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TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 



TWENTY YEARS 
IN ROUMANIA 



BY 



MAUDE PARKINSON 




LONDON : GEORGE ALLEN & UNWIN, LTD. 
RUSKIN HOUSE, 40 MUSEUM STREET, W.C. i 






First published in 1 92 1 



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PREFACE 

NOW that I have set down in black and white 
these random impressions and recollections 
of a country in which I spent many of the happiest 
years of my life, a slight feeling of doubt assails me. 
Might my Roumanian friends possibly find cause 
for offence in the freedom which I have allowed 
myself ? Then I remember that they have a sense 
of humour, and the doubt vanishes. 

If I deal frankly with some of the methods and 
customs of the country, it is because I hope to give 
English readers an insight into the character of the 
people, and enable them to find there, as I have 
found, a very great deal to love. 

When, after my long absence from England, I 
compare our own methods and ways of thought with 
those which have become so familiar to me in 
Roumania, the latter do not always suffer in the 
comparison. Indeed, if I wrote about some of the 
things which have especially struck me since my 
return, I might arouse a good deal of resentment. 

Some of the best friends I have in the world are 
Roumanians. The kindness and sympathy they 
showed me during a time of great sorrow in my life 
must be an enduring memory. Rather than be 
suspected of repaying such kindness by holding up 
my friends to ridicule, I would tear up these pages 



6 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

which I— a tyro in the art of letters -have written 
with so much labour, but also, I must add, with so 
much pleasure. 

After completing my education in Germany, I 
spent some time very happily in Vienna with 
friends who were well acquainted with Roumania. 

I became fascinated by their descriptions of life 
in a country which for me had something of the 
glamour of the Orient, and so, armed with letters 
of introduction, I proceeded to Bucarest and soon 
established myself as a teacher of languages. For 
the twenty-two following years of my life I lived in 
Roumania ; but for the war I should probably be 
there now. 

My relations with my pupils, members of the best- 
known families in the country, were always of the 
pleasantest, and as Roumanians have a natural 
aptitude for languages, there was no drudgery in 
the teaching. 

Since I left the country Roumania has come 
through a time of terrible trial. 

My heart has often been wrung by the accounts 
of the sufferings of my friends ; but even during the 
darkest days of the war I was sustained by the 
knowledge that they never once lost courage. They 
displayed a spirit as indomitable as our own, and 
now I rejoice that their fiery trial is over, and that 
the dawn of a glorious day has arrived. 

MAUDE REA PARKINSON. 

AHMAGH, 1921. 



CONTENTS 

PAGES 

CHAPTER I 17-23 

A real enterprise — The glamour of the Arabian Nights — Off 
to an iinknown country — Light on the way— A friend 
at coiu-t — I figure as a Nihilist — The Hungarian 
" express " — Wild men in sheep -skins — An intruder 
routed — Bucarest, a dreadful town — Adventures by 
flood and street — A warm reception. 

CHAPTER II 24-33 

Hazy ideas about Roumania — " Bucarest, Turkey " — A 
letter for Sinaia goes to Simla — The physical features 
of the country — Its mineral wealth — The chief towns 
— The Cernavoda Bridge — The railways and the 
scenery through which they pass — The mighty 
Danube — The Iron Gates. 

CHAPTER III 34-42 

The Government of Roumania — The Parliament — Lively 
elections — The batiusi and their big sticks — Military 
picnics at election times — " General Post " after an 
election — Party handwriting — Natiual selection cir- 
cumscribed for postal officials — The army— A soldier's 
life not always a happy one — Military marketers, 
nurses, and spring-cleaners — Tlie accession celebra- 
tions — On parade — The opposition goes into mourn- 
ing and enjoys a happy day — Threatening demon- 
strations which end happily — A gallant army—If 
stiff on parade, the Roumanian soldier is " one of 
the best." 

CHAPTER IV 43-52 

The religion of Roumania — The head of the Church must 
be a monk, and therefore a celibate — -The priests are 
of the peasant class, unlearned and little respected — 
A priest's monthly rounds — Prayers for a girl's 

7 



8 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

PAGES 

marriage — St Demetre the patron saint of Bucarest 
— His vocation as a rain-maker — He is brought out 
when the priests see the rain coming — Roumanian 
chtirches — The legend of Curtea d'Argesh — The well 
of Manole's wife's tears— Easter customs — The 
Roumanian monasteries : dens for lazy people — A 
wonderful grotto — The convents — Princess Marie 
as a nun. 

CHAPTER V 53-58 

Roumania's capital — A garden city — Modesty on the 
trams — " A town of one street, one church, and one 
idea " — The Galea Victorie — Two hundred churches 
— The church of Doamna Balash — English customs 
gaining headway — The houses of Bucarest — After- 
noon calls and refreshments — The fortifications. 

CHAPTER VI 59-66 

The land system — The Dominele or squirearchy — The 
simple life of the peasants— The beginning of a revolt 
— A premature outbreak — The countryside in flames 
— King Carol's new guns first used on his subjects — A 
village population exterminated — Terror in the town 
— I go to church and am relieved to see Princess 
Marie there — The tale of a sufferer — The priests and 
schoolmasters the instigators — The peasants' sub- 
terranean dwellings. 

CHAPTER VII 67-71 

Village scenes — National dances — The picturesque peasant 
costumes — Peasant girls who powder and paint — 
An idyllic scene — A country wedding — Peasant 
simplicity. 

CHAPTER VIII 72-81 

Trade and commerce — The only strictly Roumanian 
shops belong to Princes — No English shops, though 
they woiild be welcomed — English catalogues unin- 
telligible — An English firm and its " standard " 
colour — A successfvU English factory — The labour 
question, saints' days and names-days — German fac- 
tories — Beer taxed in the interests of wine — Sugar and 
cheese factories — Sheep-milking — Petroleum wells in 
Roumania — An infiux of Americans — Rockefeller's 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 9 

PAQES 

agent, Mr Chamberlain, and his family — How a man 
of gipsy origin " struck oil " and became a millionaire 
— Paper-mills and coal-mines. 

CHAPTER IX 82-88 

Severe restrictions on Jews — The Jews as traders — Their 
vigorous methods — They exploit the peasants of the 
countryside as wine-shopkeepers and moneylenders 
— The Jews as tenants of estates sublet at rack rents 
— The original proprietor cannot see that he has any 
share of responsibility for the grinding down of the 
peasants — An anti-Jewish riot in the Lipscani — A 
family of Paris Jews make a large fortune in a fashion- 
able shop in a few years — A Jewish wedding which 
is a double one. 

CHAPTER X 89-96 

The educational system — Long hoiirs of study and no 
fresh air or exercise — Take Jonescu, as Minister of 
Education, introduces the bath-tub to the schools 
and provides for walking exercise — School fare is 
never good — A water famine — Examinations and 
show questions — English poetry translated literally — 
German literature taught in French, the pupils being 
examined in Roumanian — Lack of books in the 
Roumanian language — The school fetes — Convents 
and proselytising — A girl who despised all the pleas- 
ures of the world and ran away to become a nun. 

CHAPTER XI 97-102 

Take Jonescu, an enlightened Minister of Education — " La 
bouche d'or" — His personality — A true Roumanian 
in his almost Oriental love of luxviry — His town and 
country houses — Madame Jonescu an as authoress 
— Her menagerie of pets — The love-story of Take 
Jonescu — The meeting of the law student and the 
English girl — A trip to England follows — Obstacles 
are overcome and a happy marriage follows. 

CHAPTER XII 103-111 

The National Theatre — The students' riot on behalf of the 
national language — -Racing as a fashionable amuse- 
ment — English jockeys and trainers — The Battle of 
Flowers — The devotees of the card-table — Rafting on 
the Bistritza ; a glorious sport. 



10 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

PAGES 

CHAPTER XIII 112-115 

The blessing of the waters : a picturesque ceremony — 
Diving for the cross — Baptising the Jew — The chUd 
rain-makers ; a charming custom — How I watered 
the human plants- — The peasants celebrate the sowing 
of the seed 

CHAPTER XIV 116-120 

Festivals — A cruel christening — Marriage-making — The 
fiance a bore— The bride's moral references — 
Anonymous letters — The bridal dress — The marriage 
ceremony — A floral departure — Hired jewellery as 
wedding presents — Child brides — Tempted to the altar 
with a doll ! 

CHAPTER XV 121-128 

Pretty Roumanian women — Adventitious aids to beauty 
— Paris toilets — Childish extravagances — Men with 
London tailors — A dandy in blue boots — Some quaint 
superstitions — Warding off the ovU eye — The efficacy 
of hot coals and a cup of water^The Mar^isoara, or 
March token — A wife's indiscretion punished : 
story of poetic justice — The Mar^isoara as a tem- 
peramental barometer. 

CHAPTER XVI 129-133 

English nurses introduce the bath-tub— Matutinal 
ablutions in a country house — Abstinence from 
ablutions a proof of holiness — The funeral of a Metro- 
politan ; dead prelate in the procession- — Afternoon 
tea's equivalent in a tomb. 

CHAPTER XVII 134-143 

The servant question not so acute as in England — 
Establishments of thirty servants — Five or six for pro- 
fessional people — Terms and duties of service — An 
imwilling bather — A highly recommended maid who 
waited at table barefooted — The reference books of 
servants — The servants' quarters — A strange privilege; 
female servants may have their hiisbands or putative 
husbands and their families to live witli them — 
Costly marriage fees are prohibitive — " Madam " and 
"Madame" — Linguistic pitfalls; a "master" or a 
" cake " ? — When a bald-headed cook is wanted — 
Leaving cards on names-days — An omnibus round. I 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 11 

PAGES 

CHAPTER XVIII 144-150 

Convict life in the salt mines — A Roumanian Jack 
Sheppard — The trick that laid him low — Procedure 
in murder cases — The reconstruction of the crime 
— Scant justice for servants ; no Habeas Corpus Act 
in Roumania — A man whose face was the only 
evidence against him — Gipsies and the building trade ; 
the men act as masons and bricklayers, the women as 
their labourers — Exhibition of new clothes when a 
roof is put on — Fiddling ragamuffins — Gipsies as 
musicians — Guarding against gipsies in the 
Carpathians. 

CHAPTER XIX 151-158 

King Carol as a diplomat — Lichnowsky as a Secretary of 
Legation — The scandal about his chief's (Prince von 
Billow) wife — I see something at Bad Hall — A great 
ladies' man ; he goes too far at length and is 
" promoted " to another sphere — Kiderlein Wachter, 
genial and popular — An unfortunate dinner-party 
over which his housekeeper presided — Prince Gulo- 
chovski and his wife — Some British ambassadors : 
Sir Frank Lascelles and Sir Chas. (now Lord) Hardinge 
— How the latter rendered me a great service — Sir 
Henry Drummond Wolff — Sir Jolin Kennedy and 
Lady Kennedy and their family — Better times for the 
British colony — The British colony — Its religious 
interests — Bishop Collins and his visits to Bucarest — 
His tragic end deeply regretted — Since the war 
Bucarest has many more British visitors — A British 
Chamber of Commerce, and a projected club. 

CHAPTER XX 159-166 

The French colony — An outspoken abbe — The German 
colony — Its schools, churches, and hospitals — A split 
in the camp of deaconesses — Teaching or nursing ? 
— A well-conducted hospital — Roumanian hospitals — 
An eminent surgeon, Dr Thomas Jonescu — An erratic 
American dentist — His exclusive practice — Leaves 
a Prince waiting with open mouth whilst he goes on a 
trip to Sinaia. 

CHAPTER XXI 167-171 

The coming of King Carol — Roumanians dislike the 
Germans and hate the Hungarians — King Carol a 



12 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

PAGES 

reticent, self-contained, lonely man — His only public 
appearances — A ball for the hoi polloi—K.ing Carol's 
father his sole adviser — His desire to abdicate — 
Roumania owes much to the late King. 

CHAPTER XXII . . .... 172-180 

Queen Elizabeth (Carmen Sylva) — An early dilemma : no 
divorcees, no court — A quaint divorce story — The 
true story of the meeting of Carol and Elizabeth — 
Did she love the country or its King ? — Her dead 
chUd's tomb — The Queen as a writer — Her passion ^ 

for music — Pity the poor professional ! — Cold soup 
for the King — The Queen's personal appearance — 
Her asylum for the blind, and the German manager 
who failed — " My sixtieth birthday," and how it was 
spent— The Queen and the enfants terribles — The 
orphans of the " Asyle Helene " — Cotroceni and its 
unlucky palace. 

CHAPTER XXIII 181-184 

Ferdinand of Sigmaringen becomes heir to the throne — 
He is a good soldier and a favovirite with his officers 
— The friend of the Allies — His marriage with Prin- 
cess Marie — The Princess's home-coming : a lonely 
stranger — A gala performance — The Prince's mission 
to Germany — Roumanian officers meet half a dozen 
Herr " Mahlzeits." 



CHAPTER XXIV 185-190 

The Princess in a merry mood — How Prince Ferdinand 
deluged the tablecloth — A cxirtain lecture for Princess 
Marie ? — The royal children — Elizabeth a beauty — 
Mignonne (Marie) " a beautiful little snow-maiden," 
yet piquant and merry — Ileana of the china-blue 
eyes has a great idea of her own importance — Prince 
Carol, a fine fellow, learns politeness — He and 
Elizabeth eat raw carrots in the Minister's garden 
— A war game with Pat Kennedy, when neither 
would be a Boer — Pretty Prince Nicolas, " a little 
terror "^Nicolas as a sailor — His watch on deck and 
his sea-strut — An adventure at Piraeus — A sailor 
valet— Nicolas's first commimion and his struggle 
with the bread — The royal governesses — A little 
story about the Queen of Holland. 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 13 



CHAPTER XXV 

Winter in Roumania — Fetes on the ice — An " escaped 
bear " causes a sensation, till he loses his head — 
Prince Carol establishes the bob-sleigh as a society 
craze — An unlucky accident to Princess Elizabeth — 
An end to bob -sleighing — Sleighs and winter costumes 
— Cliristmas — New Year's Eve. 



PAGES 

191-197 



CHAPTER XXVI 198-205 

Sinaia and its summer Court — Gay life in the Carpathians 
— Court ladies in national costume — Sinaia at various 
seasons — The monastery and the Queen's room there ; 
she decorates it with caricatures of society ladies — 
A fete at the monastery — King Edward at Sinaia — 
Lord Roberts a guest there — The Crown Prince's 
residence — Princess Marie's " cuib " or " Crusoe " 
amongst the trees — Her sister, the Grand Duchess of 
Hesse — Little Princess Ella — A merry party in the 
woods — A tragedy recalled. 

CHAPTER XXVII 206-212 

Franz d'Este and his morganatic wife at Sinaia — My 
recollection of him at Vienna — Society girls with 
cold feet — The German Crown Prince popular at 
Bucarest — But he was only there a fortnight — The 
King and his " shade wers " — Predeal — The leap 
over the frontier — A little smuggling — A beautiful 
and historic road. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

A delightful equestrian excursion — We leave Sinaia in 
order to witness the sunrise from Omul— Midnight 
in the forest, and the ghostly hom's before the dawn 
— Gathering edelweiss whilst we await the sunrise — • 
A glorious spectacle — The coveted province spread 
out before our eyes — An equestrian quadrille on the 
summit of Omul— The guest-house of the monastery 
—On the homeward way — We descend the Jeppi on 
foot, and meet with unexpected difficulties — Danger 
follows upon danger — A dreadful night on a mountain 
peak — Excitement at Sinaia — Triumphant retiu-n of 
the" heroes " and " heroines." 



213-221 



14 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

CHAPTER XXIX 

Cholera in Russia — I hurry back to Roumania — I am put 
in quarantine on the frontier, and Hberally disinfected 
— The soldier guard aims his gun at me — My Jewish 
room-mate and her obtrusive husband — She plays 
" patience " whilst he prays and expectorates — I get 
my release and send a military expedition in search 
of a mirror — Miss R. tries to escape from Russia — 
Her companion, a German engineer, develops cholera 
— The terrified peasants place them together in an 
empty cottage— The German dies — She finds when, 
after a terrifying experience, she reaches Bucarest 
her hair is snow white. 

CHAPTER XXX 

The beggars of Bucarest — A plan that failed — Was it 
inspired by Count Rumford's Mvmich scheme ? — 
Where the beggars spend their holidays — No lack 
of charity — Footless, and yet wanted boots — Influence 
of priests and beggars on the currency — A stroll 
through the market — -Serbians as market gardeners 
— An exhibition in Bucarest — Princess Marie and 
the water-chute — Excessive gambling — The Mop — 
English " stupidity " — Nothing to buy in London — • 
Bucarest to London via the North Sea and Edin- 
burgh — Jefferson Bricks in Bucarest. 

CHAPTER XXXI 

Roumania's early history — Michael the Brave — Stephen 
the Great — A Spartan mother — Brancovan's noble 
efforts bring abovit his end — Oppression promotes 
union — Greek extortion — Russia and Turkey — The 
westernising of Roumania — The Treaty of Paris— 
The European Commission — The new State of 
Roumania — Prince Cuza and his fall — The siege of 
Plevna — Roumania's present aims. 



PAGES 

222-227 



228-238 



239-245 



CHAPTER XXXII ■ 

Turkish influence on Rovunanian mind and manners — The 
origin of the people — Clearly descended from the 
Romans of Trajan's day — Collateral evidence of Latin 
origin in the language— Pride of race — Transylvania 
and the Hungarian tyrants — A Roumanian National 
party. 



246-250 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 15 

PA0E3 

CHAPTER XXXIII 251-255 

Roumania's object in the war — Hvingary's attempt to 
Magyarise Transylvania — Sympathy of the Mother- 
land — " Awake, Roumania ! " — The new boundaries 
of Roumania — Room for her people — ^The Little 
Entente — Safeguarding the peace of Europe. 



TWENTY YEARS IN 
ROUMANIA 

CHAPTER I 

A real enterprise — The glamour of the Arabian Nights — Off to an 
unknown country — Light on the way — A friend at Court — I 
figure as a Nihilist — The Hungarian " express " — Wild men 
in sheep -skins — An intruder routed — Bucarest, a dreadful town 
— Adventvires by flood and street — A warm reception. 

WHEN I announced my intention of going to 
Roumania, I occasioned real consternation 
amongst my friends. " Why, you must be quite 
mad to think of going so far away to a country of 
which nobody knows anything at all ! " was one 
of the mildest criticisms of my project. 

The year was 1889— more than thirty years ago ; 
and thirty years is not only a long period in the life 
of an individual, but it may make momentous 
changes in the story of a nation or of a country. 

I will confess that it did seem a rash undertaking 

for a girl to venture so far afield into the unknown ; 

but the enterprise had no terrors for me. I was 

already an accomplished traveller. I had 

" finished " at Magdeburg, visited Paris and Brussels, 

and spent more than a year in Vienna. I had been 

used to speaking French and German rather than 

English for several years ; and, for the rest, I was an 

Irish girl, and timidity is not a fault which I have 

ever heard charged against the people of my 

17 2 



18 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

country. Then, again, I did know something about 
Roumania, if my friends did not. It was very Httle 
indeed, I grant, but it was enough to make me anxious 
to learn more. Some Viennese acquaintances of 
mine had visited Bucarest, and from them I had 
gained an alluring impression of a wonderful race of 
people, rich in the primitive virtues, dwelling in a 
charming country and amidst scenes of Oriental 
luxury. I will frankly admit that the glamour of 
the Arabian Nights was over all my thoughts and 
ideas about Roumania. Perhaps I was not so very 
far astray. 

My intention was to estabhsh myself in Bucarest 
in an independent way as a teacher of languages. I 
felt that I was pretty well equipped for the work, and 
I had been told that there was ample scope for my 
endeavour, and that I would find the remuneration 
far more liberal than nearer home. 

This was all very encouraging, but with the canni- 
ness becoming an Ulsterwoman I determined to 
secure a definite engagement, so that I might find a 
footing in the country. I was at this time at home 
in Ireland, and I wrote to the best-known agencies 
in London. None of them could help me. They all 
seemed to have the haziest kind of ideas about 
Roumania. One agent wrote to say that they only 
covered Europe in their work ! Even at that time 
it was against my will that I was obliged to apply to 
Germany, but in the event it was a Dresden agency 
which procured for me an appointment at a private 
school in Bucarest. 

It was necessary for me to proceed to Dresden in 
order to conclude the agreement, and I was aston- 
ished to find that I could obtain no information 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 19 

there as to how I should get to Roumania, Even 
at the hotel I was informed that there was no train 
communication with the remote place, and that I 
should be obliged to journey down the Danube. 
Indeed, the information given me was so vague and 
contradictory that I began to feel just a trifle 
nervous. Once started, however, nothing short of 
some convulsion of nature on my line of route (when 
discovered) could have deterred me. Besides, I 
looked for help in Vienna, whither I was bound in 
response to an invitation from a family with whom 
I had resided for some time as governess. The 
family — that of Colonel von Walzel — remained my 
lifelong friends, and many long and happy visits 
have I paid them during the years that have passed 
since then. Let me just say here that Austrians 
are not Germans ; I shall offer evidence of this 
further on. Colonel von Walzel was an important 
official of the Court Chamberlain's Department 
under Prince Hohenlohe, and I may remark in 
passing that on my innumerable journeys to and 
fro during these long years, I have never paid a 
halfpenny for railway fare when passing through 
Austrian territory. That is an advantage of having 
— as I very literally had — a friend at Court, for 
Colonel von Walzel always provided me with a 
first-class pass. I had many other privileges in 
Vienna, not the least of which was a box at the opera 
whenever I wanted one. It has nothing to do with 
my present story, but perhaps it might be well for 
me to refer here to a matter which might, con- 
ceivably, sometime occasion a misunderstanding. 
Colonel von Walzel's brother is a well-known 
playwright, and was always a very good friend of 



20 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

mine. In one of his dramas, popular quite recently, 
there figures a Russian Nihilist Princess who desires 
to pass as an Englishwoman. The author may have 
meant to pay me a compliment or he may simply 
have had little acquaintance with English nomen- 
clature, but at any rate he made his Princess call 
herself " Maude Parkinson," and I have been told 
that my poor name has become quite familiar 
amongst the play-loving Viennese as typifying a 
certain kind of feminine subtlety which I cannot 
claim to possess. 

Furnished with full instructions (and a free pass 
to the confines of Austro-Hungarian territory), I 
resumed my journey eastward. Travelling through 
Hungary is never very pleasant or interesting, and I 
soon grew tired of it, though my pass procured for 
me great deference everywhere. It became very 
monotonous on that long journey, gazing out of a 
window at a never-changing panorama of maize 
flats, with here and there a field of other grain. The 
wayside stations brought some relief, for here there 
were crowds of wild-looking unkempt natives dancing 
and singing to the invariable accompaniment of a 
mouth organ ! These rude scenes led me to think 
that I was in truth leaving civilisation behind. 

The train — which was an express from Vienna — 
slackened its pace so much after leaving Budapest 
that I mortally offended the guard by asking him 
in all good faith if it were a slow train. He replied 
in a very dignified manner, " Why, of course it is an 
express; we have travelled — so many — kilometres 
since leaving Budapest." I was not convinced of 
the speed of the train, as it is a well-known fact that 
Hungarian trains are the slowest in Europe. I have 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 21 

heard that a Hne running out of London contests this 
claim, but I have not sufficient information on the 
subject to institute a comparison. 

When we reached the Roumanian frontier I 
really became a little alarmed for the first time. It 
was in the early hours of the morning, when one's 
courage is at zero, and the crowds of strange- 
looking beings, clad in woolly sheep-skins, which 
thronged the station, appeared to me like denizens 
of another or an earlier world. Nevertheless, I was 
at once reminded of the old Irish jingle about Bryan 
O'Lynn, who'd " no breeches to wear, so he bought 
a sheep's skin to make him a pair." 

Our luggage was examined here, and afterwards 
I returned to the ladies' compartment in which I 
had been travelling, and which I shared with 
another. I fell asleep again, but just before dawn 
some slight noise disturbed me, and I opened my 
eyes to find a man seated in a corner of the carriage 
and calmly regarding us. I opened my mouth 
almost as soon as my eyes, and indignantly informed 
him in English, French, and German that he was in a 
ladies' carriage, and had better get out of it as quickly 
as ever he could. Which language it was that 
frightened him I cannot tell ; it may have been the 
tone of my address, but at any rate he fairly bolted. 
We entered Bucarest by Verciorova, and my first 
impressions were disheartening. There was nothing 
about the surrounding country to prepossess me in 
its favour. It was flat and uninteresting, just like 
Hungary. The peasants who swarmed about were 
wild-looking and very dirty. My fellow-passenger 
had strongly advised me to go straight to the 
British Minister and present my credentials, and I 



22 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

had a good mind to follow her advice. However, I 
did not immediately do so. 

There had been some mistake about the hour of 
my arrival, and so no one met me at the station. I 
procured a carriage, and handed the address to the 
driver. 

" What a dreadful town ! " I thought, as I was 
driven at a speed reminiscent of the Dublin jarvey 
through narrow, atrociously paved streets, filled — 
both as to road and footway — with half-melted 
snow. The month was February, and when I 
arrived the climatic conditions were at their worst, 
which was pretty bad in Bucarest. Some of the 
streets were quite unpaved ; few, apparently, had 
any system of drainage, for extensive floods fre- 
quently rendered the roadway impassable for foot 
passengers. 

Later on I heard the story of an adventure which 
befell an English lady — also a teacher — just before 
my arrival. She had been giving lessons in a Jewish 
family who were reluctant payers, and had been 
obliged to demand her money with some firmness. 
Out of spite they paid her the amount — a con- 
siderable sum — in copper coins ! which taxed the 
resources of an unusually large bag. Confronted 
with a street in flood, and hampered by her un- 
wieldy wealth, she found herself at a twilight hour 
in an awkward predicament. Not a carriage was in 
sight. She appealed to a sturdy youth who was 
passing, and offered him a reward if he would carry 
her across the street. The boy promptly picked 
her up (she was a little woman), bag and all, but in 
mid-stream — or street — she attempted to change her 
bag from one hand to the other. The swinging 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 23 

weight robbed the boy of his centre of gravity, and 
he and his fair burden fell floundering in the flood. 
He fished her out again and carried her ashore before 
searching for the treasure. This, however, he was 
fortunate enough to recover, and honest enough to 
return, receiving an ample reward for his pains. 

My first impression of the school was not such as 
to cure me of the slight feeling of homesickness 
which I had now begun to experience. My arrival 
did not coincide with any meal-time— it was about 
11 a.m. ; and, as they have no idea of providing 
a decent repast at any unscheduled hour, I was 
shown into a workhouse-looking apartment with 
white bare walls and regaled with shocking bad 
coffee and a hunk of dry bread. 

There was no lack of warmth, however, in Madame 

's reception of me. She embraced me most 

effusively, and kissed me on both cheeks. Indeed, 
I may say at once that no matter what causes 
for complaint I may later on have found at this 
school, I always met with great kindness from the 
principal. This, however, was only in accordance 
with all my later experiences, as she was a native of 
Roumania. 

The school was a large one, of about four hundred 
pupils, and there was a large staff of teachers of all 
nationalities. I refer to some of my experiences 
in a later chapter of this book. 

Such was the manner of my coming to Bucarest ; 
and how little I imagined then that I should grow 
to love the country and its people, and to make my 
home amongst them for so many years of my life ! 



CHAPTER II 

Hazy ideas about Roumania — " Bucarest, Turkey " — A letter for 
Sinaia goes to Simla — The physical features of the country — 
Its mineral wealth — The chief towns — The Cernavoda Bridge — 
The railways and the scenery through which they pass — The 
mighty Danube — The Iron Gates. 

IN the preceding chapter I have given some indi- 
cation of how Httle was known of Roumania 
a quarter of a century ago, but it is still more 
astonishing to find in these days of enlightenment 
what hazy ideas people in this country have about 
the land and its inhabitants. 

I received a letter once addressed to " Bucarest, 
Turkey." Staying for a few weeks one summer at 
Sinaia, a letter was sent to me from England 
addressed simply " Sinaia." When it reached me 
some months later, the envelope was a curiosity. 
I still keep it as a proof of the perseverance of post- 
office officials. It bears the post-marks of Italy, 
Switzerland, Turkey — and, all these failing, it had 
been despatched to Simla ! 

I cannot say that when at school I found geo- 
graphy the fascinating study which it really is ; 
but that was due to the method of teaching. There 
was no attempt made by the instructor to capture 
the youthful imagination ; the teacher had never 
ventured abroad, and was destitute of the stimulus 
which travel gives. 

24 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 25 

During my long residence I visited most parts of 
Rouniania, some of them over and over again, and 
I think I may justly claim to have a very good 
knowledge of the country, of its physical features, 
its resources, and all the other information which 
one may find set forth, for the most part unin- 
terestingly, in the geography books. It is only 
right that our ideas of Roumania should now assume 
more definite and reliable shape, and I think that 
interest is at last being awakened regarding our 
brave little ally and all concerning her. I sincerely 
hope to interest my readers in the Roumanian 
people, and — though I am aware that I run a risk 
of becoming a little tedious — I feel it my duty to 
supply at the outset a slight sketch of the country 
which they inhabit. 

The area of Roumania before the war was about 
equal to that of England, but its population was 
less than that of London. 

At that time the northern boundaries were 
Transylvania, Bukowina, and Bessarabia, whilst it 
was bounded on the west by Serbia. 

Now Transylvania has been absorbed, and the 
northern boundaries of Roumania are formed by 
the Dniester and the frontiers of Galicia and 
Czecho-Slovakia. The western boundaries are 
Hungary and Jugo-Slavia. 

Roumania is now, as hitherto, bounded on the 
east by the Black Sea and on the south by Bulgaria. 

The rivers, of which there are several, take their 
rise in the Carpathians, and after traversing the 
country empty themselves into the Danube. These 
rivers are mostly very shallow, and half dry during 
the summer. Very few of them are navigable — 



26 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

indeed, only the Pruth, the Bistritza, and the 
mighty Danube, — of which more hereafter. The 
rivers are well stocked with many varieties of fish, 
the sturgeon, carp, salmon, pike, and perch being 
the most important. I think I have sampled every 
kind of fish these waters have to offer, and I may 
here mention the Roumanian grey caviar, which is 
coarse-grained, when contrasted with Russian 
caviar, but to my mind, when properly prepared, 
is much more delicious. It has a peculiar, soft, 
pleasant flavour which is entirely lacking in the 
Russian. 

The scenery in the Carpathians is very beautiful 
and at many points even imposing ; the principal 
peaks are the Omul, Verful co dor, and the Caraiman. 

Rough mountain ponies are used in summer for 
the ascent of these peaks. These animals are strong 
and wiry, but their equipment is anything but 
comfortable. The peasants, from whom they are 
hired, provide nothing for the tourists but rough 
wooden saddles, therefore rugs, cushions, etc., have 
to be provided if one wishes to ride in comfort. 

On the slopes of the Carpathians there are rocks 
composed of sandstone, limestone, and even marble 
of various colours. The white variety is said to 
rival the famous Carrara marble. 

Roumania, by the way, is rich in minerals, but it 
is regrettable that so few are exploited. Copper, 
lead, salt, coal, petroleum, lignite form some of 
the mineral wealth of the country. Even gold has 
been found so far back as in the time of Turkish 
rule. 

At present only petroleum, salt, and lignite are 
worked. Lignite (a mineral coal retaining the 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 27 

texture of the wood from which it is formed) is used, 
together with natural wood, on the railways instead 
of coal. It is decidedly advantageous for the 
traveller, as it burns with a perfectly white smoke 
and does away with all the grit and dust so notice- 
able in Hungarian trains. 

Roumania possesses very few lakes, the most 
important being Balta Alba, which is near the 
town of Ramnic cu Serat. It has great mineral 
properties, and numbers of people flock to it every 
summer, as its waters are said to cure rheumatism 
and scrofula as well as other diseases. Mineral 
springs are abundant. Besides iodine, sulphur, and 
mud baths there are the State-supported Spas of 
Govora and Caliman-eshti, situated among some of 
the finest Carpathian scenery. Tekir Ghiol, near 
Constantza, of Turkish origin, as its name implies, 
and Neamtz, are favourite resorts of invalids from 
all parts, attracted thereto by the far-famed cura- 
tive properties of their waters. It is unfortunate 
that accommodation at these springs is still rather 
primitive, although the prices are exorbitant. 

