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Elisina Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, September 16, 1928 [2]

Antigny-le-Château
par Arnay-le-Duc
(Côte d’Or)
September 16, 1928Sunday.

Dearest Mildred,

I am so very happy to hear that there is hope of your coming in November,See telegram of September 12, 1928 [1]. and I hasten to send you this advance welcome, most loving and most glad.

I have had a poor summer and spring, dearest Mildred, and all I could do was to sit silent and hug my troubles. This method is not the most sociable, but in the long run I believe it is not a bad one, for the worst of bug-bears loses some of his awfulness when he prend les airs“Takes on airs.” of a domestic pet. My bug-bear was not ‘the worst’, but he was a bad big grizzly. I won’t bother you about him, especially as he seems to be going to sleep.

My long letter to you was tainted with the unreality that all outer things had taken on, and it was so discursive and so empty, that I decided to suppress it. It was, believe me, a waste of time to read it.

Your Bourguignon distinguished himself very thoroughly at BisleyBisley is a village in Surry, England, known for rifle shooting since 1890, when the village became the location for the National Rifle Association Championships in the United Kingdom. by making the ‘highest possible’ score yet made, 7 consecutive bulls at 500 yards on the reduced targets.See also letter of June 26, 1928. He was invited with the team of the Clifton College school,Clifton College, an independent school in Bristol, England, founded in 1862.  who won the Ashburton cupThe Ashburton Cup, the prize in the annual National Public Schools five-hundred-yard rifle shooting competition at Bisley. as a team, to go for a tour to Canada as guests of Sir Charles Wakefield,Charles Cheers Wakefield (1850–1941), the former Lord Mayor of London (1915–1916), was involved in many city institutions and charities and cofounded the Wakefield Trust. and we let him go.See letter of July 30, 1928 [1]. He has just come back, full of enthusiasm for the Western Hemisphere, and with one regret only, that he did not actually set foot on the land of his ancestors, but hung poised on the St. Lawrence. He saw Ottawa, and surpassed his own Bisley score there—by making 8 consecutive bulls at 500 yards. But he says the visibility is greater in Canada, and the atmospheric conditions were much more favourable.

Hayford Peirce and Royall are working hard on their new book, which is going to appear in French.L’art byzantin. Hayford Peirce lost his mother last year, and, his father being 80 years old, he has to spend a certain time in the States.Hayford Peirce’s father, Mellen Chamberlain Peirce (1847–1936), was born in Bangor, Maine, and lived there almost all of his life. Early in his life, he was in the wholesale hardware and grocery business. In 1882, he married Anna Hayford (1856–1928), the daughter of William B. and Laura Hayford. After Hayford’s death in 1887, he managed the timberlands and business property of the Hayford estate. He was also a director and officer of the Dirigo Ice Company of Bangor. Mellen and Anna Peirce had three children: Ada Peirce McCormick (1888–1974), a social activist and philanthropist; Hayford; and Waldo Peirce (1884–1970), a painter. But every day in Europe is devoted to the common work, and I believe they will be able to pull it off just the same—in spite of the inevitable interruptions. It is really splendid to see them ranging over the whole field with such sureness of eye, so much patient discrimination, and such a safe foundation of really vast historical knowledge. We went to Nancy a fortnight ago to examine the Xth century textile in the Museum there.Possibly an eighth-century Islamic silk in the Musée Historique de Lorraine, Nancy, believed to have been used to wrap the relics of Saint Amon when they were transported to France in 820. Said to come from Zandana near Bukhara, the textile’s design consists of repeated medallions with confronting lions flanking a palm tree. It was very well photographed, in detail, and we found the Curator of the Museum very obliging and appreciative. There are also some very interesting vesselsSt. Gauzlin (d. 962), bishop of Toul. His chalice and paten are in the treasury of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Nancy. Gold, enamel, gemstones, pearls, 14.2 cm high (chalice) and 15.0 cm diameter (paten). in the treasure of the Cathedral. All these objects are traditionally said to come from the sarcophagus of St. Gauzlin and were kept in a monastery founded by him,Bouxières-aux-Dames, founded by Bishop Gauzlin in 936 in the department Meurthe-et-Moselle in Lorraine. till the Revolution. They were then removed for safe keeping, and the whole was examined and scattered by an enlightened bishop of Nancy in 1850 or so.

