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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, December 6, 1930


I was so glad to hear from MalyeThérèse Malye (1886–1951), Mildred Barnes Bliss’s Parisian secretary. that you were in your houseIn 1929, upon the recommendation of Robert Woods Bliss, the U.S. government acquired the Palacio Bosch on Alvéar Avenue (today Avenida del Libertador) in Buenos Aires as the U.S. embassy and ambassador’s residence. The residence was ready for the Blisses to inhabit on November 16, 1930; see letter of February 14, 1931. at last, dearest Mildred. What a joy it must have been to get out of the hotelThe Blisses previously were staying at the Plaza Hotel, one of the first luxury hotels to be built in South America. The hotel was inaugurated in 1909 and touted all rooms with central heating and telephone access.—where you were so kind to my old friend Auld.George P. Auld (1881–1962), a naval officer and a certified public accountant. He served as accountant general of the Reparation Commission between 1920 and 1924 and would have been well known to Royall Tyler. I’ve had eternecido“Tender.” accounts of it all from him.

I’m afraid I can’t hope to get out to you.In a communication of October 1930, the Instituto Cultural Argentino-Norte Americano invited Royall Tyler to Buenos Aires to give a series of lectures. See letters of October 3, 1930, and October 21, 1930. The Instituto Cultural Argentino–Norte Americano was created in Buenos Aires in the late 1920s as one of several Latin American pro-American cultural institutes that provided libraries, English classes, lectures, exhibits, and other activities in an attempt to promote appreciation of United States culture and foreign policy. The Blisses had enthusiastically encouraged the founding of the Institute in 1927 and funded the establishment of its non-profit American Book Shop in 1933. See J. Warshaw, “The Institute Cultural Argentino-Norteamericano,” Hispania 21, no. 4 (December 1938): 243. I spoke to HambrosRoyall Tyler worked as a European representative of the Hambros Bank, London, between 1928 and 1931. about it, but the plan doesn’t appeal to them. They want me for Europe, and as you know things are very difficult here, and need careful and constant watching. I should have loved to go, just to see you, especially as your letters sound as if you meant to be there nearly another year, but I feel I must try and make myself useful to Hambros in the way they want me for. They are very nice to me, and I rather labour with the thought that so far I haven’t been able to give them much. They tell me they don’t expect me to bring them business—but it wouldn’t hurt if I did, and anyway, in the meantime, I must keep on the job they have set me and try to give them useful dope on the countries I know something about.

That is that; I’m low in spirit however when I think of another year passing without our being together at all. It was so blissful last time, and I do so long for more, and the wretched time goes by so fast. Do please, when you have any comforting news bearing on this particular flight of mine, let me have it, so that I may have something to look forward to.

Bill was here the other day on his way to Oxford, where they are letting him go in for Mods.Mods or Honour Moderations, first year university examinations that are the first public examination for the degree of B.A. (the exam. normally taken at the end of the first year) as if he had actually been in residence. It will help him if he passes, in that he’ll be able to read for Final Schools as soon as he goes up. He is very well indeed, has had no cough or temperature for over a year, and the doctors say that it is now impossible to detect any trace of the trouble. As a precaution, he isn’t going up to Oxford to stay till the Summer Term 1931.

He has had a great time in Vienna this autumn, steeped in music, and in Austria generally. I think I must tell you—though I wish you could hear the story from him—about the emotions that enriched the last weeks of his stay. Roman,Roman Wisata (b. 1909), a Czech violinist and the student and later assistant of Otakar Ševčík at the Innsbruck Konservatorium. the fiddler whom you know, fell in love with a lady, 12 years his senior (and a Gräfin).Klothilde (“Lily”), Gräfin von Herberstein (1899–1975). See also letter of October 25, 1930. The gute Baronin (Bill’s and Roman’s hostess) invited the Gräfin to come to stay, but no sooner than the Gräfin was there, began producing symptoms of violent jealousy, which even her unperspicacious husband might have become aware of. Roman then confided to Bill that, long before, the gute Baronin had told him she loved him, (she is 20 years his senior) and that he, out of politeness and inability to think of a more appropriate answer, had professed similar feelings for her.

