Jenny Marx (von Westphalen)

 

 

on occasion of her 200th birthday

on February 12, 1814

 

 

 

 

 

young love

 

 

Karl and Jenny

 

 

Jenny von Westphalen

time of her engagement with Karl Marx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jenny Marx in the 60th

 

 

Heinrich Heine in conversation with Karl and Jenny Marx

Paris 1844

 

 

Engels with Marx' family

 

 

Son Edgar Marx

(probably drawn by Fredrick Engels)

 

Jenny Marx with her eldest daughter Jenny

(Foto from the 50th)

 

Daughter Jenny Marx in 1850

 

Jenny and Jenny

 

Daughter Jenny in 1860

 

Daughter Jenny Longuet 1865

 

Daughter Jenny - 1880

 

Karl Marx and his daughter Jenny Marx

 

 

Eleanor Marx 1860

Daughter Eleanor

 

Daughter Eleanor

 

Eleanor Marx 1880

 

Eleanor Marx 1890

 

Laura Marx 1850

 

Daughter Laura Marx

Daughter Laura

Laura Marx

 

Laura Marx 1870

Laura Marx 1870

 

 

 

 

Jenny Marx 1870

 

 

 

 

Statue of Jenny Marx in front of her birthplace in Salzwedel

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jenny Marx - after one year of marriage

 


 

 

Jenny von Westphalen was born on February 12, 1814 in a noble family in Salzwedel. As a young girl she was educated together with Karl Marx. With the wedding she put her life in the service of her husband's work. She called herself "his secretary," was equally his editor and manager. She had a decisive role in ensuring that her husband could accomplish his work. Her life was marked by the care of the three surviving daughters, one of seven children. Jenny Marx died after a long and serious illness at age 67 on 02 December 1881 in London.

 


 

 

"The bad thing now is to be 'old' so as to be only able to foresee instead of seeing," Marx complained in 1881, shortly before Jenny's death from cancer, and two years before his own, his health broken by age 64.

 

 

 

JENNY MARX (von Westphalen)

LETTERS

1839-1869

 

Jenny Von Westphalen to Karl Marx
In Berlin (1839/1840)

 

My dear and only beloved,

Sweetheart, are you no longer angry with me, and also not worried about me? I was so very upset when I last wrote, and in such moments I see everything still much blacker and more terrible than it actually is. Forgive me, one and only beloved, for causing you such anxiety, but I was shattered by your doubt of my love and faithfulness. Tell me, Karl, how could you do that, how could you set it down so dryly in writing to me, express a suspicion merely because I was silent somewhat longer than usual, kept longer to myself the sorrow I felt over your letter, over Edgar, indeed over so much that filled my soul with unspeakable misery. I did it only to spare you, and to save myself from becoming upset, a consideration which I owe indeed to you and to my family.

Oh, Karl, how little you know me, how little you appreciate my position, and how little you feel where my grief lies, where my heart bleeds. A girl's love is different from that of a man, it cannot but be different. A girl, of course, cannot give a man anything but love and herself and her person, just as she is, quite undivided and for ever. In ordinary circumstances, too, the girl must find her complete satisfaction in the man's love, she must forget everything in love. But, Karl, think of my position, you have no regard for me, you do not trust me. And that I am not capable of retaining your present romantic youthful love, I have known from the beginning, and deeply felt, long before it was explained to me so coldly and wisely and reasonably. Oh, Karl, what makes me miserable is that what would fill any other girl with inexpressible delight -- your beautiful, touching, passionate love, the indescribably beautiful things you say about it, the inspiring creations of your imagination -- all this only causes me anxiety and often reduces me to despair. The more I were to surrender myself to happiness, the more frightful would my fate be if your ardent love were to cease and you became cold and withdrawn.

You see, Karl, concern over the permanence of your love robs me of all enjoyment. I cannot so fully rejoice at your love, because I no longer believe myself assured of it; nothing more terrible could happen to me than that. You see, Karl, that is why I am not so wholly thankful for, so wholly enchanted by your love, as it really deserves. That is why I often remind you of external matters, of life and reality, instead of clinging wholly, as you can do so well, to the world of love, to absorption in it and to a higher, dearer, spiritual unity with you, and in it forgetting everything else, finding solace and happiness in that alone. Karl, if you could only sense my misery you would be milder towards me and not see hideous prose and mediocrity everywhere, not perceive everywhere want of true love and depth of feeling.

Oh, Karl, if only I could rest safe in your love, my head would not burn so, my heart would not hurt and bleed so. If only I could rest safe for ever in your heart, Karl, God knows my soul would not think of life and cold prose. But, my angel, you have no regard for me, you do not trust me, and your love, for which I would sacrifice everything, everything, I cannot keep fresh and young. In that thought lies death; once you apprehend it in my soul, you will have greater consideration for me when I long for consolation that lies outside your love. I feel so completely how right you are in everything, but think also of my situation, my inclination to sad thoughts, just think properly over all that as it is, and you will no longer be so hard towards me. If only you could be a girl for a little while and, moreover, such a peculiar one as I am.

So, sweetheart, since your last letter I have tortured myself with the fear that for my sake you could become embroiled in a quarrel and then in a duel. Day and night I saw you wounded, bleeding and ill, and, Karl, to tell you the whole truth, I was not altogether unhappy in this thought: for I vividly imagined that you had lost your right hand, and, Karl, I was in a state of rapture, of bliss, because of that. You see, sweetheart, I thought that in that case I could really become quite indispensable to you, you would then always keep me with you and love me. I also thought that then I could write down all your dear, heavenly ideas and be really useful to you. All this I imagined so naturally and vividly that in my thoughts I continually heard your dear voice, your dear words poured down on me and I listened to every one of them and carefully preserved them for other people. You see, I am always picturing such things to myself, but then I am happy, for then I am with you, yours, wholly yours. If I could only believe that to be possible, I would be quite satisfied. Dear and only beloved, write to me soon and tell me that you are well and that you love me always. But, dear Karl, I must once more talk to you a little seriously. Tell me, how could you doubt my faithfulness to you? Oh, Karl, to let you be eclipsed by someone else, not as if I failed to recognise the excellent qualities in other people and regarded you as unsurpassable, but, Karl, I love you indeed so inexpressibly, how could I find anything even at all worthy of love in someone else? Oh, dear Karl, I have never, never been wanting in any way towards you, yet all the same you do not trust me. But it is curious that precisely someone was mentioned to you who has hardly ever been seen in Trier, who cannot be known at all, whereas I have been often and much seen engaged in lively and cheerful conversation in society with all kinds of men. I can often be quite cheerful and teasing, I can often joke and carry on a lively conversation with absolute strangers, things that I cannot do with you. You see, Karl, I could chat and converse with anyone, but as soon as you merely look at me, I cannot say a word for nervousness, the blood stops flowing in my veins and my soul trembles.

Often when I thus suddenly think of you I am dumbstricken and overpowered with emotion so that not for anything in the world could I utter a word. Oh, I don't know how it happens, but I get such a queer feeling when I think of you, and I don't think of you on isolated and special occasions; no, my whole life and being are but one thought of you. Often things occur to me that you have said to me or asked me about, and then I am carried away by indescribably marvellous sensations. And, Karl, when you kissed me, and pressed me to you and held me fast, and I could no longer breathe for fear and trembling, and you looked at me so peculiarly, so softly, oh, sweetheart, you do not know the way you have often looked at me. If you only knew, dear Karl, what a peculiar feeling I have, I really cannot describe it to you I sometimes think to myself, too, how nice it will he when at last I am with you always and you call me your little wife. Surely, sweetheart, then I shall be able to tell you all that I think, then one would no longer feel so horribly shy as at present. Dear Karl, it is so lovely to have such a sweetheart. If you only knew what it is like, you would not believe that I could ever love anyone else. You, dear sweetheart, certainly do not remember all the many things you have said to me, when I come to think of it. Once you said something so nice to me that one can only say when one is totally in love and thinks one's beloved completely at one with oneself. You have often said something so lovely, dear Karl, do you remember? If I had to tell you exactly everything I have been thinking -- and, my dear rogue, you certainly think I have told you everything already, but you are very much mistaken -- when I am no longer your sweetheart, I shall tell you also what one only says when one belongs wholly to one's beloved. Surely, dear Karl, you will then also tell me everything and will again look at me so lovingly. That was the most beautiful thing in the world for me. Oh, my darling, how you looked at me the first time like that and then quickly looked away, and then looked at me again, and I did the same, until at last we looked at each other for quite a long time and very deeply, and could no longer look away. Dearest one, do not be angry with me any more and write to me also a little tenderly, I am so happy then. And do not be so much concerned about my health. I often imagine it to be worse than it is. I really do feel better now than for a long time past. I have also stopped taking medicine and my appetite, too, is again very good. I walk a lot in Wettendorfs garden and am quite industrious the whole day long. But, unfortunately, I can't read anything. If I only knew of a book which I could understand properly and which could divert me a little. I often take an hour to read one page and still do not understand anything. To be sure, sweetheart, I can catch up again even if I get a little behind at present, you will help me to go forward again, and I am quick in grasping things too. Perhaps you know of some book, but it must be quite a special kind, a bit learned so that I do not understand everything, but still manage to understand something as if through a fog, a bit such as not everyone likes to read; and also no fairy-tales, and no poetry, I can't bear it. I think it would do me a lot of good if I exercised my mind a bit. Working with one's hands leaves too much scope to the mind. Dear Karl, only keep well for my sake. The funny little dear is already living somewhere else. I am very glad at the change in your....

 

 

Jenny Von Westphalen to Karl Marx

Trier, August 10, 1841

 

My little wild boar,

How glad I am that you are happy, and that my letter made you cheerful, and that you are longing for me, and that you are living in wallpapered rooms, and that you drank champagne in Cologne, and that there are Hegel clubs there, and that you have been dreaming, and that, in short, you are mine, my own sweetheart, my dear wild boar. But for all that there is one thing I miss: you could have praised me a little for my Greek, and you could have devoted a little laudatory article to my erudition. But that is just like you, you Hegeling gentlemen, you don't recognise anything, be it the height of excellence, if it is not exactly according to your view, and so I must be modest and rest on my own laurels. Yes, sweetheart, I have still to rest, alas, and indeed on a feather bed and pillows, and even this little letter is being sent out into the world from my little bed.

On Sunday I ventured on a bold excursion into the front rooms -- but it proved bad for me and now I have to do penance again for it. Schleicher told me just now that he has had a letter from a young revolutionary, but that the latter is greatly mistaken in his judgment of his countrymen. He does not think he can procure either shares or anything else. Ah, dear, dear sweetheart, now you get yourself involved in politics too. That is indeed the most risky thing of all. Dear little Karl, just remember always that here at home you have a sweetheart who is hoping and suffering and is wholly dependent on your fate. Dear, dear sweetheart, how I wish I could only see you again.

Unfortunately, I cannot and may not fix the day as yet. Before I feel quite well again, I shall not get permission to travel. But I am staying put this week. Otherwise our dear synopticist may finally depart and I should not have seen the worthy man. This morning quite early I studied in the Augsburg newspaper three Hegelian articles and the announcement of Bruno's book!

Properly speaking, dear sweetheart, I ought now to say vale faveque to you, for you only asked me for a couple of lines and the page is already filled almost to the end. But today I do not want to keep so strictly to the letter of the law and I intend to stretch the lines asked for to as many pages. And it is true, is it not, sweetheart, that you will not be angry with your little Jenny on that account, and as for the content itself, you should bear firmly in mind that only a knave gives more than he has. Today my buzzing, whirring little head is quite pitiably empty and it has hardly anything in it but wheels and clappers and mills. The thoughts have all gone, but on the other hand, my little heart is so full, so overflowing with love and yearning and ardent longing for you, my infinitely loved one.

In the meantime have you not received a letter written in pencil sent through Vauban? Perhaps, the intermediary is no longer any good, and in future I must address the letters directly to my lord and master.

Commodore Napier has just passed by in his white cloak. One's poor senses fail one at the sight. It strikes me as just like the wolves' ravine in the Freischuz, when suddenly the wild army and all the curious fantastic forms pass through it. Only on the miserable little stage of our theatre one always saw the wires to which the eagles and owls and crocodiles were fastened -- in this case the mechanism is merely of a somewhat different kind.

Tomorrow, for the first time, Father will be allowed out of his constrained position and seated on a chair. He is rather discouraged by the very slow progress of his recovery, but he vigorously issues his orders without pause, and it will not be long before he is awarded the grand cross of the order of commanders.

If I were not lying here so miserably, I would soon be packing my bag. Everything is ready. Frocks and collars and bonnets are in beautiful order and only the wearer is not in the right condition. Oh, dearest one, how I keep thinking of you and your love during my sleepless nights, how often have I prayed for you, blessed you and implored blessings for you, and how sweetly I have then often dreamed of all the bliss that has been and will be. -- This evening Haizinger is acting in Bonn. Will you go there? I have seen her as Donna Diana.

Dearest Karl, I should like to say a lot more to you, all that remains to be said -- but Mother will not tolerate it any longer -- she will take away my pen and I shall not be able even to express my most ardent, loving greetings. Just a kiss on each finger and then away into the distance. Fly away, fly to my Karl, and press as warmly on his lips as you were warm and tender when starting out towards them; and then cease to be dumb messengers of love and whisper to him all the tiny, sweet, secret expressions of love that love gives you -- tell him everything -- but, no, leave something over for your mistress.

Farewell, one and only beloved. I cannot write any more, or my head will be all in a whirl [...] you know, and quadrupedante putrem sonitu etc., etc. -- Adieu, you dear little man of the railways. Adieu, my dear little man. -- It is certain, isn't it, that I can marry you?

Adieu, adieu, my sweetheart.

 

 

 

Jenny Von Westphalen to Karl Marx
In Cologne

Kreuznach, March 1843

 

Although at the last conference of the two great powers nothing was stipulated on a certain point, nor any treaty concluded on the obligation of initiating a correspondence, and consequently no external means of compulsion exist, nevertheless the little scribe with the pretty curls feels inwardly compelled to open the ball, and indeed with feelings of the deepest, sincerest love and gratitude towards you, my dear, good and only sweetheart. I think you had never been more lovable and sweet and charming, and yet every time after you had gone I was in a state of delight and would always have liked to have you back again to tell you once more how much, how wholly, I love you. But still, the last occasion was your victorious departure; I do not know at all how dear you were to me in the depths of my heart when I no longer saw you in the flesh and only the true image of you in all angelic mildness and goodness, sublimity of love and brilliance of mind was so vividly present to my mind. If you were here now, my dearest Karl, what a great capacity for happiness you would find in your brave little woman. And should you come out with ever so bad a leaning, and ever such wicked intentions, I would not resort to any reactionary measures. I would patiently bow my head and surrender it to the wicked knave. "What", how? -- Light, what, how light. Do you still remember our twilight conversations, our guessing games, our hours of slumber? Heart's beloved, how good, how loving, how considerate, how joyful you were!

How brilliant, how triumphant. I see you before me, how my heart longs for your constant presence, how it quivers for you with delight and enchantment, how anxiously it follows you on all the paths you take. To Pabschritier, to Merten in Gold, to Papa Ruge, to Pansa, everywhere I accompany you, I precede you and I follow you. If only I could level and make smooth all your paths, and sweep away everything that might be an obstacle to you. But then it does not fall to our lot that we also should be allowed to interfere actively in the workings of fate. We have been condemned to passivity by the fall of man, by Madame Eve's sin; our lot lies in waiting, hoping, enduring, suffering. At the most we are entrusted with knitting stockings, with needles, keys, and everything beyond that is evil; only when it is a question of deciding where the Deutsche Jahrbucher is to be printed does a feminine veto intervene and invisibly play something of a small main role. This evening I had a tiny little idea about Strasbourg. Would not a return to the homeland be forbidden you if you were to betray Germany to France in this way, and would it not be possible also that the liberal sovereign power would tell you definitely: "Emigrate then, or rather stay away if you do not like it in my states." But all that, as I have said, is only an idea, and our old friend Ruge will certainly know what has to be done, especially when a private little chick lurks like this in the background, and comes out with a separate petition. Let the matter rest, therefore, in Father Abraham's bosom.

This morning, when I was putting things in order, returning the draughtsmen to their proper place, collecting the cigar butts, sweeping up the ash, and trying to destroy the "Althauschen" [?], I came across the enclosed page. You have dismembered our friend Ludwig and left a crucial page here. If you are already past it in your reading, there is no hurry; but for the worthy bookbinder, in case it is to be bound, it is urgently needed. The whole work would be spoilt. You have certainly scattered some more pages. It would be a nuisance and a pity. Do look after the loose pages.

Now I must tell you about the distress and misfortune I had immediately after you went away. I saw at once that you had not paid any attention to your dear nose and left it at the mercy of wind and weather and air, and all the vicissitudes of fate, without taking a helpful handkerchief with you. That, in the first place, gave me grave concern. In the second place, the barber dropped in. I thought of putting it to great advantage and with rare amiability I asked him how much the Herr Doctor owed him. The answer was 7 1/2, silver groschen. I quickly did the sum in my head and 21/2 groschen were saved. I had no small change and I therefore gave him 8 silver groschen in good faith that he would give me change. But what did the scoundrel do? He thanked me, pocketed the whole sum, my six pfennigs were gone and I could whistle for them. I was still on the point of reproving him, but either he did not understand my glance of distress or Mother" tried to soothe me -- in short, the six pfennigs were gone as all good things go. That was a disappointment!

Now I come to a matter of dress. I went out this morning and I saw many new pieces of lace at Wolf's shop. If you cannot get them cheap or get someone else to choose them, then I ask you, sweetheart, to leave the matter in my hands. In general, sweetheart, I would really prefer at present that you did not buy anything and saved your money for the journey. You see, sweetheart, I shall then be with you and we shall be buying together, and if someone cheats us, then at least it will happen in company. So, sweetheart, don't buy anything now. That applies also to the wreath of flowers. I am afraid you would have to pay too much, and to look for it together would indeed be very nice. If you won't give up the flowers, let them be rose-coloured. That goes best with my green dress. But I would prefer you to drop the whole business. Surely, sweetheart, that would be better. You can do that only when you are my dear lawful, church-wed husband. And one thing more: before I forget. Look for my last letter. I should be annoyed if it got into anyone else's hands. Its tendency is not exactly well-meaning, and its intentions are unfathomably malevolent. Were you barked at as a deserter when you jumped in? Or did they temper justice with mercy? Has Oppenheim come back and is Claessen still in a bit of a rage? I shall send Laffarge on as soon as I can. Have you already delivered the letter of bad news to E[...]? Are the passport people willing? Dearest sweetheart, those are incidental questions, now I come to the heart of the matter. Did you behave well on the steamer, or was there again a Madame Hermann on board? You bad boy. I am going to drive it out of you. Always on the steamboats. I shall have an interdiction imposed immediately on wanderings of this kind in the contrat social, in our marriage papers, and such enormities will be severely punished. I shall have all the cases specified and punishment imposed for them, and I shall make a second marriage law similar to the penal code. I shall show you alright. Yesterday evening I was dead tired again, but all the same I ate an egg. Food shares, therefore, are not doing so badly and are going up like the Dusseldorf shares. When you come, it is to be hoped they will be at par, and the state guarantees the interest. However, adieu now. Parting is painful. It pains the heart. Good-bye, my one and only beloved, black sweet, little hubby. "What", how! Ah! you knavish face. Talatta, talatta, good-bye, write soon, talatta, talatta.

 

 

 

Letter from Jenny Marx to Karl in Paris

Trier,about June 21, 1844


You see, dear heart, that I don't deal with you according to the law and demand an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a letter for a letter; I am generous and magnanimous, but I hope that my twofold appearance before you will soon yield me golden fruit, a few lines in return, for which my heart is yearning, a few words to tell me that you are well and are longing for me a little. I should so like to know that you miss me and to hear you say you want me. But now quickly, before the holding of the daily court begins again, a bulletin about our little one, for after all she is now the chief person in our alliance and, being at once yours and mine, is the most intimate bond of our love. The poor little doll was quite miserable and ill after the journey, and turned out to be suffering not only from constipation but downright overfeeding. We had to call in the fat pig, and his decision was that it was essential to have a wet-nurse since with artificial feeding she would not easily recover. You can imagine my anxiety. But that is all over now, the dear little Clever Eyes is being fed magnificently by a healthy young wet-nurse, a girl from Barbeln, the daughter of the boatman with whom dear Papa so often sailed. In better times, Mother once provided a complete outfit of clothes for this girl, when she was still a child, and what a coincidence -- this poor child, to whom Papa used to give a kreutzer every day, is now giving life and health to our baby. It was not easy to save her life, but she is now almost out of any danger. In spite of all her sufferings, she looks remarkably pretty and is as flower-white, delicate and transparent as a little princess. In Paris we would never have got her through the illness, so this trip has already been well worth while. Besides, I am now again with my good, poor mother, who only with the greatest struggle can put up with our being separated.

