Wednesday, March 20, 2019

the last book I ever read (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story, excerpt five)

from John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story:

The town of Beaufort was dark and still. Williams drove along the main street, passing the great old houses that faced across the harbor toward the Sea Islands—eighteenth-century mansions of brick, tabby, and wood. Halfway between Savannah and Charleston, Beaufort had once been a major shipping center, but it was now an almost forgotten, perfectly preserved, gemlike little village. We cruised along the narrow streets, passing rows of handsome white houses gleaming in the darkness. The tidy, well-manicured section of town gave way shortly to unpaved streets and tiny run-down cottages. We pulled up in front of a wooden shanty with a swept-sand front yard. The house was unpainted except for the door and windows, which were a light blue. “Haint blue,” said Williams. “It keeps the evil spirits out.” The house was dark. Williams knocked lightly and then pushed the door open. The flickering light from a TV set was the only illumination in the cluttered front room. Pungent cooking smells, of pork and greens, filled the air. A man lay asleep on a daybed. He stirred as we entered. A young black woman came into the room through a curtained doorway carrying a plate of food. She nodded toward the back of the house without saying a word, and we walked on through.

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