[ 1883 March, 1 ]Letters
Print
[Alexandria] 1 March 1883

My dear Constantine
     I hasten to acknowledge your letter 19th ultimo, which came to hand yesterday after the departure of the Khedivieh Mail, thus obviating an earlier reply.
     The weather still continues stormy but sufficiently better to allow steamers to enter and leave the harbour. With your letter we safely received those from mother and Paul to Peter. The latter requests me to say that he has written to Salem Pasha in Cairo about Paul’s certificate, and will forward same immediately on arrival.
     Thanks for your criticism on “Darkness and Shadows”; it is a rarity of fraternal clemency, but I cannot agree with you as to the use of the word “stars”. This is an expression adopted in all high literature, such as poetry, rhetoric etc. as an equivalent for the light-diffusing spheres, irrespective of any special identity. I understand your postscript.
     The French “soigner” is best rendered in English by the compound verb “to take care of”.
     “Ch” in “orchard” is pronounced as in “church”. For your guidance “ch” is always so pronounced in English, excepting only when it is intended to represent the Greek “÷” e.g. Achilles, Chiron, Choephorae etc.
     In “decisive” the second syllable takes a long “i” and the accent falls thereon.
     I see from the Egyptian Gazette that James Whittall of Smyrna is dead. This man, you must know, was the head of both the firm in Constantinopoli and Smyrna. He is reputed to have been the wealthiest merchant of the Levant and leaves an enormous inheritance.
     Moreover he was an ardent collector of coins and is well-known in London as the donor of a valuable numismatic collection to the British Museum.
     Lady Dufferin’s Charity Ball in Cairo was a great success, and a large sum of money has thus been raised in aid of the Alexandria Relief fund. The names for the largest donations on the list are: The Khedive £ 100. The Ex-Khedive £ 100. The Khedive’s grandmother £ 100. G. Antoniadis £ 100. (G.A. it appears wants to cut a figure, no matter with what detriment to his private purse) ¯
     With much love to all
          I am, my dear Constantine
               Yours ever
                    John.

From John C. Cavafy
To Constantine Cavafy

Transcribed and edited by Katerina Ghika