Scarlett felt safe. It was midnight at Tara and she was in her old room, sitting on her bed and weeping heavily on Mammy's shoulder. She nestled her head on Mammy's bosom, relieved that she could vent her sorrow to someone who understood her better than herself. Mummy's gnarled fingers were gently stroking her black hair and she kept muttering.. "There..there,honey.. Stop your crying. This ain't like you. You've been crying two hours straight. You're gonna make yourself sick"
"I do feel sick." retaliated Scarlett, mournfully." I feel so sick I could cry for days. Oh Mammy.. Darling Mammy, tell me everything is going to be allright. Tell me Rhett will come back and we can be happy once again and live together in our old Peachtree house-"
Scarlett felt Mammy's large body stiffen underneath her frantic grasp and she raised her head to see Mammy looking sternly ahead. Mammy's lower lip was pushed out full and she looked very cross.
"Now Mammy, I know what that look of yours means." began Scarlett, sensing Mammy's wrath was brewing. "And..and I know I've always been stubborn but I.. I don't know what to do now. First Bonnie dies and then Melly..and now Rhett leaves me. Oh Mammy I'm not asking you to comfort me with lies or promises. I've been a fool I know that. But I can't bear any more harshness. I can't bear it. I can't bear it! If you must scold me, be kind." Scarlett laid her head on Mammy's bosom again. "Keep stroking my hair, Mammy...speak to me slowly and patiently. I will listen."
"There ain't nothing to tell that hasn't already been told, Miss Scarlett." replied Mammy, after a long pause. "Now this cause of yours.. that Mist. Rhett won't never come back... I think he will. That is what any honorable Southern gentleman would do. And Mist. Rhett is a fine gentleman. He won't leave his family jest like that-"
"But I've hurt him so much,Mammy. Do you think he could ever forgive me?"
"Miss. Scarlett, you just give Mist. Rhett some time. He'll come around. But you've gotta change. Just look at your Ma. You haven't seen a finer example of a Lady than Miss. Ellen-"
"Oh, I wanted to be just like Mother. She was always so calm and kind-"
"It isn't just that. Haven't you seen the way your Ma..even though she did most of the work around Tara, she always told your father about various goings on, kept asking him to make decisions, adding to his plantation- And your Ma didn't know the first thing about being anything other than a fine Robillard Lady from Savannah.. but she learnt hard and quick. She made friends with Georgians, raised you three with proper manners and worked herself tirelessly looking after the hundred slaves in Tara-"
"That's what it is. You've got to do those things too. Its what wives do. You don't seem to know this. Now Mist. Rhett married ya thinking you can do the same for him. But you were carrying on like-"
"But Rhett isn't like Pa. He laughs at Southern customs. He says it bores him. Why he thought Southern women were too dull and predictable-"
"What a gentleman says and what he thinks are two different things. Mist. Rhett wants to be treated jest like any Southern gentleman." stated Mammy, decidedly.
"But Rhett's so secretive. He won't tell me what he wants directly. Hell just keep talking in riddles. And even more so now that I've hurt him"
"Miss. Scarlett..that's another thing you've got to remember. You can't expect too much from Mist. Rhett. Once a Southern gentleman becomes a father, it is the right thing for him to give all his love to his children. Whatever he might have promised you before, you can't expect those things now. "
"Oh!" Scarlett seemed rudely awakened.
"Just because you want to make things right now and have another baby, it don't mean that Mist. Rhett will go back to whatever he was when he first married ya. Those days ain't never gonna come back, honey. Both of you has changed and what with Atlanta changing and Miss. Bonnie's passing, nothing will ever be the same. But the chilrun's still there. You had better take Mist. Wade and Miss. Ella with you if you plan on seeing Mist. Rhett and if he starts anything put the children between yourselves. He has always set a store by those kids. He won't hurt you."
"Oh Mammy, I missed all those lovely days when I could have been happy with Rhett. Perhaps if I told him how I feel.. if I really tell him-"
"It wont change a thing but it may send him away. Miss. Scarlett, you remember how Miss Ellen knew your father's weakness.. Mist. Gerald had such a soft heart under all that hollering and bellowing.. but she never pointed it out or even mentioned it. She understood him well. You must be that way too. Next to quarrels, a man don't like to think the woman he loves understands his faults. A mans proud and full of honour. "
"Then what do I do?"
"Ma lamb, you just rest a few days and think over everything that went wrong. And then change those things. But mostly..like Miss. Ellen, you've got to care about the things he cares about. Remember your Ma. Remember what she taught you. I know times have changed and some of her advice wont work now but some of her words might help you."
"Mammy, Mother was so good. I miss her so much.. I'll try to remember, Mammy. I'll try not to let her down."