Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, April 26, 1924
Smith has arrived, and I’ve got to leave Paris with him tomorrow night, Sunday, for Geneva, and to go on from Geneva to Budapest on Tuesday. So I shall not see you on your return, which makes me profoundly unhappy. However, there it is, and please don’t think for a moment that I’d have had you not snatch the chance of seeing Lady Johnstone,The American-born Lady Alan Johnstone (née Antoinette “Nettie” Eno Pinchot) (d. 1934) was married in 1892 to Sir Alan Vanden-Bempde-Johnstone (1858–1932), who became British minister to Denmark (1905–1910) and Holland (1910–1917). A friend of Mildred Barnes Bliss, Lady Johnstone organized and managed the American hospital at Ris-Orangis, near Paris, during the First World War. The strain of the work impaired her health and caused a complete breakdown in 1925. See “Lady Johnstone Dies; Widow of Diplomat,” New York Times, June 2, 1934. who I know isn’t at all well. I know in my bones that we shall have many good times together before very long, and perhaps at Antigny, too. Also, wouldn’t it be a good change for you to come and look ‘em over at Budapest?
Smith is exceedingly attractive, I find. He arrived yesterday, and I liked him from the first moment. I’m sure he’ll wear admirably. And with him there hopped onto the platform a bright-eyed little dicky-birdArthur Salter. whose chirp you have heard. We are going to spend the two days at Geneva with him (Salter) and that will be some compensation for his not being able to come with us to Budapest—as the Lord hath need of him in London.
The appointment is now definite and official, and tomorrow will be my last day with the R.C.Reparation Commission. Monday I become Deputy Commissioner General for Hungary. I’m having really heart-rending partings from the people here, who have been most amazingly kind and showed me good will which I should have thought would in the nature of things not come the way of an Establishment-and-Budget-Officer, whose time has been spent chiefly in wielding the pruning-knife and the extirpator.
By the way, I spent my time at Antigny trying to get the chiendent“Crab-grass.” out of the ground in the garden, a task exceedingly like that of him who tries to make reductions of staff.
Much love to Edith.This suggests that Mildred Barnes Bliss was visiting with Edith Wharton, probably at Sainte-Claire du Château in Hyères. Alan and Nettie Johnstone had a home nearby at La Napoule, near Cannes. Hermione Lee, Edith Wharton (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007), 558.