She has had a very bad time at the Wettendorfs'. They are rather coarse people. Ah, if I had only known how things were with poor Mother on many occasions during the winter! But I often wept and was miserable when thinking of her, and you were always so considerate and patient. Another good thing about this wet-nurse is that she is also very useful as a maid, is willing to accompany [us] and, as it happens, served three years in Metz and therefore also speaks French. Hence my return journey is fully assured. What a stroke of luck it is, is it not! Only at present poor Mother has to bear too many expenses and is after all very poor. Edgar robs her of all she has and then writes one nonsensical letter after another, rejoices over the approaching revolutions and the overthrow of all existing conditions, instead of beginning by revolutionising his own conditions, which then always evokes unpleasant discussions and indirect attacks on the mad revolutionary youth. In general, nowhere does a longing for a transformation of the existing state of things arise more strongly than when one sees the surface looking so drearily flat and even, and yet knows what a commotion and ferment is taking place in the depths of mankind.

But let us leave the revolution and come back to our wet-nurse. I shall pay the monthly sum of four talers from the remainder of the journey money, from which I will pay also for the medicine and doctor. True, Mother does not want me to do so, but for food alone she has to bear more than she can. In spite of poverty, she keeps everything about her in decent condition. People in Trier are really behaving excellently towards her and that placates me a little. Moreover, I do not need to visit anyone, for they all come to me and I hold court from morning to night. I cannot give you the names of all of them. Today I also disposed of the patriot Lehmann, who is very well disposed by the way, and is only afraid that your thorough scientific studies might suffer over there. Incidentally, I behave towards everyone in a lordly fashion and my external appearance fully justifies this. For once I am more elegant than any of them and never in my life have I looked better and more blooming than I do now. Everyone is unanimous about that. And people constantly repeat Herwegh's compliment asking me "when my confirmation has taken place". I think to myself, too, what would be the good of behaving humbly; it does not help anyone out of a difficulty, and people are so happy if they can express their regret. Despite the fact that my whole being expresses satisfaction and affluence, everyone still hopes that you will decide after all to obtain a permanent post. 0, you asses, as if all of you were standing on firm ground. I know that we are not exactly standing on rock, but where is there any firm foundation now? Can one not see everywhere signs of earthquake and the undermining of the foundations on which society has erected its temples and shops? I think that time, the old mole, will soon stop burrowing underground -- indeed in Breslau there have been thunderstorms again. If we can only hold out for a time, until our little one has grown big. As to that, you'll put my mind at ease, won't you, my dear sweet angel, my one and only heart's beloved? How my heart went out to you on June 19! How strongly and intimately it beat out of love for you.

But to return to the account of events. It was not until our wedding-day that our dear little baby was well again and sucked healthily and lustily. Then I set out on my difficult journey -- you know where to. I wore my nice Paris frock and my face glowed with anxiety and excitement. When I rang, my heart was beating almost audibly. Everything went through my mind. The door opened and Jettchen appeared. She embraced and kissed me and led me into the drawing-room where your mother and Sophie were sitting. Both immediately embraced me, your mother called me "thou", and Sophie sat me on the sofa beside her. She has been terribly ravaged by illness, looks like CxC, and is hardly likely to get well again. And yet Jettchen is in an almost worse state. Only your mother looks well and flourishing, and is cheerfulness itself, almost gay and frolicsome. Alas, this gaiety seems somehow sinister. All the girls were equally affectionate, especially little Caroline. Next morning your mother came already at 9 o'clock to see the baby. In the afternoon Sophie came, and this morning little Caroline also paid a visit to our little angel. Can you imagine such a change? I am very glad about it and Mother as well, but how has it come about so suddenly? What a difference success makes, or in our case rather the appearance of success, which by the subtlest tactics I know how to maintain.

That's strange news, isn't it? Just think, how the time runs and even the fattest pigs as well; Schleicher, too, is no longer a politician, and a Socialist, that is to say, like Schmiriaks from the organism of labour, etc. It is enough to make one sick, as the Frankenthaler says. He partly considers that your clique is mad, but he thinks it is high time you attacked Bauer. Ah, Karl, what you are going to do, do it soon. And also do give me soon some sign of your life. I am being treated with great tenderness by the most gentle loving mother, my little one is being properly looked after and cared for, the whole of Trier gapes, stares, admires, and pays court, and yet my heart and soul are turned towards you. Ah, if only I could see you now and again, and ask you: what is that for? Or sing for you: "Do you know also when it will be the day after tomorrow?" Dear heart of mine, how I should like to kiss you, for such cold collations are no good, isn't that true, my dearest one? However, you should read the Trier'sche Zietung, it is quite good now. How do things look with you? It is now already eight days I have been away from you. Even here, with better-quality milk, it would not have been possible to get our baby over her illness without a wet-nurse. Her whole stomach was upset. Today Schleicher has assured me that she is now saved. 0, if only poor Mother did not have so many worries, and particularly because of Edgar, who makes use of all the great signs of the times, and all the sufferings of society, in order to cover up and whitewash his own worthlessness. Now the vacation is coming again and then once again nothing will come of the examination. All his essays are ready. It is unpardonable. Mother must deny herself everything, while he has a good time in Cologne going to all the operas, as he himself writes. He speaks with the utmost tenderness of his little sister, his little Jenny, but I find it impossible to be tender towards the scatterbrain.

Dearest heart, I am often greatly worried about our future, both that near at hand and later on, and I think I am going to be punished for my exuberance and cockiness here. If you can, do set my mind at rest about this. There is too much talk on all sides about a steady income. I reply then merely by means of my rosy cheeks, my clear skin, my velvet cloak, feather hat and smart coiffure. That has the best and deepest effect, and if as a result I become depressed, nobody sees it. Our baby has such a beautiful white colour that everyone wonders at it, and she is so fine and delicate. Schleicher is very solicitous and very nice to the child. Today he did not want to go away at all, then there came God's Wrath, and then Reverchon, then Lehmann, and then Poppey, and so it goes on all the time. Yesterday the Tree-frog too, was here with his parchment better half. I did not see them. The members of your family have just paid a call in passing, including Sophie in full fig. But how ill she looks!!! -- Give greetings from me to Siebenkas and the Heines, if you see them. I shall have news of you soon, isn't that so? And are you bravely singing the postillion of Longjumeau?

Only don't write with too much rancour and irritation. You know how much more effect your other articles have had. Write either in a matter-of-fact and subtle way or humorously and lightly. Please, dear heart of mine, let your pen run over the paper, even if it should on occasion stumble and fall, and the sentence with it. Your thoughts all the same stand erect like the grenadiers of the old guard, so honourably firm and courageous, and they could say like the old guard: elle meurt mais elle ne se rend pas. What does it matter if occasionally the uniform hangs a bit loosely and is not so tightly buttoned up? What is so very nice about the French soldiers is their free and easy appearance. When you think of our stilted Prussians, doesn't it make you shudder? -- Just slacken the strappings and remove the cravat and helmet -- let the participles take their course and set down the words just as they come of themselves. Such an army does not have to march in such strict order. And your troops are taking the field, are they not? Good luck to the general, my dusky master! Good-bye, dearest heart, my beloved, my entire life. For the present I am in my little Germany, with everything around me, including my little one and my mother, and yet my heart is sad because you are absent; it yearns for you, and it hopes for you and your black messengers.

Good-bye,

Your Schipp and Schribb

 

 

Letter from Jenny Marx to Karl in Paris

Trier, between August 4 and 10, 1844

 

My dearest,

I received your letter at the very moment when all the bells were ringing, the guns firing, and the pious crowd flocking into the temples to convey their hallelujahs to the heavenly Lord for having so miraculously saved their earthly Lord. You can imagine with what peculiar feeling I read Heine's poems during the celebration and also chimed in with my hosannas. Did not your Prussian heart also quiver with horror at the news of that crime, that shocking, unthinkable crime? Alas, for the lost virginity, the lost honour! Such are the Prussian catchwords. When I heard the little green grasshopper, cavalry captain X., declaiming about the lost virginity, I could only believe that he meant the holy immaculate virginity of Mother Mary, for that after all is the only one officially confirmed. But as for the virginity of the Prussian state! No, I lost any belief in that long ago. As regards the terrible event, one consolation remains for the pure Prussian people, viz., that the motive for the deed was not any political fanaticism, but a purely personal desire for revenge. They console themselves with that--lucky for them--but it is precisely a new proof that a political revolution is impossible in Germany, whereas all the seeds of a social revolution are present. While there has never been a political fanatic there who dared to go to the extreme, the first one to risk an attempt at assassination was driven to it by want, dire want. For three days the man had been begging in vain in Berlin in constant danger of death from starvation--hence it was a social attempt at assassination! If something does break out, it will start from this direction--that is the most sensitive spot, and in this respect a German heart also is vulnerable!

 

 

Letter from Jenny Marx to Karl in Paris

Trier, between August 11 and 18, 1844

 

My dearest, unique Karl,

You cannot believe, darling of my heart, how very happy you make me by your letters, and how your last pastoral letter, you high priest and bishop of my heart, has once again restored soothing calm and peace to your poor lamb. It is certainly wrong and silly to torture oneself with all sorts of cares and glimpses of dark distant perspectives. I am very well aware of that myself in those self-tormenting moments -- but although the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak, and so it is always only with your help that I am able to exorcise those demons. Your latest news truly brought me such real and tangible solace that it would be quite wrong to start brooding again. I expect now that it is going to happen as in a game of cards, and I hope that some external circumstance will determine the time of my return home. Perhaps Edgar's arrival or some similar [external] occasion. I touch on this painful [point] very unwillingly, and it is only in Edgar's presence that I shall return to this matter for a decision. In any case I shall be coming before the winter, how could I indeed resist such dear, heart-warming friendliness as that which shines on me from your lines. And then in the background are dark feelings of anxiety and fear, the real menace of unfaithfulness, the seductions and attractions of a capital city -- all those are powers and forces whose effect on me is more powerful than anything else. How I am looking forward after such a long time to rest comfortably and happily once more close to your heart, in your arms. What a lot I shall have to chatter with you about, and what trouble you will have to bring me again à la hauteur des principes for in partitioned Germany it is not easy to remain au courant.

How glad you will be to see the little creature. I am convinced that you will not be able to recognise our child, unless her little eyes and black crest of hair reveal the secret to you. Everything else is really quite different now, only the resemblance to you becomes ever more obvious. During the last few days she has begun to eat a little broth made from the herbs which I have brought with me, and she relishes it greatly. In the bath she splashes with her little hands so much that the whole room is flooded, and then she dips her tiny finger in the water and afterwards licks it hastily. Her little thumb, which she has always kept bent and then made to peep out between her fingers, has become so unusually supple and flexible owing to this habit, that one cannot help being astonished by it. She can become a little piano player -- I believe she can do magic tricks with her little thumb. When she cries, we quickly draw her attention to the flowers in the wall-paper, and then she becomes quiet as a mouse and gazes so long that tears come into her eyes. We must not talk to her for too long because it makes her over-exert herself. She wants to imitate every sound and answer it, and the fact that her forehead swells and reddens is a sign of excessive strain. Incidentally, she is the acme of cheerfulness. Every kind of look you give her makes her laugh. You ought to see what a darling little creature I shall bring with me. When she hears anyone speaking she at once looks in that direction and goes on looking until something fresh happens. You can't have any idea of the liveliness of the child. For whole nights through her little eyes refuse to close in sleep, and if one looks at her she laughs out loud. She is happiest when she sees a light or the fire. By that means one can allay her heaviest storm. Karl dear, how long will our little doll play a solo part? I fear, I fear, that when her papa and mama are together once again, and live in common ownership, the performance will soon become a duet. Or should we set about it in the good Parisian style? Usually one finds the greatest number of children where the means are smallest. Recently a poor man with ten children asked for relief from Chief Burgomaster Gortz. When he was reproached for having produced so many children, his only reply was to say: there is a parish fðte once a year even in the tiniest and most insignificant village. Then he was given assistance, and no doubt he will be celebrating the eleventh parish fðte.

We have not seen your relatives for a long time. First the great illustrious visit and now the important arrangements for the marriage, so that one's presence is inopportune, one does not receive any calls and is oneself modest enough not to visit them again. The marriage is on August 28. On Sunday the banns were called for the first time. In spite of all the magnificence, Jettchen's health becomes worse every day, her cough and hoarseness are increasing. She can hardly walk any longer. She goes about like a ghost, but married she must be. It is generally regarded as terrible and unscrupulous. Rocholl, however, is said to be in favour of it in order to secure something for his nephew. I don't know whether that can turn out well. If at least they were going to live in a town -- but in a miserable village, and in winter at that. I can't imagine how your relatives can be cheerful and happy about it. If fate did not somewhat dampen their spirits, there could be no escape from their haughtiness. And the boasting about grand parties and brooches, ear-rings and shawls! I cannot understand your mother. She herself has told us that she thinks Jettchen is consumptive, and yet she lets her marry. But Jettchen is said to want it very strongly. I am curious to know how it will all turn out.

In Trier there is already such a stir and bustle as I have never seen. There is activity everywhere. All the shops have been newly smartened up, everyone is arranging rooms for lodging. We, too, have got a room ready. The whole of Coblenz is coming here and the cream of society is joining in the procession. All the hotels are already full up. 210 new pubs have been established, as well as circuses, theatres, menageries, dioramas, international theatres, in short, everything one could think of is already announcing its presence. The entire palace square is covered with tents. Entire wooden houses have been erected outside the gates. Trier marches on Sunday. Everyone has to join a procession and then come the villages. Every day some 16,000 people. Frau Stein has already sold 400 talers' worth of tiny copies of the sacred linen cloth, made out of old strips of ribbon. Rosaries, worth from six pfennigs to one hundred talers, are displayed at every house. I, too, have bought a little medallion for my little one, and yesterday she herself obtained a small rosary. You cannot imagine the bustling activity that is going on here. Next week half Luxemburg is coming; cousin Michel has also announced his arrival. All the people seem to be mad. What is one to think about it? Is it a good sign of the times that everything has to go to extremes, or are we still a long way from our goal?

Where you are, too, all hell is being let loose. Will things be patched up once more? And tell me, what did the blockhead [note: Ruge] say about your article? Has he given tit for tat, replied or kept silent? Jung really is an exceptionally noble characher. What a good thing it is that you are now a little bit in funds again. Only always bear in mind, when the purse is full, how quickly it becomes empty again, and how difficult it is to fill it. You dear good Karl, darling of my heart. How I love you, how my heart yearns for you. I should like so very much that Edgar could still see his charming niece. If only he became an uncle barrister -- then I could earlier talk to Mother about my departure. Our little doll is just eating her soup. Just think, she does not want to lie down at all any more, she wants to sit upright all the time. She is then better able to look around her. Tell me, dear heart, for some time past I have noticed that you no longer mention Guerrier. Has anything happened in connection with the worthy cousin? And is there no news of the divine Georga?

I am very eager to know what the Pomeranian is going to do now. Will he keep silent or will he make a row? It is peculiar that from Cologne there never comes anything unpleasant, but always the best. After all, how loyal our friends are, how solicitous, tactful and considerate. Even if it is painful to have to ask for money, in relation to these people it surely ceases to be at all unpleasant and onerous. I can hardly go on writing, the baby keeps distracting my attention with her delicious chuckles and attempts at speech. You cannot have any idea of the beauty of her forehead, the transparency of her skin and the wonderful delicacy of her tiny hands.

Dear good heart of my heart. Do write to me again quite soon. I am so very happy when I see your handwriting. You dear, good. sweet, little wild boar. You dear father of my little doll.

Adieu, heart of my heart.


 

Letter from Jenny Marx to Karl in Brussels

February 10, [1845] Paris

 

...partment. He is coming tomorrow to give the order to the concierge. It was a terrible blow and I leave you to imagine what I'm going to do with my 200 francs, now that I've had to give him 980 fr. as a deposit, half of which he will return when he has found a tenant.

Such are the delightful consequences of that governmental, Guizotian, Humboldtian disgraceful trick. I don't know what we're going to do. This morning I traipsed all over Paris. The Mint was closed and I shall have to go again. Then I visited the carriers and the agent of a furniture auctioneer. I had no success anywhere. And in the course of these wearisome excursions, what's more, Ewerbeck forced me to call on Mme Glaise, who, however, is quite an amiable, artless and kindly woman who pleased me much. At this moment I'm amusing myself with the infant and the grumbler while writing to you. Little Jenny never stops saying papa. She still has a very bad cold and her little teeth are very painful. However I hope she'll soon be herself again. The person is in good spirits, though this morning she felt quite 'lausig'." I heard from mama today. Edgar will be sitting his exam shortly. Aren't you astonished, my good Karl, at my addressing you in French? But it happened without my thinking about it. I intended to start off with a few sentences in French and then, just as the appetite comes with eating, I was unable to part company with this language. I find it so easy to write to you and chat with you I am writing as fast as I would in German and, although it may not be classical French, I trust it will amuse you to read it, faults, inexpressible beauties and all. I shall not send off these lines until I get your first letter. Say lots of nice things to our good friend Burgers on my behalf. A thousand kisses from mama to papa, and a little kiss from Munsterchen. Adieu my friend. I long to see you again. By now you will already be in Brussels. Best greetings to our new fatherland. Adieu.

10 February

Heine was at the Ministry of the Interior where he was told they knew nothing at all about it; Ledru-Rollin will be raising the matter in the Chamber as soon as everyone has escaped. Have you read the Réforme? What a silly, pitiful thing it is. Everything it says is offensive, more so than the most violent attacks launched by the others. There you have the work of that great man, such as he should be—Mr Bakunin, who, however, came and gave me a lesson in rhetoric and drama in order to unbosom himself to me. Herwegh is playing with the child. Ewerbeck is talking incessantly about the continual distractions of Mr Burgers and the son of the people. Mr Weill, my special protector, came to my aid....

 

 

Letter from Jenny Marx to Karl in Brussels

after August 24, 1845, Trier


Although our letters may have crossed on this occasion, my beloved Karl, I nevertheless look on yours as furnishing a reply to my last letter, since it in fact anticipates and answers in advance all the questions concerning which my mind was unsettled and in doubt.

Only one big vital question, the one of the tailor's and dressmaker's bills, still awaits a favourable solution, which I hope will soon be forthcoming. You, sweetheart, weigh up every circumstance with such loving concern that when I read your dear letter I felt quite comforted. But my heart is still irresolute in the matter of leaving or staying or at any rate of fixing a definite date and, if I am to be honest, it inclines more and more toward staying. If only could draw out each day to twice its length, if only I could attach leaden wings to the hours that they might not hasten by so fast—oh, if only you knew what bliss it is for my mother, our living together, what unending happiness and joy of life she derives from the contemplation of the lovely child, and what consoling elation from my presence! And am I to deprive her of all this with one cold word, am I to take all this away, leaving her with nothing but the forlorn loneliness of long, dreary winter days, anxious worry concerning my life and Edgar's future, nothing save gentle, kindly memories? She herself urges me with rare courage to depart but, having one day secretly fixed the date, I vacillate again on the morrow and grant myself one day more—and then another and still another. And yet my days here are already numbered and it will soon behove me to eke out the time, for it is drawing inexorably closer. Besides, I feel altogether too much at ease here in little Germany! Though to say so in the face of you arch anti-Germans calls for a deal of courage, does it not? But that courage I have and, for all that and all that, one can live quite happily in this old land of sinners. At all events it was in glorious France and Belgium that I first made acquaintance with the pettiest and meanest of conditions. People are petty here, infinitely so, life as a whole is a pocket edition, but there heroes are not giants either, nor is the individual one jot better off. For men it may be different, but for a woman, whose destiny it is to have children, to sew, to cook and to mend, I commend miserable Germany. There, it still does one credit to have a child, the needle and the kitchen spoon still lend one a modicum of grace and, on top of that, and by way of reward for the days spent washing, sewing and child-minding, one has the comfort of knowing in one's heart of hearts that one has done one's duty. But now that old-fashioned things such as duty, honour and the like no longer mean anything, now that we are so advanced as to consider even old watchwords such as these outmoded, now that we actually feel in ourselves an urge towards sentiments of positively Stirnerian egoism, we no longer feel any inclination for the lowlier duties of life. We, too, want to enjoy ourselves, to do things and to experience the happiness of mankind in our own persons. But for me, what really turns the scales in favour of Germany is my having seen, me Hercule, that prince of men, the model man—let no one say a word against a Germany in which men such as these stand up on their little legs and turn somersaults. But now joking apart.

