You are here:Home/Resources/ Bliss-Tyler Correspondence/ Search the Letters/ Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes, August 29, 1904
Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes, August 29, 1904

Josiah Quincy

Counselor at Law

India Building, Rooms 1102 & 1104

84 State Street, Boston

Boston, Mass., August 29th 1904

Dear Mildred.

This morning I received a registered letter from you about the queer cards, with ten dollars. I won’t send you the ten dollars, as I don’t suppose they’d be much good to you now, and I’ll pay them to you in the money of the country when we meet. This, by the way, I hope will be soon. I have engaged a passage by the S.S. BalticRMS Baltic, a British ocean liner of the White Star Line that made its maiden voyage on June 29, 1904. The RMS Baltic was the largest ship in the world until 1905. for Sept. 7th. I thus expect to arrive at Queenstown on the 13th or 14th, then probably stay with these people Probably the family of Laurence Parsons, 4th Earl of Rosse (1840–1908), and his wife Frances Cassandra née Hawke-Harvey (1851–1921) at Birr Castle, County Offaly (formerly King’s County), Republic of Ireland. See letter of September 15, 1904. for two or three days, and then pursue you, if I am allowed to do so. Could you have a letter at Queenstown for me, telling me your plans—if any—and I will do all in my power to join you. Leland Buxton wants me at Brussels, but if you are accessible I don’t want to go.

My hostRoyall Tylers host has not been identified. is delightful. He is occupied in publishing reproductions of the masters, and is now starting a theatre. He shuns society, except what he thinks worth while for him. My visit has been one round of Hospitality, which wrecked me on the first night, and left me with a bad head and sore remorse. I have lost all taste for reveling, I trust for ever, but don’t dare to say I’m sure of it. Nevertheless, my convivial side will have scars that will be food for hideous thoughts all my life.

I am waiting now for my stepfather to take me to see the ghoul, The reference to the ghoul has not been identified. and I dread it. People have been nice to me, put me up for three clubs, and I feel so ashamed of myself for longing to escape, which I shall on Thursday. I have a most cordial letter from Canfield, Richard Albert Canfield (1855–1914), an owner of gambling houses and an art collector known as a connoisseur of paintings and ceramics. Before his death in 1914, he sold what was considered to be the second largest collection of paintings by James Abbott McNeill Whistler and works on paper in the United States to the dealers M. Knoedler and Co. in New York. See “R. A. Canfield Sells Whistler Pictures; Diversified Collection Which Owner Valued at $300,000 Bought by M. Knoedler & Co.,” New York Times, March 19, 1914; and “Appraise Canfield Estate at $246,149; Gambler’s ‘Home’ Was Providence, But He Left Property of That Value in New York. U.S. Club Put In at $4,000 His Whistler Collection Valued at $5,000 and Antiques and Art Objects at $159,999,” New York Times, April 28, 1916. In 1914, Anna Barnes Bliss acquired Whistler’s Nocturne in Blue and Silver: The Lagoon, Venice (1879–1880) from the Canfield Collection. After her death in 1935, the painting passed to Mildred Barnes Bliss; it was purchased by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 1942 (acc. no. 42.302). who begs me to come to Providence and view his collection. This I shall do. Yesterday I spent at Nahant, to see my brother. He is seemingly very well, but still squints. I saw some people there called Luce, John Dandridge Henley Luce (d. 1921), a banker (De Ford and Company, Boston) with interests in Puerto Rican railroads and the Aguirre Sugar Company. He was also the head of the Spanish Bank of San Juan. Luce came to Washington, D.C., from Puerto Rico in 1900, at the time Robert Woods Bliss was serving in the office of the governor of Puerto Rico, William H. Hunt, to lobby for a free trade agreement between Puerto Rico and the United States. See “Free Trade for Puerto Rico; It is Feared Protectionists May Block Congressional Action for Relief of the Island,” New York Times, January 17, 1900. who said they knew your brother Robert at Puerto Rico and liked him very much. I believe the man Luce is a banker there. I went to the Museum to see the Greco, El Greco, Fray Hortensio Félix Paravicino (1609), acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 1904 (acc. no. 04.234). which is well hung, and a beautiful picture. For a small collection they have some good things, but a lot of truck too. Some of the Japanese things are good. I like Boston architecturally far better than New York, and think Beacon Street has a nice line, save for the tall Bachelors appartment [sic], 48 Beacon Street, Boston. which ruins it. Copley Square I don’t like.

Next time I come to America I shall come as a thief in the night, and nothing will induce me to visit Boston, though if I hadn’t been born here, I would stay a fortnight gladly. As it is, the American voice is beginning to grate on my nerves and I must away. I shall stop at Mattapoisett on Thursday to see Mrs. Warren, Susan Cornelia Clarke (1825–1901), the wife of Samuel Dennis Warren (1817–1888), owner of the S. D. Warren Papermill Company. The Warrens acquired a considerable art collection, and their son, Samuel Dennis Warren II, is famously known for the Harvard Law Review article, “The Right to Privacy” (1890), that he authored with Louis Brandeis. In his Autobiography (1:21), Royall Tyler wrote of his “mother’s closest friend, Mrs. S. D. Warren,” who summered at Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, on Buzzard’s Bay. In 1904, Royall Tyler apparently was unaware of her death in 1901. See Martin Burgess Green, The Mount Vernon Street Warrens: A Boston Story, 1860–1910 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1989). and then there will be five days clear at New York, in which I shall do as I please, and see no more people unless I wish to. I have met some pleasant people here.

No more time now. I say a rosary to you on the amber beads. They are a great blessing.

Yrs. sincerely,

Royall Tyler.

Associated Things: Autobiography