Letters of Jenny Marx 1863

Jenny Marx To Berta Markheim
In Fulda

Source: MECW, Volume 41, p. 583
First published: (in Italian) in Movimento operaio, No. 2, March-April 1955.

Hampstead, 12 October 1863

My dear Mrs Markheim,

On writing the date, I now see to my great dismay that I have let more than a month go by without answering your last kind letter. I got it just after we returned home from Hastings and, for many petty and mundane reasons, failed to reply at once and, as you know, nothing is more dangerous in correspondence than procrastinating instead of responding to the first warm impulse of the heart and at once setting one’s pen at a canter, lest the ni b become encrusted with ink. I am not only pleading on my own behalf today, I must also put in a word for my lord and master, who in this respect has a much blacker list of sins with which to reproach his guilty conscience. He has, of course, received Dr Kugelmann’s letter, and I really have no excuse to offer for his failure to write, other than to say that, in general, he is one of the worst correspondents the world has ever known and often keeps his oldest and best friends waiting for months, even years. If he now treats Dr K. in the same manner as he does his oldest and best friends, he (Dr K.) must be good enough to make allowances for such dilatoriness, and I ‘trust that you, my dear Mrs Markheim, will put in a good word on his behalf. Should he not write very soon, it will, I imagine, be because he hopes to see him in person in the not too distant future; just as it is his intention to visit Frankfurt and call on you. For we have recently, learned that an old aunt of Karl’s, his late father’s only sister, is living in Frankfurt and would love to see him again after so many, many years.

Our stay in Hastings, a delightful and beautifully situated spot, where we spent our time either beside, upon or in the sea, has done us all a great deal of good, particularly our ailing little Jenny, whose cheeks have again filled out and grown rosy.

Her cough has not quite gone, but it seldom recurs and then only in very mild form, and she has also got her appetite back. Touch wood, touch wood! And I only hope we shall spend a less wretched winter than the last one.

We are closely following the course of events in out. fatherland but, with the best will in the world, I cannot share your opinion nor give myself up to sanguine hopes. Perhaps the prolonged anxiety and dismal experiences of the immediate past have clouded my mind and obscured my vision so that I see everything in darker colours and paint things grey on grey.

I hope I shall soon hear from you again and, in sending you my family’s warmest greetings, I bid you farewell for today.

Yours ever,
Jenny Marx