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Elisina Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, April 24, 1926

par Arnay-le-Duc
(Côte d’Or)
April 24th 1926Saturday.

Dearest Mildred,

Royall sent me the lovely photographs to file away. What beautiful objects! The little creature with its zampino“Paw.” in the air is peculiarly attractive.Possibly Ex.Coll.HC.S.1925.02.(TC), a Chinese terracotta flying dragon with rider that the Blisses registered as probably Tsin dynasty, third century BCE.

Bill is going to Harrow on May 3rd, and he would be very happy indeed to see you at any time during the day next Sunday, May 2nd, if you can spare the time. He is arriving in Paris on Saturday afternoon, just in time to go and see a dentist! He has been taking his father for a short journey on the Dalmatian coast, and I am expecting him back on Monday morning, full of interesting news and information.

I came back from Hungary via Spalato, Ragusa, Bari and Ancona two months ago, and the very timid, self-conscious spring of those advanced countries was a wonderful thing to behold. Also, SpalatoModern Split, Croatia. is one of the dream-places of the world, and the great spirit of DiocletianThe late Roman emperor Diocletian (ca. 244–311, reigned 284–305) built his retirement villa on the Dalmatian coast at Spalatum (Spalato), now Split, Croatia. still holds the place under a spell. When we realised that Royall could only hope to snatch ten days all told in April, we decided the plan of a little honeymoon for him and Le Bourguignon. Except for rather unstable weather, it seems to have been a great success. But I hope for Bill’s sake that he may have the joy of telling you all about it.

I heard from Royall that Robert expects to join you on the 3rd of May, and that you are both going home on the 11th.The Blisses were going to Washington in part to accompany the Swedish Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf (1882–1973) and Princess Louise (1889–1965) in June and July on a month-long tour of the United States. See “Envoy to Sweden Visitor Constant Companion to Swedish Prince and Princess on American Tour; Precedes Royal Pair Here,” Los Angeles Times, July 15, 1926. While in Washington, they also wanted to discuss the problematic location of their music room, which they were considering siting at the location of the present dressing rooms of the swimming pool. On March 29, 1926, Robert Woods Bliss wrote the architect Lawrence Grant White: “You will have learned from my wife’s letter to you of March 18th that we expect to be in Washington towards the end of May. As our time in Washington will be short we should be greatly obliged if you can have as much as possible prepared for our consideration and discussion with you regarding the proposed music-room. It would be helpful if you could have out up again the sticks at the corners where the music-room would be, as was done last summer, so that my wife can see just what would be the hight [sic] of the music-room and get an idea of its relation to the green garden. I already have the plans which you sent for the music-room to be erected at the sight [sic] of the swimming-pool. However, we both feel that a modification of the entrance from the house could be worked out by making the entrance passage way lead from the proposed bay in the living-room. I enclose a rough ground sketch of this suggestion. Would you also, please, work out a plan for building a bay to the east of the living-room. We both still think that an effective passage-way from this bay above ground could be worked out. However, as the drop from the bay to the entrance of the music room is great, it would undoubtedly be necessary, in order to meet this difficulty, to make one or more turnings in the passage-way, after it went underground. This is a knotty problem and one that will require long study and doubtless many changes. It appeals to us both more than the plan you propose of making the entrance from the basement-room under the living-room. However, it would be advisable to maintain the service entrance from the basement. Needless to say we are keenly looking forward to our return to The Oaks and were glad to have your letter of February 15th reporting on the work of the service group. I am sure my wife will be much pleased with the way this group has worked out. You will recall that she has not seen the place since it was occupied by the Home for Incurables.” McKim, Mead & White Archives, New-York Historical Society, New York, call no. 396. I fear there is no place for a fuga“Getaway.” to Antigny in such a programme. But I should be so very happy to show you the tidying-up and the propping-up and the rooting-up that has been done here! Only yesterday I went over the very road, from Autun to Antigny, which we travelled together on that day when you first saw Antigny.See letters of December 1, 1913, and October 22, 1916. And I recalled all the incidents of that journey we took with you, when your love and your kindness poured balsam on a cruel woundThe death of Elisina Tyler’s son, Gerard Richards, on September 12, 1916.—Bless you—

When we were in Geneva we had the pleasure of seeing Mrs. McClellan.Probably Georgiana Louise (Mrs. George B.) McClellan née Heckscher (1863–1952). George B. McClellan (1865–1940) was a New York congressman, New York City mayor, Princeton University professor, and author. What a courageous and spirited thing it was to go to Angora.Probably Ankara, Turkey. The former English Angora was changed to Ankara in 1930. I admired her and envied her the experience. I had hoped to see her again in Paris, but I was there for a very few days, and Royall came unexpectedly, and I had to come here without seeing anybody.

We are planting, and sowing, and hatching, and laying, and browsing (rabbits).

The basse-cour“Barnyard.” is a delight, and there are now heaps of living creatures all about the place, dicky-birds in numbers, and a hawk, an owl and two hoopooes in the crevices of the mur de Courtrai,Probably a wall of posts or thick bramble. “Mur de Courtrai” is an allusion to the impenetrable wall of pikes that the French faced in the Flemish town of Courtrai in the “Battle of the Spurs” of 1302. and in Philippe d’Antigny’s old ruined keep.See letter of October 14, 1925. Philippe d’Antigny (Philippe de Neublans) (ca. 1210–1249) had the title seigneur d’Antigny et Champlitte.

I hope you and Robert liked the book. In its unassuming form, it has a great deal of knowledge condensed for the public to taste.

I hope our French friends won’t regret that no French authorities were given in the Bibliography. I hope they will realise that it is a manual, done to a certain extent, to a specification from the publishers, and one of a series.

You will be very busy, dearest Mildred, and I mustn’t look for a long letter from you, but I should be very happy, if you have half an hour on the way across, to hear from you.

I shall stay here till the June meeting of the League,League of Nations. when I shall go to stay with Sir Arthur Salter, as Royall is coming from Budapest.

Gioia is well, and CharlieCharles Geoffrey Grant Richards (1902–1959), Elisina Tyler’s son. is in Vickers-da-Costa, Stockbroker,The brokerage firm Victor, da Costa & Co., founded in London in 1917 by Horace Cecil Vickers (1882–1944). in London, and is working hard for he intends to justify their confidence.

My very fondest and best love.

Ever yours,

Associated Artworks: Ex.Coll.HC.S.1925.02.(TC)