behind them were the Yankee bayonets. She could be killed, she could be raped and, very probably, nothing would ever be done about it. And anyone who avenged her would be hanged by the Yankees, hanged without benefit of trial by judge and jury. Yankee officers who knew nothing of law and cared less for the circumstances of the crime could go through the motions of holding a trial and put a rope around a Southerner's neck. "What can we do?" she thought, wringing her hands in an agony of helpless fear. "What can we do with devils who'd hang a nice boy like Tony just for killing a drunken buck and a scoundrelly Scallawag to protect his women folks?" "It isn't to be borne!" Tony had cried and he was right. It couldn't be borne. But what could they do except bear it, helpless as they were? She fell to trembling and, for the first time in her life, she saw people and events as something apart from herself, saw clearly that Scarlett O'Hara, frightened and helpless, was not all that mattered. There were thousands of women like her, all over the South, who were frightened and helpless. And thousands of men, who had laid down their arms at Appomattox, had taken them up again and stood ready to risk their necks on a minute's notice to protect those women. There had been something in Tony's face which had been mirrored in Frank's, an expression she had seen recently on the faces of other men in Atlanta, a look she had noticed but had not troubled to analyze. It was an expression vastly different from the tired helplessness she had seen in the faces of men coming home from the war after the surrender. Those men had not cared about anything except getting home. Now they were caring about something again, numbed nerves were coming back to life and the old spirit was beginning to burn. They were caring again with a cold ruthless bitterness. And, like Tony, they were thinking: "It isn't to be borne!" She had seen Southern men, soft voiced and dangerous in the days before the war, reckless and hard in the last despairing days of the fighting. But in the faces of the two men who stared at each other across the candle flame so short a while ago there had been something that was different, something that heartened her but frightened her—fury which could find no words, determination which would stop at nothing. For the first time, she felt a kinship with the people about her,felt one with them in their fears, their bitterness, their determination. No, it wasn't to be borne! The South was too beautiful a place to be let go without a struggle, too loved to be trampled by Yankees who hated Southerners enough to enjoy grinding them into the dirt, too dear a homeland to be turned over to ignorant negroes drunk with whisky and freedom. As she thought of Tony's sudden entrance and swift exit, she felt herself akin to him, for she remembered the old story how her father had left Ireland, left hastily and by night, after a murder which was no murder to him or to his family. Gerald's blood was in her, violent blood. She remembered her hot joy in shooting the marauding Yankee. Violent blood was in them all, perilously close to the surface, lurking just beneath the kindly courteous exteriors. All of them, all the men she knew, even the drowsy-eyed Ashley and fidgety old Frank, were like that underneath—murderous, violent if the need arose. Even Rhett, conscienceless scamp that he was, had killed a negro for being "uppity to a lady." Looking about her in that cold spring of 1866, Scarlett realized what was facing her and the whole South. She might plan and scheme, she might work harder than her slaves had ever worked, she might succeed in overcoming all of her hardships, she might through dint of determination solve problems for which her earlier life had provided no training at all. But for all her labor and sacrifice and resourcefulness, her small beginnings purchased at so great a cost might be snatched away from her at any minute. And should this happen, she had no legal rights, no legal redress, except those same drumhead courts of which Tony had spoken so bitterly, those military courts with their arbitrary powers. Only the negroes had rights or redress these days. The Yankees had the South prostrate and they intended to keep it so. The South had been tilted as by a giant malicious hand, and those who had once ruled were now more helpless than their former slaves had ever been. Georgia was heavily garrisoned with troops and Atlanta had more than its share. The commandants of the Yankee troops in the various cities had complete power, even the power of life and death, over the civilian population, and they used that power. They could and did imprison citizens for any cause, or no cause, seize their property, hang them. They could and did harass and hamstring them with conflicting regulations about the operation of their business, the wages they must pay their servants, what they should say in public and private utterances and what they should write in newspapers. They regulated how, when and where they must dump their garbage and they decided what songs the daughters and wives of ex-Confederates could sing, so that the singing of "Dixie" or "Bonnie Blue Flag" became an offense only a little less serious than treason. They ruled that no one could get a letter our of the post office without taking the Iron Clad oath and, in some instances, they even prohibited the issuance of marriage licenses