Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes, August 19, 1903
Your letter was very welcome, since I had not heard from you since last Easter. I wish I could see you, and hear the witty wise and wicked things. Possibly an allusion to Henri Pène du Bois, Witty, Wise and Wicked Maxims (New York: Brentano’s, 1897). I have some too, but will keep them till we meet. And aren’t you coming over next summer? I am so glad you said what you think about my leaving America. But it is impossible to go over it all in a letter. I have thought about it a great deal, and am decided. I don’t believe in American moral breadth, and I don’t like Americans. Please read de Tocqueville’s Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville (1805–1859), a French political writer and historian. Démocratie en Amérique, Alexis de Tocqueville, De la démocratie en Amérique (Paris: Librairie de C. Gosselin, 1835–1840) is a two-volume study of the democratic system of the United States in the 1830s. When published as part of one of the many editions of the Oeuvres complètes d'Alexis de Tocqueville, the study usually appeared in three volumes. See also letter of May 6, 1903. and you will see what I mean. I can not bear the thought of living under a Republican Government, because a Republican Government tends to destroy individuality, and that once done, I can’t conceive any real joy in life that could survive it. I like Americans who live there better than Americans who live in England or on the Continent, but I would rather die than be a Republican. Please don’t be hard on me for it. I cannot help it—really. And what would I do if my strong leaning that you envy were gone? I know it is very possibly a mistake, in that individuality is doomed anyway. And one had better make the best of it and identify oneself with the country of the future, but I have too much sentimentality, if you will forgive the word, to do it. And I do love England. I can’t forget how intolerant everyone was to me in America and how kind in England. Again please read de Tocqueville. They are three enormous volumes, so if you can’t face them skip the first two, but do read the third. Now please see it in this light. I am convinced, possibly wrong, but nevertheless convinced, and want to go into the English Diplomatic Service. To do this I must be very busy from now on, as I must pass before 25, therefore I can’t afford to dally in any English speaking country. So I can’t come to America possibly, though I should like to. I went to a fortune teller in London before coming abroad and she told me that I was going to be engaged at 22 but it was to be broken off, and that I shall not marry before 29 or 30. See letter of April 3, 1903. In 1904, Mildred Barnes also dabbled in the occult and received the written summary of her horoscope from a certain St. Leon. She clearly took it seriously enough to make a few marginal notations, such as “Mother?” after the statement “likely to meet with much opposition from parents or relatives.” She also marked the following passage: “She will inherit money, by the wills and legacies of the dead, but it will require a great deal of tact and skill to hold on to it.” Bliss Papers, HUGFP 76.8, box 45. I hope not. I shall try to keep out of the 22 engagement. I don’t think it would do me any good. I am so glad that Robert has been appointed Consul at Venice,Robert Woods Bliss joined the Foreign Service in 1903 and served as U.S. consul in Venice in 1903–1904. but I can’t possibly see him in London or Paris, as I shall probably not leave Dinard until the first of October. I am really fond of the baby now, because he smiles sweetly at me whenever we meet. I do hope he will be intelligent.
I have just been reading a most interesting pamphlet written by an R. C. Doctor of Theology on lying [sic]. It caused quite a flutter in the Reviews, and I shall send it to you. I think the Roman Catholics are nearer it than the Protestants. Anyway their theologists do not shirk any questions, but try to bring everyone with the reach of a moderate intelligence, thereby doubtless laying themselves open to the charge of casuistry, while Protestants, though they set up as being able to solve all the ethical problems, deliberately shirk them and take the opportunity of attacking the Catholics when they lay themselves open. I have more sympathy with the Catholics. I remember your telling me about your parson and he must be charming. It is long since I have talked to a nice parson. I did not go to Farm St. Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, a Jesuit church in the Mayfair district of London. See also letters of September 16, 1904, and October 10, 1904. That reminds me, get Samuel Butler’s “Way of all Flesh” Samuel Butler (1835–1902) completed his semi-autobiographical novel, The Way of All Flesh, in 1884 but left it unpublished in order to protect his family. The novel, which attacks Victorian-era hypocrisy and the dissolution of religious values, was published posthumously in —it is the nicest novel I have read by much—for delightful bitter sarcasm he is unexcelled. And he is not cheap. In your last letter but one you told me that you wanted me to call on a friend . Possibly Alberta Sturges Montagu. of yours in London, but omitted to mention her name. I wish you would tell me. I met a perfectly charming girl whose mother was American and married an Englishman by the name of Beresford-Hope. Philip Beresford-Hope married Evelyn Frost in 1893. Evelyn Frost died in 1900, leaving three daughters. Royall Tyler may be referring to Muriel Mildred Elizabeth Hope (d. 1961), who married in 1906. See Richard W. Davis, “’We Are All Americans Now!’ Anglo-American Marriages in the Later Nineteenth Century,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 135, no. 2 (June 1991): 167. She is 19 and is in the think of Izaak, Izaak Walton (March 6, 1904; November 1, 1904; and February 16, 1905. Omar, – ), the English author of the The Compleat Angler. See also letters of Omar al-Khayyám (1048–1142), a Persian astronomer, philosopher, mathematician, and poet. He is best known for the rubaiyaas (quatrains) in his Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, which were popularized by the embellished translations of Edward FitzGerald. Voltaire,François-Marie Arouet (1694–1778), better known by his pen name Voltaire, a French writer, historian, and philosopher. and all the rest of our friends, and all the while doing the London season with the smart set. I would not have believed had I not seen. I am glad you like the Calverley.Charles Stuart Calverley (1831–1884), an English poet. See letter of May 6, 1903. I sent it to you because when I told you about him you thought he would be written out. When are you coming again? I shall be desperate if you don’t next summer. There is a very nice American girl staying with us now—she is a sort of cousin of M? Theresa. M. Theresa has not been identified.