” Land is the only thing in the world that amounts to anything. ”
Geralds advice to Scarlett when she is pining over the loss of Ashley Wilkes to Melanie Hamilton.
” What most people dont seem to realize is that there is just as much money to be made out of the wreckage of a civilization as from the upbuilding of one. ”
Rhetts prophetic words to Scarlett foreshadow the immense fortune he builds up by blockade-running and speculating during the war, as well as Scarletts future success in business.
” All wars are sacred, he said. To those who have to fight them. If the people who started wars didnt make them sacred, who would be foolish enough to fight? But, no matter what rallying cries the orators give to the idiots who fight, no matter what noble purposes they assign to wars, there is never but one reason for a war. And that is money. All wars are in reality money squabbles. But so few people ever realize it. Their ears are too full of bugles and drums and fine words from stay-at-home orators. Sometimes the rallying cry is Save the Tomb of Christ from the Heathen! Sometimes its Down with Popery! and sometimes Liberty! and sometimes Cotton, Slavery and States Rights! ”
Rhett signs the warrant of his social ostracism from Atlanta society by telling the truth as he sees it about the war.
” Mistress! What would I get out of that except a passel of brats? ”
Scarlett is unimpressed by Rhetts proposal that she become his mistress.
” I wont think of it now. I cant stand it now. Ill think of it later. ”
Scarlett is stunned by the sight of the Wilkes home, Twelve Oaks, which has been burnt to the ground by the Yankees. Her response – to avoid thinking of it now – is one that she often relies upon to dull the effects of grief, worry or the pangs of conscience.
“Hunger gnawed at her empty stomach again and she said aloud: As God is my witness, and God is my witness, the Yankees arent going to lick me. Im going to live through this, and when its over, Im never going to be hungry again. No, nor any of my folks. If I have to steal or kill – as God is my witness, Im never going to be hungry again.”
Lying weak from hunger in a vegetable garden at the burnt-out Twelve Oaks, Scarlett decides that not only is she going to survive, but she is going to prosper.
” In the end what will happen will be what has happened whenever a civilization breaks up. The people who have brains and courage come through and the ones who havent are winnowed out. ”
Ashley tells Scarlett what will happen as a result of the war.
“A startling thought this, that a woman could handle business matters as well or better than a man, a revolutionary thought to Scarlett who had been reared in the tradition that men were omniscient and women none too bright.”
Scarlett realizes that she could run Franks business better than he does.
” Youre so brutal to those who love you, Scarlett. You take their love and hold it over their heads like a whip. ”
Rhett explains to Scarlett why he could never admit to his true feelings for her.
” My dear, I dont give a damn. ”
Rhett, his love worn out, replies to Scarletts desperate question as to what she will do if he leaves her.