Letters of Frederick Engels

To Marie Engels
In Barmen

Written: 28 September, 1839.
Source: MECW Volume 2, p. 469.
First published: in the Deutsche Revue, Bd. 4, Stuttgart and Leipzig, 1920

Bremen, Sept. 28, 1839

Dear Marie,

It was high time your ladyship wrote to me at last; it has gone on long enough, Mamsell. But I'll forgive you your great crimes and tell you something. Tomorrow it will be two weeks since we rode out to Delmenhorst. This is a small Oldenburg country town with a menagerie, so called because the people of Oldenburg and Bremen are always going there, and when we had seen it, we rode back — and came home, you think? Yes, but after several adventures. In the first place, I sat half the way in the carriage and when we reached the place where I was to pick up my horse again, the riders had not yet arrived and so we had to go in, drink bad beer and smoke bad cigars. Finally, the riders turned up and by now it was eight o'clock and pitch dark. Once I had found my horse we rode on, paid the gate toll and rode through Neustadt. Then round the corner and riding directly at us came eight drummers beating a tattoo, all in a row, and our horses jumped about all over the place. The drummers beat louder and louder, and the noble street arabs of Bremen shouted, so that we soon got separated from one another. R. Roth and I were the first to find each other again, and we rode on to the other end of the town where we had to pay toll again because the philistine who hires out horses lives just outside the gate. Here we met the others, whose horses had run away with them, and we then made for home and had to pay toll a third time. Isn’t that an interesting story? You won’t be able to deny it, especially when you hear that since it was too late to eat at home, I went into the Club, ate beefsteak and eggs and heard a very entertaining conversation which was going on near me, about young dogs and dead cats. Indeed, very interesting, very amusing. I am now at the Club, which is the same kind of place as the Concordia or institute for improvement in Barmen. The best thing about it is the many newspapers — Dutch, English, American, French, German, Turkish and Japanese. This gave me the opportunity to learn Turkish and Japanese, so I now understand 25 languages. All this is, of course, of the greatest interest to a young lady who wants to go to a boarding-school in Mannheim. Jacob Schmitt was here too, and he will he back again next week and will go to the wine cellar with me. That is undoubtedly the best institution in Bremen. We also have a theatre again, but I haven’t been there yet.

Farewell, my dear

Yours for ever,