And they are dancing, the board floor slamming under the jackboots and the fiddlers grinning hideously over their canted pieces. Towering over them all is the judge and he is naked dancing, his small feet lively and quick and now in doubletime and bowing to the ladies, huge and pale and hairless, like an enormous infant. He never sleeps, he says. He says he’ll never die. He bows to the fiddlers and sashays backwards and throws back his head and laughs deep in his throat and he is a great favorite, the judge. He wafts his hat and the lunar dome of his skull passes palely under the lamps and he swings about and takes possession of one of the fiddles and he pirouettes and makes a pass, two passes, dancing and fiddling at once. His feet are light and nimble. He never sleeps. He says that he will never die. He dances in light and in shadow and he is a great favorite. He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die.
The last paragraph (excepting the epilogue) of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian.
Seven quick thoughts:
- I’ve read Blood Meridian more times than probably any book but I still don’t know what it means.
- Hats, bears, coins, shadows, dancing.
- The judge is a metaphysical entity, but what?
- I think McCarthy’s is pointing to something past the devil.
- The kid definitely dies at the end.
- But how definitely—no body, no corpse?
- I’ll read it again, of course.