[ 1883 April, 2 and 3 ]Letters
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[Alexandria] 2 April 1883

My dear Constantine,
     Your letter 18th March reached me a few hours after the departure of the mail last week: hence my late reply. I am glad to see you got the magazines all right, and hope to send this month’s number by next Tuesday’s mail. The “Dying Sailor” is not at present in a finished state: hardly presentable I should say, but I shall get it ready, with what speed I may, and send it you.
     On investigation I find that Damala has not separated with Sarah Bernhardt. True he thought of taking up the military profession but, on second thoughts, appears to have given up the notion.
     Neither Alexander nor Ambrose Schilizzi frequent the “après-midi dansants” of Mrs. Zervudachi ¯ Michel Ralli must evidently mean your friend Stephen.
     On Thursday last I went to Zervudachi’s grand ball with Aristides. Peter would not be induced to go on any account, so he lent me his frock coat, and John (whom, Alexander would jocularly remark, he was ashamed to go out with) did himself up and played the gentleman! Altogether the ball was a success: the rooms were well-lighted and adorned with flowers. The officers were magnificent: all of them in full dress and gilt belts. Your friend Mrs. Z. was conspicuous for her small stature on the arm of General Harman, ¯ the boss of the evening. ¯ Dancing was kept up till 7 o’clock in the morning but I cleared out long before that, say at three. The supper however was nothing extraordinary ¯ a perpendicular one ¯ a cold one ¯ (nothing like Menasee’s). You had to stand up and help yourself to anything you could get: and, as usual, the ladies were so long feeding that when the gentlemen’s turn came there was little or nothing left. One of the officers (Major Mills by name) remarked to me that the wines were very poor ¯ and so they were ¯ Competent judges state that Mrs. Gabriel Zogheb was the “reine du bal”. A good many English people were there: say Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Carver, Mr. and Mrs. Allen, Mr. and Mrs. Birch, Alderson, Wilson, Dixon, Halton, Caillard etc etc.
 

3 April 1883

     Since writing the above I am in receipt of your letter 25th ultimo and Alexander’s letter to Peter ¯ You cannot imagine how the perusal of the latter has grieved and pained me ¯ It is evidently impossible that mother and yourselves can continue to lead this miserable existence, and I do think that Aristides’ proposal to borrow £ 200 is the only way out of the difficulty. When we are all together somehow or other we shall manage to get on, but separated as we are at present we can do nothing.
     Thanks for your news and Schiller’s “Ibycus”.
     Tell mother that Ciocci and Noel always sell furniture: their prices of course having slightly risen.
     It is difficult to say what Metaxopulo is doing: his firm I believe is no longer in existence ¯ He certainly no longer ships anything in his own name ¯
          With best love
               I am, dear Constantine
                    Yours ever
                         John.


From John C. Cavafy
To Constantine Cavafy

Transcribed and edited by Katerina Ghika