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Chapter 22

THERE WOULD NEVER AGAIN BE an afternoon as long as this one. Or as hot. Or as full oflazy insolent flies. They swarmed on Melanie despite the fan Scarlett kept in constant motion. Herarms ached from swinging the wide palmetto leaf. All her efforts seemed futile, for while shebrushed them from Melanie’s moist face, they crawled on her clammy feet and legs and made herjerk them weakly and cry: “Please! On my feet!”

  The room was in semigloom, for Scarlett had pulled down the shades to shut out the heat andbrightness. Pin points of sunlight came in through minute holes in the shades and about the edges.

  The room was an oven and Scarlett’s sweat-drenched clothes never dried but became wetter andstickier as the hours went by. Prissy was crouched in a corner, sweating too, and smelled so abominablyScarlett would have sent her from the room had she not feared the girl would take to herheels if once out of sight Melanie lay on the bed on a sheet dark with perspiration and splotchedwith dampness where Scarlett had spilled water. She twisted endlessly, to one side, to the other, toleft, to right and back again.

  Sometimes she tried to sit up and fell back and began twisting again. At first, she had tried tokeep from crying out, biting her lips until they were raw, and Scarlett, whose nerves were as raw asthe lips, said huskily: “Melly, for God’s sake, don’t try to be brave. Yell if you want to. There’snobody to hear you but us.”

  As the afternoon wore on, Melanie moaned whether she wanted to be brave or not, andsometimes she screamed. When she did, Scarlett dropped her head into her hands and covered herears and twisted her body and wished that she herself were dead. Anything was preferable to beinga helpless witness to such pain. Anything was better than being tied here waiting for a baby thattook such a long time coming. Waiting, when for all she knew the Yankees were actually at FivePoints.

  She fervently wished she had paid more attention to the whispered conversations of matrons onthe subject of childbirth. If only she had! If only she had been more interested in such mattersshe’d know whether Melanie was taking a long time or not. She had a vague memory of one ofAunt Pitty’s stories of a friend who was in labor for two days and died without ever having thebaby. Suppose Melanie should go on like this for two days! But Melanie was so delicate. Shecouldn’t stand two days of this pain. She’d die soon if the baby didn’t hurry. And how could sheever face Ashley, if he were still alive, and tell him that Melanie had died—after she had promisedto take care of her?

  At first, Melanie wanted to hold Scarlett’s hand when the pain was bad but she clamped downon it so hard she nearly broke the bones. After an hour of this, Scarlett’s hands were so swollen andbruised she could hardly flex them. She knotted two long towels together and tied them to the footof the bed and put the knotted end in Melanie’s hands. Melanie hung onto it as though it were a lifeline, straining, pulling it taut, slackening it, tearing it. Throughout the afternoon, her voice went onlike an animal dying in a trap. Occasionally she dropped the towel and rubbed her hands feeblyand looked up at Scarlett with eyes enormous with pain.

  “Talk to me. Please talk to me,” she whispered and Scarlett would gabble something untilMelanie again gripped the knot and again began writhing.

  The dim room swam with heat and pain and droning flies, and time went by on such draggingfeet Scarlett could scarcely remember the morning. She felt as if she had been in this steaming,dark, sweating place all her life. She wanted very much to scream every time Melanie did, andonly by biting her lips so hard it infuriated her could she restrain herself and drive off hysteria.

  Once Wade came tiptoeing up the stairs and stood outside the door, wailing.

  “Wade hungwy!” Scarlett started to go to him, but Melanie whispered: “Don’t leave me. Please.

  I can stand it when you’re here.”

  So Scarlett sent Prissy down to warm up the breakfast hominy and feed him. For herself, she feltthat she could never eat again after this afternoon.

  The clock on the mantel had stopped and she had no way of telling the time but as the heat in theroom lessened and the bright pin points of light grew duller, she pulled the shade aside. She saw toher surprise that it was late afternoon and the sun, a ball of crimson, was far down the sky.

  Somehow, she had imagined it would remain broiling hot noon forever.

  She wondered passionately what was going on downtown. Had all the troops moved out yet?

