[ 1884 August, 27 ]Letters
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[Ramleh] 27 August 1884

My dear Constantine,
     I have yours 18th for which many thanks. I am sorry I missed yesterday’s mail but I was not feeling so well, and had to put off writing you until now. The question you ask about Cartulis I am unable to answer positively, but believe the amount you mention is pretty correct: ¯ of course the indemnity-awards have been very profitable to many whose consciences can be easily silenced. I am staying at Ramlé this evening, whence I now write this epistle. Moss is very kind and wants me to stay with him for a week for change of air: he sends his very kind regards to mother. The Hotel Beau Séjour is at present pretty full: the society is composed chiefly of “militaires”, and is rather a noisy one. I left it about an hour ago revelling over B.+S. (brandy and soda) and hot gin-toddy. There is first and foremost a Dr. Churchill of the Army Medical Department; an Irishman with a true Irish brogue: a man of 5 feet nothing in his shoes, who talks French like an ass and thinks three times more about himself than you would be inclined to give him the credit of brain-power wherewith to do so. There are two other army Doctors with nothing remarkable about them except tough hides and a general “bull-appearance”. There is a Captain Burton of the Royal Engineers that puts in mind of a butcher’s boy ¯ There are two lieutenants, nice gentlemanly fellows, but both of German extraction. There is a Colonel with his wife, who eats (the wife I mean) as never woman ate before: meat, vegetables, sweets, fruit etc. etc., all go down with astonishing rapidity into her enormous “gouffre” than which no word is abler to describe this virago’s mouth. ¯ There is another Captain Somebody who has a strong conviction, like Darwin, of the descent of man from apes, and who looks very much like a Chimpanzee himself. And there are others, over which ’tis but a waste of time to ruminate at all. ¯ They are all fearfully conceited and egoistic. When you come to see Englishmen at close quarters, you are very frequently disappointed and pained at finding so many “humbugs” amongst them.
     I enclose a newspaper-cutting giving the details of Miss Antoniadis’ marriage with Musurus Bey.
     The general topic of interest here now is the shortly impending autumnal expedition to the Soudan and Reuter announces today the departure of General Wolseley to head the forces ¯ Much good may he do!
     Remember me dearly to mother, Alexander and Paul
          and believe me
               Your affectionate
                    John.
C.F. Cavafy Esquire
     Constantinople


From John C. Cavafy
To Constantine Cavafy

Transcribed and edited by Katerina Ghika