Dear James,

How wonderful it was to hear from you, but what frightful news. No lions? Does this mean you must alter your thesis all together? Surely there must be some great cat lurking in the jungle, some lion-like beast which you can substitute. I will write the Geographical Society myself, to see if there are spare lions which may be imported.

I confess that I miss you terribly. My female period is always troubled when you are away, and I find myself dependent on Women's CocaTonic for solace. Oh, but the most honeyed wine would be to see your sunburned face again, and feel your manly presence in this household. The Temperance Society meetings are now held here exclusively, so lonely am I. I shall bear up, however, and glue my upper lip firmly to my gum. Why, just look at my penmanship! Hardly a tremor betrays me. I know you would be proud to see how I endure without you.

I have already consulted a doctor about a colonectomy for Albert. It seems quite feasible, but I am concerned that it will be a painful experience for him. The doctor, Doctor Elias Haas, has assured me that there are anesthetics which are quite useful and effective on infants. I know you will be fascinated to know that they are using cu-ra-re for operations, now. Dr. Haas explained to me that in adults, it simply produces a state of paralysis, but in the very young, the paralysis is accompanied by a state of perfect anesthesia, painless euphoria. It is important to make sure the child cannot talk, however. The instant a child develops speech, the anesthetic qualities of the drug are lost, and so the surgery must be performed quickly, before Albert makes his South American pronouncement.

I have such dear hopes for him, James. His future is his father's; do not explore too much more, darling, or there will be no legacy for your son. His future is perhaps brighter still, though; Madame Blataslavsky has been told by the Spirits that Atlantis, home of ancient Troy, will be discovered in the upcoming decade. I am endeavoring to improve his behavior and general health such that he is entirely fit to make the discovery himself. His primitive intestine (as Dr. Haas calls it), is being smothered, as is mine, in rich cream and butterfat, and his obedience seems the better affected. His stool, as well, has begun to firm and is far denser than previous. On your return, he will be the very picture of roses and plump fat and good health.

Love and Warm Kisses,