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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, October 22, 1916

Château de Genay

Par Semur-en-Auxois

Côte d’Or

22 October, 1916.Sunday.

Now it is all over, dear Mildred—but only for this time—it seems it only lasted one day instead of five—What a delight it was!During Mildred Barnes Bliss’s visit to the Château de Genay, she and the Tylers toured Burgundy in the Côte d’Or region. She wrote to her stepfather about this trip: “The strange contrast between architectural beauty of the past in mellowed Burgundy, untouched by the horror of the present, and enthralling one by the wars it has witnessed in the past. . . . The first trip I made with Elisina and Royall. ‘Twas a six days’ holiday for us all and broke the dreary routine for her, just after Gerard was killed. We ambled about to see every ‘rotting tower’ and reveled in the wines. The enclosed cards of Fontenay will give you a notion of one of the finest Cistercian abbeys, but I can’t make you see the ruddy vineyards, mediaeval castles used as farms, and the fine churches, nor feel the flavor of Burgundian hospitality.” Mildred Barnes Bliss to William Henry Bliss, December 8, 1916, Blissiana files, William Henry Bliss correspondence. See also letter of October 12, 1916, in which Royall provides directions. See also letter of October 23, 1916.

I left out one plan on the little list I gave you—Sainte Magnance, coming between Saulieu & Époisses, where we saw the Romanesque tomb with the saint on her walking tour, with knapsack and staff.The twelfth-century sarcophagus of Saint Magnance, now in the church and village of Sainte Magnance between Avallon and Semur-en-Auxois, north of Saulieu. Saint Magnance was a maiden who accompanied the body of St. Germain at his request and at the behest of the empress Galla Placidia when it was moved from Ravenna to Auxerre in the fifth century. She died at Sainte Magnance, where she requested to be buried. Her burial site was rediscovered by a pilgrim of the seventh century, and a Romanesque sarcophagus was made for her remains in the twelfth century.

Elisina and I talk much of Antigny,Antigny-le-Château in Burgundy. The Tylers purchased the château seven years later in 1923. See letters of September 5, 1923, and September 10, 1923. it is such a joy that you saw it. You won’t mention it to a soul except Robert, will you? For I’m superstitiously afraid that if we do speak of it we may never get it.

It is desperately cold here, though hot in the sun. My sponge was stiff with ice this morning.

Elisina is writing to you herself—William and I send you our devoted love, and to Robert also.

Yours always sincerely

Royall Tyler