unless the couples had taken the hated oath.The newspapers were so muzzled that no public protest could be raised against the injustices or depredations of the military, and individual protests were silenced with jail sentences. The jails were full of prominent citizens and there they stayed without hope of early trial. Trial by jury and the law of habeas corpus were practically suspended. The civil courts still functioned after a fashion but they functioned at the pleasure of the military, who could and did interfere with their verdicts, so that citizens so unfortunate as to get arrested were virtually at the mercy of the military authorities. And so many did get arrested. The very suspicion of seditious utterances against the government, suspected complicity in the Ku Klux Klan, or complaint by a negro that a white man had been uppity to him were enough to land a citizen in jail. Proof and evidence were not needed. The accusation was sufficient. And thanks to the incitement of the Freedmen's Bureau, negroes could always be found who were willing to bring accusations. The negroes had not yet been given the right to vote but the North was determined that they should vote and equally determined that their vote should be friendly to the North. With this in mind, nothing was too good for the negroes. The Yankee soldiers backed them up in anything they chose to do, and the surest way for a white person to get himself into trouble was to bring a complaint of any kind against a negro. The former slaves were now the lords of creation and, with the aid of the Yankees, the lowest and most ignorant ones were on top. The better class of them, scorning freedom, were suffering as severely as their white masters. Thousands of house servants, the highest caste in the slave population, remained with their white folks, doing manual labor which had been beneath them in the old days.Many loyal field hands also refused to avail themselves of the new freedom, but the hordes of "trashy free issue niggers," who were causing most of the trouble, were drawn largely from the field-hand class. In slave days, these lowly blacks had been despised by the house negroes and yard negroes as creatures of small worth. Just as Ellen had done, other plantation mistresses throughout the South had put the pickaninnies through courses of training and elimination to select the best of them for the positions of greater responsibility. Those consigned to the fields were the ones least willing or able to learn, the least energetic, the least honest and trustworthy, the most vicious and brutish. And now this class, the lowest in the black social order, was making life a misery for the South. Aided by the unscrupulous adventurers who operated the Freedmen's Bureau and urged on by a fervor of Northern hatred almost religious in its fanaticism, the former field hands found themselves suddenly elevated to the seats of the mighty. There they conducted themselves as creatures of small intelligence might naturally be expected to do. Like monkeys or small children turned loose among treasured objects whose value is beyond their comprehension, they ran wild—either from perverse pleasure in destruction or simply because of their ignorance. To the credit of the negroes, including the least intelligent of them, few were actuated by malice and those few had usually been "mean niggers" even in slave days. But they were, as a class, childlike in mentality, easily led and from long habit accustomed to taking orders. Formerly their white masters had given the orders. Now they had a new set of masters, the Bureau and the Carpetbaggers, and their orders were: "You're just as good as any white man, so act that way. Just as soon as you can vote the Republican ticket, you are going to have the white man's property. It's as good as yours now. Take it, if you can get it!" Dazzled by these tales, freedom became a never-ending picnic, a barbecue every day of the week, a carnival of idleness and theft and insolence. Country negroes flocked into the cities, leaving the rural districts without labor to make the crops. Atlanta was crowded with them and still they came by the hundreds, lazy and dangerous as a result of the new doctrines being taught them. Packed into squalid cabins, smallpox, typhoid and tuberculosis broke out among them. Accustomed to the care of their mistresses when they were ill in slave days, they did not know how to nurse themselves or their sick. elying upon their masters in the old days to care for their aged and their babies, they now had no sense of responsibility for their helpless. And the Bureau was far too interested in political matters to provide the care the plantation owners had once given. Abandoned negro children ran like frightened animals about the town until kind-hearted white people took them into their kitchens to raise. Aged country darkies, deserted by their children, bewildered and panic stricken in the bustling town, sat on the curbs and cried to the ladies who passed: "Mistis, please Ma'm, write mah old Marster down in Fayette County dat Ah's up hyah. He'll come tek dis ole nigger home agin. 