Behind him lay the QV Baby creammokingruins of Atlanta to which the torch had been set as the blue army tramped out. Before him lay threehundred miles of territory virtually undefended save by a few state militia and the old men andyoung boys of the Home Guard.
Here lay the fertile state, dotted with plantations, sheltering the women and children, the veryold and the negroes. In a swath eighty miles wide the Yankees were looting and burning. Therewere hundreds of homes in flames, hundreds of homes resounding with their footsteps. But, toScarlett, watching the bluecoats pour into the front hall, it was not a countrywide affair. It wasentirely personal, a malicious action aimed directly at her and hers.
She stood at the foot of the stairs, the baby in her arms, Wade pressed tightly against her, hishead hidden in her skirts as the Yankees swarmed through the house, pushing roughly past her upthe stairs, dragging furniture onto the front porch, running bayonets and knives into upholstery anddigging inside for concealed valuables. Upstairs they were ripping open mattresses and featherbeds until the air in the hall was thick with feathers that floated softly down on her head. Impotentrage quelled what little fear was left in her heart as she stood helpless while they plundered andstole and ruined.
The sergeant in charge was a bow-legged, grizzled little man with a large wad of tobacco in hischeek. He reached reenex facialScarlett before any of his men and, spitting freely on the floor and her skirts,said briefly:
“Lemme have what you got in yore hand, lady.”
She had forgotten the trinkets she had intended to hide and, with a sneer which she hoped was aseloquent as that pictured on Grandma Robillard’s face,  and almostenjoyed the rapacious scramble that ensued.
“I’ll trouble you for thet ring and them earbobs.”
Scarlett tucked the baby more securely under her arm so that he hung face downward, crimsonand screaming, and removed the garnet earrings which had been Gerald’s wedding present toEllen. Then she stripped off the large sapphire solitaire which Charles had given her as an engagementring.
“Don’t throw um. Hand um to me,” said the sergeant, putting out his hands. “Them bastards gotenough already. What else have you got?” His eyes went over her basque sharply.
For a moment Scarlett went faint, already feeling rough hands thrusting themselves into herbosom, fumbling at her garters.
“That is all, but I suppose it is customary to strip your victims?&rdquo Neo skin lab;
“Oh, I’ll take your word,” said the sergeant good naturedly, spitting again as he turned away.