[ 1885 August, 23 ]Letters
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Alexandria 23rd August 1885
Sunday.

My dear Constantine,
     Aristides has just received mother’s letter of the 18th instant and I answer thereto in the name of all three. The Indemnities are now in course of payment, by order of nationalities, and there is little doubt we shall be paid next week, thus enabling us to send you the £140 by the mail of the 2nd September. We have carefully read all you write about furniture, and in this matter as well as in that of the choice of a house, we shall act for the best and as circumstances may direct. Besides the house already mentioned, Aristides has one in view in the Boulevard de Ramleh, which may probably suit us. Whe[n] the house is taken we shall send you a detailed [plan] of the internal arrangements. We clearly understand that if we get into our money by the 1st of September, we shall rent the house from the 1st of October; if our indemnity be not paid until the middle of September, we shall rent the house from 1st of November. We further understand that no linen is to be bought by us here; ¯ pray remember that, on anything you purchase in Constantinople, you will have to pay Custom House duty: namely 8% less 10%; the valuations of goods imported are very arbitrary, and you must not be surprised if you find duty is charged on a considerably higher than the real value of the stuff you will bring with you. We cannot refrain from thinking that things are as cheap here as in Constantinople.
     As far as the monthly remittance is concerned, I regret I shall be unable to send you at the end of this month the usual £10: I require this sum to furnish myself with many necessaries; such as shirts, flannels, drawers, socks, a suit of clothes, boots, a hat etc. Peter is in a like state of nudity, and he will keep this month what he usually sends you, to purchase an outfit. It is impossible to make clothing last for ever, nor is it decent to go about one’s business “en guenilles”. It appears strange to us how this has never crossed your minds; for surely you cannot think that £10 a month are sufficient for board and lodging and the replenishing of an empty wardrobe, and I will not do you the injustice to believe that you wish us to walk the streets like beggars.
     These are truths, ¯ unpleasant if you will, ¯ but none the less truths, which must be told and met.
     Give our sincere love to mother, Alexander and Paul, and believe me dear Constantine,
          Yours affectionately
               John.
 
 
C.F. Cavafy Esquire
     Constantinople


From John C. Cavafy
To Constantine Cavafy

Transcribed and edited by Katerina Ghika