You are here:Home/Resources/ Bliss-Tyler Correspondence/ Search the Letters/ Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes, July 21, 1907
Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes, July 21, 1907


July 21st 1907

Dear Mildred.

I came over for a few days last Wednesday night, and had the worse crossing I remember, and swore [I] would never leave dry land again if the Gods let me land alive. However, I expect to return to Paris in a day or two, and then to depart for Germany. The bardTudor Castle. passed through Freiburg on his way to Munich—on foot—and from his description of it I should say it would do quite well. One can ride in the Forest, and as for people, the fewer the better and they couldn’t be more tiresome than they are at Cassel. I passed my examination,At the École des Sciences Politiques, Paris. the first two parts by the skin of my teeth and the other five rather well. I was so frightened at first that I fully expected to fail in the lot, and was casting about for a valid excuse for myself. I had passed through so many stages of emotion over the thing that when I finally heard the result I did not give a darn which way it turned out. These signs of youth are very pleasant when viewed from a slight distance, but not at the time.

The day I left Paris I was lunching with Leroy-Beaulieu,Henri Jean Baptiste Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu (1842–1912), a French publicist, historian, and faculty member at the École des Sciences Politiques, Paris. the authority on Russia and the Jews. There were many learned men there, among others one Chevalier,Possibly Ulysse Chevalier (1841–1923), a French bibliographer and historian. who has just brought out a book on the relations of the Church and State in the countries where there is an Establishment.Possibly Ulysse Chevalier’s Répertoire des sources historiques du moyen âge, part 1, Bio-bibliographie, which was issued in nine parts between 1903 and 1907 by the Paris publisher A. Picard. This Chevalier and I were talking about Spain after lunch, and in speaking of the Bulletin Hispanique, I told him the story of Foucher del Bosq [sic]Raymond Foulché-Delbosc (1864–1929), a French historian of Spain who founded and edited the Revue hispanique (1894–1933). and the charter of Andorra.The charter of Andorra of 1278, confirmed by Pope Martin IV in 1282, gave joint jurisdiction of Andorra to the bishop of Urgel and the count of Foix. As I do not think you have heard it here it is.

Foucher del Bosq [sic], who is the greatest living authority on the origins of Castillian, brought out at his own expense a publication known as the Revue Hispanique, wholly dedicated to the history of the Spanish languages. He thus laid before the world a vast quantity of rough material, very unselfishly. Naturally, he soon had reason to repent, for the Professors of Bordeaux, jealous of his fame, got a grant from the government and published a Bulletin Hispanique to take the wind out of del Bosq’s sails. An early number of this Bulletin Hispanique published with enormous pomp, the facsimile of the charter granted to the Republic of Andorra by Charlemagne, a document whose existence has been a bone of contention for years, the discovery naturally giving the “Bulletin Hispanique” the first place among authorities on the origins of Spanish.

The professors of Bordeaux waited with glee for what Foucher del Bosq [sic] would have to say to this. Foucher del Bosq [sic] published a short notice in his Revue, saying that he congratulated with all his heart the Bulletin Hispanique on their discovery of the original Charter of Andorra, but had they noticed that the first letters of each line, read downwards, spelt ‘LOS DE BURDEOS (Bordeaux) SON UNOS BURRICOS (jackasses)’?

As I neared the completion of this tale (which if I told you before may God forgive me) I noticed that the brow of a florid individual near was darkening; when I had finished he called out to me

“What are you saying about the Bulletin Hispanique? I’m one of the editors.”

I replied

“I was telling this gentleman the story of the Charter of Andorra.”

The florid gentleman said no more. I had some conversation with him afterwards and was pleased to hear that he was a Basque—Spanish Basque—Agregé de l’Université de Paris“Graduate of the University of Paris.”—editor of the Bulletin Hispanique, and chargé du cours d’Espagnol à l’école des Sciences Politiques“Lecturer in Spanish at the École des Sciences Politiques.” (chair just founded). I spoke Spanish to him, which he speaks grammatically but without a trace of idiom, and his French is of the midi variety—very much so. He has brought out a work on the dialects of the Pyrenees, but strange to say knows not a word of Basque!

