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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, August 28, 1942

From Royall Tyler Hotel du Mont d’ArboisMont d’Arbois in Megève, a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region of southeastern France.

Megève (Hte Savoie)


It was a great day, dearest Mildred, when the news came that the Red Cross had agreed to Elisina’s proposalSee letter of April 7, 1942.—thanks to your sponsoring. It has put new life into her. She’s now at Vichy, arranging things with the new Institut d’Hygiène National, of which by a lucky chance the Gen. Secretary is an old friend of mine, Veillet-Lavallée.Marc Veillet-Lavallée became secretary general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1946.

I’ve been here now for a month, in this very comfortable hotel, 1300 metres up in superb country, and I’m feeling very well indeed. I return to Geneva day after tomorrow. I beg you to let me have a line of news, even if it’s literally only a line.

I had here Bill’s letter telling me that you and Robert dined with them, and that he found you both in very good form, which made me very happy. Also that, that very day, he had had a letter from me. When that letter was written, I was still poorly, rather, as I was all this last spring, but I recovered gradually as the summer approached and by the time I came here was able to take full advantage of my holiday—superb walks in this magnificent country, and a little, not too much work, and a bit of reading. I’m reading mainly Greek. I brought with me Aeschylus,Aeschylus (ca. 525–ca. 456 BCE), an ancient Greek playwright of tragedies. and a volume of Herodotus,Herodotus (ca. 484–425 BCE), an ancient Greek historian often called the “Father of History.” and LongusLongus, the ancient Greek author of the romance Daphnis and Chloe. Very little is known of his life, and it is assumed that he lived on the island of Lesbos, the setting for Daphnis and Chloe, during the second century CE. (Daphnis and Chloe). Any other literature I require, I write for myself. Longus is a special pet of mine: I know him now almost as I used to know Izaac WaltonIzaak Walton (1594–1683), the English author of the The Compleat Angler. when I was a boy,See letter of March 6, 1904. and I read him again and again with increased pleasure each time. Incomparable rhythm and music in that prose.

I correspond with Matilda Gay,Matilda Gay (née Travers) (1856–1943), the wife of the painter Walter Gay and a friend of the Blisses, the Tylers, and Edith Wharton. by carte interzonePostcards preprinted with words and phrases that were required for communication between occupied and free France between 1939 and 1945.—restricted, but one’s thankful for that much. I wrote her one today. I’ve not heard from her since I’ve been here.

We get news frequently from Antigny. All right, so far. Vincenzo and CarlaPresumably employees of the Tylers. are there, and apparently looking after it well. We have other people with an eye on it too.

Georges de VogüéComte Georges de Vogüé (1898–1987). is here, and his mother (Mme. Arthur de V.),Marie Adèle Herménégilde de Contades (1861–1953), who married Comte Arthur de Vogüé (1838–1924) in 1882. now 80 odd, is expected shortly, and Elisina will come back here to see her. I wish I could.

Fondest love to you, precious Mildred, and to Robert.