'Fo' Gawd, Ah done got nuff of dis freedom!" The Freedmen's Bureau, overwhelmed by the numbers who poured in upon them, realized too late a part of the mistake and tried to send them back to their former owners. They told the negroes that if they would go back, they would go as free workers, protected by written contracts specifying wages by the day. The old darkies went back to the plantations gladly, making a heavier burden than ever on the poverty-stricken planters who had not the heart to turn them out, but the young ones remained in Atlanta. They did not want to be workers of any kind, anywhere. Why work when the belly is full? For the first time in their lives the negroes were able to get all the whisky they might want. In slave days, it was something they never tasted except at Christmas, when each one received a "drap" along with his gift. Now they had not only the Bureau agitators and the Carpetbaggers urging them on, but the incitement of whisky as well, and outrages were inevitable. Neither life nor property was safe from them and the white people, unprotected by law, were terrorized. Men were insulted on the streets by drunken blacks, houses and barns were burned at night, horses and cattle and chickens stolen in broad daylight, crimes of all varieties were committed and few of the perpetrators were brought to justice.But these ignominies and dangers were as nothing compared with the peril of white women, many bereft by the war of male protection, who lived alone in the outlying districts and on lonely roads. It was the large number of outrages on women and the ever-present fear for the safety of their wives and daughters that drove Southern men to cold and trembling fury and caused the Ku Klux Klan to spring up overnight. And it was against this nocturnal organization that the newspapers of the North cried out most loudly, never realizing the tragic necessity that brought it into being. The North wanted every member of the Ku Klux hunted down and hanged, because they had dared take the punishment of crime into their own hands at a time when the ordinary processes of law and order had been overthrown by the invaders.Here was the astonishing spectacle of half a nation attempting, at the point of bayonet, to force upon the other half the rule of negroes, many of them scarcely one generation out of the African jungles. The vote must be given to them but it must be denied to most of their former owners. The South must be kept down and disfranchisement of the whites was one way to keep the South down. Most of those who had fought for the Confederacy, held office under it or given aid and comfort to it were not allowed to vote, had no choice in the selection of their public officials and were wholly under the power of an alien rule. Many men, thinking soberly of General Lee's words and example, wished to take the oath, become citizens again and forget the past. But they were not permitted to take it. Others who were permitted to take the oath, hotly refused to do so, scorning to swear allegiance to a government which was deliberately subjecting them to cruelty and humiliation. Scarlett heard over and over until she could have screamed at the repetition: "I'd have taken their damned oath right after the surrender if they'd acted decent. I can be restored to the Union, but by God, I can't be reconstructed into it!" Through these anxious days and nights, Scarlett was torn with fear. The ever-present menace of lawless negroes and Yankee soldiers preyed on her mind, the danger of confiscation was constantly with her, even in her dreams, and she dreaded worse terrors to come. Depressed by the helplessness of herself and her friends, of the whole South, it was not strange that she often remembered during these days the words which Tony Fontaine had spoken so passionately:"Good God, Scarlett, it isn't to be borne! And it won't be borne!" In spite of war, fire and Reconstruction, Atlanta had again become a boom town. In many ways, the place resembled the busy young city of the Confederacy's early days. The only trouble was that the soldiers crowding the streets wore the wrong kind of uniforms, the money was in the hands of the wrong people, and the negroes were living in leisure while their former masters struggled and starved. "That shouldn't be difficult," said Scarlett and laughed. "If you can find a darky just in from the country who hasn't been spoiled by the Freedmen's Bureau, you'll have the best kind of servant possible. Just stand at your gate here and ask every darky woman who passes and I'm sure—" The three women broke into indignant outcries."Do you think I'd trust my babies to a black nigger?" cried the Maine woman. "I want a good Irish girl." "I'm afraid you'll find no Irish servants in Atlanta," answered Scarlett, coolness in her voice. "Personally, I've never seen a white servant and I shouldn't care to have one in my house. And,"she could not keep a slight note of sarcasm from her words, "I assure you that darkies aren't cannibals and are quite trustworthy." "Goodness, no! I wouldn't have one in my house. The idea!" "I wouldn't trust them any farther than I could see them and as for letting them handle my babies . . ." Scarlett thought of the kind, gnarled hands of Mammy worn rough in Ellen's service and hers and Wade's. What did these strangers know of black hands, how dear and comforting they could be, how unerringly they knew how to soothe, to pat, to fondle? She laughed shortly. "It's strange you should feel that way when it was you all who freed them." "Lor'! Not I, dearie," laughed the Maine woman. "I never saw a nigger till I came South last month and I don't care if I never see another. They give me the creeps. I wouldn't trust one