London is odious now, the end of the season, and all my friends in the worst of tempers. I also have to struggle bravely against it. How I pine for the country! But each time I come here I feel surer that I shall eventually live here. It suddenly occurs to me that it would be amusing to live in one of the old Squares in Soho.Soho, an area of the City of Westminster and part of the West End of London. I certainly shall not take a ruinous and uncomfortably small flat in St. James’sSt. James's, an area of central London in the City of Westminster. for the sake of the address, as I should have done, had I decided to inhabit London instead of Paris two years ago.

When I return to Paris I will send you such a pretty photograph of myself that I had to have taken (not for the police) for a railway ticket in Spain. As it had to be done in 5 minutes, the photographer had no time to embellish it, and the result is that it really looks like me. I was so pleased that I told him to print some more from the same plate, but with an hour to do it, he was unable to refrain from touching it up and ruined it. As it is the only photograph that has ever looked like me, or in all likelihood ever shall, you will appreciate its value…

Before I forget it, a little verse told me by a German Jew,

“Gehorchen sollt Ihr meiner Stimme

“Euch folgen auch auf meinen Befehl,

“So sprach der mächtige Pharaoh

“Zum Volke Israel.

“Und Israel neigte sich, und sprach

“‘Was hat er gesagt, was hat er gesagt?’” “You shall obey my voice and follow my command / Thus spoke the mighty Pharaoh to the people of Israel. / And Israel bowed and spoke / ‘What did he say? What did he say?’”

The mad IrishmanHorace Cole. who did the Sultan of Zanzibar has been with me in Paris for a month.Horace Cole’s biographer Martyn Downer (in The Sultan of Zanzibar: The Bizarre World and Spectacular Hoaxes of Horace de Vere Cole [London: Black Spring, 2010], 75–76) recounts an earlier visit of Horace Cole with Royall Tyler: “Among the many rich young Americans crowding Montmartre’s colourful streets was Oxford-educated Royall Tyler. Tyler was a scholar in Spanish history and Byzantine art. Over many evenings at his luxurious rooms on rue Vaugirard, Tyler revealed the glories of Spain to Horace and shaped his collecting eye by curating his purchase of a medieval stone bust. Often they were joined by an Andalusian guitarist called Fabian de Castro, whom Tyler had discovered. . . . Horace later travelled to Spain with Tyler and Fabian.” Horace Cole and Royall Tyler went to Spain together in July 1905. See letter of November 1, 1905. The BardTudor Castle. was right and I was wrong. He is not stupid. I discovered him to be violently psychic, verging at times on madness.

One night after dinner (he is absolutely tea-total) we began speaking of Myers,Possibly Charles Samuel Myers (1873–1946), an English psychologist and cofounder of the British Psychological Society and the National Institute of Industrial Psychology. whom he used to know, and I told him one or two extraordinary dreams of mine. When I came to the one in which my disasters at Harrow were foretold, which I can never speak of without strong emotion, I noticed that his eyes were staring out of his head, and tears streaming down his face. He then began telling me how he was possessed of the devil at Eton and nearly killed 4 people all of them much stronger than he. By this time we were both trembling in every limb, and when I asked him how it was that he had been possessed of the devil, he sprang from his chair with a yell. I, beside myself with terror, grasped him, and we stayed swaying about for some seconds. Then without another word we fled from my flat—which is a spooky place at 1 A.M.—into the street.

We walked a long way, and finally entered one of the supper places on Montmartre. There, with the glaring lights and blaring music, we mastered ourselves. And he told me that when he was 12 years old, in broad daylight, his father and mother being in the room, he had seen the devil. His father is dead, but his mother can bear witness. How it was that the devil appeared, he said, he couldn’t trust himself to think of, far less to tell. He had only once spoken of it since, at Cambridge, to three men, all of whom nearly went mad with fear. However, from the age of 12 the devil possessed him several times, the last occasion being the one at Eton, when he tore about his tutor’s screaming “I am possessed, I am possessed.” At last the devil rent him and departed, and from that day he has not been possessed, but lives in constant fear. He is persuaded of the presence of the Unseen, of the identity of God and the Devil, and of the Evilness of the Being.

