COMMUNISTS: Dr. Crankley's Children

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But Dr. Crankley was unhappy even as a father. Of his seven children, one was born dead, four others died before him. When Marx's daughter Franziska died of bronchitis, there was no money to buy a coffin. "Her little lifeless body rested in the small back room," related Jenny Marx. "We all moved together into the front room and when night came we made up beds on the floor." (A fellow refugee finally lent the Marxes £2 for the coffin.)

The Ordeal of a Communist. Marx's life was veined by the ordeal of his own poverty. With the egotism of genius, he refused to be turned "into a [bourgeois] money-making machine." He never had a regular job, and only once tried to get one; a railroad company turned him down as a clerk because of his bad handwriting. Once he reported to Engels: "I can no longer leave the house, because my clothes are in pawn." Another time he was arrested on suspicion of theft when he tried to pawn his wife's family silver (it bore the crest of the Dukes of Argyll, from whom she was descended through her paternal grandmother). Guiltily, he wrote to Engels: "My wife cried all night and that infuriates me."

The Prussian government, which kept a close watch on him in London, received the following report, probably unique in the literature of espionage, on Marx's apartment at 28 Dean Street, Soho:

"In the middle of the living room there is a big table covered with oilcloth. On it are piled his manuscripts, books and papers; the children's toys; his wife's sewing, chipped teacups; dirty spoons, knives and forks; lamps, an inkwell, glasses, clay pipes, tobacco ash; in a word, it is the most indescribable muddle. . . . One's eyes are so blinded by coal and tobacco smoke that it is like walking around in a cave until one becomes accustomed to it and objects begin to loom up through the fog. . . . Sitting down is a dangerous business. One of the chairs has only three legs; and the children are playing at cooking on another one which happens to be whole, and which they offer to the guest; so if you sit down it is at the risk of ruining your trousers."

The End & the Beginning. His book, Das Kapital, was a disappointment to Marx. When it finally appeared (after some 18 years of work), Engels was pressed into service to write reviews, both pro & con, in a vain attempt to attract some attention to it. Marx said: "Das Kapital will not bring in enough money to pay for the cigars I smoked while I wrote it." Marx's contemporaries scarcely knew that he was alive, much less what he stood for. He did acquire a brief notoriety during the Paris Commune of 1871, which was regarded as his handiwork. Said he: "Newspaper men and all kinds of people dog my steps for a glimpse of 'The Monster.' It does one's heart good."

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