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“I’ll go back. Charleston never gets out of the blood of a Charlestonian, but I’ll go back to visit, not to stay”….He loved Charleston…its beauty and its grace and its soft-scented salt breezes and its courage in the face of loss and ruin.

From Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley

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A sudden noise made her jump. Then she realized that it was the chime of a great clock somewhere above them…Behind them the chimes ended their quartet of notes. A single bell rang once. “That’s every Charlestonian’s time-keeper,” Eleanor Butler said, “the bells in Saint Michael’s steeple. They record our births and our passings.”

From Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley

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Dinner was a revelation. The she-crab soup was a velvety blend of tastes that made her open her eyes wide. She’d never tasted anything so subtly delicious…

From Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley

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King Street was a revelation and a delight. Stores lined it for block after block; dry goods, hardware, boots, tobacco and cigars, hats, jewelry, china, seeds, medicines, wines, books, gloves, candies–it seemed that everything and anything could be bought on King Street. There were crowds of shoppers, too, and dozens of smart buggies and open carriages, with liveried drivers and fashionably dressed occupants.

From Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley

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You’re in Charleston and married to a Charlestonian, Scarlett. You can’t afford to wrap your backwoods innocence around you as a shield. This is an old city with an old civilization. An essential part of being civilized is consideration for the sensibilities of other.

From Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley

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The Market was the perfect place for Scarlett to begin the life of a Charleston lady. The Market was an outward, visible distillation of Charleston’s essence. From the city’s earliest days it had been the place where Charlestonians bought their food. The lady of the house–or, in rare cases, the man–selected and paid for it, a maid or coachman received it and placed it in a basket hung over the arm.

From Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley

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The magic word “Battery” had exactly the effect she hoped for. Both driver and porter became respectful and eager to be of service. So it’s still the most fashionable address in Charleston, Scarlett thought with relief. Thank goodness. It would be too awful if Rhett heard I was living in a slum.

From Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley

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Fittingly, the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor. To most of the world Charleston was the symbol of the mysterious and magical, moss-hung, magnolia-scented South. To Charlestonians as well.

From Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley

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It [Charleston] was civilized and hedonistic in a balance that created a culture of exquisitely refined grace in which incomparable luxury was tempered by a demanding discipline of intellect and education.

From Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley

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The Charleston that had molded Eleanor Butler and drawn Rhett back after decades of adventuring was an old city, one of the oldest in America. It was crowded onto a narrow triangular peninsula between two wide tidal rivers that met in a broad harbor connected to the Atlantic. First settled in 1682, it had, from its earliest days, a romantic languor and sensuality foreign to the brisk pace and Puritan self-denial of the New England colonies. Salt breezes stirred palm trees and wisteria vines, and flowers bloomed year-round. The soil was black, rich, free of stones to blunt a man’s plow; the waters teamed with fish, crab, shrimp, terrapin, and oysters, the woods with game. It was a rich land, meant to be enjoyed.

From Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley