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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, November 30, 1914

Burlington Hotel. W.Burlington Hotel, 30 Old Burlington Street, Westminster, London.


Dear Mildred

Your telegram, failing yourself, was most welcome. All went off successfully on Thanksgiving day, which I chose forgetful of the feast but because it was the first day on which we legally might be wed. The fact that it was Thanksgiving day I suppose indicates that Providence thinks we are lucky to get it, while we are inclined to grumble at having been kept waiting so long. Pitzy was there, and Eric Maclagan and his wife, Mrs. Sutro,Probably Esther Stella Isaacs Sutro (ca. 1865–1934), wife of the dramatist Alfred Sutro (1863–1933) and herself a writer and a friend of Henry James. George StreetPossibly the writer George Slythe Street (1867–1936). (Broad George to distinguish him from Castle, who is Long George), and Wainwright, our solicitor—and a friend well worth having. The ceremony took place at the Registrar’s office in Henrietta St. Covent Garden.

It now is settled that we are to stay here to do this job,See letter of September 30, 1914. of which I’ll tell you much more later. Suffice it to say that there is a lot of almost incredibly important stuff. For some time I hesitated about doing work quite divorced from the present tragic happenings; but I can’t go and fight and can really not afford to let the time go by without earning money. A poor enough excuse from one point of view, and I am doubtless more lucky than I deserve in getting work to do at a time when most men can find nothing; but I know I am of more use to Elisina and William and the people round us with some money on hand than with none. Also, the work itself is so interesting that it would be a great pity to miss it, and its successful completion may mean other similar job in the future.

We are going to take a furnished house and have William over. It will mean 3–4 months in London, and that at a gloomy time of year, but I am not sorry in many ways to get a longer look at England than I have had for years. I won’t attempt to tell you what I think of it now, except that it seems to me the war is hitting one class so hard that it will never be the same again—which you know already. On the other hand, that particular class is meant to serve, came into being to serve, is ever willing to serve, and lives in clover all the fat years of peace secure in its own consciousness that when the time comes it will know how to serve. The time has come, and the English upper class has shown a generally incredulous world what it is made of. It won’t really be wiped out, and I expect there will be compensations to the survivors in an England of less ill-will and class-hatred than it has been their lot to live in for the last generation. I have travelled about a good deal in 3d class carriages and heard the Tommies talking about their officers, and there’s no doubt as to their trust and devotion to them.

On reading this over it looks as if the Record OfficePublisher of the Spanish Calendar of State Papers. were being allowed to languish—but it isn’t—I’m doing that too. Elisina is extenuated by house-hunting, and begs me to give you and the angel Robert her dearest love, to which I add mine. How good of you to have William on the 26—or to have tried to.

Yours always sincerely

Royall Tyler.

Associated Places: London (United Kingdom)
Associated Concepts: First World War