فصل 03

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فصل 03

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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Chapter three

Prison Visiting

There were soldiers talking outside the Yankee prison. Scarlett, wearing her new dress, walked towards them.

‘Can I help you?’ one asked politely.

‘I want to see Captain Butler,’ said Scarlett.

‘Butler again? That man’s popular,’ said the soldier. He was also a captain. ‘Are you a relation?’

‘Yes - his - his sister.’

The captain laughed. ‘He’s got a lot of sisters. One of them was here yesterday. Come and wait in the office.’

Scarlett’s face was red as she sat down on a chair and gave the soldier her name. After a time the door opened and Rhett appeared. He was dirty and hadn’t shaved, but he came in with a smile and was obviously happy to see her.

‘Scarlett!’ he said, laughing. ‘My dear little sister!’

He kissed her cheek before she could stop him.

‘Remember, my men are just outside,’ the captain said.

When the door closed after him, Rhett moved towards her again. ‘Can I give you a real kiss now?’ he said.

She smiled at him. ‘Only on the cheek, like a good brother.’

‘I’ll wait and hope for better things,’ he said. ‘When did you arrive in Atlanta?’

‘Yesterday,’ she replied.

‘And you came here this morning! My dear, how good of you!’

‘Aunt Pitty told me about you last night and I just couldn’t sleep, I was so unhappy and worried about you,’ she said.

‘Scarlett, it’s wonderful to hear you say things like that,’ he said. ‘How pretty you are! Let me look at you.’

She laughed and turned round on her toes.

‘What have you been doing since I last saw you?’ he said.

She sat down next to him and put a hand on his arm. ‘The Yankees came to Tara, but they didn’t burn the house. Everything is fine. We did well with our cotton last autumn, and Pa says we’ll do better next year, but there are no parties, Rhett, and I get bored in the country. I came here to get some dresses, and then I’m going to Charleston to visit my aunt.’ She gently squeezed his arm. ‘I’m so frightened for you, Rhett. They won’t really hang you, will they?’

He put his hand on hers. ‘Will you be sorry?’ he said. ‘If you’re sorry enough, I’ll put you in my will.’ There was laughter in his eyes as he squeezed her hand.

His will! She looked down quickly, but not before he saw the excitement in her face. He watched her closely as he spoke.

‘The Yankees think I ran away with the Confederacy gold.’

‘Well - did you?’ she said. ‘Where did you get all your money? Aunt Pitty says-‘

‘What rude questions you ask!’ he said, laughing.

She was so excited it was difficult to talk sweetly to him.

‘You’re too clever to let them hang you,’ she said. ‘You’ll find a way to get out, and when you do-‘

‘And when I do-?’ he asked, moving closer to her.

‘Well, I -‘ Her face went prettily red again. ‘Oh, Rhett, I’ll die if they hang you. I-‘ She stopped and looked down.

‘Scarlett, you can’t mean that you-‘

She tried to cry. Would tears seem more natural? She closed her eyes but turned her face upwards so that he could kiss her more easily. But he did not kiss her lips. He took her hand and kissed it, then turned it over to kiss the other side. It was rough from work, and the nails were broken. It wasn’t the soft, white hand of Scarlett O’Hara. He picked up the other one and looked at them together.

‘Look at me!’ he said, quietly. ‘So everything is fine at Tara, is it? Well, these aren’t the hands of a lady!’

‘Don’t say that!’ she cried. But she was thinking, ‘Why didn’t I wear Aunt Pitty’s gloves? How stupid!’

‘You’ve worked like a field negro,’ he said, dropping them. ‘Why did you lie? I almost believed you were sorry for me.’

‘But I am sorry,’ she said.

‘No, you aren’t. You want something. Tell me what it is instead of behaving like a prostitute selling herself.’ He looked closely at her. ‘Did you really think I’d marry you?’

Her face went red.

‘You know I’m not a marrying man,’ he went on.

‘Oh, Rhett, you can help me - if you’ll just be sweet!’

‘What do you want? Money?’

‘Well - yes - I do want some money,’ said Scarlett. ‘I want you to lend me three hundred dollars.’

‘You were talking about love but thinking about money,’ he said. ‘How like a woman! What will you offer me in return?’

‘Jewellery?’ she said.

‘I’m not interested in jewellery,’ he said.

‘There’s Tara-‘

‘No,’ he said. ‘What do you want the money for?’

‘To pay taxes,’ said Scarlett. ‘Oh, Rhett, I lied about every-thing being all right. Pa is - not himself since Mother died. And there are thirteen of us to feed, and we never have enough to eat, or warm clothes or-‘

‘Where did you get the dress?’ he asked.

‘It’s made out of some curtains,’ she said.

He was silent for a moment, then he said, ‘I don’t like your first offer. Make me another one.’

She took a deep breath and looked him straight in the eye.

‘You said you had never wanted a woman as much as you wanted me. Well - well, if you still want me, you can have me!’

He looked back at her and she felt her face getting hot. Then he said, ‘Let me understand this: if I give you three hundred dollars, you will be my lover. Is that right?’

‘Yes,’ she said. ‘Are you going to give me the money?’

He smiled. ‘I couldn’t give it to you. I have the money, yes, but not here. And I’m not saying where it is or how much.’

Her face became ugly and she jumped at him with an angry cry. He held her round the waist as she tried to bite and kick him.

‘Let me go!’ she said. ‘You knew you weren’t going to give me the money, but you let me go on! You’re a hateful pig!’

He laughed. ‘Come to my hanging, it will make you feel better,’ he said.

‘Thank you,’ she said, ‘but they may not hang you until it’s too late to pay the taxes!’

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