[ 1885 July, 10 ]Letters
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10th July 1885

My dear Constantine,
     I have yours of 28th June and I thank you for yr expressions of sympathy and encouragement. Some newspapers have it that the late change in the English Ministry will prove beneficial for English interests in Egypt. I confess I do not see it. The Conservatives can do but little anywhere before the next General elections, when, according to the best reports, the Liberals will be once more in power. It is only natural to suppose that the Liberals will beat the Conservatives, as it is but just that the newly enfranchised citizens should vote for those who gave them the enfranchisement.
     You will have heard that Sir H. Drummond Wolff is coming out to Egypt to report on the status quo. The Liberals sent out Lord Northbrook, and of course the Conservatives must send some one out also! As if sufficient Reports had not already been made on the country! Of Reports, an interminable number, but of men to read and follow these same Reports, never one! Humbug and red-tapeism are plausibly the delight of Governments, and this mission of Wolff’s is nothing but a subterfuge to gain time and a search of “How not to do it”. The Conservatives were a very fine lot as an Opposition party: they talked long and brave, but action, I am afraid, is quite another pair of sleeves.
     Sir Evelyn Baring has left on leave of absence. On the eve of his departure, he interviewed a Committee of British indemnitaires. As usual, the interview was an empty one: Sir E.B. expressed many hopes and many “beliefs”: hopes that such and such things would happen, hopes that such and such other things would not happen. “I believe, I trust, I expect” etc: but actualities, positive statements, ¯ none. Amongst his many hopes, however, there was one of some interest, viz. that Lord Salisbury might take into favourable consideration the proposal to pay, out of the British treasury, the claims of British indemnitaires. All things considered, this Indemnity question is, slowly but surely, reaching a climax and its liquidation cannot be very much longer prolonged.
     Another winter in Constantinople! I can well imagine how disheartened you must feel at the prospect of such an eventuality. I held it certain you would be back this year, ¯ but when did anything happen as anticipated?
     Mrs. Moss and the children are leaving on the 13th of the month by the Thebes for Liverpool. Mr Moss may follow them a fortnight later, via Brindisi, but he is very undecided and may spend the Summer here.
     Mr. Watson has retired from our firm to join his brothers, Wm Watson and Co. I rank now immediately after Mr. Kneen, in the Administration of the Office. ¯ My love to mother, Alexander and Paul. Write from time to time to
          Your affectionate
               Johannisberg.


From John C. Cavafy
To Constantine Cavafy

Transcribed and edited by Katerina Ghika