Letters of Frederick Engels

To Marie Engels
In Mannheim

Barmen, about the beginning of May 1841

Source: MECW Volume 2, p. 532
Written: May 1841
First published: in Marx/Engels, Gesamtausgabe, Abt. 1, Bd. 2, 1930

Dear Marie,

I started a letter to you last night but got no further than three lines when Anna [Engels’ sister] came and cut it off to use the rest of the paper herself. I got both your letters, including the one sent to Bremen, which made quite a journey before it reached me. Well, it’s pretty dry in these parts except for an occasional dinner with some May wine or a student drinking bout, or carousal or rainy weather. The best thing about the whole business is that I smoke the whole day long and this is undoubtedly a great and priceless pleasure. I received some very nice things in my trunk which arrived here from Bremen — a little cigar basket, ash-tray, tassel for my pipe, etc. Father has gone to Engelskirchen and I am sitting in his dressing-gown on his stool with his long pipe, puffing out smoke like anything. We'll be off to Milan [242] in eight or ten days and all we wish for is good weather. It’s raining cats and dogs here today. I am curious to know how you have developed in Mannheim — whether you are still the same silly, skinny chick you used to be, or whether you have picked up any new crazy ideas. Anna also gets up to daft tricks now and again and indulges in all kinds of silliness-with every third word she exclaims “Og, Drikes!” [What nonsense] Hermann [Engels’ brother] is developing a real talent as a hypochondriac and can often sit all day with a face utterly indifferent to the world, his mouth drooping, not uttering a word. If he suddenly gets into a tantrum, he can’t snap out of it. Emil [sibling] is still great at misunderstanding things. Hedwig [sibling] is not developing much character apart from a touch of obstinacy. Rudolf [sibling] is just like Hermann was, he wanders about dreaming half the day and gets up to silly tricks the rest of the time. What he likes best is when I give him a rapier and then knock it out of his hand. Little Elise [sibling] will become important but for the time being she’s still unimportant. She shows signs of amiability and will put you all in the shade in the end. And what about me? I might look interesting if, instead of my present young moustache, I still had the one I had in Bremen and my long hair.

You've had enough for today. I'll write to you from Milan — if it’s raining there.