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Elisina Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, January 31, 1924

January 31st 1924Thursday.

Dearest Mildred,

I was very very sorry to hear from Royall that you had been ill again, and I hope this is the last time!

I sent you yesterday a copy of Bréhier’s article on Syrian silver,Louis Bréhier, “Les trésors d’argenterie syrienne et l’école artistique d’Antioche,” Gazette des beaux-arts 62 (March–April 1920): 173–196. See also letter of February 1, 1924: “Bréhier is excellent on such subjects, archaeologically. . . . A properly equipped and experienced archaeologist is a very rare bird these days, when the lime-light of fashion is turned on to one or two points of the huge field of art and the rest is velvety darkness, corresponding to a blank in the minds of our contemporaries, amateurs and museum officials.” which contains an illustration of the paten, and of our chalice, with other works of art in silver of the same nationality. The “Beaux-Arts” clerks brightened up when they heard your name and told me they frequently had the pleasure of sending you back-numbers at all sorts of new addresses. There! It is their way of travelling vicariously, poor dears.

Your Bourguignon went back to school on the 18th, unaccompanied by me, for the first time. We parted very bravely, but as soon as he reached London he wrote me a very long and “dewy” letter, which crossed one from me in which I had striven to hide the same sentiments. He did not go alone, but was taken across by a friend. He stayed with Gioia, whom he dearly loves, and who loves him just as much in return. I hope to go to GourdonThe Château de Gourdon, near the French Riviera. to May NorrisMay Norris (d. 1938), an American interior designer who opened her home, Château de Gourdon, to her American and British friends between 1918 and 1938. She was a friend of Edith Wharton. See Allyson Hayward, Norah Lindsay: The Life and Art of a Garden Designer (London: Frances Lincoln, 2007), 200 and 270. with Gioia on the 20th of this month, and then to stay with Edith at Hyères.Sainte-Claire du Château at Hyères in the south of France, the winter home that Edith Wharton began renting in 1919 and purchased in 1927. It will be a great joy to be with her for some time, and in such delightful circumstances.

Antigny is progressing favourably, in spite of all the inimical forces which try to stop the plâtres“Plaster.” from drying. I never realised that plaster was such a powerful thing in determining one’s happiness.

I daresay Royall told you that we spent a very happy Christmas and New Year at Antigny, and that we braved the rigours of the Burgundian winter. As a matter of fact, deep snow in high altitudes is quite a bearable thing, and 1500 feet seem an “altitude” after Paris, and twenty centimetres of snow deep snow after town slush.

Goodbye dearest Mildred—our very best love to Robert, and to you.

Yours ever,

Associated Artworks: BZ.1924.5; BZ.1955.18