Letters of Frederick Engels

To Marie Engels
In Bonn

Source: MECW Volume 2, p. 544
Written: 2 July 1842
First published: in Marx/Engels, Gesamtausgabe, Abt. 1, Bd. 2, 1930

Dear Marie,

I congratulate you on your discharge from the noble Mannheim Institute and from Fräulein Jung’s censorship of your letters. I did not want to write about it before so as not to make you even more discontented, but I can tell you now that all these boarding-schools are nonsense and that the girls in them, unless they have such a happy disposition as yours, become terribly spoiled and turn into empty-headed coquettes and blue-stockings. But it’s the fashion now in Barmen and nobody can do anything about it. Rejoice that you are now out of the convent and can sit at the window again and walk across the street and occasionally talk nonsense without these things being treated as crimes. But I must say one thing to you – don’t play me any silly tricks by joining in the Barmen jumps, namely, the jump into engagement. The noble young folk are rushing headlong into marriage, as if they were mad, and so blindly that they are knocking each other over. It is exactly like a game of blind man’s buff and where two of them catch each other, they get engaged, marry and live in blissful contentment. Just look at your two cousins. There’s Luise Snethlage who has caught a husband [Hermann Siebel] who’s not bad but his hair is grey, and pretty Ida [Engels] has managed to get hold of one too, but I don’t think much of him either. True, he’s my brother-in-law, so I shouldn’t run him down, but I'm vexed that they didn’t ask me whether I wanted this Saint-Pétrus, this lion, this dandy, this Albert Molineus for a brother-in-law, and so he'll have to pay for it. I tell you – if you want a suitor like that, I'll send you a dozen every day and each day a new dozen. It was generous of me to let the whole thing happen at all. I should at least have protested about it.

Even Schornstein has got himself engaged – it’s terrible! And Strücker definitely wants to become a husband – isn’t that strange? I begin to despair of the human race; I shall become a misanthrope if you, Marie, you too. – But no, you would not cause your brother such pain.

It’s raining very boringly again. I have been soaked at least four times this week in the service of the Fatherland – twice from rain and twice, to use a delicate expression, from perspiration. I'm now going to the reading-room to look at the newspapers; surely I shall not get wet there for the fifth time, shall 1?


Your brother    

Berlin, July 2, 42