Letters of Frederick Engels 1838

To Friedrich and Wilhelm Graeber
In Elberfeld

[Bremen] September 1 [1838]

To the Graeber brothers, of Barmen, now in Elberfeld. Acknowledging receipt of the esteemed letter of your Herr F. Graeber, I am taking the liberty to send you a few lines. Thunder and lightning, things are looking up. We will now begin right away with the plastic arts. two faces Namely with my fellow lodger by the name of George (pronounced as in English) Gorrissen, the greatest Hamburg fop that ever existed. Take the mean between the two drawings you see here, place it on a slim trunk and long legs, give the eyes a real boorish look, a speech exactly like Kirchner’s, only in the Hamburg dialect, and you have the most complete picture of this lout that you can get. I wish I could only draw him as well as last night when I drew him on a board, and it was so like him that everybody recognised him, even the maids. Even a painter [G. W. Feistkorn] who lives in our house and otherwise doesn’t think much of anything found it very good. — This G. Gorrissen is the most boorish fellow on earth; he is busy with some new nonsense every day and is inexhaustible in commonplace and boring ideas. The fellow already has on his conscience at least twenty hours that he has bored me.

The other day I bought myself Jacob Grimm’s defence; sketch of clown it is extraordinarily good and is written with a rare power. I read no less than seven pamphlets about the Cologne affair in one bookshop.[189] — N.B. I have read things here and come across expressions – I am getting good practice especially in literature-which one would never a be allowed to print in our parts, quite liberal ideas, etc., arguments about the old Hanoverian he-goat, [Ernst August] really wonderful.

There are some sheets with very fine satirical drawings here. — One I saw was rather badly drawn but the faces are very characteristic. A tailor on a goat is being stopped by his master and the cobblers are looking on. What happens is expressed in the text underneath:

“Old master, don’t stop my charger!”

But about that next time, for I cannot now get this because the Principal [Heinrich Leupold] is sitting here. Otherwise he’s a terribly nice fellow, oh so good, you can’t imagine.

sketch of man with sword and shield

Excuse me for writing so badly, I have three bottles of beer under my belt, hurrah, and I cannot write much more because this must go to the post at once. It is already striking half-past three and letters must be there by four o'clock. Good gracious, thunder and lightning’ you can see that I've got some beer inside me. [... ]

Please have the goodness to scribble me something in reply right away; Wurm knows my address, and you can give it to him. Oh dear, what shall I write? Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. What a lamentable state! The old man, i. e., the Principal, is just going out and I am all mixed up, I don’t know what I'm writing. There are all sorts of noises going on in my head. Give my greetings to P. Jonghaus and F. Plümacher, and tell them to write, and I will bore them shortly with my scribbling too. Can you read my scrawl?

Roland, the knight of Bremen

What will you give me for a pound of muddlement? I have heaps in store. Oh dear.

Genius à la mode/dumb à la mode

Your devoted        
Your Honour’s devoted    
F. Engels