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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, February 10, 1930

29, rue d’Astorg
Paris
F Anjou 16–88
10.II.30Monday.

Dearest Mildred,

I was delighted to get your letterSee letter of January 6, 1930. and to hear that you were on your way to these parts.The Blisses traveled to the United States in January 1930 due to the illness of William H. Bliss, Robert Woods Bliss’s father. At that time, Anna Barnes Bliss was traveling around the world, visiting, among other countries, India and Japan. On February 20, 1930, the Blisses’ Parisian secretary, Thérèse Malye, wrote that she expected the Blisses in Paris on April 15. Thérèse Malye to Marta Stenfeld, February 20, 1930, Blissiana files, Malye correspondence. Your dear words about Bill warm me—I always knew you would have him in mind. He’s doing excellently now, as shall appear later in this letter.

I’ve wired today advising you not to buy the two Gothic tapestries without seeing them.See letters of January 26, 1930, and February 11, 1930. They are very fine, and, at 2 million francs for the two, decidedly cheap, but I’m not sure you’ll like them, and on the whole I’d rather expose you to the risk of losing them between now and April than urge you to buy tapestries depicting, as these do, the terrible effects of greediness. Lovely and beautifully dressed ladies and elegant gentlemen, labelled ‘Friandise’ ‘Gourmandise’ etc, being murderously set upon by hideous shapes named ‘Goutte’ ‘gravelle’ ‘hydropsic’. I take it this is one of the rather macabre half-jokes half-moralities which the XVe century so loved, but it wouldn’t necessarily appeal to our generation, and as you’re coming in April you may care to see for yourselves.

Both pieces are in good condition, the tall one less so than the long, which is remarkably fresh and gay in colour. There are very few restorations, and those are clumsily done, not perfidious.

As for the price, I’ve looked about lately, and I don’t believe you’d be able to buy on the open market anything as good as these for double the price. Their value is enhanced by the fact that they undoubtedly form part of and complete the Nancy series ‘Les Banquets.’ It would perhaps be nicer to live with the initial stages of the banqueters’ life, rather than its terrifying end—but one can’t have everything. Stora has, at this moment, one panel of exactly the same date and style (1500–1510), but much smaller than the smaller one above described above. It represents ‘Astronomy’ and Stora wants 2 million francs for it, and says he can’t take less.

I had a hideous time getting to the place, 180 k. from Paris, where they are. The car died a thousand deaths, caught fire, and finally perished on the way back. We had great luck, however, in that its final demise occurred at Evreux, so we were able to get a train back to Paris—a comfort on a bitter cold day.

We have superb news of Bill. The doctors say his progress einfach verblüffend.“Simply amazing.” He is very happy and gay—at present he’s staying with the Archduchess Henriette at Mariazell,Archduchess Marie Henriette Habsburg-Lothringen of Austria (1883–1956). See also the letter of December 28, 1929. will return to Tullnerbach next week, and we hope to have him here in April to show to you.For William Royall Tyler’s trip to Austria following his illness, see letters of September 18, 1929; October 12, 1929; October 23, 1929; December 28, 1929; and March 6, 1930.

It was great luck having the young fiddler WisataRoman Wisata (b. 1909), a Czech violinist and the student and later assistant of Otakar Ševčík at the Innsbruck Konservatorium. in the same house. Bill has been fairly steeped in first-rate music, and adores it. Wisata gave his first concert in the Grosser Konzertsaal in Vienna a fortnight ago, and had a tremendous reception, being hailed by the whole press of Vienna as the brightest of the rising stars. He’s going to give another big concert in Vienna soon, and then hopes to come to Paris in April. I wish Beveridge WebsterBeveridge Webster (1908–1999), an American pianist and educator. could play with him. Beveridge and DushkinSamuel Dushkin (1891–1976), an American violinist of Polish birth. gave some concerts here lately.In January 1930, Webster and Dushkin gave a series of sonata recitals at the Salle des concerts of the École normale, where they programmed works of Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, and Fauré, among others. Nadia Boulanger introduced the performers and the works. See Léponie Rosenstiel, Nadia Boulanger: A Life in Music (New York: W.W. Norton, 1982), 230. I went to one, and I must say I think Dushkin has sunk into a pretty dull rut. He has a flat, harsh tone, and I’m sorry that Beveridge, who is really good, should be tied to him, as he apparently is.

Much love, dearest Mildred.

R. T.

 
Associated Places: Paris (France)
Associated Things: M. & R. Stora, Paris