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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, August 31, 1931


I’ve been dragged away from Antigny and Vol. IL’art byzantin. (practically ready for press, thank God) to a Roumanian rescue party, dearest Mildred, and have profited by a weekend to escape from Bucarest and see the chief town of Transylvania, Brassó (Kronstadt) which I have often passed in the train, but never visited. I’m glad I did: it is like some German provincial town in the lower Rhine region—some side Valley unspoilt by industry—Limburg a d. Lahn, say or still better, an Alsatian town, as Kronstadt is protestant. Its ChurchThe so-called Black Church, the largest Gothic church between Vienna and Istanbul, built between 1385 and 1477. The church was given its name in 1689 when the “Great Fire,” set by Hapsburg invaders, leveled most of the town, heavily damaged the church, and blackened its walls. is the most Eastern Gothic Church in Europe, and it possesses about 150 Anatolian carpets, XVI and XVII, some of them Uschaks of very great beauty, the gifts of the merchants in whose hands the trade was at the time: Constantinople, the Danube Valley, Kronstadt, Cernovitz, Lemberg, Warsaw, Dantzig etc.

Bill tells me that he has written to you about his affairs of the heart. The girlBettine Tyler. is perfectly delightful in every way, very pretty, great taste in dress, very intelligent, charming manners and a decided personality. Both Elisina and I like her immensely, and couldn’t imagine anyone we’d rather have as a daughter-in-law. She and Bill appear to be very sensible, and realise that there can be no question of their marrying until Bill has finished his education and got a job. This is a relief, as Betsy is only a few months younger than Bill, and comes into some money at 21, which might have turned their heads. What will come of it all, God knows, but in the meantime, though on the whole I’d perhaps have preferred Bill not to meet his fate for a few years more, it is true that it acts as a stimulus to him to work, and puts a gravity and purpose into him which aren’t out of place in a boy of 21 (!! yes, on Oct. 17. next), but which they don’t usually develop at that age. And thank Heaven she is so nice! Bill’s affections apparently were never engaged before, and Betsy’s motherEveleen Fisher-Rowe (d. June 23, 1970). tells me the same of Betsy. I wish you could see what a lamb she is—and deeply interested in everything we care for, and a very well read, and widely read little person, who doesn’t play bridge, or golf, or smoke, or drink, though her mother would let her do all these things if she wanted to. Perhaps the key to this particular riddle is that Betsy’s elder sister,Gwendolyn “Gwenyth” Edith Fisher-Rowe (1906–1978). She married Douglas Greenacre, a military man in the Coldstream Guards who was originally from South Africa. who is married to a Colonel in the Guards, is a very gay bird—et par réaction.“And by reaction.” Anyway, that’s what she’s like.

Bless you, my dearest Mildred.

R. T.

Associated People: Bettine Tyler; William Royall Tyler
Associated Things: L'art byzantin