It is to be hoped that with time the entire mineral 
wealth of Roumania may be exploited, and thus 
considerably contribute to the prosperity of the 
country. 

Roumania has not many towns of importance. 
After the capital (with a population of 200,000) one 
need only mention Jassy, Craiova, Slatina, Galatz, 
and Braila— the last two named being ports on 
the Danube, which do a considerable trade in grain. 
The ports on the Black Sea are Sulina, where an 
English gunboat belonging to the European Com- 
mission was always stationed, and Constantza, 



28 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

which of late years has direct communication with 
Constantinople. 

Before the building of the bridge over the Danube 
at Cernavoda— which, by the way, is eleven miles 
long, as a great tract of marshy land has also to be 
traversed, travellers from Roumania bound for 
Constantinople were obliged to cross the river to 
Rustchuk and then embark from Varna, a Bulgarian 
port. Now, fortunately, all that is changed, greatly to 
the advantage of travellers, as Roumanian steamers 
are much more comfortable than the Bulgarian. 

There were formerly only two main lines of rail- 
way by which one could leave Roumania, travelling 
west. One of these is via Verciorova, and runs 
parallel with the Danube for a considerable distance, 
passing on its way Pressburg, the old capital of 
Hungary, where are still to be seen on an eminence 
the ruins of the castle once inhabited by Maria 
Theresa. The other route, and, by the way, the 
cheaper, is in my opinion much more interesting. 

Starting from Bucarest, we have a couple of 
hours' run, after which begins the ascent of the 
valley of the Prahova. Passing Campina, the 
region of the oilfields, which is not so very agree- 
able for the olfactory nerves, a halt is made for a 
few minutes at lovely Sinaia, of which I have much 
to say hereafter. 

The train now toils along more slowly, as the 
ascent becomes more difficult. Passing Busteni, 
overshadowed by the towering peak of the Carai- 
man, we reach Poiana Tzapului, at which station 
we descend to visit the beautiful cascade in the 
neighbourhood. Azuga is next reached, where we 
have the opportunity of drinking a glass of the 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 29 

excellent Azuga beer. Finally, a run of another 
half hour brings us to the top of the Pass at Predeal. 
The station is so arranged that half is in Roumanian 
territory and half in Hungarian. 

At Predeal we are, unhappily, obliged to change 
trains — unhappily, I say, as Hungarian trains are 
so dirty and gritty from coal-dust, and the guards 
of the trains are always uncivil. By the way, I 
wonder why Hungarian guards as a rule wear black 
kid gloves. It is strange, but so it is. 

When passports had been examined and stamped 
with the Imperial Austro-Hungarian seal, and 
luggage searched for anything contraband, 
passengers were allowed by the sentry to pass 
on to the Hungarian part of the platform, but on 
no pretext whatever might one return to the 
Roumanian section. As the sole restaurant in 
the place is on Roumanian soil, this arrangement 
was extremely awkward for unwary passengers 
travelling that way for the first time. 

Leaving Predeal, the descent of the Tomos Pass 
is begun, through lovely scenery which is described 
further on. The line continues through Hungary, 
by way of Transylvania, till it finally arrives at 
Budapest, where travellers change again into trains 
travelling north, west, or south. 

There have been changes since the time of which 
I write, and now the Simplon express leaves Bucarest 
and proceeds through Agram in Croatia to Trieste, 
Vienna, Milan, Lausanne, and Paris. 

The Danube 

The Danube, that mighty river so often spoken of 
as " The Blue Danube," proves disappointing in 



30 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

some parts. First of all, it is never blue, but of a 
muddy grey colour, and then at times it flows 
through such flat country that the scenery is most 
depressing. The numerous floating water-mills that 
are anchored near the banks do not greatly add to 
the picturesqueness of the scene. They are employed 
to grind maize and other grain, and the river supplies 
the motive power. 

On the other hand, the scenery of the Danube 
near the " Iron Gates " and the Kazan Pass cannot 
be surpassed. It is among the finest scenery in 
Europe. I have travelled on the Danube from 
Vienna to Giurgiu, and vice versa, several times, 
therefore am fairly well acquainted with it. 

The " Iron Gates " are simply rocks in the bed 
of the river, in some places just appearing above 
the surface of the water and in others just visible 
below. There is a continual swirling and eddying 
of the water round these obstructions, and they 
were formerly very dangerous to shipping. 

The first time I travelled down from Vienna, the 
passengers were obliged at Orsova to leave the large 
steamer and change into quite a small one, which 
then carefully threaded its way among the danger- 
ous rocks of the " Iron Gates." Everyone was 
greatly interested in the wonderful scenery through 
which we were passing, and the interest was not 
unmixed with a thrill of fear as we listened to the 
uncanny tales of former accidents that had occurred 
just at that spot. The raconteur was a Hungarian, 
who seemed delighted with the effect he produced. 
All breathed more freely on leaving the danger-zone 
and embarking again in one of the larger steamers 
which awaited us. 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 31 

The terrors of the " Iron Gates " are, happily, no 
longer existent, as a great extent of rock was blown 
up by dynamite some years ago. As the Danube 
flows through many countries, the consent or 
approval of each to this proceeding had to be ob- 
tained. The great engineering feat was made an 
occasion of much ceremony, attended by the 
Emperor of Austria and the Kings of Roumania 
and Serbia, as well as by members of the Danube 
Commission. A channel has now been made 
which stretches for a considerable distance, so 
that no interruption of the river traffic is to be 
feared. One hopes that in time the channel may 
be extended so as to stretch from Vienna to the 
Black Sea. 

Before leaving the scene of the " Iron Gates " I 
may just shortly describe how they appear under 
present conditions. As the steamer approaches the 
Kazan Pass (where what remains of the " Iron 
Gates " is still to be seen) the river gradually con- 
tracts, till it is only about 100 yards in width. One 
gazes with awe at the steep rocks on each side of 
the Pass, rocks which rise to the height of 1000 feet 
or more and which enclose the river in such a manner 
that they give one the impression of being on a lake 
rather than a river. As we continue our way 
through the Pass we notice at some distance the 
water foaming and eddying round a mass of sub- 
merged rock, and at one particular spot the shining 
line of breakers seems to lie so directly in our path 
that it appears almost impossible to avoid it. How- 
ever, the steamer keeps steadily on its way through 
the channel cut for it, and although at times it 
appears to be heading for the wall of rock, as if 



32 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

there were really no outlet from the Pass, still, by 
many devious turns and twists, we get safely 
through and out into the wider reaches of the 
river. 

What a wonderful river the Danube is ! Taking 
its rise, it is said, in the courtyard of a gentleman's 
residence in Germany, it continues its course through 
many countries, absorbing by the way their numerous 
tributaries, till it finally empties itself into the Black 
Sea by three mouths. Not only is it remarkable 
for its manifold windings, but also for the contrac- 
tion and expansion of its waters. It is probably at 
its narrowest in the Kazan Pass, where, as I have 
already said, it contracts to a width of about 100 
yards; whilst in some parts, and noticeably before 
reaching Belgrade, it has a width of between two 
and three miles. The Rhine is a beautiful river, but 
its scenery cannot be compared to that of the 
Danube ; it is by no means so grand or impressive. 
As for the Elbe, that river has the appearance 
of a canal when one visits it after viewing the 
Danube. 

From Budapest to Giurgiu is the most interesting 
part of the river. The scenery is not always grand 
or even beautiful, but it is interesting, passing as it 
does through the countries of Hungary, Servia, and 
Bulgaria, till it finally reaches Roumania. The 
most uninteresting stretch is that between Buda- 
pest and Vienna, where the river flows between 
perfectly flat banks, nothing to be seen on either 
side, no villages, no people, only masses of willows 
stretching for miles, causing a most depressing 
effect. 

The river is ice-bound for nearly three months, 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 33 

but although I have often wished to skate across to 
Rustchuk on the Bulgarian side, the difficulties have 
always proved insuperable, as the frozen ridges caused 
by the wavelets and eddies of the current present 
anything but a smooth surface to the skater. 



CHAPTER III 

The Government of Roumania — The Parliament — Lively elections 
— The batiusi and their big sticks — Military picnics at election 
times — " General Post " after an election — Party handwriting 
— Natural selection circumscribed for postal officials — The army 
— A soldier's life not always a happy one — Military marketers, 
nurses, and spring -cleaners — The accession celebrations — On 
parade — The opposition goes into mourning and enjoys a happy 
day — Threatening demonstrations which end happily — A gallant 
army — If stiff on parade, the Roumanian soldier is " one of 
the best." 

THE Government of Roumania is a limited 
monarchy, the present King, Ferdinand, being 
the nephew of the late King Carol. The Salic law 
is in force, and so no woman may ascend the throne. 
In default of a male heir, a king may be chosen 
amongst the royal families of Western Europe. 

The Parliament consists of the Senate and the 
Chamber of Deputies, which latter corresponds to 
our House of Commons. The pay of a cabinet 
minister in pre-war times was about 30,000 francs 
(£1200), and the Deputies are also remunerated for 
their services to the extent of 20 francs a day 
while Parliament is sitting. The constituency is 
divided into four groups or " colleges," as they are 
called. 

The first college consists of citizens having an 
income of over £150. The second college is com- 
posed of those with an income ranging from £50 to 

34 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 35 

£150. The third includes tradespeople, who pay 
the State from £4 upwards annually. The fourth 
college comprises everyone who pays taxes, however 
small they may be. The Senate is elected by the 
first two colleges for a period of eight years, the 
Deputies by all four colleges for a term of four 
years. 

The chief qualification of a Senator is the pos- 
session of an income of £400 to £500 a year. He 
must also be over forty years of age. Deputies 
must be over twenty-five, must be Roumanians 
either by birth or naturalisation, and must live in 
Roumania. 

The constitution of Roumania has been compiled 
with great regard both to justice and the liberties 
of the people. 

The Greek Church is the State Church, but, 
although the Jews are under many disabilities, there 
is freedom of worship for all sects. Freedom of 
speech is permitted, and no restraint is placed on 
public meetings. 

There is also complete liberty of the press (which 
is, unfortunately, too often abused). Capital punish- 
ment has been abolished except under martial law. 
The property of the peasantry is inviolable. Primary 
instruction is gratuitous and compulsory. Such 
are some of the principal provisions of the 
constitution. 

It is always very amusing when a general election 
takes place. Both Conservatives and Liberals are 
fully occupied in canvassing beforehand, and 
meetings are everywhere in full swing. When the 
election day dawns, then the fun begins. Polling 
booths are established in different parts of the town. 



36 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

and they are open as early as 7 a.m. That elector 
is wise who goes early to record his vote. Inside 
the polling station there is, besides the recording 
official, an agent for each side. Conservative and 
Liberal, who narrowly scrutinises each voter as he 
appears, and sees to it that he records his vote 
properly. Trickery is very often practised, so it 
behoves each one to be on the alert. By some 
means or other, names of people long dead are 
inserted in the register, and, as a man remarked in 
my hearing at one election, " In my father's life- 
time he never had a vote, but now he is dead they 
are giving him one." 

As has been said, it is well to record one's vote in 
good time — that is, if one wishes to avoid the batiusi. 
Electioneering agents in Roumania do not always 
rely upon the suaviter in modo, but freely adopt the 
fortiter in re. They employ gangs of men (known 
as batiusi) who, armed with big sticks, are posted 
at the entrances to the polling booths, frankly for 
the purpose of intimidating those who refuse to 
vote as their party wishes. Under such circum- 
stances it is not to be wondered at if feeling some- 
times runs very high and the services of the 
military have to be called upon. In such a case 
the troops line up before the polling booths, and 
every elector who arrives carrying a stick, no 
matter how small or innocent-looking, is gravely 
relieved of it before entering. If matters assume a 
very threatening aspect and it is impossible for the 
troops to return to barracks for the mid-day meal, 
large cauldrons of soup are brought down to them. 
This is served out together with large pieces of 
bread, and the soldiers seem rather to enjoy the 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 37 

little break in their monotonous life, if it does not 
include the breaking of heads. 

After the election, when the new Government is 
duly installed in office, a clearance of the former 
officials takes place. One and all are changed, even 
to the man who runs to the nearest cafe for the 
cup of afternoon coffee. The incoming ministers 
and members of Parliament have all a crowd of 
proteges, who also want their good time as 
long as Parliament lasts. It is curious then on 
entering the post office, the custom house, or 
any other public building, to find there entirely 
new faces. It reminds one of the game of 
"General Post." 

Every change of Government is a signal for 
reform. Sometimes it is merely reform in the 
literal sense of the word, as, for example, when an 
incoming Government makes an attack upon the 
caligraphy taught and practised in the schools. If 
the Liberals have adopted a sloping style of writing, 
Conservatives upon assuming power are sure to 
insist upon the re-formation of the characters and 
the setting of them up in a perpendicular position. 
It is the party idea in excelsis, and irresistibly 
recalls the difference of opinion of the Big-Endians 
and the Little-Endians in Gulliver^s Travels as to 
which end of the egg should be broken. 

Mentioning the post office just now reminds me 
of one strange rule in force in that department. 
Post-office employees must only marry members 
of the opposite sex who are also engaged in the 
post office. I could scarcely credit this when I 
heard it, but a prominent official of the post office 
assured me that it was the case. 



38 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

The Army 

At the time of the accession of Prince Carol the 
army consisted of raw levies unprovided with 
uniforms and in many cases armed only with pikes 
and sabres. Indeed, so unsoldierlike was their 
appearance that they were referred to as a " ragged 
band of gipsies." Prince Carol (he was not crowned 
king until after the battle of Plevna) found not 
only that the army was wholly untrained, but that 
in numbers also it was totally inadequate. 

The sovereign immediately set to work to bring 
his forces up to date. Universal compulsory 
service was at once introduced. German instructors 
were brought into the country, and it is from this 
time that the story of the organisation of the 
Roumanian army begins. The result has shown 
what can be done, if only the right material is to 
hand. 

The Roumanian soldier is a splendid fighting unit, 
his superb daring and dash carry him through the 
most difficult places. In the numerous campaigns 
of later years in which the Roumanian army has 
been engaged, the courage and admirable soldierly 
qualities of the men have been amply shown. 

That King Carol was proud of his army, no one 
could doubt who watched his face during the march 
past of the troops every 10th of May. He rejoiced 
in the fact that it was owing to his own exertions 
that the army was maintained in such a high state 
of efficiency. The standing army when Roumania 
entered the Great War had a strength of 600,000 to 
700,000 men, but with the reserves included a 
miUion trained men could be counted upon. 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 39 

The infantry were armed with German rifles — 
MannHeher, I bcHeve; and the heavy guns used 
were from Krupp's. Those presented to the army 
some years ago by King Carol, to which I have 
elsewhere made reference, were from the same 
source. However, after the beginning of the war 
heavy orders for munitions were placed with Japan. 
An excellent medical service was organised, com- 
posed of skilled surgeons and a highly efficient 
staff. 

General Averescu, who was first in command, is a 
fine strategist and a born leader of men. It is to 
be regretted that party politics had kept him absent 
for a time from a sphere of activity just when he 
should have been well to the front. As a follower 
of Take Jonescu he was looked on by the Liberals 
with disfavour, and not given any high command ; 
but immediately war broke out they were con- 
strained to place him in the post for which he was 
so well fitted. The position of Commander-in- 
Chief of the army is, as everyone is aware, filled by 
King Ferdinand. 

As in all Continental countries, there is universal 
military service in Roumania. All males are re- 
quired to present themselves for military service at 
any period they may choose between the ages of 
eighteen and twenty-one. Formerly the duration 
of service was one year. It was later reduced to 
six months. Young fellows of the better class are 
required to supply their own uniforms, and if they 
elect to enter a cavalry regiment they must provide 
their own horses. 

Exemptions are only granted in cases of physical 
disablement, and it has sometimes occurred that a 



40 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

peasant has cut off a couple of fingers so that he 
may be disqualified. It is no wonder that such 
things will happen, as the lot of the young peasants 
in garrison is not always enviable. They are often 
badly clothed and badly fed, and their duties are 
manifold. Of course they are liable to be called 
upon to act as officers' servants, a lieutenant 
having the right to one soldier's services, and a 
captain two. But such service is not by any 
means understood in Roumania as it is in England. 
In the former country the soldier servant has not 
only to look after his master, but also to do all the 
household work. He goes to market and buys the 
provisions for the day, takes the children to school, 
and performs the duties of a maid- of- all- work. It is 
even a common occurrence for a lady living next 
door to an officer's family (when she is overwhelmed 
with work, such as spring cleaning) to borrow the 
soldier for the day ! 

The Roumanian soldier on parade does not cut a 
good figure. He has not the free, swinging step of 
our own soldiers. Both officers and men march 
very stiffly, and have a somewhat wooden appear- 
ance. 

During the lifetime of the late King Carol there 
was always a parade on the 10th May (old style), 
the date of his accession to the throne. As the 
troops marched past the royal box, one received an 
impression that if a soldier in any one of the ranks 
should make a false step it would cause a cata- 
strophe — the whole row would fall one after another, 
just like wooden soldiers. 

Bucarest, by the way, is very gay on the 10th 
May, the Roumanian colours — red, blue, and yellow — 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 41 

are to be seen everywhere. Triumphal arches span 
the principal street, and pavilions are erected for 
the royal family, the members of the diplomatic 
corps, and the principal officials of state. 

In King Carol's time a Te Deum was always sung 
in the Metropole (cathedral) at the beginning of the 
day. King Carol and Prince Ferdinand then used 
to ride with their respective suites from the church 
to the boulevard where the march past took place. 
One day the Prince's horse behaved very badly, and 
threw its rider as he was leading his regiment past 
the royal box. The accident caused a great sen- 
sation, but fortunately the Prince was not much 
injured. 

After the parade the day was given up to amuse- 
ments, and in the evening the town was brilliantly 
illuminated. The illuminations were really very 
fine, and did credit to the people who carried them 
out. It did not always happen that everyone was 
contented and amiable on these occasions, as very 
often that day was chosen by the opposition to 
make demonstrations. Newspapers with a deep 
black border round them were sold openly in the 
streets. This was meant as an indication of sorrow 
at having a German king to rule over Roumania. 
If the opposition could succeed in exciting the 
populace to carry out a demonstration against the 
King and the Government of the day they were 
happy, and could retire to bed in a much pleasanter 
frame of mind. 

The operations of the opposition are generally a 
source of amusement. If anything happens in 
Parliament to raise their ire, they immediately hold 
meetings to protest. After the meetings a pro- 



42 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

cession is formed, the object being to proceed to the 
palace and lay their grievances before the King. 
As, however, Roumanians never can keep silent, 
their plans are always known beforehand, so when 
they arrive within a certain distance of the palace 
they find all the approaches barred by the police. 
A parley takes place, great excitement prevails for 
five minutes, and then all quietly disperse. 

If it is thought that the police will not be able to 
cope with the disturbance, the soldiers are called out. 
They line up along the principal streets with guns 
ready (one wonders if they are loaded). Officers 
on horseback dash up and down giving orders, and 
there is great excitement. Vague rumours are 
afloat, and one wonders what is going to happen. 
It all looks very serious, but as time goes on it 
becomes known that the demonstrators have gone 
another way, and somehow one feels that the 
soldiers have been badly treated. After standing 
on guard in the street for hours it must be dis- 
appointing that nothing happens and they must 
quietly return to barracks. 

Notwithstanding his stiffness the Roumanian 
soldier is a gallant fighter — one of the best, and 
indeed the army was brought to a state of great 
proficiency by the late King. He himself was a born 
soldier, and led his men gallantly against their old 
oppressors the Turks when the battle of Plevna 
was won. 

The Roumanian national anthem is a fine martial 
air and was composed by Eduard Hiibsch. He, 
although of German birth, was a naturalised 
Roumanian long resident in the country, and died 
some years ago at Sinaia. 



CHAPTER IV 

The religion of Roumania — The head of the Church must be a monk, 
and therefore a ceUbate — The priests are of the peasant class, 
unlearned and little raspected — A priest's monthly rounds — 
Prayers for a girl's marriage — St Demetre the patron saint 
of Bucarest — His vocation as a rain-maker — He is brought out 
when the priests see the rain coming — Roumanian chvu-ches — 
The legend of Curtea d'Argesh — The well of Manole's wife's 
tears — Easter customs — The Roumanian monasteries : dens for 
lazy people — A wonderful grotto — The convents — Princess 
Marie as a nun. 

ROUMANIANS, as everybody knows, belong to 
the Greek Church. There are no divisions 
in the orthodox rehgion as there are, unhappily, in 
our own, and complete freedom of worship is allowed 
to all foreigners in the country. The forms and 
ceremonies of the Greek Church resemble very closely 
those of the Roman Catholic. Ikons (or holy pic- 
tures) hang in all the churches as well as in private 
houses, and are kissed by the faithful whenever a 
prayer is said. The sign of the cross is also univer- 
sal ; it is always made when one passes a church. 

It is rather amusing to watch the Olteni (the equi- 
valent of the London coster) with the vegetables 
crossing himself most devoutly in passing a church, 
well knowing that he will cheat you immediately 
afterwards if you give him the chance. However, 
he does not look upon his little dodges as sins, he 
simply prides himself upon his cleverness in getting 

the better of you. 

43 



44 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

The head of the Greek Church is always chosen 
from amongst the monks. The monks are vowed 
to a hfe of cehbacy, and Hve enclosed in the numerous 
monasteries scattered throughout the country. The 
priests, on the contrary, are allowed to marry ; that 
is, they may have one wife, but if she dies they are 
not allowed to re-marry. The priests are usually of 
the peasant class ; no member of even a middle- class 
family would dream of entering the Church. They 
have little education, and are not looked on with any 
respect. The garb is rather peculiar. Over his 
ordinary clothes a priest wears a long coat, with 
wide hanging sleeves, reaching almost to his feet, and 
on his head a sort of brimless hat made of red, purple 
or black velvet, according to the wearer's status in 
the Church. 

As a priest is not allowed to cut his hair after 
taking orders, he is obliged to wear it plaited like a 
Chinaman's pigtail. He seems to be rather ashamed 
of this distinction, however, as the queue is always 
stuffed under the collar of the coat. 

On the first day of the month every priest goes 
round his own parish with an acolyte carrying in- 
cense. Every house is entered in order to bless it 
for the coming month, prayers are said and incense 
waved in every room. Only the room of the 
English or French governess is left out, as she is 
a heretic. 

Should a young girl find it difficult to meet with a 
suitable husband, the priest, at the special request 
of her parents, proceeds to her room and remains 
there for some time reciting prayers specially 
arranged for such an occasion, the end in view 
being marriage for the girl. 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 45 

The patron saint of Bucarest is St Demctre — 
his mummy, enclosed in a silver casket, hes in the 
church named after him. On his " name-day " 
special services are held. The silver casket con- 
taining the holy remains is placed outside the church, 
and as all Bucarest is present on that day, everyone 
who passes by, and feels so disposed, may kiss the 
hand of what was once St Demetre. The saint is 
supposed to have great influence over the weather. 
If a drought continues too long, then Demetre is 
appealed to. He is carried round the town in great 
state, surrounded by numbers of attendant priests, 
banners flying and music playing. 

It has sometimes happened that the rain has come 
down like a deluge before St Demetre could be 
brought under shelter again. Then great is the 
jubilation, and the gratitude to him for what he has 
done is unbounded. But from private observations 
that I have made, my opinion is that the wary priests 
wait till they see a little cloud like a man's hand in 
the sky before they risk disturbing St Demetre. 

The Roumanian churches are circular in form, 
with no seats for the worshippers, save a very few 
near the altar for some favoured individuals, or for 
royalty should they favour the church with a visit. 
Behind the reredos is a room for the priests, from 
which they sally forth at stated intervals to take 
their part in the service. No instrumental music is 
allowed in the church, the vocal music being pro- 
vided by men and young boys ; and very fine it is, as 
Roumanians are a musical race with a well-developed 
taste for what is best. 

The beautiful church of Curtea d'Argesh, a couple 
of hours' journey from Bucarest, is built in the 



46 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

Byzantine style. The exterior appears to be of 
marble, but in reality it is a kind of limestone, easy to 
work, which becomes quite hard on exposure to the air. 
The church is square in shape, and a dome rises from 
the centre. At each corner of the building is a little 
tower, and the most curious feature of the structure 
is that these four towers have such a twisted appear- 
ance that they seem about to fall on one another. 
The truth is that each tower is encircled by spiral 
bands from top to bottom in such a fashion as to 
make them appear to be out of the perpendicular, 
although in reality it is not so. 

In the interior of the church the walls are adorned 
with fresco paintings and carvings. Here is also to 
be seen a copy of the Gospels done in the style of the 
illuminated missals of olden times, the work of the 
late Queen of Roumania. Here and there in this 
interesting work small sketches have been introduced 
by way of illustration. Princess Marie, the little 
daughter of the late Queen, figures there as an angel. 
This is entirely in consonance with one's sense of 
the fitness of things, but when St John is seen repre- 
sented by the face of Monsieur J. K., it does give 
one rather a shock. 

The windows in the body of the church are very 
narrow, but are arranged in such a fashion that every 
corner of the building is well lighted. The orna- 
mentation on the outside is both interesting and 
beautiful. A large moulding encircles the church, 
and above this are round shields beautifully decorated 
with flowers and leaves. Little gilt birds are sus- 
pended at intervals, from whose beaks hang tiny 
bells. When the wind blows from a certain quarter, 
agitating these little bells, the effect is very pretty. 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 47 

Just opposite the door of the church there is a 
most beautiful Uttle building resembling a shrine. 
It is composed of four pillars which support a series 
of mouldings, and is crowned with a dome just like 
the church itself. The tout ensemble is so beautiful 
that it impresses the visitor with the idea of its being 
a fairy structure. 

At a short distance from the church is a monastery 
at which Carmen Sylva used to stay for weeks at a 
time. She was very fond of the old legends of 
Roumania, and especially of that connected with 
Curtea d'Argesh. 

The architect and builder of the church was one 
Manole, and according to the legend he was extremely 
anxious to get the building completed by a certain 
date. He spurred on his men to their utmost en- 
deavours ; but alas ! no matter what progress they 
made during the day, the work which they accom- 
plished was always destroyed in the night following. 
This continued to happen, and the only conclusion 
to be arrived at was that evil spirits were at work 
who were opposed to the building of churches. 
Manole tried all sorts of plans to circumvent them, 
but in vain. Finally he made a vow that, in order 
to appease their wrath, he would build into the 
church wall the first person to come this way on a 
certain day, if the evil spirits would, on their part, 
refrain from interfering with his work. The day 
arrived, and Manole eagerly looked for a victim. 
For hours no one passed that way, and the day 
dragged slowly along. At length a figure appeared 
in the distance, and Manole eagerly awaited its 
approach. What was his horror, when the figure 
drew nearer, to discover that it was his young wife 



48 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

coming to see how the work was progressing. She 
was the idol of his Hfe, but the vow must be kept. 
There was no alternative. With a heavy heart he 
asked his wife to stand in a niche in the wall. She, 
poor thing, taking it as a joke, willingly consented. 
The workmen began to build her in, she talking and 
laughing meanwhile with her husband. However, 
as the bricks and mortar slowly but surely began to 
enclose her she became frightened. She begged 
Manole to stop jesting and take her out. Despair- 
ingly he turned his eyes away and spurred the men 
on to fresh endeavours. 

Now the wall reaches her knees, her chest, her 
eyes. She becomes desperate, and screams and 
implores her husband to free her. His only answer 
is to urge the men to greater haste. Her cries be- 
come fainter and fainter, till, some minutes after the 
completion of the wall, her voice ceases for ever. 

From this day forward the work on the church 
went on splendidly, no interference whatever taking 
place during the night. Evidently the evil spirits 
were propitiated. The legend continues that Manole 
kept up till the church was quite finished, then 
threw himself from the roof and was killed. 

Three minutes' walk from the church there is a 
well of beautifully cold clear water of which every 
visitor must have a draught. This well is supposed 
to have originated from the tears of Manole's wife 
as she was being built into the wall of the church. 

Roumanians are not very diligent churchgoers, 
but twice a year at least they do turn out — that is 
at Easter and at Christmas. In the Greek Church 
Easter is the great festival. The churches are 
crowded, people kneeling on the steps and along the 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 49 

pavement when it is impossible to get standing room 
inside. Service begins at 10.30 on Easter Eve, and 
on the stroke of midnight all the gaily decorated 
candles with which the people have provided them- 
selves are lighted, and a procession is formed, headed 
by the priests, the chief priest walking under a canopy 
borne by four others. The procession wends its way 
three times round the church, then the blessing is 
pronounced and the congregation disperses. Who- 
ever succeeds in reaching home with his or her candle 
still alight will be happy through the coming year, 
but woe to the unhappy one if an unlucky blast 
should extinguish it. All sorts of misfortunes may 
then be looked for. 

It is a very pretty sight, as the different groups 
are seen returning home, carefully shading the 
twinkling little lights, which appear to dance hither 
and thither. The churches are profusely decorated 
with flowers at such times. 

There are many curious ceremonies performed at 
Easter, of which the following is an example. A 
table is placed at the upper end of the nave and upon 
it an image or picture of our Saviour. As each per- 
son reaches the table he drops down and proceeds 
on hands and knees under it. This is done three 
times, and is supposed to be typical of the great 
humility of the worshipper. This part of the service 
delights the children, who sprawl under the table 
with great goodwill but not apparently with any 
appreciation of the significance of the ceremony. 
Reverence on the part of the congregation is not one 
of the features of the Greek Church services. A 
good deal of talking and laughing goes on, so much 
so that it is no unusual thing for a priest to stop in 



50 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

the middle of the service and request the people to 
be silent. Even at weddings the same thing may- 
be seen. The bride and groom appear to be holding 
a reception rather than having a service celebrated 
which is to unite them for life — or rather till such 
time as they think fit to dissolve the union. 

The monasteries are a great feature of social life 
in Roumania. At a time when there were no hotels, 
hospitality was always shown to travellers by the 
monks. One could remain there for a week or two 
without being under an obligation to pay anything. 
At each monastery there are from twenty to thirty- 
monks. Each one has a tiny apartment that he 
can call his own, to which is attached a small plot 
of ground. In this plot the monk grows his vege- 
tables, or keeps a couple of fowls. He is allowed 
about forty bani a day (4d.) from Government, and 
to eke out his living he has recourse to all sorts of 
devices. The favourite one is the making of certain 
liqueurs which are offered for sale to any traveller 
who may happen to pass. It is a great pity that 
these monasteries should be allowed by Government, 
as they are simply dens for lazy people. One may 
imagine that with twenty monks attached to one 
church the services required from each are not very 
arduous, especially when the church is in a remote 
district. They are expected to officiate at stated 
intervals day and night, and recite prayers. That 
done, the time is their own to use as they think fit. 

In olden times, and more especially during the 
rule of the Turk, the monasteries were often used as 
places of refuge by the oppressed, or as storehouses 
for their valuables. They are generally built on 
very high eminences, and command a good view of 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 51 

the surrounding country. One monastery in par- 
ticular which I have visited is situated at such a 
height in the Carpathians that in winter communica- 
tion with the outside world is absolutely impossible ; 
the monks are completely snowed up. 

But in summer what a difference ! The monastery 
is surrounded by lovely meadows, where one walks 
knee-deep in grasses and most beautiful wildflowers. 
Through these meadows a babbling brook winds its 
way under overhanging willow branches to the 
river further down. 

Close to the chapel of the monastery there is a 
natural grotto which is always shown to visitors. 

I remember exploring it once with a party of 
friends, and the uncanny sensation it gave me. 
Each member of the party was provided with a 
candle, and a monk acted as guide. As we passed 
further and further into the grotto, we appeared to 
be accompanied by a rushing river, but no river was 
to be seen. The effect was weird. The thick 
darkness, seeming to be rendered only more opaque 
by the feeble light of the candles, surrounded us 
like a pall, and we scarcely ventured to speak above 
a whisper. The monks assert that there is an 
underground river, but whence it starts and whither 
it goes no one seems to know. The cave itself is 
vast, and extends for miles under the mountains. 
It is thought that it communicates with the natural 
grotto at Campulung, which is very similar, and 
may really be a part of it ; but this has never been 
proved. No one seems to have had either the time 
or the inclination to undertake such an expedition. 
A Royal Geographical Society for research has not 
yet been formed in Roumania. 



