Letter to Jenny Marx (daughter), May 31, 1870

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 31 May 1870

First published in Voinstvuyushchy materialist, Book 4, Moscow, 1925

Extract published in Marx and Engels on Ireland, Progress Publishers, 1971;

Published in Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 43

To Jenny Marx in London

Manchester, May 31, 1870[edit source]

My dear child,

We were beginning to fret somewhat at the obstinate London taciturnity, but your letter has again cleared up the horizon. I think not that we shall stay longer than to the beginning of next week.

My cold is not yet quite gone, but the general state of health has [been] wonderfully improved consequent upon the change of air. I see Gumpert almost daily and his advice is the more valuable the less he gets paid for it.

Here things are going on pretty much in the old track. Fred is quite jolly since he has got rid of “Wen verfluchten Commerce.” His book on Ireland – which by the by costs him a little more time than he had at first supposed – will be highly interesting. The illustrious Doppelju[1] who is so much up in the most recent Irish history and plays so prominent a part in it, will there find his archeological material ready cut.

Lange’s book[2] differs from an ‘Irish stew’ in that particular point that it is all sauce and no substance. This muddled meddler evidently intends to fish out some compliments from me in return for his ‘sweets’, but he is woefully mistaken. How much he has understood of the Capital is clearly shown by his discovery that my theory of ‘value’ has nothing whatever to do with the developments on the Arbeitstag[3] etc.

Our friend Gumpert settles more and more down into a liberal, town-talk speaking, commonplace sort of fellow. What with his self-produced and with his ‘inherited’ family, this is hardly to be wondered at. It is too much of a good thing.

Tussy looks very blooming and is quite merry. She has happily found the live stock at Mornington Palace increased by a new supply of kittens and so forth. She crossexamined Fred of course as to the ‘threatening letters’; he considered it dangerous to allude to such a thing in letters conveyed by post and possibly falling under the eye of some Stieber. The true Stieber, who, I see, is eagerly busying himself at Paris to hatch a new complot, in which the ‘Intern. W. Ass.’ is to play the principal part and where I, as his old protégé, and ‘wirklicher geheimer Oberhauptchef[4] must of course put[5] in my appearance.

While I write these lines, damned Fred is bothering me by continual ‘fragmentary’ communications from the old Norse Sagas. Apropos of Norse Sagas, has Möhmchen[6] not assisted at K. Blind’s poetical lecture Sunday last?

Little Dakyns came over Saturday evening and stayed here on Sunday. This his visit was paid to Tussy and myself. This brave gnome was horselaughing all the time over. His costume was faster than ever before—papierne Vatermörder ohne Kravatte,[7] a dirty white hat instead of the Scotch cap, and eine Sorte weisser Schuhe wie man sie at the seaside trägt.[8] At our Sunday walk— Schorlemmer and Moore belonging of course to the party—his success with the general public was more than a succès d’estime. He created quite a sensation.

And now, illustrious Doppelju, give my best compliments to Möhmchen and Lehnchen.[9] I miss here very much the Marseillaise and all news from Paris. At the Schiller Club they keep Le Temps, about the dullest of all the French papers. Also its editor-in-chief is one Nefftzer, an Alsacian.

Addio, illustrious one.

Old Nick

  1. The reference is to Jenny Marx's pseudonym: J. Williams.
  2. F. A. Lange, Die Arbeiterfrage. Ihre Bedeutung für Gegenwart und Zukunft
  3. working day
  4. real secret leader
  5. In the original: set
  6. Marx's wife, Jenny
  7. a paper stand-up collar without a tie
  8. a kind of white shoes such as one wears at the seaside
  9. Helene Demuth