September 25, 2015

kept him from admitting his love


Suddenly she was sorry for him, sorry with a completeness that wiped out her own grief and her fear of what his words might mean. It was the first time in her life she had been sorry for anyone without feeling contemptuous as well, because it was the first time she had ever approached understanding any other human being. And she could understand his shrewd caginess, so like her own, his obstinate pride that kept him from admitting his love for fear of a rebuff.
 "Ah, darling,” she said coming forward, hoping he would put out his arms and draw her to his knees. "Darling, I’m so sorry but I’ll make it all up to you! We can be so happy, now that we know the truth and—Rhett—look at me, Rhett! There—there can be other babies—not like Bonnie but—”
 "Thank you, no,” said Rhett, as if he were refusing a piece of bread. "I’ll not risk my heart a third time.”
 "Rhett, don’t say such things! Oh, what can I say to make you understand? I’ve told you how sorry I am—”
 "My darling, you’re such a child. You think that by saying, ‘I’m sorry,’ all the errors and hurts of years past can be remedied, obliterated from the mind, all the poison drawn from old wounds. ... Take my handkerchief, Scarlett. Never, at any crisis of your life, have I known you to have a handkerchief.”
 She took the handkerchief, blew her nose and sat down. It was obvious that he was not going to take her in his arms. It was beginning to be obvious that all his talk about loving her meant nothing. It was a tale of a time long past and he was looking at it as though it had never happened to him. And that was frightening. He looked at her in an almost kindly way, speculation in his eyes.
 "How old are you, my dear? You never would tell me.”
 "Twenty-eight,” she answered dully, muffled in the handkerchief.
 "That’s not a vast age. It’s a young age to have gained the whole world and lost your own soul, isn’t it? Don’t look frightened. I’m not referring to hell fire to come for your affair with Ashley. I’m merely speaking metaphorically. Ever since I’ve known you, you’ve wanted two things. Ashley and to be rich enough to tell the world to go to hell. Well, you are rich enough and you’ve spoken sharply to the world and you’ve got Ashley, if you want him. But all that doesn’t seem to be enough now.”
 She was frightened but not at the thought of hell fire. She was thinking: "But Rhett is my soul and I’m losing him. And if I lose him, nothing else matters! No, not friends or money or—or anything. If only I had him I wouldn’t even mind being poor again. No, I wouldn’t mind being cold again or even hungry. But he can’t mean— Oh, he can’t!”

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