|Alexandria 10 July 1883
|My dear Constantine,
Your letter 2nd instant came duly to hand. I am much obliged for the butterfly, and shall bury it deep in a little box, where the clatter and noise of this world may not disturb its innocent slumber ¯ ’Tis a beauty, and its loveliness well nigh inspired me with a poetical outbreak, which however was speedily scattered to the winds, by the idea that I might be verging on the commonplace. (and there is hardly anything more hateful to me!) ¯
You are quite right in taking care of your eyes ¯ and I should certainly advise you not to overstrain them. Your news is very interesting and I am very glad to notice the favourable progress Paul is making. Aristides writes you fully about the Cholera in reply to Alexander’s letters. Pray assure mother she need be under no anxiety. You know yourself how fast ill news travels and what exaggeration is generally attached thereto! We are all well and take great care of ourselves.
I am glad to see you like the Egypt. Unfortunately this paper has had but a short career. Mr. Goodrich has been obliged to suspend its publication for want of printers, and the periodical is now a thing of the past: the letter signed I.C.C. is written by Chapman, who, with John C. Carlisle and myself, constitutes the triumvirate of I.C.C.s in Egypt. I know Goodrich personally. He is an interesting young man and a thorough classical scholar. I need say no more: for, as you know, “classics” with me, are the true basis of all knowledge. ¯ Your friend Stephen Schilizzi is leaving for Liverpool on the 12th instant by one of our ships, the Neera: he is accompanied by his brother Nicholas: they purpose staying in England for a month or two. ¯ The Ruscovichs are here and I see them occasionally: I don’t know them to speak to. ¯ “Ah wad some power the giftie gie us” etc are favourite lines with me, and, curious to say, I was looking for them the night previous to the arrival of your letter.
On a separate sheet I give you the translation from Irving you ask for and respond to your other linguistic queries.
There is a rumour being spread about today here, that the British Government has decided upon a protectorate in Egypt for an unfixed period. The unified has consequently risen three points say from 69 to 72.
Conformably with Alexander’s request, I shall now post you, regularly, the Pays Financier ¯
Many many kisses to dear mother, and again beg of her not to fret about us. ¯ We are perfectly safe. Give my best love to Alexander and Paul and remember me to all our relations ¯ and believe me to be your devoted and affectionate brother
P.S. I hope, next week, I shall be able to afford the time for a longer and more interesting letter. This, I know, is hardly presentable, both in style and calligraphy, but I trust to yr. kind forbearance.
P.S. No 2. I enclose two photos of Aristides and myself. I don’t think we have either of us changed much since you saw us last. ¯
id. again ¯
|From John C. Cavafy|
To Constantine Cavafy
Transcribed and edited by Katerina Ghika