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Savannah, Georgia
Friday, December 1

Dearest Tassie,

I've been gone from Nollop a mere three days, and already I yearn for what I've left behind. My friends think I'm crazy, that here in the land of modern inconveniences (the telephone! the television! the Internet!) I miss the little island of Nollop, which is ignorant of all these things - to my delight.

If it were not for the necessity of completing the work yet remaining for my Master's degree, I'd fly - metaphorically, that is, as Nollop lacks an airport, which to me is no small part of its charm! - to the arms of the girl I adore, to the town that embraced me, to the island that still fascinates me. In fact, I regard myself as an expatriate, now, for when I visited Nollop I felt that I was coming home.

Now I find myself terribly homesick.

It seems strange, I know, that in this land of plenty I feel that there's something missing. Certainly Savannah is rich in so many ways: there is no shortage of fine food, elegant homes, electronic gizmos. My fellow Master's candidates have high IQs, and I enjoy their conversation immensely. Yet there's one thing I lack, noticeable by its absence, and I feel the loss keenly.


P.S. Forgive me for employing the wordplay that might bring back memories of recent hard times on Nollop; as asinine and idiotic as those restrictions were, the people of that place showed great strength of character in the many clever methods they employed to meet them. This minor game reminds me of the island I love; the people I love; and most especially, the girl I love, who I am certain will instantly spot my fond ploy.

Tuesday, December 5

Dear Nate,

Your 'fond ploy' - I would call it homage to the wild succession of occurrences that brought us together - most certainly did not escape my eye. A quick re-reading, and I instantly perceived what was amiss. How sweet you are to say that the only thing lacking is "u"! And since you wrote that wordplay reminds you of Nollop, in turn I have endowed this letter with a small trick or two.

Life here is slowly returning to normal, or as normal as things in the wake of such Nollop-shattering events have the capacity to become. And my mother and I have returned to normal - or as normal, etc. - too. In fact, last Sunday I sat on a hill at the edge of Nollopville, overlooking the water; well, to be honest, it's more of a knoll. And there, out on the Sound, I saw Mr. Cummels taking my mother for a sail in his shallop!

His head was bent very close to hers, and I think I even saw him gently kiss her neck; I had known that they'd become close friends, but honestly, I hadn't seen them together quite like this, before. Now, I know this may sound ludicrous. But it makes me happy to see my dear mama being courted like this, by someone she became friends with during the recent events; it's proof that good things can spring from even the worst mess. (I think he even asked her to marry him - I could hear snatches, carried on the wind, of his pleas!)


P.S. I miss you with every last syllable of my being!

Savannah, Georgia
Saturday, December 9

Dearest Tassie,

I will most certainly come to Nollop for Christmas, as per your invitation!

Let me congratulate your mother on her impending nuptials, if indeed what you overheard was a proposal. Of course, hearing of her courtship makes me think of the days we spent together, devising a plan to bring before the Council. Very little does not remind me of you, to be perfectly honest. Everything I see causes me to miss you more.

Yesterday I was told by my advisor that after this semester, I need no longer take classes. Only an examination and a thesis remain to be completed - and my work on Nollopiana, he says, will count strongly in my favor. Unless some unforeseen obstacle blocks my way, I will be able to work full-time on my Master's thesis after the end of the semester.

My thesis, naturally, is on Nollop. As you might expect, the goings-on of this past autumn form the core of my paper; although originally I had expected to discuss Nollop and its history in more general terms, the recent crisis provided me with an unprecedented opportunity to observe - nay, to participate in! - history in the making. Rarely does one have a chance like this. Residing on Nollop for the short time I was granted (until I was so ignominiously boat-shipped out for the transgression of publication) gave me much more than grist for my thesis. You, my darling Tassie, are reason enough for me to return.

May I stay - not just for Christmas, but after? Earnestly, hat-in-hand, I beg you.

Your Nate

P.S. Perhaps you have noticed that there is more than one question being asked in this letter. Like you, I'm enjoying our game. (Even though it may seem irreverent to entrust such an important question to wordplay! After all, were it not for your uncle's facility with words, Nollop would still be under ridiculously restricted rules of speech.) Surely you know that you are foremost in my heart. Eagerly I await your reply!

Tuesday, December 12

Dear Nate,

Yes, yes, a million times yes!

Your loving bride-to-be,

P.S. This letter is as you see it with nothing hidden, because I am far too delighted and excited to conceal a secret message!

Monday, December 25

Dear Mr. Dunn,

My cousin Ella has forwarded me your letter of thanks for permission to include my letters - part of a compilation of collected correspondence she forwarded you - in your forthcoming account of our recent troubles here on Nollop. I'm happy to help in your enterprise, and wish you luck with finding a publisher for your book.

Since you've become acquainted second-hand with not only our island but our lives, not only our troubles but our triumphs, I feel it's only right to invite your inclusion in the denouement. On Valentine's Day, my mother will be marrying Rory, and Nate and I will be wed as well, in a double ceremony in the National Library of Nollop. (I believe you're familiar with all the principals!) You are welcome to join us as we celebrate.

Sincerely yours,
Tassie Purcy

P.S. Wishing you a very joyous Xmas, bedecked with zestful piquancy!