I bare my soul and you are suspicious! No, Scarlett, this is a bona fide honorable declaration. I admit that it's not in the best of taste, coming at this time, but I have a very good excuse for my lack of breeding. I'm going away tomorrow for a long time and I fear that if I wait till I return you'll have married some one else with a little money. So I thought, why not me and my money? Really, Scarlett, I can't go all my life waiting to catch you between husbands.
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He would never be any different and now Scarlett realize the truth and accepted it without emotion - that until he died Gerald would always be waiting for Ellen, always listening for her. Her was in some dim borderline country where time was standing still and Ellen was always in the next room. The mainspring of his existence was taken away when she died and with it has gone his bounding assurance, his impudence and his restless vitality. Ellen was the audience before which the blustering drama of Gerald O'Hara had been played Now the curtain had been rung down forever, the footlights dimmed and the audience suddenly vanished, while the stunned old actor remained on his empty stage, waiting for his cues.
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Life was not easy, nor was it happy, but she did not expect life to be easy, and, if it was not happy, that was woman's lot. It was a man's world, and she accepted it as such. The man owned the property, and the woman managed it. The man took credit for the management, and the woman praised his cleverness. The man roared like a bull when a splinter was in his finger, and the woman muffled the moans of childbirth, lest she disturb him. Men were rough of speech and often drunk. Women ignored the lapses of speech and put the drunkards to bed without bitter words. Men were rude and outspoken, women were always kind, gracious and forgiving.
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If Gone With the Wind has a theme it is that of survival. What makes some people come through catastrophes and others, apparently just as able, strong, and brave, go under? It happens in every upheaval. Some people survive; others don't. What qualities are in those who fight their way through triumphantly that are lacking in those that go under? I only know that survivors used to call that quality 'gumption.' So I wrote about people who had gumption and people who didn't.
Somewhere, on the long road that wound through those four years, the girl with her sachet and dancing slippers had slipped away and there was left a woman with sharp green eyes, who counted pennies and turned her hands to many menial tasks, a woman to whom nothing was left from the wreckage except the indestructible red earth on which she stood.
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She was darkness and he was darkness and there had never been anything before this time, only darkness and his lips upon her. She tried to speak and his mouth was over hers again. Suddenly she had a wild thrill such as she had never known; joy, fear, madness, excitement, surrender to arms that were too strong, lips too bruising, fate that moved too fast.
It seems we've been at cross purposes, doesn't it? But it's no use now. As long as there was Bonnie, there was a chance that we might be happy. I liked to think that Bonnie was you, a little girl again, before the war, and poverty had done things to you. She was so like you, and I could pet her, and spoil her, as I wanted to spoil you. But when she went, she took everything.
But how nice it would be to know that some good Yankee woman - And there must be SOME good Yankee women. I don't care what people say, they can't all be bad! How nice it would be to know that they pulled weeds off our men's graves and brought flowers to them, even if they were enemies. If Charlie were dead in the North it would comfort me to know that someone - And I don't care what you ladies think of me, ' her voice broke again, 'I will withdraw from both clubs and I'll - I'll pull up every weed off every Yankee's grave I can find and I'll plant flowers, too - and - I just dare anyone to stop me!
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Ellen's life was not easy, nor was it happy, but she did not expect life to be easy, and, if it was not happy, that was woman's lot. It was a man's world, and she accepted it as such. The man owned the property, and the woman managed it. The man took credit for the management, and the woman praised his cleverness. The man roared like a bull when a splinter was in his finger, and the woman muffled the moans of childbirth, lest she disturb him. Men were rough of speech and often drunk. Women ignored the lapses of speech and put the drunkards to bed without bitter words. Men were rude and outspoken, women were always kind, gracious and forgiving.
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What Melanie did was no more than all Southern girls were taught to do: to make those about them feel at ease and pleased with themselves. It was this happy feminine conspiracy which made Southern society so pleasant. Women knew that a land in which men were contented, uncontradicted, and safe in possession of unpunctured vanity was likely to be a very pleasant place for women to live. So from the cradle to the grave, women strove to make men pleased with themselves, and the satisfied men repaid lavishly with gallantry and adoration. In fact, men willingly gave the ladies everything in the world, except credit for having intelligence. Scarlett exercised the same charms as Melanie but with a studied artistry and consummate skill. The difference between the two girls lay in the fact that Melanie spoke kind and flattering words from a desire to make people happy, if only temporarily, and Scarlett never did it except to further her own aims.
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I wish to Heaven I was married, " she said resentfully as she attacked the yams with loathing. "I'm tired of everlastingly being unnatural and never doing anything I want to do. I'm tired of acting like I don't eat more than a bird, and walking when I want to run and saying I feel faint after a waltz, when I could dance for two days and never get tired. I'm tired of saying, 'How wonderful you are!' to fool men who haven't got one-half the sense I've got, and I'm tired of pretending I don't know anything, so men can tell me things and feel important while they're doing it... I can't eat another bite.
