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Mildred Barnes Bliss to Royall Tyler, September 25, 1910

1376 Calle LibertadCalle Libertad 1376, Buenos Aires, was the town house of Benjamin Williams. The house, now demolished, was built in 1904.

Sept. 25th 1910Sunday.

Dear Royall:

Your letterSee letter of August 26, 1910. was handed to me the other day after lunch as Robert and I sat on the garden steps talking of you and Elisina. I had already replied to her letter,See letters of August 20, 1910 (Elisina's letter), and September 17, 1910 (Mildred's reply). and so you both know how we feel upon the great event about to befall you.

It will make me very happy indeed to be your child’s godmother and it touches me deeply that you and Elisina should want to give me the right to share it.Royall Tyler made this request in his letter of August 26, 1910. Mildred Barnes Bliss replied affirmatively to Elisina Grant Richards in a separate letter of September 17, 1910. Thank you both heartily.

It is only right however that you both understand the irregularity of my being sponsor. Although I was baptised by 3 protestant denominations (!), I have never been confirmed into any church. Several times I have been to the communion table in episcopal churches, but it occasioned controversy. My other 6 godchildrenOne of Mildred Barnes Bliss’s godchildren was Victoria Stuart Tytus (later Mrs. Lawrence Coolidge) (1909–1996). were baptised in the Church of England and the episcopal and Unitarian sects, and in each case the clergyman, when informed of my unorthodoxy, admitted me on the personal ground of Deism, right living and with the hope of confirmation. Elisina, I assume, was born into the Roman Church and should her baby be also christened in that faith, the officiating priest might refuse to admit me as godmother. I should be bitterly disappointed if any dogmatic narrowness were to prevent me from sharing in a traditional service, which in this instance, makes a strong appeal to my most intimate sentiment. I may add that the 2 Church of England men were the hardest to induce to believe that I might have as staunch faith as they without accepting their Theology!

Vide addenda

Addenda. As you and Elisina have asked me in these unusual circumstances to be your child’s godmother, and I have accepted more than the ordinary amount of responsibility attendant upon being sponsor, I think it wise to write my Mother and stepfather of the exceptional circumstances and our interpretation of them. Were an incomplete or inaccurate version to reach them, they might permanently misapprehend the whole affair. Moreover it seems only just to them, since it touches me closely, and likewise fairer to you and Elisina that they receive the first account of it direct from me. So I am taking the liberty of writing my Mother the main facts and our reading of them and I feel sure the knowledge will be perfectly safe in her keeping, although one can hardly expect that she will see the situation as we do. Also, please let me know when I shall be at liberty to speak of Elisina and the child, for I should like to write the Charles WarrensCharles Warren and Annie Louise Bliss Warren. how we feel about it, before Dedham shall have had its say.The meaning of Mildred Barnes Bliss’s reference to Dedham, Massachusetts, is uncertain. When Dedham’s town covenant was signed in 1636, the signers stated “we shall by all means labor to keep off from us all such as are contrary minded, and receive only such unto us as may be probably of one heart with us, as that we either know or may well and truly be informed to walk in a peaceable conversation with all meekness of spirit.”

If all goes well, we shall be in Paris by Oct. 1911. We can never be certain of anything in this career, but we are building to that end and I think our plans will materialize. When we finally set sail, it will be for Lisbon (17 days). Thence we shall go to Madrid and visit as many Spanish towns—Burgos, at last!—as possible.This trip did not take place. Before that time, you must advise us as to how we may crowd the most of beauty and interest into our short reprieve.

Your book has come and I have read it and shall write at length upon it and much besides in the way of recent experience, as soon as summer and tranquility are at last upon us. But I must say now, that the book delights me and that I am pleased with you.

Write me promptly of Elisina and the child and tell me that any objections to me as sponsor have been overcome. Should you ever have occasion to cable me, the address is merely Milrob, Baires (the latter being Buenos Aires): just as Amlegation (or Amembassy as the case may be) plus the city, will always reach Robert.

All good attend you both and your child.

Yours always sincerely

Mildred Bliss.

Associated Places: Buenos Aires (Argentina)