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Scarlett visits Melanie, intending to explain the incident with Ashley and to tell her the whole truth of her long fantasized love affair with him. However, Melanie refuses any explanation and clearly does not believe there was ever anything other than sisterly love between her sister-in-law and her husband. Melanie has accused India of inventing lies and has kicked her out of the house. She calls on the rest of her lady friends and insists that Scarlett go with her. In the end it becomes a scandal that splits the entire town, half siding with India, the other half with Melanie. Most people have no idea whether Scarlett is truly guilty, but they don’t want to lose Melanie’s friendship. Scarlett herself is well aware of and deeply humiliated by the fact that if she did not have Melanie’s support, the whole town would be against her, and she would be an outcast.
Melanie shields herself with her refusal to believe anything bad about Scarlett. One almost feels as if she knew the truth, but protected them both with her own denial. This is one humiliation that Scarlett cannot walk away from with a haughty, I-don't-care, attitude. The town disapproves of her anyway, so how much worse could it be? The fact that she goes along with Melanie is an indication of the strength of Melanie's character as well as a demonstration that Scarlett does indeed care what her people think of her.