Scarlett and tells her that her decision to hire the convicts is the gossip of
the town and that everyone thinks Johnnie Gallegher will work them to death.
Rhett that she has heard a rumor that he is to marry a sweetheart in New
Orleans. Secretly, she feels a pang of jealousy. But Rhett replies that if he
ever marries, it will be because he could not get a woman he wanted in any
other way - and he has never wanted a woman that much. He says the reason he has
spent so long in New Orleans is that he is the legal guardian of a little boy
there. He also had to go to Charleston because his father died. He does not
feel sorrow, as his father always disapproved of him, threw him out of the
house and could not forgive him when, in order to survive, he became a
professional gambler. Rhett's father also forbade his mother to see him.
Rhett's mother and sister have been almost destitute since the war, and Rhett
has sent them money, but Rhett's father has sent the money back as "tainted."
Scarlett that he has come to discuss an unpleasant subject with her. He says
that when he lent her the money to buy the mill, he stipulated that she must
not use it to support Ashley. She agreed to this condition. Now, he has learnt
that she has made Ashley a partner in the mill. Scarlett replies that because
she has repaid Rhett his loan, she can do as she likes with her mill. Rhett
points out that she would not even have a mill without his money. Rhett insists
that he is not jealous of Ashley, but says that Ashley would be better off dead
because he has lost his world and has no role in the New South. He says that
Scarlett has not played straight with him and that he will never lend her money
again. Scarlett admits that she is not as scrupulous as she should be, but she
has been focusing on survival. When she is rich, she will be able to afford to
be kind. But Rhett replies that plenty of other people are managing to do well
with their integrity intact.
leaves, he advises Scarlett to tell Frank to stay at home at night more often.
Scarlett thinks Rhett means that Frank is having an affair, but Rhett laughs
and says that this was not what he meant.
The Yankees have
placed Georgia under harsh military rule in retaliation for the state's refusal
to give the vote to black people. The black people, on the basis that they have
the support of the Yankee army, feel that they have free rein to commit crimes
against white Southerners, which in turn are avenged by the Ku Klux Klan, the
growing influence of which makes the Yankees crack down on the white
Southerners all the more.
to protect her, Scarlett is driving past Shantytown, where the freed slaves
live, when she encounters Big Sam, the former foreman at Tara. He has been in
the North working for a Yankee colonel. He says that though the Yankees treated
him with outward respect, he felt that they did not like black people. He has
had enough of freedom and wants to return to Tara. Scarlett tells him that
Gerald and Ellen are dead, and offers him a job driving her around Atlanta. Big
Sam tells her that he has to get out of Atlanta because he has killed a Yankee
soldier who insulted him. Scarlett decides to send him back to Tara and asks
him to meet her later.
to the mill that Johnnie Gallegher manages. She finds the convict workers
looking filthy, thin and sick. She asks Johnnie if he has been beating them.
Johnnie will not give her a direct answer, only saying that she gave him a free
hand in running the mill. Scarlett inspects the food that is being cooked for
them and finds only peas and corn in the pot. There is also hardly any food in
the store, although she has ordered large amounts of meat and other food. She
realizes that Johnnie has been selling the food she has ordered for the men and
pocketing the money.
Johnnie aside and rebukes him, saying that in future, she will bring the
provisions to the mill herself rather than just ordering them. Johnnie threatens
to quit, but then suggests that Scarlett takes some money out of his wages and
they call it square. Scarlett thinks of firing him, but then remembers that he
is making money for her and decides simply to ensure that the convicts get
their rations. She tells herself that she will think of the convicts later.
As she drives
back through Shantytown, she is attacked by a poor white man and a black man.
Big Sam appears and defends her. He grapples with the black man and knocks the
white man to the ground. Sam leaps into Scarlett's buggy, grabs the reins and
drives them away.
Frank sends Scarlett to Melanie's and Big Sam to Tara, and rides off with
Ashley to a political meeting. Scarlett is furious that Frank should go to a
meeting just after she has been attacked. She finds the ladies at Melanie's
unusually nervous. Archie, instead of sleeping on the sofa, is sitting
whittling a piece of wood. India Wilkes shoots a cold glance towards Scarlett,
as if blaming her for something. Scarlett asks why she is looking at her in
this way. India angrily accuses Scarlett of exposing herself to strange men
around town and putting temptation in their way. This, she says, puts their own
men's lives in danger.
Rhett appears at
the door and demands to know from Melanie where Frank and Ashley have gone,
saying it is a matter of life or death. Melanie says that they have gone to the
old Sullivan plantation. Rhett rides off at a gallop. India tells Scarlett that
she has probably caused Frank and Ashley's death. India adds that Scarlett
seems more worried about Ashley than about her husband. Melanie silences India
and tells Scarlett that Frank and Ashley, like all the other men they know, are
in the Ku Klux Klan, but Scarlett always disapproved of the Klan so nobody told
her. Scarlett realizes that the "political meetings" that Frank and Ashley have
been going to are Klan meetings. She worries that the Yankees will confiscate
her mills and Frank's store. Archie says that Frank and Ashley have gone to
take revenge on Scarlett's attackers. If they are not killed, they will have to
flee to Texas and it will be Scarlett's fault.