The Gräfin stayed on, and the situation became more and more tense. Roman told Bill that the gute Baronin had threatened to ride her horse over the edge of a deep quarry—and the idea so preyed on Roman that he became delirious night after night, and Bill had to sit up with him and shoo off horses which Roman saw galopping [sic] at him. Then Bill had an idea. He took the gute Baronin out for a walk, and told her that Roman, while in delirium, had said things so extravagant that he, Bill, didn’t believe them, but he thought he must tell the gute Baronin—and told her the whole story as if Roman had let it out in his delirious ravings. This immediately produced the desired effect. The gute Baronin stopped persecuting Roman, and even began being relatively decent to the Gräfin. A relief for Bill, for while it lasted he seems to have had to make peace all round half a dozen times a day.

Roman is here now, playing like an angel. He is going to play at the Cercle InteralliéThe Cercle de l’Union interalliée, a social and dining club established in Paris in 1917. on the 8th. Then back to Austria, and coming here again in April to play for the Soc. Philharmonique.

I’ll try to keep in touch with Kevorkian’sHagop Kevorkian (1872–1962), a Turkish-Armenian archeologist, collector, and dealer of Middle Eastern antiquities. Sass. plate,Plate with King Hunting Rams, Sasanian, ca. mid-fifh to mid-sixth century CE, silver, mercury gilding, and niello inlay, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 34.33. but he’s a tough nut, as you know.

As ill luck would have it, I was away from Paris—Vienna, Bâle and Geneva—just the time your mother spent here. I only got back the day of the Doucet sale.See Collection Jacques Doucet: Céramiques d’Extrême-Orient, bronzes, sculptures, peintures chinoises et japonaises, laques du Japon, faïences de la Perse, de la Transcaspie et de la Mésopotamie, miniatures persanes, vente du vendredi 28 novembre 1930 (Paris: Impr. Lahure, 1930).

When I, returned here (in Oct.) I found an incredible change in the atmosphere as compared with the Spring. Everyone talking about war in the immediate future. A striking contrast with Germany, where people seemed to be much too preoccupied about internal affairs and bad business to give much thought to Weltpolitik.“World politics.” The German elections, the wild talk of Hitlerites, fears of having the Young SettlementThe Young Plan, a program for settlement of German reparations debts after the First World War that was written in 1929 and formally adopted in 1930. It was presented by a committee of the Allied Reparations Committee and was headed by the American Owen D. Young (1874–1962). The Young Plan reduced further German payments from 269 billion to 112 billion gold marks. The plan was presented on June 7, 1929. reopened, had all contributed to forming a state of mind here which, I think, prevented people from any cool-headed consideration of the facts. Since then, there has been some quieting down, but opinion is still gravely concerned with war dangers, suspicions of the outer world in general, inclined to insist on full payment of the Young annuities whatever happens and to seek security in armaments.

One can’t blame the French, after what they’ve been through. However, having been repeatedly in Germany of late. I believe that there is no likelihood of war in the near future, if only because Germany is too weak and divided. I don’t believe in the danger of a German-Italian attempt, either: Italy can’t imagine she has any chance of success in such a venture, and even given the Soviet’s desire to destroy the capitalistic order by provoking a war, my guess is that Germany won’t fight—at any rate not for a long time to come.

What seems to me far more imminent is the danger of grave disorders, even perhaps of revolution, in Germany, and I fear that this danger is being contributed to by the French belief in Germany’s bellicose intentions and consequent policy. The social structure of Germany has been deeply affected in the post-war years. The middle classes have largely disappeared, and with them big sections of the upper. The country has been proletarised to a great extent already: the internal barriers that existed against the spread of Communism—a contented and fairly prosperous middle class—have largely disappeared. Business is very bad, unemployment enormous. Prices are low, affairs stagnant. In these circumstances, if Russia can make even a faked show of success with her 5 year economic development plan, and export increasingly, the appeal to a cruelly depressed capitalistic community becomes hard to resist.

