Letters of Frederick Engels

To Marie Engels
In Barmen

[Bremen, end of December 1838]

Dear Marie,

Well, you really are making a good thing out of being ill, lying in bed most of the time, you lazy-bones. You'll have to get out of that habit. You must be up and about by the time you get this letter, do you hear? Thank you for the nice cigar-box cover. I can assure you that it has met with the most complete approval, not only for the choice of pattern, but also for the execution, from that most severe of critics, Herr G. W. Feistkorn, painter. Marie Treviranus also embroidered one for me but she took it back again and is now going to send it to Herr Pastor Hessel in Münster am Stein near Kreuznach, to whom she also promised one. She is making me a basket for cigars instead. The Pastor’s wife [Mathilde Treviranus] has crocheted a purse for me, and Leupold’s boys got a rifle that fires caps, as well as swords, and the Old Man [Heinrich Leupold] keeps calling them — Old Soldiers, Kashubs! I can’t make out that riddle of yours about the pond but I'll ask you one myself. Do you know what a Ledshiah is? (I don’t know myself. It’s a term of abuse which the Old Man uses very often.) If you can’t find the answer then hold this up against a mirror and then you will be able to read it. I have just heard that ‘there has been an addition to the Leupold family — a little girl.

I should also like to tell you that I have now started composing and am working on chorals. But it is terribly difficult. The measure and the sharps and the chords give one a lot of trouble. I haven’t got very far yet but I am sending you a specimen. It’s the first two lines of Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott.

stave of several bars of music for two voices

I have not yet been able to do it for more than two voices, for four voices is still too hard. I hope I have not made any mistakes in the score, so try and play it some time.

Adieu, dear Marie.

Your brother