[ 1883 December, 18 ]Letters
[Ramleh] 18 December 1883

My dearest Constantine,
     I am in receipt of your affectionate letter of the 10th instant which I have read with great interest, particularly so as regards the state of your eyesight: and cannot say how much I am grieved to read the distressing accounts you give me. Learning is mere dross compared to the value of man’s sight, and I earnestly implore you to throw all books and writing to the days, until such time as your ocular organs may be strengthened. About spectacles I don’t know and you must ask better advice than mine, but I should certainly recommend you to refrain from any straining exercise ¯ As an instance I mention Miani. Your eyes are certainly not as bad as his were ¯ and yet he can see now as well as I can. And what did the doctors recommend him to restore his fast-going faculty? Simply this: they required of him to abstain all reading and writing for a period of three months and not to expose himself to the broad daylight. I know you have sufficient good sense to feel certain that you will be careful, ¯ and I further beg of you to cease writing to me: do not think I shall in such case forget you ¯ I promise faithfully to send you my weekly news as hitherto. ¯ Your happiness and welfare I have nearer at heart than anything in the world, and it is sadly distressing to me to hear that anything ails you.
     The Gentleman’s Magazine I posted last week ¯ The Annual has not yet come to hand. I shall not fail to subscribe you for the first six months of 1884 to the Temple Bar ¯ in fact I shall do so tomorrow as soon as I get into town, for I write these lines from my room at the Hotel in Ramleh, where I am again staying at Moss’ invitation ¯ Your various questions about Alexandria Society I have asked Aristides to respond to: he being more “au courant” of such matters than I am.
     The Greek parable is very nice and much to my taste. I am now very sorry I sent you “Ossian”, for I am afraid your curiosity for literary works will have the better of your prudence and induce you to read the poems to the detriment of your eyes ¯ Put the old bard away in a corner. ¯
     Pray excuse this hurried letter and offer my love to mother, Alexander and Paul
          believing me ever
               Your very affectionate
C.F. Cavafy Esquire
P.S. Kneen arrived from Cairo this morning restored in health. He takes to his duties tomorrow and I am very glad.

From John C. Cavafy
To Constantine Cavafy

Transcribed and edited by Katerina Ghika