Letters of Frederick Engels

To Marie Engels
In Barmen

Bremen, Nov. 13, 1838

Dear Marie,

Both your letters gave me very great pleasure and I will see what I can do, time and space permitting, to tell you something. It is now past three o'clock and the letter must be posted by four. But I really don’t know anything much to tell you. Nothing out of the ordinary happens here, apart from the fact that the Bremen people have mounted their two splendid cannon at the main guardhouse again, that instead of saying “footstool” they say “footboard” here, that very many people are now wearing macintoshes here, that it was immensely cold last night and ice-ferns were formed on the window-panes and that the sun is now shining, and the like. Something else occurs to me that you should mention to Mother, namely, that I wrote to the Graebers at the end of September saying that when they went to Cologne they should send me Volksbücher and get the money from Father.’ But as they never got to Cologne, they have written to their cousin, so if he sends some per mezzo Pastor Graeber it would be fine, and I'm sure Father would do me the favour of settling the bill for me. If he doesn’t send any that will be all right too and you won’t be bothered with it. I would have written about this before now, but was only given noteworthy information of the correct procedure today. Wilhelm Graeber also writes to me — and this is certainly something for you — that there are no lavatories properly so-called in Berlin, only commodes, and these have to be hired separately and cost five silver groschen a month; as the sons of a pastor, however, they are exempted from this as from other taxes. They also tell me a great deal about their walking tour through the Harz Mountains and up the Blocksberg, and how ‘they travelled from Magdeburg to Berlin with a very tall Guards N. C. O. If you come to visit me some time I shall read you the whole story as well as that of the lovely Dorothee, which happened in Siebertal, in the Harz country, where a very, very rich man fell in love with a little girl of seven and gave her father a ring, telling him that he would come back and marry her when the ring fitted her, and how, when he did come back after ten years, the girl had already been dead for a year, and the gentleman himself also died of sheer boredom, about which Fritz Graeber composed a moving song, etc. But now the page is almost full and I shall just copy another letter which must go with it, and take them both to the post. Are you writing to Ida [Engels]? Herr Holler took a great liking to Julchen [Julie Engels] in Mannheim, but Karl [Engels] was very cross because he visited her so often. But don’t tell that to anyone else. Adieu, dear Marie.