Nancy is a lovely place, is it not? I love the atmosphere of those smiling monuments. Langres too is very fine, and the splendid Romanesque Cathedral is very like what St. Benigne of Dijon must have been once. What a country France is!

We have had the most sunny splendid summer, warm and dry. The gardens have suffered everywhere. The cold spring and the drought have murdered all the fruit, but the grapes are gorgeous and the wine will be a record vintage for quality. Georges de VogueCount Georges de Vogüé (1898–1987) took over the vineyard from his father, Count Arthurde Vogüé, in 1925, changing the name of the domain from Comte Arthur to Comte Georges. is looking after his himself, and this good beginning puts heart into him. He has restored his splendid ChâteauneufThe Château de Châteauneuf, a fifteenth-century chateau in the commune of Châteauneuf, near Dijon. In 1936, Count Georges de Vogüé donated it to the state and it was declared a protected historic monument. and is going to live there. He was good enough to say that our example at Antigny had inspired him with the desire to do so. He is a remarkable person. Do you remember our first visit together to CommarinThe Château de Commarin, a chateau in the Côte-d’Or area of Burgundy with architecture dating from the fourteenth through eighteenth century. The chateau has been continuously owned by the de Vogüé family. 12 years ago, dearest Mildred, when you came to Burgundy to give me courage,At the time of the death of Gerard Grant Richards, Elisina Tyler’s son. See letters of September 18, 1916, and September 20, 1916. and made life seem possible again, by your dear presence and your irradiating goodness? This month in the year is more specially your month for me,—and we keep little vigils together—though you may not know it! One for me, and one for you—bless you.

There is a great piece of news—Dear PeterRoyall Tyler was called Peter by his friends. The Blisses, however, seem never to have addressed him by this name. will shorten his term at Budapest by a few months—and has been asked to be Hambro (of London) representative on the Continent, with headquarters in Paris.Hambros Bank, a British bank based in London. The Hambros Bank specialized in Anglo-Scandinavian business, with expertise in trade finance and investment banking, and was the sole banker to the Scandinavian kingdoms for many years. The bank was sold in 1998. His task will be to travel to various European countries, and report to the firm on the general conditions—financial economic and political, of the countries in which Hambro have great interests, or expect to acquire them. This sets a term to his long exile.

We have had Jeremiah Smith to stay here with us. He was more delightful than I could have believed he could be. Everything pleased and interested him. He was quite boyish and happy, and said his few days here had done him a world of good. There is a man whose European experiences have broadened and deepened, and who has become more conscious of his own great power and resources, by contact with the accumulated forces of centuries. He is so sensitive and so responsive, under his New England granite!

Gioia was here this Spring for three weeks. I shall go late in October to England for a week or ten days to see Charlie and Geoffrey.Charles Geoffrey Grant Richards (1902–1959) and Geoffrey Herbert Grant Richards (1906–1983), Elisina Tyler’s sons. And I shall be back when you come, dearest Mildred. It is a great thing to look forward to! Is Robert coming too? I hope so much that we shall all four be together then.

Edith’s new book has just come out in volume form.Edith Wharton, The Children (New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1928). It is one of the best things she has done, and I am so proud of her for finding renewed vigour in spite of the bitter trial she endured last year.The death of Walter Berry. See letter of November 20, 1927. No news of the Gays, but they came back from America very well and bien dispos.“Well disposed.”

Royall saw Mrs. Truxton BealeMrs. Truxton Beale (née Marie Chase Oge, 1880–1956), the wife of the diplomat Truxton Beale and a Washington, D.C., hostess, socialite, and philanthropist who was renowned for her historic home, Decatur House, on Lafayette Square and for the annual dinner she gave for the diplomatic corps. in Geneva, and heard from her that you had had a most unpleasant accident when your combs caught fire. Dearest Mildred! What a horrid shock, and what a dreadful threat to your lovely hair! I am so very sorry to hear it happened, and I hope it was worse in its possibilities than in actual happening.

Bill and I go to Paris on the 19th and stay till he goes to Harrow on the 24th.

Thank you again, and with most heartfelt gratitude for having helped me as you did.See letter of July 31, 1928. The Hambro thing had been in the air some time, and it was in view of this especially that I decided to ask your help instead of letting bankers into the knowledge of the position. Everything has been arranged in the best way possible thanks to you and Robert.

And now dearest Mildred my very best love to you both, and, joyfully, au revoir—Bless you ever—

Yours devotedly.

Elisina.

 
Associated Things: L'art byzantin