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Elisina Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, January 21, 1937

Finance Ministry


January 21st 1937

I have just had a letter from Betsy, a rhapsody on a beautiful baby-carriage and beaver rug with a turquoise lining, which she tells me is lovely; and I want to tell you how your loving thought for little RoyallRoyall Tyler (b. 1936), the first child of Bettine Tyler and William Royall Tyler, was born in London. After earning a BA in Far Eastern Languages from Harvard University and a PhD in Japanese literature from Columbia University, he became a scholar and translator of Japanese literature. He presently lives in Australia in New South Wales. touches my heart.

I am longing to see him. He is vigorous and cheerful, and the fond parents say he is beautiful. It seems that they have had the good fortune to hit upon a good nurse for the child, and though she has a strong Hampshire accent which may not blend well with the purest Burgundian, yet, they are both savoury and will prevent little Royall’s conversation from appearing savourless.

The excellent Nana who brought up the elder children and has also brought up Gilley,Helen Gillian Owtram de Zuleta, born in London in 1926. (Gioia’s little girl) was a Hampshire product, and so traditional in her ways, that she always described whatever might not please her, as something fit to frighten the French.

Here in this outpost of Europe the news of the world arrive with a bang and echo loudly. One has to resort to daily adjustments to keep one’s nerves steady. When Bill and Betsy were in America their excellent letters told us many interesting things which we were glad to know. We feel deprived, this year, and try to collect direct information from the eye-witnesses that chance sends our way. One of the most welcome was Mr. Balassy,Anthony F. Balasy (Balási) (1894–1973), a Hungarian diplomat. Balasy received a doctorate in political science from the University of Budapest in 1916 and was admitted to the Austro-Hungarian diplomatic service in 1918. Between 1934 and 1939, he was counsellor and chargé d’affaires of the Hungarian Legation in Washington, D.C. who spent his long leave in Hungary, and is returning to Washington via London.

We had a blow yesterday, when we heard the news that Dan Grant,Daniel B. Grant (1893–1948), an American banker and a vice president (since 1930) of the London office of the Guaranty Trust Company of New York. the head of the London branch of the Guaranty Trust was not able to get a plan accepted at the Head Office in New York, in which Bill would have had a very interesting and promising job if the plan had been put through. I hope he may get a real start in some American banking concern with a European office. He likes the work, and has done very well in it, by all accounts, until he fell ill. Now that he is perfectly well again, full of eagerness for work, it is sad to be still in the uncertainty of finding it.

The doctor over here said he would keep perfectly well in temperate climate. But the strain of long hours without fresh air, and with extremes of temperature thrown in, would end in another and more serious breakdown. So New York is excluded for him, and we must pin our hopes on a European Branch.

Royall has just been busy on his first Quarterly Report for 1937—or rather his fourth Quarterly Report for 1936.Royall Tyler, Financial Position of Hungary: Twenty-First Quarterly Report by Mr. Royall Tyler, Representative in Hungary of the Financial Committee, Regarding the Financial Position of Hungary in the Last Quarter of 1936 (Geneva: League of Nations, 1937).

The proofs of Vol. III of Byzantine Art are also on his desk, and the Record OfficeThe Public Record Office of the British Home Office, London. has woken up like Sleeping Beauty after 22 years, and has sent us the proofs of the Spanish Calendar for 1554. The MS. had lain in lavender at the Record Office, to enable the British Government to finance the Great War and the posthumous reconstruction of Europe on the economy of the printing expenses. And now, Symbolically, instead of having a little William making a noise in his nursery before going out to play in the “Jardin d’une Autre Dame”A misunderstanding of “Jardin de Notre Dame.” as he used to call it, there’s a little Royall kicking his legs under a beaver rug lined with turquoise.

We expect to keep quiet here in our sunny little house,—with just a little excursion for Royall, to Rome,—right through the winter and early spring. In May the King of ItalyVictor Emmanuel III (1869–1947), king of Italy between 1900 and 1946. is coming, they say, to return the Regent’sMiklós Horthy de Nagybánya (1868–1957), regent of the kingdom of Hungary between 1920 and 1944. visit. The workmen are decorating the Foreign Sovereigns’ rooms at the Royal Palace. They were damaged in the days of Bolshevism when the Reds made free there.Hungarian communists briefly seized power in 1919, proclaiming a Hungarian Soviet Republic.

The new Italian Minister, Count Vinci,Count Luigi Vinci-Gigliucci, former Italian minister to Ethiopia. is an old friend from the Peace Conference days. He told me last night at dinner that Addis AbabaAddis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. was a paradise, that he had a park of 80 acres, and picked carnations and violets six months in the year, that the temperature moved between 12° centigrade and 26°—that the nights were always cool, that the Diplomatic Corps numbered 35, and that they had all made a vow, that for all, and singly, there was one dogma accepted without exception. They were, all and singly, the very best, most intelligent, most agreeable, most interesting people in the whole world.

He said that Sir Sydney and Lady BartonSir Sidney Barton (1876–1946) and Lady Mary Ethel Winifred (d. 1945). Barton was an English diplomat who, in 1929, was promoted to the diplomatic rank of British minister in Addis Ababa. were charming. He also said that in the course of time,—several generations,—AbyssiniaThe Italians had invaded Ethiopia (known as Abyssinia) on October 3, 1935. would be a source of infinite wealth.

Everyone is glad that the SimpsonWallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor (1896–1986), an American socialite whose third husband, Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor (formerly King Edward VIII) abdicated his throne to marry her. affair has died down. I hear on serious authority that the Duke of W.King Edward VIII (Duke of Windsor) (1894–1972), king of the United Kingdom. left the country with a debt of £200000 for advances on revenue which is no longer his after his abdication; that £44,000 is the sum paid to Mr. SimpsonErnest Aldrich Simpson (1897–1958), an American turned British shipping executive. to induce him to get divorced—and that the lady has had large sums settled on her, besides taking with her quantities of handsome jewellery not all paid for yet, and Queen Alexandra’s jewels, which the Duke inherited from his grandmother. I had been told by the Louis BromfieldsLouis Bromfield (1896–1956), an American author who received the Pulitzer Prize for pioneering innovative scientific farming concepts. Bromfield was married in 1921 to New York socialite Mary Appleton Wood. that they did not think that Mrs. S. was anything but a cheerful, jolly, amusing girl, out for a good time in a rather modern sense. They knew her well, and have stayed at Fort Belvedere,Fort Belvedere, a country house in Windsor Great Park, England. This former royal residence was the home of King Edward VIII and the place where he signed the abdication document in 1936. on two occasions. But they must have viewed her with indulgent eyes, or else she did not show the whole of her talents. When I heard that at Fort Belvedere they did not dress for dinner, something sounded an alarm inside me. It is not good for an Englishman not to dress for dinner, either in the palace or the jungle.

The news of dear Edith are good. She is at Hyères, and has a succession of friends.

Dearest Mildred, please give a hug to Robert, and with my very very best love, and many thanks for little Royall’sRoyall Tyler (b. 1936), the first child of Bettine Tyler and William Royall Tyler, was born in London. After earning a BA in Far Eastern Languages from Harvard University and a PhD in Japanese literature from Columbia University, he became a scholar and translator of Japanese literature. He presently lives in Australia in New South Wales. spoiling.

Yours ever devotedly


Associated Places: Budapest (Hungary); Hyères (France)