I shall probably be leaving after the middle of September. Weydemeyer may accompany me as far as Cologne; Schleicher is also going to Brussels and told me yesterday that he might manage to be there at the right moment for me. Fiddlesticks, stout Sir, nothing will come of it. We shall probably have to stick to Breyer. The little house should do. In winter one does not need much room anyhow. My mother thought it might be best if we were to lodge Edgar elsewhere throughout that period, perhaps in the bois sauvage. Anyhow that would be cheapest. Then, having concluded my important business on the upper floor, I shall remove downstairs again. Then you could sleep in what is now your study and pitch your tent in the salon immense—that would present no difficulty. The children's noise downstairs would then be completely shut off, you would not be disturbed upstairs, I could join you when things were quiet and the living-room could, after all, always be kept reasonably tidy. The two rooms on the second floor would be of little or no use to us. At all events we must instal a good, warm stove and appurtenances in the living-room at the earliest opportunity. That again is Breyer's business, for one doesn't let out unheatable rooms. It would be as well to tackle Master Braggart in really good time, otherwise it will be the same as in the case of the kitchen table of hallowed memory. After that I shall see to everything else. Such preparations as could be made here, have been made. It would be wonderful for me if you could come and meet me. It is too far to Verviers and there wouldn't be any point. Maybe as far as Liège. Do make inquiries about an inn there at which we could meet. Wilhelm the Pacific, anti-pauper and metal-hard, strongly advised me against making the trip from here to Cologne in one day. It's simply that I detest the idea of spending the night at Coblenz. Nor should I like to spend a whole day at Cologne, but shall travel on to Air. Then on to Liège the following day. However, I shall have to break the train journeys often for the joggling might well have unpleasant consequences. But I shall let you know more definitely about the journey itself later. What a colony of paupers there is going to be in Brussels! Has Engels come back alone or a deux? Hess has written and told Weydemeyer he intends to marry. Is Bourgeois living in Cologne, or does he have to be in Elberfeld on account of the Spiegel? I should also like to ask Daniels to come and see me, but how? Little Jenny is sitting beside me and is also writing to her papa about whom she constantly talks. She is too sweet for words. Mrs Worbs gave her such a lovely little blue frock. Everyone is quite besotted with the child who has become the talk of the town, so that every day people come to see her. Her favourite is the chimney sweep, by whom she insists on being picked up. Tell Edgar that the woollen stockings are in the big box on the right in the attic, not immediately beneath the window. He will probably find them if he rummages about a bit amongst the children's clothes. If only the great catastrophe did not take place at the very time when you are finishing off your book, the publication of which I anxiously await. More about this and one or two personal rencontres with your mother when we meet. Such things are better talked of than written about. Goodbye, sweetheart. Give my love to Edgar and the others, and cherish fond thoughts of mother and daughter. Write again soon. I am so happy when you write.

Your

Jenny

 

 

Letter from Jenny Marx to Karl in Brussels

[March 24, 1846] Trier


A thousand thanks, my dearly beloved Karl, for your long, dear letter of yesterday. How I longed for news of you all during those days of anxiety and sorrow when my heart scarcely dared to hope any more, and how long, how very long, did my yearning breast remain unsatisfied. Every hour contained in itself an eternity of fear and worry. Your letters are the only gleams of light in my life just now. Dear Karl, pray let them shine for me more often and cheer me. But maybe I shall not need them much longer, for my dear mother's condition has taken such a turn for the better that the possibility of her recovery has become almost a probability. This time we all of us hope that the improvement that has set in is not an illusory one as is so often the case in insidious afflictions such as nervous disorders. She is recovering her strength and her mind is no longer oppressed by worries and fears, real or imaginary. I had composed myself for any eventuality and, had the worst happened, should have found comfort and solace enough, but nevertheless my heart is now jubilant with all the joy and rapture of spring. It's a strange thing about the life of someone you love. It is not so readily relinquished. You cling to it with every fibre of your being and, when the other's breathing falters, feel as though those fibres have been abruptly severed. I believe that recovery is now on the way and will rapidly accomplish its task. Now it is a matter of banishing all gloomy thoughts while constantly conjuring up cheerful images before her mind's eye. I now have to think up all kinds of tales which must nonetheless have about them some semblance of truth. All this is most difficult and is rendered easier only by the love I bear my dear mother and the blessed hope that, when all this is over, I shall be able to hasten back again and rejoin you, my darling, and my dear, sweet, little ones. Stay fit and well, all you my dear ones, and keep a careful watch over their sweet little heads. How I look forward to seeing the children's little faces again!

It seems that murder and mayhem has broken loose among you! I am glad that this radical breach should not have taken place until after my departure. Much of it would have been attributed to the machinations of that ambitious woman, Lady Macbeth, [Mary Burns] and not without reason. For I have, to be sure, for too long again been carping at circumstances and exercising la petite critique. But it is better thus. Now as regards this critical woman, Engels was perfectly right, as opposed to yourselves, in finding such a woman 'as she ought to be' as the eternal antithesis, very arrogant and hence in making a great fuss about very little I myself, when confronted with this abstract model, appear truly repulsive in my own eyes and would like to be sure of finding out all its faults and weaknesses in return. Moreover, it is quite false, or at any rate very mistaken, to speak, in respect of Engels, of a 'rare exemplar'. Then he is right in maintaining that 'such is not to be found'. But that is precisely where the argument falls to the ground. There is an abundance of lovely, charming, capable women, they are to be found all over the world and are only waiting for a man to liberate and redeem them. Any man can become the redeemer of a woman.

Present-day women, in particular, are receptive to all things and very capable of self-sacrifice. True, one would have to acquire a somewhat wider knowledge of one's wares if one was not to renounce all taste which, more than anything else, is reprehensible in a salesman who has long been dealing in such articles. Who could accuse Rabbi Rabuni of a blunder, a display of ignorance, in respect of a commercial transaction? To him, all cats are of the same colour and he is satisfied at that. On the other hand, when he sees rosy tints appear in far-away Poland, he forgets that the colour of these blood-red roses is not genuine; they are pleasing to the eye and necessary and have, 'for all that and all that', created a great stir, but how can one establish any connection between this attempt and attempts to attempt an attempt? Who can understand that? Things have come to such a pass that, along with the perfectly justified aim and intention of conceiving the real flesh-and-blood human being, with all his needs and desires, as the be-all and end-all, of seeing man as humankind—that, along with this, almost all idealism has gone by the board and been replaced by nothing but fantasticism. Once again the mania for practical reality is firmly in the saddle. And when men like Hess, who are, in fact, nothing but ideologists, who actually have no real flesh and blood but only, as it were, an abstraction of the same, when such men suddenly parade the knife and fork question as their mission in life, then they are bound to plunge neck and crop into fantasticism. Hess will constantly beguile himself with bogus projects while still continuing to exercise a mysterious, inexplicable, magical, personal sway over the weak. Such is indeed his calling—to act, as it were, the prophet and high priest. So let him go to Babel-Jerusalem-Elberfeld if he will. Weitling's hullaballoo about his fantastical projects is also quite explicable. Just as he, coming from the artisan class, is perforce incapable of anything more elevated than to herald drinking bouts in popular poetry, so too he is capable of nothing more elevated than ill-fated undertakings which are obviously foolhardy and fail. He has no sense of the ridiculous, and what a fiasco it would have been on this occasion. That is now plain for all to see. I am happy beyond words, my dear Karl, that you are still keeping your spirits up and continuing to master your impatience and your longings. How I love you for this courage of yours. You are my husband, and I am still thankful for this! To remain calm and clear-headed in the midst of the hurly-burly and to be in harmony with the times! The most repulsive thing about the ill-starred insurrection is that wretched Prussia, with its spinelessness and pseudo-humanism, is again acclaimed by those idiots the French and all the rest of its admirers as against crude, brutish Austria. This besottedness with progress is truly repulsive. But now, my beloved Karl, I shall dwell on the subject of progress and enlarge on it as regards you, my dear master. How are you getting on with Stirner and what progress have you made? Above all, apply yourself to your book. Time marches inexorably on. I myself am besieged with inquiries here. Schleicher has already asked after it twice and complained bitterly about the literature that comes their way. And it's true, they are very badly off.

They are all having to grapple with Grun and Ruge and do not know which way to turn. Schleicher asked whether the Rabbi was by any chance Hess. Even Schleicher is prepared to swallow anything. But there is altogether too great a lack of knowledge. The false prophets have done so much to queer the pitch....

 

 

Letter from Jenny Marx to Joseph Weydemeyer in Hamm

Thursday [March 17, 1848] Hotel Manchester, rue Grammont No. 1


Dear Mr Weydemeyer,

My husband, being again so caught up in the work and pother here in this huge city, has asked me to suggest that you announce in the Westphälisches Dampfboot that several German societies have been formed here, particulars of which will be known to Mr Lüning; but that the German Workers' Club under the leadership of the Germans in London, Schapper, Bauer, Moll, and the Germans in Brussels, Marx, Wolff, Engels, Wallau, Born, that these (who are also in direct touch with the Chartists in England via Harney and Jones) have nothing in common with the German Democratic Society headed by Börnstein, Bornstedt, Herwegh, Volk, Decker, etc., a society which flies the black, red and gold flag (wherein it had already been anticipated by the Federal Diet) and babbles of Father Blücher and is drilled in sections by retired Prussian officers. It is of the utmost importance that, in the eyes of France and Germany, one should dissociate oneself completely from that society, since it will bring the Germans into disrepute. If the Dampfboot comes out too late, use the information provided above for a short article in any German newspapers you choose, these being more readily at your command in the South. Try and get as much as you can into German papers.

I would like to write and tell you a great deal more about the interesting goings-on here which grow livelier by the minute (tonight 400,000 workers are meeting in front of the Hôtel de Ville), while attroupements are again on the increase; however I am so busy with house and home and the three mites that all I have time for is to hail you and your dear wife from afar with a few friendly words of greeting.

Greeting and fraternity.

Your Citoyenne and Vagabonde

Jenny Marx

 

 

Letter from Jenny Marx to Caroline Shöler in Cologne

July 14, 1849, Hotel rue de Lille, No.45


My dear Lina,

You will have received my two letters from Trier and will have seen from them that on this occasion I did not feel at ease there. Everything has changed too much there and one does not, of course, always remain the same oneself. I felt an intense nostalgia for Paris and so, together with all my baggage, I returned posthaste via Air and Brussels; we got back here last Saturday, fit and well. I found very pretty, convenient lodgings in a salubrious district where we have already set up house, including kitchen, quite cosily.

At this moment Paris is splendid and luxurious in the extreme. The aristocracy and bourgeoisie suppose themselves safe since the ill-starred 13th of June and the fresh victories their party has won. On the 14th all the grandees, together with their carriages and their liveried retainers, were already creeping out of the holes in which they had been hiding and thus the marvellous streets are awash with magnificence and splendour of every description. Paris is a gorgeous city. How often during the past few days have I not wished you were here beside me as, filled with admiration and amazement, I walked along streets that were alive with people. Once we have settled in properly you must pay us a visit here and see for yourself how lovely it is.

Until 15 August we shall remain in these lodgings which, however, are too dear for us to stay in for any length of time. In Passy, a very pretty place an hour's distance from Paris, we have been offered a whole cottage with garden, 6-10 rooms, elegantly furnished throughout, and having four beds, at the unbelievable rent of eleven thalers a month. If it were not too remote we should remove there at once.

We have still not made up our minds whether we should have our things sent or not. So I shall have to make yet further calls upon your kindness and good nature.

Could you not find out from Johann and my packing-case maker, Hansen [Kunibert], approximately how many cwt. the whole amounts to, i.e. including only one of the boxes of books, No. 4, and how much it costs to transport a cwt. from Cologne to Paris? That would enable us to make an estimate of sorts. Before winter sets in you would in any case have to unpack out of the trunks and dispatch to me here some of the linen, clothing, etc. I shall be sending you further details later on. Johann would be of very great service to you in this.

At the end of August our things will have to be removed from the place where they are now. Perhaps you could have a word with Johann or Faulenbach about cheap storage for them later on. These are all very tiresome affairs, but unavoidable in view of our vagabond existence. I am only sorry that I should have to place this additional burden on you, the more so since you yourself will surely have had a great deal to arrange and see to of late. For I feel sure that your next dear letter will bring me the joyous tidings of Bertha's marriage. Whether that day is already past or whether it is yet to come, do please convey to her my most cordial wishes for her future prosperity and happiness. I wish it were within my power to make you all really happy and more than anything else I should like to see you, my dear Lina, as cheerful and contented as you deserve and have every right to be, considering the many

cares troubles and disappointed expectations that have already clouded and embittered your young life. Rest assured that in me you will always find a loyal and loving friend.

I shall not write anything about politics today. There is no telling what may happen to a letter.

My dear husband sends you his warm regards and wonders whether you could, perhaps, find out from Stein, the banker in the neumarkt, or from his mother, etc, etc., the address of Jung, the assessor, and then forward the enclosed letter to him, the matter is one of some urgency. I am not franking these letters because the franking office is much too far away—I beg you not to frank your letters either and, in fact, to get yourself a cash book for your outlays on my behalf. If you fail to keep strict accounts, I shall have to have recourse to coercive measures.

The children, who can hardly open their eyes wide enough to take in all these marvels, often babble about their dear Aunt Lina and send you their love, so does Lenchen, qui est toujours la meme.

My love to your sisters, to Roland et femme and to the Eschweilers should you happen to see them, etc., etc.

Yours ever

Jenny

 

 

From Jenny Marx to Joseph Weydemeyer in Frankfurt Am Main

May 20, 1850, London

 

Dear Mr Weydemeyer,

Almost a year has gone by since I was accorded such a kind and cordial reception by you and your dear wife, since I felt so happy and at home in your house, and throughout that long time I have sent you no word; I remained silent when your wife wrote to me so kindly, I even remained mute when news reached us of the birth of your child. I have myself often felt oppressed by this silence, but for much of the time I have been incapable of writing, and even today find it difficult, very difficult.

Circumstances, however, compel me to take up my pen—I beg you to send us as soon as possible any money that has come in or comes in from the Revue. We are in dire need of it. No one, I am sure, could reproach us with having made much ado about what we have been obliged to renounce and put up with for years; the public has never, or hardly ever, been importuned with our private affairs, for my husband is very sensitive about such matters and would sooner sacrifice all he has left rather than demean himself by passing round the democratic begging-bowl, as is done by the official great men. But what he was entitled to expect of his friends, especially in Cologne, was active and energetic concern for his Revue. He was above all entitled to expect such concern from those who were aware of the sacrifices he had made for the Rh. Ztg. Instead, the business has been utterly ruined by the negligent, slovenly way in which it was run, nor can one really say which did most harm—the bookseller's procrastination, or that of acquaintances and those managing the business in Cologne, or again the whole attitude of the democrats generally.

Over here my husband has been all but crushed by the most trivial worries of bourgeois existence, and so exasperating a form have these taken that it required all the energy, all the calm, lucid, quiet self-confidence he was able to muster to keep him going during these daily, hourly struggles. You, dear Mr Weydemeyer, are aware of the sacrifices made by my husband for the sake of the paper; he put thousands in cash into it, he took over the paper's property, talked into doing so by democratic worthies who otherwise must themselves have assumed responsibility for the debts, at a time when there was already small prospect of being able to carry on. To save the paper's political honour and the bourgeois honour of his Cologne acquaintances, he shouldered every burden, he gave up his machinery, he gave up the entire proceeds and, on his departure, even borrowed 300 Reichstalers so as to pay the rent for newly hired premises, the editors' arrears of salary, etc.—and he was forcibly expelled.

As you know, we saved nothing out of all this for ourselves, for I came to Frankfurt to pawn my silver—all that we had left, I sold my furniture in Cologne because I was in danger of seeing my linen and everything else placed under distraint. As the unhappy era of counter-revolution dawned, my husband went to Paris where I followed him with my three children. Hardly had we settled down in Paris than he was expelled, I and my children being refused permission to stay for any length of time. Again I followed him across the sea. A month later our 4th child was born. You would have to know London and what conditions are like here to realise what that means—3 children and the birth of a 4th. We had to pay 42 talers a month in rent alone. All this we were in a position to defray with our own realised assets. But our slender resources ran out with the appearance of the Revue. Agreements or no agreements, the money failed to come in, or only by dribs and drabs, so that we found ourselves faced with the most frightful situations here.

Let me describe for you, as it really was, just one day in our lives, and you will realise that few refugees are likely to have gone through a similar experience. Since wet-nurses here are exorbitantly expensive, I was determined to feed my child myself, however frightful the pain in my breast and back. But the poor little angel absorbed with my milk so many anxieties and unspoken sorrows that he was always ailing and in severe pain by day and by night. Since coming into the world, he has never slept a whole night through—at most two or three hours. Latterly, too, there have been violent convulsions, so that the child has been hovering constantly between death and a miserable life. In his pain he sucked so hard that I got a sore on my breast—an open sore; often blood would spurt into his little, trembling mouth. I was sitting thus one day when suddenly in came our landlady, to whom we had paid over 250 Reichstalers in the course of the winter, and with whom we had contractually agreed that we should subsequently pay, not her, but her landlord by whom she had formerly been placed under distraint; she now denied the existence of, the contract, demanded the £5 we still owed her and, since this was not ready to hand (Naut's letter arrived too late), two bailiffs entered the house and placed under distraint what little I possessed—beds, linen, clothes, everything, even my poor infant's cradle, and the best of the toys belonging to the girls, who burst into tears. They threatened to take everything away within 2 hours—leaving me lying on the bare boards with my shivering children and my sore breast. Our friend Schramm left hurriedly for town in search of help. He climbed into a cab, the horses took fright, he jumped out of the vehicle and was brought bleeding back to the house where I was lamenting in company with my poor, trembling children.

The following day we had to leave the house, it was cold, wet and overcast, my husband went to look for lodgings, on his mentioning 4 children no one wanted to take us in. At last a friend came to our aid, we paid and I hurriedly sold all my beds so as to settle with the apothecaries, bakers, butchers, and milkman who, their fears aroused by the scandal of the bailiffs, had suddenly besieged me with their bills. The beds I had sold were brought out on to the pavement and loaded on to a barrow—and then what happens? It was long after sunset, English law prohibits this, the landlord bears down on us with constables in attendance, declares we might have included some of his stuff with our own, that we are doing a flit and going abroad. In less than five minutes a crowd of two or three hundred people stands gaping outside our door, all the riff-raff of Chelsea. In go the beds again; they cannot be handed over to the purchaser until tomorrow morning after sunrise; having thus been enabled, by the sale of everything we possessed, to pay every farthing, I removed with my little darlings into the two little rooms we now occupy in the German Hotel, 1 Leicester Street, Leicester Square, where we were given a humane reception in return for £5/10 a week.

You will forgive me, dear friend, for describing to you so exhaustively and at such length just one day in our lives over here. It is, I know, immodest, but this evening my heart has flowed over into my trembling hands and for once I must pour out that heart to one of our oldest, best and most faithful friends. Do not suppose that I am bowed down by these petty sufferings, for I know only too well that our struggle is not an isolated one and that, furthermore, I am among the happiest and most favoured few in that my beloved husband, the mainstay of my life, is still at my side. But what really shatters me to the very core of my being, and makes my heart bleed is that my husband has to endure so much pettiness, that so little would have been needed to help him and that he, who gladly and joyously helped so many, has been so bereft of help over here. But as I have said, do not suppose, dear Mr Weydemeyer, that we are making demands on anyone; if money is advanced to us by anyone, my husband is still in a position to repay it out of his assets. The only thing, perhaps, my husband was entitled to ask of those who owe him many an idea, many a preferment, and much support was that they should evince more commercial zeal, greater concern for his Revue. That modicum, I am proud and bold enough to maintain, that modicum was his due. Nor do I even know whether my husband ever earned by his labours 10 silver groschen to which he was not fully entitled. And I don't believe that anyone was the worse off for it. That grieves me. But my husband is of a different mind. Never, even in the most frightful moments, has he lost his confidence in the future, nor yet a mite of his good humour, being perfectly content to see me cheerful, and our dear children affectionately caressing their dear mama. He is unaware, dear Mr Weydemeyer, that I have written to you at such length about our situation, so do not make any use of this letter. All he knows is that I have asked you on his behalf to expedite as best you can the collection and remittance of the money. I know that the use you make of this letter will be wholly dictated by the tact and discretion of your friendship for us.

Farewell, dear friend. Convey my most sincere affection to your wife and give your little angel a kiss from a mother who has shed many a tear upon the infant at her breast. Should your wife be suckling her child herself, do not tell her anything of this letter. I know what ravages are made by any kind of upset and how bad it is for the little mites. Our three eldest children are doing wonderfully well, for all that and for all that. The girls are pretty, blooming, cheerful and in good spirits, and our fat boy is a paragon of comical humour and full of the drollest ideas. All day the little imp sings funny songs with tremendous feeling and at the top of his voice, and when he sings the verse from Freiligrath's Marseillaise.

