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Mildred Barnes Bliss to Royall Tyler, May 13, 1910

1376 Calle LibertadThe Blisses resided at the Plaza Hotel, at the intersection of Florida and Charcas Streets, in Buenos Aires until they rented the town house of Benjamin Williams at Calle Libertad 1376. The house, now demolished, was built in 1904.

Plaza Hotel, Buenos Aires
Calle Libertad 1376, Buenos Aires

Friday, May 13/10

Dear Royall

Yr. letterSee letter of April 12, 1910. reached me this morning and although you and I are entitled to expect frankness and honesty from one another, I must thank you for writing me as fully as you have.

Of course the facts do give me pain: I wish your wheel of Fate had not been spoked by a husband’s injustice and a wife’s defiance and that your agency had been less distressful. But I do not judge any one of you, although I find it more difficult not to regret yr. part in it all than I do to explain the other two of yr. triangle. It is natural that you should have fallen in love as you did and comprehensible that you should have wished to act as you have done, but had you seen the way differently, it might have made a serene future more secure. I shall want to meet Elisina at the first possible opportunity and I expect to understand her then as I do you now. You will do better in every way for having a woman in yr. life—grow surer, deeper, quicker and sounder and that the woman you have chosen has courage and intelligence and intellect and depths, makes me willing to believe her the mate you need to live fully. The “usual formulas” do not serve me, and I take you, Elisina and her husband as three individuals towards three goals in two diametrically opposed ways. There is no need to try to explain Love. It is—and it is only at the attainment of the peace that comes of it, that means differ. That Elisina could not live with Grant-Richards seems obvious; but her not having left him before, less so. I could wish that she had broken her bonds for freedom to be and to work, rather than for the joy of love. But if you both find the happiness I want for you, the wisdom of yr. coming together will be proved. It may only be that you came a little sooner rather than a little later and that her ideal is what I would have it. If I had children I might see many things differently, but with my present light, I feel that each one’s sense of proportion in relation to his or her experience, is the only possible criterion of worth. So I recognize the possibility of a greater usefulness by acting as the mother Elisina has done. In all this story of three lives, only one value seems to me absolute—the injustice you may do. Oh! Royall, don’t give yr.self the joy of paternity until you can be fair to yr. child and to its mother and the 4 children already hurt by the course you felt you must follow.Elisina was four months pregnant with Royall Tyler’s child, William Royall Tyler, at the date of this letter. Don’t let that be. But if it should come, and Elisina is the woman I am ready to believe she is, I shall stand by your child and its mother, unreservedly.

I shall look impatiently for further word from you both. And I hope, earnestly, to hear that the road lies clear ahead. Write to me here, and should the letter contain as important matter as this of April 12th, I suggest that you register it. The mails are uncertain here, and the loss of this one might have marred our relationship for years. As it is, my hands are outstretched to grasp yrs. and Elisina’s for the past that I know, the present that I trust, and the future that I want to believe in.

Yrs. always sincerely

Mildred Bliss.

Please let me know when I shall be at liberty to speak of Elisina. You can trust her with me. I shall never be the means of her being misjudged.

[Enclosed in separate envelope marked “For Elisina”]:

Dear Elisina

No one can come to share Royall’s life without my wishing to extend my hand in offer of loyalty and the hope of friendship. Royall and I have been blessed by that rare relationship which awaits reasons and never needs explanations—and so I find myself understanding him in this crisis in his life and almost understanding you, whom I do not yet know. Happiness came to me through much moral and intellectual pain but without emotional struggle; yet I do not think for that, I have less realization of the stress and struggle of a nature seeing clearly but feeling submerged. To wrest Life from out Convention as you have, means a bravery which I respect the more, because I might not have had it, but it also means suffering. I hope with all the wisdome [sic] in me that you and Royall may soon have the natural responsibility of yr. children and the richest harvesting that can come to fearlessness and love. Each year I have a higher regard for the natural and the normal—by that I don’t mean the usual or the conventional—but the instinctive, tempered by a sense of beauty in the full appreciation of one’s relation to one’s fellow man. So I shall await our meeting with the assurance of perfect sincerity and I am ready to believe a deeper insight into the wisdom of impatience than so radical a wrench would lead one to feel.

Yrs. sincerely, very,

Mildred Bliss.

May 13th 1910.

Associated Places: Buenos Aires (Argentina)