Toward the end of Margaret Mitchell's "Gone With the Wind," Scarlett O'Hara says, "After all, tomorrow is another day" -- and it turns out there will be another day for Mitchell's final typescript of the novel's last four chapters.
In fact, the document, long thought to have been destroyed, will be on display at the Pequot Library in Southport, Conn., starting this Saturday, April 2.
The manuscript, perhaps one of the most precious literary artifacts in America, was found by chance after author Ellen F. Brown, who was working on "Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone With the Wind': A Bestseller's Odyssey From Atlanta to Hollywood," (published in February) sent the library a research request for the foreign editions of the book.
Brown reminded staff members at Pequot Library that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the novel's publication, and the library decided to put on an exhibit.
"It was in that process of trying to figure out what to put in the exhibit that I found the manuscript," said Dan Snydacker, executive director of the Pequot Library.
"This is a tremendous surprise because the story has always been that the pages were destroyed," Brown told ABC News.
The library had the manuscript authenticated by Chris Coover, a senior specialist in manuscripts and books at Christie's auction house in New York. Coover is a Margaret Mitchell expert who has handled artifacts such as letters from Mitchell. He realized the handwriting on the pages belonged to Mitchell and her husband, John Marsh.
Marsh was said to be so overcome with grief after his wife's tragic death that he destroyed the "Gone With the Wind" manuscript and kept some chapters for himself.
Those other surviving chapters now are kept in Atlanta as property of the Margaret Mitchell Estate and held securely in a bank vault where only the estate's attorney can have access.
However, the last four chapters evidently were in the hands of George Brett Jr., the president of Macmillan, Mitchell's publisher. He also happened to be president of Pequot Library in the 1950s.
'Gone With the Wind' Manuscript Chapters: Why Did Pequot Library in Connecticut Have Them?
Snydacker outlined three theories behind why Brett may have had those final chapters.
One possibility, he said, was that it was "inadvertent. You have to understand that this manuscript was quickly printed and published. There were no revisions. It was all so fast-tracked that it could've been that the final chapters were on his desk and he simply forgot to return it."
Brett also might have known that what he had in his hands was priceless, Snydacker said, and so he kept it.
Another theory is that it could have been a gift from Mitchell herself.
"I'd like to think that she gave them to him," Brown said, "because in previous Mitchell biographies it was said that they didn't have a good relationship. But one part we've uncovered in our book is that they had a great affiliation with each other at the end of her life."
The final chapters, evidently housed in the Pequot Library all these years, contain famous lines such as, "Quite frankly my dear, I don't give a damn," and, "After all, tomorrow is another day."
"If we hadn't kept this, it would be gone," Snydacker said. "That would be it."
'Gone With the Wind' Manuscript Chapters, Memorabilia on Display
Snydacker said there hadn't been an occasion to display the library's collection, including the newly discovered final four chapters, nor had there been any requests for it during his seven years with the library.
"We have editions of the book from Japan, Chile, Denmark," he said. "These covers are so beautiful and we wanted to put them on display in honor of the anniversary."
The manuscript along with other "Gone With The Wind" memorabilia will be on display at the Pequot Library until May 7 under the supervision of Joan Youngken, curator of the exhibit.
Snydacker and a staff member then will travel to Atlanta to hand-deliver the manuscript for display at the Atlanta History Center through the end of September.
'Gone With the Wind' Manuscript: 'It's Got Magic'
He's afraid to encounter a "Margaret Mitchell enthusiast" who may know he's carrying it, he said, and so will not be releasing details of his journey.
"It's got magic!" said Snydacker. "It's her handwriting. It was in her living room, and the magic in the manuscript is partially because we assumed it was in the ash bin beneath the furnace in Atlanta and it wasn't. It was saved, saved from destruction."