Come, O June, and bring us deeds,
Fresh deeds for which our hearts do yearn

in a deafening voice, the whole house reverberates. Like its two unfortunate precursors, that month may be destined by world history to see the opening of the gigantic struggle during which we shall all clasp one another's hands again.

Fare well.

 

 

From Jenny Marx to Joseph Weydemeyer in Frankfurt Am Main

[London, about 20 June 1850]

 

Dear Mr Weydemeyer,

My husband is not a little astonished that you could send the money to Naut, and likewise that from the red number to anyone but himself.

There will, of course, have to be a complete overhaul of the way in which the Revue is distributed. Meanwhile my husband requests you not to send anything more to Mr Naut, but rather all of it here, even the smallest amount (in Prussian talers). Conditions here are not as they are in Germany. We live, all six of us, in one small room and a very small closet, for which we pay more than for the largest house in Germany, and pay weekly at that. Hence you can imagine what a position one finds oneself in if so much as 1 Reichstaler arrives a day too late. For all of us here, without exception, it's a question of our daily bread. So do not await Mr Naut's orders and so forth. Another thing my husband wishes me to say is that it is really is not desirable for Luning to write a critique, a strong attack would do, only no praise. Nor has my husband ever expected a profound critique, but only a straightforward piece such as all newspapers accord to reviews and pamphlets, and what your paper also does when it wants to make works known and promote them, namely, publish short excerpts of a suitable kind. This involves little work.

Many regards to your dear wife, and my cordial regards to yourself.

Yours
Jenny Marx

 

 

 

Jenny Marx to Frederick Engels in Manchester

London, 19 December [1850]

Dear Mr Engels,

On Karl's request I send you herewith six copies of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung. Harney, who is a little better, wishes you to send one to Helen Macfarlane. Just imagine, that rascal Schuberth will only let Eisen have the 300 copies if he is paid in cash and Naut, the jackass, is now quite beside himself. Hence Karl has masses of letters to write, and you know what that means where he is concerned. The Cologne anathema against Willich and Co. arrived yesterday, together with new Rules, circulars, etc. This time the Cologne people were exceptionally active and energetic and adopted a firm stand vis-a-vis the rotten band. Just imagine, it wasn't enough for Willich to have put his foot in it once, with the Fanon-Caperon manifesto—the leviathans must needs issue another epistle, while Willich has gone so far as to send red Becker 3 decrees for forwarding to the Cologne Landwehr in which he gives them orders from here to mutiny, to nominate a provisional government in every company and to overthrow all civil and military authorities and have them shot if need be. And the Cologne Landwehr, at that, who are now quite happily talking pot politics in the city of their fathers on the Rhine's cool strand. If Willich is not ripe for the lunatic asylum, then I don't know who is. Schapper has obtained a passport from Hamburg, to enable him to take over in person Haude's occupation of emissary. Good luck to the hippopotamus!

We have also heard from Dronke. Mrs Moses has again persuaded her husband that he is 'poss' of the 'gommunists'. But you'll soon be here and can hear and see for yourself everything that's been going on. The Caperonians set upon and beat up red Wolff one night, and our friend had Wengler taken into custody. The next morning, when he had been sentenced, Willich ransomed him for 20 shillings.

We are all looking forward to seeing you here soon.

Yours
Jenny Marx

 

 

 

Jenny Marx to Frederick Engels in Manchester

[London, 11] January 1851

 

Dear Mr Engels,

On my husband's request I am sending you herewith a letter for Weerth. You had agreed to forward it along with your own. Red Wolff has made a new pair of shoes by machine, citizen Liebknecht grows daily more earnest and virtuous, Schramm is down in the dumps and no one has seen anything of him. The children send their love to Engels, and my husband is at the library whiling away his time.

With my warm regards,

Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx to Frederick Engels in Manchester

London, 17 December 1851

Dear Mr Engels,

Moor has just asked me to send you in great haste a few words in reply to Weydemeyer's letter, just received. He will himself let you have an article on the French misère by Friday and wonders whether you might not be able to dispatch to America a humorous essay on the German nonsense, notably the hearing of Prussia by Austria, etc. I am also, on the orders of the powers that be, sending Freiligrath a reminder. We all look forward very much to seeing you here soon. Colonel Musch and the young ladies, his sisters, send you their warm regards as does your

Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx to Frederick Engels in Manchester

[London, 17 December 1851]

 

Dear Mr Engels,

Hardly hall I posted my letter to you (yours not having arrived until four o'clock in the afternoon) when Moor returned from the Museum and began 'burning his fingers' over the French stuff. Now he asks me to send you at once this second epistle to tell you that, as he would not be able to Post his article until late on Thursday evening, he proposes to send it off from here, and that, supposing you were in fact to leave on Friday, everything would cross. If you can send your article here by Friday, it could travel in company with the rest; but you might consider it preferable to send yours off from Liverpool. So comme il vous plaira. How do you like my husband creating a stir with your article throughout western, eastern and southern America—and mutilated at that, and what's more under another name? For the rest the whole article is nothing but a source of mystification.

Should you have the English version of the Manifesto to hand, please bring it with you. Colonel Musch writes three letters a day to Frederick in Manchester, sticking used stamps thereon with the utmost conscientiousness. The whole tribe sends its love. Until Saturday, then.

Farewell.

Yours
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Frederick Engels in Manchester

[London, 7 January 1852]

 

Dear Mr Engels,

How can you imagine that I would have been angry with you over that little drinking spree? I was very sorry not to have seen you again before you left, for that would have enabled you to see for yourself that I was only somewhat sulky in respect of my liege lord. Besides, such interludes often have quite salutory effects, but this time père Marx must have caught a bad chill during his nocturnal philosophic excursion with ‘the archbishop’s nephew’ [i.e. Engels], for he fell seriously ill and has up till now stayed quietly in bed. He may perhaps be able to get up a little today and apply himself to the articles for America. However, I don’t think he is as much restored as he imagines. For three nights he rambled in his speech and was very poorly. He asks you to convey his regards to Weerth and to tell him that he was very annoyed with him for having written no more than 2 words when forwarding Reinhardt’s letter from Paris, and that he must above all fulfil his duty as a former editor of the Neue Rheinische and send out to America some articles from stock. As for that insufferable man, here, word for word, is what père Marx says now:

‘Ever drunk as a lord; boasting about his insinuating ways with women, meaning his being kicked out of bars; from the outset raucously inciting the English public in streets and alleyways, parlours, omnibuses and ha’penny steamboats, to take part in the great debates between Kinkel and Ruge; dragging every German by the ear to the Cranbourne Hotel; one of the most pompous ranters of the Emigrés’ Club, and hence also crudely venting his spleen on the out-of-the-way little church of the N. Rh. Z. Should he ask Weerth’s protection, the latter must tell him to look for a post in one of the seven ministries to be set up by Kinkel, which should not present any difficulty in view of his great services to the great and only revolutionary party and of his influence on Kinkel’s pair of court scribes, Meyen and Oppenheim. Generally speaking, should Weerth be approached by any of the blackguards, he must give them to understand that he, too, belongs to the “small, incorrigible, separatist church” of the N. Rh. Z, as Meyen put it when writing to America.’

So much for my exalted patient, ‘old Crosspatch’.

Yesterday a very nice letter arrived from Cluss in Washington, from which Kinkel’s boundless turpitude again emerges. Unfortunately I cannot enclose it as Freiligrath took it away with him yesterday. We shall send it tomorrow. Pass on bits of it to Weerth.

Freiligrath has a new story about Kinkel’s toadyism towards the democratic grocers here, which I shall now treat you to. Freiligrath applies to a blind German democratic merchant here for a position. He acquaints him with his commercial testimonials, whereupon the cross-eyed cheesemonger tells him: ‘I have had the privilege of making Professor Kinkel’s acquaintance. I attended one of his lectures, after which the Professor called on me and at once offered to come to my house of an evening and read aloud free of charge the best German poetic works. I, of course, declined this exceptional offer, not being in a position adequately to reward a man like Professor Kinkel for such services. In addition, the gentleman would have had the expense of the omnibus fares, since he lives some distance away. Nevertheless, the Professor came and read aloud to me from German poets. — Amongst which a few little things by yourself, Mr Freiligrath — whereupon he told me that you were really a man of commerce and had already held a position, etc., etc. The Professor’s wife also called on me and offered to sing and play to me. — Doubtless the Professor’s wife would also have obliged with dances and poses plastiques [living sculpture] had she not been dealing with a blind connoisseur.

The future president of the German Republic, who goes chasing after the grocers here in order to read them his divine poetry and sometimes snatch a bite of supper, all but outshines the French Krapillinski.

It will also interest you to hear that your former chief, General Willich, has received a sound thrashing at the hands of the inferior refugees, since the latter are unable to grasp the difference between themselves and the superior refugees, and disapprove of the way the large revolutionary funds are being administered in the interests of the great men. It would further appear from Cluss’ letter that Kinkel has used Willich’s mystifications and Schramm’s letter to provide proof in America of their ‘connections with Cologne. It will soon be time to come out with the true story. Kinkel has apparently been putting about in America too that Marx’s party presents prizes for vice in order not to become moral heroes. Musch sends Frederick his love. The girls have already gone to school. You will, perhaps, remember that Pieper made the boy a present of his fine travelling bag. Yesterday he threatened to take it back and buy him something else instead. This morning the boy hid the bag, and just now he said: ‘Moor [i.e. Marx], I've hiddened it well and if Pieper asks for it, I'll tell him I've given it to a poor man.’ The slyboots!

Adieu.

Warmest greetings
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Joseph Weydemeyer in New York

[London, 9 January 1852]

 

Dear Mr Weydemeyer,

For the past week my husband has been very poorly and is for the most part confined to bed. Nevertheless he has managed to finish the enclosed sequel to his article [Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte], so that there may be no interruption in the printing thereof, supposing a start has really been made on it.

A few days ago we had a letter from Cluss in Washington — with whom I hope you have already made contact for you will find him in all respects an excellent support — from which Kinkel’s boundless turpitude again emerges. For while this hypocrite fawns on Karl’s friends in the most barefaced manner and writes to them, saying ‘he has emphasised the need to get in touch with Marx and the most capable members of his party’ (a downright lie), he seeks in the most perfidious way to blacken my husband’s personal character and relates the most edifying tales about him and his friends drawn from Willich’s mendacious innuendoes.

Karl, who doesn’t feel strong enough today to write to you himself, asks me to tell you that you should provide some information in your paper [Die Revolution] about our poor friends in Cologne, b the more so since Kinkel’s party, along with its court scribes and its rowdies and its compliant Lithographische Korrespondenz, deliberately passes over their existence and all their sufferings in complete silence, which is all the more infamous as it is precisely to Becker, Bürgers and their erstwhile organ that Kinkel owes most of his popularity. But our people languish in prisons, are hideously treated, and now will have to spend another three months in jug while the great men of the future are pocketing thousands in the name of the revolution and are already handing out future ministerial posts.

How was your dear wife after the terrible voyage? What are your children doing? Have they all become more or less acclimatised?

But time is getting exceedingly short. I must hurry out and post this letter. Let us hope that the conclusion of his article will be easier for my dear Karl.

Farewell for the present,

Yours
Jenny Marx

Lupus is now somewhat recovered. He, too, will send something soon, as will Engels. Insistent reminders have also gone off to Weerth. Red Wolff has got married and, being on his honeymoon, cannot let you have anything as yet.

 

 

Jenny Marx To Frederick Engels in Manchester

[London, 16 January 1852]

 

Dear Mr Engels,

As you see, I am still en fonction as secretary. My husband has still not altogether left his bed. He was indeed very poorly. Tomorrow he will attempt to take a short walk. His illness prevented him from getting anything done for America, although he did manage to strike some sparks out of Freiligrath and Pieper. I enclose herewith a most felicitous poem of Freiligrath’s. Let our friend Weerth have a look at it as well. Perhaps he too will feel inspired to climb onto Pegasus. Send us the Tribune if you have finished with it. Next week you will receive a very nice letter from Cluss. Lupus hasn’t got it just now. We hope to hear from you soon and may you enjoy your pale ale in the meantime.

Warm regards from the patient.
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Joseph Weydemeyer in New York

[London, 27 February 1852]

 

Dear Mr Weydemeyer,

After a week of strenuous nocturnal labours, his days being taken up with domestic affairs, my husband’s eyes are so wretchedly sore that he cannot possibly write to you today and I must assume all secretarial functions. He asks me to tell you that he has been unable to read through the whole of Eccarius’ article, and that you yourself must correct the orphographic mistakes; for this admirable man, who writes excellently, has only just learnt his letters here and knows nothing of full-stops and commas. He is also sending you an article by a Hungarian [Bangya] who is familiar with the innermost secrets of the Hungarian émigrés. You yourself must decide whether you can use and publish it at this moment. At all events, it is essential to keep in with the man, since he has promised to provide us later on with original contributions by Perczel, Szemere, etc., whose intimate he is. My husband thinks you should, of course, correct the worst grammatical howlers that crop up in the article, but that a few peculiarities of style which might give it the stamp of a genuine Hungarian product could do no harm at all. He further requests you to return as soon as possible the five instalments of his paper on Napoleon [Eighteenth Brumaire] if you should not succeed in publishing it. We might, perhaps, be able to bring it out in a French translation, although it would really be a pity about the German version. He would greatly prefer it if you could succeed in America, since the piece is bound to sell and could also be distributed in Germany, providing as it does an historical appreciation of the most important event of the present day. I hope that there will soon he some good news from you, dear Mr Weydemeyer, to wit that your dear wife has come smoothly through the great catastrophe, and that two births have taken place under your roof — a son and a journal. My very warmest greetings to your dear wife.

Yours
Jenny Marx

So that it will not take so long, you might have each of the individual articles printed separately, because the thing is of immediate interest. Later, they could be combined into one. No. 5 goes off today. Next Friday he will be sending No. 6, the final instalment. As already mentioned, then, try to publish the work as a pamphlet. Otherwise, send the thing back, because come what may, we must get it published.

Many regards to Cluss also, and write soon telling us just how things are with you.

Lupus has just brought a brief scrawl on the latest events of the day in London.

 

 

Jenny Marx To Adolf Cluss in Washington

London, 15 October 1852

 

Dear Mr Cluss,

Today my husband has appointed me his deputy and I therefore hasten to assume the duties of a secrétaire intime. For my husband is under such pressure from without and within that he has had to traipse round all day on home business and now, just gone 5, has not yet returned to dispose, more especially, of the affair Brüningk v. Cluss. Do nothing, absolutely nothing about this matter until the next steamer. Imandt had meant to send a statement today proving that Willich and Kinkel had made insulting remarks about Mrs Brüningk. At the same time he will lay the blame for all the tittle-tattle at the door of that old buffoon, Ruge, presently knight-errant and champion of princely innocence, and will do so all the more easily as the rumour indeed arose and began to spread at the very moment when the old jackass declared Kinkel to be — witness his close friend Gross — an agent of the Prince of Prussia at the same time revealing that Kinkel’s release had been the prince’s doing, but that Mrs Brüningk had also played a leading role in the affair and had put up the money for it. In Germany, these rumours were both current at once and (if Dronke’s memory is to be trusted, though he cannot say for certain) it is said that in the self-same article Ruge spoke of the suspect circles frequented here by Gottfried. Well, this stupid affair is nothing but a conspiracy to avenge themselves on Marx-Cluss by imputing to them vile, anonymous gossip and slander — an art in which these curs have long since been practising with the greatest virtuosity. No sooner had the old Pomeranian [Ruge] broken a lance for the princess than he paid a personal call on the great lady. No doubt Heinzen, too, still hopes to supplement his Whiggish source by striking and exploiting a princely seam over here for his Janus. But how ridiculous, the way in which the rabble suddenly raises a hue and cry in two continents when, for so long, it has heaped scurrility upon scurrility, tittle-tattle upon tittle-tattle, calumny upon calumny. And withal there is really nothing to the article which, at least, reveals in moderate, discreet, indeed veiled terms, what has been said bluntly and openly by her own guests. The revolting thing about it is that one would sooner keep this scum at a healthy distance than be forced to grapple with them, and over so paltry a matter to boot. My husband himself had intended to send you today an article written in his own name about how your article came to be published in the Wecker. But Imandt thought it absolutely essential that my husband, against whom the whole thing has been cooked up, should be left out of it, which is why he wanted to write the statement himself. Unfortunately it has not yet arrived! But you should do nothing about the matter until you receive further instructions. Meyen was saying today that Dronke, Willich and Kinkel had stated on their word of honour that they had never said anything defamatory about the woman. So the fellows had already been subjected to a cross-examination. As you see, here too, the thing is being conducted as a matter of the utmost importance. By the by, from his own viewpoint Schnauffer’s reply is excellent, witty and apt and, in truth, the two philosophers ought not to make so much fuss merely because a high-born lady is ill-used. Did anyone ask any questions when Ruge spread the most scurrilous, defamatory and socially ruinous rumours and things about my husband, and this at a time when my husband’s lips were sealed by party considerations and out of regard for his friends in Germany.

Did anyone bother whether all this grieved me almost to death, when my child [Heinrich Guido] died, having imbibed at my breast torment, grief and care? — oh! and all the other sufferings — yet I was not called princess when I was born — but wherefore all this foolish commotion? We shall extricate ourselves somehow and prove the others responsible. But you must wait, at any rate, just one more posting-day.

The Brumaires have not yet arrived. My husband will send you by the next post the 2 People’s Papers containing your articles.

My brother Edgar has at last written to his mother. Thanks to your kind efforts my letter reached him safely. Once again, may I say how grateful I am.

One more thing. Keep Jacobus Huzel on a fairly short rein so that he doesn’t kick over the traces. There should be no chit-chat with the vermin since their line now is to implicate us and thus erase the memory of their past infamies. Some diplomacy is required in dealing with this bunch of purely objective, principled, honourable, worthy washerwomen.

You have, I suppose, been following the Cologne trial in the Kölnische. Today we received an account of Becker’s interrogation. Since there was nothing against him, it had been agreed to leave Becker out of the thing altogether, and this will explain to you the manner of his defence, which will be eagerly seized upon by the democrats in order to claim Becker as one of their own and declare him the true hero — free, independent man of the people that he is and no blind follower of a secret society’s cut-and-dried doctrine — , precisely because he is the weakest of all and has the greatest amount of democratic blood in his veins. Should that loud-mouthed Heinzen make use of this case to build up Becker, you can at once point out that the defence had been agreed upon beforehand and that, shortly before his arrest, Becker had insistently begged my husband to attack with him in his review all the official democrats — Ruge, Heinzen, Kinkel, Willich, etc., etc. — and hold them up to ridicule. That he also wanted to have Willich’s imbecile letters published. Further that, on his release, the democratic gentlemen could expect to fare no better, etc., etc. I am writing in something of a rush.

I must catch the post.

Farewell and warm regards,
Jenny Marx

Write again soon. Your letters invariably give us the greatest pleasure. My husband is always saying that if we had a few more chaps like Cluss, we might yet get something done. In the meantime, don’t do too much. Best let dog eat dog, otherwise they might band together to combat the ‘common enemy’, the wicked, infamous blight — Marx and his clique.

