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Elisina Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, October 23, 1916

Genay, Côte d’Or

October 23rd 1916Monday.

Darling Mildred,

I have thought of you so much that you seem to be here still.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 letters of October 12, 1916, in which Royall provides directions, and October 22, 1916. I want to keep the thought of our happy days together green in my memory. I hope you were not over-tired, or cold. I am coming to Paris tomorrow and I shall try to telephone a good morning to you.

My hands are frozen, and my writing has a stricken air which I deplore and my friends must regret to see. I can’t help it, but the consciousness of it makes writing letters less pleasant. I am waiting for the great discovery you are going to make to send my circulation round more briskly!

William is very much thrilled by the possession of a pocket-knife.In his preparation of the typescript of the Tyler-Bliss correspondence in the Tyler Papers, William Royall Tyler reminisced about the contents of this letter: “In 1916, Mr. and Mrs. Bliss came to stay, and I was awed by her: a vision of elegance and mystery, with furs, a large hat, long gloves and exotic perfume, who swooped down on me and asked me if I would like to see her do a fox trot. Confused by this abracadabra, I merely hung my head, whereupon the vision turned on its heels and started taking short jerky steps with little turns around the room, holding its arms half extended before it. I suffered extreme discomfort and embarrassment from all this, but the present of a silver pen-knife, my first, restored my composure.” Tyler Papers, HUGFP 38.1, box 1. You couldn’t have imagined a more precious gift.

My love to Robert, and my most loyal and devoted love to you. Bless you.

Yours always,


Associated Places: Semur-en-Auxois (France)