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gone-with-the-windI’m currently pouting because somebody ruined the end of Gone with the Wind and, therefore, I’m avoiding continuing on with Gone with the Wind. I finished this week’s section before the spoiling, so I figured now was as good a time as any to write down my thoughts and maybe, just maybe, I’ll be inspired to pick the book back up. I hope.

Frankly, my dear, I think Rhett Butler is a cad. I’d like to take back my comparison to Darcy because, unlike Darcy who proposes marriage twice and is rejected once, Butler proposes mistresshood. Twice. {Okay, so “mistresshood” is not a word, but you know what I mean.}

The first time, I too was “breathless with surprise.” I figured it was coming, I just didn’t expect his “proposal” to be that early on in the book, and I certainly was not expecting his “proposal” to be not of marriage but “mistresshood.”

“Don’t interrupt,” he begged, squeezing her hand. “I like you because I have those same qualities in my and like begets liking. I realize you still cherish the memory of the godlike and wooden-headed Mr. Wilkes, who’s probably been in his grave these six months. But there must be room in your heart for me too. Scarlett, do stop wriggling! I am making you a declaration. I have wanted you since the first time I laid eyes on you, in the hall at Twelve Oaks, when you were bewitching poor Charlie Hamilton. I want you more than I have ever wanted any woman — and I’ve waited longer for you than I’ve ever waited for any woman.”

She was breathless with surprise at his last words. In spite of all his insults, he did love her and he was just so contrary he didn’t want to come out frankly and put into words, for fear she’d laugh. We, she’d show him and right quickly.

“Are you asking me to marry you?”

He dropped her hand and laughed so loudly she shrank back into her chair.

“Good Lord, no! Didn’t I tell you I wasn’t a marrying man?”

“But — but — what –”

He rose to his feet and, hand on heart, made her a burlesque bow.

“Dear,” he said quietly, “I am complimenting your intelligence by asking you to be my mistress without having first seduced you.” {pg. 341}

And then the second time, I wound up laughing — a strange reaction, don’t you think?

“‘I could not love thee, Dear, so much, loved I not Honour more.’ That’s a pat speech, isn’t it? Certainly better than anything I can think up myself, at the present moment. For I do love you, Scarlett, in spite of what I aid that night on the porch last month.”

His drawl was caressing and his hands slid up her bare arms, warm strong hands. “I love you,

Scarlett, because we are so much alike, renegades, both of us, dear, and selfish rascals. Neither of us cares a rap if the whole world goes to pot, so long as we are safe and comfortable.”

Then his arms went around her waist and shoulders and she felt the hard muscles of his thighs against her body and the buttons of his coat pressing into her breast. A warm tide of feeling, bewildering, frightening, swept over her, carrying out of her mind the time and place and circumstances. She felts as limp as a rag doll, warm, weak and helpless, and his supporting arms were so pleasant.

“You don’t want to change your mind about what I said last month? There’s nothing like danger and death to give an added flip. Be patriotic, Scarlett. Think how you would be sending a soldier to his death with beautiful memories.”

He was kissing her now and his mustache tickled her mouth, kissing her with slow, hot lips that were as leisurely as though he had the whole night before him. Charles had never kissed her like this. Never had the kisses of the Tarleton and Calvert boys made her go hot and cold and shaky like this. He bent her body backward and his lips traveled down her throat to where the cameo fastened her basque.” {pg. 390}

As for Scarlett, while I am extremely annoyed by her thought-consuming adoration for Ashley, you have to admit that she’s a very strong woman.

“As God is my witness, as God is my witness, the Yankees aren’t going to lick me. I’m going to live through this, and when it’s over, I’m never going to be hungry again. No, no any of my folds. If I have to steal or kill — as God as my witness, I’m never going hungry again.” {pg. 428}

She swallows her pride on many occasions, including when she asks for Rhett to help her get Melanie, Wade, Ashley’s baby, and herself out of Atlanta.

“She would forgive him anything if he got them out of this mess. Escape! And with Rhett she would have no fear. Rhett would protect them. Thank God for Rhett!” {pg. 377}

But it’s Scarlett that gets them to Tara, Scarlett who helps Melanie deliver her baby, Scarlett who is determined to keep everyone safe from the Yankees, and Scarlett who takes charge upon arriving at Tara and takes care of everyone there.

Paper Cuts, the New York Times‘ book blog, has a post up about whether or not Scarlett is actually a heroine, but I am inclined to say that, so far, she is. True, she’s still very self-centered and looks for scandal at every corner — the only thing holding her back and keeping her proper is her mother, Ellen, but that deterrent eventually subsides — but Gone with the Wind would be incredibly boring if Scarlett acted like Melanie twenty-four seven.

I’m still enamored with Mitchell’s writing — both the style and the story — although, I am finding it increasingly difficult to figure out what Prissy, Mammy, and Pork are saying. I feel felt very invested in Scarlett’s story until it was spoiled for me. And, as I’m trying to follow along with Matt’s reading plans and finish the book on or by my birthday, here’s the {tentative} schedule for the remainder of the read-a-along:

  • Week 1 {March 1-7}: end of Chp. 9 or pg. 196
  • Week 2 {March 8-14}: end of Chp. 25 or pg. 436
  • Week 3 {March 15-21}: end of Chp. 37 or pg. 644
  • Week 4 {March 22-28}: end of Chp. 50 or pg. 892
  • Week 5 {March 29-April 4}: end of Chp. 63 or pg. 1037
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