52 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

There are numerous convents for women scattered 
all over the country. The costume of the nuns is 
not at all pretty. Over the dress, which is of 
ordinary stuff, a long cloak is worn, and a band of 
black cloth is bound round the forehead, the ends 
falling in pleats at the back, completely covering 
the hair. To crown all and complete the picture, a 
round flat cap or hat, also black, is perched on the 
top of the head. 

The system of Roumanian convents differs some- 
what from that of the Roman Catholic convents. 
Roumanian nuns are quite free to go about and visit 
friends and relatives. They are only vowed to 
celibacy, and they live together in communities, 
working for the poor and visiting the sick. No 
branch of education is, however, undertaken by 
them, as they themselves are not sufficiently in- 
structed for that. Before the present Queen of 
Roumania ascended the throne one of her greatest 
pleasures was to stay for a few weeks at the convent 
near Campulung. There she donned the garb of a 
nun — such a pretty nun had never been seen before 
in Roumania, — occupied herself with embroidery or 
painting, and ate the ordinary fare of the inmates. 
I believe a favourite sweet of hers on these occasions 
was musca, made of flour, butter, and sugar, which 
when cooked is completely covered with burnt 
sugar. It tastes very good indeed. This convent 
is situated in a very beautiful part of the country, 
and the chapel belonging to it is a curiosity in its 
way, having been excavated out of the solid rock. 



CHAPTER V 
• 

Roumania's capital — A garden city — Modesty on the trams — " A 
town of one street, one church, and one idea " — The Galea 
Victoiie — Two hundred churches — The church of Doamna 
Balash — English customs gaining headway — The houses of 
Bucarest — Afternoon calls and refreshinents — The fortifications. 

BUCAREST is situated on a marshy plain, a fact 
accounting for the malaria which so often 
attacks foreigners, as well as the inhabitants. It is 
an irregularly built town on the river Dimbovitza. 
When I first went there the town was very badly 
paved with rough cobble-stones, and it was highly 
disagreeable to go through the Galea Victorie, as the 
constant rumbling of the traffic over these stones 
effectually prevented any attempt at conversation. 
That is all changed now since wood-paving has been 
introduced. 

The town is well lighted, in some streets in- 
candescent lamps being used, whilst electricity is 
employed on the Boulevard and the Chaussee. 

The Boulevard, planted on both sides with trees, 
divides the town into two parts. It is a fine wide 
thoroughfare, and runs from the neighbourhood of 
the Palace at Cotroceni, right up to the Galea 
Mosilor, which it meets at right angles. 

The best view of the town is from the hill on 
which the Metropolitan Ghurch stands. Seen from 

53 



54 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

there it is very picturesque — the houses of the better 
class standing in gardens, in some cases of a fairly 
good size. 

Numerous small public gardens, the largest called 
Cismegiu, and the drive known as the Chaussee, 
greatly contribute to the garden-like appearance 
of the town. 

There is a very effective tram service in Bucarest, 
which was started some years ago by an English 
company. At first two-deckers were used, some- 
what after the fashion of our own English trams ; 
but that did not suit the authorities of the town. 
The idea of women climbing up to such elevated 
seats shocked them to such an extent that an order 
was issued forbidding the feminine use of the over- 
head seats. These trams were then withdrawn, and 
others of a more modest appearance and character- 
istics substituted. An electric tram now runs on 
the Boulevard. What a commotion there was when 
it was first instituted ! People were afraid to trust 
themselves on it — they feared electrocution most 
probably; but by degrees that feeling of fear was 
dissipated, and now the electric tram is as much 
used as the other. And now, I have just learnt, 
motor omnibuses have been adopted. I am glad 
to have been spared that innovation. 

Bucarest has been described as a town of one 
street, one church, and one idea. The aphorism is 
to some extent justified, for the Galea Victorie is 
practically Bucarest, the Greek Church knows no 
dissenters, and the prevailing idea is the spending 
of money. 

Galea Victorie is a very long street. It leads from 
the Dimbovitza to the Ghaussee (the fashionable 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 55 

afternoon resort of the Bucarestois), and it is 
essentially the street. All the principal buildings, 
as well as the Royal Palace, are situated in the 
Galea Vietorie, and it is the daily lounge of the elite 
of the town. 

It is a cosmopolitan crowd that one encounters 
on the Galea Vietorie : society ladies in elegant 
costumes, dapper little Frenchmen belonging to 
the Embassy, Roumanian officers in varied uniforms, 
handsome Turks with the fez set jauntily on their 
heads, Armenians with full short skirts and very 
curious headgear, and many others. 

Ghurches are a great feature of the town — there are, 
I should think, over two hundred in Bucarest. The 
Metropole is, of course, the Gathedral, where all 
ceremonial services are held. St Spiridon is a fine 
large building, but its beauty has been diminished 
of late years owing to the fact that the beautiful 
crosses and chains with which it was formerly 
ornamented were found too heavy for the roof and 
had to be removed. In this church many of the 
fashionable weddings take place. 

Of the more modern churches Doamna Balash, 
founded by the Brancovan family, is decidedly the 
most beautiful. It stands in a well-laid-out garden, 
in which are beds of most lovely flowers that form 
at the same time a fitting setting for the statue of 
the foundress, Doamna Balash. The statue is 
very fine, the pose of the figure extremely graceful, 
whilst the drapery is also a work of art. 

The interior of the church is gorgeous indeed, 
quite Eastern in its rich ornamentation. The ex- 
quisite reredos, the beautiful stained-glass windows, 
the ornamented candelabrum that hangs in the 



56 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

centre, the rich colours of the carpets that cover the 
floor, combine to make a picture that cannot be 
surpassed. During a service the effect is enhanced 
by the splendid robes and head-dresses of the 
officiating priests. 

Attached to the church is a school, and also 
almshouses for the aged. 

The Brancovan Hospital, which is at the back of 
the church and is considered amongst the best in 
the town, is one of a group of four buildings which 
were erected by the family Brancovan, descendants 
of a reigning prince of former times. 

Life in Bucarest is very agreeable, especially for 
foreigners, and more particularly for the English, 
who are looked up to and admired by the 
Roumanians. Many of our customs have been 
adopted in recent years, and English, which had long 
been making headway, has gained so enormously 
since the war that it will probably soon take the 
place of French as the polite language of the country. 
It is curious that with the better-class Roumanians 
it has become more fashionable than their own 
language. If one enters a drawing-room, a shop, 
or even a very intimate family circle, English or 
French will be heard, very seldom Roumanian — 
which language is usually left to the servants. 

Roumanian houses are generally built with the 
side to the street, and consist of only one story, 
on account of the frequent earthquakes. 

On entering the house, one finds oneself in a large 
vestibule sometimes lighted from above by artificial 
means. This is really a vestibule, but is very often 
used as a sitting-room by the family. All the other 
rooms open out of this circular chamber. This is a 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 57 

convenient arrangement for heating purposes, as 
there is always a large stove in the vestibule, and 
when the doors of the adjacent rooms are left open 
an agreeable warmth pervades the house. 

There is, besides, a porcelain stove in each room 
for use in severe weather, as Roumanians are very- 
fond of well- warmed rooms. In the vestibule coal 
or coke is used, but wood in all the other rooms. 

Double windows are always used in winter; but 
as spring comes on the outer one is exchanged for 
one of wire-netting, which allows the free passage of 
air, but keeps out the flies, which are generally 
troublesome. 

Roumania is a breakfastless country. Some 
people drink a cup of black coffee or take a " dul- 
ceata," others have nothing at all till lunch-time. 
Lunch and dinner are very substantial meals con- 
sisting of several courses — the French cuisine being 
adopted in all the better-class families. 

When one pays an afternoon visit for the first 
time, one is rather astonished at the form the 
refreshment takes. When salutations have been 
exchanged and conversation is in full swing, or 
otherwise, the door opens and a maid appears with a 
large tray. On it are arranged small glass plates 
with a spoonful of jam on each, and a glass of water 
for each person. The visitor, if a foreigner, is 
generally puzzled as to what is expected of her, but 
upon observing her neighbours she sees that the 
spoonful of jam, " dulceata " (pronounced dul- 
chatza) as it is called, is solemnly swallowed, then 
washed down by a draught of cold water. One 
must be careful not to do as a friend of mine did on a 
first visit. Never having seen such refreshment, she 



58 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

calmly mixed the spoonful of jam in the water and 
valiantly swallowed the dose, to the consternation 
of the Roumanians present. 

Most people have heard in recent sad days of the 
wonderful fortifications of Bucarest, which were 
designed by a Belgian and constructed at a cost of 
£4,000,000. The city was thus well protected by 
outworks, which made it the largest fortified camp 
in the world, with the exception of Paris. 



CHAPTER VI 

The land system — The Dominele or squirearchy — The simple life 
of the peasants — The beginning of a revolt — A premature out- 
break — The countryside in flames — King Carol's new guns first 
used on his subjects — A village population exterminated — 
Terror in the town — I go to church and am relieved to see 
Princess Marie there — The tale of a sufferer — The priests and 
schoolmasters the instigators — The peasants' subterranean 
dw^ellings. 

IN former times the peasants received a plot of 
ground proportionate to the number of cattle 
they owned, and also rights of grazing and collecting 
fuel in the forests. 

In 1864 a law was passed conferring on each 
peasant freehold property according to the number 
of oxen he possessed, the man with no cattle 
receiving the minimum number of acres. 

The price of the land was paid to the landlord by 
the State and recovered from the peasant in a certain 
number of instalments. On the whole it was not a 
great boon, as the limited size of the farms, the 
necessity for buying wood and paying for pas- 
turage, prevented the peasants from obtaining 
complete independence of the large proprietors on 
whose estates they still had to work for payment in 
money or in kind. 

Of course a good deal of grumbling went on. The 
peasant accused his Dominele of allotting to him the 
worst pasture and other land on the estate. He 

59 



60 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

complained bitterly when, in the height of harvest, 
he was obliged to leave his own crops in order to get 
in those of the squire. 

The peasant paid no taxes, but instead he gave 
his services to the State in road-making, drainage, 
etc., whenever he was called upon. The improvi- 
dence of the peasants very often got them into the 
hands of the Jews, who fortunately are by law 
unable to become proprietors of the land. 

In later years laws have been passed to improve 
the position of the peasants, and the Agrarian 
Reform Law has this year been considered by a 
Committee of the Chamber. 

Under the Expropriation Law a large area had 
already been designated for distribution to the 
peasants, whose ultimate well-being one may con- 
fidently hope is now assured. There is still a press- 
ing need for good schools in the villages. 

The usual wages of a peasant was in pre-war days 
one franc daily, out of which he had to provide his 
food. 

" Mamaliga," a kind of bread made of maize, 
with a fcAV fresh onions, or a melon, constitutes the 
peasant's frugal repast. Meat he rarely sees, and 
as for drink, not only the peasantry, but indeed all 
classes of Roumanians are remarkably abstemious. 
The only drink that the peasant allows himself is 
a glass of tzuica (a spirit distilled from plums) 
after church on Sundays. In this mild dissipation 
the village priest generally takes part, and he also 
acts as mediator should a slight difference of opinion 
arise, which, it must be said, very seldom occurs. 

Although the peasant is by nature of an amiable, 
indolent character, still on occasion he may be 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 61 

aroused to a state of fury, either by brooding over 
his real or fancied wrongs, or through tlie influence 
of agitators. In such a state nothing is sacred to 
him, and a revolt of the peasants once experienced 
is not easily forgotten. 

Such a revolt occurred in 1907, when even we in 
Bucarest experienced a very uneasy time. The 
peasants on a certain estate were in a very restless, 
discontented state of mind, and this disaffection 
rapidly spreading to neighbouring estates, almost 
the whole of the rural population became involved 
in a very serious rising. A plot was arranged to 
attack the estates of the landed proprietors during 
the month of July, when, as is usually the case, 
they would be installed with their families in their 
country residences for the summer months. Luckily 
for them some premature development occurred 
and the trouble began in May, so that only their 
property suffered, their families being safe in 
Bucarest. 

Every day dreadful stories were in circulation as to 
the doings of the peasantry. We were told the 
most harrowing tales of how houses were being 
wrecked, costly furniture burned, and even stock 
destroyed. Travellers from the interior of the 
country related how they saw flames rising to a 
great height in all directions, as one splendid 
country-house after another was burnt to the ground. 
Woe betide any unpopular land agent who was 
found near the scene ! In very many cases he was 
thrown into the flames. Troops were despatched 
into the interior to restore order ; but as most of the 
soldiers are themselves of the peasant class, the 
authorities had to be very careful as to where they 



62 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

sent them, as in the event of finding themselves 
among friends or neighbours, the probabihty was 
that they would take sides with the insurgents. 
This actually did happen in one district, where the 
soldiers deserted their officer, leaving him to be 
shot down. 

A strange example of the irony of fate was shown 
in the fact that some guns of a new type which 
King Carol had shortly before presented to the 
army were now used for the first time in shooting 
down his subjects. 

The most terrible incident of the revolt was 
described to me by an officer who was present. A 
certain village had long been known as a hotbed 
of disaffection, and it was decided that an example 
should be made of it. Roumanian villages consist 
as a rule of one long street of simple little white- 
washed cottages with outhouses in the rear, and 
this particular village was of the usual character. 
The artillery approached the village from opposite 
quarters, and with the new guns raked the street 
from end to end, practically annihilating the whole 
population— men, women, and children. 

The constant fear of the authorities was that the 
mob in the capital might join with the peasants. A 
regiment of infantry, fully equipped with all the 
impedimenta of war, including some cannon and a 
few ambulance wagons, was therefore paraded 
through the streets at regular intervals in order 
to strike awe into the hearts of the people. The 
cabarets were closed at an early hour, and suspected 
quarters were patrolled all night. These measures 
proved effectual, and no disturbances whatever took 
place in Bucarest. 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 63 

The townspeople, however, were very nervous, 
and always ready to believe the countless reports 
that were to be heard on every hand. I was staying 
with some friends at the time, and my host returned 
home late one evening, having made a round of 
most of the shops in search of ammunition. His 
quest, he told us, was fruitless ; not a single car- 
tridge was to be had ; everything was sold out. Of 
course this increased the anxiety that we already 
felt. How often during that troubled time did I 
stand at the window before retiring for the night, 
straining my ears to catch any unaccustomed 
sound, and fancying that I heard the noise of cannon 
from the direction of the barriers ! 

One Sunday morning, as I was preparing for 
church, my hostess entered my room with a very 
grave face. She had received information from a 
very reliable source that a determined attack was 
to be made that day on the town. The churches 
were to be attacked first, she said, therefore she 
strongly advised me to stay away. The lady her- 
self had decided to go, with her family, to a relative 
who lived in what she thought was a safer quarter 
of the town, and would there remain to watch the 
course of events. 

I decided that if any disturbance was really going 
to take place it would be preferable for me to be 
in the midst of my own countrymen, and therefore 
putting the few valuables I possessed into a small 
bag, I set out for church. Nothing unusual in the 
demeanour of the passers-by struck me ; no air of 
repressed excitement was to be remarked, and as I 
approached the building where the Enghsh service 
was held, any latent feeling of anxiety was com- 



64 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

pletely dispelled by the sight of Princess Marie, 
fresh and charming as usual, being swiftly driven to 
church. I was completely convinced that nothing 
was to be feared, otherwise the Princess would not 
have been allowed to appear in the streets. 

Once in church all fears were at an end, till aroused 
again by the entrance of two shady-looking persons 
of quite forbidding appearance. I then for the first 
time became really frightened. Who were they ? 
What could they want ? Would they throw bombs? 
As a matter of fact they did nothing ; but it was 
not until the conclusion of the service that I learnt 
they were detectives, and their business was to 
watch over the safety of Princess Marie. 

The day passed very quietly, and I must say that 
I felt quite superior and remarkably brave when in 
the course of the evening I was rung up by my 
hostess, who wished to know if all was quiet and if 
she could return in safety with her family. I 
telephoned at once that all was quiet, not even a 
dog or cat to be seen in the street, much less any 
trace of rioters. 

Although we in town were spared any terrible 
sights, we heard dreadful stories from those who 
had suffered. A lady whom I knew happened to 
be in the country with her family when the revolt 
broke out. They managed to escape from their 
beautiful home, and for three days and nights were 
hidden by a friendly peasant in an outhouse. Here 
they were obliged to subsist on the simplest fare, 
fearing to show themselves ; dreading every 
moment to be discovered. All around could be 
heard the hoarse cries of the peasants, rising to 
frenzy as their excitement grew. The glare of their 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 65 

own burning home penetrated into their hiding- 
place, and they eould picture to themselves the 
maddened peasants dancing like so many demons 
round the fire. At last, as the rioters drew off to 
scenes further afield, it was considered safe to 
attempt the journey to the station. What a walk 
that must have been, and what a relief when finally 
their goal was reached, and a train was found on 
the point of starting for Bucarest ! It is true that 
the journey was made with a man standing with a 
loaded revolver at each carriage door, but all fear 
was dismissed from their minds when they found 
themselves safe and sound in the capital. 

The instigators of the revolt, as was eventually 
proved, w^ere the schoolmasters and the priests. 
The proofs of this were overwhelming. No one 
knows, and probably no one will ever know, the 
number of peasants who lost their lives during the 
disturbances, but that it was very large there is no 
doubt whatever. 

Several timid folk left the country with their 
children and went to Kronstadt, just a few miles 
over the border in Hungarian territory, and there 
they remained till all was quiet once more. 

It was rather amusing for the Roumanian families 
who later on ventured to return to their estates, to 
see some of the peasants parading about in garments 
that had formerly belonged to them. 

A remarkable feature of country life in Roumania, 
which reminds us sharply that serfdom has not long 
been extinct, is the curious kind of subterranean 
housing provided for the labourers on many estates. 
In the neighbourhood of the farm you will notice a 

long ridge or mound of earth some three feet in height, 

5 



66 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

at one end of which is an inverted V-shaped opening 
like a ship's scuttle. If you enter this " scuttle " 
and descend a few steps you will find yourself in 
a large underground apartment furnished with a 
stove, a small table in the centre, a number of beds 
— of a sort — placed round the walls, and nothing else. 
My host, on the occasion of my visiting one of 
these quaint dwellings on his estate, assured me that 
his people preferred these " dugouts " to any other 
form of dwelling, as they were cool in summer and 
warm in winter. My visit was paid in the summer, 
but I imagine that when the stove is alight the place 
must be a bit stuffy, to say the least of it. 



CHAPTER VII 

Village scenes — National dances — Tlie picturesque peasant costumes 
— Peasant girls who powder and paint— An idyllic scene — A 
country wedding — Peasant simplicity. 

WHEN staying in the country, I always took 
great delight in witnessing the village scenes. 
Roumanians, as I have already mentioned, are a 
musical race. They also love dancing. Some of 
their country-dances are very pretty. The principal 
one is the " Hora," and it is danced by any number 
of people to the music of a violin. A number of 
young men and girls take hands and form a large 
ring. They then begin a slow and stately step, the 
music gradually increasing in speed, and their move- 
ments also, till they become fast and furious. Music 
and dance then suddenly stop. Another dance is 
the " Sarba," which is danced by two people, either 
men or women. They stand side by side, each with 
one hand resting lightly on the other's shoulder. 
Then the dance begins, and when well done it really 
affords a most interesting spectacle, so varied and 
intricate are the steps employed. There is far more 
individual dancing in these national dances than in 
ours. 

On Sunday afternoons dancing on the village 
green is the great amusement, and when one comes 
on the company unexpectedly, and they are not too 
shy to continue, it is an interesting sight. The 

67 



68 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUIMANIA 

girls, dressed in their varied and picturesque cos- 
tumes, the crimson, bkie, and gold of which flash 
here and there with the movements of the wearers, 
the young men clad in snowy-white garments, make 
a pretty picture, backed as it is by the surrounding 
foliage, and bathed in brilliant sunshine. 

I must describe the dress of the young peasant, 
as it is rather curious. A very tight pair of breeches 
is worn, of a white thick sort of flannel, sometimes 
embroidered, and sometimes simply bound with 
black. The snowy shirt is adorned with a row of 
thick lace, and is not tucked into the breeches, but 
hangs straight down. It is, however, caught in at 
the waist by a very broad leather belt (in which he 
keeps what money he may have). Sandals on the 
feet tied on with leather thongs, and a high cap of 
sheep-skin with the woolly side out, complete the 
costume of the young gallant. If he wants to be 
very smart on Sunday he wears a flower behind his 
ear to have in readiness for his sweetheart. If the 
weather is chilly he wears a loose short jacket over 
the shirt, but in winter he has a long sheep-skin coat 
which covers him completely. 

One would imagine that the peasants in those 
remote districts would be very unsophisticated and 
quite ignorant of the various little ways and means 
by which the women in city life seek to enhance 
their charms. This, however, is not the case. It is 
quite a common thing to see the peasant girls " done 
up " with powder and paint to as great an extent 
as their town sisters. The complexion of the 
Roumanians is rather dark, but as they prefer the 
white and red of fairer races they do their best in 
imitation. 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 69 

It is very interesting to walk through a village 
on a summer evening. Most of the people are sitting 
at their doors enjoying the cool air. A song is heard 
in the distance, then another group takes it up, till 
the music swells into quite a volume of sound as the 
singers draw nearer. Sometimes a wood-fire is 
burning outside the house, and round it friends and 
neighbours gather, either singing or relating stories 
till far into the night. As we look round on the dark 
eager faces lit up by the firelight, then at the tower- 
ing mountains which surround us, and the great 
golden moon hanging midway in the dark sky, we 
realise that we live in a beautiful world. 

The little country churches are very quaint. They 
are generally built in a circular form, with no seats, 
just a mat on the stone floor on which the priest 
stands. There is always a sort of vestibule, and in 
this is the " bell," or rather gong. It is a large metal 
tray, and worshippers are called to church by re- 
peated strokes made on it with two stout sticks. 
A boy wields these sticks, and though at the begin- 
ning the strokes are slow and measured, as the hour 
of service draws nearer they become quicker and 
quicker till there is a regular hail of them. Then 
they suddenly cease. The effect is curious and even 
comical. The country priest is not at all so severe 
or so reserved as his town brother. On the contrary, 
if anyone of a better class visits a country church 
the priest will be quite willing to enter into conversa- 
tion in the intervals of the service, and he will by 
no means forget to refer to the needs of the church, 
the poverty of the parish, and to explain what a 
godsend it would be to them to get a new altar-cloth. 

Sometimes a family from Bucarest will have a 



70 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

fancy to celebrate a wedding in the country. It 
is a very jolly event indeed. Everyone wears 
Roumanian costume, the procession goes on foot 
to the little church, and after the ceremony there 
is feasting and dancing till all hours. 

But it is the real peasant wedding that is most 
interesting. People are invited from far and near. 
The visitors arrive at the church in karutza 
(ox- waggons) all decorated with flowers. That of 
the bride has a regular canopy over it, under which 
she sits embowered in flowers of all colours. 

She is accompanied to the church by her mother or 
some other near relative, and given into the keeping 
of the young man, who awaits her at the altar. The 
service is then proceeded with, and is followed by the 
" holy dance " and the exchange of rings. But I 
shall never forget the shock I experienced at the 
first country wedding at which I was present, when 
I saw the bride meekly lift the husband's hand at 
the end of the service and kiss it. One may see by 
that that suffragettes have not yet propagated their 
theories in Roumania. 

The visitors at a country wedding do not go 
empty-handed. Even on the day before the cere- 
mony presents begin to arrive — very often presents 
in kind, loaves and cakes of all sorts ; eggs, butter, 
fruit, meat, and wine. All this is very necessary in- 
deed, when there are so many to be fed, as the feast- 
ing is often kept up for two or three days. One of 
our maids who had been invited to a wedding told 
me afterwards, " Oh, miss, it was grand ; not like 
the town weddings, when you get only a glass of 
wine and a bit of cake. No, indeed ; we feasted 
and danced and amused ourselves for three days ! " 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 71 

Generally speaking, the peasants are very ignorant, 
and vnifortunately the townspeople are only too 
ready to take advantage of their ignorance when 
the country folk adventure among them. Seldom 
having money to handle, the peasants have only a 
slender knowledge of the currency of their own 
country, and at one time they used to be defrauded 
by the tradespeople in consequence. The currency 
consists of lei and bani ; equivalent to francs and 
centimes. There are no Roumanian gold coins, those 
current in the country being French. The one-, 
two-, and five-franc coins are of silver, as is also 
the fifty-bani piece. The five-bani piece, made of 
nickel, is exactly the same in size and appearance as 
the silver fifty-bani piece, and the peasants, unable 
to recognise the difference in the metals, were often 
fleeced. Some time ago, however, the attention of 
the Government was directed to the matter, and all 
five-bani pieces issued since are distinguished by a 
hole pierced through them. 



CHAPTER VIII 

Trade and commerce— The only strictly Roumanian shops belong 
to Princes — No English shops, though they would be welcomed 
— English catalogues unintelligible — An English firm and its 
"standard " colour^ — A successful English factory — The labour 
question, saints' days and names-days — German factories — 
Beer taxed in the interests of wine — Sugar and cheese factories 
■ — Sheep -milking — Petroleum wells in Roumania — -An influx of 
Americans — Rockefeller's agent, Mr Chamberlain and his family 
— How a man of gipsy origin " struck oil " and became a 
millionaire — Paper-mills and coal-mines. 

I REMARK elsewhere that the retail trade is 
principally in the hands of the Jews, although 
of late years a few shops have been opened on 
the Galea Victorie by some of the " upper ten." 
There is, for example, the shop of Prince Stirbey, 
another belonging to Prince Brancovan, and still 
another to M. Bratiano. These gentlemen con- 
ceived the good idea of cultivating various kinds of 
produce on their farms, thus giving employment to 
a considerable number of people, and then sending 
it to town to be sold. Stirbey's butter is well 
known as the best to be had. His preserved fruit 
and vegetables are excellent, and his wine bears 
comparison with the produce of the best vine- 
yards. All the apphances necessary for the conduct 
of this really important enterprise, the casks and 
bottles for the wines, the jars for the fruits, etc., 
are manufactured on the estate, so that employ- 

72 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 73 

ment is given to many workers in various fields of 
industry. 

It seems curious that the only Roumanian shops 
in Bucarest should be those belonging to Princes ; 
but so it is. It is also true, however, that these 
personages merely lend their names to the under- 
takings, and leave them to be carried out by those 
whom they employ. Perhaps, as an example has 
been set by these aristocratic traders, others lower 
down in the scale of society may in time be tempted 
to follow suit and discover that it is not really so 
very derogatory to their dignity to keep a shop. 

It is a great pity that there is no English shop in 
Bucarest. It is also a pity that greater facilities 
are not offered to Roumanians to trade with England. 
As a gentleman once remarked to me, " If only an 
English shop were opened here the goods would 
command a ready sale, and would oust the German- 
made articles from the market." But there is no 
shop, and before the war there were few commercial 
travellers from England to offer English goods to 
a sympathetic market. ^ Roumanians like English 
goods, and would be eager to buy them if it were an 
easy matter for them to do so. Amongst the many 
obstacles in the way are our curious monetary system, 
and our still more curious, and even archaic, system 
of weights and measures, the latter with terms 
which are often only intelligible to the trade expert. 

The catalogues sent out from England by business 
firms are printed in English only, and therefore can 

^ I am glad to learn that this reproach is no longer deserved. I 
am informed that since the war a number of British fii-ms have, by 
means of wisely-selected representatives, taken advantage of the 
ready market, and a profusion of British goods, notably woollens 
and linens, are now to bo seen in Bucarest. 



74 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

only be circulated among those people who under- 
stand the language thoroughly. Even for them the 
difficulties are great. How often I have been called 
upon to reduce shillings to francs, and to explain the 
difference between " metre " and " yard " ! Then 
the various contractions in a catalogue ! 

There are no facilities for trade between Roumania 
and England such as exist between Roumania and 
other countries. For instance, one sends an order to 
Paris or Vienna, and on the arrival of the goods in 
Bucarest is advised of the fact by the postal authori- 
ties. The consignee then proceeds to the custom- 
house, inspects the goods, and if satisfactory pays 
the price on the spot. If not, they are sent back. 
But in sending to England for goods what a diffi- 
cult business it is ! Say a costume is required. 
First of all the measurements have to be accurately 
translated into English. Then the price has to be 
calculated and the money forwarded at the same 
time as the order. Should there be even a trifling 
error, some pence too few or too many, there is 
trouble and delay and the matter is difficult to 
arrange. I believe, however, that there is big busi- 
ness to be done not only with Roumania, but with 
other of the Balkan States. English people do not 
readily put themselves out of the way to capture 
trade, nor do they easily adapt themselves to the 
tastes, wishes, or customs of foreigners. Since the 
war there has, of course, been the exchange diffi- 
culty, but that will not always remain. 

Let me give one example of English conservat- 
ism. A certain English firm was approached as to 
the sending out of some agricultural machines. 
Now the peasantry of the Near East are very fond 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 75 

of bright colours, such as red, blue, and green, and 
the first machines which arrived, painted in a uni- 
form shade of ugly grey, failed to please. A sug- 
gestion was forwarded to the firm regarding the 
colour of the machines, but the reply received was 
that grey was the standard colour which had been 
decided on by the firm for all their machines and it 
could not be altered. The result was that the order 
was cancelled. 

I must not forget to mention that there is one 
English factory in Roumania for the making of calico 
and linen. It was established some years ago by a 
well-known Manchester merchant, Mr Lamb, who 
found it decidedly more advantageous to have the 
yarn sent out from England, and to manufacture it 
in the country where it was to be sold. By so doing 
he escaped the enormous tax on all manufactured 
goods imported into the country. The factory is a 
fine building, lighted throughout by electricity. The 
manager's house, a most comfortable residence, is 
only a short distance away. Cottages for the work- 
people, and a canteen where food can be purchased 
at a reasonable rate, are also situated near the factory. 
These buildings cover a quite respectable area. 

It is the law in Roumania that every foreign 
factory must employ a certain number of Roumanian 
workers— two-thirds of the whole. Therefore only 
skilled workmen were brought from England, the 
unskilled labour being provided in the country. 
Lack of skill, however, was not the only difficulty 
which had to be contended with. The native 
workers were unreliable and indolent— let us say at 
once, lazy. In going over the factory, I was told by 
the foreman that even the unskilled worker could 



76 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

earn from twenty to twenty-five francs weekly if 
he were industrious ; and one must remember that 
twenty-five francs (£l) counts for considerably more 
in Roumania with such a class than in England, as 
food is so very much cheaper. But the trouble 
was the indolence of the people and the oft- 
recurring saints' days. As soon as the worker had 
a little money in hand he felt that he had earned 
the right to rest from his labour, for a time at any 
rate. As for the idea that work might be done on 
a saint's day, that could not be entertained for a 
moment. Naturally, under such conditions it is 
most difficult to carry on work in the factory, or 
even to maintain a proper discipline. 

I regret to learn that this factory was badly 
damaged during the war. 

There is also an English bank in Bucarest — the 
old-established Bank of Roumania, Ltd., which has 
always been held in the highest esteem by the 
Roumanians, and serves a very important purpose 
in the trade relations between the two countries. 

At Azuga, on the way from Sinaia to Predeal, 
there are a few factories, for the most part con- 
trolled by Germans. The glass factory is the most 
interesting one to visit, as one can follow the whole 
process from the mixing of the sand, potash, etc., 
to the turning out of the perfect bottles and glasses. 
For the most part the articles turned out are of an 
inferior quality, but a superior class of goods is 
manufactured from time to time. For instance, 
some very artistic glass cups and saucers are turned 
out at Azuga. They are made of fairly thick glass, 
quite smooth, and finished off with a gilt band 
round the edge of the cup. Wash-hand basins and 



T\^^NTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 77 

jugs made of similar glass, and various little acces- 
sories for the toilet table, are also manufactured 
here. A dainty little cake-stand for afternoon tea 
with glass plates instead of china on each etage is a 
novelty that I have seen nowhere else. 

A cloth manufactory in the same village turns out 
quite respectable goods. The texture and finish of 
the material are not what could be termed first 
class, but for its durability I can vouch. A cycling 
costume that I had made of cloth manufactured at 
Azuga wore well for years ; in fact, I could not wear 
it out, and finally gave it away. 

