A Very Marx and Engels Xmas.

Excerpts from the MECW could serve as grounds for ‘very Marx and Engels xmas special’ in which our heroes face the trials and tribulations we all face at xmas:

Marx had a doting ma:

“If you have any wish to express for Christmas that I can satisfy, I am ready to do so with pleasure. Farewell, my dear beloved Carl, be upright and good and always keep God and your parents before your eyes. Adieu, your loving mother Henriette Marx.”

He also had horrid xmas guests:

marx to engels: “Pieper was here during the Christmas holidays. He arrived in a state of alcoholic remorse and was more vapid and boring THAN EVER. The older the fellow grows the worse he becomes. He seems to have acquired the pleasant habit of drinking first thing in the morning, not tea or coffee, but a PINT [OF] STOUT, which gives him A SHEEP’S EYE for the rest of the day. Indeed, the combination of dilettantism and sententiousness, fadaise†d and pedantry makes him ever harder to stomach. And, as often in the case of such laddies,there lurks, beneath an apparently sunny temperament, much irritability, moodiness and crapulous despondency. He has presented the children with two daguerreotypes of his charming person which are truly sublime and might be entitled ‘Pieper with countenance exposed’. Both confected on the very morning of his arrival by rail in London. The first, still drunk with sleep, A MOST ABJECT PICTURE OF MENTAL AND MORAL DEJECTION: great, big mouth, flaccid jowl, blurred, sprawling features, in his eyes A STUPENDOUS EXPRESSION OF NOTHINGNESS. In the 2nd our friend had already pulled himself together and remembered that he was the handsome and aimable Pieper. It is the awakening of complacency and its victory over UTTER DEGRADATION. The first portrait — PIEPER AS HE IS, the 2nd AS HE APPEARS TO HIMSELF and the world in general. As little Jenny aptly remarked, all that was wanting to put the fellow in a nutshell was his drama, WHAT IS THE MATTER?”

And that whacky uncle Engels got a bit too festive over the holiday season:

engels to marx: You ask me what my wishes are. Ma chére soeur,†b it’s some time since I indulged in wishes, for nothing comes of them. Besides which, I really have no talent for it, for if by chance I catch myself being weak enough to wish for anything, it always turns out to be something I can’t have and it would therefore be better for me to get out of the habit of wishing altogether. As you see, even on this subject I cannot help relapsing into the moral tone of Ecclesiastes, SO THE LESS WE SAY ABOUT IT, THE BETTER IT WILL BE. If, therefore, you intend to put me under an obligation by providing yet another token of your love this Christmas, my bungling and untutored talent in the matter of wishing is unlikely to be of much assistance to you, though I console myself with the thought that you do not in fact require such assistance, á en juger par le passé.†a”

“The many CHRISTMAS drinking-sprees and consequent GENERAL UNFITNESS FOR BUSINESS have rendered me utterly incapable of replying any sooner.”

“Dear Mrs Marx,
I must apologise for leaving your letter†570 unanswered for so long. But the Christmas period is the only time in the whole year when, apart from business, I am made to feel that I stand with one foot in the bourgeoisie, and here in Manchester this entails a lot of eating and drinking and upset stomach, and the obligatory ill humour and waste of time. This is now fairly well over, and I am beginning to breathe freely again.”

leading to a sticky situation where he almost picks a horse over the Marx families livelihood. Luckily the spirit of christmas (communism) win out in the end:

engels to marx: “I shall send you £5 early in February and for the time being you can count on getting this every month. Even if it means my facing the new financial year with a load of debts, c’est égal.†a I only wish you had told me about the business a fortnight earlier. For my Christmas present my old man gave me the money to buy a horse and, as there was a good one going, I bought it last week. If I’d known about this business of yours I would have waited a month or two and saved the cost of its keep. But NEVER MIND, that doesn’t have to be paid for straight away. But I’m exceedingly vexed that I should be keeping a horse here while you and your family are down on your luck in London. It goes without saying, by the way, that you shouldn’t let the promise of £5 a month deter you from approaching me again in case of hardships, for if anything can be done I shall do it. Anyhow, I’ve got to turn over a new leaf; I’ve been leading far too frivolous an existence of late.”



About HR

Deep in the adjunct crackhole.
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