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Elisina Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, June 6, 1915

Paris.

June 6th 1915Sunday.

Dearest Mildred,

I find that “long leave” is to begin at Eton on Saturday the 19th, and lasts till Monday evening. It would I am sure be best if you could give Gerard a choice of either Tuesday 15th or Thursday 17th—or decide yourself definitely in favour of one of those two days, as he is not likely to receive visits from home so soon before his holiday.

I can’t tell you how glad I am to think that you are going down to see him.On this visit, see letters of July 4, 1915; and July 8, 1915. Don’t be shy of him, will you. I shall go to England to see him about the middle of July, just before going away to Burgundy. I am rather pleased because he is 8th out of 30 in Classics and that is not at all bad for a second-half boy.

Royall told me specially to tell you not to say to him when you go that he is “to get something in remembrance of your visit” as Gerard is very consciencious [sic] and he would think it was his duty to buy a locket and wear it all his life!!

I hope someday you will see Gioia and Charlie and Geoffrey too.Gioia Grant Richards Owtram, Charles Geoffrey Grant Richards (1902–1959), and Geoffrey Herbert Grant Richards (1906–1983). For more on the Grant Richards children, see Theodore Dreiser, A Traveler at Forty, edited by Renate von Bardeleben (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004). But I believe Gerard will always be first in my heart, of the boys at least, and perhaps when you see him you’ll understand why.

You should have had an excellent crossing last Thursday, judging by the weather here. I wonder what you will think of England at this hour. The surface seems unruffled by events, but those who have the necessary gifts can see that there are deep currents flowing. Perhaps a fortnight is too short a time to realise this.

We are having another 300 children entrusted to our care.In 1915, Edith Wharton established the Oeuvre des enfants des Flandres (the Children of Flanders Rescue Committee), which operated six large houses, two of which were also lace schools where lacemaking was taught to older girls according to the methods of the École normale of Bruges. In 1915, Edith Wharton made Elisina Tyler vice president and put her in charge of the Children of Flanders Rescue Committee. See Alan Price, The End of the Age of Innocence: Edith Wharton and the First World War (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996), 29–30, 34–36, 48–52, and 101–2; and Edith Wharton, “My Work Among the Women Workers of Paris; Noted American Novelist Tells How Her Ouvroir Gave Support to an Army of Women Left Without Employment by the War,” New York Times, November 28, 1915. For Elisina Tyler's role in this charity, see letters of April 19, 1915; April 27, 1915; May 17, 1915; July 4, 1915; August 21, 1915; August 10, 1916; September 12, 1916; September 30, 1915; and October 6, 1915. I daresay I shall write again soon and ask you to bring us over some lace thread. Will you be an angel and do it if you can? Of course I’ll send you all the necessary information. We hope to see Robert while the cat’s away, even if we don’t go to the play. Bless you. William sends you his best love. He says he would very much like to come to tea with you one day. Royall also sends his best love, and I close my message with my truest love for you.

Yours ever

Elisina.

 

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