Letters of Marx and Engels, 1845

Engels To Marie Engels [28]
In Barmen

Source: MECW Volume 38, p. 32;
Written: 31 May 1845;
First published: in Deutsche Revue, jg. 45, Bd, 4, Stuttgart und Leipzig, 1920

Brussels, Saturday, 31 May 1845

Dear Marie,

To my regret I must today inform you that I shall be unable to be present at your wedding [with Emil Blank on 3 June 1845], the reason being the difficulties I have encountered over a passport. Last Wednesday I went to the Administration de la sūreté publique [police headquarters] and demanded a passport for Prussia. After some waiting and a lengthy discussion about my emigration and the fact that I could not obtain a passport from the Prussian envoy, I was finally informed that since I had only just arrived, I could not get a passport from him. If I had lived here a little longer, he — Mr Hody, the Directeur of the sūreté publique — would have been empowered to give me passports, but in the circumstances he could not. In any case, foreigners who settled here usually arrived with passports still valid for a year or six months, and hence his instructions were to give visas to newly arrived foreigners, but not to issue them with passports. Incidentally, if I had one or two connections, I would undoubtedly obtain a passport at the Foreign Affairs Ministry. I do indeed have such connections, namely in the person of a German doctor who had actually promised to obtain a passport for me should I run into difficulties. But this doctor was himself married only a fortnight ago and went to the Wallonian watering-places for his honeymoon.

He returned on Thursday and it was not till yesterday evening that I succeeded in seeing him; he was very willing to help, but he immediately told me that, since he was unable to go to the ministry before this morning, I couldn’t possibly get my passport until the day after tomorrow — Monday — and hence must put off my trip until Monday evening or Tuesday morning. I told him that I couldn’t wait as long as that, but he again declared that it wouldn’t be possible to help me obtain it any sooner; anyhow, he said, he was willing to try again. Well, this morning he sent me a note saying he had indeed made inquiries in person and would be unable to obtain a passport for me before Monday, maybe not until Monday evening. I replied at once, telling him to spare himself further exertion, as in that case I should have to abandon my trip altogether.

As you and the others will readily understand, I would only expose myself to unpleasantness, my other circumstances being what they are, were I to attempt to cross the border without a passport — which, indeed, Mr Hody advised me against, my exit permit being valid pour sortir de la Prusse, mais pas pour y rentrer [for leaving Prussia, but not for returning there] So it would seem that I must remain here and celebrate your wedding on my own and in my thoughts — sorry though I am for it. Anyhow you may be sure that I shall spend the whole day thinking of you and Emil [Blank], and that my best wishes will accompany you in marriage and on your honeymoon, although I shall not have the pleasure of expressing them orally. What I wish you above all is that the love which has brought you together and has made your relationship as beautiful, humane and decent as any I have encountered, will accompany you throughout your lives, help you to surmount all adversity with ease and be the making of your happiness. I rejoice wholeheartedly over your marriage because I know that you cannot he anything but happy in your life together and that — after you have been joined together — neither of you will be disappointed in the other. You may be sure that, of the many good wishes that will be proffered you, none is more sincerely meant, none is more cordial nor warmer than mine! As you know, of all my brothers and sisters, I loved you the best and you were the one in whom I always had most confidence — so you will believe what I say, without any need for solemn asseverations and unnecessary verbiage. Once again, I wish that your love may always remain constant, and there is much else I wish you besides — what, you will be able to guess. Be happy!

Well, I hope I shall soon receive a letter from Mrs Blank, for I expect Mrs Blank to take just as much interest in me as did Miss Engels. At all events I hope that, after a happy wedding and a happy honeymoon, I shall see you both this summer at Ostend or in England, and till then, once again farewell!

Warmest regards to everyone
Your devoted