 

 

Jenny Marx To Adolf Cluss in Washington

[London, 30 October 1852]

 

Dear Mr Cluss,

You will have been following the monster trial of the communists in the Kölnische Zeitung. During the sitting of 23 October the whole thing took such a splendid and interesting turn, and one so favourable to the accused, that we are beginning to regain some of our confidence. As you can imagine, the ‘Marx party’ is busy day and night and is having to throw itself into the work body and soul. This overloading with work also accounts for my again appearing before you as deputy reporter. Mr Willich’s close friend, Mr Dietz, now also in America, has contrived to have all the documents, letters, minutes, etc., etc. of Willich’s clique stolen from him. They were produced by the prosecution as evidence of the party’s dangerous activities. In order to establish a link between these and the accused, they now proceeded to think up a spurious connection between my husband and the notorious spy Cherval. Thus my husband became the bridge, the spurious link, between the theoreticians of Cologne and the men of action, incendiaries and robbers, in London. Stieber and the prosecution expected wonders of this coup. It burst like a bubble. New effects had to be conjured up, hence the tissue of lies at the sitting of 23 October. Everything adduced by the police is untrue. They steal, forge, break into desks, perjure themselves, bear false witness and, withal, claim this licence vis-à-vis communists, who are hors [del la société] [outsiders]! This and the way in which the police, at their most rascally, are usurping all the functions of the prosecution, pushing Saedt into the background, and submitting unattested scraps of paper, mere rumours, reports and hearsay, as real legally proven facts, as evidence, is truly hair-raising. We here had to supply all proofs of the forgery. Hence my husband had to work all day and late into the night. Affidavits had to be obtained from the publicans, and the handwriting of the alleged minute-takers, Liebknecht and Rings, officially authenticated to provide proof of forgery on the part of the police. Then every one of these things had to be copied out 6-8 times and dispatched by the most divers routes to Cologne, via Frankfurt, Paris, etc., since all letters to my husband as well as all letters from here to Cologne are opened and detained. The whole thing has now become a struggle between the police on one side and my husband on the other — they blame him for everything, the entire revolution and even the conduct of the trial. Finally Stieber has now declared my husband to be an Austrian spy. In return, my husband looked out a glorious letter, written to him by Stieber in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung days, which is really damning. We likewise discovered a letter from Becker in which he makes fun of Willich’s imbecilities and his ‘military conspiracies’. Out of hatred for Becker, Willich gave directions here in London to the witness Lieutenant Hentze, from whom up till now he has been receiving alms. In short, things are about to happen which would seem unbelievable if one wasn’t experiencing them oneself. All this business with the police is distracting the public, and hence the jury, from the actual prosecution of the communists, while bourgeois hatred of the dreadful incendiaries is paralysed by the horror inspired by the villainy of the police, — so much so that we can now even believe in our friends’ acquittal. The struggle against official power, armed as this is with money and every kind of weapon, is not, of course, without interest and will be all the more glorious should we emerge the victors. For on their side there is money, power and everything else, whereas we were often at a loss where to get the paper on which to write our letters, etc., etc.

The enclosed statement was issued today by Freiligrath, Marx, Engels and Wolff. We are sending it to the Tribune today. You could publish it as well.

Excuse me for such a confused letter but I, too, have had some part in the intrigue and have done so much copying that my fingers are afire. Hence the muddle. Your essay in the Turn-Zeitung has been much applauded here. My husband thought it first-rate and the style, in particular, exceptionally brilliant. There are others who prefer you in a less theoretical vein and would like you always to remain the same old humorous, light-hearted Cluss.

We have just received from Weerth and Engels whole parcels full of commercial addresses and pseudo-commercial letters so that we can send off the documents, letters, etc..

Another load of tremendous scandal has just arrived with the Kölnische. Two further packages are being dispatched at once to commercial addresses. A complete office has now been set up in our house. Two or three people are writing, others running errands, others scraping pennies together so that the writers may continue to exist and prove the old world of officialdom guilty of the most outrageous scandal. And in between whiles my 3 merry children [Jenny, Laura and Edgar] sing and whistle, often to be harshly told off by their papa. What a bustle! Farewell, dear Mr Cluss, and write again soon to your friends.

By permission of the higher authorities,
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Adolf Cluss in Washington

[London, 10 March 1853]

 

For weeks my dear Karl has been indisposed and, during the past few days, has again been suffering from his old liver complaint which almost developed into hepatitis, a disease I find all the more frightening for its being hereditary in his family and the cause of his father’s death. Today he is better again, is getting his Tribune article into shape, and has asked me to write to you. I must at once plunge into a circumstantial tale of woe which almost equals the bad luck of Weydemeyer and Cluss. Please don’t be angry with me if I dilate. On 6 December, at the same time as your manuscript copy of the Revelations, my husband sent another one to Schabelitz’s son in Basle. Schabelitz was delighted to receive it, wrote saying it was a masterpiece, that it ought to be across the border within a fortnight and that he would run off 2,000 copies, sell them at 15 silver groschen a piece and, after deducting the printing costs (low in Switzerland), share the profits with my husband. We would be justified in counting on at least £30 sterling — with no risk of disappointment. Moreover he intended to send 40 copies to London immediately. For 4 weeks we hear nothing. My husband writes. Answer: the printing was held up by the compositors’ Christmas junketing; he intends to be across the border in a fortnight at the latest and to send us 40 copies. All we hear, and this through a third party, is that the smuggling operation has run into unexpected difficulties and that he has had to smuggle across the 1,800 copies in small parcels over a period of 14 days, but that everything will be across by about the beginning of February, when he will charge one of his own clerks with forwarding the pamphlet and distributing it to the booksellers and will send him there, but that he, however, will send us a specimen copy at once. Good. We wait expectantly for 4 weeks. Then my husband writes to inquire, believing that the pamphlets have long since reached the furthest corners of Germany and that all he need now do is draw a bill on him. Then, yesterday, the following letter arrived.

‘Dear Marx, I have just heard that the whole consignment of Revelations, amounting to 2,000 copies, which had been lying in a village on the other side of the border for the past 6 weeks, was intercepted yesterday while being conveyed elsewhere. What will happen now, I do not know; first of all, a complaint lodged by the Baden government with the Federal Council, then, no doubt, my arrest or at least commitment for trial, etc. In either case, a terrific shindy! This briefly for your information; further communications, should I be prevented from making them myself, will reach you through a 3rd party. When writing to me, use the address: A modiste in Basle, etc.’

That’s all; what do you think of it? He leaves 2,000 copies, i.e. the entire edition, lying in a village for 6 weeks, and then writes to tell us that they have been confiscated. Not a word about the copies for London, nothing about those for Switzerland, etc. Have the things been printed, did the Prussian police buy them for a hefty sum, or God knows what? Suffice it to say that this is the 2nd pamphlet to have been entirely suppressed. Mr Stieber, who has become Chief of Police in Berlin and announced a magnum opus on conspiracies, etc., and Mr Willich, owner and administrator of the American funds come out of the affair sain et sauf; the Cologne trial has been utterly obliterated, the party is still not quite cleansed of all taint, and the government is triumphant! At this moment the pamphlet would have had the most tremendous effect. The hearts of the German police would have quaked and trembled at this thunderbolt falling among them. If we had the means, we would have it printed again au moment in Altona in order to enrage the government, but that is impossible. All that can be done now is for you to bring it out as a feuilleton in some paper or other. Could not the type then be used to produce a pamphlet which you could at once send over here? Since printing in Europe has become almost impossible but is now entirely a matter of honour for the party, you should at least have it printed à tout prix [at all costs] as a feuilleton. The publication of the pamphlet is now a necessity as against all our enemies, and will, more than anything else, further the interests of the Cologne people and sway public opinion in their favour. Interest in them must be reawakened. Becker’s attempted escape failed only because of lack of interest and outside help. Above all, proof of the pamphlet’s existence must be given and this can only be done by its being printed, even if only as a feuilleton on the other side of the ocean.

You can imagine what effect this news had on my husband’s state of health, etc.

Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Frederick Engels in Manchester

[London, 27 April 1853]

 

Dear Mr Engels,

It is for me a hateful task to have to write to you about money matters. You have already helped us all too often. But this time I have no other recourse, no other way out. I have written to Hagen in Bonn, to Georg Jung, to Cluss, to my mother-in-law, to my sister in Berlin. Ghastly letters! And so far not a word from a single one of them. So there’s no other course left open to us. I cannot describe what things are like here. My husband has gone to the City to see Gerstenberg. You can imagine what kind of an errand that must be for him. Meanwhile I am writing these lines. Can you send us something? The baker warned us that there'd be no more bread after Friday. Yesterday when he asked: ‘is Mr Marx at home?’ Musch managed to fend him off by answering: ‘No, he a'nt upstairs’ and then, with three loaves tucked under his arm, shot off like an arrow to tell his Moor about it.

Farewell.
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Frederick Engels in Manchester

[London, 28 March 1856]

 

Dear Mr Engels,

Moor wants to know whether you are coining here for Easter as we would all so very much like. In that case he would not send you the Bluebooks. Please drop us a line to say whether you are coming. Then we could take the thing to the parcels company on Monday. I have just posted your article. Chaley [Karl] is very busy with the Kars papers and is dictating to a somewhat seedy-looking Pieper. What do you make of the scandals in Berlin? Have you read the report from the Berlin correspondent in today’s Times? Now we know the reason for the Kreuz-Zeitung’s sackcloth-and-ashes leaders.

I also have a bone to pick just now with the Minister of the Interior about the little business of my inheritance. You will remember that my late uncle’s effects included a mass of letters and manuscripts belonging to my grandfather who was War Minister to the Duke of Brunswick. The Prussian State, with Mr von Scharnhorst for intermediary, had already entered into negotiations with my father with a view to purchasing these manuscripts which contain material on the military history of the Seven Years War. Then along comes my brother — and in the final statement relating to the estate I find the following curious entry: As regards the books which were found, the Minister of State has, ‘on grounds of piety’, taken over the same for the sum of 10 talers. He had the comparatively worthless portion sold by auction in Brunswick for 11 talers and now, without asking, takes over, out of piety, the more valuable, which he has valued at 10 talers, but debits me with the cost of carriage from Brunswick to Berlin. Funny sort of piety! But now for the real casus belli. In addition, he gets Florencourt, the chief clerk, to write:

‘Besides the books, a large number of papers, amongst them a number of the late Landdrost von Westphalen’s manuscripts — some on military history — have also come to light. The latter are, however for the most part exceedingly incomplete and defective and it seems improbable that the same are of any real literary interest.’

So they imagine that, without sending me a legal inventory and without having the papers valued, they can appropriate them by a coup de main. I strongly suspect that my brother, fired by patriotic zeal, promptly presented the manuscripts to the State, the more so in view of my mother’s letter, in which she tells me she had already written to them about the value of the papers — and asked what they intended to do with them. Their silence is very peculiar. He believes that I, like the rest of my submissive sisters, will simply leave everything to him, the mighty ‘Cheeef’ of the family. But there he’s mistaken.

I have begun by making ‘discreet inquiries’ so that bit by bit I can lay claim to my ‘property’.

I shall be curious to see what they answer. With Berlin in its present state of excitation it would be very easy for us to create a scandal. But out of consideration for my mother we shall tread somewhat cautiously before we start one.

We hope to see you here next week.

With cordial regards,

yours,
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Frederick Engels in Manchester

[London, about 12 April 1857]

 

Dear Mr Engels,

One invalid is writing for another by ordre du mufti [i.e. for Karl]. Chaley’s [i.e. Karl's] head hurts him almost everywhere, terrible tooth-ache, pains in the ears, head, eyes, throat and God knows what else. Neither opium pills nor creosote do any good. The tooth has got to come out and he jibs at the idea. Now I am appealing to you to step into the breach with an article for Friday. No matter what subject. *There was, for instance, the sending of troops and ships for China, there was also a change in the organisation of the Russian army, or Bonaparte or Switzerland or yarn or anything else. One column will do.* Assuming, of course, that you've got over your own eye-trouble. If you possibly can, drop us a note to let us know whether you are able to do the article. Did the eye lotion help at all?

Warm regards from

Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Frederick Engels in Waterloo near Manchester

[London, 31 July 1857]

 

Dear Mr Engels,

The wine has just arrived. The children’s exultation knew no end. The girls examined the bottles very closely and found the sherry settled in green and the port in pale lilac. The Bordeaux cheers us with its red smile. Tussy [Eleanor] set to work at once on the hamper and now she is sitting in it as in a little hut packed in straw and hay. Let me convey to you, dear Mr Engels, our warmest thanks for your great kindness. I am so weak and wasted. The wine will do me a world of good.

We are all so very worried about your indisposition and this fresh cold you have caught. But a cold is unavoidable at the beginning of a stay by the seaside. The evenings are already quite cool. So see that you dress especially warmly in the evenings. Karl is very much affected by your indisposition. He would very much like to go and see you but it is absolutely out of the question just now and that annoys him so much. just leave the ‘drudgery’ for the time being.

Karl is busy shaping the Indian news into an article. Dear little Jenny and Laura are now replacing me in my capacity as secretary. They have ousted me altogether with the chi-i-ief of the household.

On Tuesday morning: a cab stopped in front of our door, and who do you think stepped out? Conrad Schramm, whom we thought dead long ago. That fool Seiler had already written an obituary notice about him in the evening papers. The poor fellow is very very unwell. A real picture of misery. Yesterday Karl got him admitted to the German hospital, where he is being very well looked after for £1 a week. In his mind, by the way, Schramm is the same as of old, just as he was in his early, good period, when we all liked him for his buoyancy and frankness. He is continually cracking very good jokes about God and the world. But of the latter, so he thinks, he must soon take his leave. Fortunately he has kept free of the ‘American clarity’ by which old Mirbach and my brother Edgar distinguished themselves so very much.

Karl will be writing tomorrow. Warmest greetings from all of us.

Your
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Frederick Engels in Waterloo near Manchester

[London, 14 August 1857]

 

Dear Engels,

We are all so pleased to hear that you are getting better again and feeling stronger. But Moor still insists that the real way to cure your illness is prolonged dosage with iron. He has been conscientiously studying medicine at the Museum, and all modern doctors prescribe it and rate it above cod-liver oil; they are thus wholly in agreement with English doctors who, after years of practice, have come to the same opinion. By the by, he begs you most urgently not to overtax your brain with the work for Dana. Loafing and dozing and doing nothing are just as necessary as iron.

No doubt you will have had the two further letters he addressed to Manchester. One contained notices about armies, the other about the Armada.

A few evenings ago that clown Edgar Bauer came to see us; truly a dried cod — without any cod-liver oil and on top of that with pretensions to wit. So frightful were his efforts that I almost fainted, while Karl was sick — not just figuratively but in fact.

Jones has lost his wife and is now happy as a sandboy; he hails all Indians as Kossuths and applauds the Indian Patriots. His opponent, the high-minded Richard Hart, a paid Urquhartist, is now a lawyer at the Coal Hole. Karl heard him pleading there.

I hope your next letter will bring yet more good news. We are all so very anxious about you.

The wine suits me splendidly. The sherry is truly excellent. The port seems not quite so good, but I like it particularly on account of its sweetness. It will put me to rights again.

With warm regards,
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx to Conrad Schramm in St. Helier, Jersey

December [1857] Grafton Terrace, Maitland Park, Hampstead

 

Dear Mr Schramm,

It is so long since we have heard from you that we are all most eager for news. We often talk about you and, more keenly than anything else, regret our inability to help beguile and enliven somewhat your long, solitary winter days and hours.

If it isn’t too much trouble, do let us have a sign of life some time. — What do you feel about the general mess? Wouldn’t you say there was something really quite exhilarating about the way the rotten old structure is crashing and tumbling down? It is to be hoped that your relations aren’t yet using the crisis as a pretext for turning their backs on you and hence that you yourself have not as yet suffered any material ill-effects. Though the American crisis has touched our purse all too appreciably, in as much as Karl is writing for the Tribune only once instead of twice a week, all its European correspondents except Bayard Taylor and Karl having been given their notice, you can nevertheless imagine how high up the Moor is. He has recovered all his wonted facility and capacity for work, as well as the liveliness and buoyancy of a spirit long since blighted by great sorrow, the loss of our beloved child, whose death I shall never cease to mourn in my heart. By day Karl works for his living and by night at the completion of his political economy. Now, when the times require this work, and it has come to be a necessity, it will, no doubt, find some wretched publisher. Already not only we, but also Lupus and Steffen have felt the immediate impact of the crisis. The former has lost the better part of his lessons because the house has gone bankrupt, and the latter was no longer able to remain in Brighton because the Indian business put an abrupt end to his instruction of the Indian cadets. On top of that, his sister lost what little money she had through the faillite of a banker. Little Dronke has started up a business of his own in Glasgow. I believe that all the ranting in the Glaswegian press against ‘unscrupulous people who start up businesses without any capital whatsoever’ is directed against the little fellow. For the moment Freiligrath is still securely ensconced in his diminutive Crédit mobilier. But if the sinister rumours about the Parisian Crédit mobilier and its steady decline prove true, he too will soon go tumbling after and have to bid farewell to his manager’s desk. So far, the crisis would not appear to have made any deep impression on our good, honest friend Liebknecht, or at least n'a-t-elle pas encore frappi son physique [it has not yet affected him physically]; he still retains unimpaired his notorious, fearsome, famous, fabulous appetite and his pristine love for a rasher [of] bacon.

Yesterday we heard from Engels in Manchester. He says:

Among our local philistines the crisis has induced a strong desire for the bottle, no one can bear to stay at home, alone with his cares and his family, the clubs are livening up, and the consumption of liquor is rising sharply. The worse of a jam a chap is in, the more frenzied his efforts to cheer himself up. And then, the morning after, what more striking example of remorse, both alcoholic and moral! In Manchester, 8 or 9 manufacturers have already come a cropper in the past few days. But nowhere do things look so splendid as in Hamburg. Never has panic assumed so perfect and classic a form. The house of Ulberg and Cramer, whose debts when they failed amounted to 12,000,000 banco marks (of which 7 million were bills on themselves!), had a capital of not more than 300,000 marks!! Everything there is now worthless, utterly worthless, save for silver and gold. Last week also saw the failure of Christian Matthias Schröder. J. H. Schröder & Co. in London telegraphed saying that, if 2 million marks would be enough, he would send the equivalent in silver. Came the reply: 3 millions or nothing; he couldn’t spare the 3 millions and Christian Matthias crashed. The big American house which, after 2 days of negotiation with the Bank of England, recently obtained a million-pound advance, thereby saving its skin, belonged to Mr Peabody.

This 4th July Anniversary dinner man calls to mind that lout Heinzen. Although the crisis has whittled down his Pionier to half its former size (despite the collaboration of student Karl Blind, that greatest of revolutionary statesmen), the rascal still continues to maintain that ‘crises are mere Marxian inventions and figments of the brain’. Again, this gobbler-up of communists calls to mind red Becker, who has now been released, and this means, dear Mr Schramm, that willy-nilly you will have to make giant strides across the ocean with me, from Europe to America and back again, since with red Becker we are back once more in the dear Fatherland, the violet which will not, on this occasion, escape with a black, or rather blue, eye — back, indeed, in dear old Cologne, so that I cannot resist telling you something about our old friend Mevissen and his family. Quite a short while since, old Leiden lost 2 children from consumption, then Mrs Mevissen, while one of his sons lost his life when the Pacifique went down.

You can imagine how sullen and sulky all the democrats are at the moment. For now that they are again faced with the much abhorred knife-and-fork problem, and can no longer lay all the blame on princes and tyrants, there must needs be an end to political fiddle-faddle and ale-house oratory.

But now my chatter has lasted so long that it’s time for me to bid you adieu. Warmest regards from myself and the girls, who are growing up to be so sweet and lovable and charming.

Your
Jenny Marx

Apropos. We have photographs of Freiligrath and Engels. If it’s not too much trouble, will you have one done of yourself for us? Karl would so much like to have likenesses of his best friends around him.

 

 

Jenny Marx To Frederick Engels in Manchester

[London, 9 April 1858]

 

Dear Mr Engels,

For the past week Karl has been so unwell as to be quite incapable of writing. He believes you will already have deduced from the laboured style of his most recent letter that his bile and liver are again in a state of rebellion. I trust his medicines will finally take effect. The worsening of his condition is largely attributable to mental unrest and agitation which now, of course, after the conclusion of the contract with the publishers are greater than ever and increasing daily, since he finds it utterly impossible to bring the work to a close. I now also intend to write straight away to the little Berlin Jew who this time has proved a clever manager. The children are well. Unfortunately they had to stay indoors all through the Easter holidays. The weather was too ghastly and the perpetual rain made our clayey soil so soft and muddy that it was like having the whole of Böckeburg clinging to one’s soles. The Guardians with the two very interesting articles on France arrived today. From this we gather that you, too, are in Manchester and haven’t risked an Easter trip. But fox-hunting no doubt?

Warmest regards from us all.

Your
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Ferdinand Lassalle in Berlin

London, 9 April 1858

 

Dear Mr Lassalle,

Since Karl last wrote to you the liver complaint from which he was already suffering at the time — unfortunately it recurs every spring — has got so much worse that he has had to dose himself constantly. Today he feels quite incapable of writing and has therefore asked me to convey to you his heartfelt thanks for your kind efforts on his behalf. Nor can I help but express my pleasure at the successful conclusion of the contract, from which I gather that you are not yet completely engrossed in theoretical works and that, besides immersing yourself in Heraclitus (which I, too, have been studying a little), you have still retained your practical aptitudes and remained, as the English say, ‘a clever manager’. Karl would long since have written to you at length about your work, but it’s so difficult for him to write at all. The mental unrest and agitation he feels through not being able to bring his work to a close all at one go contribute greatly, of course, to the aggravation of his condition, likewise the tiresome work for our ‘daily bread’, which is another thing that certainly can’t be deferred. However we hope that he'll be able to deliver the manuscript on time.

