Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes, February 18, 1904
Your two letters were as welcome to me as anything could be, and the thought of your coming over this summer is really delightful.Mildred Barnes traveled to Europe in August 1904 and visited her stepbrother, Robert Woods Bliss, in Venice from September to November, returning to America from Naples via the Azores Islands in November 1904. As to my stepfather, please don’t try to break down his barrier. You know how sensitive he is—and I think I have come to know him well in the last month. If he feels like it, he will let down his barrier of his own accord but I know from experience that he likes to keep it up almost always. In the two weeks at Biarritz after my Mother’s death, he and I lived in what was for me perfect companionship. I can’t tell you how fond I am of him, nor could I tell you why. I don’t think he has lost his equilibrium for an instant—he has a fund of wisdom to draw upon which astounded me.
You are very anxious that I should go to America, but how can you suggest that I should go in the month of May, and in the same breath tell me that you are going to spend June in London? I am very anxious to see you, and there are many explanations I should like to give you for my reasons for not going to America. I don’t think I can leave Spain before June 1st for I want to see the country when it is so hot that none but the native Spaniard can bear it. I have never had a more interesting experience than this, but I must leave the descriptions till we meet. It does me a great deal of good to think that within a measurable period of time we may be able to go over the past two years.
About Oxford, See also letters of November 8, 1903; January 5, 1904; and January 26, 1904. I never thought it was pure gold, and the mistake I made was with myself, not with Oxford. Now that I’m safely away, I’m glad I went there, and don’t think it was a waste of time.
Please thank your Mother warmly for her kindness, and tell her that I will surely avail myself of such an opportunity. The opportunity referred to is unknown. I intend to go to Germany in the autumn or late summer. But such thoughts of Italy are awakened in my heart by your appartment [sic] in Venice that, within the last half hour, I have laid the foundation of a plan to visit some friends at Vienna and descend upon Venice.Robert Woods Bliss served as a U.S. consul in Venice in 1903–1904. Mildred Barnes visited Venice in September–November 1904.
I am studying philology, and just think of it—Arabic! The Rector of the University is a perfectly delightful person. I have so many things of his to retail to you. He is a Basque, young—40 or so, knows English, French, German, Italian and the classic languages intimately, but can’t speak anything but Basque and Castillian [sic]. He has translated several English books into Spanish and is a great admirer of William James.William James (1842–1910), an American psychologist and philosopher who was trained as a medical doctor. See Héctor José Huyke, “Pragmatism and Faith in William James and Miguel de Unamuno” (PhD diss., Columbia University, 1987). I have seen a great deal of him, and he has made me a present of all his works, one novel ridiculing the modern Scientific Spirit. Possibly Miguel de Unamuno, O Mildred, I shall never be satisfied until you learn Spanish.
I am anticipating pleasure from the book, The title of this book is unknown. please send it to—Brown Shipley, 123 Pell Mell.
Please forgive this unsightly sheet. I have finished my English paper.