Marx-Engels Correspondence 1867

Karl Marx to Ludwig Kugelmann, 10 June 1867

Source: Karl Marx, Letters to Dr Kugelmann (Martin Lawrence, London, undated). Scanned and prepared for the Marxist Internet Archive by Paul Flewers.

Dear Friend

The delay in this letter lays me open to the more or less ‘well-founded’ suspicion of being a ‘rascally fellow’. In extenuation I can but say that I have only been ‘residing’ in London a few days. Before that I was with Engels in Manchester. But you and your dear wife know me well enough by now to recognise that letter-writing sins are the normal thing with me. All the same I was with you every day. I count my stay in Hanover among the most beautiful and delightful oases in the desert of life.

I met with no adventures in Hamburg except that, in spite of all precautions, I made the acquaintance of Herr Wilhelm Marr. [1] He is, as far as his personality is concerned, a Christian edition of Lassalle, of course of much less value. Also, Herr Niemann [2] was playing during the few days which I spent there. But I was too spoilt by the company in Hanover to want to visit the theatre in less pleasant society. So I missed Herr Niemann.

À propos. Meissner [3] is prepared to print the medical brochure you intend to write. You have only to send him the manuscript and refer to me. As to particulars, you will have to make further arrangements yourself.

Except for rather raw weather on the first day, the journey from Hamburg to London was quite pleasant. A few hours before we reached London a German girl, who had already attracted my attention by her military bearing, announced that she intended to travel from London to Weston-Super-Mare that same evening and did not know how, with all her luggage, she was to set about it. The case was made worse by the fact that on the Sabbath helpful hands are lacking in England. She showed me the name of the railway station in London from which she was to travel. Friends had written it down on a card. It was the North Western station, which I too had to pass. So, like a good knight, I offered to put her down at the station. Accepted. And then it occurred to me that Weston-Super-Mare lies South West, while the station which I had to pass and which had been written down for the young girl was North West. I consulted the captain. And it turned out that she had to go from a part of London lying in a totally different direction from where I wished to go. [4] But I had undertaken to do it and had to make bonne mine à mauvais jeu. [5] We arrived at two in the afternoon. I took the donna errante [6] to the station, and learnt that her train did not leave until eight in the evening. So I was in for it, and had to kill six hours with Mademoiselle by walking in Hyde Park, visiting ice-cream shops, etc. It turned out that she was called Elizabeth von Puttkammer, a niece of Bismarck, with whom she had just spent a few weeks in Berlin. She had the whole Army List with her, for this family supplies our ‘brave army’ in abundance with gentlemen of honour and good figure. She was a gay, educated girl, but aristocratic and black – white [7] to the tip of her nose. She was not a little astonished to learn that she had fallen into ‘red’ hands. But I assured her that our rendezvous would pass ‘without bloodshed’ and saw her off, saine et sauve, [8] from the station. Just think what fodder my conspiracy with Bismarck would give to Blind [9] or other vulgar democrats!

Today I sent off the 14th corrected proof sheet. I received most of these while with Engels, who is extraordinarily pleased with them and, with the exception of sheets 2 and 3, found them written in a manner very easy to understand. His verdict set my mind at rest, for I find that, when printed, my things always displease me, especially at first sight.

I am sending your dear wife, to whom I ask you to convey my special thanks for her friendly and cordial reception, the photograph of my second daughter Laura, since there are no more of the others left, and new ones will have to be taken. Engels will also have new copies made of his own and Wolff’s [10] photograph. He was greatly pleased by your despatches.

My best greetings to the ‘Madämchen’, [11] Eleanor is at school, otherwise she would write to her. And now, Adio!

Karl Marx


1. Wilhelm Marr (1819-1904) – German publicist. In the 1840s an active supporter of the revolutionary movement of the German-Swiss artisans. After 1870 a fanatical anti-Semite – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.

2. Possibly Albert Wilhelm Karl Niemann (1831-1917), one of Germany’s leading operatic tenors of the period – MIA.

3. Otto Karl Meissner (1819-1902) – Hamburg publisher who brought out Marx’s Capital and a number of other works by Marx and Engels – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.

4. The North-Western station is Euston, the London terminus of the London North-Western Railway; services to Western-Super-Mare ran from Paddington, the London terminus of the Great Western Railway – MIA.

5. To put a good face on the matter – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.

6. Wandering lady – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.

7. The Prussian colours – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.

8. Safe and sound – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.

9. Karl Blind (1826-1907) – German publicist and petty-bourgeois democrat. Later supported Bismarck – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.

10. Wilhelm Wolff (1809-1864) – The son of a Silesian serf. A close friend of Marx and Engels. Active in the 1848 Revolution, was associate editor of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung. Fled to England after the revolution. Marx dedicated to him the first volume of Capital – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.

11. ‘Little lady’ – Kugelmann’s daughter – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.