In the dull twilight of the winter afternoon she came to the end of the long road which had begun the night Atlanta fell.
She had set her feet upon that road a spoiled，selfish and untried girl，full of youth， warm of emotion，easily bewildered by life.
Now，at the end of the road，there was nothing left of that girl.
Hunger and hard labor, fear and constant strain， the terrors of war and the terrors of Reconstruction had taken away all warmth and youth and softness.
About the core of her being, a shell of hardness had formed and, little by little，layer by layer，the shell had thickened during the endless months.
But until this very day, two hopes had been left to sustain her.
She had hoped that the war being over, life would gradually resume its old face.
She had hoped that Ashley’s return would bring back some meaning into life.
Now both hopes were gone.
The sight of Jonas Wilkerson in the front walk of Tara had made her realize that for her, for the whole South, the war would never end.
The bitterest fighting， the most brutal retaliations, were just beginning.
And Ashley was imprisoned forever by words which were stronger than any jail.
Peace had failed her and Ashley had failed her，both in the same day, and it was as if the last crevice in the shell had been sealed, the final layer hardened.
She had become what Grandma Fontaine had couaseled against, a woman who had seen the worst and so had nothing else to fear.
Not life nor Mother nor loss of love nor public opinion.
Only hunger and her nightmare dream of hunger could make her afraid.