  Had the Yankees come? Would the Confederates march away without even a fight? Then sheremembered with a sick dropping in her stomach how few Confederates there were and how manymen Sherman had and how well fed they were. Sherman! The name of Satan himself did not frightened her half so much. But there was no time for thinking now, as Melanie called for water,for a cold towel on her head, to be fanned, to have the flies brushed away from her face.

  When twilight came on and Prissy, scurrying like a black wraith, lit a lamp, Melanie becameweaker. She began calling for Ashley, over and over, as if in a delirium until the hideous monotonygave Scarlett a fierce desire to smother her voice with a pillow. Perhaps the doctor would comeafter all. If he would only come quickly! Hope raising its head, she turned to Prissy, and orderedher to run quickly to the Meades’ house and see if he were there or Mrs. Meade.

  “And if he’s not there, ask Mrs. Meade or Cookie what to do. Beg them to come!”

  Prissy was off with a clatter and Scarlett watched her hurrying down the street, going faster thanshe had ever dreamed the worthless child could move. After a prolonged time she was back, alone.

  “De doctah ain’ been home all day. Sont wud he mout go off wid de sojers. Miss Scarlett, Mist’

  Phil’s ‘ceased.”

  “Dead?”

  “Yas’m,” said Prissy, expanding with importance. Talbot, dey coachman, tole me. He wuz shot—”

  “Never mind that.”

  “Ah din’ see Miss Meade. Cookie say Miss Meade she washin’ him an’ fixin ter buhy him fo’ deYankees gits hyah. Cookie say effen de pain get too bad, jes’ you put a knife unner Miss Melly’sbed an’ it cut de pain in two.”

  Scarlett wanted to slap her again for this helpful information but Melanie opened wide, dilatedeyes and whispered: “Dear—are the Yankees coming?”

  “No,” said Scarlett stoutly. “Prissy’s a liar.”

  “Yas’m, Ah sho is,” Prissy agreed fervently.

  “They’re coming,” whispered Melanie undeceived and buried her face in the pillow. Her voicecame out muffled.

  “My poor baby. My poor baby.” And, after a long interval: “Oh, Scarlett, you mustn’t stay here.

  You must go and take Wade.”

  What Melanie said was no more than Scarlett had been thinking but hearing it put into wordsinfuriated her, shamed her as if her secret cowardice was written plainly in her face.

  “Don’t be a goose. I’m not afraid. You know I won’t leave you.”

  “You might as well. I’m going to die.” And she began moaning again.

  Scarlett came down the dark stairs slowly, like an old woman, feeling her way, clinging to thebanisters lest she fall. Her legs were leaden, trembling with fatigue and strain, and she shiveredwith cold from the clammy sweat that soaked her body. Feebly she made her way onto the frontporch and sank down on the top step. She sprawled back against a pillar of the porch and with ashaking hand unbuttoned her basque halfway down her bosom. The night was drenched in warm soft darkness and she lay staring into it, dull as an ox.

  It was all over. Melanie was not dead and the small baby boy who made noises like a youngkitten was receiving his first bath at Prissy’s hands. Melanie was asleep. How could she sleep afterthat nightmare of screaming pain and ignorant midwifery that hurt more than it helped? Whywasn’t she dead? Scarlett knew that she herself would have died under such handling. But when itwas over, Melanie had even whispered, so weakly she had to bend over her to hear: “Thank you.”

  And then she had gone to sleep. How could she go to sleep? Scarlett forgot that she too had goneto sleep after Wade was born. She forgot everything. Her mind was a vacuum; the world was avacuum; there had been no life before this endless day and there would be none hereafter—only aheavily hot night, only the sound of her hoarse tired breathing, only the sweat trickling coldly fromarmpit to waist, from hip to knee, clammy, sticky, chilling.

