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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, December 28, 1929

29, Rue d’Astorg

I’ve had to have recourse to the typist, dearest Mildred, but I won’t forego the pleasure of scribbling to you, as of old.

What a year! Last Winter and Spring, Edith’s illness.See letters of March 27, 1929; March 29, 1929 [1]; and April 19, 1929. Then, this summer and autumn, the alerte about Bill.See letters of August 11, 1929; August 13, 1929; September 18, 1929; and September 28, 1929. And now that the strain of anxiety is relieved on that score, Elisina has been ill with neuritis (turning to herpes, le zona“Shingles.”) for the last month, and it appears she can’t hope to be done with it for another couple of months. It is exceedingly painful, and she’s very brave and patient with it all. It’s the result of nervous exhaustion. Not dangerous in any way, but it hurts.

Our news of Bill are excellent.For William Royall Tyler’s trip to Austria following his illness, see letters of September 18, 1929; October 12, 1929; October 23, 1929; February 10, 1930; and March 6, 1930. He is being followed by Delug,Dr. Hugo Delug had been the personal physican of the emperor Charles of Austria and went to treat his pneumonia shortly before the death of the exiled ruler in 1922. See “Ex-Emperor Charles Reported Worse; Suffering from Double Pneumonia—Vienna Friends Send his Physician,” New York Times, March 31, 1922. of Vienna, who has a great name and does appear to be very good—and Delug agrees with everything SmolizanskiDr. Léon Smolizanski (1882–1944), author of L'albumine dans les crachats des tuberculeux (Paris: Jouve, 1911). said and did here. Bill has been free of infection and fever for 3 months now—but one knows that this is the most dangerous time, when he may be tempted to behave as if he were quite normal again.

It is a great comfort to have him with such very nice people as the

Herr Rittmeister v. Piette du Rivage
, Postamt II

and his wife. They live in a big, comfortable house in the hills (400 metres up) about 20 k. from Vienna in the direction of Linz. Forests at hand, and delightful walks in all directions.

The only other person in the house, is a young fiddler, son of an old comrad-in-arms [sic] of the Rittmeister,“Captain.” and the brightest star in the Vienna Conservatory. Bill adores music, and thus gets lots of it, and very good. He likes the fiddler, who can speak nothing but German, so he is getting on fast.

We didn’t bring him back for Xmas, on account of the long journey which isn’t particularly good for him. The Archduchess Henriette and her husband (Gottfried Hohenlohe)Gottfried Maximilian Maria, Prinz von Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schilingsfürst (1867–1932), was married to the Archduchess Marie Henriette Habsburg-Lothringen of Austria (1883–1956). kindly had him for several days over Christmas at Mariazell. They have several children more or less of his age, and Bill enjoyed it very much. It gave his facial muscles some relief from the strain of speaking German.

Our plans are to keep him there for several months more. Perhaps he may go up to Oxford just to take an exam. in June, and go into residence in Oct. He has already passed all he has to pass to go into residence; this further exam, would enable him to start reading for his final schools as soon as he goes up.

I had nearly forgotten to tell you about the table.Although the Blisses acquired this table, it is no longer in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and it has not been identified. In various letters, the table is described as Spanish, made of walnut with a single board top, and measuring approximately 350 cm x 90 cm. The dealer was Boutreux on the Île de la Cité, Paris. See letters of May 19, 1929; December 14, 1929; December 15, 1929 [1]; December 15, 1929 [2]; and May 16, 1930. I lied when I said it was 4 metres. It’s only 3 1/2, but it is very fine, sober but soigné, about the style of the Escorial.The Spanish royal monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial (1563–1584) outside of Madrid was begun by Juan Bautista de Toledo (ca. 1515–1567) and was completed after his death in 1567 by Juan de Herrera (ca. 1530–1597). The resulting “Herreran” Renaissance style, which was to prevail in Spain for half a century, often is characterized as austere, cold, and academic. The top is of one single piece of walnut. There were 2 chairs with it, but not good, and I only took the table, which after bargaining I got for Frs. 12,000. It is very cheap, and I was sorely tempted to buy it myself for Antigny. Mlle. MalyeThérèse Malye (1886–1951), Mildred Barnes Bliss’s social secretary in Paris. is having it sent to Washington.

In your wire, you said you intended going to California about Jan. 10. Does that mean you are coming here afterwards? I’m afraid not. Do let me know your plans. Malye has no address for you in California, so I’m sending this to B. A.Buenos Aires.

With much love, dearest Mildred.

R. T.

P. S. I’m afraid poor Vignier is in a bad way. He told me that the man who married his daughter 18 months ago turned out to be a regular crook, morphinomane etc., and the adventure has cost Vignier heavily. His daughter has separated from the crook, whom Vignier is trying to get put in prison.