of them. . . ." For some moments Scarlett had been conscious that Uncle Peter was breathing hard and sitting up very straight as he stared steadily at the horse's ears. Her attention was called to him more forcibly when the Maine woman broke off suddenly with a laugh and pointed him out to her companions. "Look at that old nigger swell up like a toad," she giggled. "I'll bet he's an old pet of yours, isn't he? You Southerners don't know how to treat niggers. You spoil them to death."Peter sucked in his breath and his wrinkled brow showed deep furrows but he kept his eyes straight ahead. He had never had the term "nigger" applied to him by a white person in all his life. By other negroes, yes. But never by a white person. And to be called untrustworthy and an "old pet," he, Peter, who had been the dignified mainstay of the Hamilton family for years! Scarlett felt, rather than saw, the black chin begin to shake with hurt pride, and a killing rage swept over her. She had listened with calm contempt while these women had underrated the Confederate Army, blackguarded Jeff Davis and accused Southerners of murder and torture of their slaves. If it were to her advantage she would have endured insults about her own virtue and honesty. But the knowledge that they had hurt the faithful old darky with their stupid remarks fired her like a match in gunpowder. For a moment she looked at the big horse pistol in Peter's belt and her hands itched for the feel of it. They deserved killing, these insolent, ignorant, arrogant conquerors. But she bit down on her teeth until her jaw muscles stood out, reminding herself that the time had not yet come when she could tell the Yankees just what she thought of them. Some day, yes. My God, yes! But not yet. "Uncle Peter is one of our family," she said, her voice shaking."Good afternoon. Drive on, Peter." Peter laid the whip on the horse so suddenly that the startled animal jumped forward and as the buggy jounced off, Scarlett heard the Maine woman say with puzzled accents: "Her family? You don't suppose she meant a relative? He's exceedingly black." God damn them! They ought to be wiped off the face of the earth. If ever I get money enough, I'll spit in all their faces! I'll—She glanced at Peter and saw that a tear was trickling down his nose. Instantly a passion of tenderness, of grief for his humiliation swamped her, made her eyes sting. It was as though someone had been senselessly brutal to a child. Those women had hurt Uncle Peter—Peter who had been through the Mexican War with old Colonel Hamilton, Peter who had held his master in his arms when he died, who had raised Melly and Charles and looked after the feckless, foolish Pittypat, "pertecked" her when she refugeed, and "'quired" a horse to bring her back from Macon through a war-torn country after the surrender. And they said they wouldn't trust niggers! "Peter," she said, her voice breaking as she put her hand on his thin arm. "I'm ashamed of you for crying. What do you care? They aren't anything but damned Yankees!" "Dey talked in front of me lak Ah wuz a mule an' couldn' unnerstan' dem—lak Ah wuz a Affikun an' din' know whut dey wuz talkin' 'bout," said Peter, giving a tremendous sniff. "An' dey call me a nigger an' Ah' ain' never been call a nigger by no w'ite folks, an' dey call me a ole pet an' say dat niggers ain' ter be trus'ed! Me not ter be trus'ed! Why, w'en de ole Cunnel wuz dyin' he say ter me, 'You, Peter! You look affer mah chillun. Tek keer of yo' young Miss Pittypat,' he say, ''cause she ain' got no mo' sense dan a hoppergrass.' An' Ah done tek keer of her good all dese y'ars—" "Nobody but the Angel Gabriel could have done better," said Scarlett soothingly. "We just couldn't have lived without you." "Yas'm, thankee kinely, Ma'm. Ah knows it an' you knows it, but dem Yankee folks doan know it an' dey doan want ter know it. Huccome dey come mixin' in our bizness, Miss Scarlett? Dey doan unnerstan' us Confedruts." "I'll do nothing of the kind," he returned calmly. "It'll be dark before you get home and there's a new colony of darkies living in tents and shanties near the next spring, mean niggers I've been told, and I see no reason why you should give the impulsive Ku Klux a cause for putting on their nightshirts and riding abroad this evening." Grandma fanned herself with her palmetto leaf and went on briskly: "I don't approve of the match any more than you do but I'm practical and so are you. And when it comes to something that's unpleasant but can't be helped, I don't see any sense in screaming and kicking about it. That's no way to meet the ups and downs of life. I know because my family and the Old Doctor's family have had more than our share of ups and downs. And if we folks have a motto, it's this: 'Don't holler—smile and bide your time.' We've survived a passel of things that way, smiling and biding our time, and we've gotten to be experts at surviving. We had to be. We've always bet on the wrong horses. Run out of France with the Huguenots, run out of England with the Cavaliers, run out of Scotland with Bonnie Prince Charlie, run out of Haiti by the niggers and now licked by the Yankees. But we always turn up on top in a few years. You know why?" "Ef you wuz jes' half as nice ter w'ite folks as you is ter niggers, Ah spec de worl' would treat you better." Seeing the profits slip from Hugh's fingers, Scarlett became frenzied at her impotence and his