[ 1883 April, 24 ]Letters
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[Alexandria] 24 April 1883

Dearest Constantine,
     I have none of your valued letters to acknowledge this week. Herein I send you a translation in Greek of the passage you enclosed in your last. Allow me to again require, wherefor these translations? My curiosity is aroused. ¯ Yesterday we received Alexander’s letter to Aristides, and acting up to his suggestions, have obtained and forwarded to you a duplicate of the Credit’s Cheque for £ 10. I have registered the letter and trust it will reach you safely. ¯ Alexander’s statement that Paul is taken ill, with boils on his neck, has much alarmed us, and I am very anxious to have your further news ¯ Misfortunes are never single. I say this with reference to Aristides whose business is very poor indeed and disables him from remitting you anything at present. I can easily imagine in what monetary difficulties poor mother finds herself, ¯ and the inability to do anything towards the alleviation of her troubles is, I assure you, exasperating.
     I have had a talk with Moss ¯ He has again told me that he is anxious to see me become an Englishman, so that I may be of real service to him (sic): but that my going to England will have to be postponed owing to Miani’s approaching absence. ¯ I availed myself of the opportunity to request him to look out for situations here and he promises to do his best: tho’ he holds out a very meagre prospect. As regards my eventually going to Liverpool, don’t you think the whole thing much resembles the fable of the Shepherd, who always cried “Wolf” and no wolf turned up? ¯
     There is no news of any sort. It is pleasant however to notice that ¯ now the indemnities are being gradually adjudicated, ¯ the reconstruction of buildings is being proceeded with and a good many of the ruins are cleared out.
     It is said that an English Company has bought up the land round the square and the right-hand side of Cherif Pasha St. with a view of building commodious dwelling-houses in a uniform style.
     The next drawing of the Credit Mobilier lottery is ¯ I believe ¯ for the 1st May proximo and I shall not fail to send you the Pays Financier ¯
     With best love to mother, Alexander and Paul and trusting to hear soon that the latter is better
          I am, dear Constantine,
          Your affectionate brother
               John.
 
P.S.     “Illa fuit mentis prima ruina meae”, which being translated, meaneth: ¯
     I began this letter with a bad nib, and have consequently scribbled atrociously right thro’.
     What would Ovid think of such an ignoble paraphrase of his polished verse? ¯


From John C. Cavafy
To Constantine Cavafy

Transcribed and edited by Katerina Ghika