As soon as he feels a little better he will write to you and, in the meantime, perhaps you will make do with this brief note of mine.

With warm regards
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Marx in Manchester

[London, about 9 May 1858]

 

My darling Karl,

I'm sorry I haven’t anything better to send you than Sch[’...] Koller’s letter; I kept it back yesterday but maybe you ought to see it after all.

I hope that you will reach some definite point of fact with Friedländer; nothing much is ever to be got out of a German newspaper and it’s beyond me how you could ask the enormous rate of £1 10/- for more than one article, especially since they have a correspondent for their regular business; they certainly can’t want more than an enjolivement. The most that can be extracted from the Presse, as an average maximum, will be £2 — don’t delude yourself on that score. Engels is sure to say ‘you'll be able to make at least £10 a week out of it’; though such delusions may be very agreeable at the time, they are often doomed to disappointment in the event.

The course of the revolution in Prussia tickles me tremendously; particularly the ‘ships, sails, masts and [waves]’ speech made by liquor Prince Smith on his Baltic estate, and the rapturous applause it received. And on top of that the Kölnische Zeitung’s transports over von der Heydt, and the admiration evinced even by the Presse for the energy and determination shown by the democratic press in Berlin??!!

The girls would have written to you long ago, but little Jenny declared that she detested the idea of what was simply a private letter being subjected to threefold censorship. Hence her silence.

Karl dear, it’s frightful that I should have to bother you amidst all your other tribulations; but, with Easter upon us, the fellows are growing rabid. Can’t you manage to raise something, if only, for Withers. They are the worst....

The others are better — they can still be staved off for a while. I went to see Miss Morton yesterday and explained matters to her.

Your
Jenny

 

 

Jenny Marx to Engels in Manchester

[London, after 13 August 1859]

 

Dear Mr Engels,

Moor has just gone to the Museum and has asked me to thank you for the £5 note you sent so promptly. And now, on top of all our other misfortunes, comes the County Court. The affair’s all the more vexing because I arrived just 5 minutes too late, otherwise the judge would certainly have granted me the right to make monthly payments as on the first occasion. You cannot conceive, dear Mr Engels, how painful it is for Karl and me to be such a constant burden on you and, with every letter, to despatch a fresh jeremiad appealing to your friendship and kindness.

Karl has had 6 copies of Po and Rhine for some time now. He forgot to tell you. Of those 6 copies he has given away 3 to acquaintances (Imandt, Juta and Cavanagh). I shall be sending you the rest next week.

The girls — just now they are practising a duet together and singing very nicely indeed — send you their love, to which I too add my warm regards.

Your
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx to Engels in Manchester

[London, 4 November 1859]

 

Dear Mr Engels,

Szemere is constantly pestering Moor for the Tribune article he promised him. Another dunning letter arrived this morning. Karl, who is struggling with Friday’s article, begs you to send him the Kossuth article as soon as possible.

Warmest regards from the girls and myself.

Your
Jenny M.

 

 

Jenny Marx to Engels in Manchester

[London, 23 or 24 December 1859]

 

My dear Mr Engels,

My most heartfelt thanks for the Christmas hamper. The champagne will be a tremendous help in tiding us over the otherwise gloomy holiday, and will ensure a merry Christmas Eve. The sparkling bubbles of the champagne will make the dear children forget the lack of a little Christmas tree this year, and be happy and jolly for all that.

I have been terribly irritated by fleshy philistine Freiligrath and his Westphalian rectitude and respectability. On the other hand I was greatly amused today by your letter about the fat man and the lean woman, and I cannot understand why I sometimes let the wretches’ behaviour upset me so. Had we been ‘better off’ this year, I'd have seen the funnier side of all this trouble, but humour goes by the board when one is constantly having to struggle against the pettiest misère, never have I found it so oppressive as now, when our dear little girls, who are blossoming so sweetly, have to endure it too. And then, on top of that, the secret hopes we had long nourished in regard to Karl’s book were all set at naught by the Germans’ conspiration de silence, only broken by a couple of wretched, belletristic feuilleton articles which confined themselves to the preface and ignored the contents of the book. The second instalment may startle the slugabeds out of their lethargy and then they will attack its line of thought the more ferociously for having kept silent about the scientific nature of the work. Nous verrons. I am, too, particularly curious to see what Ephraim Artful is going to hatch out. For his conduct in the matter is not altogether clear; Prussian Blue, like Ferdinand the Pure, must be treated with great circumspection just now, and an official breach with the latter must still be postponed. He’s only so thick with Blind because the latter was his man-servant in the great Kinkel affair and stood up for his rights on the boozy Schiller committee. Because Blind helped by seeing to it that the bust of Schiller was unveiled (the green serge cover positively refused to come off until 4 men had tugged at and tussled with it) during his cantata and not during the low comedian’s semaphoring, he now has to stand publicly side by side with the arrant liar and cover the latter’s mendacity and cowardice with his own political loyalty and purity. Fazy’s miserable lackey! But enough of these dratted people! I am also sending you my brother’s book through Chaplin. It might interest you and provide you with matter for a review. Actually mon cher frère has virtually done us out of the legacy and it was a downright lie when he wrote and told me some years ago that these papers were nothing but useless disjointed notes with which absolutely nothing could be done, and which didn’t even have any ‘exchange value’. I have ample cause to pick a quarrel with him, nor would anything be easier, in view of his present precarious political position, than to compromise him thoroughly. The Schleinitzes and Dunckers would be glad to take up the matter. Well, last week, without Karl’s knowledge, I approached him about money. Since every attempt Karl had made to raise money had failed, I resolved in this extreme emergency to take the unpleasant step which I had hitherto avoided, even in the darkest days. Although Ferdinand refused to make me an ‘advance’, ‘himself restricted to his pension’, my letter has put me in a false position in regard to him, and my hands are completely tied. For the present I shall have to confine myself to reproaching him for the peculiar way he has treated my father in the preface. Even the crazy, egoistic brother, who embittered my father’s existence and, up to the last year of his life, extorted from my mother a yearly allowance paid out of her small widow’s income, is dealt with better, more decently and in greater detail than our humane, truly noble and magnanimous father. The latter, it is true, ‘knew his Shakespeare better than his Bible’, a crime which is not forgiven him even in the grave by his pietistic son. Moreover it was exceedingly strange that, touching as he did on our family circumstances, he should have omitted all mention of my father’s second marriage and failed to name the second mother, who was the light of my father’s life and who tended and nurtured her step-children with loyalty and love and devotion such as a woman’s own children seldom meet with. This enabled him skilfully to cheat my brother Edgar and myself of her existence which he found intrusive. But this last is a matter of complete indifference and affects me very little; only father and mother should not have been treated and passed over in this way — and for that he must do penance. I am anxious to know what you will have to say about the military part of the book. Today little Jenny is copying the article in my place. I believe my daughters will soon put me out of business, and I shall then come on the register of ‘those entitled to assistance’. A pity that there’s no prospect of getting a pension after my long years of secretarial duties. Goodbye for today. Warmest regards from all, including your

Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Marx in Manchester

[London,] 16 March 1860

 

My Dear Karl,

A thousand thanks for the letter and the specie. I have not got Rheinländer’s address, since you took your address book away with you. But, so as to lose no time, I have, none the less, written to him and directed the letter to Mark Lane, care of Gänsewinkel. I could not think of anybody who might be able to tell me his address, which is not indicated in his letters. If you think the letter might fail to reach him by this means, you had better write to him yourself. I shall at once betake my humble being to Baccalaureus and make my report. We have indeed learned of late to distinguish true and loyal friends from shams. What a difference between the lesser folk and the grandees. Lassalle, by the by, has grown fearfully stupid and narrow-minded; even that modicum of lawyer’s acumen he had has gone to the devil, and Heraclitus has made him hellishly dull and dark. None of his raisonnements is valid, each overturning the last. Nothing could have given me greater pleasure than the news about your book. Russia has always been good ground for you. In the long run, everything is going better than I had sometimes dared to hope in my hours of solitude. One becomes so beset by doubts and fears and in the end one despairs of everything, particularly when one thinks of the universal duplicity, baseness and cowardice — the Germans’ behaviour with regard to the Humboldt case alone is enough to make them worthy of being liberated, kicked and Jena-ed by Bonaparte. Oh, what a crew! Just a few lines today. A thousand greetings from your dear, good, cheerful children and your

Jenny

 

 

Jenny Marx To Engels in Manchester

[London, 14 August 1860]

 

Dear Mr Engels,

Moor has asked me to say that, if you possibly can, you should concoct an article for him by Friday or Saturday. Several have, alas, already fallen by the way, and even today’s still seems to me problematical. Anything will do. Maybe some chat about the attack on Venice — no matter what.

This week I hope to start copying the pamphlet.[Herr Vogt] The thing is taking ages, and I'm afraid Karl is making too thorough a job of it.

My pet bugbear is the ‘analysis of Techow’s letter’ and that, I should say, is where the snag lies. Everything else is making better headway.

Every day Schily and Becker send us piles of fresh documents, which are being incorporated into the thing. And I'm sorry to say that nothing has been done about finding a publisher yet. But the whole business is to be completed this week. ‘And he who disbelieves it is mistaken.'

Warm regards from the girls and myself.’

Yours,
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Engels in Manchester

[London, after 5 October 1860]

 

Dear Mr Engels,

Another proof-sheet [of Herr Vogt] has just arrived, which Moor must look over at once and send back to the City. He has therefore asked me to tell you — in haste, as the last post goes soon — that the highly welcome £5 note has been safely received.

With warm regards from us all.

Yours,
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Louise Weydemeyer

Hampstead, 11 March 1861

 

My dear Mrs Weydemeyer,

Your kind letter arrived this morning and, so you can see how delighted I was to get it, I am sitting down straight away to write to you at some length since, from your friendly lines, I conclude that you like to hear from us, and that your recollection of us is as cordial as is ours of you. Indeed, how could such old party comrades and friends, on whom fate has imposed much the same joys and sorrows, the same sunny and gloomy days, ever become strangers, even though time and oceans have separated us? And thus from afar I hold out my hand to you as to one who is a plucky and loyal fellow fighter and fellow sufferer. Yes, my dear Mrs Weydemeyer, our hearts have often been heavy and troubled and I can imagine only too well what you have latterly had to endure, what struggles and worries and deprivations, having often been through the same thing myself. But suffering tempers us and love keeps us going.

During our early years here, we did indeed suffer bitterly, though today I will not dwell upon the many dark memories, the many losses we had to endure, nor upon the dear, sweet loved ones who have gone to their rest and whose images we always bear silently and with profound sorrow in our hearts [following the death of her children Heinrich Guido, Franziska, and Edgar]. Let me tell you today about a new period in our lives which, along with much that is sad, has, nevertheless, brought many a bright moment. In 1856, I and our three remaining girls [Jenny, Laura, and Eleanor] made a trip to Trier. My dear mother’s delight on my arrival with her little grandchildren was indescribable but, alas, of short duration. The truest and best of mothers fell sick and, at the end of eleven days’ suffering, her dear, weary eyes, having rested once more in benison on myself and the children, closed for ever. Your dear husband, who knew my affectionate mother, will best be able to gauge my sorrow. After our dearly loved one had been laid to rest, I left Trier, having arranged for the division between my brother Edgar and myself of what little my dear mother had bequeathed to us. Up till then, we had been living in 3 wretched furnished rooms in London. With the few hundred talers that my mother left, after all the sacrifices she had already made on our behalf, we settled into the small house we still occupy, not far from lovely Hampstead Heath (a name that you, as the translator of The Woman in White, will no doubt recall). It is indeed a princely dwelling compared with the holes we lived in before and, although it was furnished from top to bottom for little more than £40 (in which secondhand rubbish played a leading role), I felt quite grand at first in our snug parlour. All the linen and what little else remained of earlier finery were redeemed from ‘Uncle’s’, and I again had the pleasure of counting the damask table napkins which are, besides, all of old Scottish descent. Although the glory did not last for long — for soon one thing after another had to make its way back to the ‘pop-house’ (as the children call the mysterious shop with its three golden balls) — we did, nevertheless, revel in our domestic comfortableness. Then came the first American crisis and halved our income. This meant a return to a more frugal way of life and debts. These last were necessary if our daughters’ education, but recently begun, was to continue along the same lines as before.

And this brings me to the highlight of our existence — the brighter aspect of our lives — our dear children. I am convinced that, if your dear husband was fond of the girls even as small children, he would be truly delighted with them, now that they are well-grown, blooming young damsels. Even at the risk of your regarding me as a very complacent and indulgent mother, I cannot resist singing the dear girls’ praises. They are both endowed with exceptionally warm hearts, are gifted and have becoming modesty and maidenly good manners. Little Jenny will be seventeen years old on the 1st of May. She is a girl of great charm and very attractive appearance, with her thick, shiny dark hair and equally dark, shining, gentle eyes and dark, Creole-like complexion, which has, however, acquired a genuine English bloom. Her childlike face, round as an apple, wears a sweet and good-natured expression and, when the smiling lips part to reveal her nice teeth, one forgets her not very beautiful little snub nose. Little Laura, who was fifteen years old last September, is perhaps prettier and has more regular features than her elder sister, whose very opposite she is. As tall, slender and finely built as little Jenny, she is in all other respects lighter, more radiant and transparent. The upper part of her face might be described as beautiful, so lovely is her curly, wavy chestnut hair, so sweet the dear, greenish sparkling eyes, which flicker like eternal feux de joie, so noble and finely shaped is her forehead; however, the lower part of her face is somewhat less regular, nor is it as yet fully developed. A truly blooming complexion distinguishes both sisters, and both are so little given to vanity that I sometimes cannot help feeling secretly surprised, the more so since the same could not be said of their mother in her earlier days, whilst still in pinafore dresses. At school they have always carried off the first prize. They are completely at home in English and know quite a lot of French. They can read Dante in the Italian and also know a bit of Spanish; only German is their weak point and, although I do everything in my power to impose an occasional German lesson upon them, they never really bow to my wishes and neither my authority nor their respect is very much in evidence. Little Jenny has a special talent for drawing and her pastels are the finest adornment of our rooms. Little Laura so neglected drawing that, to punish her, we stopped her taking lessons. On the other hand, she practises the piano with great zeal and sings German and English duets with her sister most delightfully. Unfortunately, it was only very belatedly, some eighteen months ago, that the girls were able to begin their musical education. To obtain the money for it was quite beyond us, nor did we possess a piano; indeed, the one we have got now and which I have hired is a veritable rattle trap. The girls make us very happy with their sweet, modest behaviour. But their little sister is the idol and spoilt darling of the entire household.

The baby had only just been born when my poor, dear Edgar departed this life, and all the love we felt for the dear little boy, all our tenderness towards him, was transferred to his little sister, whom our elder daughters tended and nursed with almost maternal solicitude. Indeed, a more delightful child can hardly be imagined — pretty as a picture, guileless and with a whimsical sense of humour. A particular characteristic is her charming way of talking and story-telling. The latter has been learned from the Grimm Brothers, who are her companions by day and by night. We all of us read her the fairy tales until we can read no more, but woe betide us if so much as a syllable is left out in Rumpelstiltskin or in King Thrushbeard, or in Snow-White. The child, who has already absorbed English with the air she breathes, has also learnt German from these fairy tales and speaks it exceptionally grammatically and precisely. She is a real pet of Karl’s and dispels many a care with her laughter and chatter. In the domestic sphere ‘Lenchen’ still remains my staunch, conscientious companion. Ask your dear husband about her, and he will tell you what a treasure she has been to me. For sixteen years now she has weathered storm and tempest with us.

Last year we suffered intense provocation in the shape of an infamous attack by the ‘well-rounded character’ and the vile behaviour of the entire German, American, etc., press. You would not believe how many sleepless nights and worries the whole business has caused us. The case against the Nationalzeitung cost a great deal of money and, when Karl had finished his book [Herr Vogt], he was unable to find a publisher. He had to have it printed at his own expense (£25) and, now that it has come out, it is being hushed up by the base, cowardly, venal press. I am exceedingly glad that you liked the book. Your opinion of it agrees almost word for word with that of all our friends. Needless to say, the silence quite deliberately maintained by the press has meant far fewer sales than we might rightfully have expected. In the meantime, we shall have to be content with the great encomiums of everyone who matters. Even opponents and enemies have acknowledged it as highly important. Bucher called it a compendium of contemporary history, and Lassalle writes to say that, as a work of art, it has given him and his friends indescribable pleasure, its fund of wit having occasioned them endless glee and delight. Engels considers it to be Karl’s best book, as does Lupus. Congratulations are flooding in from all sides, and even that old cur Ruge has called it a ‘good piece of nonsense’. I wonder whether a similar silence is being maintained in America. It really would be too infuriating, the more so since all the newspapers there have opened their columns to stupid lies and calumnies. Perhaps your dear husband can do something about making the book known.

Hardly had I finished copying the manuscript, while it was still being printed, when I suddenly became very unwell. A most frightful fever took hold of me, and the doctor had to be called in. On 20 November he arrived, examined me carefully and at length and, after a long silence, came out with the following words: *My dear Mrs Marx, I am sorry to say, you have got the smallpox — the children must leave the house immediately.* You can imagine the horror and distress of the household on hearing this pronouncement. What was to be done? Undismayed, the Liebknechts offered to take the children in, and by midday the girls, laden with their small belongings, had already betaken themselves into exile. As for me, I became hourly more ill, the smallpox assuming horrifying proportions. My sufferings were great, very great. Severe, burning pains in the face, complete inability to sleep, and mortal anxiety in regard to Karl, who was nursing me with the utmost tenderness, finally the loss of all my outer faculties while my inner faculty — consciousness — remained unclouded throughout. All the time, I lay by an open window so that the cold November air must blow upon me. And all the while hell’s fire in the hearth and ice on my burning lips, between which a few drops of claret were poured now and then. I was barely able to swallow, my hearing grew ever fainter and, finally, my eyes closed up and I did not know whether I might not remain shrouded in perpetual night!

But my constitution, aided by the most tender and constant care, got the better of it and now here I sit, once more in perfect health, but with a face disfigured by scars and a dark red tinge — quite à la hauteur de la mode couleur de ‘Magenta’. It was not till Christmas Eve that the poor children were allowed to return to the paternal fold for which they had been yearning. Our first reunion was indescribably touching. The girls were profoundly moved and could scarcely refrain from weeping over my appearance. Five weeks before, I didn’t look too bad alongside my blooming daughters. Since I was by some miracle still without a grey hair in my head and had still kept my teeth and figure, I was habitually considered to be well-preserved — but how changed was all this now! To myself I looked like a rhinoceros, a hippopotamus, which belonged in a zoological garden rather than in the ranks of the Caucasian race. But do not be unduly alarmed! Things are no longer quite so bad today, and the scars are beginning to heal. Scarcely had I been able to leave my bed than my dear, beloved Karl fell ill, laid low by excessive anxiety, worry and troubles of all kinds. For the first time, his chronic liver complaint became acute. However, God be praised, he recovered after four weeks’ suffering. In the meantime, we had again been temporarily reduced to half pay by the Tribune; instead of earning something from the book, a bill of exchange had to be paid. On top of that, there was the huge expense occasioned by this most frightful of all maladies. In short, you can imagine how things have been with us all this winter. As a result of all this business, Karl decided to make a foray into Holland, the land of his fathers, and of tobacco and cheese. He wants to see if he can wheedle some specie out of his uncle. At the moment, therefore, I am a grass widow, waiting to see whether the great Dutch expedition will be successful. On Saturday, I got the first letter expressing some hopes and containing ‘sixty gulden’. Such an affair is not, of course, quickly concluded and calls for careful manoeuvres, diplomacy, and proper management. Still, I hope that Karl will get something out of that country and leave it the poorer.

As soon as he meets with some success in Holland, he intends to make a little clandestine trip to Berlin in order to spy out the terrain and, perhaps, arrange for a monthly or weekly publication. Recent experience has shown us only too plainly that we cannot possibly manage without an organ of our own. Should Karl succeed in setting up a new party organ, he will assuredly write to your husband, asking him to send reports from America.. Hardly had Karl left when our faithful Lenchen also fell ill and is still laid up. However she is on the mend. My hands are completely full therefore, and this letter has been written in the greatest hurry. But I neither could nor would remain silent, and it has done me good to pour out my heart for once to our oldest and most loyal friends. So, I will not apologise for having written to you in such great detail and about anything and everything. My pen ran away with me, and I can only hope and wish that these scribbled lines may give you a little of the pleasure that I got when I read yours.

I immediately attended to the matter of the bill of exchange and arranged everything just as though my lord and master were here.