stupidity. Just as soon as the baby was born and she could go back to work, she would get rid of Hugh and hire some one else. Anyone would do better. And she would never fool with free niggers again. How could anyone get any work done with free niggers quitting all the time? "Frank," she said, after a stormy interview with Hugh over his missing workmen, "I've about made up my mind that I'll lease convicts to work the mills. A while back I was talking to Johnnie Gallegher, Tommy Wellburn's foreman, about the trouble we were having getting any work out of the darkies and he asked me why I didn't get convicts. It sounds like a good idea to me. He said I could sublease them for next to nothing and feed them dirt cheap. And he said I could get work out of them in any way I liked, without having the Freedman's Bureau swarming down on me like hornets, sticking their bills into things that aren't any of their business. And just as soon as Johnnie Gallegher's contract with Tommy is up, I'm going to hire him to run Hugh's mill. Any man who can get work out of that bunch of wild Irish he bosses can certainly get plenty of work out of convicts." From this conviction of wrongness, Frank gathered courage to forbid Scarlett to do such a thing, and so strong were his remarks that she, startled, relapsed into silence. Finally to quiet him, she said meekly she hadn't really meant it. She was just so outdone with Hugh and the free niggers she had lost her temper. Secretly, she still thought about it and with some longing. Convict labor would settle one of her hardest problems, but if Frank was going to take on so about it—His one eye met hers with an impersonal animosity. "Yes. A woman's got no bizness botherin' her men folks when they're tryin' to take keer of her. If you're bound to gad about, I'll drive you. I hates niggers—Yankees too."Every morning he came from Melanie's cellar and sat on the front steps of Pitty's house, chewing and spitting until Scarlett came out and Peter brought thebuggy from the stable. Uncle Peter feared him only a little less than the devil or the Ku Klux and even Mammy walked silently and timorously around him. He hated negroes and they knew it and feared him. He reinforced his pistol and knife with another pistol, and his fame spread far among the black population. He never once had to draw a pistol or even lay his hand on his belt. The moral effect was sufficient. No negro dared even laugh while Archie was in hearing.Once Scarlett asked him curiously why he hated negroes and was surprised when he answered, for generally all questions were answered by "I reckon that's my bizness." "I hates them, like all mountain folks hates them. We never liked them and we never owned none. It was them niggers that started the war. I hates them for that, too.""But you fought in the war." "I reckon that's a man's privilege. I hates Yankees too, more'n I hates niggers. Most as much as I hates talkative women." "'Long in 'sixty-four when Sherman come through, I was at Milledgeville jail, like I had been for forty years. And the warden he called all us prisoners together and he says the Yankees are a-comin' a-burnin' and a-killin'. Now if thar's one thing I hates worse than a nigger or a woman, it's a Yankee.""Why? Had you— Did you ever know any Yankees?" "No'm. But I'd hearn tell of them. I'd hearn tell they couldn't never mind their own bizness. I hates folks who can't mind their own bizness. What was they doin' in Georgia, freein' our niggers and burnin' our houses and killin' our stock? Well, the warden he said the army needed more soldiers bad, and any of us who'd jine up would be free at the end of the war—if we come out alive. But us lifers—us murderers, the warden he said the army didn't want us. We was to be sont somewheres else to another jail. But I said to the warden I ain't like most lifers. I'm just in for killin' my wife and she needed killin'. And I wants to fight the Yankees. And the warden he saw my 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 my hand and a free pardon to do more killin'. It shore was good to be a free man with a rifle in my hand again. Us men from Milledgeville did good fightin' and killin'—and a lot of us was kilt. I never knowed one who deserted. And when the surrender come, we was free. "Well, sir," rumbled Archie, "I've hearn tell of rabbits spittin' in bulldogs' faces but I ain't never seen it till now. Them legislatures might just as well have hollered 'Hurray for Jeff Davis and the Southern Confederacy' for all the good it'll do them— and us. Them nigger-lovin' Yankees have made up their mind to make the niggers our bosses. Sam galloped over to the buggy, his eyes rolling with joy and his white teeth flashing, and clutched her outstretched hand with two black hands as big as hams. His watermelon-pink tongue lapped out,his whole body wiggled and his joyful contortions were as ludicrous as the gambolings of a mastiff. "Mah Lawd, it sho is good ter see some of de fambly agin!" he cried, scrunching her hand until she felt that the bones would crack. Hucoome you got so mean lak, totin' a gun, Miss Scarlett?" "So many mean folks these days, Sam, that I have to tote it. What on earth are you doing in a nasty place like Shantytown, you, a respectable darky? And why haven't you been into town to see me?""Law'm, Miss Scarlett, ah doan lib in Shantytown. Ah jes' bidin' hyah fer a spell. Ah wouldn' lib in dat place for nuthin'. Ah nebber in mah life seed sech trashy niggers. An' Ah din' know you wuz in 'Lanta. Ah thought you wuz at Tara. Ah wuz aimin' ter come home ter Tara soon as Ah got de chance." Scarlett remembered the hot day before the siege began when she and Rhett had sat in the carriage and the gang of negroes with Big Sam at their head had marched down the dusty street toward the entrenchments singing "Go Down, Moses." She nodded. "Wel, Ah wuked lak a dawg diggin' bresswuks an' fillin' San' bags, tell de Confedruts lef' 'Lanta. De cap'n gempmum whut had me in charge, he wuz kilt an' dar warn't nobody ter tell Big Sam whut ter do, so Ah jes' lay low in de bushes. Ah thought Ah'd try ter git home ter Tara, but den Ah hear dat all de country roun' Tara done buhnt up. 