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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, March 9, 1941

At sea 9.III.41

I had your air-letter on reaching this boat, dearest Mildred. Your wire had to some extent prepared me for the news about RobertRobert Woods Bliss had a gall bladder infection and would undergo an operation in Santa Barbara, California, on August 2, 1941. See “Robert W. Bliss in Hospital,” New York Times (August 2, 1941).—but it rent me to read, all the same. On reflexion, I derive some comfort from the thought that, though it is emergency, it isn’t emergency of the menacing, immediate sort that I’ve sometimes found myself fearing for him, when I’ve seen how fatigue suddenly overcame him. You’ve time to plan, thank God. I hope for good news of how things go. Give him my fondest love, please, and tell him he is constantly in my thoughts.

As for my plans and Elisina’s, they will have to be made up ambulando.“On the fly.” One has ideas as to what to do in each of the eventualities you mention. But, as it is utterly impossible to foresee all the attendant circumstances, I think it would be a mistake to attempt to work out details in advance. Elisina’s new préfetCharles Donati (b. 1891), the regional prefect of the Dijon region, and Robert Grimaud, the delegate prefect of the Côte-d’Or between 1941 and 1943. is very friendly and helpful—one couldn’t ask for more: only time, of course, can bring the comfortable feeling one has with the other one,Charles Chevreux (1883–1951), prefect of the Côte-d’Or between 1938 and 1940. who, happily, is now again in active service, Prèfet of the Puy-de-Dôme, who being so near Vichy is very convenient. I hope to see him on my way through, and of course to see her. His daughter (!!)Claude Chevreux (1920–2008) married August Heckscher (1914–1997) on March 19, 1941, in New York City. is being married, in N. Y., on the 19th inst. You can imagine the feelings in that most correct French family, the child wedding a foreigner whom none of them have ever set eyes on! I do hope it will go well. I think I shall be able to get news of Truelle,Jacques Truelle (1880–1946), a French diplomat who had been counselor of the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., returned to France in early 1941. He left France on February 26, 1941, to become the French Vichy government’s ambassador to Romania, a post he assumed on March 4, 1941. In June 1943, he joined the resistance movement of General Charles de Gaulle. See Adriana Bichiş, “De Vichy à la Résistance: Le Cas du Diplomate Jacques Truelle,” Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai—Studia Europaea (March 2012), 189–208. and I trust it will be reassuring.

Today brings the good news of the voting of the lend-lease billThe Lend-Lease Bill, a program signed into law on March 11, 1941, whereby the United States supplied Great Britain, the Soviet Union, China, Free France, and other allied nations with military equipment and other supplies between 1941 and August 1945. by 60 to 31. As to the war, my mind on the subject is just about what it was when we last talked. I’m not at all hopeless about USA. I believe our help will be greater than we have often, in sombre moments, thought it ever could be. I’m not at all anxious about GibGibraltar had been a British military fortress since the early eighteenth century and had served as a vital factor in Britain’s military strategy to control virtually all naval traffic into and out of the Mediterranean from the Atlantic Ocean. or Suez.The Suez Canal connected the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, allowing water passage between Europe and Asia without having to go around Africa. I still doubt whether Germany means to throw her weight into an attack on TurkeyGermany and Turkey signed a nonaggression pact on June 18, 1941.—or even on Greece.Italy and Germany invaded Greece in April 1941. Germany occupied the mainland until October 1944 and the islands until May-June 1945. My guess is that Germany will concentrate on preparing for a direct attack on the British Isles,Nazi Germany’s plan to invade Great Britain (“Operation Sea Lion”) depended on air and naval supremacy over the English Channel, neither of which the Germans achieved during or after the 1940 Battle of Britain. Operation Sea Lion was postponed indefinitely on September 17, 1940, and never carried out. and I don’t believe her chances are as good now as they were last year. And, if she doesn’t pull it off this season, 1941, I believe she’s doomed.

We had foul weather between N.Y. and Bermuda, and were detained there for 36 hours, which put me in a temper. But then the weather changed, and now we have a succession of lovely days, and I’m greatly enjoying the solitude, the air, the rest, getting all smoothed out after the inferno of N.Y. Glad I didn’t attempt the Clipper.The Pan American Airways Flying Clippers began regular transatlantic passenger airplane service in June 1939. I think I told you in my last how delighted, in every way, I was with BetbillThe Bliss abbreviation for Bettine Tyler and William Royall Tyler. and their looks. I’ve not seen Bill looking so strong for many years. I beg for news. Hotel Richemond, Geneva, sauf avis contraire,“Unless otherwise.” is the best address for me. Bless you always, beloved Mildred.

Yrs

R. T.

I think an air-letter I sent you fr. N.Y. before sailing gave an account of upshot of my labours there. I’m pleased.

P.S. I’ve not had a chance to read Morey’sCharles Rufus Morey, “The Early Christian Ivories of the Eastern Empire,” Dumbarton Oaks Inaugural Lectures, November 2nd and 3rd, 1940 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1941), 41, 43–55, and 57–60. or Grégoire’sHenri Grégoire (1881–1964), “On the Eve of the Crucades: The Chanson de Roland and Byzantium,” (unpublished lecture, Dumbarton Oaks, March 7, 1941). D.O. papers. But, on this trip over, I’ve read Doro’s on the D.O. Kore.A typescript of Doro Levi’s paper, “The Bliss Kore,” is retained in the Byzantine Collection correspondence file for Doro Levi. The paper was not published. It is a splendid piece of research—I doubt if there’s another classical archaeologist working today who would be capable of such a feat, and knowing all the material.

 
Associated People: Doro Levi