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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes, July 5, 1904

Burlington Hotel.Burlington Hotel, located at 30 Old Burlington Street in Westminster, London. W.

July 5th

Dear Mildred.

I have just got your letter. I only stayed three days at Paris, as I thought I had better accompany my brother to London. I was rather cross about it, as there was everything to see and do. Sales at the Hôtel Drouot,Hôtel Drouot, a large auction house established in Paris in 1852. See Paul Guillaumin, Drouot, hier et aujourd'hui (Paris: Editions de l’Amateur, 1986). the Exposition des Primitifs Français, and people. My present plan is to sail from Liverpool about August 1st (not later). That would get me to New York by the end of the first week in August, and I will come direct to Sharon. I don’t think I can stay long in America, and so may possibly get to Venice and see you there. I do hope I shall be able to tell you some of the many things you seem to want to know—anyway I shall enjoy trying. Please excuse this paper’s being dirty—it’s the cleanest I can find.

Thank you so much for the letters. I will present the London one as soon as I can. And I have heard a good deal about Mrs. Legett [sic]. She has the reputation of being the most unconsciously amusing woman in London.

I am doing a good deal here, lunches, dinners, ect [sicso far as mourning allows. I don’t enjoy it as much as the same sort of thing in France. About going to the Netherlands, I met a few days ago a Baronne de Witte, who has a beautiful private gallery in Belgium, This collection had been assembled by the classical archaeologist and scholar Jean Baron de Witte (1808–1898). He gave part of his collection to the Department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities at the Musée du Louvre, Paris, in 1893. and very kindly offered to get me permission to see many private galleries. She is a descendant of Rubens.Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), a Flemish painter. I should like to go, but the eternal question of money comes in. London is hideously expensive, and I won’t sell anything. But if I can go, I shall, for I imagine your letter would be a great help to me in Holland. Tomorrow I am going into the country to stay a day or two with a friend of mine, whose handwriting you disliked extremely. I am very fond of him still. He went to the Balkans this winter and fraternized with the blackguard prince of Bulgaria.Ferdinand I of Bulgaria (1861–1948), born Ferdinand Maximilian Karl Leopold Maria of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry, the ruler of Bulgaria from 1887 to 1918, first as prince regnant (1887–1908) and later as tsar (1908–1918). Yesterday I went with a letter of introduction to a high official at the Foreign Office, Probably Sir Eric Drummond, 16th Earl of Perth (1876–1951), whom Royall Tyler described in his Autobiography (2:17) as “an Etonian, [who] told me plainly that the Foreign Office preferred young men as true as possible to the John Bull type, adding that he detected a trace of Yankee twang in my speech.” See James Barros, Office without Power: Secretary-General Sir Eric Drummond, 1919–1933 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979). Drummond began his Foreign Office career in 1900. who questioned me, and learning that I was not a British subject, advised me to get naturalized quickly, and say nothing about it. They really don’t care as long as the man has been properly bred and educated.

I am delighted that you are pleased with my Spanish priestJuan José de Lecanda.. If you will learn Spanish and come to Spain you shall certainly see him. But I should really love to try to teach you the language. It would be a good way of finding out how much I know myself. Spaniards won’t tell me — they insist that I speak like a Madrileño, which is absurd—and it is always a pleasure to teach a thing that interests one—to say nothing of being able to teach you something—when two years ago the process was reversed. This is probably a reference to the Anniversary.

I wish you could see my picture. See letter of June 14, 1904. I am devoted to it, all the more so that there are very few people who really care a scrap for an old picture—unless they are taken by the scruff of the neck by Grant Allen, Grant Allen (Charles Grant Blairfindie Allen) (1848–1899), a Canadian science writer, author, and novelist who traveled frequently and wrote a number of historical guidebooks. or some such creature, and made to admire them in a gallery. I find that almost all my friends whom I rank as persons are frank enough to confess they don’t care about them. There is a splendid Seargent—I have forgotten how to spell his name—in the Academy, Royal Academy of Arts, London. of Mrs. Wertheimer. John Singer Sargent, Mrs. Wertheimer, 1904, Tate Collection, London, no. 3706. This painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in 1904. Two other women by the same man I don’t care so much for. The reference is unclear, as no other portraits of women by John Singer Sargent were exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in 1904. See Royal Academy Pictures 1904 (London, Paris, and New York, 1904). I am expecting the Rector of the Irish College at Salamanca to arrive in London soon, in which case I shall entertain him regally. I don’t know how he’d strike you. He told me to go to a church in Madrid which was “covered with Murillos and Velazquez.” I went and found the most appalling dauby sacred pictures by nobody in particular.

Yrs. sincerely

Royall Tyler

If the plans go smoothly, I will write to you just before sailing and tell you the exact date of my arrival.

 

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