[ 1883 March,16 ]Letters
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[Alexandria] 16 March 1883

My dearest Constantine,
     I duly received your letter 3rd instant and trust to your indulgence for forgiveness, if I have not responded earlier thereto. Truth to say, I have little or no news for you. Your Magazine for March I am posting by this day’s mail ¯ Browning has come out with a fresh volume of poems, entitled Jocoseria and written in his usual unintelligible vein: there are however some very good verses in it, and, when you get to think that the author is an old man of 70, you are astonished to find the same vigour of thought that has justly raised the fine work “Pauline” to an eminence on the British Parnassus. ¯ I am glad to hear your chilblains are cured: perhaps the slow but sure progress of time had as much to do with the cure, as the apothecary’s “panacea”. ¯ An American prophecy has lately been literally fulfilled: a great storm was predicted from the 9th to the 12th instant which has actually risen and swept “the many waters of the deep” ¯ Disasters at sea have been numerous, and the effects of the storm have been felt even here.
     Thanks for Lafontaine’s amusing fable. Are you fond of Lafontaine? I think there can hardly be a more insipid writer, to say nothing of plagiarism, whereto he is much addicted.
     The Indemnity Commission is doing good work: it has already gone through, and allowed some 300 claims. As soon as a claim is admitted notice is given to the claimant and a certificate issued in his favour, whereby to enable him to recover the amount, when the funds for such purpose shall be forthcoming. The claims ¯ passed to date, are principally shopkeepers’, and do not exceed £ 200. ¯ As far as our own claim is concerned, we have been obliged, at Semiani’s request, to get declarations certifying the employments we were engaged in, and also stating the amount earned. Thus, I obtained a declaration for myself from Kneen, Peter from the Conseil for himself, and also one from Fredda for Paul. Moreover Aristides has drawn up another, to the effect that he and Alexander were brokers on the Exchange. These declarations, Semiani tells us, are necessary so as to prove to the Commission what were the family’s means of subsistence. ¯
     Peter wishes me to request you to tell mother, that Hassan Bey Mahmoud is shortly going to Vienna to sit at Sanitary Conference; and that he may probably proceed there via Constantinopoli; in such case Peter intends giving him a letter of introduction to Callinus. ¯ Peter has also lately received a letter from Verhaeghe, asking for information about the Tribunals, judges and Law-courts of Egypt. To this letter Peter has replied giving Verhaeghe a detailed account.
     With nothing else to add, and much love
     I am, dear Constantine
          Yours ever
               John.

From John C. Cavafy
To Constantine Cavafy

Transcribed and edited by Katerina Ghika