I’ll add that there are obviously many currents and cross currents, and that the bourgeois structure in Germany, though enfeebled, still has elements of strength which will probably prevail. But what if the present state of affairs goes on? The countries that have the accumulated wealth, France and the USA, are less and less inclined to lend to those who are without, and I can’t see any chance of German recovery, while the Young annuities continue, unless Germany can borrow abroad to pay those annuities. The danger as I see it is that while the present state of frozen capital, falling international trade and decreasing consumption lasts, there may be such distress in Germany that Communism (which increased its parliamentary representation by 50% in the last elections) may get the upper hand there. I was glad to see the Lee Hig. $125 million creditIn October 1930, Heinrich Brüning (1885–1970), German chancellor from 1930 to1932, obtained a bridging credit line of 125 million dollars that was brokered by Lee, Higginson and Co., New York. to Germany, and only wish France and Italy could settle naval matters enough to permit a French loan to Italy. That would show things moving in the only way that doesn’t lead in the wrong direction.

On the good side, there is the settlement between Greece and Turkey,In October 1930, the leaders of Turkey and Greece, Kemal Atatürk and Eleftherios Venizelos, concluded negotiations to establish normal relations between the two countries. In doing so, Greece renounced all its claims over Turkish territory. and a rather better tone altogether in S.E. Europe, resulting from common misfortunes in the collapse of food prices—a fearful calamity for Hungaria, Roumania, Yugosl., Bulgaria, Poland. On the whole the tone in the Balkans is better at present than it is in W. Europe. But that isn’t saying much.

I was glad to get the DoucetSee Collection Jacques Doucet: Céramiques d’Extrême-Orient, bronzes, sculptures, peintures chinoises et japonaises, laques du Japon, faïences de la Perse, de la Transcaspie et de la Mésopotamie, miniatures persanes, vente du vendredi 28 novembre 1930 (Paris: Impr. Lahure, 1930). Sultanabad No. 85BZ.1930.11. Doucet sale, Persian (Sultanabad) bowl, thirteenth century. See Collection Jacques Doucet: Céramiques d’Extrême-Orient, bronzes, sculptures, peintures chinoises et japonaises, laques du Japon, faïences de la Perse, de la Transcaspie et de la Mésopotamie, miniatures persanes, vente du vendredi 28 novembre 1930 (Paris: Impr. Lahure, 1930), 27, no. 85, pl. 23. so cheap. It really is a marvel. On the whole I don’t regret any of the paintings except the exquisite miniature, 99,Doucet sale, Persian miniature of a Turkish prince, early sixteenth century. See Collection Jacques Doucet: Céramiques d’Extrême-Orient, bronzes, sculptures, peintures chinoises et japonaises, laques du Japon, faïences de la Perse, de la Transcaspie et de la Mésopotamie, miniatures persanes, vente du vendredi 28 novembre 1930 (Paris: Impr. Lahure, 1930), 32, no. 99, pl. 30. which fetched over 150,000 francs.

Elisina is very well, and is being very patient and good and a great support to me, who am feeling rather poorly and much worried about the general position.

Salter sails for India on Xmas day on a brief trip, at the Indian Govt’s invitation, to advise them on financial matters in view of a possible All-India federation.Between July 1930 and January 1931, a roundtable conference was held in London on issues concerning the British Commonwealth. In November, prominent Indian princes expressed a willingness to join an All-India Federation of British India and Indian States with the purpose of centralized financial and civil responsibility and safeguards and with membership in the British Commonwealth. See Arthur Salter, A Scheme for an Economic Advisory Organisation in India (Geneva: League of Nations, 1931).

Eric Drummond,James Eric Drummond, 16th Earl of Perth (1876–1951), a Scottish representative peer, a British diplomat, and the first secretary general of the League of Nations. accompanied by a nice Frenchman called Comert,Pierre Comert (1880–1964), former director of the information section of the League of Nations. will be in B.A. between Xmas and New Year. You’ll see them, I hope.

With love and blessings, dearest Mildred.

R. T.

Associated Artworks: BZ.1913.3; BZ.1930.1; BZ.1930.2; BZ.1930.3; BZ.1930.11