- زمان مطالعه 7 دقیقه
- سطح ساده
دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
این فصل را میتوانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید
متن انگلیسی فصل
Danger in Atlanta
Scarlett was disappointed when Ashley was not a better businessman than Hugh Elsing. But she could do nothing about it until after her baby was born.
‘I’ll never have another child!’ she decided.
Scarlett’s baby was a girl - Ella - and she was born during a week when a negro, raped a white woman and was quietly hanged by the Ku-Klux-Klan before he could be brought to the law. Scarlett thanked God that Ashley was too sensible to belong to the Klan, and that Frank was too old and weak.
But people stayed at home behind locked doors, and men were afraid to leave their women and children unguarded. Both Ashley and Hugh stayed at home, and work at the sawmills stopped, which annoyed Scarlett. After three weeks, she got up from her bed and said that she was going to the sawmills again. Frank and Mammy said it was too dangerous, so Scarlett rushed across to Ashley’s house, which was at the bottom of Aunt Pitty’s garden, and complained loudly to Melanie.
‘I will go,’ she said. ‘I’ll carry a gun and shoot anybody who tries to hurt me.’
Melanie was shocked. ‘Scarlett, I’ll die if anything happens to you! I’ll tell Ashley to go back to the sawmill at once.’
‘What good will he be if he’s worried about you every minute of the day?’ said Scarlett. ‘No, I’ll walk there and get some negro workmen on the way-‘
‘No!’ said Melanie. ‘Decatur Road is full of bad negroes, and you’ll have to pass by there. I’ll think of something.’
And that afternoon, a tall, thin old man with a wooden leg and only one eye came across the garden from Melanie’s house. He was one of the many old soldiers without homes or families who stopped at Melanie’s house and were given food and a place to sleep before moving on again.
‘Mrs Wilkes sent me to drive for you,’ he said. ‘My name’s Archie, and Mrs Wilkes has been good to me, so here I am.’
Scarlett didn’t like the look of him, but she said, ‘All right. If my husband agrees.’
Frank was disappointed when the baby did not change Scarlett, but she was determined to go to her sawmills, so he agreed to let Archie drive her.
Scarlett sometimes wondered about Archie’s earlier life and, one morning, she learned something about it.
‘You can never be sure that free negroes will come to work,’ she was saying. ‘I’m going to get some convicts.’
Archie turned to her angrily. ‘The day you get convicts at the sawmills will be the day I stop working for you. People who use convicts don’t care. They feed them cheaply and get all the work they can out of them.’
‘Why do you care?’ she said.
‘Because I was a convict for nearly forty years,’ he said.
A shocked Scarlett listened to his story. Archie murdered his wife because she was his brother’s lover, and he was sent to prison for the rest of his life. But during the war, when things were going badly for the Confederacy, convicts were given the chance to go free if they fought against the Yankees. Archie took his chance and was now a free man.
‘Mrs Wilkes knows,’ said Archie. ‘I wouldn’t let a nice lady like her take me into her house without knowin’.’
Scarlett said nothing, but she thought, ‘A murderer! How could Melanie be so - so-? Oh, there are no words for it.’
But when she began using convicts - five for each sawmill - Archie kept his promise and stopped driving her. Frank also asked Scarlett not to use convicts, and at first Ashley refused to work with them. But Scarlett got her own way eventually, although Ashley did no better with the convicts than he had with negroes. And now there were grey hairs in his head and a tired look in his eyes, and he almost never smiled.
On a warm December day, Scarlett was sitting outside Aunt Pitty’s house with her baby when she looked up to see Rhett Butler riding along the road.
‘Hello, Rhett,’ she said. ‘You’ve been away a long time.’
‘Yes, I have,’ he said. ‘And I was on my way to see you when I saw Mrs Ashley Wilkes. It was quite a surprise. Of course, I stopped to talk with her, and she told me that you were kind enough to make Mr Wilkes a half-owner in your sawmill.’
‘What about it?’ said Scarlett, looking guilty.
‘When I lent you that money, you promised not to use it to look after Ashley,’ he said. ‘Scarlett, you have no honour.’
‘Why do you hate Ashley?’ she said.
‘I don’t, I pity him. His world is gone and he’s like a fish out of water. How did you get him to come to Atlanta?’
Scarlett pushed the memory of the argument with Ashley from her mind. ‘I explained that I needed his help because I was going to have a baby. He was pleased to come.’
‘Well, you’ll never get another dollar out of me,’ said Rhett. He looked down at the baby. ‘I suppose Frank is very proud of his daughter and has lots of plans for her.’
‘Yes, well, you know how silly men are with their babies.’
‘Then tell him to stay home at night more often, if he wants to see her grown up,’ said Rhett.
‘What do you mean?’ said Scarlett. ‘Are you trying to tell me that Frank is - is-? Oh!’
Rhett laughed loudly. ‘I didn’t mean he was seeing other women! Frank? Oh, how funny!’ And he went away laughing.
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