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Elisina Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, March 2, 1916

March 2nd 1916Thursday.

Mildred dearest,

I said Goodbye to Gerard just over two hours ago, and in these troublous times, with the journey across the Narrow Seas before me, I want to write to you.

In the first place, I had a harrowing time last December, just as I was coming to London to see Gerard. He was knocked over and down a staircase playing passage-football, and he had a very narrow escape of getting his back broken. The doctor was frightened, and as soon as he could, had him sent home. He only sprained and bruised the muscles badly, but I had 36 hours of hellish anxiety, and had to give up seeing him for another two months.

Then, dearest Mildred, what I had foreseen seemed to happen. His father had made up his mind to take him away from Eton. I wrote to Wainwright, and told him what you and I had decided.Mildred Barnes Bliss had offered to help pay Gerard's tuition at Eton in the event that his father removed him for financial reasons. The discussion was long, and lasted, in fact, from December 3rd over Christmas and New Year, till it came to the point where it had to be “yes” or “no”. Thanks to Wainwright’s ability in presenting the case in its true and least humiliating colours—(humiliating merely to a sense of independent pride)—he carried the day.

Mildred dearest, I feel more keenly than ever, tonight, what you have been to me, and all you have done for me. I don’t really believe you can understand what this means to me. When we were talking of it in the autumn, I hardly knew which I wondered at most, your heavenly goodness or your wonderful simplicity.

I had to tell Wainwright, of course, that you were doing this for me. But no one else knows, except Royall. I am sure you don’t mind his knowing, do you? He was almost as much moved as I.

For the practical part, Gerard’s schooling amounts to about £250 a year. As I told you, I can assume £40 of that. Wainwright, whom I consulted, said it would be best if you would give an order to your bankers to pay him £70 on January 15, April 15, and September 15 of each year, beginning with January 15 of this year, (1916). On my assurance that you had spoken to me quite definitely on this matter, he paid the January fees—(they are always paid in advance.) His address is Ernest Wainwright, 1, Church Court, Clement’s Lane, E.C. London. (Messrs Wainwright & Pollock.)

I hope both Gerard and I will be spared to return to you a small part of the infinite debt we owe you. When he and I are together, your image comes quite naturally to join us, and it always will henceforth, because in all the hopes I found for Gerard’s future you cannot but have your share. He is so good, so true, so loyal and so candid, so honourable and so generous. If anything were to separate me from him, Mildred, I implore you, I trust you to take my place for him; and if you were in it he could never feel I had quite gone from him.

And now, dearest, dearest Mildred, goodnight and bless you, bless you, from the depths of my heart.

Ever yours wholly,