They say Abe Lincoln got his start splitting rails. Just think what heights
I may climb to once I get the knack.
Ashley, the Yankees want three hundred dollars more in taxes! What shall
we do? Ashley, what's to become of us?
What do you think becomes of people when their civilization breaks up?
Those who have brains and courage come through all right. Those that haven't
are winnowed out.
For heaven's sake, Ashley Wilkes, don't stand there talking nonsense at
me when it's us who are being winnowed out!
You're right, Scarlett. Here I am talking tommyrot about civilization-
when your Tara's in danger.
You've come to me for help, and I've no help to give you. Oh, Scarlett,
I-I'm a coward.
You, Ashley, a coward? What are you afraid of?
Oh, mostly of life becoming too real for me, I suppose. Not that I mind
splitting rails-but I do mind very much losing the beauty of that-that
life I loved. If the war hadn't come, I'd have spent my life happily buried
at Twelve Oaks. But the war did come. I saw my boyhood friends blown to
bits. I saw men crumple up in agony when I shot them. And now I find myself
in a world which for me is worse than death. A world in which there's no
place for me. Oh, I can never make you understand because you don't know
the meaning of fear. You never mind facing realities. You never want to
escape from them as I do.
Escape? Oh, Ashley, you're wrong! I do want to escape, too! I'm so very
tired of it all. I've struggled for food and for money. I-I've weeded and
hoed and picked cotton until I can't stand it another minute! I tell you,
Ashley, the South is dead! It's dead! The Yankees and the carpetbaggers
have got it and there's nothing left for us!