Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, July 18, 1924
Commissioner General of the League of Nations
I was delighted to get your letter,The whereabouts of this letter are not known. dearest Mildred, and greatly interested by the postcardThe whereabouts of this postcard are not known. and what you say of Wisby [sic].Visby, Sweden, a medieval walled town on the island of Gotland.
I’m having a very busy time here—the weeks have shot past since I arrived on May 1st and it seems to me now that hardly anything has been accomplished—but, that’s an exaggeration, for the loanIn February 1924, the Hungarian Bethlen government secured a $50 million reconstruction loan from the League of Nations to restore the confidence of foreign creditors. “Agree on Loan for Hungary; Reparations Commission Takes Final Action and League Will Move to Float It. Under the Plan Hungary Will Pay 10,000,000 Kronen Yearly for Twenty Years,” New York Times, February 22, 1924. The loan protocol was signed on May 14, 1924. See also Alzada Comstock, “The Technique of Reconstruction as Applied to Hungary,” Political Science Quarterly 40, no. 2 (June 1925): 201–16. has been successfully floated and very considerable progress has been made with the Reconstruction programme. The exchange is stable and everything is really shaping well. But this language, which I am trying to learn! I translate, literally, and in the Hung. order a passage taken at hazard from a newspaper:
“wherefrom comes presently the to-be-obtained two months
“within market-on placing 7,000,000 metric hundred weight
“corn financing-for necessary 2000 milliards?”
I can read a paper with great labour and a dictionary, and I vastly enjoy making the profound cavernous noises, but shall I ever get to be able to twist my mind into thinking in sentences like the above? It is fun—so vastly different from any other European language, and the sound of the words is intoxicating. The place names are superb. The Prime Minister’s constituency is called Hódmezövásáhély (the market place in the fields of the Moon), and there’s another place, on the whole my favourite, called Sátorajaujbély “the new place under the tents” where Arpad and his Magyars first camped after entering HungaryÁrpád (ca. 845–ca. 907) was the second , the ancient nomadic people who settled in Hungary. Under his rule, the people took refuge in the in 895–896 after their defeat in the Bulgaro-Byzantine War of 894–896. The ruled the later kingdom of Hungary until 1301.—what is so wonderful is that the tents are eternal and immutable and the castle comes and goes—very typical of the Hungarian’s reasoning. I could talk to you for hours about them, and I’d illustrate my remarks with noises that would impress you.
I like J. S. immensely and my only complaint is that there’s so much to learn and do and time is so short. Elisina has gone back to Antigny to welcome Bill—Budapest is no place for a boy in the summer, and Antigny is heavenly. She’ll come out again at the end of September. I hope to get a few days at Antigny, fitting them in with Geneva. The June meeting of the CouncilThe League of Nations Council was the executive body that directed the assembly’s business. It began with four permanent members (Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan) and four non-permanent members that were elected by the assembly for a three-year term. was rather fun. Salter is going to America this month to lecture at Williamstown.The Williamstown Institute of Politics, founded in 1921 at Williams College. As part of a roundtable on the “Experts’ Plan for Germany’s Restoration,” that began on August 1, 1924, at the institute, Arthur Salter spoke on “The Economic Recovery of Europe” and “Economic Conflicts as Causes of War.” See “Sir Arthur Salter Here for Institute; English Financial Expert to Speak at Williamstown—Lauds Dawes Report,” New York Times, July 30, 1924; “Education: At Williamstown,” Time, July 28, 1924; and “Education: Frothy Utterances,” Time, August 25, 1924. Salter’s lectures were published in Valentine Chirol, Yūsuke Tsurumi, and Arthur Salter, The Reawakening of the Orient and Other Addresses (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1925). He’ll be back in Aug. Bill has passed an excellent exam, into Harrow, 7th out of 79 competitors, and has been placed very high up the school, at a point it took me nearly two years to reach. He is captain of the cricket and football elevens at his private school. Do you ever see the Hung. Minister at Stockholm, Baron Bornemisza?Gyula Baron de Bornemisza de Kászon et Impérfalva (1873–1925), Hungarian minister to Sweden (1921–1923). His sisterBaron de Bornemisza’s sister, Mária, died in 1888, and Tyler may be speaking of his sister-in-law, Éva (1878–1961). See Catherine Horel, “L’aristocratie en Hongrie entre les deux guerres: Une apparente continuité,” Vingtième siècle: Revue d’histoire 99 (2008): 98. instructs me in the Magyar tongue, and is the greatest fun. I haven’t seen BarclayColville Barclay (1869–1929), British minister to Sweden (1919–1924) and Hungary (1924–1928). yet—the British are moving into a new Legation,The legation was located in Várhegy (Castlehill) on Táncsics Mihály utca. and all topsy-turvy; and I go out as little as possible.
Much love to you and Robert.