[Via] Khedivieh steamer[Alexandria] 31 July 1883
|My dear Constantine,
This is the hottest day we have had yet this summer: I won’t exaggerate like Aristides and say that the flies drop down dead, but they would be perfectly justified, I think, in doing so. ¯ (Therm. 85o in the shade). ¯ Never was Alexandria so quiet as it is at present. The Exchange is literally deserted during the whole day with the exception of half an hour in the evening when the few remaining merchants assemble there to do ¯ nothing ¯
The firm of R.J. Moss and Co. is in much the same way of “dolce far niente”: be it not for some fortunate coal enterprises which keep me employed and will shew a handsome profit. ¯ Miani is in London enjoying himself. Moss is away in Scotland for a holiday with his family. Kneen is here, being slowly eaten up with fear of the Cholera ¯ He dares not go, else he would have been far away by this time. He comes to the Office for one hour only, ¯ fiddles round doing nothing, ¯ says “all right” to anything I may have to tell him ¯ and goes home, leaving everything in my hands. He is a fine sort of a manager, isn’t he! You know my sentiments with regard to this gentleman. I don’t complain for after all this conduct of his is doing me good, and I am looked up to as the practical head.
The Cholera is still going on in Upper Egypt but does not appear to be able to get a footing in Alexandria. I am inclined to think it will all be over in 2 or 3 weeks. ¯ At Casamicciola, near Naples, a fearful disaster has taken place ¯ Reuter’s telegrams announce no less than 3,000 deaths thro’ an earthquake. Several Alexandrians I am told have been killed, say the Sepsis, Cortozzis, Psiachis etc., who had gone there to spend the summer.
Fancy running away from the Cholera to meet with such a death! What is the world coming to?
I trust your next letters will bring us good news of poor Paul ¯ I am very sorry and very anxious about him. ’Tis now more than a year since I left you. How the time flies! and what would I not give to see mother again, Alexander’s merry face, Ýíáí Mðüëé ôß ôá ôß ôá, and Constantinus Fotiadé of future universal fame!
Next week we shall make you the usual remittance and in the meanwhile await mother’s decision as to borrowing money on the Claim ¯
Many many kisses to mother, Alexander, and Paul and thousands for you, my dearest Constantine
from yr. affectionate
P.S. Though ’tis depriving me of a great pleasure ¯ still don’t write to me if your eyes are still weak.
|From John C. Cavafy|
To Constantine Cavafy
Transcribed and edited by Katerina Ghika