Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes, July 11, 1903
It is a very long time since I have heard from you. I know you are very busy, but I hope you will write to me soon. A good many things have happened since I last heard from you, first and foremost, my little brother. I am glad really, and I am sure that when he begins to show signs of intelligence he will be fascinating to live with. He simply must be intelligent. I shall never get over it if he isn’t. I don’t know about babies and so can’t appreciate him yet.
I passed the Law preliminary some two weeks ago, but then my Roman Law was weak—I hated the subject so. I tried to pass that Divinity examination, but had not done any work for it, and failed. It does not make any difference in my reading or lectures. It is a medieval survival. One of the questions was, "What do we know of the ministry of angels and of the state after death?" And one is expected to get such stuff up from lectures on the subject. I do not see how I am ever to pass the thing.
I wish you could come to Dinard, it is so pretty and would be ideal with nice people. They are mostly "young people: and horribly gay. I brought a boy over from England with me. He is simply honest, nothing else and I am very fond of him and find him restful. We heard the other day that Julia Macnaughten [sic]Julia M. M. Macnaghten Donner (b. 1882). is engaged—to a man called Donner of Austrian origin and reputed very rich. I hardly know him, but he seems all right. I stayed in London for two weeks before coming over, and enjoyed it very much. The place is fascinating. They are making a great to do about Loubet. Émile François Loubet (1838–1929), the president of France from 1899 to 1906. He was the first French president to be hosted by the English royal court; his arrival in England on July 6, 1903, brought a “public testimony of friendship” and was a prelude to the signing of the Entente Cordiale in 1904. The Editor of the St. James said to me "What do they want him for anyway? I think they ought to have only white men in England." But they were really very enthusiastic about him in the streets—hideous decorations of course. On my last journey from Biarritz I was taken for a Frenchman by a Belgian commercial traveller with whom I had a conversation. This put me in a good temper for weeks. Before I left England I went to Harrow and dined with my tutor. Probably J. C. Moss. See Autobiography, 2:2. He was pleased to see me, and I had such a nice time. He told me a delightful story about Disraeli.Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield (1804–1881), a British prime minister, parliamentarian, Conservative statesman, and literary figure. He had been speaking at a meeting, and gave the audience leave to ask questions. A man got up and asked him what platform he stood on. Disraeli said “I stand on my head.” This anecdote is also recounted in William Flavelle Monypenny, The Life of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, vol. 1, 1804–1837 (London: J. Murray, 1910), 224. While in London I heard a bit of most interesting Foreign Office gossip, which is too long to write. I wish I could see you and tell it.