There are a few breweries in Roumania, and one 
of the best know^n is at Azuga. Azuga beer is very 
light, not heady at all. It bears some resemblance 
to Munich beer in quality but not in price. Beer in 
Roumania is very expensive, a bottle about the size 
of a " small Bass " costing one franc. The reason 
for this is the enormous tax imposed on the output, 
which is at the rate of 50 per cent. The tax is 
imposed by the Government in the interest of the 
wine-growing industry, which is the national industry 
of the country. 

There are a few beer-gardens in Bucarest where 
a military band is engaged once or twice a week, but 
they are not by any means so frequented as they 
would be, say, in Germany, partly owing to the cost 
of the beer, and partly because it is not considered 
chic to be seen in a beer-garden. What a delight it 
is when travelling in summer to remember that, 
once over the frontier, one can indulge in a cool, 
foaming glass of beer at a moderate cost, the 
beverage being so very much cheaper both in 
Hungary and Austria ! 



78 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

Roumania is, in parts, a wine-growing country. 
The grapes, although small, have a very fine flavour. 
The wine is light in quality, the best kinds being 
Cotnar, which resembles Tokay, the delicious 
Hungarian wine, and Dragasani, a white wine with 
an excellent taste. Roumanian wines are by no 
means expensive ; one could buy a bottle of quite 
good wine for one franc before the war. 

Sugar factories have also been established in the 
country, beetroot being of course employed in its 
manufacture. The sugar looks all right; it is 
beautifully white, but it is very hard, takes a very 
long time to melt, and does not sweeten as much 
as cane-sugar. It is also rather expensive, and 
cost no less than 6d. per pound before the war. 
A curious thing is that over the frontier, in Bulgaria 
or Serbia, Roumanian sugar could be bought at a 
much cheaper rate than in the country. 

Cheese factories are numerous throughout the 
country, and in addition to the production of the 
national cheeses many foreign cheeses, such as 
Emmenthaler, Roquefort, etc., are fairly well imi- 
tated. Sheep's cheese, unknown in this country, 
is one of the best of the Roumanian products. It is 
very white in appearance, mild to the taste, not 
at all piquant. 

One peculiarity of sheep's cheese is that it is 
made in an oblong shape and then packed in 
bark. When served at table slices are cut right 
through the bark. The cheese has rather a peculiar 
flavour from its contact with the bark, but this is 
not at all disagreeable, indeed, rather the contrary. 
It is sold in very small quantities, as sheep give so 
little milk. 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 79 

I was present once at sheep-milking time, and 
found it a most entertaining sight. The sheep were 
driven into a small enclosure at one corner of which 
was a flap-door. When the flap was raised, the 
sheep nearest the door saw a means of escape from 
its uncomfortable surroundings and made a dash for 
it, only to be caught by the hind leg by the man 
seated near, who did not let go till he had got every 
available drop of milk from the animal. On an 
average one could count upon half a glass of milk 
from each sheep. But the dexterity of the man in 
catching his prey, his skill in the quick milking of 
the animal in spite of its struggles, then its final 
rush for freedom, were all very amusing to witness. 

The petrol wells of Roumania are, I should think, 
well known by this time. Different companies have 
been formed for the working of the wells, but the 
best known is the Steaua Romana, in which since 
the war British capital has become largely interested. 
Rockefeller made a great bid in order to get full 
control of the oil-fields, as Roumanian petrol is of 
decidedly better quality than any other, not excluding 
that of America. The negotiations were the cause 
of much discussion and difference of opinion — one 
party wishing to accept Rockefeller's proposals, the 
other saying they were traitors to their country, 
and were selling themselves and what they possessed 
to the Americans. I once said to a Roumanian 
gentleman, " Why not form companies of your own 
and work the oil-fields in your own interests ? " 
" Oh no," he replied ; " in selling them to the 
foreigners we get the money and they do the work." 
The reply may have been an indication of the 
natural indolence of an eastern nation, but it 



80 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

was also, I think, prompted by consideration of 
capital. 

The discovery and consequent exploitation of 
petroleum in the country caused a great influx of 
Americans, and therefore our British colony was 
increased to a considerable extent, as Britishers and 
Americans naturally hung together. As Rocke- 
feller, in spite of obstacles, finally succeeded in getting 
very large interests in the oil-fields, his agent, Mr 
Chamberlain, and family resided for a considerable 
time in Bucarest. 

The most important oil-field is that of Campina, 
on the way to Sinaia. The district seems to be so 
saturated with oil that it has rendered the whole 
countryside intolerable. One begins to smell it on 
leaving Ploesti. Luckily it does not extend so far 
as Sinaia, otherwise that charming resort would be 
rendered uninhabitable. 

The discovery of petroleum has made the fortunes 

of many people in Roumania. There was M. M , 

for instance, who was, I believe, of gipsy origin, 
as he did not even possess a surname when he began 
life. By dint of industry he managed to become 
possessor of a small estate, and one fine day when 
petrol was discovered on it he realised that he could 
count himself a millionaire. He immediately took 
the name of his land for his own, built a magnificent 
residence in the Galea Victorie, and later on his 
youngest daughter formed a matrimonial alliance 
with a member of the aristocracy. 

A few paper-mills are to be found in the country, 
and a walk through one or other of them is very 
interesting. Nothing but wood is employed in the 
factory. The great logs are brought in direct from 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 81 

the neighbouring forests, then cut up, pressed, 
reduced to a pulp, and finally turned out as sheets 
of paper. It is chiefly paper for packing that is 
made, but a certain quantity of notcpaper is also 
made. I was presented with a box of it, but it is 
of very inferior quality, and does not possess the 
gloss or finish of our own. 

Coal has been found in Roumania, though not in 
any great quantity. I was told, however, that the 
quality was very good. Roumania is more an 
agricultural than an industrial country, and wheat 
is the great source of income. Everything, trips to 
Paris or Monte Carlo, new clothes, opera-boxes, etc., 
turns upon the question, " Will there be a good 
harvest ? " When snow begins to fall early in 
winter, farmers are very pleased; they say snow 
means gold for the country, as it protects the seed 
from the severe cold and from the frost which is 
sure to follow. 



CHAPTER IX 

Severe restrictions on Jews — The Jews as traders— Tlioir vigoroias 
methods — They exploit the peasants of the countryside as wine- 
shopkeepers and moneylenders — The Jews as tenants of estates 
sublet at rack rents — The original proprietor cannot see that he 
has any share of responsibility for the grinding down of the 
peasants— An anti-Jewish riot in the Lipscani — A family of 
Paris Jews make a large fortune in a fashionable shop in a 
few years — A Jewish wedding which is a double one. 

JEWS are not considered citizens even when 
natives of the country and doing mihtary 
service. They cannot be officers in the army, nor 
are they allowed to rise even to the rank of corporal. 
No Jew can take a bursary at a university. In 
Roumanian primary schools (which are free to 
Roumanian children) Jews must pay, and indeed 
are only received when there happens to be room 
for them. 

Jews are not allowed to practise law or to hold 
any Government office without being specially ad- 
mitted to citizenship, a privilege very difficult to 
obtain ; and they cannot become teachers in State 
schools except for foreign languages. They are not 
allowed to buy any property in cities or towns. 

In many towns Jews have schools of their own, 
as well as a hospital and a bathing establishment. 
There were, roughly speaking, nearly one million Jews 
in Roumania, where members of the race have been 
settled for the last three hundred years. They 

82 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 83 

came principally from Russia and Galicia. In olden 
times, when the country was still under Turkish rule, 
a Jewish king was once appointed, who, however, 
only reigned over the country for the space of 
three days. 

Jews form an important section of the population, 
as most of the retail trade is carried on by them. 

The young men of the upper classes in Roumania 
must all have professions. They study medicine, 
engineering, law, or go into the army, but soil their 
hands with trade they will not. That is why all 
the trade of Roumania is in the hands of the Jews. 
They are shopkeepers or moneylenders, but it will 
be noticed that no Jew or Jewess ever undertakes 
menial service. 

In the Strada Lipscani and the neighbouring 
streets almost all the shopkeepers are Jews, and 
when business is slack they are always to be found at 
their shop doors pressing the passers-by to enter and 
inspect the goods. 

Woe to any unsophisticated peasant who ventures 
to go alone to that neighbourhood to buy some 
article of clothing ; he risks being torn in pieces. 
I witnessed an occurrence one day which highly 
amused me. A man of the poorer class was saunter- 
ing along looking at the different suits of clothes 
exposed to view, evidently with the intention of 
buying one. Suddenly he was seized upon by two 
opposing shopkeepers, each of whom began at once 
to drag the poor man in the direction of his particular 
shop, at the same time extolling his wares in a loud 
voice. At first the man laughed, taking it as a joke, 
but he was soon convinced that his captors meant 
serious business. He was pulled to one shop, then 



84 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

to the other, again and again, until I began to expect 
every moment that the sleeves would be torn out of 
his coat. However, in the end the stronger of the 
two shopkeepers gained the victory, and landed 
his prize safely in his shop. Very probably he did not 
let him out again till he had spent most, if not all, of 
the money he had in his pocket. 

Jews are not liked in Roumania, although the 
Roumanians are ready enough to resort to them 
when they are in money difficulties. They demand 
an exorbitant interest on any money lent, the rate 
not being regulated in Roumania as it is, for 
instance, in France ; and this circumstance prob- 
ably helps to intensify the feeling of dislike that 
many have for the Jews. 

The Jew has it all his own way in the country 
districts, and is hated accordingly. He runs the 
cabaret or wine-shop, but is quite willing to lend 
money at the same time. When the peasant has 
had bad crops, or been too lazy to work, he has 
recourse to the Jew, to whom he must give good 
security for the money he borrows. The result is in 
most cases that one head of his stock after another 
falls into the clutches of the moneylender, their 
owner finding it impossible to redeem them, and he 
may count himself lucky if he gets out of the Jew's 
hands still having a roof over his head. The 
Roumanians are an improvident race, and the fault 
lies on their side as much as on that of the Jews, 
although they will never confess it. All their 
railings are against the exorbitant interest demanded 
from them. It is not to be denied that the Jew 
oppresses them when he gets the chance ; but then 
why give him the chance ? 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 85 

Those people too of the better class who possess 
some land but do not wish to trouble about the 
working of it, generally let it to a Jew, as he offers a 
better price than anyone else. He in his turn 
sublets it, and naturally demands the highest price 
he can get. Then the Roumanian laments about 
how the poor peasantry are ground down by the 
Jews; but, as I remarked once to a gentleman, 
" Why then let your land out to a Jew ? " " Well, 
you see, he pays a better price," was the naive reply. 
So it seemed to me there was no difference whatever 
between the two. The Roumanian was not un- 
willing to profit by the Jew, who in his turn got it 
out of the people under him. 

On the whole, Jews are fairly well treated in 
Roumania. Sometimes the always-present under- 
lying irritation against them finds vent in a sudden 
raid on their shops by an angry mob. 

Such a raid occurred some years ago, and I was an 
eye-witness of many of the incidents. Most damage 
was caused in the Lipscani, where the shop windows 
were smashed and the goods strewn about the street. 
But, in spite of all this damage, I did not hear of any 
authenticated case in which a Jew suffered bodily 
harm. Of course they had to lie low for a time, 
but little by httle they ventured to reopen their 
shops and have them repaired, and all went on as 
before. 

The Roumanian authorities received all claims for 
damages, and reimbursed the claimants ; but a few 
of the better-class firms refused to put in any claim 
— they were magnanimous enough to bear the loss. 
Probably they thought to themselves that they 
could put on an extra franc or two on all goods in 



86 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

the future and so indemnify themselves. The 
Jew is wily enough to take care of his own 
interests. 

A Jew once came from Paris to help in a shop 
kept by Jews. After some time he sent for his 
brother, who also entered the business, which 
presently succeeded so well that the establishment 
was enlarged. A brother-in-law and his wife then 
arrived, till finally the whole family installed them- 
selves in the Lipscani, and took over the business 
themselves from the original proprietors. All 
articles of clothing, of the toilet, everything, in fact, 
was brought from Paris, which was, of course, a 
great attraction for the Roumanians. The shop 
finally became the most fashionable establishment 
in Bucarest, and succeeded so well that the whole 
family at length returned to Paris, having amassed 
a considerable fortune. The shop passed into the 
hands of a Swiss company, whether Jews or not 
I cannot say, but the business lost to some extent 
its high-class character. 

There are two Jewish synagogues in Bucarest, 
the one more recently built being a very fine 
building indeed. I went there once to a Jewish 
wedding, and found it most interesting. On such an 
occasion there always stands at the entrance to the 
synagogue a group of gentlemen, one of whom at 
once offers his arm and leads you to a seat. The 
time before the arrival of the bride is well employed 
in admiring the costumes of the ladies, which show 
that no expense has been spared, and also noting the 
preparations for the ceremony, which seem strange 
to our unaccustomed eyes. 

At the upper end of the synagogue is a raised 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 87 

platform with a canopy over it. On the platform 
is a table on which there is a carafe of wine and one 
small goblet, and near the table sits the expectant 
bridegroom, with his hat on, awaiting the bride. 
The bridesmaids and near relatives have seats also 
quite near the platform. At length, when every- 
one's eyes are anxiously turned towards the door to 
catch the first glimpse of the bride, a distant sound 
of singing is heard. The sound draws nearer, and 
then one sees that it is the Rabbi, who comes slowly 
up the synagogue chanting and looking curiously 
at the people present, who are assuredly not all 
Jews. The Rabbi on this particular occasion 
squints, the effect being most comical as he casts 
his eyes now to the right and now to the left. A 
few minutes later the bride arrives and comes 
slowly up the aisle, all in bridal white, unaccom- 
panied, save by her mother, who follows some paces 
behind. 

The bride and groom now take their stand under 
the canopy, and the service begins. There is a good 
deal of chanting, and finally the moment arrives 
when the wine is offered. The bridegroom drinks 
first, and then presents the goblet to the bride. The 
goblet is then smashed, as it must not be used again 
under any circumstances. At the end of the service 
congratulations are offered, and the wedding-party 
proceeds to the house of the bride in order to partake 
of the wedding-feast. 

The marriage at which I was present was a double 
one, two sisters being married at the same time. 
The younger of the two was pretty, and had been 
engaged for some months (a rare occurrence, as 
Jewish engagements are of short duration), but the 



88 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

parents would not hear of the wedding taking place 
till a husband could be found for the elder girl. The 
younger to marry first was a thing not to be thought 
of. Finally, a suitable parti was found, and the two 
sisters were married on the same day. 



I 



CHAPTER X 

The educational system — Long hovirs of study and no fresh air or 
exercise — Take Jonescu, as Minister of Education, introduces 
the bath-tub to the schools, and provides for walking exercise — 
School -fare is never good — A water famine — Examinations 
and show questioixs — English poetry translated literally — 
German literature taught in French, the pupils being examined 
in Roumanian — Lack of books in the Roumanian language — 
The school fetes — Convents and proselytising — A girl who 
despised all the pleasures of the world and ran away to become 
a m^n. 

EDUCATION is free and compulsory throughout 
Roumania, but in many rural districts non- 
attendance at school is winked at, especially at 
harvest-time. The Government primary schools 
in the capital are chiefly attended by the lower 
classes ; children of the better-class families either 
attend private schools or have instruction at home. 
But in any case children are expected to present 
themselves at the Government examinations, and 
to pass the first four classes. 

Private schools in the capital are usually well 
attended, some having as many as four hundred 
pupils, the children from the provinces always being 
sent to Bucarest for their education. Although 
very much is expected from Roumanian children, 
they are sadly handicapped. Their own tongue is 
grossly neglected, instruction being usually given 
them in French. They are, besides, taught English 
and German, and sometimes Latin and Greek. A 

89 



90 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

great deal of attention is devoted to music and 
painting, and of late years practical training in 
dressmaking, cooking, and housekeeping is given in 
the schools. 

Naturally, with so many subjects in the curri- 
culum, there is not much time to lose if one is to get 
all one's work done for the next day in a certain 
time. Very many written exercises are demanded 
of the pupils, in all languages, the consequence being 
that the handwriting is atrocious, and time is too 
limited to allow of any improvement being even 
attempted in this direction. 

School begins at 8 o'clock a.m., continuing till 
midday, when there is an interval for dinner and 
recreation till 2 o'clock. Lessons are then resumed, 
and continue till 6 p.m. Of course this does not 
mean that every child is continually occupied for 
eight hours. A pupil may have only four classes to 
attend on one day, perhaps five on another day, or 
sometimes only three — but the rest of the time must 
be devoted to the preparation of lessons for the 
next day. Preparation ended, the pupil may employ 
herself as she likes, provided she remains quiet, as, 
of course, lessons may be going on in the class-room 
in which she has no part. 

These hours are very long, and when one con- 
siders that no time is given for outdoor exercise, 
one cannot wonder that the children grow up puny 
and stunted. In a well-known school in Bucarest 
outdoor exercise, fresh air, and baths were unknown. 
The class-rooms were overheated, there being a 
large stove in each, and windows were never opened. 
Once a fortnight the children of so many classes 
(they were taken in rotation) were assembled in the 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 91 

recreation room, where the washing of their feet was 
supervised by the German governess with all due 
solemnity ! This was the only concession to cleanli- 
ness, as of course colds would have to be risked if 
further ablutions were indulged in ! 

These customs were somewhat changed a few 
years ago (perhaps I may be permitted to say that 
it was upon my representation), when Mons. Take 
Jonescu became Minister of Instruction. He, as an 
intelligent and enlightened man, readily saw the 
evils that were certain to accrue to the youth of the 
country from such an upbringing. Regulations 
were framed insisting upon baths being provided in 
all public and private schools, and upon time being 
allowed for the children to take a walk daily of at 
least an hour. These innovations were by no means 
favourably received at the time either by heads of 
schools or by the children themselves, and it would 
not astonish me to learn that things have fallen 
back into the old way. Breakfast is served at 
7 o'clock, consisting of a cup of coffee and a kipfel 
(small roll) without butter. Midday is the luncheon 
hour, when the dishes are generally varied, but never 
appetising (school-fare never is). Sometimes meat 
is served stewed with quinces, potatoes, or other 
vegetables, and a pudding made of maize flour 
liberally besprinkled with grated cheese. At 4 o'clock 
a piece of dry bread is given to each child, and 
at 6 o'clock comes dinner. This generally con- 
sists of a thin soup, rarely palatable, the second 
course being the meat from which the soup has been 
made. Surely such meat was never seen anywhere 
else! It is generally perfectly white, as if it had 
been stewed until every drop of nourishment had 



92 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

been extracted from it. This, together Avith 
vegetables, forms the second course. If a governess 
cannot bring herself to swallow it, or can plead a 
bad headache, she may be allowed a bifteck ; but as 
the beef-steaks are difficult to distinguish from a bit 
of shoe-leather, little is gained by the exchange. 

Stewed fruit, or a light pudding, ends the evening 
meal. The governesses are allowed a glass of the 
thin red wine of the country, but the children are 
obliged to slake their thirst with water. Such 
water ! It used to look as if a tiny drop of milk had 
fallen into it by mistake, and had left it a muddy 
colour. The water of Bucarest was very bad when 
I first went there, but of late years it has greatly 
improved, as filtering-beds have been arranged for 
the water to pass through before entering the 
capital. A scheme was mooted for bringing water 
from Sinaia, but as the cost would have been very 
great, the plan was not proceeded with. If it had, 
there would be no capital in Europe better provided 
with water, as that of Sinaia is the best I have ever 
tasted. Clear as crystal, and perfectly cold, as all 
mountain water is, it forms a refreshing draught on 
a hot summer day. 

But even in the mountains the supply may run 
short, as happened one exceedingly hot summer. I 
was at Sinaia at the time, and it was the only 
occasion in my whole life when I envied a queen. 
I heard that her Majesty alone amongst all the 
people of the land was able to indulge in the luxury 
of a daily bath. 

But to return. The examinations are usually in 
the month of June, both State examinations and 
those in private schools. Upon the occasion of the 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 93 

first school examination at which I was present I 
did feel astonished. The room in which it was held 
looked rather imposing, being handsomely decorated 
with tall plants and plenty of flowers. The relatives 
and friends of the pupils had been invited to be 
present, and a goodly number responded. A class 
came up to be examined in German grammar, but 
to my amazement only two questions were put by 
the teacher. These two questions were fut alter- 
nately to every pupil in the class, and the first answer 
being correct, all the others were of course also 
correct, as each pupil interrogated had just heard 
the reply of the preceding pupil. 

The explanation — such as it was — came later on. 
In preparing my own class (for I had an engagement 
at this school for a short time), I was instructed by 
the headmistress as to the questions to be asked. 
She remarked, " It makes such a bad impression if 
the pupils fail to answer correctly ! " English 
poetry was learned by heart, first being translated 
literally word by word. They would have been 
remarkably clever children who could have made 
any sense whatever out of it as so rendered ; but the 
headmistress decreed that it should be so, and so it 
had to be. 

German was even more curiously taught. Rou- 
manian children do not like German, so they are 
never very proficient in it. Not knowing the 
language sufficiently well to study in it, German 
literature was taught in French ; and when the girls 
presented themselves for the State examination, 
they were questioned in Roumanian ! 

One may wonder why they do not learn in their 
own tongue ; the explanation is, to a large extent, 



94 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

simply the lack of books. ^ There are no advanced 
books in the Roumanian language dealing with 
foreign subjects, so the children are obliged to use 
French, a language in which they are more or less 
proficient. 

Holidays in Roumania are much longer than in 
England — three weeks at Christmas, two weeks at 
Easter, and from three to three and a half months in 
summer, besides the numerous saints' days, which 
are always religiously kept. 

Just before breaking up for the summer holidays, 
some of the private schools give a little fete. The 
children act a short play ; there are various songs 
and pianoforte solos as part of the entertainment, 
and then dancing is indulged in till a late hour. At 
one of these entertainments I happened to be pre- 
sent, and was very much — shall I merely say — 
amused ? to find that although dancing was kept up 
for the visitors (the children were sent to bed) till 
3 a.m., nothing more substantial than a dulgeata 
was provided by way of refreshments. At some of 
the schools the " names-day " of the headmistress 
is observed as a holiday. Each child must perforce 
contribute a certain sum towards the gift that is to 
be presented. I have heard some dilatory ones 
admonished in class to bring their contribution not 
later than a certain date, as the present had then to 
be bought. 

A considerable sum of money is thus collected, 
and as the recipient of the present is always sounded 
as to her wishes, a very practical as well as a handsome 

^ I believe that, since the period — several years ago — of which 
I write, this state of affairs has been remedied to a considerable 
extent. 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 95 

gift is usually obtained. One present I remember 
seeing consisted of three lovely carpets of Roumanian 
manufacture, really beautiful in design. 

After the presentation the children are of course 
free for the rest of the day, and are regaled with bon- 
bons, as a slight return for their generosity. 

Roumanian children are often sent for their 
education to one or other of the Roman Catholic 
convents scattered throughout the country, the 
nuns of which invariably belong to some French 
sisterhood. Some years ago there was a great stir 
in Bucarest, and considerable feeling was aroused 
against the nuns, as they were accused of trying to 
proselytise. An outcry was raised by the people 
that the faith of their forefathers was in danger 
(not that I ever saw it religiously adhered to), and 
some society ladies having leisure just then for a 
new fad, banded themselves together in order to 
protect it. A service was held in St George's, one of 
the principal churches, after which a procession was 
formed and passed through the streets to the palace 
of the Metropolitan, in order to present him with an 
address assuring him of the constant adherence of 
the people of the country to their own religion, and 
protesting at the same time against any attempts 
to subvert their children. 

The agitation caused considerable talk for a time 
and then died a natural death. But it is a fact that 
Roumanian girls who have been educated in a 
French convent rarely retain a genuine love for 
their own country, its customs, or its language. 
That is one reason why the Roumanian language 
is so much neglected. It has happened that girls 
who have been educated in France fall utterly under 



96 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

the influence of the nuns, and go over to Roman 
Cathohcism. 

I remember the case of one girl who did so. She 
was a Greek, hving in Bucarest with her parents, who, 
although they were not rich, did what they thought 
best for their only child in sending her to Paris to be 
educated. The girl was very musical, and probably 
the nuns thought she would be useful to them on that 
account although she had no money. She returned to 
her parents in course of time, but was always restless, 
wishing to return to the convent, and finally con- 
fessed to her mother her great desire to become a 
nun. Her mother, being very much against the idea, 
set before her all the disadvantages that would 
accrue from such a course, and in order to distract 
her from dwelling upon it gave her every amuse- 
ment that was in her power. Balls, concerts, fetes 
followed each other in quick succession, but all 
proved unavailing. The girl left home one after- 
noon, ostensibly to visit a friend, and the next that 
was heard of her was a telegram from the frontier 
informing her parents that she was on her way back 
to the convent. She became a nun, and as far 
as I know she was lost to her parents. This was 
not by any means the only case of which I had 
knowledge. 



CHAPTER XI 

Take Jonescu, an enlightened Minister of Education — " La bouche 
d'or" — His personality — A true Roumanian in his almost Oriental 
love of luxury — His town and country houses — Madame Jonescu 
as an authoress- — Her menagerie of pets — The love-story of Take 
Jonescu — The meeting of the law student and the English girl 
— A trip to England follows — Obstacles are overcome and a 
happy marriage follows. 

TAKE JONESCU, as he is familiarly known all 
over Roumania (Take being the diminutive 
of Demetre) was a most enlightened Minister of 
Education. He is an exceptionally clever man ; 
gifted with powers of oratory far above the average, 
and is known in his own country as " La bouche 
d'or." Although Take Jonescu has never yet been 
Prime Minister, it is certain that he will one day be 
called upon to occupy that position, which he is so 
well qualified to fill. He has held successively the 
portfolios of Justice, Education, and Finance, and 
is now rendering signal service to his country as 
Foreign Minister. 

When the Conservative party is not in power, 
M. Jonescu follows his profession. He is the most 
brilliant advocate in Roumania, and the side that 
succeeds in retaining his services in a case is almost 
certain of success. 

It has been asserted that M. Jonescu is a rich man, 
but this is scarcely the case. He has little or no 

private means, being simply dependent upon his pro- 

97 7 



98 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

fessional income, which is, however, very large. It 
is for him a very great sacrifice (from a monetary 
point of view) to accept a portfoho, as the salary 
paid to a cabinet minister in Roumania is only 
30,000 francs (£1200). 

In private life M. Jonescu has a charming person- 
ality. He is most kind-hearted, and ready to 
take the utmost trouble to help anyone in time of 
difficulty. His kind deeds are innumerable, and are 
always performed in such a modest manner that they 
are very often unheard of by the general public. 
The just cause of many a poor client has been 
espoused by Take Jonescu without thought or hope 
of reward. 

He is a true Roumanian in his almost Oriental 
love of luxury. His town house in Bucarest is 
imposing. It is beautifully furnished, and always 
hospitably open to foreign visitors. But it was his 
villa at Sinaia in the Carpathians — where the present 
writer has often had the good fortune to be a guest — 
which excited the greatest admiration. It was a 
charmingly situated and perfectly appointed house, 
commanding a lovely view of the valley of the 
Prahova, and was an ideal home in which to recruit 
from the cares of professional or political life. 

Many English guests were entertained there, and 
this is largely due to the fact that the late Madame 
Jonescu was herself an Englishwoman. She was 
possessed of great musical talent and was an 
authoress of no mean repute, as those can testify 
who have read her fascinating book Only a Singer. 
She was an able helpmeet for her husband, endowed 
as she was with very real abilities. 

Both husband and wife were great lovers of 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 99 

animals, and it may almost be said that they 
possessed a small menagerie — dogs, deer, a bear, 
and a monkey being amongst their pets. It was 
ehiefly owing to the efforts of Madame Jonescu 
that the " Society for the Prevention of Cruelty 
to Animals " established itself in Bucarest, where 
the work has long been carried on in a most 
efficient manner. 

Of the ten dogs that Madame Jonescu possessed 
some years ago " Charlie " was decidedly the 
favourite. A large retriever, with a fine head and 
honest brown eyes, Charlie was made much of by 
everybody, and consequently thought much of him- 
self. He was very fond of driving, and when the 
carriage came to the door for an afternoon's visiting, 
Charlie seemed to think it was there for his special 
benefit. He always jumped into the carriage first, 
and there remained barking with all his might till 
in desperation someone would place a rolled-up 
newspaper in his mouth. Then perforce he became 
quiet, as he would not let go anything entrusted to 
him until permitted to do so. 

Poor Charlie suffered very much in summer from 
the heat, and therefore at such times as his mistress 
was abroad, Charlie became a boarder at the Hotel 
Joseph in Sinaia. As the favourite dog of his mis- 
tress, he was treated by all the waiters with great 
respect, not one of them even presuming to speak of 
him other than as Domnele Charlie, i.e. Master 
Charlie. Every afternoon he was taken for a con- 
stitutional, either by one of the waiters or by a 
visitor who could be trusted. It was considered 
quite a privilege to be permitted to take Charlie for 
a walk. In spite of all this care, poor Charlie had to 



100 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

go the way of all flesh, and he had many successors 
in his mistress's affections. 

Another favourite pet was a bear which had 
been presented by a gentleman returning from the 
Caucasian mountains. This bear roamed at will in 
the courtyard, his further excursions being pre- 
vented by a man armed with a big stick, who was 
supposed to be always on guard. 

If this man happened to be off duty for a short 
time, it was then Master Bruin's great delight to 
penetrate into the house, much to the consternation 
of the maids. He proved such an adept at opening 
doors that one only felt safe when they were locked. 

One afternoon Madame Jonescu was seated in the 
drawing-room chatting with some visitors. A slight 
noise was heard at the door, which slowly opened, 
giving entrance to Master Bear. Great was the 
dismay among the ladies, who completely lost their 
heads and fled to every corner of the room. For- 
tunately Madame Jonescu retained her presence of 
mind (she had no fear whatever of animals), took 
the bear by the collar and gently led him to the door. 
Once there, a call soon brought the bear's attendant 
to the rescue, who took possession of his charge with 
strict injunctions not to allow him so much liberty 
in future. 

As time went on. Bruin became too great a burden, 
so was given over to the authorities in Sinaia to 
place in the small menagerie that they had estab- 
lished near the monastery. 

Before leaving the subject of pets, I may just 
mention one other — the monkey. 

Armina by name and vicious by nature, this 
animal was not a favourite with anyone but her 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 101 

mistress. Although confined in a very strong cage, 
licr fits of temper were so violent that she sometimes 
succeeded in breaking one or two of the bars. Once 
out of the cage, she careered up the trees and along 
the roofs of the neighbouring houses, and it was a 
work of great difficulty to induce her to return. The 
policeman who patrolled the street, and who had 
already made the acquaintance of Armina — indeed 
he was a special favourite with her — had often to be 
appealed to for assistance. It was very amusing to 
see how readily she responded to his blandishments, 
and he would return in triumph with Armina snugly 
cuddled up in his arms. The policeman was very 
proud of his friendship with Madame Jonescu's pet, 
and went so far as to have himself photographed 
with Armina in his arms. 

I am tempted here into a digression to tell a 
little story in which this same policeman figured. 
I think I have not mentioned before that Mr Alfred 
Richards, the brother of Madame Jonescu and a 
member of the English bar, spent some years in 
Roumania, where he was a great favourite in all 
circles. His health was delicate and the climate 
suited him. Mr Richards died a few years ago in 
England. 

On one occasion Mr Richards was entrusted by 
King Carol with a special mission to the Porte. He 
chose to take with him as a sort of official attendant 
our friend (and Armina's) the policeman. Mr 
Richards was decorated by the Sultan on the accom- 
plishment of his mission, and it was expected that 
the policeman would receive some acknowledgment 
in accordance with his humble rank. I daresay 
small things interested us in that distant land, but 



102 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

I remember there was much speculation as to what 
Gheorgie would get, and what he would do with it. 
In the result we learned that he received from the 
Sultan a very considerable sum of money as a tip, 
and spent the whole of it on a splendid diamond 
ring ; a curious investment, but by no means always 
a bad one in Bucarest. 

The love story of M. and Mme. Jonescu was of 
a romantic nature. He was a young student 
travelling to Paris in order to finish his studies 
when a very pretty young English girl entered the 
compartment in which he was seated. Seeing that 
she was travelling alone, he gave her, as a gallant 
Roumanian, every assistance in his power. Suscep- 
tible to beauty as all Roumanians are, it was with 
him a real case of love at first sight. He followed 
up his advantage so eagerly, that Paris for the time 
was forgotten, and he crossed to England at once 
in order to make the acquaintance of the young 
lady's parents. There were some obstacles, but in 
spite of them love carried the day, and that part of 
the story ended in a happy marriage. 