One might imagine all this to be mere Zanzibar. But I know that the Eton and Cambridge incidents are historic, and also if he wasn’t sincere that night, I am no judge. He has the most extraordinary way of walking just in front of whole streams of motors coming down the Champs Elysées. The first four times I was sure he’d be run over, but he says that no one who has been possessed by the Devil can be.

To say he is merely mad and have done with it isn’t enough. He is a very level headed person, better read and better informed than any Englishman of his age (25) I ever came across. He went out to the war,Second Boer War (1899–1902); the war was fought between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic) and the Orange Free State. It ended with a British victory and the annexation of both republics to the British Empire; both would eventually be incorporated into the Union of South Africa, a dominion of the British Empire, in 1910. Horace Cole left Eton in 1900 and enlisted in the Duke of Cambridge’s Own, a volunteer cavalry company. the youngest trooper to go out with the first lot of non-regulars, was shot through the lungMartyn Downer (in The Sultan of Zanzibar: The Bizarre World and Spectacular Hoaxes of Horace de Vere Cole [London: Black Spring, 2010], 35–36, recounts this somewhat differently: “Typically, his wound was unusual, even freakish. The bullet, the deadly ‘dum-dum’ variety, had entered his back, where it shattered into fragments before exiting through his shoulder blade. Only a slight ricochet from his slung rifle saved him from instant death. . . . Internal bleeding had dislodged his heart, causing his right lung to collapse.” and left for dead on the battlefield, mentioned as dead in despatches, rose in 9 months to 1st Lieutenant, sent home on a hospital ship, when the Cape is the best place for lungs in the world, hospital ship nearly went down outside the Cape, he was too feeble to be moved and lay in his berth shouting for someone to have mercy and kill him when all hands were ordered on deck to reach the boats.

When the Irish Guards were formed, Roberts gave him a 1st Lieutenant’s positionMartyn Downer (in The Sultan of Zanzibar: The Bizarre World and Spectacular Hoaxes of Horace de Vere Cole [London: Black Spring, 2010], 34, states: “While in camp, he [Horace Cole] was commissioned in the Yorkshire Hussars, his deafness apparently proving no bar, first as lieutenant, then, as losses mounted, as acting captain.” which he resigned as he went very deaf, after recovering from his wound.This is inaccurate. In 1891, Horace Cole underwent several operations for diphtheria which left his hearing seriously impaired for life. See Martyn Downer, The Sultan of Zanzibar: The Bizarre World and Spectacular Hoaxes of Horace de Vere Cole (London: Black Spring, 2010), 22. He then went up to Cambridge, where he stayed three years, and went down to spread sedition in Ireland. The man who went with him was caught and got 9 months—he escaped. He turned socialist and worked with MastermanCharles Masterman (1873–1927), a British Liberal Party politician and journalist. for 18 months in the East End, when he convinced himself of the insufficiency of Socialism and went to live on his big estates in Berkshire. These he has now let, and spends his time in travel, rowing his own Gondola in races at Venice ect [sic]. I told him about you, and he says he is going to America to see you,There is no evidence that Horace Cole visited Mildred Barnes. don’t be alarmed, he is as gentle as can be. His grandmother on his mother’s side is the last of the de Veres (and he her heir) and inhabits a ruinous castle in Galway, on the west coast. I expect to go there to stay with him and see the parts of the country which are inhabited by the descendants of the Spanish merchants who came there in the XVth cent.

There has always been a mysterious connexion between Ireland and Spain. The O’Neills, O’Brians, O’Donahues ect. [sic], all are supposed to come from Spain about 200 A.D. All the old Irish noble families, in fact. Also the west Irish stories of spirits are exactly like those of Galicia and Asturias, whence these people must have come. Castile is quite different—Castile is really monotheistic like the Semitic countries. There is no word for ghost in Castillian, which hasn’t the same sense of the absurd as bogie or spook in English, and I never heard of a ghost in Castile. Galicia and Asturias are full of them, and they play the bagpipes there.

I have no fixed plans for the Summer, except to go to Spain about the end of August. Do not forget next March.A reference to a proposed trip by Royall Tyler and Mildred Barnes in Spain.

Yrs sincerely

Royall Tyler.

If you see my brother give him my love.

Associated People: Edmund Quincy; Horace Cole; Tudor Castle