“Theresa Galmier wrote to a dear friend describing, elliptically, her experiences in the port of Noon.” – Transcript

Christopher, darling –

Here I am in Port Noon, although the locals prefer plain Noon. It’s smaller than I expected, but I suppose most things are (the Mansus excepted). I spent the morning poking around. The houses are white and the hills are green and the air is golden and the sea won’t settle on one colour. The sun is punishing. I’ve bought a bigger hat.

And this afternoon I saw the Spring. I’d expected it to be better guarded, but I suppose the locals are guard enough. The power and cunning and history downstairs in the hotel bar just now – it’s probably enough to mop up half the Lodges on the Continent. But there was a rusty iron fence, an unlocked gate, a sign which needs repainting. I didn’t drink. I’m in no hurry to be forgotten! Nor did I take a sample. I wasn’t alone.

I know what you’re going to say. Be careful. And I am being careful. But everyone here seems so old! I don’t mean they look old. They all look Long, which is to say they all have the limber bodies of well-kept gentry on the precipice of late middle age. But they move with caution and speak with deliberation and they do like to reminisce. We had thought of Noon as exile, but it’s more like retirement.

They always pay their respects to the Sun here. At dawn they’ll lift a glass of tea or a coffee-cup, and at sunset they will pour out a little wine. It’s not exactly a religious effect – it’s more like the due one owes an absent friend.

Talking of which, I hear that our acquaintance is still on the island. She lives in the hills, but she comes into town for tinned goods and toiletries. I have enough funds to wait for a couple of weeks. If she makes an appearance, I’ll put our proposition to her, and if she doesn’t – well, I’ll think of something.

I am being careful. I know you don’t believe me. But I set the locks and draw the wards, each night, before I think of you.