father had regretfully refused to let Gerald O'Hara pay court to his daughter. This
knowledge did not make Gerald feel inferior to his neighbors: Nothing could ever make
Gerald feel that he was inferior in any way to anyone. It was merely a quaint custom of
the County that daughters only married into families who had lived in the South much
longer than twenty-two years, had owned land and slaves and been addicted only to the
fashionable vices during that time.
"Pack up. We're going to Savannah," he told Pork. "And if I hear you say 'Whist!' or
'Faith!' but once, it's selling you I'll be doing, for they are words I seldom say
James and Andrew might have some advice to offer on this subject of marriage, and there
might be daughters among their old friends who would both meet his requirements and find
him acceptable as a husband. James and Andrew listened to his story patiently but they
gave him little encouragement. They had no Savannah relatives to whom they might look for
assistance, for they had been married when they came to America. And the daughters of
their old friends had long since married and were raising small children of their own.
"You're not a rich man and you haven't a great family," said James.
"I've made me money and I can make a great family. And I won't be marrying just anyone."
"You fly high," observed Andrew, dryly.
But they did their best for Gerald. James and Andrew were old men and they stood well
in Savannah. They had many friends, and for a month they carried Gerald from home to
home, to suppers, dances and picnics.
"There's only one who takes me eye," Gerald said finally. "And she not even born when I
"And who is it takes your eye?"
"Miss Ellen Robillard," said Gerald, trying to speak casually, for the slightly tilting
dark eyes of Ellen Robillard had taken more than his eye. Despite a mystifying
listlessness of manner, so strange in a girl of fifteen, she charmed him. Moreover, there
was a haunting look of despair about her that went to his heart and made him more gentle
with her than he had ever been with any person in all the world.
"And you old enough to be her father!"
"And me in me prime!" cried Gerald stung.
James spoke gently.
"Jerry, there's no girl in Savannah you'd have less chance of marrying. Her father is a
Robillard, and those French are proud as Lucifer. And her mother-God rest her soul-was a
very great lady."
"I care not," said Gerald heatedly. "Besides, her mother is dead, and old man Robillard
"As a man, yes, but as a son-in-law, no."
"The girl wouldn't have you anyway," interposed Andrew. "She's been in love with that
wild buck of a cousin of hers, Philippe Robillard, for a year now, despite her family
being at her morning and night to give him up."
"He's been gone to Louisiana this month now," said Gerald.
"And how do you know?"
"I know," answered Gerald, who did not care to disclose that Pork had supplied this
valuable bit of information, or that Philippe had departed for the West at the express
desire of his family. "And I do not think she's been so much in love with him that she
won't forget him. Fifteen is too young to know much about love."
"They'd rather have that breakneck cousin for her than you."
So, James and Andrew were as startled as anyone when the news came out that the
daughter of Pierre Robillard was to marry the little Irishman from up the country.
Savannah buzzed behind its doors and speculated about Philippe Robillard, who had gone
West, but the gossiping brought no answer. Why the loveliest of the Robillard daughters
should marry a loud-voiced, red-faced little man who came hardly up to her ears remained
a mystery to all.
Gerald himself never quite knew how it all came about. He only knew that a miracle had
happened. And, for once in his life, he was utterly humble when Ellen, very white but
very calm, put a light hand on his arm and said: "I will marry you, Mr. O'Hara."
The thunderstruck Robillards knew the answer in part, but only Ellen and her mammy ever
knew the whole story of the night when the girl sobbed till the dawn like a
broken-hearted child and rose up in the morning a woman with her mind made up.
With foreboding, Mammy had brought her young mistress a small package, addressed in a
strange hand from New Orleans, a package containing a miniature of Ellen, which she flung
to the floor with a cry, four letters in her own handwriting to Philippe Robillard, and a
brief letter from a New Orleans priest, announcing the death of her cousin in a barroom
"They drove him away. Father and Pauline and Eulalie. They drove him away. I hate them.
I hate them all. I never want to see them again. I want to get away. I will go away where
I'll never see them again, or this town, or anyone who reminds me of-of-him."
And when the night was nearly spent, Mammy, who had cried herself out over her
mistress' dark head, protested, "But, honey, you kain do dat!"
"I will do it. He is a kind man. I will do it or go into the convent at Charleston."
It was the threat of the convent that finally won the assent of bewildered and
heart-stricken Pierre Robillard. He was staunchly Presbyterian, even though his family
were Catholic, and the thought of his daughter becoming a nun was even worse than that of
her marrying Gerald O'Hara. After all, the man had nothing against him but a lack of
So, Ellen, no longer Robillard, turned her back on Savannah, never to see it again, and
with a middle-aged husband, Mammy, and twenty "house niggers" journeyed toward Tara.
The next year, their first child was born and they named her Katie Scarlett, after
Gerald's mother. Gerald was disappointed, for he had wanted a son, but he nevertheless
was pleased enough over his small black-haired daughter to serve rum to every slave at
Tara and to get roaringly, happily drunk himself.
If Ellen had ever regretted her sudden decision to marry him, no one ever knew it,
certainly not Gerald, who almost burst with pride whenever he looked at her. She had put
Savannah and its memories behind her when she left that gently mannered city by the sea,
and, from the moment of her arrival in the County, north Georgia was her home.
When she departed from her father's house forever, she had left a home whose lines were
as beautiful and flowing as a woman's body, as a ship in full sail; a pale pink stucco
house built in the French colonial style, set high from the ground in a dainty manner,
approached by swirling stairs, banistered with wrought iron as delicate as lace; a dim,
rich house, gracious but aloof.
She had left not only that graceful dwelling but also the entire civilization that was
behind the building of it, and she found herself in a world that was as strange and
different as if she had crossed a continent.
Here in north Georgia was a rugged section held by a hardy people. High up on the
plateau at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, she saw rolling red hills wherever she
looked, with huge outcroppings of the underlying granite and gaunt pines towering
somberly everywhere. It all seemed wild and untamed to her coast-bred eyes accustomed to
the quiet jungle beauty of the sea islands draped in their gray moss and tangled green,
the white stretches of beach hot beneath a semitropic sun, the long flat vistas of sandy