[ 1885 January, 27 ]Letters
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Alexandria 27 January 1885

Dear Constantine, I have your charming Epistle, enclosing another of archaic idiom for Aristides and Addison’s Essay on the Imagination, for the gift of which I am as obliged to you as if it were worth a thousandfold its value.
     The translations are at foot and I hope you will find them satisfactory. I have exhorted Peter to write to mother this mail and I think he will. We are all three of us well, and gladdened by the prospect of an early settlement of the long delayed payment of the Indemnities.
     Wolseley, it is said, is well nigh at Khartoum and England has acceded to the desire of the other Powers for a joint guarantee of the proposed £9 million loan.
     So with fair winds our family vessel should come into port and ride safely at anchor by the month of March. With this allegory and sans autre, and charging you to remember me affectionately to all
          I remain
               Yours  John.
 
Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side, as a sword?
 
Φορείς (or φέρεις) την αγχίνοιαν (or αστειολογίαν) ως ξίφος πλησίον σου;
Never any one did so, though very many have been beside their wit.
Oυδέποτέ τις ούτως εποίησε, καίπερ πολλοί έξω φρενών εγένοντο.
 
The joke of course is lost, viz: “wit by thy side” as against “beside their wit” (mad) and the Greek sounds little better than nonsense. ― J.C.C.


From John C. Cavafy
To Constantine Cavafy

Transcribed and edited by Katerina Ghika