That was the room that Scarlett liked the best in all the house. There, Ellen sat before her tallsecretary each morning, keeping the accounts of the plantation and listening to the reports of JonasWilkerson ielts result, the overseer. There also the family idled while Ellen’s quill scratched across herledgers, Gerald in the old rocker, the girls on the sagging cushions of the sofa that was too batteredand worn for the front of the house. Scarlett longed to be there now, alone with Ellen, so she couldput her head in her mother’s lap and cry in peace. Wouldn’t Mother ever come home?
Then, wheels ground sharply on the graveled driveway, and the soft murmur of Ellen’s voicedismissing the coachman floated into the room. The as she enteredrapidly, her hoops swaying, her face tired and sad. There entered with her the faint fragrance oflemon verbena sachet, which seemed always to creep from the folds of her dresses, a fragrance that was always linked in Scarlett’s mind with her mother. Mammy followed at a few paces , the leatherbag in her hand, her underlip pushed out and her brow lowering. Mammy muttered darkly toherself as she waddled, taking care that her remarks were pitched too low to be understood butloud enough to register her unqualified disapproval.
“I am sorry I am so late,” said Ellen, slipping her plaid shawl from drooping shoulders andhanding it to Scarlett, whose cheek she patted in passing.
Gerald’s face had brightened as if by magic at her entrance.
“Is the brat baptized?” he questioned.
“Yes, and dead, poor thing,” said Ellen. “I feared Emmie would die too, but I think she willlive.”
The girls’ faces turned to her, startled and questioning, and Gerald wagged his headphilosophically.
“Well, ‘tis better Neo skin lab so that the brat is dead, no doubt, poor fatherle—”
“It is late. We had better have prayers now,” interrupted Ellen so smoothly that, if Scarlett hadnot known her mother well, the interruption would have passed unnoticed.