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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, March 2, 1941

N. Y.

Such sadness, dearest Mildred, at being far from you all these long weeks that I’ve spent in America, and at having to start off again without seeing you once more, and at having to think of Robert’s condition as unsatisfactory.Robert 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).

Well, it couldn’t be helped. Thanks to your staying here till I arrived, I did have those few days with you, saw you in 1940 (for a couple of hours, Dec. 31) and in 1941, so that I don’t go back altogether empty.

As you may have seen, the SiboneyIn late 1940, the USS Siboney was chartered by the American Export Lines to transport Americans fleeing Europe at the outset of the Second World War. The ship made seven round-trips from Jersey City, New Jersey, to Lisbon. which was to have sailed yesterday had to be patched up after the hurricane encountered on her last trip, and is now due to sail tomorrow. If she does, I intend to leave on her. I’ll not forget to cable from Lisbon.

Our negociations here have gone pretty well, in the circumstances. Anyway, we’ve reached a point now at which I consider we ought to get agreement. I’ve got B’pest’s approval for the set-up. The other side have obtained a lot in the way of concessions. They’ve had plenty of time. We’ve made great efforts to meet them. If, tomorrow, they aren’t ready to initial an agreement, I shall leave without the slightest qualm, and I won’t advise Bpest to go one inch further. If they are willing to initial, Tompuss,Tompuss has not been identified. whom I’m leaving behind till next boat, can see to the details. He has been excellent, throughout.The nature of Tyler’s negotiations on behalf of Hungary are unknown. Hungary entered the Second World War in April 1941 as an ally of Germany, and participated in the invasions of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union.

In Washington, I met with understanding all round. Nothing to be wished for, there.

What has taken up most of my time was something I never reckoned with at all. The Nt. Bk. of Hungary (the Bank of Issue) is being sued by some people here who have bought up coupons cheap and want more than their share, and who have got attachment of Nt. Bk. funds. The Counsel for the Nt. Bk., hearing I was here, asked me to explain certain problems to him, and then asked me to give pre-trial depositions in the case. I felt I couldn’t refuse, tho’ of course I knew I would then have to submit to cross-examination by the (Jewish, of course) counsel for the plaintiff. What I didn’t foresee was that it would all mean that I’d be on the mat for very nearly 3 weeks, morning and afternoon, and have to work all day Washington’s birthday and the following day, Sunday, and have my allowance of time for my own affairs reduced to almost nothing.

Happily, counsel for the Nt. Bk. are delighted with the results, on the strength of which they now hope to be able to get the suit dismissed by the judge on a motion, without trial. If that can be done, I shall feel I’ve not sweated in vain. The Nt. Bk. will be spared a lot of expense, and future attempts of an analogous nature are unlikely to be made. And, in spite of the fatigue and strain of it all, I have found it interesting, extremely so, pitting my wits against those of Mr. Friedman, who is certainly a very clever lawyer.

As for L’Art Byzantin: I’ve been in touch with Gloeckner,André Gloeckner, an author and art editor for the New York Hypérion, a French book publisher. formerly manager of Hyperion, Paris,Hypérion, a French book publisher. with whom I contracted for re-publishing Vols. I, II together with III. He is now out of Hyperion, Paris, which has been taken over, it appears, by Fritz.“The Germans.” He has, with the help of an international lawyer, found means to void my contract with Hyp., Paris, so that all rights remain with Hayford and me. We have now signed with Gloeckner’s new firm “Hyperion Press, N. Y.” which he has just founded, a new contract, which leaves us the rights, under which Hyp. N.Y. is to publish I, II, III. I shall have to supply him with corrected text for I and II—which I have, at Geneva, and proofs of III (also at Geneva) and photos for III, which I have, more or less complete, at Geneva. The nuisance is that a number of photos, new ones to replace less good ones reproduced in I and II, have remained with Hyp., Paris, and Gloeckner knows not whether they are in Paris or at Limoges. I shall make an attempt to recover them, but if I can’t, we’ll go ahead without them. Our materiel is good enough, as it is. It’s such an immense relief to have divested ourselves of the contract with Hyp., Paris, and to have regained possession of the rights. Gloeckner is an exceedingly able publisher, and I believe he’ll do splendidly here. Perhaps the Council of Learned SocietiesThe American Council of Learned Societies, a private nonprofit federation founded in 1919 of seventy-one scholarly organizations in the humanities and related social sciences. may be willing to support him where L’Art Byz. is concerned. Mrs. Sessions is au courant, and Gloeckner will consult with her.

I took Bill round to Gloeckner, so that, in my absence in Europe, Bill might act for me where possible—and G., after a little talk with Bill, asked Bill to do a book for him on XIIIe cent. French painted manuscripts.This book was not written or published. So you see G. is quick on his feet. Needless to say, he, like all the rest of us, comes from the Bpest ghetto.

Bill and Betsy came to see me off, supposing that I was sailing yesterday, and they’ve just now left to go back to Boston. I’m in every way delighted with Bill. He looks strong and well, he’s very happy in his work and seems to be doing splendidly. Living within reach of you has been good for him, dearest Mildred. I did succeed in getting to Cambridge once, for 3 days, and so saw the children,Royall Tyler (b. 1936) and Matilda Eve Tyler (b. 1939). who were very sweet.

I’ve had several excellent talks with Thacher, in which my first good impression of him was fully confirmed. He seems to me to be just the man for D.O. He has humour, and skill with people, and strikes me as being high-minded without the slightest tinge of priggishness. Bill likes him very much indeed.

I’ve left three papers on D.O. objectsHayford Peirce and Royall Tyler, “Three Byzantine Works of Art,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 2 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1941): “A Marble Emperor-Roundel of the XIIth Century,” 1, 3–9, “An Ivory of the Xth Century,” 11, 13–18, and “Elephant Tamer Silk, VIIIth Century,” 19–26. ready for Press—Bill has taken the revised proofs back with him today, and any little question that may crop up after my departure can safely be referred to him. The photos for all three are in the hands of the Harvard Univ. Press, all but a new shot of the Elephant-tamer silk after remounting, which Sessions will at once supply. The 3 papers, as you may remember, are on (1) the Eleph.-tamer silkBZ.1927.1. (2) the Emperor roundel,BZ.1937.23. and (3) the Three-figure ivory.BZ.1939.8. Hayford and I need to think over further the standing marble Madonna relief,BZ.1938.62. and to get more photographic material, chiefly from Venice. We do want to do her, however, and will produce a text as soon as we think we can do so without skimping it.Hayford Peirce and Royall Tyler would not publish the Virgin relief sculpture, BZ.1938.62. Hayford, lazy hound, is now in Arizona. He did stop off here on the way, for 3 days, to see me, and came to Cambridge for my visit there—mercifully without spouse,Polly Brown Peirce, Hayford Pierce’s wife. both times.

Give my fond love to Robert, and, if you can, I beg you to cable me news of him to Lisbon—Estoril, Hotel Miramax. I don’t suppose we shall get there before the 13th March, and I’ll probably stay there several days.

I hope to find your letter on the Siboney. I shall think constantly of you; I’ll give you messages. It’s sore to say goodbye to you this time, beloved Mildred.

R. T.

Associated Things: L'art byzantin
Associated Artworks: BZ.1927.1; BZ.1937.23; BZ.1938.62; BZ.1939.8