'Sides, Ah din' hab no way ter git back an' Ah wuz sceered de patterollers pick me up, kase Ah din' hab no pass. Den de Yankees come in an' a Yankee gempmum, he wuz a cunnel, he tek a shine ter me an' he keep me te ten' ter his hawse an' his boots."Yas, Ma'm! Ah sho did feel bigitty, bein' a body serbant lak Poke, w'en Ah ain' nuthin' but a fe'el han'. Ah ain' tell de Cunnel Ah wuz a fe'el han' an' he— Well, Miss Scarlett, Yankees is iggerunt folks! He din' know de diffunce! So Ah stayed wid him an' Ah went ter Sabannah wid him w'en Gin'ul Sherman went dar, an' fo' Gawd, Miss Scarlett, Ah nebber seed sech awful goin'-ons as Ah seed on de way ter Sabannah! A-stealin' an' a-buhnin'—did dey buhn Tara, Miss Scarlett?" "They set fire to it, but we put it out." "Well'm, Ah sho glad ter hear dat. Tara mah home an' Ah is aimin' ter go back dar. An' w'en de wah ober, de Cunnel he say ter me: 'You Sam! You come on back Nawth wid me. Ah pay you good wages.' Well'm, lak all de niggers, Ah wuz honin' ter try disyere freedom fo' Ah went home, so Ah goes Nawth wid de Cunnel. Yas'm, us went ter Washington an' Noo Yawk an' den ter Bawston whar de Cunnel lib. Yas, Ma'am, Ah's a trabeled nigger! Miss Scarlett, dar's mo' hawses and cah'iges on dem Yankee streets dan you kin shake a stick at! Ah wuz sceered all de time Ah wuz gwine git runned ober!" "Did you like it up North, Sam?" Sam scratched his woolly head. "Ah did—an' Ah din't. De Cunnel, he a mighty fine man an' he unnerstan' niggers. But his wife, she sumpin' else. His wife, she call me 'Mister' fust time she seed me. Yas'm, she do dat an' Ah lak ter drap in mah tracks w'en she do it. De Cunnel, he tell her ter call me 'Sam' an' den she do it. But all dem Yankee folks, fust time dey meet me, dey call me 'Mist' O'Hara.' An' dey ast me ter set down wid dem, lak Ah wuz jes' as good as dey wuz. Well, Ah ain' nebber set down wid w'ite folks an' Ah is too ole ter learn. Dey treat me lak Ah jes' as good as dey wuz, Miss Scarlett, but in dere hearts, dey din' lak me—dey din' lak no niggers. An' dey wuz sceered of me, kase Ah's so big. An' dey wuz allus astin' me 'bout de blood houn's dat chase me an' de beatin's Ah got. An', Lawd, Miss Scarlett, Ah ain' nebber got no beatin's! You know Mist' Gerald ain' gwine let nobody beat a 'spensive nigger lak me! "W'en Ah tell dem dat an' tell dem how good Miss Ellen ter de niggers, an' how she set up a whole week wid me w'en Ah had de pneumony, dey doan b'lieve me. An', Miss Scarlett, Ah got ter honin' fer Miss Ellen an' Tara, tell it look lak Ah kain stan' it no longer, an' one night Ah lit out fer home, an' Ah rid de freight cabs all de way down ter 'Lanta. Ef you buy me a ticket ter Tara, Ah sho be glad ter git home. Ah sho be glad ter see Miss Ellen and Mist' Gerald agin. An done had nuff freedom. Ah wants somebody ter feed me good vittles reg'lar, and tell me whut ter do an' whut not ter do, an' look affer me w'en Ah gits sick. S'pose Ah gits de pneumony agin? Is dat Yankee lady gwine tek keer of me? No, Ma'm! She gwine call me 'Mist' O'Hara' but she ain' gwine nuss me. But Miss Ellen, she gwine nuss me, do Ah git sick an'—whut's de mattuh, Miss Scarlett?""Pa and Mother are both dead, Sam.""Daid? Is you funnin' wid me, Miss Scarlett? Dat ain' no way ter treat me!""I'm not funning. It's true. Mother died when Sherman men came through Tara and Pa—he went last June. Oh, Sam, don't cry. Please don't! If you do, I'll cry too. Sam, don't! I just can't stand it. Let's don't talk about it now. I'll tell you all about it some other time. . . . Miss Suellen is at Tara and she's married to a mighty fine man, Mr. Will Benteen. And Miss Carreen, she's in a—" Scarlett paused. She could never make plain to the weeping giant what a convent was. "She's living in Charleston now. But Pork and Prissy are at Tara. . . . There, Sam, wipe your nose. Do you really want to go home?" "Yas'm but it ain' gwine be lak Ah thought wid Miss Ellen an'—" "Sam, how'd you like to stay here in Atlanta and work for me? I need a driver and I need one bad with so many mean folks around these days." "Yas'm. You sho do. Ah been aimin' ter say you ain' got no bizness drivin' 'round by yo'seff, Miss Scarlett. You ain' got no notion how mean some niggers is dese days, specially dem whut live hyah in Shantytown. It ain' safe fer you. Ah ain' been in Shantytown but two days, but Ah hear dem talk 'bout you. An' yesterday w'en you druv by an' dem trashy black wenches holler at you, Ah recernize you but you went by so fas' Ah couldn' ketch you. But Ah sho tan de hides of dem niggers! Ah sho did. Ain' you notice dar ain' none of dem roun' hyah terday?" "I did notice and I certainly thank