Marx/Engels Correspondence 1854
Source: MECW, Volume 39, p. 481;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, 1913.
Once again I must come knocking at your door, much though I detest doing so, but compelled by pressure from without. I cannot draw my bills for a few weeks yet, since in consequence of some unpleasantness he has had with Bischoffsheim in this connection, Freiligrath is no longer drawing bills of less than £25. On the whole, too, this is preferable, for while the constant drawing of small sums may cover the dette flottante, the fixed debt increases. On top of that, I shall have to deduct £8 for Freund from the next bill since, under the present circumstances, my wife will need rather more care. The extraordinary means to which the family is wont to resort at times of crisis are again exhausted and, just as in the case of the Spanish Budget everything is in pawn.
By the by, as regards the ‘budget’ en général, I have reduced total indebtedness to under £50, i.e. about £30 less than it was at the beginning of the year. From this you can see that there have been some great financial sleights of hand. If a negotiation I have initiated with Lassalle succeeds, and he lends me £30, and you lend me the remainder, I would at last be independent again and reorganise all my domestic arrangements, whereas at present I have to pay out 25 per cent to the pawnshop alone, and in general am never able to get things in order because of arrears. As has once again been demonstrated in Trier, nothing will be achieved with my mater until I can go and importune her in person.
Dam ce moment the total absence of money is the more horrible — quite apart from the fact that family wants do not cease for an instant — as Soho is a choice district for cholera, the mob is croaking right and left (e.g. an average of 3 per house in Broad Street), and ‘victuals’ are the best defence against the beastly thing.
So much for that. I am sending this letter to your private address because some strange combination of circumstances could cause precisely this by no means edifying epistle to fall into the wrong hands at your office.
As regards the Asiatic business, a considerable stir has been made here by the dispatches from that theatre of operations in The Morning Chronicle, which have also been reproduced in The Observer and other weeklies.
I don’t know whether the news about the Zouaves’ cry ‘A bas les singes! Il nous faut Lamoricière!’ [Down with the monkeys! We want Lamoricière! ‘Singes’ also means ‘bosses’] has penetrated as far as Manchester. Espinasse, the first victim of this agitation, has been recalled to France.
The party has been having a run of bad luck. Steffen has lost his post in Brighton through the bankruptcy of the schoolmaster in whose establishment he was employed. It is questionable whether he will manage to get the salary already due to him. Pieper has lost his post as correspondent to the Union, since Mr Pierce has likewise gone bankrupt, and his papers get no more money for foreign correspondents. MacGowan, Jones’ printer and source of credit, has died of cholera. A blow for Jones. All this is not very pleasant.
I don’t remember muck about Imandt. To inquire into it further would only make matters worse. But henceforward I shall break off the moment the gentleman makes any ‘reference’ to Dronke. Dronke ne vaut pas la peine d'en parler [isn’t worth discussing].