20 Dec 1873
My dear Biche,
About six months ago I had a letter from you to which I have not yet replied somehow or other. As this year is nearly out I won’t put off writing any longer but send this to wish you and all at home a very merry Christmas & happy new year.
I begin with your nephew who, I need hardly mention, is the most beautiful and extraordinary boy ever born. He is about six months old now & wants very much to walk, but does not know how to, so he insists on being jumped about a good deal & likes to run along with the nurse who holds up by the skirt. He has not advanced much in talking yet tho’ he occasionally says “Ma”, but he [?] beautifully he evidently intends to be a good scholar as he is already very fond of his book tho’ rather fond of devouring them when he is not at all hungry. He scrapes his nails all over the paper thereby making a delightful noise rather apt to putting some peoples’ teeth on edge. Moreover, he sleeps all nights. When he wakes before us in the morning either he's still or singing a little sing of his own composing diversified by interludes of thumb sucking. Altogether you have nephew of whom you may be very proud. Somehow or other I am always very busy. We have some ice now, but I can't find time to skate as it is a very long way off. The river is not yet frozen & the cold is by no means severe. On Christmas day, we are to dine at the Consulate, we shall be very few as nearly all the English have left for the winter, which is the time when there is very little to do here. Tell Gus he is to write to me, where is Tom now & what has become of the [?].
Does Joe still make up to May Parmely? I heard from Aunt Marion the other day. She gives a good account of Polly’s little girl, so I hope she is fast getting alright again. You must let me know when Walter comes back to Europe. I hear Ned & Father have both been away on business lately so I hope there is more to do now and more money around. I am suffering from a scarcity of that article after the heavy expenses of the last two years. It appears Lionel is really going to Canada in January. We see in the paper that perhaps Charley’s ship will go to the Gold Coast. I have heard nothing of Tom for a long time. I suppose she finds her son takes up a great deal of time. When you have nothing better to do, write and tell me all the Paris news. I suppose you see [?] still. How does [?] get on & has any attempt been made to renew the idea of the new house.
Were you very much disappointed at not getting a [?] the other day. If so, keep up your sports for you will neither get him or another European [?]. What are the [?] doing now?
Remember me to all friends when you see any. Florence is well & joins me with much love to Father & you all & wishing all a very happy new year.
Your affte Brother
I am always getting letters from you by Marseilles, but everybody to be sure & post “Voie d’ Autriche” otherwise they take from two to three weeks.