A Yankee captain
arrives at the house with a group of soldiers and asks to see Ashley and Frank.
Melanie tells them that they are not there. The soldiers surround the house,
waiting for the men to return. To steady the ladies' nerves, Melanie reads
aloud. Eventually, they hear horses' hooves and singing. Rhett arrives with
Ashley and Hugh Elsing. All appear to be drunk. As they stagger into the house,
the Yankee captain announces that Ashley and Hugh are under arrest. Melanie
furiously screams that no one can be arrested for drunkenness. Scarlett dimly
suspects that everyone is play-acting to fool the Yankees. Melanie crossly
orders Rhett out of her house for getting Ashley drunk. The Yankee captain
explains that Ashley and Hugh are under arrest for complicity in a Klan raid at
Shantytown in which a black man and a white man were killed. But Rhett says
that both men have been with him all evening at Belle Watling's. The captain is
embarrassed and agrees to leave on condition that Ashley appear before the
provost marshal the next day for questioning.
captain has gone, Scarlett sees blood seeping into the chair in which Ashley is
sitting. Scarlett is the last to realize that Ashley is not drunk, but has been
shot through the shoulder. Rhett explains that he brought Ashley home because
he was too weak to travel to safety. He adds that the men may be released
without charge because at his request, Belle has agreed to swear that they were
at her house all evening. This story is lent plausibility by the fact that
after the Klan raid, Rhett did take the Klansmen back to Belle's and ensured
that they were visibly and loudly ejected.
Archie to ride to the Sullivan plantation and burn the Klan robes. Archie is to
collect the bodies of two men from the cellar and dump them in the vacant lot
behind Belle's, putting in their hands pistols with one shot discharged, to
make it look as if they died in a drunken fight.
Scarlett is so
concerned for Ashley that she almost forgets about Frank. Rhett tells her that
Frank has been shot dead and that his body is one of the two that Archie is
dumping near Belle's.
The next day,
Belle Watling is questioned by a Yankee court and swears that all twelve men
suspected of involvement in the Klan raid were at her house all evening.
The other man
(apart from Frank) who was shot in the raid is Tommy Wellburn.
have learned that Rhett and Belle Watling have effectively saved their men from
hanging. They resent that they owe their men's lives to "Belle and Rhett, the
town's best-known fancy woman and the town's most hated man." Mrs. Meade tells
Dr Meade, one of the Klan raiders, that Rhett is taking a subtle revenge on
them all for their dislike of him. He has trapped them so that in order to save
their lives, they must lie and risk their reputation by saying that they were
at Belle's brothel. The alternative is to tell the truth and keep their
reputations pure but end up hanged. Mrs. Meade, fascinated by Belle's
lifestyle, takes the opportunity to question Dr Meade about every detail of her
responsible for, and guilty over, Frank's death. She thinks that God will
punish her for cold-heartedly marrying him when he loved Suellen. The only
thing she did to make him happy was to present him with Ella, and if she could
have avoided having Ella, she would have done so. She reflects that he has almost
killed Ashley, too, and if Ashley knew the truth about how she had lied to get
Frank, he could never love her again. She drinks brandy to try to stifle her
and gently asks what is wrong. Scarlett admits that she is frightened that she
will go to hell. She tells him about how she lied to get Frank and shamed him
by running her businesses herself, and now she has killed him. She wants to be
kind, but then the nightmare comes back and frightens her so that she only
wants to grab money from people. The nightmare is that everyone at Tara is
starving and Scarlett vows that if she gets out of this, she will never be
hungry again. She runs in a mist and something is chasing her. She thinks that
if she gets there she will be safe, but she does not know where "there" is.
Rhett says that
she would have acted in the same way if she had to do it all again. Frank was a
free agent and didn't have to marry her: "The strong were made to bully and the
weak to knuckle under."
Rhett proposes marriage
to Scarlett. Scarlett replies that she does not love him and does not want to
marry again, but Rhett says that she married once for spite and once for money,
and has never tried marrying for fun. Scarlett silently reflects on the real
reason she does not wish to marry: her love for Ashley. Everything she had ever
done was for Ashley or Tara. Rhett knows that she is thinking of Ashley and
calls her a fool. He kisses her passionately, and she kisses him back. Feeling
faint, she agrees to marry him. He asks her why she said yes, and she admits
that it was partly because of his money, and partly because she is fond of him,
but also because he is the only man who can stand the truth from a woman. He
claims that he is not in love with her, but "if I were, you would be the last
person I'd ever tell," because she would break his heart.
