Letter to Friedrich Engels, August 14, 1879

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 14 August 1879

First published in MEGA, Abt. III, Bd. 4, Berlin, 1931

Extract published in Marx Engels on Literature and Art, Progress Publishers, 1976;

Published in Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 45

To Engels in London

St Aubin's, 14 August 1879

Trafalgar Hotel

Dear FRED,

I am sending this note to your London address since —to go by your letter to my wife— there is no knowing that you will still belong to the population of Eastbourne after today.

Herewith letter from Hirsch to me, ditto letter from Louise Juta to Pumps.

Our crossing from Southampton to Jersey was made altogether too watery by a tremendous downpour of rain; we arrived dripping wet at St Hélier where it was also ‘pouring’ hard. Since then the weather, after occasional vacillations and transitions and set-backs, has been very good. The farmers in Jersey thought the end of t h e world was at hand; they maintain that they’ve never had such a bad spring and summer. Tomorrow we a re moving to the Hôtel de l’Europe, St Hélier. We a re leaving our present lodgings in St Aubin’s because Tussy and I cannot stand the monotonous daily fare of lamb or MUTTON in consequence of which I have, during the past few days, become an involuntary VEGETARIAN. We could find nowhere else to stay—we spent a great deal of time hunting round—in these parts. When we arrived in Jersey, it was still comparatively empty, but as time went on there was immigration on a massive scale, notably of FRENCHIES. When we made inquiries at the Hôtel de l’Europe this morning, it so happened, fortunately for us, that 60 French people were just getting ready to leave, whereas on the other hand the STEAMERS laden with fresh human scum had not yet come in.

On leaving London from Waterloo Station, we met Harney, who was seeing his wife off to Jersey. Luckily she already had a first class TICKET, whereas we were travelling second. On the BOAT we met again. Like us, she is not prone to SEASICKNESS, but was in other respects unwell. On landing we again went our different ways, but she gave us the address of her brother with whom she is staying. Since then, we have paid a short visit of ‘condolence’. The woman is utterly IMPRACTICABLE. Although a native of Jersey, she can provide no information other than what may be found in the GUIDE. A good woman, but not JUST THE PERSON for such as are travelling for recreation. I have been at long last sleeping properly here, only I have not quite shaken off a cold caught as a result of the abominable weather. But in this mild climate it will no doubt soon disappear of its own accord. Tussy ALL RIGHT.

Two Derbyshire farmers, father and son, were until recently our companions at table in the Trafalgar Hôtel. The day before yesterday they went on a sailing trip to St Malo and, having ‘been to France’ for the first time in their lives, returned with an immoderately inflated opinion of themselves. The father even felt half-inclined to go with his son on a TRIP to the MEDITERRANEAN, but thought it would be ‘too hot’ there. ‘BY NO MEANS,’ said his son, who is the BOOK-LEARNED man of the two, ‘BY NO MEANS, THERE IT IS NOW—WINTER!’ I was likewise informed by the old man (who is, by the by, in his prime and A SHARP FELLOW, WITH THE TRUE BUSINESS EYE) that St Malo was situated on the south-west coast of France. On t he other hand, both are well-versed in the sphere of agriculture and other FARMERS’ QUESTIONS.

Tussy finds that bathing presents no difficulties worth mentioning, and has so far been bathing alternately in St Brelade’s Bay and St Hélier's Bay, and now alternately in the latter and St Clement's Bay.

From my wife's letter, I see that Schorlemeyer was ill when he arrived; I hope to have better news of him soon.

Since my arrival here I have not looked at any newspapers and have, in fact, read nothing apart from the first volume of Carleton’s Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry. It was labour enough to get through the first volume and I shall put the second aside until a better time. The work consists of unconnected tales, in which Irish peasant life is illustrated now from this side and now from that; so the book is not the sort one can swallow at one gulp. For this very reason it is a book which one must buy and possess in order au fur et à mesure [according to need] to regale oneself now with this dish, now with another. Carleton is neither a good stylist nor a master of composition; his originality lies in the truth of his descriptions. As the son of an Irish peasant he knows his subject better than the Levers and Lovers.

With kindest regards from Tussy and self to all of you