CHAPTER XII 

The National Theatre — Tlie students' riot on behalf of the national 
language— Racing as a fasliionablo amusement — English jockeys 
and trainers — The Battle of Flowers — The devotees of the card- 
table — Rafting on the Bistritza, a glorioxos sport. 

THE Roumanians as an Eastern nation have all 
the Oriental's love of show, of glitter, and of 
pleasure. Theatres, concerts, and cinematographs 
are always well attended. Unfortunately very late 
hours are kept, no entertainment beginning before 
9 o'clock p.m., and as the Roumanian has the 
Oriental's dislike of punctuality, the hour is very 
often still later. After the theatre, which is only 
over between midnight and 1 a.m., it is de rigueur 
to go to Capsa's to drink tea or eat an ice, according 
to the season. It is no wonder that Bucarest is 
called a little Paris ; it resembles that gay city 
very much, especially in its night-life. No matter 
at what hour of the night you drive through Galea 
Victorie, the street is always brilliantly illuminated, 
cafes and restaurants are open, and numbers of 
people are still walking about. 

As a rule the Roumanians are not very keen on 
their own theatre, but when a foreign company of 
actors is announced (especially if it is a French 
company) there is a rush for seats. Prices are 
raised on such occasions, as much as 300 francs 
being charged for a box. 

103 



104 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

There are two fairly decent theatres in Bucarest, 
the National and the Lyric. The former was the 
scene of a great disturbance one evening a few years 
ago. Some society ladies wished to perform a play, 
the proceeds to be devoted to charity. This was 
quite a laudable object, but the manner in which 
they designed to carry it out met with opposition 
on the part of a section of the public. The play, 
it was announced, was to be performed in French 
and at the National Theatre. Anyone who has lived 
in Bucarest will be fully aware of the dislike of 
society ladies to everything distinctively Roumanian 
— whether it be the language, the customs, or any- 
thing else. On the other hand some of the people, 
and especially the students, see no reason why their 
own language should be so neglected, and on this 
particular occasion they determined to protest. 
The National Theatre, they declared, was for the 
national drama in the national speech. The persons 
responsible for the projected entertainment paid 
no attention whatever to the general discontent, 
but continued their rehearsals. The evening 
arrived, but long before the hour fixed for the 
performance the square in front of the theatre was 
filled with immense crowds of students and others, 
whom no efforts of the police could disperse. 
Access was also gained to the building itself and it 
was held against all comers. National songs were 
sung, and the crowd gradually became so excited 
that it was ripe for any mischief. 

Woe betide anyone who tried to enter the National 
Theatre that night. Each carriage as it arrived 
was immediately surrounded, the horses taken out, 
the windows smashed, and the occupants could 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 105 

think themselves lucky if they escaped with nothing 
worse than a torn dress or a knocked-in hat. The 
damage done in the neighbourhood was consider- 
able, windows were smashed, and one house especi- 
ally was almost wrecked. The rumour ran that in 
the melee a student had been killed, and was con- 
cealed in the theatre, but although this excited the 
crowd to frenzy, no confirmation of the report was 
ever forthcoming. In the end the students carried 
their point and the play was not performed. 

Some time after this a society was formed, the 
members of which bound themselves to protect 
the Roumanian language, to speak it in public and 
private, and not allow it to be ousted from its place 
as the national tongue. From this date the National 
Theatre was reserved for Roumanian plays. The 
Lyric, which is a much smaller theatre, was given 
up to foreign companies. 

Riding is not practised in Bucarest to any great 
extent. A few ladies have been stirred to emulation 
of Queen Marie, who is an expert horsewoman, but 
they are only a few. Roumanians are, it must 
always be remembered, an Eastern people, and they 
do not show great aptitude for violent exercise of 
any kind. 

Some members of the Jockey Club (formed by an 
Englishman years ago) keep a stud of horses, and 
races are held twice a year, in spring and autumn. 
These races are very notable events, and they are 
very well attended, as they are always patronised 
by members of the royal family, and of course 
everybody who is anybody must follow suit. 

Very smart costumes are ordered for the occasion, 
one well-known leader of fashion vies with another 



106 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

as to which will be smarter, and it would be a bold 
person who would aver that the vast concourse of 
people assembled on the race-course is simply there 
to follow the events of the programme, or from a 
general love of horses. I rather lean to the opinion 
that the majority go in order to study the 
toilets. 

It very often happens that these toilets are 
spoiled before the day is over by the rain coming 
down in torrents. It has been remarked time after 
time that rain is sure to fall on the first day of the 
races, and fall it generally does with a vengeance. 

The jockeys are of course all English ; indeed, 
M. Marghiloman has a small English colony on his 
estate — a trainer, and several jockeys, who with 
their wives and families make up quite a popula- 
tion. M. D also keeps a stud, and of course the 

army officers take part in turf matters and enter 
their horses for different races. The " Derby " (on 
a small scale) is the race ; I believe the prize is 
5000 francs (£200), and is always given by the 
Jockey Club. 

The month of June was generally decided upon 
for the " Battle of Flowers," an event which always 
took place at the Chaussee, this popular drive lend- 
ing itself much better to such purposes than any 
other of the places of public resort. The " Battle 
of Flowers " was arranged by the ladies of Bucarest 
society, the proceeds being devoted to some chari- 
table purpose — " La Creche " (the foundling hospital) 
or some similar institution. If the day were fine 
the Chaussee presented a very animated appear- 
ance from an early hour in the afternoon, all the 
economical souls going as early as possible in order 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 107 

to take possession of the numerous benches along 
the route, and thus avoid the expense of a chair. 

The Chaussee is situated at the end of the town 
and is something similar to the Prater in Vienna, 
but on a much smaller scale. There is a broad 
carriage way, planted on both sides with beautiful 
lime trees, extending for miles, till it finally ends 
in the open country. At each side of this broad 
way is a walk for pedestrians, well furnished with 
seats, and at the right is also a pathway for riders. 
The Chaussee, it may be imagined, is very gay 
when, added to its natural beauties, it is tastefully 
decorated with pretty devices here and there, and 
the national colours of Roumania. 

Let me briefly describe the last battle I was 
present at a year or two ago. 

In the booths at the entrance pretty girls were 
stationed to whom we willingly paid the entrance 
fee of one franc. For decorated carriages the 
charge was 10 francs, non-decorated 5 francs, and 
bicycles 2 francs. Bands were stationed at regular 
intervals along the route, enlivening the proceedings 
with their strains. As the gaily decorated carriages 
began to arrive, the excitement grew. There was 
lavish admiration for the first on the scene, but as 
carriage after carriage rolled by, one prettier than 
the other, we could only gaze and gaze and admire. 
I remember that Mme. C.'s carriage, decorated with 
great bouquets of white marguerites and scarlet 
poppies, scored a great success on this occasion. 
Then the officers' brake appeared, not only decorated 
with flowers, but containing a bevy of pretty young 
girls, each one wearing a very efl^ective crimson 
head-dress made of paper. There followed a peasant 



108 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

ox-waggon decorated in true country fashion with a 
canopy of fohage and bunches of field flowers. 
Here again hfe interest was given to the picture by 
a pretty group of young girls all dressed in Rou- 
manian costume. Here and there a rider with 
a decorated saddle, or a cyclist with some fantastic 
floral display, excited some applause, but the ad- 
miration was universal when Princess Marie (as 
she then was) arrived in her carriage splendidly 
adorned with roses of all colours. Princess Eliza- 
beth, who drove her smart little dog-cart, also came 
in for a liberal and well-deserved share of admiration. 
She and her perfect little equipage made a charm- 
ing picture. 

Now the battle began in real earnest. As the 
two lines of carriages passed and repassed each other, 
the air seemed full of dainty little bouquets, thrown 
from one carriage to another. The pedestrians on 
the foot-paths took part also in the gay contest, and 
there was many a merry interchange not only of 
flowers, but of jests, as acquaintances recognised 
each other in the crowd. Princess Marie scarcely 
took any part in the fighting, she was so bombarded 
on all sides that she could find few opportunities 
for exchanges. I was pleased, however, that I 
succeeded in getting a rose from her. The Princess 
never stayed very long at the Battle of Flowers. 
Being a constant centre of hostilities, she was bom- 
barded to such an extent that probably she did not 
find it very amusing. 

As the dinner-hour drew near the carriages began 
to wend their way homewards. Some very enthusi- 
astic fighters kept it up for an hour or so longer, 
ending up the day with a final drive through the 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 109 

town, where they were gaily acclaimed from the 
crowded balconies, and attempts were made on both 
sides to carry on the fight. However, little by little 
the streets became quieter, and nothing remained 
of the Battle of Flowers but the poor faded blooms 
dropped from the carriages, and the very sub- 
stantial profits for the benefit of "La Creche." 

Roumanians of both sexes are devotees of the 
card-table, and all sorts of games are played — 
bridge, tarok, mouse, and poker are the most popular, 
but the last named seems to be the favourite. Cards 
are played not only in Bucarest but also in the 
provinces, and women, old and young, take an 
enormous amount of interest in the pastime. Card- 
playing seems to be a mania with them. They sit 
down to the tables in the early afternoon and 
continue playing till far into the night. Of course 
it must be conceded that life in the provinces is 
deadly dull. In summer it is pleasant enough when 
there are garden-parties, tennis-matches, and con- 
certs ; but in winter there is absolutely no amuse- 
ment, so that card-playing is the only resource. 

No evening party can ever be successful without 
the inevitable card-table, and very great sums are 
lost and won during the evening ; sums that very 
often the persons concerned can ill afford to lose. 

As I have mentioned elsewhere, most of the rivers 
in Roumania are very shallow, but the river Bistritza 
is certainly an exception. This great stream flows 
through part of Moldavia, and is very much used in 
the transit of timber from the mountainous regions 
higher up. The timber is floated down on huge 
rafts, and a great amusement during the summer 
months is to hire such a raft (it can be had for 



110 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

twenty francs) and make the excursion down the 
river. 

The raft is composed of numbers of stout logs 
firmly lashed together, and is about 12 feet long by 
6 wide. The passengers sit in as comfortable a 
position as they can adopt, and as there is nothing 
whatever to take hold of, great care must be 
exercised to keep it well in mid-stream so that no 
collision may take place. The current is very 
swift, therefore the task of the men steering the 
raft is not always an easy one. There are always 
numerous rafts on the river, some with passengers, 
and some without, so the scene is very animated 
and interesting as one drifts along through some of 
the loveliest river scenery in Roumania. 

The river runs swirling and seething in a succession 
of slight rapids. The mountains, wooded down to 
the water's edge, leave in places just a narrow gorge 
where only one raft can pass at a time. There are 
numerous turns and twists in the river, and when it 
is swollen by the waters of the Bicassu, as is often 
the case, the rapids appear like a boiling sea, the 
little waves foaming and hissing round the points of 
rock. It needs skilful paddling on the part of the 
raftsman to avoid these miniature " Iron Gates," 
and very often disaster overtakes the smaller rafts ; 
they get stranded and more or less knocked about 
by the seething waters if they are in the hands of an 
unskilful raftsman. 

i|. When night falls a mooring-place must be found 
for the raft, and a shelter for the passengers, and 
herein lies one of the disadvantages of such an 
excursion. The small inns that are to be met with 
in this part of the country are very primitive and 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 111 

the accommodation very scanty. Such as it is, 
however, one must make the best of it, as the only 
alternative is to spend the night on the raft. 

If the weather conditions be favourable this trip 
on the Bistritza can be made most enjoyable, and 
most visitors to the country will have delightful 
recollections of the smooth, swift motion down the 
river, with the brown waters swirling and eddying 
round the raft, the sun-flecked boughs now near 
now far away as the raft approaches or recedes 
from the bank. 



CHAPTER XIII 

The blessing of the waters : a picturesque ceremony — Diving for 
the cross — Baptising the Jew — The child raiu-niakers ; a 
charming custom — How I watered the hiiman plants — The 
peasants celebrate the sowing of the seed. 

IN the month of January a very curious ceremony 
takes place, the blessing of the waters — that is, 
of all the rivers of Roumania. A similar ceremony 
is performed in Russia, so it probably owes its 
origin to the Greek Church. 

A very smart pavilion, decorated with a profusion 
of gay flags, is erected for the occasion on the bank 
of the Dimbovitza, the river on which Bucarest is 
built. 

On the morning of the appointed day, crowds 
throng the streets dressed in their best, expectancy 
depicted on every face. Roumanians love shows 
of every kind and would not miss one for anything. 
The crowd becomes denser as one approaches the 
pavilion, and it is with difficulty that the soldiers 
manage to keep a passage clear for the arrival of 
the royal family. 

The approach of the King is announced by a 
fanfare of trumpets, and as the Court carriage 
dashes up to the entrance of the pavilion every 
neck is craned to catch a glimpse of his Majesty, 
who is accompanied by his suite, and sometimes by 
other members of the royal family. 

112 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 113 

After the reception of the King by the Metro- 
poHtan, the rehgious service begins with the intoning 
of the prayers. These can only be heard by those 
in the near vicinity, but the singing by the choir is 
audible for a long distance in the clear frosty air. 
When a certain stage of the proceedings is reached, 
the Metropolitan invokes the blessing on the waters 
of Roumania, at the same time casting a large 
wooden cross into the river. This is the cue for 
what is the great event of the day for many people. 
Large numbers of men and boys who have been 
waiting in eager anticipation instantly dive after 
the cross (the river is not very deep at this point), 
and the lucky person who succeeds in gaining 
possession of it and bringing it ashore is rewarded 
by the King with a hundred-franc note (£4). The 
spectacle of the poor wretch emerging shivering 
from the icy water makes one feel, especially when 
the snow is on the ground and a keen wind blowing, 
that he has well earned the money. 

Woe to the unlucky Jew who ventures to linger 
in the neighbourhood of the Dimbovitza on this 
particular morning. Should he be remarked by 
the crowd the chances are that he too will be sent 
to seek the cross in the waters of the river. This 
" baptising of the Jew " is a time-honoured 
ceremony. 

A very curious custom is observed when, as is 
frequently the case in summer, rain is badly needed. 
A band of children go into the woods and array 
themselves from head to foot in verdure. Chains 
and garlands of green are wound around their 
bodies. Crowns and wreaths of foliage, quaintly 
and artistically conceived, surround their heads. 

8 



114 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

Even bunches of grass are disposed about them. 
Save their Httle brown faces, nothing which is not 
verdant can be seen. 

When they come rushing into your courtyard it 
is as though a Httle Birnam Wood were bent on 
coming to Dunsinane. However, they soon prove 
to have peaceful business on hand, for they form up 
in the courtyard and perform a singularly weird 
and impressive dance. When this is ended your 
turn comes, for you must go amongst them armed 
with watering pots, and even jugs of water, and 
liberally besprinkle the little rain-makers. I was 
reluctant at first to wet the children, but they 
appeared to enjoy it so much, shaking themselves 
delightedly when a deluge more copious than usual 
descended upon them, that I soon forgot my scruples 
and plied my watering pot with enthusiasm. 
Then the little moving bundles of green scrambled 
for a few handfuls of bani, and ran off to the 
next house to repeat their performance. Had 
we failed to water them well their mission as 
rain-makers would have been less likely to prove 
successful. 

On a day in early spring the peasants of the 
surrounding country make high holiday in honour 
of the sowing of the seed. The form the celebration 
takes is a visit to the capital, which, indeed, seems 
to be practically given over to them for the day. 
From early morn the holiday-makers stream into 
the city, their teams of oxen and their waggons 
profusely decorated with gay flowers and green 
branches, affording a pretty spectacle. The peasant 
himself is in gala attire, and never forgets to have a 
flower behind his ear, as he may meet in the town 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 115 

a damsel comelier than those he left behind in the 
country. 

The rustic visitors promenade the principal streets 
with their teams amidst much noise and laughter 
and the incessant cracking of whips. They are 
always pleased to accept any small gift offered to 
them, and it must be said of them that the festivity 
is never marred by drunkenness or license. After a 
modest glass of (uica they wend their way home- 
wards, reckoning up the profits of the day and 
anxious to relate to those who have remained at 
home the story of their adventures. 



CHAPTER XIV 

Festivals— A cruel christening — Marriage-making — The fiance a bore 
— The bride's moral references— Anonymous letters — The bridal 
dress — -The marriage ceremony — A floral departure — Hired 
jewellery as wedding presents — Child brides — Tempted to the 
altar with a doll ! 

FESTIVALS are numerous, and are conducted 
on a very lavish scale. Baptisms, marriages, 
and " names-days " are usually made the occasion of 
great feasting. Birthdays are not celebrated, but 
" names-days " are ; that is, one keeps high holiday 
on the saint's day after whom one is named, as 
St Marie, St Anna, St John, etc. 

A Roumanian baptism is a very curious ceremony. 
Many guests are invited, but the father and mother 
of the child are never allowed to be present. After 
prayers have been recited by the priest, a large font, 
almost full of luke-warm water, is brought in. Into 
this the child is plunged three times, the mouth, 
nose, and eyes being kept closely shut by the fingers 
of the priest. The poor little mite comes up gasping, 
and when it has regained its breath after the third 
dip, there is generally an outburst of crying. More 
prayers are then intoned, and the priest proceeds to 
touch the forehead, lips, hands, and feet of the child 
with holy oil, so that it may think no evil, speak 
no evil, do no evil, nor go where evil is done. The 
priest interrupts this ceremony several times, in 

116 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROTOIANIA 117 

order to spit once before him, once behind, and then 
at each side. This is to keep off the devil with all 
his evil ways. I was present at a baptism once, 
but never again. I thought it terribly cruel for the 
poor little mite, and no longer wondered that the 
absence of the parents should be insisted on. 

Marriages are generally arranged through the 
mediation of a third person. Mme. A., for example, 
has a son whom she would like to see settled in a 
home of his own with a wife who can furnish the 
house, pay off his debts, and generally make him 
comfortable. She looks round her circle of acquaint- 
ances, makes inquiries further afield, and when she 
hears of a suitable match, begs one of her friends to 
act as intermediary. 

If the negotiations go on smoothly, and the 
" dot " (the principal point) is considered satis- 
factory, the engagement is celebrated immediately. 
Invitations are issued, bon-bons, champagne, etc., 
ordered from Capsa, the " lautari " (Roumanian 
musicians) are engaged, and when the happy 
occasion arrives, dancing is kept up till a very late 
hour. In the course of the evening dancing stops 
for a short time, everyone crowds into the largest 
drawing-room, where the engaged couple are found 
standing side by side. The oldest friend of the 
family makes a short speech, wishing all happiness 
and prosperity to the young people, who then 
exchange rings. These rings are worn till the 
wedding-day, when they are once more exchanged 
and the bride comes into her own. 

After the engagement, the bridegroom comes to 
dinner every evening to make the acquaintance of 
the bride, as probably he has never set eyes on her 



118 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

before. The engagement rarely lasts longer than 
two or three weeks, for, as a prospective mother-in- 
law once remarked to me, " long engagements are 
impossible in our country. It is tedious enough 
for us having this man come to dinner every evening 
for a week or two." 

When the approaching marriage of a young couple 
is announced, the authorities send round forms to 
three householders in the neighbourhood of the 
bride's residence which they are requested to fill 
up and return. The questions are relative to the 
moral character of the bride. When I first heard 
of this extraordinary procedure, I did not believe 
the truth of the story, but later on I was shown one 
of these amazing documents. Another very un- 
pleasant feature of engagements is the constant 
reception by both bride and groom of anonymous 
letters containing all sorts of allegations and sug- 
gestions concerning the character of the prospective 
partner. These letters continue to arrive till the 
day on which the wedding takes place. 

A Roumanian bride's dress does not differ very 
much from that of her western sister, with the ex- 
ception of the veil. Instead of a veil, as we under- 
stand it, a quantity of gold thread is worn, falling 
from the head to the edge of the dress. It has a 
very beautiful effect. In very grand weddings this 
thread is of real gold and costs a great deal of 
money. In weddings of a simple character, the 
thread is not gold, and is usually hired for the 
occasion. 

The civil ceremony required by law takes place 
one day, the religious marriage on the day 
following. The latter usually takes place in the 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 119 

evening, and the gay toilets of the guests, the 
gala-robes of the priests, and the innumerable 
wax eandles whieli liglit up the seene, make a 
striking and beautiful pieture. The bridesmaids 
assemble in the ehurch to await the bride, who is 
then immediately led up to the " ikons," i.e. holy 
pietures, in order to kiss them. She then takes 
her stand together with the bridegroom and his 
near relatives at a small table, and the serviee begins. 

Light metal crowns are plaeed on the heads of 
the bride and groom (it is rather ludicrous in the 
ease of the latter, especially if he happens to be 
bald), and the intoning of the prayers continues, to 
the accompaniment of a shower of flowers which 
descend from the galleries on all the participants in 
the ceremony. 

The rings are next exchanged, and afterwards 
the " holy dance " takes place. Bride and groom, 
near relatives, and priests, all join hands and 
solemnly make a circuit of the table three times. It 
is rather a risky proceeding for the bridegroom, as 
his crown is so liable to fall off. The bride is safe, 
as hers is fastened with hairpins. 

A procession of carriages is formed for the home- 
ward journey. These carriages are generally decor- 
ated with flowers, and large lighted candles are 
carried by the footman on the box. 

In olden times the girls in Roumania were sought 
in marriage at a very early age. It was not con- 
sidered at all extraordinary for girls of fifteen or 
even younger to get married. 

A young Roumanian lady told me that her own 
grandmother was only thirteen years of age when 
she married. The proposal of marriage was laid 



120 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

before her, and she, being only a child, thought how 
fine it would be to have nice new dresses and be 
able to buy anything she fancied, therefore she 
readily agreed. 

When the wedding-day arrived, however, the 
child was not in the same mood, and nothing would 
induce her to go to church. Persuasion, promises, 
threats, all were unavailing. The bridegroom elect 
and the relatives were at their wits' end ; every- 
thing was prepared, the visitors assembled, the 
priests already waiting at the church to perform the 
ceremony. What was to be done ? Suddenly the 
bridegroom elect had an inspiration. Throwing 
himself into the waiting carriage, he dashed off at 
full speed, returning in a short time with the most 
beautiful doll that could be bought in Bucarest. 
The joy of the child was unbounded, and when the 
doll was placed in her arms she readily consented to 
go to church and get married. In spite of her fit 
of objection on the day of her nuptials, she was, I 
have been assured, very happy in her luarried life. 
To the day of her death, however, she never called 
her husband anything but " Domnele," i.e. Master. 
He was considerably older than she, hence, I suppose, 
her great respect for him. 



CHAPTER XV 

Pretty Roumanian women — Adventitiovis aids to beauty — Paris 
toilets — ChUdish extravagances — Men with London tailors — A 
dandy in blue boots — Some quaint superstitions — Warding ofi 
the evil eye — The efficacy of hot coals and a cup of water — 
— The Martisoara, or March token — A wife's indiscretion 
punished : a story of poetic justice — The Martisoara as a tem- 
peramental barometer. 

ROUMANIAN ladies are on the whole pretty, 
and some are very pretty. They have always 
good hair and teeth and small feet. Their figures 
are very good, and if one should happen to have 
a bad one, it is easily set right by the corsetUre. 
The only thing that is not quite up to the mark is 
the complexion, and this is the reason why there is 
such a brisk demand for powder and paint. Dyeing 
the hair is also greatly in vogue, even with young 
people, and it is very amusing to note the change 
in a person's appearance when such dyes have first 
been used. 

I knew two sisters, daughters of Princess 

(who always insisted upon her title) who were very 
pretty girls with dark brown hair. Evidently they 
were discontented with it, as on meeting them one 
day I noticed, to my utter amazement, that their 
hair was golden. I was so taken aback that I could 
not at once congratulate them on their appearance, 
although they evidently expected me to do so. On 

121 



122 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

seeing my confusion they were at great pains to 
explain that their hair was not dyed ; they had 
only used oxygen on it. As the result was the same, 
however, it did not seem to me to matter what 
they called the process. 

Roumanians know how to dress, the ladies especi- 
ally, and as every article of the toilet comes from 
Paris, their taste is sure to be guided aright. They 
do not mind what they spend on dress, the simplest 
walking costume in pre-war times costing £8, 10s., 
simple hats anything from £4 upwards, so one may 
imagine how much may be spent on more elaborate 
toilets. These prices are not by any means con- 
fined to the wealthiest classes of society — even 
moderately well-to-do people will spend enormous 
sums on clothes. They seemed to me like over- 
grown children in many cases ; as long as they had 
money to spend, it had to be spent. 

I particularly remember a case in point. A 
young man of Bucarest inherited a considerable 
sum of money. At once he invested in a smart 
carriage and a really fine pair of horses. He was 
seen driving in great style to the Chaussee every 
afternoon, and I was told that it was a sight to see 
his dressing room hung round with suits of clothes 
of every prevailing fashion, and under each suit a 
pair of boots or shoes ready to hand. 

This joyous life went on for a time, till the money 
began to get scarce (as it has an awkward habit of 
doing), and the young man had to sell his carriage 
and fine horses. He was then seen taking his daily 
airing in a hirja, i.e. hired carriage (no Roumanian 
walks unless he is absolutely obliged), and after some 
months of that he was reduced to riding in the 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 123 

tram ! His fall was gradual, but the lowest depth 
was reached at last. 

The men of Roumania are not good-looking as 
a rule. They are generally short in stature with 
very dark complexions and conspicuously mous- 
tached. Moustaches used to be worn with 
turncd-up ends in imitation of the Kaiser, but as 
he is no longer looked on with any favour this 
fashion has been abandoned. The men who are 
rich enough to do so, order their clothes in London, 
or in Paris. As a rule only those who really cannot 
afford to do otherwise get their clothes in their own 
country. 

The boots that one buys in Roumania are usually 
of a very light make, both for winter and summer. 
Ladies wear black, brown, or grey, but I have never 
seen them with other colours, as I have seen men. 
My astonishment was great one day when I met a 
man wearing a pair of light blue boots. One never 
requires strong boots in Roumania, as in winter 
snow-boots are worn over the others, and removed 
on entering the house. Boots were always expen- 
sive in Bucarest, a decent pair costing from 25 
francs (£l) upwards; but really smart people paid 
75 and 80 francs a pair. 

Ladies practically always have their corsets, boots, 
and gloves made for them. It is very seldom indeed 
that they buy any of those articles ready made. 

We must always remember, in considering the 
Roumanian people, that their civilisation is far 
more suggestive of the East than of the West. In 
our eyes some of their customs are very peculiar, to 
say the least of it. Even the upper classes are 
extremely superstitious. 



124 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

No one ever dreams of starting on a journey or 
commencing any particular work on a Tuesday. It 
is considered a very unlucky day. 

Dreams are gravely related and certain con- 
clusions are drawn from them, based, of course, on 
past experience, either of the raconteur or of some 
friend. 

Little children wear coloured ribbons in order to 
keep off the " evil eye." A boy wears red and a 
little girl blue. It is rather a convenient custom, 
as one knows at once the sex of the child, and is not 
under the necessity of alluding to an infant as " it." 

On no account must one admire or praise a child 
in the hearing of its parents. Such a proceeding is 
looked upon as directly challenging the operations 
of the " evil eye." I shall never forget an incident 
which occurred some years ago. I had called upon 

Madame , and we were quietly drinking tea 

together in the English manner, a compliment to 
me, when her husband rushed in with their little boy, 
in a state of the greatest excitement. He explained 
that they had been walking on the Galea Victorie 
when they met a mutual friend of ours, an English- 
man, who had not been long in Bucarest. This 
gentleman had unluckily expressed his admiration 

of the handsome boy ; hence the trouble. M. 

rang the bell violently and gave an order to the 
servant, who without delay brought in a cup of 
cold water on a tray, whilst she carried in the other 
hand a small shovel containing three live coals 
from the kitchen fire. With great anxiety and 
solicitude, the perturbed father dropped the three 
pieces of charcoal into the cup. They sizzled a 
little and— floated. Had they sunk the direst mis- 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 125 

fortunes would have been presaged. A teaspoon- 
ful of the water was then given to the child, his 
forehead, the palms of his hands, and the soles of his 
feet were moistened with it, and three paternosters 
having been said, all was well. The relieved father 
turned to me with many apologies for his excited 
entrance, " But you know," he explained, " the 
matter was of the very greatest importance, and 
he is our only child." 

It is the universal feminine custom in Roumania 
to wear a " Mar^isoara " during the month of 
March. This is an ornament primarily intended 
for young girls, and all kinds of them are worn, 
from simple ones of glass or painted wood to 
costly trinkets of silver or gold ornamented with 
precious stones. They are therefore of all prices. 
But whatever the cost may be, the practice of 
tying each one with fancy cord, coloured red and 
white, is universal, these two colours being sym- 
bolical of the ideal complexion of a young girl. 
The ornaments are usually worn tied round the 
wrist, with the red and white tassels bobbing about 
with every movement. At the end of March the 
Mar^isoara is taken off, the ornament carefully 
preserved, and the cords hung out on a bush in 
order that the dew of heaven may besprinkle them. 
The idea is that the Mar^isoara will be efficacious in 
giving the wearer cheeks of the much coveted 
colouring. 

The custom of presenting Mar^isoara in the 
month of March is so universal, that not only do 
the youthful members of the male community take 
advantage of it in presenting to an admired fair 
one a gift that at any other time might be deemed 



126 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

an impertinence, but also older men frequently 
make use of the occasion to give presents in quarters 
where they have no right to bestow them. An 
amusing instance of the latter kind of indiscretion 
occurred in Bucarest some years ago, and became 
very literally the talk of the town. 

Madame M., a well-known society beauty, had a 
husband who was neither rich nor generous. A 
Mar^isoara displayed in the window of Resch the 
jeweller attracted her attention and she ardently 
desired to possess it. It was a beautifully fashioned 
trinket of gold, studded with lovely sapphires. 
Madame M. pointed it out to her husband, who, 
however, absolutely refused to even inquire the 
price, as it was sure to be very great. Now the 
lady had a bon ami, a very wealthy man, and when 
he heard of the difficulty he begged her to accept 
the Mar^isoara as a gift from him. She declared 
that this would be impossible, as her husband's 
suspicions would at once be aroused. The pair, 
however, had a little talk over the matter and hit 
upon a very ingenious plan. 

M. Bon Ami called upon Resch and made a certain 
arrangement with him. The price of the ornament 
was 2000 francs, so he paid half of that sum to 
Resch on the understanding that if M. M. called 
to inquire about it he should let him have it for 
1000 francs. Armed with this knowledge, Madame 
M. returned to the charge, and at length induced her 
husband to promise that if the Martisoara could 
be obtained for 1200 francs he would buy it. The 
good man was a fair judge of precious stones, and 
thought it was safe to make the offer, as it would never 
be considered. The negotiation must have been an 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 127 

interesting one. It was said that Resch acted very 
discreetly, and after naming a price which was 
calculated not to arouse suspicion, he suffered him- 
self to be beaten down to 1000 francs. 

There was no more triumphant man in Bucarest 
that March afternoon than M. M. On his way 
home to delight his wife he could not refrain from 
dropping in at the Club to brag about his cleverness. 
He had half a dozen men for an audience, and 
they were not a bit bored, for this was a genuine 
and surprising bargain. All admired the Mar^i- 
soara tremendously. Several very much wanted 
to obtain possession of it, and it was here that the 
complications started. M. M. at first kept his wife, 
and the great pleasure he was in a position to afford 
her, before his mind, but when one of the party 
offered him 500 francs in advance of the purchase 
money, his cupidity was aroused and the Mar^i- 
soara changed hands. 

M. M., however, proceeded homeward without 
misgivings. His wife was a sensible woman, and 
a clear gain of 500 francs would surely console her 
for any little disappointment about the trinket. 
He told his wonderful story with glee, and madame 
promptly went into hysterics. The poor husband 
could only ring the bell, and, whilst restoratives 
were being applied, reflect helplessly that there is 
no possibility of understanding the ways of woman. 

If anyone feels curious as to how the story gained 
publicity, I can only say that my long residence in 
the country taught me, among other things, that 
there are no secrets in Bucarest. 

