Marx-Engels Correspondence 1867

Marx To Laura Marx
In London

Source: MECW Volume 42, p. 375;
First published: in German, in Die Neue Zeit, 1907-1908 and in the language of the original, English, in Annali, Milano, 1958.

Hanover, 13 May, 1867

My pretty little Cacadou,

My best thanks for your letter, and that of the worthy Quoquo [Eleanor].

You complain that I had given no signs of life, but on reviewing the question you will find that, on the whole, I have given weekly signals. Moreover, you know that I am not of a very ‘demonstrative’ character, of rather retiring habitudes, a slow writer, a clumsy sort of man or, as Quoquo has it, an anxious man.

I shall leave Hanover the day after to-morrow, and probably leave Hamburg by first steamer for London. Yet, you must not expect me to settle the day and the hour. I have still some business to transact with my publisher. At all events, this is the last week of my continental stay.

I am very glad that my photogramm has met with such good reception. The shadow is at all events less troublesome than the original.

As to Mrs Tenge, I wonder that you ask me how she looks, whether she is pretty? I have sent Jenny her photogramm, hidden behind my own. How could it have been lost? Now, to answer your questions, she is 33 years of age, mother of 5 children, rather interesting than pretty, and certainly no professional wit. But she is a superior woman. As to ‘flirting’, he would be rather a bold man who were to try it. As to ‘admiration’, I owe it, and there may, perhaps, have been on her side, some overestimation of your most humble and ‘modest’ master. You know, if no one is a prophet on his own dunghill (speaking symbolically), people are easily overvalued by strangers who, legen s'e nicht aus, so legen sie doch unter [if they do not interpret something in their own way, so they attribute it], and find what they were resolved upon to find in a fellah. She has left Hanover Thursday last.

Eight days since, the weather was still frosty and rainy. Now summer has at once burst into full bloom. On the whole, the weather, since my departure, was here as bad and changeable as it used to be in London. Only, and this is a great thing, the air is thinner.

These continentals have an easier life of it than we on the other side of the Northern sea. With 2,000 Thalers (300£) you can live here most comfortably. For inst., there exist here different gardens (à la Cremourn, but ‘respectable’, and where all sort of people meet), much more artistically arranged than any in London, good music being played every evening, etc., where you can subscribe for self and family — for the whole year — at the price of 2 Thalers, 6 sh.! This is only a specimen of the cheap life the Philister indulge in at this place. Young people amuse themselves more freely and at almost no expense, comparatively speaking. There is of course one great drawback — the atmosphere is pregnant with dullness. The standard of existence is too small. It is a lot of pygmées amongst whom you want no very high frame to feel like Gulliver amidst the Lilliputians.

There arrived this morning rather ‘excited’ letters from Berlin. It seems that a collision between the workmen and the Pickelhauben is apprehended. I do not expect much for the present, but there is something brewing. The working class, in the greater centres of Germany, are commencing to assume a more decided and threatening attitude. One fine morning there will be a nice dance!

And now my dear little birdseye, Cacadou, secretary, cook, equestrian, poet, auf Wiedersehn. Viele Grusse, an Möhmchen, Quoquo and Queque, Helen [Demuth], and, last not least, our ‘mutual friend’ [Paul Lafargue].


Your master
Old Nick

Enclosed Hegel, presented by Kugelmann to Mons. Lafargue.