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Chapter XLIII

Summary

Rhett returns to Atlanta and Scarlett and reveals some of his own background. He has a legal ward in New Orleans whom he visits frequently. Also, his father has recently died, but there is no mourning on Rhett’s part. His father had kicked him out years before for being too much like his grandfather and was further embittered when Rhett turned to gambling and made a success of it. Rhett has tried to send money to his mother and sister who were reduced to a two-room shack by the war, but his father sent back every check. Now that his father is dead, he has purchased a house for his mother and set up some provisions for her.

Rhett challenges Scarlett on giving Ashley an interest in her mill, as that was the one condition against which he loaned her the money. In spite of the fact that she has already repaid the loan, he considers her to have broken the contract, and he vows he will never loan her another cent. He tries again to explain to her that Ashley is useless, one of the old world who would prefer to be dead because he cannot adjust to the changes of the new world. Scarlett vaguely remembers a similar explanation from Ashley himself. As he leaves the house, Rhett advises Scarlett to tell her husband that he ought to spend more nights at home if he wants to see his little daughter grow up.


Notes

Rhett is hinting to Scarlet that Frank is involved in more than harmless political meetings. He also tells her the same things about Ashley that Ashley told her himself. When she gives him the interest in her mill, she does not think about Rhett's condition. She never gave Ashley any part of the original loan, and that has been repaid. In her opinion, she owns the mill and can do what she wants with it.

Scarlett does not understand that Rhett has nothing personal against Ashley. It's just that he knows what kind of person Ashley is and fears that he will be nothing more than an additional burden to Scarlett who has already taken on more than any woman of her day would have been expected to shoulder.

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