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"The Finding of Nowever Then" by Paterson De Sanctis continues:
Here, Reader, I put my meager writing powers to the test. (What a joy, though, to attempt this description.) Knowing where you are in Nowever Then is extremely important. As our Mr. Franklin might say, the "music" of a place is part of the enjoyment of being somewhere. You must be "in the music" as one is "in the know." (I think he will like this analogy.) The idea is to see, learn and then - in a certain way -"forget." Don't worry, it still will be there, right inside you all the while.
Alright now ... Franklin's eyes drank the view of a wooded, many-leveled rise of land that was dotted with magnificent mansions and fanciful pavilions... Here now is a perfect place to begin my tour. We will return to Franklin's adventure after I complete this description.
The first elevated section of the area - the closest to someone out to sea - is called Front Ridge. It is made up of North Arm and South Arm - two almost vertically steep peninsulas or "Arms" that nearly form a closed circle. The mouth formed by these chunks of land leads to an intimate bay.
An approximate rendering of Nowever Then by P.L
Both embracing Arms display the five finest mansions in all Nowever Then. These houses are of various styles: One is a giant white colonial with towering columns and porticos; another is of Byzantine design with a rust-colored cupola tiled with mosaics; one takes its shape from the Petite Trianon at Versailles and suggests white marble with thin blue-veins; another is a many-gabled tutor of iridescent stone. The largest dwelling is the Nowever Then Mansion, which is the presidential estate (where I spent my tenure). This house has North Arm all to itself. (It rests near the tip, which is quite a "musical" spot.) The house, a mixture of colonial and Mediterranean, has eight spacious porches, four of which are stacked beneath the giant cupola. Towering columns brace these porches and create an impression of strength and stability. The other porches stretch out on the east and west side of the mansion. A small tower rests atop the main dome.
It is the plan of Peter Lucia, our semi-resident artist, archivist, philologist and drain-pipe service man, to locate something called "an Internet server" inside this little cupola. Apparently, this will be our link to the "outside world." We at Nowever Then don't mind modern things, so long as they are hidden and used in the service of Eternity. You must realize that the name "Nowever Then" contains the present ("Now"), the future ("Ever") and the Past ("Then.") Please keep inmind that Then can also refer to the future. We like to cover all bases. Ah, Eternity!
I must say that the Presidential Mansion is something of a mystery. Specifically, no one has ever been able to figure out precisely how many rooms it contains. For over fifty years we have been trying to count them, but each time we give up. Go figure (as they say).
I should add that both North Arm and South Arm of Front Ridge are wide enough to loose yourself in. This is significant. At various locations you can forget that you are on a ridge above the sea. Indeed, you might very well feel yourself in the country. Much of Nowever Then is like this: orientation or disorientation to your liking - the view of adult or child, as you wish.
A hundred feet or so above Front Ridge is Middle Ridge. This is the "neighborhood" of Nowever Then. A mile north to south and about half that east to west, it curves up and into Mystic Mountain. An important thing to know about Middle Ridge is that it is actually a hilly series of closely placed peninsulas and islets. Gentle, quiet tributaries (narrow natural canals in some places) separate these humped and wooded sections of land. Together they form a swirling, almost paisley design with many dark and romantic coves ( perfect spots to park your canoe). A hundred small bridges, each exquisitely fashioned by elderly artisans (each artisan a minimum age of 82), span the tributaries at convenient locations.
house of Dr. Zeno Clamp is one of the many
The south side of Middle Ridge has a downtown area. Our Main Street, which leads into a spacious public square, rivals the best in any community, past or present. A vault-like bank of classical design, turreted P.O. with depot to match, drugstores with lunch counters, a five and dime that boasts the same, and dozens of smart little shops that offer everything from cork-tipped Abdullahs to twice-baked zwieback.
features of Nowever Then are based on the finest
Main Street is one of several cross-crossing streets that span the largest, least hilly peninsula of Middle Ridge. Parallel to Main is Church Avenue. Here a half dozen small castles represent the prevalent denominations. Here you will also find our ivy-matted library and the bronze monument to my grandfather, Cecil DeSanctis, and his fellow explorer Frank Maple (a fine likeness, with the flap of Maple's underdrawers still "open to the elements"). Average-sized Victorian, tutor and small colonial houses (each unique one from the other) couch in our Main Street district on all four sides.
