Letters of Frederick Engels

To Wilhelm Graeber
In Berlin

Source: MECW Volume 2, p. 474
Written: 20 October 1839
First published: in the book: F. Engels, Schriften der Frühzeit, Berlin, 1920

Bremen, October 20-21, 1839

October 20. To Herr Wilhelm Graeber. I am quite sentimental; it is a difficult case. I remain here deprived of all merriness. With Adolf Torstrick, the bearer of this, the last merriness leaves. How I celebrated October the 18th can be read in my last epistle to Heuser. Today beer-guzzling, tomorrow boredom, the day after tomorrow Torstrick is leaving, on Thursday the student mentioned in the above-mentioned epistle will return, whereupon there will follow two merry days and then a lonely, horrible winter. Not a soul in this place can be moved to come on the booze, they are all philistines. Here I sit with all that is left of my jolly songs, and my cocky, would-be student air, alone in the great desert, without boozing companions, without love, without any fun, alone with tobacco, beer and two acquaintances who can’t drink. “My son, here is my spear, drink with it my beer. When you drink comme il faut, it pleases your old father so,” [217] I want to sing, but to whom shall I give my spear, and I haven’t got the tune right, either. Only one hope remains for me, to meet you in Barmen in a year’s time, when I go home, and then, if too much of the pastor has not got into you and Jonghaus and Fritz, to go on the spree with you.

21st. Today has been a dreadfully boring day. Half-dead from slaving in the office. Then choir practice, enormous enjoyment. Now I must see that I write you something more. Verses at the next opportunity, I have no time left to copy them. Didn’t even have anything interesting to eat, all boring. And it’s so cold you can’t bear it in the office. Thank God, tomorrow we have hopes of getting some heating. I should be getting a letter from your brother Hermann soon; he wants to test my theology and massacre my conviction. That comes of being a sceptic; the thousand hooks with which one hung on to the old come loose and hook on to something else, and then there are arguments. The devil take Wurm, don’t get a word from the fellow, he is becoming worse and worse every day. I suppose he is taking to drinking brandy. Now give Torstrick a friendly welcome, make him tell you about me if it interests you, and put good beer before him.

Yours, Friedrich Engels