Letter to Friedrich Engels, November 30, 1873

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 30 November 1873

First published in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Bd. IV, Stuttgart, 1913

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

Published in Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 44

To Engels in London

[Harrogate,] 30 November 1873


On Thursday I went to see Gumpert whom I found very bald and aged. The poor fellow suffers terribly from haemorrhoidal convolution he has had for ages and for which he at long last intends to have an operation, something which, as he admits himself, always involves a certain degree of danger. I dined at his home (apart from him I could not, of course, see anyone in the few hours I had in Manchester) together with his four self-made children and their GOVERNESS.

Gumpert examined me BODILY and found a certain elongation of the liver which according to him I cannot get rid of completely until I go to Carlsbad.[1] I have to take the same water as Tussy (they call it Kissingen water here, on account of its resemblance to the real things), but none of the mineral baths. Apart from that my regime and Tussy’s are somewhat different. She may only walk in great moderation—a point on which Gumpert is wholly in agreement with Tussy’s local doctor, Dr Myrtle (a very sweetsmelling name, the man is a Scot and boasts himself a Jacobite to this very day; he should get to know COLONEL Stuart chez Don Carlos); I, on the other hand, am supposed to go on vigorous marches. Gumpert’s advice to do very little was scarcely necessary, since up to now I have actually done nothing, not even written letters. I had imagined that two weeks here would suffice, but Gumpert insisted on three. And in fact Tussy will not be able to take a much stronger mineral bath than she has been taking so far until the middle of next week.

Apropos. Gumpert has not received the Alliance pamphlet[2] that I sent him; in general, there have been many complaints in Manchester about the failure of the post to deliver PAPERS and PRINTS. So send him one by return; ditto a copy of your articles on Spain[3] printed in the Volksstaat, if you have received them yet. Gumpert says that all these things interest him greatly, and that we must help to keep him au courant by sending him things from London, as otherwise he will completely go to seed among the Manchester philistines.

I am very sorry that the good Lopatin has missed me; but how lucky he has been in his misfortune. When he moves to London we shall protect him against Lavrov’s SOFT-SAWDER.

There was a storm here yesterday (although on the whole the air is extremely invigorating) and I caught a bad cold which has kept me indoors today, in accordance with the maxim: Principiis obsta.[4]

Our lune-de-miel[5] couple, about whom Tussy has already told you, were so horribly bored in the first 3 days—they are called Briggs incidentally—that the young husband prescribed a friend, a devil with a limp, who arrived yesterday. Since then they seem LIVELIER, to judge by the noise they are making. Tussy and I took refuge in chess yesterday evening. For the rest, I read Saint-Beuve’s book on Chateaubriand, a writer whom I have always found repugnant. The man is celebrated in France, because in every respect he is the most classical incarnation of French vanité, a vanité clothed not in light, frivolous eighteenth-century garb, but draped in romanticism and prancing about in newly coined phrases. Such false profundity, Byzantine exaggeration, flirtation with emotion, motley Schillerism, word painting, theatrical sublime, or to put it concisely, such a hodge-podge of lies has never before been achieved, neither in form, nor in content.

It is very kind of Mr Kokosky to have invented a Liebknecht/Marxian style.b But it seems to refer to Liebknecht’s French style, with which we are unacquainted. His German style is, after all, just as uncouth as that of Mr Kokosky and must please and appeal to him for that very reason.

Now that you are taking a look at the French translation of Capital,436 I would be grateful if you could persevere with it. I think you will find that some passages are superior to the German.




K. M.

  1. Czech name: Karlovy Vary
  2. K. Marx and F. Engels, The Alliance of Socialist Democracy and the International Working Men's Association.
  3. F. Engels, 'The Bakuninists at Work'.
  4. Resist the first beginnings (Ovid, Remédia amoris, V, 91-92)
  5. Honeymoon