  She heard her own breath pass from loud evenness to spasmodic sobbing but her eyes were dryand burning as though there would never be tears in them again. Slowly, laboriously, she heavedherself over and pulled her heavy skirts up to her thighs. She was warm and cold and sticky all atthe same time and the feel of the night air on her limbs was refreshing. She thought dully whatAunt Pitty would say, if she could see her sprawled here on the front porch with her skirts up andher drawers showing, but she did not care. She did not care about anything. Time had stood still. Itmight be just after twilight and it might be midnight. She didn’t know or care.

  She heard sounds of moving feet upstairs and thought “May the Lord damn Prissy,” before hereyes closed and something like sleep descended upon her. Then after an indeterminate darkinterval, Prissy was beside her, chattering on in a pleased way.

  “We done right good, Miss Scarlett. Ah specs Maw couldn’ a did no better.”

  From the shadows, Scarlett glared at her, too tired to rail, too tired to upbraid, too tired toenumerate Prissy’s offenses—her boastful assumption of experience she didn’t possess, her fright,her blundering awkwardness, her utter inefficiency when the emergency was hot, the misplacing ofthe scissors, the spilling of the basin of water on the bed, the dropping of the new born baby. Andnow she bragged about how good she had been.

  And the Yankees wanted to free the negroes! Well, the Yankees were welcome to them.

  She lay back against the pillar in silence and Prissy, aware of her mood, tiptoed away into thedarkness of the porch. After a long interval in which her breathing finally quieted and her mindsteadied, Scarlett heard the sound of faint voices from up the road, the tramping of many feetcoming from the north. Soldiers! She sat up slowly, pulling down her skirts, although she knew noone could see her in the darkness. As they came abreast the house, an indeterminate number,passing like shadows, she called to them.

  “Oh, please!”

  A shadow disengaged itself from the mass and came to the gate.

  “Are you going? Are you leaving us?”

  The shadow seemed to take off a hat and a quiet voice came from the darkness.

  “Yes, Ma’m. That’s what we’re doing. We’re the last of the men from the breastworks, ‘bout a mile north from here.”

  “Are you—is the army really retreating?”

  “Yes, Ma’m. You see, the Yankees are coming.”

  The Yankees are coming! She had forgotten that. Her throat suddenly contracted and she couldsay nothing more. The shadow moved away, merged itself with the other shadows and the feettramped off into the darkness. “The Yankees are coming! The Yankees are coming!” That was whatthe rhythm of their feet said, that was what her suddenly bumping heart thudded out with each beatThe Yankees are coming!

  “De Yankees is comin’!” bawled Prissy, shrinking close to her. “Oh, Miss Scarlett, dey’ll kill usall! Dey’ll run dey baynits in our stummicks! Dey’ll—”

  “Oh, hush!” It was terrifying enough to think these things without hearing them put intotrembling words. Renewed fear swept her. What could she do? How could she escape? Wherecould she turn for help? Every friend had failed her.

  Suddenly she thought of Rhett Butler and calm dispelled her fears. Why hadn’t she thought ofhim this morning when she had been tearing about like a chicken with its head off? She hated him,but he was strong and smart and he wasn’t afraid of the Yankees. And he was still in town. Ofcourse, she was mad at him. But she could overlook such things at a time like this. And he had ahorse and carriage, too. Oh, why hadn’t she thought of him before! He could take them all awayfrom this doomed place, away from the Yankees, somewhere, anywhere.

  She turned to Prissy and spoke with feverish urgency.

  “You know where Captain Butler lives—at the Atlanta Hotel?”

  “Yas’m, but—”

  “Well, go there, now, as quick as you can run and tell him I want him. I want him to comequickly and bring his horse and carriage or an ambulance if he can get one. Tell him about thebaby. Tell him I want him to take us out of here. Go, now. Hurry!”

  She sat upright and gave Prissy a push to speed her feet.

  “Gawdlmighty, Miss Scarlett! Ah’s sceered ter go runnin’ roun’ in de dahk by mahseff! Spose deYankees gits me?”

  “If you run fast you can catch up with those soldiers and they won’t let the Yankees get you.

  Hurry!”

  “Ah’s sceered! Sposin’ Cap’n Butler ain’ at de hotel?”

