Happy Sunday Evening! Hope you all have a nice week ahead of you!
When Rhett arrived at the mansion, it was Mammy who greeted him at the door. She paused momentarily when she came face to face with him and stared at him with a wide-eyed expression before she spoke. She was stunned to see him return and was nervous because Scarlett and Steven would be arriving later on that morning for lunch.
"'Scuse me, Missuh Rhett. I wasn't spectin' youse to be a comin' 'round today. Come on in! I needs to have a talk wit youse right now!" she ordered
"What about, Mammy?" he asked as he handed her his hat and coat and cast a look of concern in her direction.
"It's 'bout Miz Scarlett. Now youse don't need to be catchin' me up 'bouts what happened af'er youse lefts Tara 'cause Scarlett done told me all dat. But youse needs to know dat a young fellow named Steven, who work for her down at the mill, seem to be mighty fond of Scarlett. He been comin' round here most every day tryin' to comfort her from de nasty way you treated her afore youse two parted your ways."
"Oh?" Rhett asked, trying to conceal the concern he had about Steven going back to the night he'd first seen him at the restaurant. He wondered if Mammy had any details to share with him about whether or not Scarlett was growing close to him. "Might I ask if Scarlett is fond of him, too?"
"As far as I can figure, I'se don't tink so - least not in dat way. But she's a hurtin' pretty bad and is glad for his company since she ain't got no Suellen around to talk to 'bout all dis."
"I see," Rhett replied as he crossed his arms and stood there contemplating how he should respond to Mammy's news.
Before he could dwell on it too much longer, Mammy continued. "Capt'n Butler deyse a comin' over here later on dis morning for a bite of lunch and I'se just thought you should know all dat afore dey shows up here."
Just then, Mable Rose appeared. She was just as shocked as Mammy was to see him come back so soon, but masked her surprise by extending her hand to greet him. "Good mornin', Missuh Butler. I wasn't 'spectin' youse to come 'round today, but it shore is a pleasure to see ya," she said warmly. "Mammy and I was just gettin' ready to share a pot of tea. Won't you please join us?" she asked expectantly, hoping he would accept. She, like Mammy, was eager to get to the bottom of why he was here today.
Rhett suddenly realized he was in the presence of good Christian ladies and thought maybe they could help him sort out his feelings about his new found faith as well as give him some wisdom about salvaging his marriage. "Mable Rose, I would be honored to join you and Mammy for tea – that is on one condition…."
"Why certainly, Missuh Butler! And what might that be?" she asked sweetly.
"That you will listen to a story about a steamboat captain named Justin LaRue I just met," he responded.
Mammy and Mable Rose looked at each other with askance. They couldn't imagine how a story about a steamboat captain had anything to do with the situation between him and Scarlett. Finally, Mable Rose decided to be the one to answer, "Why, of course, Missuh Butler. If'n youse wants to tells us a story 'bouts a steamboat cap'n. We'll be a happy to lissun."
Mammy waddled impatiently towards the kitchen to fix the tea, shaking her head and mumbling to herself when she was out of everyone's earshot. "Mmmph! I tink dat man's gone just 'bout plum' crazy. Wantin' a talk 'bout a steamboat cap'n and he's 'bout to lose his wife to anotha man!"
"Whadya say, Mammy?" Pork asked curiously.
"Wha'd I say 'bouts mens bein' in my kitchen, Pork?" she bellowed. She was agitated that he'd not only broken his kitchen rule, but also that he may have overheard her. "I done tol' you and tol' youse to stay oudda here!"
Pork quickly grabbed a buttered biscuit from the counter that he prepared as a mid-morning snack and quietly disappeared without responding to her. He chuckled inwardly; it was always great fun for him when he could get a rise out of Mammy.
After Mammy poured the tea and prepared the silver serving tray, she joined Mable Rose and Rhett in the parlor. Rhett had already started telling Mable Rose about his encounter with Justin. Upon hearing the news that Rhett had accepted Christ, Mable could not contain herself when Mammy reappeared. "Oh, Mammy! It's da most excitin' news. Missuh Rhett's done give his life to the Lord!"
Mammy almost dropped her tray when she heard Mable Rose's announcement. "Youse don't say, Missuh Rhett?" Mammy exclaimed excitedly. "Well dis is a very happy day!" she added, beaming brightly. She had known for a very long time that he was not a believer so this was absolutely miraculous news to fall on her ears.
"I would have never pictured myself having this conversation with anyone," Rhett confessed as Mammy handed him a cup of tea. "But when Justin told me that believing in Jesus was my ticket to seeing Bonnie again, I suddenly couldn't get past knowing that having a relationship with Him is the most important thing I could ever do in my life. I just hope Scarlett can forgive me and will believe me when I tell her it's my heart's desire to look ahead and never again backwards at all the problems we've had in our past."
"You sure got a lot on yore plate," Mammy responded soberly. "Do youse rememba how hard youse had to chase afta Scarlett all dem years afore she's became yore wife?"
"Well she seem like she's about like dat again. I don't rightly know how easy it gonna be for youse to hold onto her. She was plenty mad afta you treat her so bad dat day youse was gonna leave outta town for yore second honeymoon. She say she's fed up wif you now and wanta move on wif her life. I'se quiet shore havin' dat Steven fella 'round might be makin' her feel like she don't need youse anymore now dat she got him dotin' on her the way he do."
Rhett heaved a sigh and took a final sip of tea. He arose from his chair and announced to Mammy and Mable Rose that he hoped to return sometime to discuss his new found faith with them and let them know it was probably best to leave before Scarlett and Steven arrived. Mammy shook her head sadly, but didn't say a word. She was convinced, once again, that Rhett was choosing to retreat from Scarlett.
Rhett made his way out into the street and strolled around for a while before he found another Hansom cab to flag down. Even though Mammy's intuitions were always razor sharp, this time she was dead wrong.
As the driver slowed the carriage to a halt to pick him up, Rhett instructed him to take him to Magnolia Avenue and let him know the quicker he got him there, the bigger his tip would be.