so willingly given


how silly of them to come back

 Frank cast about in his mind for some mitigating information that would make the ladies feel better.
 “There’s some houses still standing,” he said, “houses that set on big lots away from other houses and didn’t catch fire. And the churches and the Masonic hall are left And a few stores too. But the business section and all along the railroad tracks and at Five Points―well, ladies, that part of town is flat on the ground.”
 “Then,” cried Scarlett-bitterly, “that warehouse Charlie left me, down on the tracks serviced apartments in wanchai, it’s gone too?”
 “If it was near the tracks, it’s gone, but―” Suddenly he smiled. Why hadn’t he thought of it before? “Cheer up, ladies! Your Aunt Pitty’s house is still standing. It’s kind of damaged but there it is.”
 “Oh, how did it escape?”
 “Well, it’s made of brick and it’s got about the only slate roof in Atlanta and that kept the sparks from setting it afire, I guess. And then it’s about the last house on the north end of town and the fire wasn’t so bad over that way. Of course, the Yankees quartered there tore it up aplenty. They even burned the baseboard and the mahogany stair rail for firewood, but shucks! It’s in good shape. When I saw Miss Pitty last week in Macon―”
 “You saw her? How is she Crown Wine Cellars?”
 “Just fine. Just fine. When I told her her house was still standing, she made up her mind to come home right away. That is―if that old darky, Peter, will let her come. Lots of the Atlanta people have already come back, because they got nervous about Macon. Sherman didn’t take Macon but everybody is afraid Wilson’s raiders will get there soon and he’s worse than Sherman.”
 “But how silly of them to come back if there aren’t any houses! Where do they live?”
 “Miss Scarlett, they’re living in tents and shacks and log cabins and doubling up six and seven families in the few houses still standing. And they’re trying to rebuild. Now, Miss Scarlett You Find, don’t say they are silly. You know Atlanta folks as well as I do. They are plumb set on that town, most as bad as Charlestonians are about Charleston, and it’ll take more than Yankees and a burning to keep them away. Atlanta folks are―begging your pardon, Miss Melly―as stubborn as mules about Atlanta. I don’t know why, for I always thought that town a mighty pushy, impudent sort of place. But then, I’m a countryman born and I don’t like any town. And let me tell you, the ones who are getting back first are the smart ones. The ones who come back last won’t find a stick or stone or brick of their houses, because everybody’s out salvaging things all over town to rebuild their houses. Just day before yesterday, I saw Mrs. Merriwether and Miss Maybelle and their old darky woman out collecting brick in a wheelbarrow. And Mrs. Meade told me she was thinking about building a log cabin when the doctor comes back to help her. She said she lived in a log cabin when she first came to Atlanta, when it was Marthasville, and it wouldn’t bother her none to do it again. ‘Course, she was only joking but that shows you how they feel about it.”

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