In spite of her choked-back tears, Scarlett thrilled to the never-failing magic of her mother’s touch, to the faint fragrance of lemon verbena sachet that came from her rustling silk dress. To Scarlett, there was something breath-taking about Ellen O’Hara, a miracle that lived in the house with her and awed her and charmed and soothed her.
Gerald helped his wife into the carriage and gave orders to the coachman to drive carefully. Toby, who had handled Gerald’s horses for twenty years, pushed out his lips in mute indignation at being told how to conduct his own business. Driving off, with Mammy beside him, each was a perfect picture of pouting African disapproval.
“If I didn’t do so much for those trashy Slatterys that they’d have to pay money for elsewhere,” fumed Gerald, “they’d be willing to sell me their miserable few acres of swamp bottom, and the County would be well rid of them.” Then, brightening, in anticipation of one of his practical jokes: “Come daughter, let’s go tell Pork that instead of buying Dilcey, I’ve sold him to John Wilkes.”
He tossed the reins of his horse to a small pickaninny standing near and started up the steps. He had already forgotten Scarlett’s heartbreak and his mind was only on plaguing his valet. Scarlett slowly climbed the steps after him, her feet leaden. She thought that, after all, a mating between herself and Ashley could be no queerer than that of her father and Ellen Robillard O’Hara. As always, she wondered how her loud, insensitive father had managed to marry a woman like her mother, for never were two people further apart in birth, breeding and habits of mind.