  “Then ask where he is. Haven’t you any gumption? If he isn’t at the hotel, go to the barrooms onDecatur Street and ask for him. Go to Belle Watling’s house. Hunt for him. You fool, don’t you seethat if you don’t hurry and find him the Yankees will surely get us all?”

  “Miss Scarlett, Maw would weah me out wid a cotton stalk, did Ah go in a bahroom or a ho’

  house.”

  Scarlett pulled herself to her feet.

  “Well, I’ll wear you out if you don’t. You can stand outside in the street and yell for him, can’tyou? Or ask somebody if he’s inside. Get going.”

  When Prissy still lingered, shuffling her feet and mouthing, Scarlett gave her another pushwhich nearly sent her headlong down the front steps.

  “You’ll go or I’ll sell you down the river. You’ll never see your mother again or anybody youknow and I’ll sell you for a field hand too. Hurry!”

  “Gawdlmighty, Miss Scarlett—”

  But under the determined pressure of her mistress’ hand she started down the steps. The frontgate clicked and Scarlett cried: “Run, you goose!”

  She heard the patter of Prissy’s feet as she broke into a trot, and then the sound died away on thesoft earth.

  以后永远也不会有这么长的一个下午了。也不会那么炎热,不会有这么多懒洋洋的苍蝇。这些苍蝇,不管思嘉怎样不停地挥扇子,仍然成群地落在媚兰身上。她用力挥着那把大棕榈扇,胳臂都酸痛了。但是她好像简直在白费力气,因为她刚把它们从媚兰汗湿的脸上赶开,它们即刻又在她那湿冷的双脚和腿上爬了,媚兰不时无力地抖动着想摆脱它们,并低声喊道:“请扇扇吧,我的脚上!"房间里半明半暗,因为思嘉把窗帘拉下来挡热气和阳光了,只有一小点一小点的亮光从帘子的小孔里和边缘上透进来。房间里热得像个烤炉,思嘉身上的衣服湿了,始终没有干过,而且汗水愈来愈多,也粘得愈来愈难受。百里茜蹲在一个角落里,也在出汗,浑身酸臭。要不是怕这孩子一背着她就会一溜烟跑掉,思嘉简直想把她赶出去。媚兰躺在床上,床单早已给汗渍弄脏,又因为思嘉有时溅上的水,斑斑点点地湿了。她不停地打滚,翻来覆去,时而向左时而向右滚个不停。
