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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss and Robert Woods Bliss, July 16, 1940

16.VII.40 Geneva

Dear Robert—

You’ll have had my cableCable of July 14, 1940. in reply to yours of the 15th, which deeply touched me with its solicitude for Vol. III.L’art byzantin. As soon as it’s possible I’ll get in touch with HypérionHypérion, a French book publisher. and see what can be done. As Hypérion has been preparing to publish, simultaneously, Vols. I & II revised and Vol. III, in three editions, Fr. Eng. & German, it may be difficult to make an arrangement with them. Or who knows what will survive of the firm? The Vol. III plates, I believe, have been prepared, and of course those of Vol. I & II should exist. But where they all are now, I know not.

I am thinking of taking our objects & books from Antigny over, when it can be done—but of course want to consult with Elisina before reaching a decision. Anyway, it couldn’t be done now—to ship them—and it may be long before it is possible. The bulk of our photographs is at Bangor, I’m glad to say. I only wish other things were there as well.

I had my first letter, yesterday, written by Elisina since the occupation—dated 9 July. She got someone to take it to Vichy & mail it there. She says she is well, & that everything at Antigny has been preserved. She has had to take in German military on 3 occasions: had 9 officers & 4 orderlies in the house, & 14 men in the outbuildings. The officers were courteous and showed good will. It’s fortunate for our little possessions that Elisina stuck there, as her presence prevented looting. Alas, all our neighbours fled, and she gives me a list of their houses that were looted (she doesn’t say by whom). Alas, CommarinThe Château de Commarin. was looted, and Epoisses,The Château d’Époisses. and La Rochepot,The Château de la Rochepot. and Sta SabineThe Château Sainte-Sabine.—and no doubt many more. Diane de VogüéDiane Pastré, comtesse Charles de Vogüé (1888–1971), who lived at the Château de Commarin near Dijon. is in the south (Montredon, par Marseille). She has had no news of her only sonComte Charles-Louis de Vogüé (1914–1940). He was killed in action on May 14, 1940. since early May, but of course there is still a ray of hope that he’s a prisoner—though I fear it’s a faint one. Georges de VogüéComte Georges de Vogüé (1898–1987). is also missing. She probably doesn’t yet know about Commarin having been looted—and when I wrote to her today I hadn’t the courage to tell her. If only she had stayed where she was! Perhaps it’s early days to say that—but so far it looks as if it was the wise thing to do, tho’ it took a bit of courage.

I don’t yet know when I can get to Elisina. She says she can’t possibly leave Antigny until things settle down again, for the reasons indicated above. Also, she is going on with her relief work, as best she can. I don’t know when we shall be able to get away—tho’ I admit I don’t at present see any alternative to leaving. Of course I don’t want this to be a unilateral decision on my part, & shall not speak of it until she & I have been able to consult. I still feel dazed & numb, & seldom wake up without thinking it has all been just a bad dream. Then comes realisation. Much love to you both.

R. T.

 
Associated People: Elisina Tyler
Associated Things: L'art byzantin