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Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were. In her face were too sharply blended the delicate features of her mother, a Coast aristocrat of French descent, and the heavy ones of her florid Irish father. But it was an arresting face, pointed of chin, square of jaw. Her eyes were pale green without a touch of hazel, starred with bristly black lashes and slightly tilted at the ends. Above them, her thick black brows slanted upward, cutting a startling oblique line in her magnolia-white skin - that skin so prized by Southern women and so carefully guarded with bonnets, veils and mittens against hot Georgia suns.
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Suddenly she felt strong and happy. She was not afraid of the darkness or the fog and she knew with a singing in her heart that she would never fear them again. No matter what mists might curl around her in the future, she knew her refuge. She started briskly up the street toward home and the blocks seemed very long. Far, far too long. She caught up her skirts to her knees and began to run lightly. But this time she was not running from fear. She was running because Rhett's arms were at the end of the street.
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Why is it a girl has to be so silly to catch a husband?' 'Ah specs it's kase gempmums doan know whut dey wants. Dey jes' knows whut dey thinks dey wants. An' givin' dem whut dey thinks dey wants saves a pile of mizry an' bein' a ole maid. An' dey thinks dey wants mousy lil gals wid bird's tastes an' no sense at all. It doan make a gempmum feel lak mahyin' a lady ef he suspicions she got mo' sense dan he has.
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Did it ever occur to you that I loved you as much as a man can love a woman? Loved you for years before I finally got you? During the war I'd go away and try to forget you, but I couldn't and I always had to come back. After the war I risked arrest, just to come back and find you. I cared so much I believe I would have killed Frank Kennedy if he hadn't died when he did. I loved you but I couldn't let you know it. You're so brutal to those who love you, Scarlett. You take their love and hold it over their heads like a whip.
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All wars are sacred, to those who have to fight them. If the people who started wars didn't make them sacred, who would be foolish enough to fight? But, no matter what rallying cries the orators give to the idiots who fight, no matter what noble purposes they assign to wars, there is never but one reason for a war. And that is money. All wars are in reality money squabbles. But so few people ever realize it. Their ears are too full of bugles and drums and the fine words from stay-at-home orators. Sometimes the rallying cry is 'save the Tomb of Christ from the Heathen!' Sometimes it's 'down with Popery!' and sometimes 'Liberty!' and sometimes 'Cotton, Slavery and States' Rights!
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I want to make you faint. I will make you faint. You've had this coming to you for years. None of the fools you've known have kissed you like this - have they? Your precious Charles or Frank or your stupid Ashley... I said your stupid Ashley. Gentlemen all - what do they know about women? What do they know about you? I know you.
Pride & honor & truth & virtue & kindliness, " he enumerated silkily. "You are right, Scarlett. They aren't important when a boat is sinking. But look around you at your friends. Either they are bringing their boats ashore safely with cargoes intact or they are content to go down with all flags flying.
Rhett, do you really-is it to protect me that you-" "Yes, my dear, it is my much advertised chivalry that makes me protect you." The mocking light began to dance in his black eyes and all signs of earnestness fled from his face. "And why? Because of my deep love for you, Mrs. Kennedy. Yes, I have silently hungered and thirsted for you and worshipped you from afar; but being an honorable man, like Mr. Ashley Wilkes, I have concealed it from you. You are, alas, Frank's wife and honor has forbidden my telling this to you. But even as Mr. Wilkes' honor cracks occasionally, so mine is cracking now and I reveal my secret passion and my-" "Oh, for God's sake, hush!" interrupted Scarlett, annoyed as usual when he made her look like a conceited fool, and not caring to have Ashley and his honor become the subject of further conversation. "What was the other thing you wanted to tell me?" "What! You change the subject when I am baring a loving but lacerated heart?
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Scarlett's mind went back through the years to the still hot noon at Tara when grey smoke curled above a blue-clad body and Melanie stood at the top of the stairs with Charles' sabre in her hand. Scarlett remembered that she had thought at the time: 'How silly! Melly couldn't even heft that sword!' But now she knew that had the necessity arisen, Melanie would have charged down those stairs and killed the Yankee - or been killed herself.
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Suddenly she hated them all because they were different from her, because they carried their losses with an air that she could never attain, would never wish to attain. She hated them, these smiling, light-footed strangers, these proud fools who took pride in something they had lost, seeming to be proud that they had lost it.
I've felt that I was trying to row a heavily loaded boat in a storm. I've had so much trouble just trying to keep afloat that I couldn't be bothered about things that didn't matter, things I could part with easily and not miss, like good manners and-well, things like that. I've been too afraid my boat would be swamped and so I've dumped overboard the things that seemed least important.
It is axiomatic among writers that no one ever sues the writer of an unsuccessful book. Just let a book go over twenty-five thousand copies and it is surprising how many people's feelings are hurt, how many screwballs think their brain children have been stolen, and how many people feel that they have been portrayed in a manner calculated to bring infamy upon them.
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