you, Sam. Well, how would you like to be my carriage man?" "Miss Scarlett, thankee, Ma'm, but Ah specs Ah better go ter Tara." Big Sam looked down and his bare toe traced aimless marks in the road. There was a furtive uneasiness about him."Now, why? I'll pay you good wages. You must stay with me." The big black face, stupid and as easily read as a child's, looked up at her and there was fear in it. He came closer and, leaning over the side of the buggy, whispered:"Miss Scarlett, Ah got ter git outer 'Lanta. Ah got ter git ter Tara whar dey woan fine me. Ah—Ah done kilt a man.""A darky?" "No'm. A w'ite man. A Yankee sojer and dey's lookin' fer me. Dat de reason Ah'm hyah at Shantytown." "How did it happen?" "He wuz drunk an' he said sumpin' Ah couldn' tek noways an' Ah got mah han's on his neck—an' Ah din' mean ter kill him, Miss Scarlett, but mah han's is pow'ful strong, an' fo' Ah knowed it, he wuz kilt. An' Ah wuz so sceered Ah din' know whut ter do! So Ah come out hyah ter hide an' w'en Ah seed you go by yestiddy, Ah says 'Bress Gawd! Dar Miss Scarlett! She tek keer of me. She ain' gwine let de Yankees git me. She sen' me back ter Tara.""You say they're after you? They know you did it?" "Yas'm, Ah's so big dar ain' no mistakin' me. Ah spec Ah's de bigges' nigger in 'Lanta. Dey done been out hyah already affer me las' night but a nigger gal, she hid me in a cabe ober in de woods, tell dey wuz gone."Scarlett sat frowning for a moment. She was not in the least alarmed or distressed that Sam had committed murder, but she was disappointed that she could not have him as a driver. A big negro like Sam would be as good a bodyguard as Archie. Well, she must get him safe to Tara somehow, for of course the authorities must not get him. He was too valuable a darky to be hanged. Why, he was the best foreman Tara had ever had! It did not enter Scarlett's mind that he was free. He still belonged to her, like Pork and Mammy and Peter and Cookie and Prissy. He was still "one of our family" and, as such, must be protected.It was a big ragged white man and a squat black negro with shoulders and chest like a gorilla. Swiftly she flapped the reins on the horse's back and clutched the pistol. The horse started to trot and suddenly shied as the white man threw up his hand. "Lady," he said, "can you give me a quarter? I'm sure hungry." "Get out of the way," she answered, keeping her voice as steady as she could. "I haven't got any money. Giddap." With a sudden swift movement the man's hand was on the horse's bridle."Grab her!" he shouted to the negro. "She's probably got her money in her bosom!" What happened next was like a nightmare to Scarlett, and it all happened so quickly. She brought up her pistol swiftly and some instinct told her not to fire at the white man for fear of shooting the horse. As the negro came running to the buggy, his black face twisted in a leering grin, she fired point-blank at him. Whether or not she hit him, she never knew, but the next minute the pistol was wrenched from her hand by a grasp that almost broke her wrist.The negro was beside her, so close that she could smell the rank odor of him as he tried to drag her over the buggy side. With her one free hand she fought madly, clawing at his face, and then she felt his big hand at her throat and, with a ripping noise, her basque was torn open from neck to waist. Then the black hand fumbled between her breasts, and terror and revulsion such as she had never known came over her and she screamed like an insane woman."Shut her up! Drag her out!" cried the white man, and the black hand fumbled across Scarlett's face to her mouth. She bit as savagely as she could and then screamed again, and through her screaming she heard the white man swear and realized that there was a third man in the dark road. The black hand dropped from her mouth and the negro leaped away as Big Sam charged at him. "Run, Miss Scarlett!" yelled Sam, grappling with the negro; and Scarlett, shaking and screaming, clutched up the reins and whip and laid them both over the horse. It went off at a jump and she felt the wheels pass over something soft, something resistant. It was the white man who lay in the road where Sam had knocked him down. Maddened by terror, she lashed the horse again and again and it struck a gait that made the buggy rock and sway. Through her terror she was conscious of the sound of feet running behind her and she screamed at the horse to go faster. If that black ape got her again, she would die before he even got his hands upon her. A voice yelled behind her: "Miss Scarlett! Stop!" Without slacking, she looked trembling over her shoulder and saw Big Sam racing down the road behind her, his long legs working like hard-driven pistons. She drew rein as he came up and he flung himself into the buggy, his big body crowding her to one side.Sweat and blood were streaming down his face as he panted:"Is you hu't? Did dey hu't you?" She could not speak, but seeing the direction of his eyes and their quick averting, she realized that her basque was open to the waist and her bare bosom and corset cover were showing. With a shaking hand she clutched the two edges together and bowing her head began to cry in terrified sobs. "Gimme dem lines," said Sam, snatching the reins from her. "Hawse, mek tracks!" The whip cracked and the startled horse went off at a wild gallop that threatened to throw the buggy into the ditch."Ah hope Ah done