There is another custom connected with the first 
nine days in the month of March. Every young 



128 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

girl chooses one of these days as her special day, and 
whatever the weather may be on that day, it is 
supposed to show her character — rainy weather 
shows that she is inclined to weep very readily ; dull 
weather, that she looks at the gloomy side ; alternate 
sunshine and rain, that she is changeable, and so 
forth. These nine days are called " Alte Baba " 
(old women), while the nine following are reserved 
for the men-folk under the same conditions. It used 
to be quite exciting to watch the weather conditions 
on special days, and very amusing when they tallied 
(as was often the case) with the character of a person 
who had chosen them. 



CHAPTER XVI 

English nurses introduce the bath-tub — Matutinal ablutions in a 
country house — Abstinence from ablutions a proof of holiness 
— The funeral of a Metropolitan : dead prelate in the procession 
— Afternoon tea's equivalent in a tomb. 

IT is a very pretty sight to see a Roumanian baby 
of the eHte start for his daily airing. He is of 
course most beautifully dressed, although the little 
face often looks very pinched and yellow in the midst 
of all the finery. The nurse who wheels the peram- 
bulator is usually in costume, consisting of a long 
cloak with a hood, a head-dress made entirely of 
ribbon, with long streamers a quarter of a yard in 
width hanging down behind. If her charge be a 
boy, the nurse wears red ; if a girl, blue. 

It is very rare indeed for a Roumanian lady to 
nurse her own child. A wet nurse is always en- 
gaged, who has the entire charge of the little one till 
it is weaned. It caused quite a sensation when the 
present Queen of Roumania proposed to nurse one 
of her children. 

Children are not often troubled with baths ; the 
washing of the hands and face and an occasional 
rubbing with vinegar over the whole body being 
considered quite sufficient. 

Of late years, many families have engaged Eng- 
lish nurses, and although at first the innovation 

of open windows and plenty of cold water was 

129 9 



130 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

regarded with fear and trembling, people now seem 
to be growing accustomed to it. 

Washing was never greatly in favour, even with 
grown-ups, and there are difficulties in the way of 
a successful toilet, especially when one pays a visit 
to the country. 

On entering the bedroom, you wonder where you 
can perform your ablutions, as no washing stand is 
to be seen, but next morning the mystery is solved. 
About eight o'clock a knock is heard at the door, and 
a maid enters with a wash-basin and a small jug of 
water. The basin being placed on a chair, you are 
instructed to hold out your hands, into which the 
maid gravely pours some water. If you are clever 
enough to catch some of it, you give a kind of wash 
to your face, then you hold out your hands for a 
fresh supply for the hands themselves. This done, 
the maid gathers up her appliances, takes her leave, 
and you hear her knocking at the next door to 
repeat the performance. 

I was paying a visit to the country some years ago, 
and my hostess announced one morning, with every 
indication of grief, that the Bishop had just died. 
" Oh, he was such a holy man," she said ; and she so 
insisted on his holiness, that at length I was driven 
to inquire what proofs she had of it. " Oh," she 
replied, " we know he was a holy man ; just fancy, 
he never washed since he was appointed Bishop ten 
years ago ! " 

Immunity from washing is not the only advantage 
over ordinary mortals which the higher clergy 
possess. The Metropolitan, for example, is never 
buried. His body after death is placed on a sort of 
throne and lowered into the crypt of the monastery. 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 131 

After some months have passed, the dead prelate, 
throne and all, is built into a wall. 

I have a vivid recollection of the funeral of an 
Archbishop which I attended. Indeed, I cannot 
conceive of anybody ever forgetting such an experi- 
ence. The ceremony was of a most imposing char- 
acter. Enormous crowds gathered to witness the 
passing of the procession through the streets. A 
detachment of cavalry headed the procession, and 
was followed by infantry accompanied by a band. 
Next came the bier. This was a sort of platform 
drawn by six horses. The platform was completely 
covered with flowers, and in the centre, arrayed in 
ceremonial robes and mitre, sat the dead Metro- 
politan. The body was supported on each side by an 
attendant, but in spite of their care the dead head 
with its ghastly face waggled horribly. I felt terrified 
lest the body should topple over altogether. 

Behind the bier came officials of the Court, 
ministers, deputies, etc. Then more soldiers and 
police. But for me the procession contained only 
one figure, and that was the dead man sitting in 
his chair. 

Until a quite recent date, it was the custom to 
carry open coffins, with the face of the dead exposed, 
in funeral processions. 

As a rule, when a person is at the point of death, 
a candle is placed in each hand, in order, it is said, to 
light the spirit into the next world. 

A terrible accident was once caused by this prac- 
tice. A widow lady living in the Galea Victoire was 
lying dangerously ill ; the doctors had given her up. 
The servants by whom she was attended, thinking 
her last hour had come, placed, as was the custom. 



132 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

a candle in each hand, and then left the house (the 
sick are generally left to die alone, even by their 
nearest and dearest, Roumanians having such a 
dread of witnessing death). The candles unhappily 
fell from the poor nerveless hands and set fire to the 
bed-clothes, the flames rapidly spreading, as no 
check was placed upon them, till, when help from 
outside finally arrived, the whole room and all its 
contents were entirely consumed. It was dreadful 
for me to view even the outside of the ruined house 
and to think what scenes may have occurred within. 
For long after I was haunted by the idea that the 
poor lady might have recovered if she had been well 
attended and not left alone as she was. 

The regulations with regard to deaths which may 
call for an inquiry offer an extraordinary example 
of red tape. Should a person fall dead in the street, 
the body may on no account be touched until full 
reports have been made to a variety of functionaries 
and a great number of forms have been signed. The 
tedious proceedings may occupy the whole day. 
I have seen more than once a corpse lying for many 
hours in the middle of a busy thoroughfare, necessi- 
tating a diversion of the traffic. On one occasion the 
relatives had placed candles round the body. It 
was a strange street spectacle. 

This is not a cheerful subject, but before leaving 
it I must refer to some curious tombs in the cemetery 
just outside Bucarest. 

The most interesting is that of a young girl who 
died some years ago. Her body has never been 
buried in the strict sense of the term, but remains in 
a large vault which is always open. This vault, to 
which one descends by six or seven marble steps, is 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 133 

furnished as a reception room. The girl had some 
reputation as a poetess, and her favourite books are 
placed upon shelves on the wall. Amongst other 
things in the room, or vault, is a large globe which she 
used in her geographical studies. The hands of 
the clock on the wall point to the hour at which she 
died. Behind a curtain the coffin rests upon a 
marble stand. A lamp placed before it is always 
alight. The bereaved father spends hours at a time 
in the vault. He declares that he has constant 
communication with his daughter's spirit. 

On the anniversary of her " names-day," relatives 
and friends are bidden to the vault, where they are 
entertained with black coffee and dulceata. 

Another curious monument is the lifesize effigy of 
a lady whose body lies beneath. The figure stands 
on a flat tombstone and holds a fan in its hands. 
A fan does seem an incongruity in a graveyard. 
Attached to nearly every tombstone is the photo- 
graph of the person who rests beneath. 



CHAPTER XVII 

The servant question not so acute as in England — Establishments 
of thirty servants — Five or six for professional people — Terms 
and duties of service — An unwilling bather — A highly recom- 
mended maid who waited at table barefooted — The reference 
books of servants — The servants' quarters — A strange privilege : 
female servants may have their husbands or putative hiisbands 
and their families to live with them — Costly marriage fees are 
prohibitive — "Madam" and "Madame" — Linguistic pitfalls : a 
" master " or a " cake " ? — When a bald-headed cook is wanted 
— Leaving cards on names -days — An omnibus round. 

THE servant question is not nearly so acute in 
Roumania as it is in England. Servants, of a 
kind, are always to be had, though really good ones 
are rare. It is generally acknowledged that Hungar- 
ians are much better workers than Roumanians, 
but in late years the Hungarian nation became 
jealous of the constant migration to the adjoin- 
ing country (where better wages obtained) and abso- 
lutely forbade it. 

Probably owing to the fact that the abolition of 
slavery only dates back some seventy years or 
thereabouts, Roumanian families require the services 
of a great number of servants. Prince G., for in- 
stance, had thirty servants in his establishment, 
although his house was of a very moderate size, not 
by any means what one would describe as ''princely." 
People lower down in the social scale, such as doc- 
tors, engineers, lawyers, etc., generally have estab- 
lishments of five or six servants. The conditions of 

134 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 135 

service are not at all similar to those prevailing in 
England. A maid is engaged at a fixed wage of 
from thirty francs monthly upwards, and her 
dinner. In addition she receives thirty bani (3d.) 
a day, which is called bread-money, and with this 
she is supposed to provide herself with bread, tea 
or coffee, sugar, and anything she may require for 
extra meals. Any scraps or broken bread left over 
from the table the servants are at liberty to take. 
As there are generally a number of them clubbing 
their resources, they can feed themselves very well 
indeed on these terms. The servants are required 
to rise very early, at five o'clock generally, and to 
sweep and dust thoroughly all the rooms that have 
been occupied the day before. As the floors are of 
parquetry in most houses, and the carpets laid 
loosely over them, the work is not so very difficult. 
Nearly every family has a "randasch," a man-servant 
who does the heavy work, beating carpets, cleaning 
windows, and such like. Sometimes the randasch 
waits at table, but more often it is a parlour-maid. 
It depends on the capabilities of the man, whether 
he is intelligent or not. 

I once visited at a house and noticed that the 
randasch was a newcomer. Having remarked upon 
it, I was informed that he had only come for a short 
time, as in some weeks he was to become a " popa," 
i.e. priest ! 

A few minutes before lunch or dinner is served 
a maid enters the salon bearing a tray on which are 
several small glasses of juica and a plate with 
tiny bits of bread, which she presents in turn to 
each visitor. Tuica (pronounced zweeka) is a 
liqueur made from plums, and is supposed to act as 



136 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

a stimulant to the appetite. After dinner, when the 
guests return to the salon, the maid appears once 
more with small cups of Turkish coffee. This 
coffee is delicious, and is made exactly as one gets 
it in the bazaars in Constantinople. 

Servants dress much better of late years ; in 
some houses you may even meet maids with caps 
and aprons, but it is by no means general. When 
I first went to Roumania I was amazed to see the 
door of a quite imposing mansion opened by a 
creature of rather dirty appearance with a shawl 
over her head. Some ladies are lax and do not 
insist on either cleanliness or tidiness in their maids. 

A Swiss lady of my acquaintance in Bucarest had 
great trouble once with a Roumanian maid whom 
she had engaged. The rule of this house was that 
each maid was to take a bath every week, but the 
difficulty was to enforce the rule in the case of this 
particular girl. She got out of it when she could, 
and when brought to book almost cried and said she 
had never been asked to do such a thing in any other 
house. Finally the mistress insisted upon the 
maid entering the bathroom, she herself remaining 
outside the door until the necessary but much 
dreaded ablutions had been performed. 

I remember once a new maid being engaged at a 
house where I was staying. She said she had been 
some time with Mme. B. and Mme. N., well-known 
ladies in Bucarest society, and so it was taken for 
granted that if she had been in such good houses 
she would prove a first-class servant. But what was 
our astonishment, the first time she came to wait 
at table, to see her enter the dining-room with bare 
feet ! At first we looked at each other in amaze- 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 137 

ment, then the comical side of the situation struck 
us, and we laughed and laughed till we cried. We 
did enjoy our dinner that night, but we were not 
waited on by Mme. B.'s late maid-servant. 

Servants are not required to have written refer- 
ences, but they are furnished by the police authori- 
ties with small books in which all particulars re- 
garding themselves are recorded, and they are 
required to produce these on taking service anew. 
These records are always a hold upon them. Should 
they have a fancy to go off without permission or 
to take with them any property not lawfully theirs, 
they can easily be traced by means of these small 
books, duplicates of which remain in the possession 
of the police. 

In very many houses the servants' quarters are 
quite apart from the house. Sometimes a small 
house in the courtyard is provided for them ; but 
even if they do live in the same house as the family, 
they occupy rooms which can be cut off from the 
rest of the dwelling by merely locking the door of 
communication. This indeed is very often done 
at night. 

Roumanian mistresses never have the trouble of 
providing beds for their servants, as everyone 
arrives with her own. Bedsteads are provided, 
but nothing else. Bed and bedding form, of course, 
an indispensable part of the equipment of female 
servants, and some of them take pride in having a 
good show of pillows with the pillow-cases richly 
ornamented with crochet work. But with men- 
servants it is very different indeed ; it very often 
happens that they have no beds at all ! I heard 
once of a young fellow being brought fresh from the 



138 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

country to act as " randasch." On the mistress 
being questioned by one of her friends as to where 
he would sleep, she replied, " Oh, anywhere at all ; 
he does not need a bed." Further investigation 
showed that he simply lay down on his own little 
trunk, and slept there quite well too. 

Servants are permitted to have their husbands 
with them. They may be husbands only in name, 
and indeed very often are, but still no objection is 
made about giving them house-room. If the man 
has any occupation, he is away all day, only coming 
back at night, when his wife will have a meal ready 
for him, which is supposed to be provided by 
herself. Very often, therefore, there is quite a small 
colony housed together in the servants' quarters, 
each one with her small family round her. It is very 
probable that this custom dates back to the time 
when serfdom was still in vogue in the country. I 
believe that when serfdom was finally abolished the 
step did not please many of the serfs themselves. 
They and their families had lived on the estates of 
their masters, fed, clothed, and housed, not badly 
treated and not overworked; and when they re- 
ceived their freedom (the want of which they had 
never felt) and were obliged in many cases to look 
out for work in order to keep wife and family, they 
found their new responsibilities very strange and 
did not relish them at all. Their sole disability as 
serfs, and one which I think we may imagine did 
not trouble them much, was that they were debarred 
from having their hair cut ! 

I have said that very often the marriage ceremony 
is dispensed with by the servant class, but this is 
not so much their fault as that of the authorities. 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 139 

Marriage fees are very high in Roumania ; not only 
those given to priests, but also the fees required by 
the civil authorities. A man, let us say, from the 
country wishes to marry in town. He must write 
to his own village and get the certificate of his birth 
as well as the written consent of his parents, or, 
failing these, the consent of his grandparents. 
Even if a man is fifty years of age he is obliged to 
ask the consent of his parents if he has any. Should 
the parents not agree to the match, then he makes 
three " sommations." That is, he is required by 
law to send three notices with a certain interval of 
time between them to his parents, informing them, 
first, of his intended marriage, and then of his 
intention to persist in the determination. After 
the third notice has been sent he is free to marry. 

When the different certificates and written con- 
sent have finally been procured, they must be 
deposited at the town hall and stamped. The 
stamping and fees amount to a considerable sum, 
so one cannot wonder that a poor couple should 
prefer to keep the few francs they possess and 
dispense with the marriage tie. 

A German maid in a house where I was staying 
once told me a pitiful tale. She had come to 
Roumania as a quite young girl. After some time 
she made the acquaintance of a Roumanian, with 
whom she fell in love. As he was not in a very good 
position they dispensed with the marriage ceremony 
and lived together as man and wife. A young 
family grew up around them, and their circum- 
stances caused the utmost grief to the girl's poor old 
mother in Germany, who felt keenly her daughter's 
disgrace. From her poor resources she contrived to 



140 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

send 200 marks to enable the couple to get married. 
Alas ! the sum was soon swallowed up in the cost 
of stamping, translating, etc., of various necessary 
or unnecessary papers, and the object remained 
unachieved. To the great grief of the poor old 
mother in her far-off village home, the situation of 
her daughter remained as it was, with no hope of any 
change, for whatever money the couple could hope 
to make would have to be used for the needs of their 
young family. 

Good cooks are pretty well paid, receiving 50, 60, 
up to 100 francs monthly, but they have also a fair 
amount of work to do. Sugar in Roumania is 
bought by the loaf, and amongst her multitudinous 
duties the cook must see that it is cut into small 
pieces. She must roast and grind the coffee daily. 
Above all, she must go in good time to market 
(some go before 5 a.m.), otherwise the best of the 
country produce will have gone. 

Servants are very respectful to each other, never 
using each other's name without prefacing it with 
" Madam." " Madam Anna has gone to market." 
" Madam Marie is busy washing just now." It is 
very curious that this title of " Madam," as distinct 
from "Madame," is almost entirely confined to the 
servant class. " Cocanitza " or " Cocoiana," the 
Roumanian term for " mistress," is only given to 
the lady of the house. The words "Coconash" 
(master) and "Cozonac" (a kind of cake), as it 
happens, resemble each other in the pronunciation. 
A friend of mine, an English lady, sent from time to 
time for this cake, as she liked it for tea, but could 
not understand why the servant seemed always so 
amused, till at last she found out that she had 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 141 

ordered her to fetch a Master instead of a cake. 
Funny mistakes do occur when one does not know 
the language well, as was the case with another 
lady. She had a person to work by the day, who, 
on leaving, invariably said " Serat mana." The 
English lady thought this meant " Good evening," 
and very politely repeated it after her. But she 
was obliged to find a substitute for her response 
when she learned that the words meant " I kiss 
your hand." 

I think I must find space for an example of 
what I understand has come to be known here as a 
" howler." It is really too good to be overlooked. 
I once gave a pupil a portion of the fourteenth 
chapter of St Mark to turn from French into 
English. In her translation I found this gem : 
" The ghost is agreeable, but the meat is feeble." 

A cake that is very popular in Roumania is one 
made of alternate layers of dough and a mixture 
of apples, currants, and sugar. It must be made in a 
very cool place, and one requires a large table for 
the task. When the dough is ready, it is rolled out 
very thin, then placed on the table and drawn out 
over it at every side till it is scarcely thicker than 
paper. The mixture of apples, currants, raisins, 
sugar, and spice stands ready, and a portion is 
spread over the paste, which is then doubled over 
and another layer of the mixture spread upon it. 
The process is repeated till the paste has assumed 
the form of a great sausage nearly a yard in length. 
It is then bent in the shape of a horse-shoe, put into 
the oven and baked. When it is cooked, no better 
cake could be desired. When I first became 
acquainted with this delicacy, I was rather curious 



142 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

as to how it was made. I was informed that the 
cake could only be made by a bald-headed cook, as 
he was obliged to put the paste on his head and draw 
it down and outwards in all directions in order to 
attain the requisite degree of thinness. Being at 
that time ripe for shocks, I suffered some qualms, 
but later realised that my Roumanian friends were 
not without a certain sense of humour. 

One of the duties of a servant is to stand at the 
outer gate on his master's names-day, and receive 
the visitors' cards. It is very seldom that one 
receives on such occasions, and this is so well known 
that anyone can be sent just to drop a card at the 
house designated. 

Cards of congratulation are sent in such numbers 
at New Year's Day, for instance, that it is often 
quite impossible to post a letter, the pillar-boxes 
are so packed. It did not astonish me very much 
to hear that one poor postman quite lost patience, 
and threw all the letters into the river instead of 
delivering them. On such great fete-days it is 
almost impossible to get a decent carriage; every 
one is engaged hours, perhaps days, before it is 
needed. Everybody makes holiday, and when 
cards have been left where they are due, then a turn 
at the Chaussee is indulged in, or there may be a 
marriage at which one must appear. 

I remember a gentleman from the country 
coming to Bucarest on such a great holiday. As he 
was seldom in town he wished to take the oppor- 
tunity of paying a few visits. Not a carriage was 
to be had, so at last in despair he hired an omnibus 
to take him round. Now, the humour of the 
situation would not be so apparent to an English 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 143 

person. The Bucarest omnibus is not at all " chic." 
It is permissible to travel by the tram, but the 
omnibus is quite infra dig. ; and so the spectacle 
of this gentleman, in kid gloves and tall hat, rattling 
up to the doors of various stately dwellings in the 
bumping vehicle was comical in the extreme, and 
caused much merriment. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

Convict life in the salt-mines — A Roumanian Jack Sheppard — The 
trick that laid him low — Procedure in murder cases — The recon- 
struction of the crime — Scant justice for servants : no Habeas 
Corpus Act in Roumania — A man whose face was the only 
evidence against him — Gipsies and the building trade : the men 
act as masons and bricklayers, the women as their labourers — 
Exhibition of new clothes when a roof is put on — Fiddling 
ragamuffins — Gipsies as musicians — Guarding against gipsies in 
the Carpathians. 

PRISON accommodation in Roumania is con- 
siderably better now than it used to be. The 
cells are light and airy, and the prison fare is not 
worse than in other countries. Capital punishment 
is not inflicted. If a person be convicted of a 
capital crime, his sentence will be imprisonment in 
the salt-mines for life or for a long term of years. 
These salt-mines are situated at Ocna Mare, and it 
is quite an interesting experience to pay a visit to 
them. Before descending into the depths, visitors 
are required to don a large loose overall to protect 
their clothes. The descent in the cage is soon over, 
and one finds oneself in a large hall hewn out of 
the solid salt, which, when lighted up, flashes out 
brilliant colours innumerable. The prisoners make 
the descent every morning, and stay below for a 
certain number of hours for work, after which they 
are re-conducted to their prison home. They are 
allowed to manufacture small articles of salt, wood, 

144 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 145 

etc., and stalls are arranged in the eourtyard of the 
prison on which these articles are exposed for sale, 
the prisoners themselves acting as salesmen. 

For a nervous person it is not at all reassuring to 
find oneself suddenly in the midst of such sur- 
roundings. Some of the prisoners have a very 
dogged, obstinate expression ; and when one remarks 
among the articles for sale numbers of large, strongly 
made knives, one involuntarily begins to wonder 
what would happen if the prisoners should each 
seize a knife and make a sudden dash for freedom. 
Should we be attacked, or should we not ? 
Evidently such a supposition has occurred to no 
one else; or is it that such precautions have been 
taken that a rising on the part of the prisoners is 
out of the question ? 

Occasionally, however, a prisoner does effect his 

escape. Some years ago a noted robber who was 

undergoing a long term of punishment succeeded in 

getting out of prison. He was rearrested, and again 

this modern Jack Sheppard got the better of his 

captors, commencing a fresh villainous career, and 

it may be remarked that he did not stop at robberies 

by any means. The prison authorities became 

quite wearied out with this man, so devised a plan 

to get rid of him entirely. The last place at which 

he was arrested was Galatz, where there is a fairly 

large garden. On a certain day and at a certain 

hour the public were absolutely forbidden to enter 

this garden, a sentry being stationed at each gate 

to see that the order was obeyed. The prisoner was 

then taken under strong escort to be transferred to 

another place of detention, and the way led through 

the garden. The guards were chatting and laughing 

10 



146 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

together, so the prisoner thought it a favourable 
moment to elude them. He was a very agile man, 
and started off full speed, but had not got very far 
when three shots rang out and he was laid low, his 
inglorious career ended for ever. It seemed rather 
a mean trick; but as the death penalty is never 
inflicted, no other means of getting rid of him could 
be devised. 

What always appeared very strange to me was the 
procedure in a murder case, but I believe it is 
similar to that adopted in France. If a person be 
arrested on a charge of murder, he undergoes a first 
examination, and is then taken to the scene of the 
murder. Everything is arranged as it is supposed 
to have been when the murder was committed. 
Even the body of the victim is present. It is 
presumed that revisiting the scene and recalling the 
terrible occurrence may betray the accused man 
into some expression of feeling or even into a con- 
fession of guilt. The whole idea is gruesome, and 
it seems to me to take an unfair advantage of the 
prisoner. 

Principles of justice and fairplay are not quite 
so developed in the East as in the West. For 
instance, a servant who is accused of theft by his 
master or mistress gets a good thrashing first of all 
at the police-court in order to induce him to confess 
his guilt, and also to divulge where he has hidden 
the stolen property. It is against all law to act in 
such a way, but the servant does not dare complain. 

It is not at all a difficult matter for a person who 
occupies a high position in the capital to have 
another of lesser degree, such as a servant or a 
workman, imprisoned. A word to the police, and 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROTOIANIA 147 

the victim will be arrested and kept perhaps for 
days without a charge being brought against him. 
But a complaint is never brought forward for false 
imprisonment, nor would such a complaint be 
considered. A lady of my acquaintance once 
engaged a man-servant of rather unprepossessing 
appearance. One night after retiring to rest she 
was awakened by suspicious noises in the house. 
She immediately conceived the idea that this man 
of evil looks was bent on actions to correspond. As 
she always kept a policeman's rattle near at hand, 
she at once rushed to the window and sounded it. 
In a few minutes two policemen arrived, and a 
house search was instituted. Nowhere could the 
man-servant be found, till finally the kitchen was 
reached, where he was discovered lying across the 
table fast asleep, or pretending to sleep, with a huge 
knife beside him. This looked so suspicious that 
he was immediately arrested and taken to the 
police-court. The lady was asked if she could 
accuse him of any wrong-doing, but as she really 
had nothing definite to formulate, only suspicions 
to go upon, no charge could be made against him. 
He was, however, detained for three or four days 
before being set at liberty. 

In Roumania gipsies form an interesting section 
of the community ; they are always employed 
where building is going on. The men are engaged 
as stone-masons and bricklayers, and execute the 
more skilled work, whilst the women act as labourers 
and mount the scaffolding with loads on their backs. 
At first it was never thought necessary to provide 
any kind of dwelling for these gipsies when engaged 
on a job— they just lay about anywhere in the open ; 



148 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

but finally it became quite a scandal and a source 
of danger to the community, so action had to be 
taken. A law was passed that anyone employing 
gipsies must provide them with proper accommo- 
dation, and that sanitary considerations must be 
respected. 

When the building on which gipsies are employed 
arrives at a certain stage, sometimes before the roof 
is put on, high holiday is kept. The scaffolding is 
decorated with green boughs, among which one 
may see new skirts, coats, and blouses fluttering in 
the breeze. These are given by the employer, and 
are on view for the rest of the day. I think it is the 
only time they are on view, as I have never yet seen 
a gipsy with new clothes on. They would seem 
quite out of place. Rags and gipsies seem somehow 
to belong to each other. When no building is going 
on, gipsies are often to be seen parading the streets 
with a tame bear that can be put through any 
number of tricks. One of the gipsies has a weird 
kind of incantation to which the unfortunate bear is 
supposed to dance. His unwieldy movements, and 
muffled growling, as a sort of running accompani- 
ment to the music, delight the children, who are 
eager to reward the bear's master with all the 
coppers they possess. 

The gipsies do not seem to be a really lazy race. 
When they are at work they are quite active, 
singing or whistling if they have not at the moment 
the inevitable cigarette end between their teeth. It 
is one of the occupations of the gipsy children to 
roam about the streets in search of cigarette-ends 
that have been thrown away (pipes are seldom used 
in Bucarest). These are brought to their parents 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 149 

to be smoked to the " bitter end." The women 
smoke just as much as the men. Another occupa- 
tion for bigger children is to get hold of a rude kind 
of violin and to play for the public. It is a sight to 
sec one trying to keep up with a tram, fiddling for 
all he is worth (no one knows what the tune is), but 
keeping a sharp look-out for any bani that may 
be thrown to him. He is a comical figure, some- 
times wearing neither shoes nor stockings, but with 
a long coat reaching half-way down his bare legs. 
Sometimes he sports a battered-in hat, but more 
often than not his own shaggy curls form his only 
head covering. 

The little children are picturesque, and they 
would delight the eye of an artist. They do 
not trouble about clothes at all. It is true that 
the little brown bodies are sometimes clothed in 
tiny shirts, but more often than not they are 
entirely naked. The big black eyes and the little 
brown faces crowned by masses of thick brown or 
black curls remind one strongly of the types in 
pictures by Murillo. 

All gipsies have a natural talent for music, and 
where it can be developed success is almost sure. 
There is, for instance, a gipsy in Bucarest who, 
with his band of musicians, is very much sought 
after for entertainments. He can command 200-300 
francs for a few hours in the evening ; and as festi- 
vities are not often wanting, especially in winter, 
he must have amassed quite a nice little fortune. 
He went with his band to the Exhibition in Paris 
some years ago, and aroused great enthusiasm among 
the French by his playing. Gipsy music in Rou- 
mania has always a vein of melancholy running 



150 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

through it, quite different from the Hungarian 
music, which is fiery and wild in its character, 
showing plainly the untamed spirit of the people. 

Gipsies as a class have not a good reputation for 
honesty, therefore if any are seen near one's house a 
sharp look-out must be kept. I stayed for some 
weeks one summer at a little village in the Car- 
pathians. Just about twenty minutes' walk from 
our cottage there was a gipsy encampment. The 
lady with whom I was staying was rather nervous, 
and terribly afraid of the gipsies. The forest, 
which was very dense, came right down to the back 
of our cottage, which was in a rather isolated 
situation. Her fear was that the gipsies might hide 
in the forest and then attack us at night. Great 
precautions had to be taken, doors and windows 
carefully closed and barred. The dogs, of which 
there are always enough and to spare in the country, 
were brought close up to the cottage, and with a 
loaded revolver near at hand we considered we should 
be a match for the gipsies. But the truth is they 
never came to let us prove it. 



CHAPTER XIX 

King Carol as a diplomat — Lichnowsky as a Secretary of Legation 
— The scandal about his chief's (Prince von Biilow) wife — I see 
something at Bad Hall — A great ladies' man : he goes too far 
at length and is " promoted " to another sphere — Kiderlein- 
VVachter, genial and popular — An unfortunate dinner-party 
over which his housekeeper presided — Prince Gvilochowski and 
his wife — Some British ambassadors : Sir Frank Lascelles and 
Sir Charles (now Lord) Hardinge — How the latter rendered me a 
great service — Sir Henry Drummond Wolff — Sir John Kennedy 
and Lady Kennedy and their family — Better times for the 
British colony — The British colony — Its religious interests — 
Bishop Collins and his visits to Bucarest — His tragic end deeply 
regretted — Since the war Bucarest has many more British 
visitors — A British Chamber of Commerce, and a projected club. 

THE late King Carol was considered one of the 
best diplomats in Europe. Was it because 
of this the German Embassy had always more 
secretaries on their staff than any other embassy ? 
It was the case, at any rate. 

Some twenty years ago the present Prince von 
Billow was German Minister at the Court of 
Roumania. One of the secretaries was the young 
Prince Lichnowsky, who ended his career in London 
as German Ambassador at the outbreak of war. 

Young Lichnowsky was considered to be very 
clever, in spite of his abnormally large head (his 
hats were always specially made for him) ; and for 
a German he was remarkably well groomed, but 
one did not wonder at that when one learned that 
he had all his clothes from Poole's. 

151 



152 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

There was a good deal of talk in Bucarest at that 
time concerning Lichnowsky's weakness for Mnie. 
von Billow, the wife of his chief. As the lady was 
considerably older than he, I never gave any 
credence to the reports, till some facts came under 
my own observation. I was staying for a few weeks 
at Bad Hall, a small village in Austria, rather 
celebrated for the health-giving properties of its 
springs. At the principal hotel Mme. von Biilow 
was staying, and in close attendance upon her no 
other than Prince Lichnowsky. He was most 
attentive, accompanying her to the Casino, to the 
springs, and always carrying a formidable array of 
wraps, as she was not a very robust woman. After 
seeing this, I could no longer disbelieve the stories 
that had been current. 

Lichnowsky was considered a great ladies' man 
in Bucarest, and the most of his time was spent 
amongst the fair members of the local society. His 
attentions to a certain personage since dead became 
so marked, that it was deemed advisable to cut 
short his adventurous career, and so he was " pro- 
moted," and the society of Bucarest knew him no 
more. 

Another diplomat was Kiderlein-Wachter, also 
German Minister during part of my stay in Bucarest. 
He was a genial man and very popular, but it must 
be confessed that he was anything but abstemious ; 
he did not even confine himself to beer, as most 
Germans do. 

His household was composed of three or four 
servants, a valet, and a lady housekeeper. In 
regard to the last-named he rather got into hot 
water with the Roumanian ladies. He issued 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 153 

invitations for a dinner-party, and, when the guests 
arrived and dinner was announced, the head of the 
table was taken by the lady housekeeper ! In- 
dignation was general among the Roumanians, as, 
although they are not at all striet among their own 
set, they are very particular as to what they 
require from an outsider. The consequence was 
that Herr Kiderlein-Wachter could never again 
show hospitality to the Roumanian ladies, as 
in no case would it have been accepted. Poor 
man ! he died a year or so ago at Stuttgart, very 
suddenly, I believe. 

Prince Gulochow^ski was also in Bucarest some 
time before as Austrian Minister. I remember him 
as rather short, portly, and wearing bushy whiskers. 
His wife was just the contrary. She was thin to 
attenuation. Mme. Gulochowski was once present 
at the Elisabeth Ball, given at the Royal Theatre 
every year. It was the Queen's express desire that 
every lady should appear there dressed in Roumanian 
costume, as she wished to encourage the national 
industries. 

