Letters of Frederick Engels

To Marie Engels

Source: MECW Volume 2, p. 542
Written: September 1841
First published: in Marx/Engels, Gesamtausgabe, Abt., 1, Bd. 12, 1930

A nice story told in front of a Frenchman by that son of the gods, Albert Molineus, who is courting Ida [Engels]. Enfin, a la porte du ciel était Saint-Pétrus (instead of Saint Pierre) et le peintre Köttgen d'Elberfeld itait abordé par le musicien Weinbrenner: Eh bien, Köttgen, vous ne dites rien, racontez-nous donc quelque chose. Enfin, Köttgen dit: Enfin, j’ai eu cette nuit un fameux ręve. Enfin, dit Weinbrenner, qu'est-ce qu'il y avait donc? Enfin, dit Köttgen, je ręvais d'ętre ŕ la porte du ciel. Alors il y avait tous les artistes célčbres, Meyerbeer, Horace Vernet etc. Enfin, Meyerbeer frappait ŕ la porte; Pétrus dit: Qui est lŕ? “Meyerbeer.” Les artistes nentrent pas ici, dit Pétrus. Enfin vint Horace Vernet. Qui est lŕ, dit Pétrus. “Horace Vernet. “ Les artistes nentrent pas ici, dit Pétrus. Enfin Weinbrenner arrivait. Quest-ce qu'il y a lŕ? dit Pétrus. Enfin, je suis Weinbrenner. Enfin, Pitrus dit: Entrez, s'il vous plait. [Saint Pétrus was standing at the Heavenly Gate and Köttgen, the Elberfeld painter, was approached by Weinbrenner the musician. Now then, Köttgen, you're very quiet, tell us something. At last Köttgen said: I had a wonderful dream last night. Well, said Weinbrenner, what was it about? Well, said Köttgen, I dreamt I was at the Heavenly Gate. All the famous artists were there — Meyerbeer, Horace Vernet, etc. Then Meyerbeer knocked on the Gate and Pétrus said: Who is there? “Meyerbeer.” No artists allowed in here, said Pétrus. So then Horace Vernet stepped forward. Who is there? said Pétrus. “Horace Vernet.” No artists allowed in here, said Pétrus. So then Weinbrenner came forward. What’s going on? said Pétrus. I am Weinbrenner. So then Pétrus says: Come in, please.]

The point of the joke — ainsi, Weinbrenner n’est pas d'artiste [Consequently Weinbrenner is not an artist] — was naturally omitted by the clever young man who spoke French so well. Now you know what kind of people are scrambling for the honour of becoming your brother-in-law.


[believed to be a P.S. to Engels’ letter to Marie of September 9, 1841]