In "Gone with the Wind," who is Ashely Wilkes? How did Scarlett meet Rhett Butler?
Ashley Wilkes is a neighbor of Scarlett O'Hara's. Scarlett lives with her family on the plantation, Tara and Ashley lives with his family on the neighboring plantation, Twelve Oaks. Ashley is several years older than Scarlett and is betrothed to his cousin, Melanie Hamilton (Wilkes's always married their cousins - the idea was that only people of like background were suited for one another and it kept the bloodline pure). Scarlett believed she was in love with Ashley.
Scarlett met Rhett Butler at the April bar-b-que party that the Wilkes's had at the beginning of the story. Rhett, from Charleston, was a houseguest of one of the guests at the party so he attended the party as well. He had offended some of the men discussing the possible war by suggesting that the north was better equipped, so he went into an empty parlor to take a nap. Scarlett, thinking that if Ashley knew she loved him would admit he loved her, quietly slipped into that same parlor unaware of Rhett's presence. She asked Ashley to come in and declared her love for him. He was noble in his affirmation that he loved and was going to marry Melanie, but still gentle in his rebuff of Scarlett's advances. Scarlett threw a fit - and a porcelaine figurine - at Ashley and he left the room. Then Rhett stood up and surprised a very embarrassed Scarlett. He laughed at her and promised to keep her secret. She hoped to never see him again.