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Elisina Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, August 8, 1913

Chât. de Genay. Côte d’Or

August 8th 1913.Friday.

Dearest Mildred,

Many many thanks for the poor lady and for her son.Mrs. Curtis. See also letters of August 5, 1913, and August 14, 1913. Elisina Tyler provides Mrs. Curtis's name in her letter of April 21, 1914. I will do as you say: pay Robert’s cheque into my bank in London, and direct the Manager to send her twenty five pounds in five-pound notes, which will be easier for her to negotiate than a cheque. Thank you both.

My letter seemed on reflection crude and bitter and I hoped it didn’t give you a disagreeable feeling—not so disagreeable at least as the one that prompted me to write it. You see I visualise these things, in the light of what my eyes have seen and my ears have heard. I see the screened anxiety of the glances, the unconscious gestures, the outward physical signs of dread and anxiety; and I hear the over-confident tones and the words that reach me as the point of a goad.

Mildred, it’s all wrong. The self-complacency, the petulant optimism are grounded in something where the wrath of God lies buried until it shall please Him to call it forth. And more and more people will suffer if things go that way; the rôle of God is to punish or reward; it isn’t to construct a better world out of the elements we possess. That is our part. It is the part Lloyd-GeorgeDavid Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor (1863–1945), a British statesman and cabinet minister at the date of this letter. He later became prime minister. His main achievements as cabinet minister were the prevention of a national strike of the railway unions and the brokering of an agreement between the unions and the railway companies. or Bonar LawAndrew Bonar Law (1858–1923), a British Conservative Party statesman and later prime minister, who supported tariff reform and opposed Irish home rule. claim the ability and the power to play. I believe in the possibility still. But the poison of pathos has softened my sinews and I fear I at least can do no more work in the sight of all; if I do any it must be when I have the means and the time to keep the effects of the poison in check. You understand me, don’t you? Meantime if ever you wish me, anonymously, to speak on the subject of Equal Suffrage in England, call upon me. I am so happy to read that you and Robert enjoyed your day here. You were more than good to us to come so far for so brief a time, and as I treasure every hour I spent with you in my memory, you enriched me by a good deal.

After that you will see that when you tell me I aid you to understand and to know I shake my head and say “behold NarcissusNarcissus, a hunter in Greek mythology who was renowned for his beauty and pride. He was attracted to a pool where he saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it, not realizing it was an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, he died. at his tricks again.”

I am so glad you had a good and quick run back in the fresh air. It was a splendid result. May it prove an encouragement to you to try it in the right direction.

Mrs. GravesMrs. Graves has not been identified. is coming to see you one day soon. Modesty and the fact that England crossed the narrow seas with her had prevented her hitherto. She is a good and nice woman, and is sad and ill now poor dear, but kept in Paris by a suffering friend.

Mildred, you are such a joy to me. Pray God you may not be sent to the other end of the earth. You and Robert reassure me when the world seems to disaggregate itself.

Bless you—

Ever yours


Associated Places: Semur-en-Auxois (France)