10.08.2015 -15 °C
If! If! If! There were so many ifs in life, never any certainty of anything, never any sense of security, always the dread of losing everything and being cold and hungry again. Of course, Frank was making a little more money now, but Frank was always ailing with colds and frequently forced to stay in bed for days. Suppose he should become an invalid. No, she could not afford to count on Frank for much. She must not count on anything or anybody but herself. And what she could earn seemed so pitiably small. Oh, what would she do if the Yankees came and took it all away from her? If! If! If!
Half of what she made every month went to Will at Tara, part to Rhett to repay his loan and the rest she hoarded. No miser ever counted his gold oftener than she and no miser ever had greater fear of losing it. She would not put the money in the bank, for it might fail or the Yankees might confiscate it. So she carried what she could with her, tucked into her corset, and hid small wads of bills about the house, under loose bricks on the hearth, in her scrap bag, between the pages of the Bible. And her temper grew shorter and shorter as the weeks went by, for every dollar she saved would be just one more dollar to lose if disaster descended.
Frank, Pitty and the servants bore her outbursts with maddening kindness, attributing her bad disposition to her pregnancy, never realizing the true cause. Frank knew that pregnant women must be humored, so he put his pride in his pocket and said nothing more about her running the mills and her going about town at such a time, as no lady should do. Her conduct was a constant embarrassment to him but he reckoned he could endure it for a while longer. After the baby came, he knew she would be the same sweet feminine girl he had courted. But in spite of everything he did to appease her, she continued to have her tantrums and often he thought she acted like one possessed.
No one seemed to realize what really possessed her, what drove her like a mad woman. It was a passion to get her affairs in order before she had to retire behind doors, to have as much money as possible in case the deluge broke upon her again, to have a stout levee of cash against the rising tide of Yankee hate. Money was the obsession dominating her mind these days. When she thought of the baby at all, it was with baffled rage at the untimeliness of it.
“Death and taxes and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them!”
Atlanta had been scandalized enough when Scarlett, a woman, began operating the sawmill but as time went by, the town decided there was no limit to what she would do. Her sharp trading was shocking, especially when her poor mother had been a Robillard, and it was positively indecent the way she kept on going about the streets when everyone knew she was pregnant. No respectable white woman and few negroes ever went outside their homes from the moment they first suspected they were with child, and Mrs. Merriwether declared indignantly that from the way Scarlett was acting she was likely to have the baby on the public streets.