Marx-Engels Correspondence 1863
Source: MECW Volume 41, p. 446;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.
Thank you for being so candid. You yourself have now realised what sort of impression your last letter but one had made on me. One can’t live with a woman for years on end without being fearfully affected by her death. I felt as though with her I was burying the last vestige of my youth. When your letter arrived she had not yet been buried. That letter, I tell you, obsessed me for a whole week; I couldn’t get it out of my head. Never mind. Your last letter made up for it and I'm glad that, in losing Mary, I didn’t also lose my oldest and best friend.
To turn to your affairs. Today I went straight to Watts, whom I had believed to be still in London; he does have an office in London, by the way, at No. 2 Pall Mall. It’s no go with him. His company has stopped making loans. He gave me another address. The man is willing but, depending on the circumstances, requires two or even more sureties for the interest, premium and repayment. Unfortunately, we can’t comply with that. Whom could we find? Gumpert, at most, but it’s doubtful whether he would be acceptable. In addition, a third person would in any case be required, since neither of us has citizen status and, finally, the expenses are deductible from the loan in advance, so that little would be left.
It then occurred to me to sell part of the yarn bought on spec and, instead of repaying the amount to Ermen (to whom the money belongs), send it to you. This might possibly have worked, since the matter wouldn’t have come up for discussion until July and much can change in the meantime. But no chance. Today the market is so flat that I would have had to sell at a loss rather than a profit and might not even have managed to make a sale at all this week.
I can’t borrow any money. E. might, and probably, would, refuse me, and I can’t lay myself open to that. To borrow from a third party up here, a usurer, would mean giving E. the best of reasons for releasing himself from his contract with me. And yet, I can’t stand by and see you carrying out the plan you told me about in your letter. I therefore had a go at old Hill’s bills, helped myself to the enclosed for £100 on John Rapp & Co., due 28 February, and endorsed it in your favour. I don’t imagine it will come to light before July, and then we'll have a further reprieve. It is an exceedingly daring move on my part, for I'm now certain to incur a deficit, but the risk must be taken. I assure you I should never have dared do it had not Charles, who had drawn up a sort of balance sheet covering all items over the last six months, told me this afternoon that in my case the thing works out at approx. £30 à £50 more than I might have expected. I have made about £330 à £350 during the six months.
But equally you yourself must now realise that, as a result of the unusual exertions I have had to make since 30 June 1862, I have really been drained dry and you shouldn’t therefore count on any remittances at all from me until 30 June, save perhaps for trifling amounts. What the prospects will be after 30 June God only knows, for we're earning nothing at the moment, since the market is no longer rising.
The bill itself is as good as cash. Freiligrath will be delighted to discount it for you; there’s very little paper better than that, in circulation. But be so kind as to acknowledge receipt; a great deal of mail is being stolen just now and, since you're not in commerce, anyone can pass himself off as Dr K. M.