kill dat black baboon. But Ah din' wait ter fine out," he panted. "But ef he hahmed you, Miss Scarlett, Ah'll go back an' mek sho of it." "No—no—drive on quickly," she sobbed. "Set," said Archie, fixing her with his eye. "I'll tell you. Because you went gallivantin' this afternoon and got yoreself into trouble through yore own fault, Mr. Wilkes and Mr. Kennedy and the other men are out tonight to kill that thar nigger and that thar white man, if they can catch them, and wipe out that whole Shantytown settlement. And if what that Scallawag said is true, the Yankees suspected sumpin' or got wind somehow and they've sont out troops to lay for them. And our men have walked into a trap.And if what Butler said warn't true, then he's a spy and he is goin' to turn them up to the Yankees and they'll git kilt just the same. And if he does turn them up, then I'll kill him, if it's the last deed of m' life. And if they ain't kilt, then they'll all have to light out of here for Texas and lay low and maybe never come back. It's all yore fault and thar's blood on yore hands." "Drunk be damned," cried the captain. "He can lie in the gutter for all I care. I'm no policeman. He and Mr. Elsing are under arrest for complicity in a Klan raid at Shantytown tonight. A nigger and a white man were killed. Mr. Wilkes was the ringleader in it." "Well, Miz Wilkes, people in my business knows a heap of things.It'd surprise and shock a heap of fine ladies if they had any notion how much we knows about them. And she ain't no good, Miz Wilkes. She kilt her husband and that nice Wellburn boy, same as if she shot them. She caused it all, prancin' about Atlanta by herself, enticin' niggers and trash. Why, not one of my girls—" "Ah has seed you do a heap of things dat would hu't Miss Ellen, did she know. An' it has done sorrered me a plen'y. But disyere is de wust yit. Mahyin' trash! Yas'm, Ah said trash! Doan go tellin' 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 frum Miss 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 fer good, an' lyin' 'bout de other lumber gempmums, an' ridin' roun' by yo'seff, exposin' yo'seff ter free issue niggers an' gettin' Mist' Frank shot, an' not feedin' dem po' convicts nuff ter keep dey souls in dey bodies. Ah's done heshed mah mouf, even ef Miss Ellen in de Promise Lan' wuz sayin' 'Mammy, Mammy! You ain' look affer mah chile right!' Yas'm. Ah's stood fer all dat but Ah ain' gwine stand fer dis, Miss Scarlett. You kain mahy wid trash. Not w'ile Ah got breaf in mah body." "I have never heard a profound truth expressed so succinctly," he said. "Mammy's a smart old soul and one of the few people I know whose respect and good will I'd like to have. But, being a mule, 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 present her after the wedding. I've seen so few people who did not melt at the sight of cash. But she looked me in the eye and thanked me and said she wasn't a free issue nigger and didn't need my money." Scarlett had cast her lot with the enemy and, whatever her birth and family connections, she was now in the category of a turncoat, a nigger lover, a traitor, a Republican— and a Scallawag. It was hard to say which class was more cordially hated by the settled citizenry, the impractical Yankee schoolmarms or the Scallawags, but the balance probably fell with the latter. The schoolmarms could be dismissed with, "Well, what can you expect of nigger-loving Yankees? Of course they think the nigger is just as good as they are!" But for those Georgians who had turned Republican for personal gain, there was no excuse. "Mist' Rhett, Miss Scarlett wuz bad ter tell you dat! You ain' holin' dat again' dis ole nigger?" Mammy likewise viewed with displeasure the nurses that came and went, for she was jealous of any strange negro and saw no reason why she could not care for the baby and Wade and Ella, too. But Mammy was showing her age and rheumatism was slowing her lumbering tread. Rhett lacked the courage to cite these reasons for employing another nurse. He told her instead that a man of his position could not afford to have only one nurse. It did not look well. He would hire two others to do the drudgery and leave her as Mammy-in-chief. This Mammy understood very well. More servants were a credit to her position as well as Rhett's. But she would not, she told him firmly, have any trashy free issue niggers in her nursery. So Rhett sent to Tara for Prissy. He knew her shortcomings but, after all, she was a family darky. "For Heaven's sake, Rhett! Don't bother me now. Ashley has gotten these accounts in an awful snarl— Oh, that party? Well, I think it's nothing unusual that Wade wasn't invited and I wouldn't let him go if he had been. Don't forget that Raoul is Mrs. Merriwether's grandchild and Mrs. Merriwether would as soon have a free issue nigger in her sacred parlor as one of us." "I'm going to skin that nigger alive," he said quietly. "It's your fault too. Why didn't you come up here to see if the light was burning?" "Miz Wilkes, you got more sense than most women but you gits flurried right easy," said Archie. "And as for that fool nigger, Pork, he ain't got no bizness with them thar contraptions. "Yas'm. Dat whut she said. An', Miss Melly, it's de truff.

Niggers knows a heap of things quicker dan w'ite folks, an' Ah knowed dat's whar he been but Ah ain' said nuthin' 'bout it.

 

 

 


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