My girls send their love and kisses to your dear children — one Laura to the other — and in my thoughts I embrace each of them. To you yourself, my dear friend, I send my most affectionate greetings. In these hard times, you must be plucky and keep your head unbowed. The world belongs to the brave. Keep on being your dear husband’s loyal, unwavering support, while remaining yourself pliable in mind and in body, the loyal, ‘unrespectable’ comrade of your dear children, and let us have word of you from time to time.

Your very affectionate
Jenny Marx

How often have I thought of the lovely potato soup you used to give me in Frankfurt. Unfortunately, it cannot be made here. There is no cream, and an egg beaten up in a drop of milk is not half as good. Which reminds me of Dronke, and so I shall have to start another sheet in order to give you some news of old friends. Engels is in Manchester, as before. His father is dead, he has inherited, but is engaged in a law-suit with his partner, is in the clutches of the lawyers and by no means out of the wood financially.

Lupus makes a livelihood by giving lessons in Manchester. He is just the same as ever — a decent, hardworking chap of simple habits. He is held in very high regard up there, and his main battles are fought with his landlady who, he being a bachelor of long standing, now cuts down his tea, now depletes his sugar, now interferes with his coal supply. Dronke has had a real stroke of luck, having obtained a commission agency through Garnier-Pagès which earns him nearly £1,000 a year. He has become an out-and-out philistine, boastful and repulsive; he has not behaved nearly as well towards Karl or any of his oldest friends as might have been expected. He has a penchant for that fat philistine Freiligrath, who is still living comfortably off his post as manager of a rotten bankrupt firm. He has changed considerably for the worse and has not treated us in a friendly manner! For political and diplomatic reasons an open breach with him is to be avoided. We maintain a factitious relationship. I have broken completely with the distaff side of the family. I am not fond of half measures. So, I don’t see anybody just now. Pieper has gone away and is living as a teacher in Bremen — he has come down badly in the world and become a slovenly flibbertigibbet. Yesterday, Dr Eichhoff arrived here from Berlin. He is the first refugee from the régime of ‘handsome William’ as the Berliners call their present sovereign. Imandt is a married man in Scotland. — Red Wolf a teacher in some God-forsaken spot — turned philistine — aussi married, 3 children. And that is all I can remember in haste about our old acquaintances.

Well, then, that’s what I call gossip! But now, and for the last time, farewell.

 

 

Jenny Marx To Engels in Manchester

[London, before 16 March 1861]

 

My dear Mr Engels,

How can I thank you for all the love and devotion with which you have stood by us for years now in our sorrows and afflictions? I was so happy. when I saw there was five times as much as I had expected, that it would be hypocritical not to admit it, and yet my joy was as nothing compared with Lenchen’s! How joyously her almost lifeless eyes lighted up when I ran upstairs and told her: ‘Engels has sent £5 for your comforts’.

It seems to me that the inflammation has gone down a bit — yesterday the doctor also thought her somewhat better, though she is still dangerously ill. The only question is whether she may not get too weak and whether some kind of haemorrhage or gangrene won’t set in. The worst thing is that we are not yet allowed to give her any tonic, for all stimulants likely to aggravate the inflammation must be avoided. We have all had some really anxious days and nights, and I myself have been doubly anxious since I don’t really know how Karl is getting on, whether he is in Berlin, or where he is. There was no letter again today.

Poor Lupus, how sorry I am for him, lying there helpless and in great pain, deprived of solicitous nursing and wholly à la merci of a rapacious landlady, though in fact his afflictions are largely his own fault. What’s the point of such awful pedantry, such conscientiousness? You ought to take the old gentleman more in hand and, above all, wean him from gin and brandy, those arch-enemies of gout. Excuse this hasty note; there is so much to do and think about and today I have still to fit in a trip to town where a pawn ticket is due — but never mind, so long as we pull Lenchen through, and my beloved Karl soon sends good tidings.

Warm regards from the girls and from your

Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Engels in Manchester

[London, between 21 and 24 March 1861]

 

My dear Mr Engels,

Hitherto I have sent you so many epistles of complaint that I now feel impelled to bring you better news for once. First, so far as it is humanly possible to say, Lenchen will recover. The doctor is very satisfied with her condition and extremely optimistic. The rambling, singing, weeping and raving that so alarmed us has subsided to a great extent, and a mutton chop has just been taken up to her. Your help enabled me to give her all the comforts it constantly warm room, wine, and even the luxury of eau de Cologne, which is such a great help in all illness like this, particularly in view of the frequent fainting fits. Besides this good news, I can at long last report the safe arrival of a letter from Moor. He has been in Berlin since Sunday’ and is staying with Lassalle, who welcomed him with the greatest affability. At one dinner he sat between the daughter of Babylon [Sophie von Hatzfeldt] (shades of Weerth) and the indescribably ugly Ludmilla [Assing]. I wish him joy! Apart from that, he doesn’t go into any details, for he was in a hurry to send off 50 talers to me. He simply says that prospects are good and that he won’t come home empty-handed. I only fear that his homecoming may be somewhat further delayed. With warmest regards from us all.

Yours,
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Engels in Manchester

[London, beginning of April 1861]

 

Dear Mr Engels,

I find it incomprehensible that Moor shouldn’t have written to you yet. I had thought you were quite au courant with the Marx family affairs, and even hoped I might learn further details from you, since this time my dear lord and master’s letters to me are quite exceptionally prone to the ‘lapidary style’. So far, I have had to content myself with the most sketchy outlines and the driest of facts; however, I do know a little more than you, and hence will hasten to pass on that modicum, the more so since it is, in the main, most satisfactory. To begin at the beginning. The uncle” has fallen in with all tile son’s proposals and, as soon as Karl arrives in Bommel, will settle the financial business. Now, as to the rumours in the papers, they are all wrong, as you no doubt supposed, nor has it ever remotely occurred to Karl that the family, might move to and settle down in Berlin. What he did propose to effect there, however, was his renaturalisation. I don’t quite understand this and don’t know why Karl should be in such a hurry to become a Royal Prussian ‘subject’ again. I'd rather have remained a ‘stray groschen’ (red Wolff’s late-lamented threepenny bit) a while longer. Negotiations over this have prolonged his stay in Berlin. The government wanted to settle the matter by according him Berlin citizenship with which Karl refused to be satisfied, and thus the whole business has dragged on from day to day. Today Karl writes to say that he doesn’t expect to hear for certain before the 12th and until then must continue to be bored stiff. Little Izzy still seems addicted to drivelling and the speculative notion. In other respects, he really, gave proof of the utmost friendship for Karl, whose inseparable companion he has been. Now, Moor would have proceeded straight from Berlin to Bommel, had he not received front his mother an invitation, which has left hint undecided whether or riot he should go to Trier. If he does go there, it means yet more delay before he conies home, and he could hardly be here before a fortnight IS out. Lassalle’s head seems to be filled with dreams of a great newspaper; he also maintains that he could contribute 20,000 talers to it. But what a risky venture for Karl — a daily paper, and on the countess’s own ground, too! I myself feel small longing for the fatherland, for ‘dear’, beloved, trusty Germany, that mater dolorosa of poets — and as for the girls! The idea of leaving the country of their precious Shakespeare appals them; they've become English to the marrow and cling like limpets to the soil of England. It’s a good thing your warrant has been withdrawn”; thus you're free to go, after all. I assume that Schily and Imandt will be in the same category as yourself. Yesterday I had news of the former through Rheinländer. For months the poor fellow has been so ill and miserable that he finds it difficult even to write and it costs hint a tremendous effort to drag himself from one place to another. His friends, it seems, had pretty well given hint tip and believed him to be consumptive. He now plus his faith on Morrison’s pills, that worst of all quack medicines. The extent of the havoc wrought by these poisonous pills may be gauged from the fact that he actually feels somewhat drawn to the National Association. (At its last meeting here, Hans Ibeles and Rudolf Schramm had a fearful set-to — Schramm launched a furious onslaught upon the reverend gentleman who, replying with priestly unction, was accorded the laurels by a good-for-nothing audience made up of clerks, Islington choristers, etc.) Rheinländer had also had a letter from Schily with news about la Moïse. Sauernheimer, the general, who had for many years been her lover, was getting married; to protect himself against Mrs Hess, who had threatened to create a public scandal in the church, he surrounded himself with a number of policemen. Mrs H. was not allowed into the church and had to content herself with parading in all her finery outside the church door. She is said to lead a very gay life and for a change, when things are bad, to do sewing for a German tailor. From time to time, she calls on Schily who can never forget having often seen her tipsy in Geneva. Besides this tragi-comical affair, he also relates that in Paris Mires is said to have advanced Eugénie vast sums for the Pope, and that ‘little Mathilde’, too, is in bad odour.

I was most interested to hear from you about the Lancashire strikes, since it’s impossible to get a clear idea of what’s going on from the newspapers. At any rate, inopportune though this opposition on the part of the English workers may be, and unedifying as are its results, it is a heartening manifestation by comparison with the Prussian workers’ movement and the social question in the shape it assumes over there — namely, Schulze-Delitzsch, cum the capital-loving Straubingers, their savings banks and distress funds!

As regards Lenchen’s health, it is improving steadily, if only very slowly. She is still very, very weak, but is already spending hours out of bed, and today she even walked up and down outside the house in the sunshine.

I am glad to hear that poor Lupus is back on his feet again. Please give him my warmest regards; similarly the girls ask me to send you their most cordial regards with this gossipy scrawl.

Let us hear from you again soon.

With warm regards,

Yours,
Jenny Marx

Apropos. I really cannot resist depicting for you a little scene from life in London. A week ago last Wednesday, immediately after dinner, I saw a vast concourse outside our door; all the children of the neighbourhood had gathered round a man who was lying flat on his face outside our house. Never in my life have I seen anything like it. No Irishman, in the depths of degradation, could equal this skeleton. Moreover, the man, clad in filthy rags, appeared to be unusually tall. When I arrived on the scene, neighbours had already brought out food and spirits, but in vain. The man lay there motionless, and we thought he must be dead. I sent for a policeman. When the latter had arrived and taken a look at him, he at once addressed him as ‘You mean impostor! ‘ and dealt him a blow that sent his hat flying, after which he picked him up like a parcel and shook him. And who did I find staring straight at me with perplexed, despairing eyes? — the Laplander! You can imagine my horror. He went staggering off and I sent after him with some money which, however, he refused. He said to Marian: ‘No, please, I don’t need money’, and set it down on a stone, then called out to the policemanThat’s for your attention.’ Sad, is it not?

 

 

Jenny Marx To Berta Markheim in Fulda

London, 6 July [1863]

 

My dear Mrs Markheim,

On Saturday, just as we were about to sit down at table, I received a letter addressed in an unfamiliar hand. Being more used to getting disagreeable letters than cheerful ones, I resolved to put aside this strange luncheon guest. But the children said ‘open it, there may be something nice inside’, and how pleasantly, surprised I was, how moved and grateful when I found it was an indirect token of your existence and your affection, and that you had again been thinking of me with love, loyalty and sympathy, without so much as a reminder on my part.

I am certain that it will be some sort of satisfaction to you to learn that your unexpected contribution has helped us — indeed made it possible — to send little Jenny to a seaside resort, a course which, in the doctor’s opinion, has, alas, again become a sad necessity. The poor child is again suffering from a most obstinate cough, which has failed to respond either to medicines or to the warm summer weather but which will, I trust, be banished by sea air and bathing.'

The other two are cheerful and well. Laura now accompanies her Papa on many of his visits to the British Museum, to which end she has been given a ticket. The little one [Eleanor] has just moved out of the ‘spelling’ stage into that of ‘reading with obstacles’ — not exactly a race. Grimm’s fairy tales are a great delight to her and Snow-White, Sleeping Beauty, King Thrushbeard and Brother Merry are now the heroes of her childish fantasies.

My dear Karl had a great deal of trouble with his liver this spring. However, despite all the setbacks, his book [Capital] is now making gigantic strides towards completion. It would have been finished sooner, had he kept to his original plan of limiting it to 20 or 30 sheets. But since the Germans really believe only in ‘fat’ books, and the far more subtle concentration and elimination of all that is superfluous counts for nothing in the eyes of those worthies, Karl has added a lot more historical material, and it is as a volume of 50 sheets that it will fall, like a bomb, on German soil!. Alas for our German soil! Abroad, one feels almost ashamed of being a German — and as for the honour of being ‘Prussian’. Could anything be more pitiful than the spectacle presented by Prussia? It is difficult to say which is the more deplorable, the king, the ministers, the camarilla — or the servile populace and, above all, the miserable, cowardly, toadying, silent press! One often feels tempted to turn away in disgust from all politics, and indeed I wish we could observe the scene purely as ‘amateurs'; but for us, unfortunately, it always remains a vital question.

Karl hopes to go to Germany in September. Perhaps he will see Dr. K. then, too, and will be in your vicinity as well. Do, please, let me have some direct news from you before long. With most heartfelt and grateful good wishes from us all and, especially, from

Your
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Berta Markheim in Fulda

Hampstead, 12 October 1863

 

My dear Mrs Markheim,

On writing the date, I now see to my great dismay that I have let more than a month go by without answering your last kind letter. I got it just after we returned home from Hastings and, for many petty and mundane reasons, failed to reply at once and, as you know, nothing is more dangerous in correspondence than procrastinating instead of responding to the first warm impulse of the heart and at once setting one’s pen at a canter, lest the ni b become encrusted with ink. I am not only pleading on my own behalf today, I must also put in a word for my lord and master, who in this respect has a much blacker list of sins with which to reproach his guilty conscience. He has, of course, received Dr Kugelmann’s letter, and I really have no excuse to offer for his failure to write, other than to say that, in general, he is one of the worst correspondents the world has ever known and often keeps his oldest and best friends waiting for months, even years. If he now treats Dr K. in the same manner as he does his oldest and best friends, he (Dr K.) must be good enough to make allowances for such dilatoriness, and I ‘trust that you, my dear Mrs Markheim, will put in a good word on his behalf. Should he not write very soon, it will, I imagine, be because he hopes to see him in person in the not too distant future; just as it is his intention to visit Frankfurt and call on you. For we have recently, learned that an old aunt of Karl’s, his late father’s only sister, is living in Frankfurt and would love to see him again after so many, many years.

Our stay in Hastings, a delightful and beautifully situated spot, where we spent our time either beside, upon or in the sea, has done us all a great deal of good, particularly our ailing little Jenny, whose cheeks have again filled out and grown rosy.

Her cough has not quite gone, but it seldom recurs and then only in very mild form, and she has also got her appetite back. Touch wood, touch wood! And I only hope we shall spend a less wretched winter than the last one.

We are closely following the course of events in out. fatherland but, with the best will in the world, I cannot share your opinion nor give myself up to sanguine hopes. Perhaps the prolonged anxiety and dismal experiences of the immediate past have clouded my mind and obscured my vision so that I see everything in darker colours and paint things grey on grey.

I hope I shall soon hear from you again and, in sending you my family’s warmest greetings, I bid you farewell for today.

Yours ever,
Jenny Marx

 

Jenny Marx To Engels on Manchester

[London, beginning of November 1863] 9 Grafton Terrace

 

Dear Mr Engels,

Moor sends you herewith the ‘Most Noble Daoud Bey’s’ Free Press. It will amuse you a lot. Karl, alas, cannot write himself. For the past week he has been very unwell and is tied to the sofa. 2 boils appeared on his cheek and back. The one on his cheek responded to the household remedies one normally uses for such things. The other, on his back, has assumed such dimensions and is so inflamed that poor Moor is enduring the most frightful pain and gets no respite either by day or by night. You can imagine, too, how depressed this business makes him. It seems as though the wretched book [Capital] will never get finished. It weighs like a nightmare on us all. If only the Leviathan were launched!

With warmest regards from us all.

Yours,
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Engels in Manchester

[London, about 24 November 1863]

 

My dear Mr Engels,

It’s so long since we heard from you that Karl has an ardent desire for news of you. For a week now, he would seem to have been out of danger. The good, strong wine and enormous meals have enabled him to withstand the pain and the debilitating effect of the heavy discharge of pus. Unfortunately, he can’t sleep at all and is still having very bad nights. The doctor is very satisfied with the way the complaint Is progressing and hopes that the suppuration will stop in 4 to 6 days. He is now getting up from time to time and today has been conveyed from the sickroom to the living-room.

He sends you the enclosed circular from the Workers’ Society as well as a letter from the ‘Chair’ — this little thing will divert the man ‘who for 15 years has fought and suffered for the working class’ [quoting speech by Lassalle] (presumably he means drinking champagne with the red-haired beauty b. 1805 [Sophie von Hatzfeldt]) from a course acceptable to the police to one that is unacceptable to the police. Write soon. With warm regards from us all.

Yours,
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Wilhelm Liebknecht in Berlin

[London, about 24 November 1863]

 

My dear Mr Liebknecht,

When I last wrote to your dear wife, I had little conception of the horrifying days lying immediately ahead of us. For 3 weeks my beloved Karl, was desperately ill, for he was suffering from one of the most dangerous and painful illnesses — a carbuncleon his back. I need add nothing to those few lines. You and your dear wife know how lunch you mean to its. Nor, even if I wanted to, could I tell you in detail all we went through during these weeks, so I will say no more and, at the behest of my beloved husband, now on the road to recovery, pass on to you the enclosed circular, issued by the Workers’ Society [General Association of German Workers]. Aside from the interest attaching to Polish affairs, it was, I believe, sent into the world to put a stop to the ‘pro-police movement’ on the part of certain persons. [Lassalle] The ‘Chair’ at once swallowed the thing hook, line and sinker, and asked for 50 copies for distribution to the communities.” Karl is sending it to you to make you au fait with the matter.

All the same, now that I have executed my task, let me just tell you how our family, afflictions began. Karl had already been ailing for months, he found it intensely difficult to work and in an attempt to find some alleviation, smoked twice as much as usual, and took three times as litany pills of various kinds — blue and antibillious, etc. About 4 weeks ago he got a boil on his cheek; though it was very painful, we got the better of it with the usual household remedies. Before it had quite gone, a similar one erupted on his back. Although it was inordinately painful and the swelling grew daily worse., we were foolish enough to believe we would be able to get rid of it with poultices, etc. Also, in accordance with German ideas, my poor Karl almost completely deprived himself of food, even eschewing the miserable 4 ale [ale costing 4d a quart], and lived on lemonade. At last, when the swelling was the size of my fist and the whole of his back misshapen, I went to Allen. Never shall I forget the man’s expression when he saw that back. He waved me and little Tussy out of the room, and Lenchen had to hold Karl while he made a deep, deep incision, a great gaping wound from which the blood came pouring out. Karl remained calm and still, and did not flinch. Then began a round of hot poultices, which we have now been applying night and day. every 2 hours, like clockwork, for the past fortnight. At the same time, the doctor ordered 3-4 glasses of port, and half a bottle of claret daily, and four times as much food as usual. The object was to restore the strength he had lost so as to help him withstand the frightful pain and the debilitating effect of the heavy discharge of pits. That is how we have spent the last fortnight — I need tell you two no more. Lenchen also fell ill from worry and exertion but is a little better again today. Whence I myself drew strength, I cannot tell. The first few nights I was the only one to sit up with him, for a week I took it in turns with Lenchen, and now I sleep on the floor in his room, so as to be always at hand. How I feel, now that he’s recovering, you will be able to guess.

He sends you both his cordial regards. as do my poor daughters. Please write, both of you, as soon as you can and as much as you call. He greatly enjoys getting letters. Please excuse lily writing so incoherently.

Your old friend,
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Karl Elsner in Breslau

[London, middle of June 1864] 1 Modena Villas, Maitland Park, Haverstock Hill

 

Dear Sir,

We assume you are the author of the fine obituary of our late, dear friend W. Wolff, which appeared in the Breslauer Zeitung. My husband is anxious to write a detailed biography of him, but has no material whatever on the earlier phases of our friend’s life. You would be doing him a great service if you could help him in this respect by passing on to him in as much detail as possible everything you know about Wolff, especially his childhood and the earlier part of his life. We have been on the closest terms with him ever since 1845. Hence what we are concerned with is rather the earliest period of his life. My husband, who has just recovered from a grave and very wearisome illness, has directed me to ask you, Sir, as an old and trusted friend of the deceased, to do us this kindness, and I hope that you will soon pass on to its everything you can call to mind about our dear, dear Wolff.

With cordial regards from my husband and myself.

