Hooting Yard: Aphinar

To the Director

Dear Sir

I have come to enquire if I have anything left on account with you. I wish to change today my booking on this ship whose name I don’t even know, but anyway it must be the ship from Aphinar. There are shipping lines going all over the place, but helpless and unhappy as I am, I can’t find a single one – the first dog you meet in the street will tell you this. Send me the prices of the ship from Aphinar to Suez. I am completely paralysed, so I wish to embark in good time. Please let me know when I should be carried aboard…

Thus Arthur Rimbaud’s last recorded words, dictated in a delirium to his sister Isabelle from his Marseille hospital bed on the eve of his death on 10 November 1891. As Charles Nicholl notes in Somebody Else : Arthur Rimbaud In Africa 188-1891 (1997)