  有时她挣扎着想坐起来,但向后一靠又躺倒了,于是又打起滚来。最初她还强忍着不叫不嚷,狠狠咬着嘴唇,直咬得皮都破了。这时思嘉的神经也快要绷裂了,才粗声嘎气地说:“媚兰,看在上帝份上,别逞强了吧。除了我们没有别人能听见呢。想叫就叫吧。"到了后来,就由不得媚兰自己要不要逞强,她终于呻吟起来,有时也大声叫了。她一叫,思嘉便双手捧着头,捂着耳朵,转过身去,巴不得自己死了。做什么都好,就是不要眼睁睁地看着这种痛苦的情景而毫无办法埃要守在这里,花这么长时间等一个孩子落地,世界上没有比这更倒霉的事了。
  何况这样等着等着的时候,她很清楚北方佬实际上已经到五点镇了。
  她真后悔自己以前没有多注意听听那些主妇们谈生孩子的事。要是平时注意到就好了!要是平时多关心这种事情,她现在就会知道媚兰是不是要很久才能生下来。她隐约记得皮蒂姑妈讲过,她的一个朋友生孩子整整整生了两天,结果没生出来自己就死了。说不定媚兰也得生两天呢!可是媚兰身体这样娇弱,她一定经不起两天的折磨。她很快就会死的。要是孩子不早些下来,如果艾希礼还活着,她怎么有脸去告诉他媚兰已经死了----她曾经答应过要照顾她呀!
  起初,媚兰疼得厉害时总是要把握住思嘉的手,但是她抓得那么紧,几乎要把骨头都捏碎了。一个钟头以后,思嘉的手就青肿起来,快要不能动弹了。她只得拿两条毛巾扎在一起,系在床腿上,然后让媚兰的两只手拉住打结的那一头。
  媚兰拉着它就像拉着自己的生命线似的,时而紧张地拽住,时而放松一下,随意地撒扯着。整个下午,她的声音像落在陷井里垂死的野兽一般在哭叫。她偶尔放下毛巾,无力地搓着双手,瞪着两只痛得鼓鼓的眼睛仰望着思嘉。
  “请说说话吧,对我说说话吧,"她低声说,这时思嘉便随意闲聊一阵,直到媚兰又抓住那个毛巾结开始扭摆起来。
  房间里又暗又热,充满了痛苦的喊叫和嗡嗡的苍蝇,可是时间过得慢极了,思嘉连早晨的事也有点记不起来了。她觉得仿佛自己在这个闷热、阴沉和汗湿的地方已待了一辈子似的。每当媚兰喊叫时她也很想喊叫,只是由于狠命地死咬着嘴唇不放才没有喊叫出来,并终于把内心的狂乱遏制下去了。
  有一次,韦德踮着脚尖跑上楼来,站在门外哭泣。
  “韦德饿了!"思嘉听了起身往门外走去,这时媚兰低声说,"求求你。别离开我。你不在我就忍不住了。"这样思嘉只好打发百里茜下楼去热点玉米粥喂他。至于她自己,她觉得从下午起她就再也吃不下任何东西了。
  壁炉上的钟已经停摆,她已没法知道现在是什么时候,只有等到房里的热气渐消和那一点一点亮光暗淡下去时,她才把窗帘拉开,猛地发现原来快傍晚了,太阳像个猩红的火球已远远斜挂在西天。不知为什么,她原以为永远是酷热的中午呢。
  她紧张地猜想现在商业区已经变成什么样子。是不是军队已经全部撤出去了?北方佬进来了没有?联盟军会不经过战斗就开走吗?于是,她不由得十分遗憾和沮丧地想起,联盟军为数那么少,而谢尔曼的部队又多又强壮,谢尔曼啊!连撒旦本人也不会像他这样叫人害怕呢!可现在已没有时间来想这些了,因为媚兰在喊着要水,要一块湿毛巾敷在她头上,要人给她打扇,要人驱赶她脸上的苍蝇。
  在暮色降临时,百里茜像具黑幽灵似的急急忙忙点起灯,媚兰显得更虚弱了。她开始一遍又一遍地呼唤艾希礼,好像神经昏迷了。这种单调可厌的呼唤声使思嘉恨不得拿一只枕头把她的嘴捂祝也许大夫最终会来的吧。这时希望又开始抬头,但愿他快点来!她转身打百里茜的主意,吩咐她赶快到米德家去,看看大夫或者他太太在不在家。
  “要是大夫不在,就问问米德太太或他们家的厨娘有什么办法,求她们赶快来一下!"百里茜啪哒啪哒走了,思嘉望着她在大街上匆匆忙忙地奔跑,她从来没有想到这小东西会跑得这么快。过了相当长一段时间,她独自一人回来了。
