Mildred Barnes Bliss to Elisina Grant Richards, September 17, 1910
1376 Calle LibertadCalle Libertad 1376, Buenos Aires, was the town house of Benjamin Williams. The house, now demolished, was built in 1904.
Yr. letterThis letter responds directly to Elisina Grant Richards's letter of August 20, 1910. came this morning and has brought me gladness and content and the certitude that all I had intuitively believed, is true in even greater measure. I took the liberty of sending it to my husband, who is entirely in accord with your and Royall’s purity of motive. With courage and your inner light for guide, you could not in honesty to Life have acted otherwise: this we both feel strongly.
Yes, I do admit the force of yr. explanation of having stuck to yr. post as long as you did. My own temperament might have led me to defiance and open rebellion earlier, but one cannot judge oneself or another beyond the point where sensing is complete and temperamental influences step in.
Please believe me when I tell you I am glad through and through that you and Royall are to have a child. It is more beautiful so, and, in view of Grant-Richards’ un-seeing-ness, it is also better so. I find myself wishing to be near and have speech with you as with a friend—tried and proved. Indeed, I think now that I know where you would stand on any issue in Life. It would be a happiness to me to be in Paris next month and to feel I might share yr. and Royall’s baby; and Robert and I want you both to know that it shall have our united interest and willingness to help (double guardianship) whenever it may need us.Royall Tyler asked Mildred Barnes Bliss to be William Royall Tyler's godmother; see letter of August 26, 1910. She would respond in her letter of September 25, 1910. This is much to offer, but my head and my heart promise the loyal execution of any trust that shall come to me from you and Royall, and with Robert’s steadying insight to help me, I feel justified in making it.
A subjective mind is often a pleasure, but sometimes also a torment and yr. tangle and the straightening of it have set me to wondering upon the inscrutability of Nature. One can’t get back of that. You have the partial responsibility of 4 children and the whole joy of a fifth, and I am still waiting and longing. But Life may crown us yet—one cannot tell. The great hope of every woman must be to bear a son to the man she loves and make a fine being of him, and that thing which you and Royall have wrested from out circumstance and given one another, is the most rare to have and precious to hold on this earth—at least so it seems to me.
Again I wish I could talk with you. It would be a great refreshment in the bustling stagnation and crowded solitude of the intolerably superficial existence our “career” obliges us to lead in this babylonish midst. It takes all our will to keep our lantern trimmed each day and I pray constantly for the strength to hold my inner self intact, until another year shall end this severe schooling. We watch one another with hawk’s eyes to pluck out any signs of incipient deterioration and thus far we are clean.
And now I come to the business portion of yr. letter of which I have thought much.
Of course as far as Grant Richards is concerned, I am, of necessity, going it blind. I can only sense his motives and guess at his future by what you and Royall tell me. Naturally that is incomplete and in any event, it is unfair to gauge him by another’s interpretation. Frankly I don’t “see” him at all clearly, but Robert does, and feels that he is a man almost impossible to help. Apparently his success in the past was due to you,See letter of August 8, 1911. and now that the source of his strength is removed he is unable to stand. If he can’t weather his own storms, there is little another can do for him, so there he stands, alone, and a failure. But should his business also fail the children would be in a measure sacrificed and that would indeed be a heavy price for you and Royall to pay.
Addenda. By the time this reaches you, Grant Richards and his affairs must have either righted themselves or gone to the wall. Robert rather tends to the latter view and I to the former. You will keep us informed of the turn taken by events of such consequence to you as yr. children’s education and ease, won’t you? It is all of concern to us, and if we can ever be of help to you, I hope you will prove the understanding and simplicity of our relationship by telling us in what way, just as we should be willing to test yr. comprehension, by refusing our aid if, in justice to ourselves, we felt unable to give it. The give and take of Life is entirely a matter of reasonableness and honesty. I feel so strongly that material things are meant for exchange, that giving to or receiving from anyone in whose purity of motive I believe, seems to me one of the chief needs of humanity.
P.I. At this juncture money may save the business and them, so money must be found, and after all money is the easiest thing to give for those who have and should be the easiest thing to accept for those who need it. The lawyers, you tell me, declare a thousand pounds or so, adequate for ready investment. If financial easement now will secure your children’s future, will you and Royall draw against Robert on the London and Westminster bank (he is writing them to honour Royall’s cheque) to the extent of £ 1200. as a token of Robert’s and my understanding and respect?. It would hurt us more to withhold than it can tax you to accept and it will be serving a better end in yr. hands than in ours. Once yrs., neither you or Royall, Robert or I, or Grant Richards need think further of it, beyond recognizing that each has been helped by exercising his sense of proportion in promoting the use of money as a means to right living, its only proper sphere in this world, as I see it. We should of course understand it, should you think it would be either ineffectual or unwise: there must be many minor issues we can’t see.
Believe me, dear Elisina
Yrs. very really
Should either of you ever need to cable us the address is merely Milrob, Baires—the latter being the telegraphic abbreviation for Buenos Aires.