I hope this finds you hail and well. As you know our failure in the forests cost Grampy two of his best hounds and all of us a good part of our honor. Our meagre Yule fare served not to cheer the old man even though parsimony and abstinence are our want, our way, and our weight in the world. In consequence perhaps, Grampy has taken the ague and Aunt Cilla doctors to him. Upon visiting he speaks of little but that cat and its path of destruction. Uncle 'Lonzo yearns--I ponder that is the proper word--to set out again and hunt the beast. My own back has taken on a deep bone ache which slows me. Your Ma attributes it to causes both natural and supernatural but offers no remedy. Tonight we welcome the New Year alone--the Papists celebrate it as the circumcision of Jesus Christ. Whether we are here when you return from the village turns on the wishes of God and your Uncle 'Lonzo's persuasion.