Letters of Jenny Marx

Jenny Marx To Frederick Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW Volume 39, p. 567;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, 1913.

[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!


Warmest greetings
Jenny Marx