  “大夫整天不在家。说不定他跟那些大兵一起走了。费尔已经完了!思嘉小姐,”“死了?”“是的,太太,"百里茜用自以为重大和得意的口气说。
  “车夫塔尔博特告诉俺的。他给打中了----”“别去管这些了。”“俺没看见米德太太。厨娘说米德太太在给费尔洗身子,要赶在北方佬到这里之前把他安葬好,厨娘说媚兰小姐要是痛得不行了,只消在她床底下放把刀子,就会把阵痛劈成两半的。"思嘉听了这些毫无用处的话,气得又瞪她了,可是媚兰睁着那双鼓胀的眼睛低声说:“亲爱的,北方佬来了吗?”“不,"思嘉坚决地说。"百里茜就会撒谎。”“是的,太太。俺就是这样。"百里茜急忙表示同意。
  “他们快来了,"媚兰低声说,她没有受骗,便将脸埋在枕头里,但声音是捂不住的。
  “我可怜的孩子。我可怜的孩子。"歇了一会儿又说:“啊,思嘉,你得带着韦德一起离开。你别待在这里了。"其实媚兰说的也就是思嘉一直想着的事,可是思嘉听见她说出来反而恼羞成怒了,仿佛她内心的怯懦已明明白白地流露在脸上,被媚兰看透了似的。
  “我并不害怕。别傻了。你知道我是不会离开你的。”“反正我快死了。你走不走都一样,"接着她又呻吟起来。
  思嘉像个老太婆似的扶着栏杆慢慢从黑暗的楼梯上摸着走下来,生怕不小心跌倒了。她的两条腿像铅一般沉重,她又疲劳又紧张,一路直哆嗦,同时因为浑身是汗而在不断地打冷战。她十分吃力地摸到前边走廊里,在顶上一级台阶颓然坐下。她背靠着一根廊柱斜倚在那里,用颤抖的手解开胸衣当中的扣子,让胸衣半敞着。夜色黑沉沉,温暖而柔和,她侧身凝望着它,迟钝得像头耕牛。
  一切都过去了。媚兰并没有死。那个像小猫似的哇哇叫的小崽正在百里茜手里接受头一次洗裕媚兰这时睡着了。以经历了这样一场梦魇般的剧痛和对接生程序一无所知,以致害多利少之后,她怎么还睡得着呢?她怎么没有死呢?思嘉知道,如果是她自己经受了这样一番折磨,那一定死了。可是事情一过,尽管她已虚弱得奄奄一息,媚兰居然还能声说:“谢谢你了。"思嘉是俯身侧耳才听见的。后来她就睡着了。她怎能睡得着呢?思嘉忘记了自己生完韦德之后睡着过。她什么都记不起来了。她的脑子已成了真空;世界已成了真空;在这漫无尽头的一天之前不曾有过生活,在这以后也不会有----只有----酷热难熬的夜晚,只有她那粗嘎疲倦的呼吸声,只有从腋窝到腰、从臂部到膝盖淋漓不息的,模糊冰冷的汗水。
  她听见她自己的呼吸声从均匀响亮转为痉挛性的抽泣,但她的眼睛是干枯而火辣辣的,仿佛它们再也不会流泪了。她缓慢而吃力地抬起身来,将沉重的裙裾拉到大腿以上。她同时感到又冷又热又模模糊糊,而微微的夜风吹在四肢上却爽快得很。她模糊地感到,如果皮蒂姑妈看见她斜躺在这前廊上,裙子撩得那么高,连内裤都露了出来,不知要怎么说呢。
  不过她不管它。她什么也不管了。时间已停滞不前。现在可能刚过黄昏不久,也可能已经半夜了。她不清楚,也不去管它。
  她正要阖眼并感到睡意渐浓时,忽然听见楼上走动的脚步声,心想"这可能是该死的百里茜吧"。在黑暗中过了不知多久,百里茜来到她身边,得意地唠叨起来。
  “思嘉小姐咱们干得不错呢。俺说俺妈也不会比这再好了。"思嘉睁大眼睛从黑暗中望着百里茜,因为太累才没有呵斥,没有责骂,没有数落百里茜的过错----她对自己并没有的那种经验的吹嘘,她的恐惧,她那笨手笨脚的忙乱样儿,她到紧急关头的手足无措:不是拿错了剪刀,就是把水盆里的水溅得满床都是,甚至还失手把新生婴儿跌落过呢。可现在她倒是吹起牛来,说自己干得多么好了。
  可是,北方佬还要解放黑人呀!不错,北方佬是受他们欢迎的。
