(Being a response to this letter. Chauncey receives a package which contains the below letter from his father, as well as some other items, listed afterward.)
I could not have been more elated to receive the parcels you sent, and trust you are well. We all enjoy reading your letters and wish you the best.
Knowing you to be of practical mien, I shall launch forthrightly into the financial matter at hand. The paintings you sent were indeed valuable, but their journey to my hands was not easy. The poor postal rider who delivered them unto me - a scraggly, gap-toothed boy of no more than fourteen - ran afoul of some centipedes during one leg of his journey. The lad demonstrated enviable pluck in continuing his ride, but I felt it only proper that I use a portion of the proceeds from the paintings to assist in funding the boy's hospital treatment - after all, we Woolstrikes are nothing without our reputation. He is now recuperating nicely in the sanatorium, the elephantine limb having been cleanly removed by surgeons. The parcels arrived with minimal damage thanks to his bravery and sacrifice.
I found a collector to purchase three of the paintings, and donated the fourth to a university with which I believe you are familiar, in hopes that it will be displayed with our names, that all may gaze upon the splendour of a former age. All told, the sale of the paintings netted us just over a thousand dollars, after expenditures for transport, some restoration, glad-handing dinner meetings with potential buyers, and the amputation of a leg.
The next concern to my mind was, rightly I think, the wisdom of dispatching back to you, on the lawless frontier, a package containing a large amount of cash. This enigma puzzled me for some time, until Stumpy came up with a solution. I trust you remember your 'Uncle' Hergenthal Stumpwhistle, a longtime friend of our family. Twas Stumpy who looked in upon your mother those many times when I was out of town on business; and so too was it dear Stumpy who assisted us on occasion in meeting our financial obligations when you were very small. His suggestion was to eschew the transportation of actual valuables, and instead set forth a very clever scheme which would ensure the safety of that which was due to you, my Chauncey.
You see, your Uncle Stumpy is owed a significant amount of money by an acquaintance in Frogport, which is a great distance from us here, but rather close to you. I gave Stumpy the cash in exchange for a letter, in his hand, directing this associate of his to pay the debt owed to Stumpy instead to you; and as the amount owed is significantly greater than what I gave Stumpy in cash, I feel this is a wise deal with much profit in it, and safer besides.
My dear son, you will no doubt be refreshed and pleased to hear how well things go here at home, and I can be coy no longer in announcing to you that I have again married. The third time shall indeed be the charm, and all the horoscopy seems in alignment. I cannot wait for you to meet my dear Anne - she is the sweetest, most agreeable young lady on this green earth, and I am chuffed to bits to have the privilege of being the one to raise her social station and rescue her from a life of horizontal drudgery. She sends you all her love, as is only right for a step-mother, and looks forward to meeting you one day in person; she has knitted you a gift which I include in this care package. I hope to soon have further news for you as regards a new baby brother or sister; we have cleaned out your old room for a nursery and found all manner of things hidden there, some of which I now return to you.
In other news, I continue to do well in my equestrian predictions, and have made acquaintance of a gentleman who will sell me his Baronetcy if I can raise the funds; we shall see if Fortune smiles upon your dear old Dad yet. With Anne in my life and such a son as you I have little about which to complain. In related news, the mysterious bollocks-boils have returned, but I am soaking in black tea as you directed.
We all pray for your well-being and prosperity of yourself and your companions daily, and in fact I have recently undertaken a kind of reverse-fast in your name, whereby I pray for you and drink a tumbler of whiskey. This ritual must surely bring you luck if the gods have ears, for I perform it twenty or thirty times each day, all in memory of my beloved son. Please continue to write to us, and include newspaper clippings of your wondrous adventures.
With all filial love,
The care package contains:
* a letter from Stumpwhistle directing one 'Stirling Coalpepper' of Frogport to pay unto Chauncey the sum of $2000 cash upon demand
* a hand-knitted winter scarf in Woolstrike family colors which smells of perfume
* assorted month-old local newspapers from back home
* a moth-eaten teddy bear from Chauncey's childhood
* several erotic postcards