Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, October 27, 1939

Geneva . 27.X.39

Your letter of Sept. 25 reached me today, tho’ it came by air. It had been held up by the British censorship. I think that it is better, at present, to try to send airmail to or from Switzerland via Italy. Please le me know how this one fares. From here by rail-post to Rome, & from Rome by air to Lisbon—N.Y.

Well, anyway, it was a good day that brought me this letter of yours, precious Mildred. I’m enchanted to hear you liked the Philosopher-Humanist-growler.This is a reference to the portrait photographs that Royall Tyler had sent Mildred Barnes Bliss. “Growler” was Mildred Bliss’s nickname for Royall Tyler. To me, well—, Growler was suggested, but growler without the capital that word gains when used by you.

I beg for more news and comment when you’ve had time to look round in Washington. The programme you sketch out, I’m not sorry to think (in spite of my intense desire to see you) must take a longish time to complete. I trust, I pray, the devilment may be over by then. While agreeing with the British that plans should be made for 3 years, I’m not at all sure it may not be much shorter. Everything about this affair is queer, unlike what was expected. Hitler’sAdolf Hitler (1889–1945), a German politician and the leader of the Nazi Party. He was chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and dictator of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. gambling throw of surrender to BolshevismIn August 1939, Germany broke the terms of the Anti-Comintern Pact, an anti-communist pact concluded between Nazi Germany, Japan, and other fascist governments, on November 25, 1936, when the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed between the Soviet Union and Germany. destroyed more of the ground on which he stands than meets the eye, even now. That’s my impression, purely on general considerations. We’ll see.

I’m pining to know how you liked the Kaleb Coptic thingsBZ.1939.13 and BZ.1939.14.1–25. on seeing the originals which I assume you have now done, tho’ I’ve heard nothing yet. Pity! Quick?

Yes, I’m very grateful indeed to Robert for urging Bill to stick to his work unless and until he’s really wanted. I haven’t heard much from him—I understand to [sic] well that he should find it hard to write. It’s a great comfort to think he’s doing what he is.

I’m pegging away at economic intelligence work. Difficult, now, but interesting—and perhaps of use. I’d welcome something different, as you may imagine, but I’m lucky to have this, just now, & I don’t complain.

Elisina is better, gradually—and the best sign of all is that she realizes, without my suggestion, that she can’t undertake any war work. She is staying still at Antigny, the best thing she can do. I’m going tomorrow to meet her, for two days, about half way.

This is just a hurried line to give you a sign of life, and to attempt to elicit more news quickly from you. I’ll try to give you anything I can gather, as it comes. I’m not despondant, on balance, but as it is bound to be, and uncertain as I feel whether Algernon“The English.” and Anatole“The French.” know what they are about. AdolfAdolf Hitler (1889–1945), a German politician and the leader of the Nazi Party. He was chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and dictator of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. has lost the initiative, and Wladimir“The Russians.” (touch wood) is better where he is than in the camp we are interested in. As for Tony,“The Italians.” I think he’s all right. And my bon Arpád“Good Hungarians.” isn’t doing so badly, on the whole, so far.

My blessings on you—R. T.

Associated People: Elisina Tyler; William Royall Tyler
Associated Things: Kalebdjian Frères
Associated Artworks: BZ.1939.13; BZ.1939.14.1–25