One would have thought that Mme. Gulochowski 
would have eagerly seized upon the chance of 
covering up her thin shoulders, but not she. In 
spite of the well-known wish of the Queen, she 
appeared in ball costume, most conspicuous as 
the only lady present who was not dressed in 
national costume. 

Of our own diplomats, not a few of our well- 
known men spent some time in Roumania. 

Sir Frank Lascelles, a relative of the Earl of 
Harewood, was English Minister at Bucarest before 
being appointed to Teheran. 



154 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

Our late Viceroy in India, Lord Hardinge, spent 
some time there also as charge d'affaires. I always 
feel grateful to him for helping me out of a difficult 
position. I had been in Russia for some months 
and wished to return to Roumania, but no Russian 
prefet would sign my passport or give me per- 
mission to leave the country. Each one insisted 
that I must be provided with a new passport, as it 
was not admissible to leave the country with the 
same passport that I had on entering it. In my 
extremity I wrote to Bucarest, and the sympathy 
of Sir Charles Hardinge, as he then was, was enlisted 
on my behalf. He did his best for me, even inter- 
viewing M. de Fonton, the Russian Minister, with 
the result that a prefet was found who signed my 
passport. 

One may imagine that I did not let the grass grow 
under my feet once I had the required permission. 
It always seemed so strange to me that permission 
to leave Russia was just as difficult to obtain as 
permission to enter it. 

Sir Henry Drummond Wolff was British Minister 
to Roumania for a short time, but his stay was so 
brief that scarcely any members of the English 
colony ever saw him. 

The most popular by far of the British Minis- 
ters was Sir John Kennedy, who with his family 
remained for some seven or eight years in 
Bucarest. The family consisted of four sons and 
one daughter. " Pat " Kennedy I refer to elsewhere 
as a playmate of Prince Carol. Two of his gallant 
brothers fell in the Great War. Miss Kennedy 
was, and still is, a great favourite with the Queen 
of Roumania. 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 155 

Sir John and Lady Kennedy with their daughter 
(the sons were for the greater part of the time at 
school in England) were constant attendants at the 
English church services. They took a great interest 
in all that concerned the British colony, and were 
much kinder and more hospitable than any of their 
predecessors. 

Of all the foreign colonies in Bucarest the 
English was, until a few years ago, the smallest. 
The Embassy, a few business men with their 
families, a number of governesses, an English 
doctor, and a bank manager were the sum total. 
There was no English church, but service was held 
once every Sunday in a schoolroom of the Jewish 
mission, by the missionary to the Jews, who spoke 
English remarkably well and had taken orders in 
England, although himself of Jewish descent. His 
wife was English, and perhaps on that account their 
house was the centre of any hospitality that was 
shown to the English colony. Very pleasant and 
homely were the little meetings that were held at 
the vicarage near the school — the working parties 
once a fortnight at which garments were made for 
the poor Jews, the weekly choir practice, and the 
informal afternoon teas. 

The visitors were mostly governesses, and what 
a delight it was to have a cup of real English tea 
and a good chat without being obliged to be on the 
qui vive for any mistake that the speaker would 
be likely to make (as one had to be when speaking 
to one's pupils) ! How one laughed at any little 
faux pas made by the native handmaiden, as for 
instance one afternoon, when our hostess rang for 
another cup and saucer, and the little maid put her 



156 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

head into the room to inquire in a hushed voice, 
" A clean cup and saucer, Madame ? " 

The working parties were always well attended. 
Each member cheerfully paid her franc monthly in 
order to pay for materials, and no element of 
discord was ever present till much later on, when 
some fresh arrivals from England took it upon 
themselves to cavil at the manner in which the 
garments were distributed. These were always 
given to the Jewish poor (there were no English 
poor in Bucarest), and, as some folk have no love 
for Jews, the newcomers protested that the articles 
should be distributed to people of all nationalities. 
This arrangement was finally decided upon, although 
it was quite unnecessary as it turned out. The 
German poor were well looked after, the French 
also, and it was really only the Jewish poor who 
seemed to be in need. Besides, as we were con- 
siderably indebted to the Jewish missionary for his 
kind help on Sundays, as well as for the hospitality 
shown us on every occasion, it was, in my opinion, 
only right to help on their work by every means in 
our power. At the time of which I speak the 
missionary had no remuneration for the English 
service on Sundays. In later years an arrangement 
was made by which the missionary gave a third 
part of his time to the English community, in 
consideration for a fixed sum raised by them 
annually. 

I am glad to learn that an English church has 
now been built to meet the needs of the greatly 
increased colony. 

The English Church in Roumania, as in most parts 
of southern Europe, belongs to the diocese of 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 157 

Gibraltar. We were visited pretty often by the 
Bishop — Bisliop ColUns — who proposed to visit all 
parts of liis diocese, which included Smyrna, at 
least once a year. Poor man ! he did not live to 
carry out very many of his plans. He caught a 
severe cold whilst travelling in Russia, but still 
insisted on preaching during his stay in Bucarest. 
The consequence was that he became seriously ill, 
and for a long time had to refrain from any active 
work. When his health improved he again resumed 
his duties, hoping that a journey to the East would 
complete the cure. Great was the pleasure when it 
was announced that we might expect a visit from 
the Bishop. He arrived, but how changed in 
appearance ! he was not the same man. He left 
Roumania with the intention of visiting Smyrna. 
A great reception was planned for him there, all 
the English colony was en fete, and at the hour 
when the steamer was expected all those who could 
possibly manage it wended their way to the quay. 
Alas ! their pleasure was turned into grief by the 
news that it was only a dead body they were to 
meet — the Bishop had died on board. 

The mourning was great throughout the whole 
diocese, as Bishop Collins was so greatly beloved. 
A charming personality, a student in his tastes 
more than an active worker, he had gained the 
esteem and affection of all those (preachers and 
people) who belonged to his diocese. His wife, too, 
had been very much liked. She was his elder by some 
years, but they were very devoted to each other. 
Indeed, there is no doubt that her death, which 
took place only about a year before his own, had 
such an effect upon him as to hasten the sad event. 



158 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

The war has been responsible for many things. 
One of the few good things is that the EngHsh have 
at last discovered Roumania. The presence of 
British visitors in a Bucarest hotel no longer calls 
for comment. A British Chamber of Commerce has 
even been established, and a British club is talked 
about, and will no doubt soon be an accomplished 
fact. 

How good it is to know that the British is now 
not the smallest but the largest colony ! 



CHAPTER XX 

The French colony — An outspoken abb6 — The German colony — 
Its schools, churches, and hospitals — A split in the camp of 
deaconesses — Teaching or nursing ? — A well-conducted hospital 
— Roumanian hospitals — An eminent surgeon, Dr Thomas 
Jonescu — An erratic American dentist — His exclusive practice 
— Leaves a Prince waiting with open mouth whilst he goes on 
a trip to Sinaia. 

THE French are fairly well represented in 
Roumania, and they possess a very fine 
church in one of the best streets in Bucarest, which 
is called " The Cathedral." The Bishop's name 
was Hornstein, which seemed to me to sound rather 
more like Jerusalem than Paris. Every year, in the 
month of May, a priest came from Paris to hold a 
kind of mission. For two consecutive years this 
duty devolved upon a certain abbe, who aroused 
great interst in the town. He was a very short 
man of rather insignificant appearance, but very 
clever, and decidedly outspoken in his utterances. 
The hour of service was 5 p.m., and woe betide the 
unlucky worshipper who arrived late. The abbe 
would stop, fix his eyes on the latecomer, and then 
very coldly point him or her — generally the latter — 
to a vacant seat. When quiet was restored, he would 
resume his discourse. His methods and style aroused 
the curiosity of the people, who flocked in hundreds 
to hear him. The Cathedral was always packed, 

French, Roumanians, English all being represented. 

169 



160 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

At first the Roumanians, who are noted for their 
unpunctuaHty, were late for the service, but after 
one or two experiences they were careful to come 
in time. All the little weaknesses of modern society, 
such as love of dress, extravagance, the rush after 
amusements, were exposed and criticised unmerci- 
fully. People never seemed to resent his outspoken 
utterances, although in many cases his words must 
have gone home. 

The French have also some schools, but they are 
mostly convent schools, the teachers being monks 
or nuns. 

The best-known French school in Bucarest is the 
" Dames de Sion," the instruction given there being 
of a high order, the French language naturally being 
predominant. The school is not only attended by 
French children ; Roumanians who cannot afford 
to send their offspring to Paris, often taking advan- 
tage of it. 

I knew some girls who went to the " Dames de 
Sion," and very curious stories they used to relate 
about the greed for money displayed by the nuns. 
For example, if a larger table were required in one 
of the class-rooms, each pupil would be asked to 
bring a certain sum of money to defray the cost. 
Constant requests were made to the pupils for small 
sums to be used for the decoration of the chapel. A 
small statue was required for this niche, a picture 
for another ; and as for flowers for the altar, they 
were always needed. 

This procedure caused a good deal of discontent, 
as Roumanians did not see why they should be 
called upon to provide decorations for a chapel that 
had no connection with their Church. 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 161 

The expulsion of monks and nuns from France 
caused a great influx of both into Roumania, just as 
it did, unfortunately, into our own country, so that 
more convent schools are now scattered throughout 
the country than was formerly the case. 

I used to visit one of the convents, as there was 
an Irish nun there who attracted me very much. 
This convent was called " Die engelische Damen." 
Since returning to England I have been much 
amused by a description I read somewhere of this 
same convent. The sapient writer announced that 
it derived its name from the fact that it was founded 
by some English ladies in bygone times. Of course, 
the German name, which, curiously enough, it has 
always borne, means " The Angel Ladies." 

Of all the foreign colonies established in Roumania 
the German was, before the war, the largest. It 
had schools, churches, and hospitals, and the trade 
carried on was considerable. There was a very 
large girls' school in Bucarest, where German, 
French, and English were taught. The children 
were not only well taught but well trained. The 
German love of order and discipline was observable 
in every department. This establishment formed 
a striking contrast to the Roumanian schools, where 
a good deal of laissez-aller prevails. 

Examinations were held once a year, twenty 
minutes only being allowed for each subject. 
Germans do not consider examinations a great test 
of children's knowledge ; they trust more to their 
progress during the year. 

The school was under the control of the 

deaconesses, who undertook the teaching of the 

German language, being at the same time nursing 

11 



162 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

sisters. They came from Kaisers werth, a large 
training college and nursing establishment on the 
Rhine, in which, by the way, our own Florence 
Nightingale gained some of her earlier experience. 

At first a very large contingent of deaconesses was 
sent to Bucarest, but some years ago there was a 
split in the camp. The dispute was as to whether 
the teaching or the nursing should predominate. 
In the end, it was decided that half the number of 
deaconesses should remain at the school, con- 
centrating all their energies on teaching, whilst the 
other half should open a hospital and devote their 
time and energy entirely to the care of the sick. 

Sister Ida, who was at the head of the nursing 
establishment, was a very clever woman, with a 
wonderful power of organisation. Energetic to a 
degree, she never rested till she succeeded in open- 
ing the hospital, equipped with every modern con- 
venience. A small chapel was attached, where their 
own German pastor officiated, so that the sisters 
were not under the necessity of attending the prin- 
cipal German church. 

I was rather amused, whilst the dispute referred 
to was at its height, to have one of the nursing 
sisters remark to me, " Fancy ! the only concession 
that we can wrest from the other side is, that when 
we die we may be buried in their cemetery ! " It 
seemed to me rather meagre comfort. 

The boys' school was also well attended. It was 
run on strictly German lines, and was under the 
supervision of the German pastor. The church, 
which was close to the school, was quite a fine 
building, standing a little back from the street. It 
was a typical German church in its simplicity, 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 163 

severe to the last degree, till Queen Elizabeth con- 
ceived the fantastic idea of decorating it, and 
thereby turned it into a building strongly resembling 
a Jewish synagogue. When I entered it for the 
first time after it had been decorated I could 
scarcely believe my eyes. Was this the German 
church ? I asked myself. Galleries, pillars, and 
pulpit were hung with crimson velvet on which were 
texts of scripture in gilt German characters ! giving 
the whole church a tawdry as well as a decidedly 
Jewish appearance. 

A true German church is simplicity itself, so that 
the contrast struck me immediately. How an 
artistic woman, as Queen Elizabeth undoubtedly 
was, could perpetrate such an outrage upon good 
taste passed my comprehension. 

The hospital, situated at some distance from the 
town, equipped, as I have said, with every modern 
convenience, was a boon to all foreigners. There 
was better nursing to be had there than 
in the Roumanian hospitals, as all the sisters 
were well trained. The hospital was visited by 
both Roumanian and German doctors ; in fact, 
an inmate could have any doctor he wished to 
call in. 

The food was very good, and plenty of milk was 
always to be had. Bui'falo milk, by the way, is very 
much used in Roumania ; and although at first one 
finds it very rich, still, after becoming accustomed 
to it, cow's milk seems poor in comparison. 

One thing I have noticed abroad (this is also by 
the way) which seems to me worthy of imitation 
in England. It is that milk is always boiled. No 
one thinks of drinking milk without having it boiled 



164 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

first. As milk carries infection so readily, this seems 
to me a necessary precaution. 

The Roumanian hospitals cannot be held up as a 
pattern to other countries, as, in regard to nursing, 
they are very much behind-hand. Trained nurses 
are unknown. Any woman who applies may be 
engaged as " nurse " — the only stipulation being 
that she must don cap and apron for the arrival of 
the visiting doctors, or for an operation. During 
the rest of the day she may wear what she likes. 
These attendants, for they are no more, seldom 
master even the first rudiments of nursing. 

The manager or director of the hospital (not 
necessarily a doctor) is allowed so much a head for 
the feeding of the patients. If he can contrive to 
do it economically, the surplus goes, of course, into 
his own pocket. 

I went to see a sick friend in the largest hospital 
in Bucarest, and the food that I saw for distribution 
in the wards was of very inferior quality. My 
friend, who had a private room, had everything 
sent to her from outside, the medical student who 
looked in from time to time advising her not even 
to drink the milk provided ; presumably it was too 
well watered. 

The one redeeming feature of the hospitals is that 
they are quite free. No matter of what nationality 
you are, you will be attended (and nursed after a 
fashion) quite free of charge. If a patient has a 
little interest, or knows anyone who will speak for 
him, he may even be allotted a private room. 

The peasants, who have never had any pampering, 
are often quite happy and contented with their treat- 
ment at the hospital, and leave the place with regret. 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 165 

The inefficiency of the hospital nurses is all the 
more remarkable when one remembers the high 
qualifications and great skill of the physicians and 
surgeons of Roumania. 

The most eminent surgeon in Bucarest is Prof. 
Thomas Jonescu, brother of M. Take Jonescu. 
Though not the actual inventor of the anaesthetic 
stovaine, it was he who discovered the almost miracu- 
lous power obtained by the addition of strychnia. 
This wonderful compound, applied locally, absolutely 
deprives the patient of sensation in the region to 
be operated upon. I heard Prof. Jonescu once 
declare that he had cut off a leg whilst the sub- 
ject of the operation calmly looked on and made 
remarks about the performance. 

Everyone who has lived in Bucarest has known 
or heard stories of the remarkable American dentist 
Dr Y . He was of an extremely taciturn dis- 
position, very erratic in his ways and with few 
intimate friends. Notwithstanding his peculiarities, 
he had the names of the best families in Roumania 
on his books, including the late Queen, whose con- 
fidence he enjoyed for many years. Probably it 
was on this account that he was so very careful as to 
new patients. One year he went away for a holiday, 
and, on returning, his assistant, who had not been 
long in his service, or indeed in Bucarest, proudly 
showed him the list of new patients he had gained. 

Dr Y took the list, looked through it silently, 

and then with his pencil calmly struck out name 
after name till very few were left on the sheet. He 
returned the list to the astonished assistant with the 
remark, *' I do not attend such people." 

One of his patients was Prince G , who died some 



166 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

years ago. An experience of his with Dr Y 

caused great amusement, and it was rather amusing 
— to others. At the hour appointed by the doctor. 

Prince G arrived and took his place in the 

operating chair. After working for some minutes, 
the doctor, with a muttered apology, left the room, 
leaving Prince G , with his mouth open, moment- 
arily expecting his return. As time passed and the 
doctor did not reappear, the Prince became im- 
patient and rang the bell. What was his amaze- 
ment to learn from the servant that Doctor Y 

had left for Sinaia ! 

In spite of his peculiar ways, Dr Y is remem- 
bered with pleasure by many people. For one thing, 
he made the best plum puddings I ever tasted ! At 
Christmas time he made a number of these puddings 
and distributed them among the families of his 
friends and acquaintances. 



CHAPTER XXI 

The coming of King Carol — Roumanians dislike the Germans and 
TuUe the Hungarians — King Carol a reticent, self-contained, 
lonely man- — His only public appearances — A ball for the hoi 
polled — King Carol's father his sole adviser — His desire to abdi- 
cate — Roumania owes much to the late King. 

THE circumstances attending King Carol's com- 
ing to Roumania were undoubtedly of a 
romantic character. The leading Liberal statesman 
at the time of the deposition of Prince Cuza (the 
last native ruler of Roumania) was Jean Bratiano, 
whose son — similarly named — was Premier during 
the early part of the war. Bratiano had completed 
his education at the University of Bonn, and this 
circumstance, unimportant in itself, was fraught 
with great consequences for his country. The 
Liberal statesman, comparing German methods with 
those to which he had been accustomed in Rou- 
mania, fell under the Teutonic spell, and when a new 
ruler was required for his country it was toward 
the Hohenzollern family he turned his eyes. The 
choice ultimately fell upon Prince Carol, a scion of 
the Roman Catholic branch of that family. 

As it was well known that Austria would object 
to any such arrangement, obvious difficulties lay in 
the way of conveying the prospective king through 
that country. Bratiano hit upon a somewhat 

167 



168 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

theatrical plan. Inducing Prince Carol to enact the 
role of valet, he travelled with him from Vienna. 
There were no railways available in those days, and 
the whole journey to the Roumanian frontier was 
made by steamboat. At the last stopping-place 
on Austro-Hungarian soil passports were demanded, 
and the German valet, " Anton Klichner," strangely 
forgot his name. There was consternation for a 
few minutes, and official suspicion was aroused that 
all was not as it should be, but Bratiano retained 
his presence of mind, and, making it appear that 
" Kiichner " was a stupid country lad, gave the 
names himself. The danger was averted, and Rou- 
mania was reached in safety. The Prince met 
with a very good reception from his future subjects, 
whose respect he certainly commanded throughout 
his subsequent career. From his accession in 1866, 
he reigned for some time as " Prince of Roumania," 
and it was not, indeed, until after the battle of 
Plevna, when the Roumanians succeeded in com- 
pletely throwing off the yoke of the Turks, that he 
assumed the title of King. His crown was made of 
iron obtained from a cannon captured at Plevna. 

How the country developed under the rule of the 
late King Carol is generally known. Methods of 
transport had hitherto been of an archaic character, 
but soon the country was intersected by an effi- 
cient railway system. This opened the way for 
industrial enterprise, and factories were established 
for the manufacture of furniture, glass, cloth, cheese, 
etc. These undertakings were chiefly conducted by 
Germans, and it is an open secret that the King had 
substantial interest in all or nearly all of them. 
The comment is frequently heard that the personal 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 169 

fortunes of King Carol became vastly improved 
after his aeecssion to the throne. 

The late King Carol, as has already been indicated, 
was very German in his ideas and tastes. 

As a Latin race the sympathies of the Roumanians 
are naturally inclined to the French. French is the 
prevailing language in Roumania, or perhaps I had 
better say was, for, as I remark elsewhere, English 
is now gaining ground rapidly. French fashions 
are followed, French literature is the most widely 
read, and it is to Paris that the majority of young 
Roumanians are sent to finish their studies. 

In no class of society does one find a feeling 
favourable to the Germans. Nothing in the German 
character appeals to the finer feelings of the Rou- 
manians. German is spoken, after a fashion, but no 
interest is sho^vn in the study of it, as is the case 
where French and English are concerned. 

King Carol was a reticent, self-contained man. 
In all those long years spent in Roumania he was 
never known to have a personal friend. There was 
an aloofness about him which was one of his dis- 
tinguishing characteristics, and he never seemed to 
unbend. I have been frequently told that when he 
accorded an audience he never sat down during the 
interview, even although it might last an hour. The 
visitor was therefore obliged to stand also. It was 
very seldom that the King was seen at any public 
gathering or entertainment — indeed, never save when 
his presence was absolutely necessary. 

During the winter three public balls were given 
at the Court, besides more informal dances and 
soirees. The first ball of the season was given on 
New Year's Day, and to it anyone could go. It was 



170 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

only necessary to write one's name in the " Con- 
gratulations Book " provided at the entrance of the 
Palace, and an invitation was at once forwarded. 
These gatherings were most amusing, the wives of 
butchers and bakers wearing the most extravagant 
toilets. The crush was tremendous, and reached 
its culminating point when supper was announced. 
Then each one's aim was to get downstairs as quickly 
as possible in order to get a good place at table. 
Elbows were freely used to force a passage ; common 
courtesy was not even thought of. What the King's 
thoughts were at such a sight it would be interesting 
to know, but they were never divulged. The Court 
of course had a table apart. The crush was so great 
that dancing was well-nigh impossible, and, as all the 
available seats in the ballroom were quickly occu- 
pied, it speedily became very tiresome for those who 
were obliged to stand. 

An acquaintance of mine told me that as she was 
very tired on one of these occasions her husband 
asked a lackey to fetch a chair. To their astonish- 
ment he replied that it was impossible to do so, as the 
King had given strict orders that chairs were not to 
be moved from one room to another. It seems 
strange that a King should trouble himself with 
such details. 

Although the King was a splendid horseman, he 
was rarely seen on horseback, except on the 10th of 
May, when the great review was held ; then he always 
rode from the Metropole (Cathedral) surrounded by 
a brilliant suite, to the Boulevard, where the march- 
past took place. As for walking, the King was never 
seen on foot, in the town at any rate. All such exer- 
cise was, I believe, taken in the park at Cotroceni, 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 171 

the residence of the Crown Prince and Princess, 
situated about two miles distant from the capital. 

In truth the King lived a lonely life, only being 
seen by the public when some function required his 
presence. He was a born soldier, and brought the 
army up to its present state of efficiency. The 
government of Roumania was by no means an easy 
task, and so the King must have found, as has been 
seen by some letters of his to his father which were 
published a year or two ago. His father seems to 
have been his constant friend and adviser in all diffi- 
cult moments, and that his advice was always good 
has been seen in the light of later events. 

Several times King Carol thought of abdicating, 
but, his father strongly opposing such a step, he 
practised patience, and luckily for the country re- 
mained at the head of affairs till the last. Roumania 
owes much to King Carol — its progress, prosperity, 
and present position as an advanced and enlightened 
country. 



CHAPTER XXII 

Queen Elizabeth (Carmen Sylva) — An early dilemma: no divorcees, 
no Court — A quaint divorce story— The true story of the meet- 
ing of Carol and Elizabeth — Did she love the country or its 
King ? — Her dead child's tomb — The Queen as a writer — Her 
passion for music — Pity the poor professional ! — Cold sovip for 
the King — The Queen's personal appearance — Her asylum for 
the blind, and the German manager who failed — " My Sixtieth 
Birthday," and how it was spent — The Queen and the enfants 
terribles — The orphans of the " Asyle Helene " — Cotroceni and 
its unlucky palace. 

ON adopting the responsibility of a reigning 
Queen, Carmen Sylva was faced with the pro- 
blem of who should be entitled to visit at Court. 
In talking the matter over with the Court Chamber- 
lain, she expressed the wish that no lady should be 
invited to Court who had been divorced. Great 
was the amazement of the Chamberlain. " But your 
Majesty could never form a Court under those con- 
ditions," was his quick reply. Finally, after much 
discussion, the decision was arrived at that no lady 
who had been divorced more than twice should be 
eligible for Court entertainments. I think this little 
fact (for it is a fact) sufficiently demonstrates how 
very lightly marriage ties were then thought of in 
Roumania ; and I mvist confess that things are not 
very much better in these days, as divorces are still 
sought under the most trivial pretexts. Incompati- 
bility of temperament is frequently accepted as a 
sufficient plea. 

172 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 173 

If a man divorce his wife or is divorced by her, 
the law allows him to marry again but not to marry 
the same woman. This very often gives rise to 
piquant situations. Sometimes a man after a few 
weeks' separation realises the truth of the aphorism, 
" Absence makes the heart grow fonder," and yearns 
to return to his first love. He is met, however, by 
the stern decree of the law, " Thou shalt not." Being 
unable to alter the law, he frequently takes unto him- 
self his former helpmeet, and lives with her without 
the sanction of Church or State. 

A rather amusing case came under my own obser- 
vation some years ago. A professor of one of the 
colleges was betrothed to a young girl whom I knew 
intimately. They seemed mutually attracted (not 
always the case in Roumanian marriages), and as the 
relatives on both sides seemed equally pleased, every- 
thing went as merrily as the proverbial wedding bell. 
The house was taken, furnished, and decorated. 
This is always the work of the bride, and is carried 
out at the expense of her parents, as the bridegroom- 
elect is not supposed to contribute anything towards 
setting up housekeeping. The marriage took place, 
and a great reception was given at which champagne 
flowed freely. All seemed to go well for some months, 
then the first little rift in the lute appeared. Vague 
stories were heard that all was not in harmony at 
the professor's ; then, later on, that the couple were 
going to seek a divorce. They not only sought it, 
but obtained it, the lady returning to her parents, 
and the gentleman resuming his former bachelor life. 

All this may seem commonplace enough, but the 
sequel was a curious one. The summer holidays 
were approaching, Madame longed to travel, but to 



174 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

travel alone was not to be thought of. Her former 
husband was approached on the subject. He agreed 
to accompany her ; the details of the journey were 
arranged, and they started off together. One might 
have thought that they would have been quite re- 
conciled to remain together after that. Not at all. 
On their return, they calmly said " Good-bye " to 
each other, she once more returning to her parents, 
and he to his bachelor quarters. 

The romantic story of how the Prince of Roumania 
met Princess Elizabeth of Neuwied at the palace 
in Berlin, and caught her in his arms as she was 
falling downstairs, has been so often denied by 
the late Queen, that it is unnecessary to refer further 
to it here. 

The real meeting came about in this wise. 
Princess Elizabeth was staying at Cologne with her 
mother for a short time, and one evening arrange- 
ments were made to attend a concert. In the course 
of the afternoon the Prince of Roumania called on 
the two ladies, to the great delight of the Princess. 
She plied him with questions about the country 
and people, and listened eagerly to everything 
that he could tell her. So interested was she that 
concert and everything else were forgotten — she 
could only think and talk of Roumania. 

On being told later that the Prince of Roumania 
sought her in marriage, she readily consented, not, 
I think, so much from love of the Prince as from 
interest in his country. One child was the result 
of the marriage, a little girl named Marie, who died 
at the age of five from an attack of scarlatina. This 
was a great grief to the parents, especially to the 
Queen, who was passionately fond of children. She 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 175 

had the child buried in the park of Cotroceni, a 
palace at a short distance from Bucarest. The 
tomb erected there is of white marble, and repre- 
sents the child asleep in her little bed. The cover- 
let seems to have become disarranged, and one little 
foot is showing. It is a pretty idea, and has been 
remarkably well carried out by the artist. The 
tomb is surrounded by a high railing, and is 
always guarded by a policeman. 

The late Queen of Roumania was an extremely 
gifted woman,- an authoress, linguist, painter, and 
musician. She has been well known to the literary 
world under the pseudonym Carmen Sylva, derived 
from the Latin words for " song " and " forest." 

Her books. Deficit, Letters from the Battlefield, 
Thoughts of a Queen, are extremely interesting. 
But music was a passion with her. A violinist 
or pianist who decided to come and give a 
concert at Bucarest was sure of an enthusiastic 
welcome from the Queen. He would be summoned 
to the palace to play for her Majesty, but his 
difficulty would be to get away again. 

She would be so entranced in the music, asking 
for one piece after another, that the poor tired 
musician would barely get away in time for the 
evening concert. Sometimes the performance at 
the palace was not quite private ; the Queen would 
issue a number of invitations to a matinee. On one 
of these occasions a friend of mine was present, and 
she gave me a most amusing account of the affair. 
The matinee continued till far into the evening, the 
Queen, as usual, asking for " one more sonata," 
till the King (who wisely absented himself from 
such frivolities), feeling the want of his dinner, lost 



176 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

patience. A lackey entered and announced to her 
Majesty in a low tone that dinner was served. She 
nodded smilingly but did not move. A second 
time the unlucky man was obliged to appear, 
but it was not till the King had sent three times 
to say that the soup was on the table that 
the Queen reluctantly decided to dismiss her 
guests. 

The late Queen was also a poetess of no mean 
order, composing sonnets at odd moments — some- 
times even during the night if she were in a wake- 
ful mood. The King would then be awakened 
from a sound sleep to pass judgment upon the 
work. 

After that, one will not be astonished to hear 
that the King of Roumania had a sweet temper. 

As a young girl, the Queen, as her photographs 
show, was very pretty, with fair hair and rosy 
cheeks—the usual type of German beauty. In later 
life she became very stout, and with her extremely 
red face framed in perfectly white hair she presented 
a rather remarkable appearance. She never wore 
either hat or bonnet, simply a lace mantilla thrown 
carelessly over her head. 

One never saw her without a smile on her face, 
so that one could not help wondering if it were still 
there during her sleep. She had very affable 
manners, and could be extremely charming. 

Now, one must not think that the Queen was only 
artistic. That is not so ; the practical side of her 
character was seen from time to time. At the time 
of the war against Turkey her Majesty did splendid 
work. Ladies were invited to the palace to help in 
making bandages, others in making garments ; a 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 177 

regular scheme of practical aid for the soldiers was 
organised by the Queen. 

She also founded an asylum for the blind. In 
former times blind persons were allowed to get 
their living as best they could, by begging or other- 
wise ; but the Queen's scheme provided them with 
food and lodging, and at the same time they were 
taught a useful trade. Subscriptions from abroad 
poured in (who could refuse a Queen ?), and I 
believe Andrew Carnegie was a generous subscriber. 

Unfortunately, as time went on, unpleasant 
rumours about this blind asylum were rife in town. 
When its affairs came to be examined, it was found 
that the superintendent (a German) had been guilty 
of gross mismanagement. It was a great shock 
to the Queen, as she had fully trusted the German. 
The King was very much annoyed about the 
affair, and insisted on the Queen giving up all 
active participation in the asylum. 

One felt rather sorry for King Carol at times. He 
was so reticent, self-contained and controlled, that 
he must have found extremely galling the annoying 
affairs into which he was constantly drawn by the 
great activity or enthusiasm of the Queen. 

She was, as the Germans so happily express it, a 

little uherspannt. I shall never forget the time she 

attained her sixtieth year. On this occasion she 

penned an article entitled " My Sixtieth Birthday," 

which was published in all the papers. In it she 

expressed her joy that she had now attained her 

sixtieth year, as all the storms and troubles of life 

were happily behind her. She then went on to 

relate how she had spent this happy day. In the 

evening she had gone to the theatre ; on returning 

12 



178 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

home her Httle deaf-and-dumb maid, whom she had 
brought with her from Germany, was hidden under 
the table, and from there discoursed sweet music 
from a musical box. All the Queen's little kittens 
were decorated with new ribbons for the occasion ; 
whilst on the table and chairs were the presents 
that had arrived during her absence. Much time 
was taken up examining all these treasures ; then 
after another tune from the musical box, and a last 
kiss for the kitties, she prepared to go to rest in a 
small room adjoining her boudoir. She was anxious 
to tell us that she never disturbed the King when 
she came in late. This was very considerate of her, 
but probably he lost enough rest when she was 
seized with her fits of poetic inspiration. 

As I have already remarked, the late Queen was 
very fond of children, and always happy when 
surrounded by them. But there were moments of 
anxiety for their elders, as the little mites could not 
be expected always to exercise discretion. 

