"Why, Pa, Ashley is not--",says Scarlett.
"Hold your whist, Puss! I said nothing against the lad, for I
like him. And when I say queer, it's not crazy I'm meaning. He's
not queer like the Calverts who'd gamble everything they have on a
horse, or the Tarletons who turn out a drunkard or two in every
litter, or the Fontaines who are hot-headed little brutes and
after murdering a man for a fancied slight. That kind of
queerness is easy to understand, for sure, and but for the grace
of God Gerald O'Hara would be having all those faults! And I
don't mean that Ashley would run off with another woman, if you
were his wife, or beat you. You'd be happier if he did, for at
least you'd be understanding that. But he's queer in other ways,
and there's no understanding him at all. I like him, but it's
neither heads nor tails I can make of most he says. Now, Puss,
tell me true, do you understand his folderol about books and
poetry and music and oil paintings and such foolishness?"
"Oh, Pa," cried Scarlett impatiently, "if I married him, I'd
change all that!"
"Oh, you would, would you now?" said Gerald testily, shooting a
sharp look at her. "Then it's little enough you are knowing of
any man living, let alone Ashley. No wife has ever changed a
husband one whit, and don't you be forgetting that. And as for
changing a Wilkes--God's nightgown, daughter! The whole family is
that way, and they've always been that way. And probably always
will. I tell you they're born queer. Look at the way they go
tearing up to New York and Boston to hear operas and see oil
paintings. And ordering French and German books by the crate from
the Yankees! And there they sit reading and dreaming the dear God
knows what, when they'd be better spending their time hunting and
playing poker as proper men should."
"There's nobody in the County sits a horse better than Ashley,"
said Scarlett, furious at the slur of effeminacy flung on Ashley,
"nobody except maybe his father. And as for poker, didn't Ashley
take two hundred dollars away from you just last week in
"The Calvert boys have been blabbing again," Gerald said
resignedly, "else you'd not be knowing the amount. Ashley can
ride with the best and play poker with the best--that's me, Puss!
And I'm not denying that when he sets out to drink he can put even
the Tarletons under the table. He can do all those things, but
his heart's not in it. That's why I say he's queer."
Gone With The Wind
A novel by Margaret Mitchel