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Mildred Barnes Bliss to Elisina Tyler, April 18, 1922

Washington, D.C., April 18, 1922.Tuesday.

Dearest Elisina:

Again I have to bother you with a dry business letter. Yesterday I received another note from de Gieysztor,José de Gieysztor (also Giezstor and Geystor). See letters of June 9, 1916; April 27, 1921; and March 10, 1922. of which I enclose a copy.The whereabouts of this letter are unknown.

It seems to me impossible not to lend a hand to any human being who is as far down as Gieysztor appears to be, and who wants to get up. The fact that he is largely responsible for his condition is neither here nor there. But Robert feels that in this case there are unknown factors which he surmises to be none too encouraging. In the first place, Gieysztor had a very good chance. You gave him an excellent opportunity to be self-supporting, and his capacity for book-keeping ought to assure him a living wage in almost any capital. He obviously threw it away, and he has evidently, from the sound of his piteous letter, drunk the dregs. Robert cannot help but wonder why Gieysztor turned to me, who knew him but slightly and who has not seen him for two years, while you and Edith and Mrs. TuckMrs. Edward Tuck. Julia Stell Tuck (1850–1928) was the president of the Comité d’oeuvre d’assistance aux tuberculeux de la guerre; Edith Wharton was a vice president of the organization. are much nearer at hand, know his worth when at his best, and would be more able to inform yourselves of his real need than I. And as all of you have proved yourselves very generous in the past, he must either have worn you out by crying wolf too often, in which case it will be the same with me, or for some psychological reason which I cannot guess, has not wished to ask you.

As Robert is unwilling for me to send a cheque without knowing more than his meager statement gives, he suggests that I write and ask if you will investigate the situation, and should you think it best for us to make him either a gift or a loan, ask Mlle. Marthe TigerMildred Barnes Bliss’s secretary in Paris. (May Amboul’sMay Amboul Herbert had been Mildred Barnes Bliss’s personal secretary in Paris. remplaçante,“Replacement.” at 4 Rue Henri-Moissan) to make out a cheque for whatever sum you think proper. I want to do the human and helpful thing, of course, but I can’t help feeling that there is something to be said in favour of Robert’s suspicion: that Gieysztor has gone to you all in turn and has now reached me, and that it is going to be the same story over again with someone else. And at this distance, and with all the derelicts I have left over in France, and the new lot I seem to have such capacity for accumulating, here, I don’t want to take on Gieysztor unless he deserves it and there is no one else for him to turn to.

You know, I am sure, that I am sorry to bother you with this disturbing kind of business, and that I should much rather cable the boy a tidy sum and cheer him up. But Robert happens to be uncommonly firm about this particular case, as he never had much of an opinion of Gieysztor, and has not liked the tone of these two letters.

I am hurrying this off for the next boat, and am not counting it as a letter; but it carries none the less my best love for you and Royall and my Bourguignon.


Associated People: Edith Wharton