On the opposite side of Middle Ridge is what we call "the city." For those desirous of such living, several elegant apartment buildings and fashionable hotels, many stories high, grow from the ground like marvelous natural formations. Go ahead and chuckle, but one hotel is an exact replica of New York's Waldorf Astoria. Another building contains the Stork Club lookalike and another "El Morocco." Don't be seen near here at night without the proper gown or top hat and tails!
The sight that greatly contributed to Franklin's awe-struck expression, as he sat sprawled backwards on that salty little raft, was doubtless our fantastic Upper Ridge. It is hardly a Ridge; it is a mountain. We call it (rather prosaically) Mystic Mountain (for reasons which will later become clear). A quarter-mile high, it is as different from the other two ridges as a small American town is from old Cathay. I refer not only to structure, of course, but content. Looking up from the other two ridges one observes, in the morning light, the turreted castle facades, balconies, terraces, loggias, pavilions and gazebo-like structures that are built into this rocky rise. These architectural creations lead to public and private buildings that are built into the rock.
Much can be said about Mystic Mountain; it is made up of many districts - and some unusual people. We believe that the "mountain folk" are indigenous to the rise (they are not really part of Nowever Then in the same way as most). They live in the palatial interior of the mountain and on certain western ledges. They wear robes of silk and muslin. Come across a blue luminescent grotto and you might find them bathing in naturabilis. Their young women are quite picturesque. But I become distracted. Let me say that we live in "peaceful co-existence" with them.
Wandering Mystic Mountain, one might very well happen upon a scene reminiscent of a Max Parrish painting (see above). Many people believe that Parrish at one time found his way to Nowever Then and that Mystic Mountain was a source of inspiration for him.
We call it Mystic Mountain because every few days it disappears. Yes, disappears. No one knows why. We believe that it exists one or more dimensions "deeper" than Nowever Then. The advantage of this disappearing act is more hours of sunlight. Sometimes the mountain gently wavers between being and non-being. This gossamer effect is quite an enthralling thing to see (and Franklin, in arrival, caught a glimpse of it).
Now I really must tell you of a recent discovery in Mystic Mountain that would have stunned my grandfather. Deep inside the mountain (I won't say where at present) there are two dark stone archways. On entering the right archway, one makes a small sharp turn and immediately sees daylight or at least some different kind of light not associated with mountain interiors. This appears to be some kind of exit! Proceed further and you will receive the shock of your life: You pass through the exit and immediately find yourself in Paris, France! Yes, specifically you end up in the kitchen of Chez L'Ami Louis, 32 RueVertbois (in the Third Arrondissement). The dilapidated place is always so crowded with patrons enjoying the best roast chicken in the city that few people will notice you. If you can make your way to the front door, all of Paris will be at your disposal. On your way back to Nowever Then, just return to the kitchen and touch the wall next to the large oven.
Now ... Back inside Mystic Mountain, you may want to try the left archway. You will find that the left leads to Rome, Italy, specifically to that great gelato place in the Piazza Navona. So, you see, it's possible to leave Nowever Then by the right arch and a minute later have dinner in Paris; go back to Mystic Mountain, pass through the left arch and have desert in Rome - all in under an hour (depending on how fast you eat)! Only two such arches have been discovered at present. There may well be more.
To complete my rendering of the above three Ridges I must mention the central waterfall. It is such an important and obvious "decoration" that it can never go unmentioned. Down from the mountain it cascades, long and narrow. It fills the tributaries of Middle Ridge and again becomes a single body as it falls hundreds of feet below to the bay, precisely where the north and south arms officially meet. Down in the bay, it forms a kind of curtain in front of the delightful restaurant, Fall's Bottom, which is a many-roomed establishment with a seafaring theme.
Finally, we have the boardwalk and beach. Our raft-borne Mr. Franklin is headed directly for this region, as it is one of the few sea-level parts of Nowever Then. You can think of it as a narrow, winding Coney Island or, better, as Atlantic City of old. (It is narrow and winding because it completely outlines the arms of Front Ridge.) With its penny arcades, Ferris Wheels, merry-go-rounds, exotic picture palaces (some of which are built into the rock) and frilly pavilions; its boating excursions, bicycle junkets, balloon rides and casino spectaculars, the Boardwalk District is the perfect place to amuse away an hour or a week.
Well, there you go: a nice introduction to our little corner of the universe.
We will skip further questions and immediately introduce the closing section of Paterson's account. I include the following because it is a rather entertaining description of Franklin's actual arrival on the shores of Nowever Then. (P.L.) Please click on the Next Page button below.