فصل 06

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فصل 06

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  • زمان مطالعه 7 دقیقه
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Chapter six

Changes at Tara

It was evening when Scarlett arrived in Jonesboro. Will met her with the wagon and they drove along the road towards Tara. ‘Scarlett, I’m going to marry Suellen,’ he said.

‘Suellen!’ she said. ‘I always thought you loved Careen.’

‘The only man Careen loved - that Tarleton boy - was killed in the war. And now she’s going into the church in Charleston to live and work.’

‘Are you joking?’ said Scarlett.

‘No, and you mustn’t argue with her or laugh at her,’ he said, ‘It’s all she wants now. Her heart is broken.’

‘But you don’t love Suellen, do you?’ she said.

‘I do, in a way,’ he said. ‘And Ashley and Melanie will be going soon, and I couldn’t live at Tara then without marrying Suellen. You know how people talk-‘

‘Ashley?’ said Scarlett. ‘Going where?’

‘Up North,’ said Will. ‘A Yankee friend wrote to him about working in a bank there.’ He looked at her, and she had the old feeling that he knew all about her and Ashley.

‘He can’t go!’ she thought. ‘I’ll find him a job at the sawmill, but he must think he’s helping me or he won’t come.’

‘Tell me about Pa,’ she said.

‘He wasn’t ill,’ said Will, ‘but - well - about a month ago Suellen talked to some people in Jonesboro, and afterwards she was all excited, although she didn’t say anythin’. Then she started going for walks with your Pa. I saw her talking to him, but I’m sure he didn’t know what she was saying half of the time. But now I know that she was trying to make him take the Yankee Oath.’

‘Pa take the Yankee Oath!’ cried Scarlett.

Will nodded. ‘So that the Yankees would pay $150,000 for the cotton they burned at Tara during the war. They’ll do that for any Southern gentleman who takes the Oath.’

‘$150,000!’ said Scarlett. And all for signing a loyal Oath to the United States Government. That much money for a small lie! Scarlett didn’t blame Suellen.

‘Well, Suellen got your father drunk and took him into Jonesboro, and he almost signed it,’ Will went on. ‘But at the last moment he realized what he was doing and he threw the paper in Suellen’s face. Then he rode off like a crazy man.’

‘Oh, poor Pa,’ said Scarlett.

‘That evening, Ashley and I heard him riding across the fields,’ said Will. ‘He tried to jump the fence. “Look, Ellen! Watch me jump this one!” he shouted. But the horse stopped, and threw him over. The fall broke his neck.’


Gerald O’Hara’s funeral was on a hot June morning. People said kind words to Scarlett and Careen, but they did not speak to Suellen. She had tried to make her father forget his honour as a loyal Southerner and take the Yankee Oath, and they would never forgive her for that.

When everyone had gone after the funeral, Scarlett asked Ashley to speak with her. When they were alone, she offered to make him a half owner in one of her sawmills in Atlanta.

‘Ashley, you must come,’ she said. ‘It may be months before I can look after the sawmills now, because of the baby-‘

‘Scarlett! Please!’ he said. ‘I can’t-!’

‘But you’ll go to New York and live with Yankees!’ she said.

‘Yes,’ he said. ‘I’ve decided to go North. I’ve taken too much from you already, Scarlett - food, a home, clothes for myself and Melanie and the baby. And I can’t - you know I can’t live near you, and you know why.’

‘Oh - that?’ she said. ‘I made a promise out in the field last winter, and I’ll keep it.’

‘I can’t be sure I will,’ he said. ‘I’m going to New York.’

‘Oh, Ashley!’ said Scarlett, and began to cry wildly.

Moments later, Melanie came in, her eyes wide with worry. ‘Scarlett, what is it? Is it the baby-?’

‘It’s Ashley - he’s so - so horrible!’ shouted Scarlett.

‘Ashley, what have you done?’ Melanie ran to Scarlett.

‘Let me explain,’ said Ashley. ‘Scarlett was kind enough to offer to make me manager of one of her sawmills in Atlanta.’

‘Manager!’ cried Scarlett, angrily. ‘I offered to make him half-owner and he-‘

‘I told her I had arranged for us to go North and she-‘

‘Oh!’ Scarlett began to cry again. ‘I told him how much I need him - how I can’t get anybody to manage the sawmill - and he refused to come! And now I’ll have to sell it and we’ll probably all go hungry, but he won’t care!’

‘Ashley, how could you refuse?’ cried Melanie. ‘After all Scarlett has done for us! She saved my life in Atlanta when my baby came. And she killed a Yankee here, to save us. Yes, did you know that? And now, the first time she asks us to do something for her-! Oh, Ashley, just think what it will mean for us to live in Atlanta among our own people. Maybe we’ll have a little home of our own. Oh, Ashley, do say yes!’

Scarlett looked into Ashley’s tired eyes as he spoke.

‘I’ll come, Scarlett,’ he said. ‘I cannot fight you both.’

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