The news of
Scarlett's engagement to Rhett prompts disapproving gossip in Atlanta. The
people still blame Scarlett for the Klan affair (including Frank's death) and
resent owing the lives of their men to Rhett and his embarrassing alibi
involving Belle Watling. Public hostility to the Yankees, Scalawags and
carpetbaggers has reached an all-time high, and Rhett and Scarlett are
associated with such people. The Yankees have succeeded in installing a
Republican called Bullock as Georgia's governor by means of a voting fraud
involving transporting trainloads of freed slaves from town to town, and having
them vote in each town for the Republican candidate. Bullock is a friend of Rhett's.
society's disapproval of her marriage, feeling hurt only by Mammy's disapproval
of Rhett as "trash." Rhett takes her to New Orleans for their honeymoon, where
he intends her "to have fun."
Scarlett and Rhett
are Atlanta's most unpopular citizens because between them they had outraged
every tenet of the social code: "Reverence for the Confederacy, honor to the
veterans, loyalty to old forms, pride in poverty, open hands to friends and
undying hatred to the Yankees." Scarlett agrees to marry Rhett at a time when
she is as much an outsider as he is. The reasons why society disapproves of
Scarlett are many: she has stolen men belonging to other women; she has been
engaged in trade and has used sharp practices and has leased convicts to
achieve success; she is seen as having provoked an attack on her by driving
around unprotected, thereby prompting a revenge attack by the Ku Klux Klan,
which in turn endangers the men of the town, which in turn gives rise to anger
and resentment from the women; and she married Rhett less than a year after
Frank's death, which she caused. Scarlett herself is suffering pangs of
conscience about how she stole Frank from Suellen and was later responsible for
his death, and feels isolated in her guilt.
Rhett was an outsider from the beginning of his life, incurring his father's
disapproval and compounding it by becoming a professional gambler after his
father turned him out of the house. Both Rhett and Scarlett trade and associate
with Yankees, Scalawags and carpetbaggers, making them all the more
unacceptable to Southern society. It is possible that Scarlett agrees to
Rhett's proposal at this point because she feels especially vulnerable as a
result of her outcast status. Rhett is the only person to whom she tells the
truth and the only person who sees her as she is and accepts her. Melanie, in
contrast, accepts and loves Scarlett but does not see the bad in her.
attention to society's hypocrisy in its dislike and contempt (particularly on
the part of the women) for Rhett, to whom it owes the lives of some of its
prominent men after his quick-thinking heroism in the Klan affair. But at the
same time, Rhett, like Scarlett, has treated society's conventions and
standards with contempt, and there is a price to be paid for that, even if
those conventions and standards are often hollow and hypocritical. For example,
Mitchell gently satirizes Atlanta society's hypocritical attitude to Belle
Watling. Belle displays a similar heroism to Rhett in risking her freedom and
possibly her life in giving the twelve Klansmen a false alibi. Mrs. Meade, the
wife of Dr Meade, one of the Klansmen saved by Rhett's story, resents Rhett for
bringing the men into disrepute using the alibi of a prostitute; but she is
also fascinated with Belle's exotic lifestyle, and takes the opportunity to
question her husband about her house and the girls she employs.
strength and resourcefulness is evident after the Klan raid, when she fools the
Yankee captain and his men with a highly skilled performance in which she
pretends to be furious at Rhett for getting her husband drunk at Belle's.
Scarlett, in contrast, lacks the perceptiveness to be anything but useless in
this scene, having just enough understanding to keep quiet.
of Rhett and Scarlett's relationship are evident during the scene when he
proposes to her, and these limitations will go on to blight their marriage.
Several times, he seems to be fishing for a declaration of love from her,
though he does not express his love for her straightforwardly but cloaks it in
jokes and sardonic humor. He does this to protect himself because she is still
pining for the unattainable Ashley, and Rhett intuitively knows it. He tells
her, "I'm not in love with you, any more than you are with me, and if I were,
you would be the last person I'd ever tell. God help the man who really loves
you. You'd break his heart." Scarlett, being unsubtle and imperceptive when it
comes to people, fails to see beyond the surface of his meaning. She assumes
that he does not really love her and is eager to stress in return that she does
not love him. Hence they are at an emotional stalemate.
prejudices about black people are particularly clear in these chapters.
Scarlett is attacked by one of the 'bad' freed slaves whom Mitchell only ever
mentions pejoratively as sources of violence, sexual aggression and political
unrest; and she is saved by Uncle Peter, one of the 'good' slaves, who has tasted
freedom, rejected it, and only wants to continue to look after Aunt Pittypat
and be buried with her. Mammy, too, sees her place as by Scarlett's side in
spite of Scarlett's attempt to sideline her after she voices disapproval of
Rhett. Black people who use their freedom constructively are entirely absent
from the novel. On the wider political stage, Mitchell draws attention to an
injustice in which white Southerners are the victims and blacks are used by the
Yankee whites as a means of political oppression, when blacks are transported
from town to town in order to deliver multiple votes to ensure that the
Yankee-approved Republican candidate is elected governor. In contrast, none of
the many injustices in which blacks were the victims are presented.