Yours,
Jenny Marx,
née von Westphalen

 

 

From a Letter by Jenny Marx to Johann Philipp Becker

January 29 1866

 

With respect to religion, a significant movement is currently developing in stuffy old England. The top men in science, Huxley (Darwin’s school) at the head, with Charles Lyell, Bowring, Carpenter, etc., give very enlightened, truly bold, free-thinking lectures for the people in St. Martin’s Hall, and, what is more, on Sunday evenings, exactly at the time when the lambs are usually making a pilgrimage to the Lord’s pastures; the hall has been full to bursting and the people’s enthusiasm so great that, on the first Sunday evening, when I went there with my family, more than 2,000 people could not get into the room, which was crammed full. The clerics let this dreadful thing happen three times. — Yesterday evening, however, the assembly was informed that no more lectures could be held until the court case brought by the spiritual fathers against the Sunday Evenings for the People was heard. The gathering emphatically expressed its indignation and more than a hundred pounds were then collected for fighting the case. How stupid of the clerics to interfere. To the annoyance of this pious band, the evenings even closed with music. Choruses from Händel, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Gounod were sung and received enthusiastically by the English, who had, until now, only been allowed to bawl out “Jesus, Jesus, meek and mild” or take themselves off to the gin palace on Sundays.'

[The next two paragraphs are from Der Vorbote editors]

These events may well provide the incentive for the numerous societies of free-thinkers in England, which so far have taken a more reserved stand, to come before the people In order that their research might be put to practical use.

It is also a sign of the times that the Fenian cause arouses deep sympathy among the English working class, both because it opposes the clerics and because it is republican.

 

 

Jenny Marx To Sigfrid Meyer in Berlin

[London, beginning of February 1866] 1 Modena Villas, Maitland Park

 

Dear Sir,

For the past week my husband has again been laid low with his former dangerous and painful complaint; this fresh affliction is all the more distressing for him since it further interrupts him in the copying out of his book [Capital] that he has just begun. He is very sorry that you did not receive his lengthy letter, as he is at the present moment incapable of writing. He also fears that the letter has been seized, as it should have been returned long ago otherwise. The address was, by the way, perfectly correct, and I took the letter to the post myself along with many others and the newspapers, all of which arrived. With regard to the Manifesto, being a historical document, he wishes it to be printed exactly as it originally appeared; the misprints are so obvious that anyone can correct them. He will be sending the ‘International Address’ to you as soon as he can.

At the same time, he asks you to let him know your new address for further correspondence, when you have left Berlin. And could not Mr Vogt, in turn, give its another address, as we do not think his present one is quite safe. When you write back, kindly, address to A. Williams, Esq., etc.

My husband sends you his warmest greetings.

Yours
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Ludwig Kugelmann in Hanover

[London,] 26 February 1866 1 Modena Villas, Maitland Park

 

Dear Sir,

For 4 weeks now my poor husband has been laid low again with his old, very painful and dangerous complaint, and no doubt I need scarcely tell you under what great and fearful anxieties we have all been suffering during that time. Right at the beginning of January he had begun to prepare his whole book [Capital] for printing, and he was making wonderfully rapid progress with copying, so that the manuscript piled up most impressively. Karl felt in the best of ‘spirits’ and was happy to be so far on at last, when a carbuncle suddenly erupted, soon to be followed by 2 others. The last one was especially bad and obstinate and furthermore was so awkwardly placed that it prevented him from walking or moving at all. This morning it has been bleeding more. strongly’, which has brought him some relief. Two days ago we began the arsenic cure, of which Karl expects a good effect. It is really dreadful for him to be interrupted again in the completion of his book, and in his delirium at night he is forever talking of the various chapters which are going round and round in his mind. This morning I brought him your letter in bed. He was very pleased that you had been kind enough to write, and he asked me to thank you at once for it on his behalf. A further concern is that his presence is sorely needed at this moment, both in the debates about the forthcoming congress of the International Association and in the discussions about the policy and editing of the new workers’ paper which is appearing weekly here now under the title of Commonwealth and represents both the newly formed workers’ party, with all the Co-operative Societies, and the International Association. His anxiety about all this has naturally done much to worsen the general state of his health. I hope that by the spring he will be sufficiently restored to be able to visit his friends in Germany. He had been very much looking forward to doing so.

Karl sends you his warmest greetings, to which, despite our not being acquainted, I add my respects.

Yours truly
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Ludwig Kugelmann in Hanover

[London,] 1 April 1866 1 Modena Villas, Maitland Park

 

Dear Sir,

I presume that the registered letter that I received from Hanover late yesterday evening is from you. I cannot send it on to my husband in Margate until tomorrow unfortunately, as in pious England all communications halt on Sundays. Since the reply may be held up by this delay, I hasten to let you know immediately today that the letter has arrived safely; but, at the same time, I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to you for my total silence. Just how indebted I am to you for the great sympathy and touching friendship you have shown my husband was really brought home to me when the young man from the City called to enquire on your behalf as to my husband’s condition. Immediately after my last letter to you, Karl really became gravely ill; a fresh carbuncle (not a furuncle) erupted, and was indeed so obstinate and so inflammatory that for almost 3 weeks my poor husband could scarcely move and was entirely confined to the sofa. Since we are all only too well aware how dangerous this complaint is, if it keeps recurring over a period of years, you can well imagine how melancholy the days and nights have been for us.

On the advice of Doctor Gumpert in Manchester, he decided to begin the arsenic cure, as well as to spend a few weeks at the seaside after the abscess had healed. He has now been in Margate, a coastal resort quite near here, for nearly 2 weeks, and it seems to us that his health has been greatly restored there. He will return next week to pick up with renewed energy the completion of that work of his [Capital] which has so often been interrupted.

Yesterday he sent me his photogram, and since you would perhaps appreciate a sunny picture of the man to whom you have shown so much friendship, although you do not know him personally, I am enclosing 1 copy with this note.

With all my respects, despite our not being acquainted

Yours truly
Jenny Marx

a the first volume of Capital

 

 

Jenny Marx To Engels in Manchester

[London,] Monday 1 o'clock [24 December 1866]

 

My dear Mr Engels,

The hamper has just arrived, and the bottles have been put on parade, with the Rhenish to the fore! How can we thank you for all your friendship! The £10 which arrived on Saturday will avert the harshest storms of Christmastide and enable us to celebrate a Merry Christmas. The wine was particularly welcome this year, as with the young Frenchman [Paul Lafargue] in the house we like to keep up appearances.

If the publisher in Hamburg’ really can print the book [Capital] as fast as he says, it is certain to come out by Easter in any case. It is a pleasure to see the manuscript lying there copied out and stacked up so high. It is an enormous weight off my mind; we have enough troubles and worries left without that, especially when the girls fall in love and become engaged, and to Frenchmen and medical students to boot! I wish I could see everything couleur de rose as much as the others do, but the long years with their many anxieties have made me nervous, and the future often looks black to me when it all looks rosy to a more cheerful spirit. Cela entre nous.

Once more, a thousand thanks for the hock and all its train!

Yours
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx To Johann Philipp Becker in Geneva

London, [5 October 1867 1 Modena Villas, Maitland Park

 

My dear Mr Becker,

I hope you have received my letter. You will doubtless be surprised at seeing a second one following so close behind the first. My husband would like Bakunin’s address, and I am quite sure that you will be able to get hold of it easily in Geneva, perhaps via Herzen. He would very much like to send him his book [Capital] and write on other matters. Warmest greetings from us all and especially from

Yours
Jenny Marx

 

 

Jenny Marx to Johann Philipp Becker

The manuscript of this letter has not come down to us. Judging by a letter of October 5, 1867, which has survived, from Mrs. Marx to Becker and his reply to her on October 7, this material was sent by her to Geneva on about October 5.

We present here an excerpt from a letter by a friend in London; among other things, it mentions the Working Men’s Congress in Lausanne and the Peace Congress in Geneva as well as Marx’s latest work:

“...You will simply not believe what a tremendous sensation the Lausanne Congress has caused here in all the papers. Once The Times had set the tone, by printing daily reports [from Eccarius], the other papers no longer considered it beneath their dignity to print not just short notices on the labour question, but even long editorials. There has been comment on the Congress not only in all the dailies, but the weeklies, too. It was, on occasion, quite naturally treated in a condescending and ironical way. After all, everything has a comical side, as well as a more lofty one, so why should our good Working Men’s Congress, with its garrulous Frenchmen, be the exception? In spite of everything, however, generally it was treated quite properly and taken au sérieux. Even the Manchester Examiner, the organ of the Manchester school, and John Bright himself, in an excellent leader presented it as important and epoch-making. When compared with its stepbrother, the Peace Congress, the advantage was always on the elder brother’s side, one seen as a threatening tragedy of fate, while the other as merely farce and burlesque.

“If you have already acquired Karl Marx’s book,[Capital, Volume I] and if, like me, you have not yet managed to work through the dialectical subtleties of the first chapters, I advise you to read those on the primitive accumulation of capital and the modern theory of colonisation first. I am sure that, like myself, you will obtain great satisfaction from this part. Marx does not, of course, have any specific remedy at hand, which the bourgeois world, that now also calls itself socialist, so violently cries out for, he has no tablets, no ointments, or lint, to heal the gaping, bleeding wounds of our society; but to me it seems that, basing himself on the natural historical rise and development of modern society he has indicated the results and their practical application, including even the most daring conclusions, and that it was no small matter to bring the astounded philistine to the giddy heights of the following problems by means of statistical data and dialectical reasoning:

“‘Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. It is itself an economic power... A great deal of capital, which appears today in the United States without any certificate of birth, was yesterday, in England, the capitalised blood of children... If money “comes into the world with a congenital blood-stain on one cheek”, capital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore with blood and dirt.’ Or the whole passage from: ‘The knell of capitalist private property sounds, etc.’, to the end.

“I must admit openly that I was gripped by this simple pathos and that history became as clear as daylight to me.”

 

 

Jenny Marx To Ludwig Kugelmann in Hanover

[London, 24 December 1867] 1 Modena Villas, Maitland Park

 

My dear Mr Kugelmann,

You can have no idea of the delight and surprise you occasioned us yesterday, and I really do not know how I should thank you for all your friendship and sympathy, and especially now for the latest visible sign of your regard, old Father Zeus, who now occupies the place of the ‘baby Jesus’ in our household. Our Christmas festivities this year are again very much overshadowed by the fact that my poor husband is once more laid low with his old complaint. There have been 2 further eruptions, one of which is of some size and in a most painful spot, obliging Karl to lie on one side. I hope we shall soon get the better of this illness, and that in the next letter you will no longer be confronted with the temporary private secretary.

Yesterday evening we were all at home together sitting downstairs, which in English houses is the kitchen area from which all ‘creature comforts’ make their way up to the higher regions, and were busy preparing the Christmas pudding with all due thoroughness. We were seeding raisins (a most disagreeable and sticky task), chopping up almonds and orange and lemon peel, minutely shredding suet, and with eggs and flour kneading together the oddest potpourri from the whole mishmash; when all at once there was a ring at the door, a carriage was stopped outside, mysterious footsteps were going up and down, whispering and rustling filled the house; at length a voice sounded from above: ‘A great statue has arrived.’ If it had been ‘Fire, fire, the house is on fire’, the ‘Fenians’ have come, we could not have dashed upstairs in greater astonishment or confusion, and there it stood in all its colossal splendour, in its ideal purity, old Jupiter tonans himself, unscathed, undamaged (one small edge of the piedestal is slightly chipped) before our staring, delighted eyes!! Meanwhile, the confusion having somewhat abated, we then read the accompanying kind words you sent via Borkheim, and after pausing in deepest gratitude to you, we at once began debating which would be the worthiest niche for the new ‘dear god who is there in heaven and on Earth’.’ We have not yet resolved this great question, and we shall make many trials before that proud head finds its place of honour.

My warmest thanks to you also for your great interest and indefatigable efforts on behalf of Karl’s book [Capital]. It would seem that the Germans’ preferred form of applause is utter and complete silence. You have given fresh heart to all the moaners.

Dear Mr Kugelmann, you can believe me when I tell you there can be few books that have been written in more difficult circumstances, and I am sure I could write a secret history of it which would tell of many, extremely many unspoken troubles and anxieties and torments. If the workers had an inkling of the sacrifices that were necessary for this work, which was written only for them and for their sakes to be completed they would perhaps show a little more Interest. The Lassalleans appear to be the quickest to seize the book, so that they may fittingly bowdlerise it. However, that will do no harm.

But to conclude, I have a bone to pick with you. Why do you address me so formally, even using the title ‘gracious’, for me, who am such an old campaigner, such a hoary head in the movement, such an honest fellow-traveller and fellow-tramp? I would so much have liked to visit you and your dear wife and Fränzchen this summer, of whom my husband cannot stop saying so many nice and good things, I would so much have liked to see Germany again after 11 years. I have often been unwell in the past year, and I am sorry to say that of late I have lost much of my ‘faith’, my courage in facing up to life. I often found it hard to keep my spirits up. However, since my girls were embarking on a long journey — they had been invited to stay with Lafargue’s parents in Bordeaux — it was impossible for me to undertake my own excursion at the same time, and it is therefore now my fondest hope for next year.

Karl sends his warmest greetings to your wife and to yourself, to which the girls sincerely add their own, and I extend my hand to you and your dear wife from afar.

Yours
Jenny Marx

not gracious and not by the grace of God.

 

 

Jenny Marx To Johann Philipp Becker in Geneva

[London, after 10 January 1868] 1 Modena Villas, Maitland Park

 

My dear Mr Becker,

Don’t be cross with me for not replying sooner to your kind last letter. Unfortunately, the reason for my silence was not a happy one. For my poor husband has once again been laid up and fettered hand and foot by his old, serious and painful complaint, which is becoming dangerous through its constant recurrence. Nothing depresses him more than to be constantly condemned to idleness once again, particularly now when there is so much to be done, the 2nd part [of Capital] is demanded and, to put it shortly, when the world begins once again to burn and blaze, though for the time being with ‘Greek fire’, and not with the ‘Red Cock’ [symbol of revolutionary action in the Peasant War in Germany]. The idlers and loafers have cash in their pockets and health in their blood, and the people who belong to the new world, who have devoted their bodies and souls to it, are sick — poor and thus well and truly locked in handcuffs. ‘Shame, shame’ as the English shout at their meetings. You will not believe how often my husband thinks of you, with sincere honour and admiration. He regards your little paper’ as quite definitely the best and most effective, and every time we receive news of our native kindergarten, or rather Gartenlaube, he exclaims: ‘If only the Germans had more men like old Becker!! As temporary secretary, I have just written to Schily and sent him the letter of the man who has offered to make the translation.’ You see, Moses Hess has also offered himself as translator through Schily and wanted to launch some preliminary ballons d'essais in the Courrier français But we have long heard and seen nothing of the two gentlemen, but, to judge by the letter I just mentioned, the matter will be a success. Because of his education in philosophy, and his orientation in the arts of dialectical leaps and balances, Hess would be preferable to many other translators who would be simply literal, but, on the other hand, our mystical Rabbi Rabbuni is often not quite reliable (not quite kosher), and often careless, so it would be wrong to reject other offers because of him. Schily will now act as chargé d'affaires, and see which is the right man.

Your last article on the Peace dawdlers was excellent, and, by God (the Good Lord always springs nolens volens to the lips and the pen, although he has long left the place of honour in our hearts), was the best that we have seen hitherto.

‘Goegg’ is still roaming around here on his propaganda merry-go-round. And Borkheim could have been smarter than to give him 100fr. travelling expenses. If the coins are itching and burning a hole in his pocket like that, he should let them fall and burn elsewhere. I think there are better things to do than supporting these apostles. Amand was dealt with quite differently by Engels in Manchester. For your amusement, here is a passage about it from Engels’ letter.

‘Moreover, yesterday I had a visit from the ex-dictator Goegg, who is travelling for the ridiculous Peace League and who ruined my evening. Luckily, Schorlemmer (a very important chemist, one of ‘our people’) ‘also happened by, and got the surprise of his life with this fossil of Federal Republic; he had not believed such a thing possible. The stupid oaf has become ten times more stupid through the unthinking repetition of the same phrases, and has lost all points of contact with the world of common sense (not to mention actual thinking). Apart from Switzerland and the Canton of Baden, there is still nothing else in the world for people of this sort. For all that, he soon convinced himself of the truth of my first reply to his application for support: that the further apart we lived and the less we had to do with one another, the better we would get on. — He admitted that in the Vogt affair Blind has behaved like a coward, but said he was after all a worthy fellow, and even threatened to reconcile you and Blind! Vogt — no politician, but a decent fellow, honest to the backbone, who simply scribbled away in the daytime without considering the content — if we 2 spent an hour together then we would be like brothers. He admitted him to be a Bonapartist, but not a paid one. To which I replied that all Bonapartists were paid, there were no unpaid ones, and if he could show me an unpaid one, then I would accept the possibility that Vogt was not paid; otherwise I would not. This astonished him, but finally he discovered one — Ludwig Bamberger! Incidentally, he said that Vogt had continually had a very hard time, his wife was a peasant girl from the Bernese Oberland, whom he had married out of virtue. Vogt, the artful dodger, appears to have pulled the wool well over this jackass’s eyes. But when Schorlemmer and I explained to him that Vogt had not produced anything as a natural scientist either, you should have seen his rage: Had he not popularised? Was not that worth while?

Thus Engels. So Goegg left empty-handed. Now he is trying his luck in other towns. Have you seen or heard anything of Bakunin? My husband sent his book [Capital] to him as an old Hegelian, — not a sign near or far. Has he received it? You can’t really trust all those Russians. If they don’t adhere to the ‘Väterchen’ in Russia, then they adhere to, or are kept by, ‘Herzens Väterchen’, which in the end comes to the same thing. Six of one and half a dozen of the other.

Things look good here, the English are running away from themselves in panic, and, if somebody hears a cork pop, he imagines it is Greek fire, and if John Bull sees an innocent phosphorus match he believes it is impregnated with glycerine, paraffin, nicotine and God knows what, and starts to run, and soon everybody is running, and finally the genuine constables are running ahead of the false bobbies, the so-called Specials, who are now keeping order in the streets with their lead batons. Ireland has taken the lead in the entire political programme, the English are already shouting in favour of Ireland at their meetings, and it has almost become respectable to lament the 7-hundred-year suffering of sweet Erin — to weep over it; and all this has been accomplished by a phosphorus match and a rope. How easy is it to frighten the gentlemen out of their wits!? The short fear of physical means has accomplished more than centuries of moral threats. ... [manuscript breaks off here]

 

 

Jenny Marx To Ludwig Kugelmann in Hanover

London, 15 September 1869

Dear Mr Kugelmann,

I would have replied long since to your friendly lines from Karlsbad, had I not been hoping day by day for more definite news from our dear travellers. Since their first and last letter front Liege, we have completely lost track of them. But I expect they will move in on you this week, probably after a bit of tacking hither and thither so I am sending for your joint reading today’s Times and an older number of The Pall Mall Gazette. There is a deathly silence in the press here about the Congress, apart from the quite confused twaddly article in Pall Mall, which I enclose. Today The Times has broken the ice for the first time with a very favourable factual and concise article, which will arouse great interest here, and particularly in France, because of the speech by the American delegate. I believe I can smell out our ‘George’, in various turns of phrase, expressions and ‘Eccariads’, if it is possible to ascribe so much tact to h im.

A real arsenal of newspapers and letters has accumulated here in the meantime; and I really don’t know whether they are worth the trouble and cost of sending overseas; their contents are mostly now so antiquated. Lessner wrote 3 very pleasant detailed letters about the Congress and Liebknecht 2 wishy — washy ones that would be better left unread. Eccarius conveys the curious fact that an American told him that he had heard from Mr Slack, the correspondent of the New — York Tribune in London, that ‘Bright had written to all London newspaper offices and requested them to publish no reports on our deliberations’. This would provide some explanation for the silence of the press.

But if The Times publishes a few more reports, the other bell-wethers will follow, and then the success of the Congress will be assured. In any case, it will have more success than that of the Eisenachers, the only effect of which seems to be to have helped ,our great master Ferdinand’ to obtain, in addition to his official ‘moniteur’, the Social-Demokrat a semi-official one in the form of Liebknecht’s sheet. Even in Basle they tried to push the wretched Schweitzer scandal into the foreground, so that one might have thought that the ‘Internationals’ had no other mission but to internationalise the principles of the ‘Man of Iron’ [referring to Lassalle’s ‘iron’ law of wages] without the strict organisation.

I shall send some private letters of interest to Hanover immediately, as soon as I hear that our dear ‘wanderers’ have reached you. Laura, with her husband and their delightful little chap, have been with us here just 4 weeks to the day; now they are beginning to prepare for their return to Paris. Unfortunately, mother and son are not as well as I might wish. The sweet little lad is suffering from the break — through of his first teeth, with all the usual symptoms. His friendly face has grown so narrow and small, and his shining little eyes stare out of his pale face twice as large and rich as usual. He is a cheerful, gentle lad, and we shall sorely miss the little monkey.

Please give my heartiest respects to your dear wife, give Fränzchen a kiss, and accept friendliest greetings from

Yours
Jenny Marx