Margaret mitchell – gone with the wind. part 2



As the train carried Scarlett northward that May morning in 1862,
She thought that Atlanta couldn’t possibly be so boring as
Charleston and Savannah had been and, in spite of her distaste for
Miss Pittypat and Melanie, she looked forward with some curiosity
Toward seeing how the town had fared since her last visit, in the
Winter before the war began.

Atlanta had always interested her more than any other town because
When she was a child Gerald had told her that she and Atlanta were
Exactly the same age. She discovered when she grew older that
Gerald had stretched the truth somewhat, as was his habit when a
Little stretching would improve a story; but Atlanta was only nine
Years older than she was, and that still left the place amazingly
Young by comparison with any other town she had ever heard of.
Savannah and Charleston had the dignity of their years, one being
Well along in its second century and the other entering its third,
And in her young eyes they had always seemed like aged
Grandmothers fanning themselves placidly in the sun. But Atlanta
Was of her own generation, crude with the crudities of youth and
As headstrong and impetuous as herself.

The story Gerald had told her was based on the fact that she and
Atlanta were christened in the same year. In the nine years
Before Scarlett was born, the town had been called, first,
Terminus and then Marthasville, and not until the year of
Scarlett’s birth had it become Atlanta.

When Gerald first moved to north Georgia, there had been no
Atlanta at all, not even the semblance of a village, and
Wilderness rolled over the site. But the next year, in 1836, the
State had authorized the building of a railroad northwestward
Through the territory which the Cherokees had recently ceded. The
Destination of the proposed railroad, Tennessee and the West, was
Clear and definite, but its beginning point in Georgia was
Somewhat uncertain until, a year later, an engineer drove a stake
In the red clay to mark the southern end of the line, and Atlanta,
Born Terminus, had begun.

There were no railroads then in north Georgia, and very few
Anywhere else. But during the years before Gerald married Ellen,
The tiny settlement, twenty-five miles north of Tara, slowly grew
Into a village and the tracks slowly pushed northward. Then the
Railroad building era really began. From the old city of Augusta,
A second railroad was extended westward across the state to
Connect with the new road to Tennessee. From the old city of
Savannah, a third railroad was built first to Macon, in the heart
Of Georgia, and then north through Gerald’s own county to Atlanta,
To link up with the other two roads and give Savannah’s harbor a
Highway to the West. From the same junction point, the young
Atlanta, a fourth railroad was constructed southwestward to
Montgomery and Mobile.

Born of a railroad, Atlanta grew as its railroads grew. With the
Completion of the four lines, Atlanta was now connected with the
West, with the South, with the Coast and, through Augusta, with
The North and East. It had become the crossroads of travel north
And south and east and west, and the little village leaped to

In a space of time but little longer than Scarlett’s seventeen
Years, Atlanta had grown from a single stake driven in the ground
Into a thriving small city of ten thousand that was the center of
Attention for the whole state. The older, quieter cities were
Wont to look upon the bustling new town with the sensations of a

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Margaret mitchell – gone with the wind. part 2