  她又静静地靠着柱子斜躺下去,百里茜也明白她的心情,便蹑手蹑脚躲进黑暗中去了。过了好一会儿,思嘉的呼吸已渐渐缓和下来,心跳也平稳了,她才隐约听见前面路上从北边来的杂乱的脚步声。士兵!她慢慢坐起来,把裙子往下拉拉,尽管知道在黑暗处谁也不会看见。他们眼看来到了屋前,绵延不断的一支队伍像些影子一个个过去,这时她向他们喊起来。
  “唔,请等一等!”
  一个人影离开队伍来到大门口。
  “你们把我们丢下不管了?你们要走了?"那人影似乎摘下了帽子,黑暗中传来平静的声音。
  “是的,太太。正是这样,我们是最后一批从防御工事中撤出来的,从北边大约一英里的地方。”“难道你们----难道军队真的在撤退?”“是的,太太。你看,北方佬就要来了。"北方佬就要来了!她把这件事忘记了呢。她的喉咙突然发紧,什么话也说不出来了。那人影走开,同别的影子混淆在一起,杂沓的脚步也在黑暗中渐渐消失。"北方佬就要来了!
  北方佬就要来了!"这便是他们的脚步声的节奏所说的那句话,这便是思嘉那颗突突急跳的心一下子捶击的声音。北方佬就要来了啊!
  “北方佬就要来了!"百里茜大声嚷着,缩着身子向思嘉紧靠过来。"唔,思嘉小姐,他们会让咱们全死光的;他们会用刺刀捅进咱们的肚皮!他们会----”“啊,别嚷了!"这种事用不着听见别人用颤抖的声音说出来,光在自己心里想想就够你害怕的了。于是她心里又冲起一阵恐慌。她怎样才能逃走?她怎么办?她到哪里去寻求帮助呢?所有的朋友都对她毫无用处了。
  她突然想起瑞德·巴特勒,便觉得得神思镇定,不再惶恐了。她怎么整个上午像只没头的小鸡到处乱窜却没有想起他来呢?他至今还在城里。她固然恨他,可他是强壮而能干的,又不怕北方佬。的确,他上次在这里时她曾经对他大发脾气,他也说了一些令人难以饶恕的话,不过在目前这种时候,她是不会去计较那些事的。他还有一骑马和辆马车呢。啊,她怎么没有早想其他啊!他可以把他们全都带走,离开这个鬼城市,不受北方佬糟蹋,到别的什么地方去,到任何地方去都行。
  她回头面对百里茜,十分急迫地吩咐她。
  “你知道巴特勒船长住在哪里吧----在亚特兰大饭店?”“是的,太太,不过----”“那好,现在你尽快跑到那里去告诉他,我要他来一下。
  我要他尽快赶着他的马和马车来,或者来一辆救护车,如果找得到的话。把媚兰小姐生了娃娃的事也告诉他。就说我要他来得我们离开这里。好,赶快!马上就去。"她直着腰背坐起来,推了百里茜一把,叫她快跑。
  “啊,上帝,思嘉小姐!俺可不敢一个人在黑夜里乱跑呀!
  要是北方佬把俺给逮住了呢?”
  “你只要快跑就能赶上刚才那些人,他们是不会让北方佬逮住你的。快走吧!”“俺害怕呀!要是巴特勒船长不在饭店里呢?”“那就打听他在哪里。难道你就连这点勇气也没有?要是他不在饭店,你就到迪凯特街的酒吧间去找他。到贝尔·沃特琳住的地方去。到处去找。你没看见,你这笨蛋,要是你不赶紧去找到他,北方佬就会把我们全部逮住的。”“思嘉小姐,俺要是上一家酒吧间或妻子家去了,俺妈会拿棉花秆抽俺呢。"思嘉站起身来。
  “好吧,我就揍你了,你要不去。你可以站在外面大街上叫他嘛,难道这样还不行?或者问问旁人他在不在里面。快走吧!"百里茜还在那里磨磨蹭蹭,又是用脚擦地,又是撅着嘴嘟囔。思嘉又用力推了她一下,她差一点从台阶上栽下去。
  “你得给我马上走,要不我就卖了你,叫你以后永远也见不到你妈和其他任何一个熟人,我还要把你卖出去当大田的劳工。赶快走吧!”“唔,上帝,思嘉小姐----"但是,在这位女主人坚决而无情的推搡之下,百里茜只得走下了台阶。前面的大门嘎嘎响了,思嘉又高声喊道:“快跑,你这小笨蛋!"她听到百里茜啪哒啪哒小跑的脚步声,随即声音在柔软的泥土路上渐渐消失了。



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