A lady whom I knew had been in Paris for a 
few years with her husband. On returning to 
Bucarest the Queen expressed a wish to see her 
little boys. The children were taken to the palace 
and presented to her Majesty, who caressed them 
and made a great fuss over them. In the course of 
conversation she inquired, " Now, children, what 
did you think about me when you knew you were 
coming to see a Queen ? What did you think I 
should be like ? " To the dismay of the mother, 
a clear treble voice piped out, " I didn't think you 
would be so old." The Queen, however, took it very 
well, merely remarking, " But grandmamma is also 
old." " Oh no," objected both children; "grand- 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 179 

mamma is not old ; she hasn't white hair Hke you." 
One may imagine the rehef of the children's mother 
when the audience was at an end. 

Children loved the Queen. The present charge- 
d'affaires, M. Boerescu, was a courtier even in his 
childhood. When quite a little chap the Queen 
kissed him one day. For nearly a week he would 
not let the spot be washed. 

At one side of the park, Cotroceni, there stands 
a fine handsome building named " Asyle Helene " 
after its foundress, Princess Helene Cuza. It is a 
school for orphan girls, in which they receive instruc- 
tion and are trained for domestic service. The girls 
are also taught embroidery and fine needlework, 
and the specimens they turn out are really very 
creditable to them. Should one of their number 
receive an offer of marriage and the young man 
prove to be a suitable parti, consent is willingly 
given and the necessary arrangements made by 
the authorities of the orphanage. The bride-elect 
is not only supplied with a complete trousseau, 
but is also the recipient of a certain number of 
articles for use in her house. 

The late Queen took great interest in the girls of 
the " Asyle Helene," and arranged many little treats 
for them from time to time, in consequence of which 
she was greatly beloved. As I have already men- 
tioned, the Queen's little daughter, Princess Marie, 
lies buried in the park of Cotroceni, " placed," as 
the Queen herself said, " in the care of the orphan 
girls of the Asyle Helene." 

The park itself is of considerable extent, and con- 
tains some fine trees. The palace stands on an 
eminence commanding a good view of the town ; 



180 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

indeed, from the windows of Queen Marie's boudoir 
one can see straight up the Boulevard for a con- 
siderable distance. 

The late King and Queen were very fond of Cotro- 
ceni, and frequently stayed there. In their time it 
was a simple country house, with long French 
windows opening out on the parterres of flowers in 
front. 

On the marriage of Prince Ferdinand the old 
house was razed to the ground and a newer and 
more pretentious residence erected which was 
specially intended for the use of the young couple. 
Cotroceni, unfortunately, has never proved a very 
healthy site. Even at the time of the rebuilding 
of the palace the workmen were constantly being 
attacked by malaria. It was at Cotroceni that the 
present King was, many years ago, attacked by 
typhoid fever, when his life was despaired of. The 
latest tragic occurrence at the unlucky palace has 
been the lamented death of little Prince Mircea, 
when typhoid again made its dreaded presence 
manifest. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

Ferdinand of Sigmaringcn becomes heir to the throne — He is a good 
soldier and a favourite with his officers- — The friend of the 
Allies — His marriage with Princess Marie — The Princess's 
home-coming : a lonely stranger — A gala performance — The 
Prince's mission to Germany — Roumanian officers meet half a 
dozen Herr " Mahlzeits." 

AS the late King Carol of Roumania had no 
children (his little daughter having died 
young), he chose, with the consent of the Roumanians, 
his nephew Ferdinand of Sigmaringen as his successor. 
The latter, like his uncle, was a Roman Catholic, and 
to this the Roumanians made no objection, only 
stipulating that in the event of his marriage his 
children should be baptised into the Greek Church 
— a very natural condition, I think. 

The present King of Roumania has many charac- 
teristics of his race, is a great stickler for etiquette 
and a good soldier, but is not so versed in the art of 
diplomacy as King Carol. On account of his sol- 
dierly qualities he is a great favourite with the 
officers of his army. His accession to the throne 
was not looked forward to with universally confident 
feelings, but he has surprised most people by the 
manner in which he has adapted himself to the 
position. He carries himself much more assuredly, 
and has a dignified bearing that impresses the Rou- 
manians. He was, I believe, entirely at one with 
his people as regards the late war. 

181 



182 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

He married Princess Marie of Edinburgh, and well 
do I remember the day of the bride's entrance into 
Bucarest. It was an awkward moment for her 
arrival, as Queen Elizabeth was just then absent 
from the country and there was really no one to 
initiate her into the mysteries of Court life in 
Roumania. It was said that the Duchess of Edin- 
burgh had wished her daughter to be accompanied 
by an English maid-of-honour ; but on that point 
King Carol was very obstinate, and would not allow 
it on any account. It must have been a lonely time 
for the young girl of seventeen, in a strange country 
and surrounded by strangers. Even the King and 
Prince Ferdinand came under this description, as I 
believe she had seen very little of them before her 
marriage. 

The day of her state entrance into the capital 
was one of great excitement. The streets were 
decorated ; a profusion of flowers was in evidence, 
and of course the national colours, red, blue, and 
yellow, were to be seen everywhere. I had a place 
on a balcony near the royal palace, from which I 
had a splendid view. 

Everyone was eager to see the Princess, and as the 
time approached for the procession to leave the 
railway station the excitement became intense. 
Finally some mounted police made their appearance 
in order to clear the way, after them a detachment 
of cavalry, then at last the royal carriage. It was 
a state carriage, glass on all sides, and it was simply 
embowered in flowers. Princess Marie, looking 
rather pale and scared, was seated beside King Carol, 
whilst Prince Ferdinand occupied a back seat. It 
seemed rather hard lines for the newly-made hus- 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 183 

band to be relegated to a solitary back seat, but 
naturally it could not be arranged otherwise in the 
Queen's absence. The procession went straight to 
the Metropole, where the marriage service was per- 
formed for the third time. In the evening there 
was a gala performance at the National Theatre. 

Some friends and I shared a box, from which we 
had a good view of the royal box. Princess Mane 
looked charmingly sweet and girlish, with her tur- 
quoise ornaments on throat and hair. Prince Fer- 
dinand on this occasion had a front seat, as the King 
was not present. The latter very rarely attended a 
theatre. 

When the present King was simply Prince Fer- 
dinand, he was sent on a mission to Germany by 
King Carol. In his suite were three or four officers 
who had no acquaintance whatever with the German 
language. 

On the day of their arrival at S the Prince and 

his suite were entertained to a banquet by the 
officers of the garrison. The Roumanian officers 
entered the anteroom before the Prince appeared, 
and were somewhat at a loss. Now all travellers 
know that Continental people in such circum- 
stances introduce themselves by mentioning their 
names. Those acquainted with Germany will also 
know that the invariable greeting at dinner is 
" Mahlzeit," an expression which, whilst it literally 
means " meal-time," is really equivalent to bon 
appetit. So it came about that when a German 
officer with his hand on his heart approached a 
Roumanian, and bowing said " Mahlzeit," the latter 
responded with " Bibeseu," as he warmly shook 
hands. To the greeting " Mahlzeit," tendered by 



184 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

another of their hosts, a second Roumanian officer 
murmured " Greciano," and Florescu and others 
followed suit. 

Later, in conversation with Prince Ferdinand, the 
puzzled Roumanians commented upon the curious 
fact that their hosts all belonged to the same family 
and bore the name of " Mahlzeit." The officer who 
told me the story said that when the Prince fairly 
understood what had occurred he roared with laugh- 
ter. " I have never," my friend said, "seen the Prince 
so relax his reserve. He simply could not contain 
himself for some minutes, and for a long time he 
made a point of greeting us with ' Mahlzeit ' upon 
every possible occasion." 



CHAPTER XXIV 

Tho Princess in a merry mood — How Prince Ferdinand deluged the 
tablecloth — A curtain lecture for Princess Marie ? — The royal 
children — Elizabeth a beauty — Mignonne (Marie) " a beautiful 
little snow-maiden," yet piquant and merry — Ileana of the china- 
blue eyes has a great idea of her own importance — Prince Carol, 
a fine fellow, learns politeness — He and Elizabeth eat raw carrots 
in the Minister's garden — A war game with Pat Kennedy, when 
neither woiild be a Boer — Pretty Prince Nicolas, " a little 
terror " — Nicolas as a sailor — His watch on deck and his sea- 
strut — An adventure at Piraeus — A sailor valet — Nicolas 's first 
communion and his struggle with the bread — The royal gover- 
nesses — A little story about the Queen of Holland. 

PRINCESS MARIE must often have been amused 
at the German habits of the people by whom 
she was surrounded. Although King Carol was so 
firm in not allowing her to be accompanied by even 
one English lady-in-waiting, that did not prevent 
him from surrounding himself with Germans. To 
a large extent the etiquette of the Court was German, 
and unrefined German practices were frequently 
observable at table. 

As many people are aware, they had a horrid 
habit in the highest circles in the Fatherland of 
rinsing the mouth at table after eating, and then 
ejecting the water into a finger-glass. On the 
occasion of a big dinner-party, a few weeks after the 
marriage, Princess Marie was in a gay mood. Seeing 
her husband perform the customary mouth ablution, 
and prompted by a spirit of mischief, she raised her 

185 



186 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

finger and poked it into his distended cheek. Tab- 
leau ! The water spurted across the table, and there 
was something like consternation for a moment or 
two. For my own part, I was rejoiced when the 
scene was described to me by a friend who was pre- 
sent. It showed that the poor little lonely Princess 
had not lost her spirit. Prince Ferdinand had sense 
enough not to appear angry, whatever he may have 
felt, but the King was inexpressibly shocked. 

The present King and Queen have now five chil- 
dren, two sons and three daughters, all of them 
handsome, as might be expected with such handsome 
parents. 

Princess Elizabeth, the eldest girl, now the wife of 
the Crown Prince of Greece, is a great beauty, with 
perfect features and lovely fair hair. 

Princess Marie (the second girl), or Mignonne, as 
she is affectionately called, was a beautiful little snow- 
maiden. She is quite healthy, I believe, but one 
cannot help being struck with the perfect whiteness 
of her skin ; her hand lies in yours like a snowflake. 
Her nose is of the retrousse type, and, together with 
a merry pair of grey eyes, gives a piquant expression 
to her face. 

The youngest girl, Ileana, is also fair, with china- 
blue eyes. Even as a very young child she had a 
great idea of her own importance, and if the person to 
whom she was presented did not please her she 
could not be induced to be pleasant. At the garden 
parties at Sinaia it was most amusing to watch her 
parading about among the guests with quite a con- 
sequential air, and she was not much more than a 
baby then. 

Prince Carol, the eldest son, recently married to 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 187 

Princess Helene of Greece, is a fine fellow, though I 
dare say he is much changed since the days when 
it was his greatest delight to get with his sister 
Elizabeth into the garden of M. Costinescu, Minister 
of Finance, and eat raw carrots ! Well, I dare say 
they did them no harm, as no complaint has ever 
been made of their digestions. 

At that time Prince Carol's playmate was little 
Pat Kennedy, the youngest son of Sir John Kennedy, 
the English Minister. Usually they agreed very 
well together, but one day (it was during the Boer 
War) King Carol happened to pass through the 
apartment where the children were playing. To his 
surprise a heated discussion was taking place. On 
inquiring the cause of the dispute, he found that they 
wished to play soldiers, but neither of them would 
consent to be a Boer ! 

The King soon settled the point ; he ruled that as 
Pat was English, he must act the English soldier, 
while Prince Carol, greatly to his disgust, was 
obliged to take the part of a Boer. He exclaimed, 
" I don't care. I have an English mother anyhow." 

Prince Nicolas, the second son, named after the 
Czar of Russia, is a nice boy. When tiny he was 
almost too pretty for a boy. He was, however, a 
real little terror. 

At the afternoon teas at the palace he was occa- 
sionally present with his brother and sisters. He 
would offer cake with such insistence that one was 
obliged to take some whether one wished it or not. I 
remember an acquaintance of mine being asked 
to recite at one of the Princess's " At homes." All 
the time she was reciting she was intently watched 
by Prince Nicolas. Immediately she had finished. 



188 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

the little imp placed himself in front of her and 
faithfully imitated every one of her gestures, to the 
great amusement of the assembled company, but 
rather to the confusion of my friend. 

Prince Nicolas was thought to be rather delicate, 
and was frequently ordered to take sea voyages, much 
to his delight, as he was very fond of the sea. On 
one of those voyages, a few years ago, a small adven- 
ture befell him. Princess Mignonne and he, accom- 
panied by a confidential maid, embarked on a 
Roumanian steamer bound for Greece. Some friends 
of mine, M. and Mme. Nacescu and their daughter, 
who were also on board, gave me an interesting 
account of hoAV Prince Nicolas comported himself. 
A thorough little sailor, he could be seen strutting 
the deck whatever the weather, generally with a 
huge chunk of bread sticking out of his pocket, at 
which he nibbled from time to time. Whilst the 
ship was lying at the Piraeus, the port of Athens, 
the Greek military authorities took it into their 
heads that a soldier who had deserted was con- 
cealed on board. 

There was a great hubbub, as both Greeks and 
Roumanians are always quick with their tongues. 
During the search that was made of the steamer, 
and the heated altercations which accompanied it, 
the royal children were kept closely to their cabin. 
The deserter was not found, so the Greeks were per- 
force obliged to withdraw. On the children regain- 
ing their freedom, little Prince Nicolas was heard to 
exclaim, " When we get back to Roumania and 
send a lot of our men here, then these Greeks will 
see something ! " 

He took a great fancy to one of the sailors on 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 189 

board, and, as he would not be separated from him, 
the sailor was obliged to attend him on his return 
home as a sort of valet. 

I met them in the woods at Sinaia one day, and it 
was most amusing to watch their proceedings. 
Princess Mignonne, Nicolas, and the maid were 
in front, the sailor some paces behind. The last- 
named was carrying something for the Prince — a knife, 
I believe ; and he must assuredly have wished himself 
back on his ship to have a little peace. Nicolas 
would give him the knife to carry, then after a few 
steps he would turn and take it from him. This 
play was kept up till the children were out of sight, 
and I dare say it was contmued much longer. 

One Sunday all the royal children were at the 
monastery in Sinaia for service. It is the custom 
in the Greek Church for all children, whatever their 
age, to take the communion. Bread only is par- 
taken of ; the forehead is touched by the priest with 
a little brush dipped in oil ; the communicant kisses 
the priest's hand, and the ceremony is ended. 

Prince Carol, as the eldest, went up first to par- 
take, the others following according to age. Little 
Nicolas, the youngest, was of course last, and, being 
in a panic lest he should be left there alone, he seized 
in his haste such a large piece of bread, that as they 
were filing out of church he could still be seen sur- 
reptitiously stuffing his finger into his mouth in 
an effort to facilitate its passage. 

And now Nicolas is a big boy at Eton. I wonder 
if he retains his nautical tastes. 

When the royal children were of an age to begin 
lessons, the first governess they had was an Irish 
lady, Miss F , of whom the little ones were very 



190 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

fond. Princess Marie, at a later period, went to 
Germany on a visit to her mother, the Duchess of 
Edinburgh, and upon her return she found that Miss 

W , an Enghshwoman and a former governess 

of the Queen of Holland, had been installed as gover- 
ness to the children. It was said that she had been 
appointed by King Carol. Princess Marie certainly 
took umbrage at the arrangement, and said that 
she herself was the proper person to decide who 
should be the governess of her children. She never 
rested till Miss W was relieved of her charge. 

I may be forgiven for relating here a little anecdote 
of Miss W — -'s experiences at the Court of Holland. 
It appears that on one occasion the present Queen 
had incurred the displeasure of her governess, and 
as a punishment she was told to draw the map of 
Europe. This she did, but not restricting herself to 
the actual features of the map, she drew it to suit her 
own ideas, and probably with a spice of revenge 
governing them. When the map was finished 
Holland appeared in it a vast country, whilst Eng- 
land was the merest speck in the ocean. 

The next governess to be engaged for the royal 

children of Roumania was Miss M , who educated 

the children of the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, 
and gained a great deal of credit through the social 
success of those charming sisters. 



CHAPTER XXV 

Winter in Roiimania — Fetes on the ice — An " escaped bear " causes 
a sensation, till he loses his head — Prince Carol establishes the 
bob-sleigh as a society craze — An unlucky accident to Princess 
Elizabeth — An end to bob -sleighing — Sleighs and winter cos- 
tumes — Cliristmas — New Year's Eve, 

WINTER is a very agreeable season of the year 
in Roumania for persons who enjoy good 
health and for whom frost and snow have no 
terrors. The cold is very severe at times, but the 
brilliant sunshine and the bright blue sky overhead 
compensate for the lowness of the temperature. 
The winter scene is seldom without snow, which 
lies deep on the ground ; and although the law 
demands that each householder must clear it away 
from before his door, the regulation is rarely enforced. 
Indeed, I noticed that it was seldom cleared away 
from before the Prime Minister's own door, and I 
did think that perhaps example would have been 
better than precept. However, the snow remains 
on the pavements for days, till a good hard frost 
comes to solidify it, and only then, when it is abso- 
lutely dangerous to life and limb, do the authorities 
send out men with pickaxes to clear it away. It 
very often happens that, during this process, the 
pavement becomes cracked or broken, but that is 
all in the day's work, and will give employment to 
someone else. 

191 



192 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

Skating is a very popular amusement, and some 
very fine figure-skating has been seen on the lake in 
the small park of Cismegiu, but the ice is not so well 
cared for, as, for example, in Vienna. The cracks 
are never filled up, nor is the ice well swept. 
Cigarette-ends and burnt-out matches are often to 
be found lying about, so that skaters must go 
warily if they wish to avoid a nasty fall. 

Sometimes in the evening fetes are arranged, 
when fancy dress is worn, and the scene is very 
brilliant and animated when the skaters in their 
varied costumes are to be seen gliding gracefully 
round the decorated pond to the lively music of the 
band. I have seen some wonderfully effective 
costumes on such occasions— Russians with coats 
heavily befurred. Chinamen sailing along with 
pigtails flying, dainty little Japanese ladies with 
innumerable pins in their high coiled-up hair, and 
always, of course, Mephistopheles playing his usual 
part. 

But what caused real excitement on one occasion 
was the appearance amongst the skaters of a huge 
Russian bear, who floundered about on the ice in 
most unwieldy fashion. His advent caused tremen- 
dous excitement, people imagining that it was a real 
bear which had escaped from captivity. Ladies 
flew from the furry monster shrieking — and, alas ! 
not ladies only. When the bear, with huge extended 
arms, attempted pursuit, panic ensued, and there 
were loud cries for someone to shoot the animal. 
In the midst of the excitement. Master Bruin took 
off his head and revealed the laughing face of 

M. J , a well-known figure in the society of 

the capital. The effect was electrical. Roars of 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 193 

laughter were heard on every side, and throngs 
surrounded the bear impersonator, congratulating 
him upon the success of his joke. Ultimately he 
was made to resume his head and was carried round 
the ice in triumph. 

Ski-ing is practised to some extent, but is not 
nearly so popular as skating. The country in the 
neighbourhood of Bucarest is not suitable for the 
practice of the Scandinavian sport. 

Prince Carol had, I think, become acquainted with 
the bob-sleigh through some friends who had been 
to Switzerland ; at any rate, he became such an 
enthusiast on the subject that he would not rest 
satisfied until a course was laid at Sinaia. So it 
came about one winter that bob-sleighing was the 
latest society craze. The starting-point was situ- 
ated at a spot high up in the woods beyond the 
palace, and the course led down by many sharp 
curves and bends to the bridge over the river Pelesch, 
thence the winding route descending to the main 
road. A telephone was installed, so that notice 
of the arrival of a sleigh at the terminus could be 
given before another was permitted to start. The 
course was also guarded by soldiers to prevent 
imprudent spectators from running into danger. 

The pleasure-loving Roumanians spared no ex- 
pense over their new hobby. Bob-sleighs were 
procured from Switzerland at a cost of about £25 
each, all the other necessaries were provided, and 
arrangements made without regard to expense. 

Prince Carol and his friends were an enthusiastic 
and a merry crew, the spice of danger adding a zest 
to their enjoyment of the sport. 

One unlucky day, however, an accident occurred 

13 



194 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

which put a sudden end to bob-sleighing at Sinaia. 
It chanced that a sleigh in which Princess Elizabeth 
was a passenger got into difficulties half-way down 
the track and became deeply embedded in the snow. 
The efforts to extricate it took time, and the 
occupants of the next sleigh becoming impatient, 
started on their downward career without awaiting 
the signal that all was clear. The horror of the 
helpless passengers in the royal sleigh may be 
imagined when they saw sleigh number two charging 
down upon them at furious speed. A collision 
seemed inevitable, and fatal results would most 
likely have ensued had it not been for the presence 

of mind and gallantry of Dr C , who steered the 

second sleigh. Without a thought of the dreadful 
risk he ran, he turned his car into the face of the 
granite rock which bounded the course at this point. 
His own face was sadly damaged through the impact, 
but more serious consequences were averted. The 
royal sleigh was slightly involved, and Princess 
Elizabeth sustained a bruised ankle. 

WTien the news of the accident arrived in Bucarest, 
King Carol was, I understand, very angry. Living 
the secluded life he did, he never had any sympathy 
with such new-fangled sports. A stern command 
came from Bucarest to cease bob-sleighing imme- 
diately, and the young people were ordered to return 
forthwith to the capital. This decree admitted of 
no appeal, so very ruefully the sleighs were stored 
away and the party returned to town. 

Most probably Prince Carol received a good 
lecture from the King on the dangers of such sport. 
At any rate, there was no more bob-sleighing that 
winter. 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 195 

Ordinary sleighing is always practised when the 
snow is deep enough. All the wheeled carriages 
disappear at once from the streets, and sleighs are 
the only vehicles to be seen. They are very neat 
little vehicles, quite low, and drawn by two horses. 
There is room for two occupants, with the driver 
in front seated on a narrow wooden ledge. At the 
back of the sleigh there is another wooden ledge 
which provides standing-room for one or two 
gentlemen. 

Private sleighs are handsomely, some even splen- 
didly, equipped. The rich furs of the sleigh robes 
and the silver-plated harness with its innumer- 
able tinkling silver bells, the beautiful horses 
gaily caparisoned with bright blue and crimson 
woven nets which cover their quarters and spread 
back into the sleigh, thus protecting the occupants 
from the kicked-up snow, combine in adding 
wonderful life and colour to the picture of the Galea 
Victorie on a sunny winter day. When the snow is 
deep enough, the smooth, rapid motion is very 
exhilarating ; but if one passes through a street 
which has been partly swept either by broom or by 
the wind, the bump, bump over the paved street is 
anything but pleasant. To rush swiftly along the 
Galea Victorie, then right on to the end of the 
Ghaussee with the keen wind just nipping the face 
whilst the rest of the body is cosily enveloped in 
furs, is one of the most delightful experiences of the 
winter in Roumania. 

During this season you must protect yourself 
from the severe cold. Sometimes it is so severe 
that men are to be seen with their moustaches 
frozen quite stiff. I think, however, that as a rule 



196 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

Roumanians wear clothing in the winter which is 
quite too heavy, as it renders them much more 
sensitive to the cold. For instance, a man will wear 
over his extra warm winter clothes an enormous 
overcoat lined throughout with fur, and so heavy 
that it is a task to lift it. A fur cap on his head 
and fur-edged snow-boots complete the out-of-doors 
costume. 

Ladies and children also wear very heavy fur- 
lined coats, and over the hat the inevitable " glouga," 
a pointed cap something in the style of a witch's 
cap, made of stout cloth and with long ends that 
one can wind round the neck and tie in a knot. The 
" glouga " is to protect the head and ears, and is 
sometimes even worn by gentlemen. 

Christmas is a very pleasant time, and I always 
enjoyed it, even though it be the chronological 
misfortune of the country that Santa Claus arrives a 
fortnight after the date upon which we used to 
expect him at home. Some time before Christmas 
the boys belonging to the different church choirs 
parade the streets singing at every door much after 
the fashion of our own waits, and carrying a large 
banner in the shape of a star. As there is a small 
light placed behind this, it shows up well and is 
very effective in the dark streets. Naturally the 
musicians expect to receive largesse, and it is not 
often that they are disappointed, as Roumanians 
are very charitable and give readily. Christmas 
is observed chiefly as a religious holiday, the real 
fete being New Year's Eve. Then it is that the 
families who have children light up their Christmas 
tree and distribute the presents. Every visitor 
must have a little remembrance from the tree, no 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 107 

matter how small. Punctually at midnight cham- 
pagne is brought in and drunk to the accompaniment 
of much clinking of glasses and cries of " La mul^i 
an!" (A Happy New Year!), which resound on every 
side. 

The houses are not decorated with holly as they 
are in England ; indeed, holly is never seen there. 
The present Queen of Roumania tried to cultivate 
it in the park at Cotroceni, but without success. 
Mistletoe, however, is very abundant, the best kind 
growing on the fir-tree. 

My delight was great one Christmas Eve (the 
English colony always kept their own Christmas) 
on arriving home to find a huge bunch of mistletoe, 
with its waxlike berries, placed in my room. It 

had been sent by Princess G . It was a little 

attention prompted by a kind thought, and I 
appreciated it. The innate politeness of the 
Roumanians is constantly evidenced by similar 
acts of courtesy. 

Roumanians as a rule are very kind and thought- 
ful for others, and their hospitality knows no 
bounds. As a Latin race their sympathies and 
affection naturally go out to the French, but my 
own observations convince me that their respect 
and esteem are given to the English more than to 
any other nation. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

SiNAIA 

Sinaia and its summer Court — Gay life in the Carpathians — Court 
ladies in national costume — Sinaia at various seasons — The 
monastery and the Queen's room there : she decorates it with 
caricatures of society ladies — A fete at the monastery — King 
Edward at Sinaia^Lord Roberts a guest there — The Crown 
Prince's residence — Princess Marie's " cuib " or " Crusoe " 
amongst the trees — Her sister, the Grand Duchess of Hesse — 
Little Princess Ella — A merry party in the woods — A tragedy 
recalled. 

THIS lovely and fashionable resort is situated in 
the valley of the Prahova, and is surrounded 
by mountains, which present no very great diffi- 
culties of ascent to the ordinary mountaineer. Sinaia 
itself consists, apart from its villa residences, of a 
casino, a small concert-room, and a really fine 
bathing establishment. In the hotel gardens a 
military band plays three times a week ; on the 
alternate days it is stationed in the forest, in the 
vicinity of a pretty little restaurant on the road 
leading up to the palace. On this spot the visitors 
delight to congregate and listen to the strains of the 
band. There is no lack of seats, as wooden benches 
and even tables are generously provided. To sit 
there inhaling the delicious perfume of the pines, 
brought out by the warm rays of the sun, sipping at 
the same time a glass of tucia or other beverage, and 
lazily criticising the passers-by on the road below, is 
an important part of the daily life at Sinaia. 

198 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 199 

Sinaia is reached in about four hours by rail from 
Buearest, and in one hour from the Hungarian 
frontier, and is of eourse a most fashionable resort. 
The Court goes there in summer to avoid the great 
heat in Buearest. Peleseh, the royal palace, is a 
fine residence, built by the late King Carol. It is 
beautifully situated on an eminence backed by the 
pine-clad heights of the Carpathians, whilst at the 
foot flows the merry little river Peleseh, from which 
the palace derives its name. 

The monastery at Sinaia is situated upon a high 
hill which is reached from the valley below by 
sloping walks. It is a very fine building, having 
been restored of late years, and is really worth 
seeing. At one side of the building is a courtyard, 
around which are the apartments allotted to the 
priests, as well as a few guest-chambers. Behind 
the courtyard there is a stretch of green, from which 
one has a beautiful view of the surrounding country. 
The road behind the monastery leads past Castle 
Peleseh and on up into the mountains. As one 
gradually ascends the incline, one admires the 
magnificent forest trees as well as the profusion of 
ferns and wild flowers, which are here seen in 
abundance. The river Peleseh rushes along on its 
way from the mountains, and as it descends it 
forms three lovely waterfalls. The road leads on 
up to the Carpathian peaks of Caraiman and Verful 
cu Dor, whence one can see the Balkan mountains 
on a clear day. 

Before Castle Peleseh was built Carmen Sylva 
often took up her abode at the monastery. The 
room she inhabited is still shown to visitors, 
and it is most interesting to anyone who 



200 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

has an extensive acquaintance with Roumanian 
society, as the walls are covered with pencil draw- 
ings done by the Queen, representing, on the whole 
very faithfully, the features of one well-known 
lady after another. It is really amusing to pick 
them out, as some have been caricatured and are 
not immediately recognisable. 

St Marie is the patron saint of the monastery, so 
on that saint's day, the 15th August, the poor of 
the surrounding country are regaled by the Archi- 
mandrite and the priests. Large tables are placed 
in the courtyard, round which are seated the visitors. 
They are then served with borsch, a sour soup, in 
which float small pieces of meat, with mamaliga 
cheese, onions, and large flat loaves, the whole 
washed down with a mug of the thin red wine of 
the country. Each peasant receives a plate and 
mug, which he is at liberty to take with him on 
leaving. All the visitors then at Sinaia go up to 
watch the proceedings, and very interesting they 
seem to find it, as crowds are attracted every year. 

Residence in Sinaia is sometimes prolonged till 
far into the autumn. Naturally a good deal of 
Court etiquette is left behind in Bucarest, with the 
result that the royal family as well as the members 
of the Court amuse themselves very well indeed. 
Tennis (golf has not yet reached Roumania), paper- 
hunts, and excursions into the Carpathians are 
among the distractions. 

The late Queen, Carmen Sylva, and all the ladies 
of her Court invariably adopted the Roumanian 
costume when the Court was at Sinaia. This 
costume is very picturesque. The petticoat, of a 
light material, woven by the peasants, is em- 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 201 

broidered at the bottom. A wide-slcevcd blouse 
is also richly embroidered, and with it is worn a 
straight piece of embroidery falling from the waist 
to the edge of the petticoat. A double skirt, 
opening in front, shows this embroidered panel. 
The main part of the costume is completed by a 
sash wound many times round the waist. 

If the wearer be a young girl, she wears a row of 
broad Turkish gold coins round her forehead (this 
represents her dowry) and a flower behind her 
ear. In the case of a married lady a veil is worn 
fastened to the head and falling to the waist. After 
a woman is married she is not supposed to show her 
hair, at any rate among the peasantry. 

The custom of wearing Roumanian costume when 
in residence at Sinaia has, I regret to say, been 
abandoned since Queen Marie came to the throne. 

No guest of the royal family can ever leave 
Roumania without paying a visit to beautiful 
Sinaia. The late King Edward visited it when he 
was Prince of Wales, and I was once shown an old 
photograph in which he figures standing erect on 
a rock with Prince Ferdinand at his side, whilst a 
little lower Carmen Sylva is seated, surrounded 
by the ladies of the Court. The photograph was 
taken during an excursion in the mountains. Lord 
Roberts also spent a few days at Sinaia. He came 
with his suite to announce to their Majesties the 
accession of King George. Before leaving, he most 
kindly received the few British residents who were 
then in Sinaia, the late Queen being also present and 
chatting most affably with everyone, as she could 
easily do, being so very proficient in the English 
language. Mrs Spender Clay {nee Miss Astor) and 



202 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

her brother Waldorf Astor have also been frequent 
visitors of Princess Marie. 

The family of the Crown Prince and Princess did 
not live at Castle Pelesch in the lifetime of the late 
King. Their own residence was situated a short 
distance away. It was of the shooting-box style, 
built entirely of dark wood, surrounded by a nice 
roomy verandah. The gardens and terraces in 
front and at one side of the house were wonderfully 
pretty. At the other side one walked right into the 
forest. As their family increased, this house became 
too small, so another was built still nearer to Castle 
Pelesch. It is a fine house, much more pretentious 
than the " shooting-box," but to my mind not half 
so pretty. The old house is now reserved for 
visitors. 

In the neighbouring forest Princess Marie, as 
she then was, had a " Crusoe " constructed. I 
understand that she adopted the idea from a 
celebrated arboreal restaurant in the Forest of 
Fontainebleau which is named after the castaway 
of Juan Fernandez. 

A strong wooden platform was constructed 
amongst the trees at a considerable height from 
the ground, and upon this was built a house con- 
sisting of two rooms, a kitchen, and a salon. 

The kitchen is fitted up with everything necessary 
for cooking simple dishes or preparing tea. The 
salon is very prettily furnished, and books in plenty, 
drawing and painting materials, etc., are always to 
be found there. 

The Queen only takes her special friends to visit 
her " Crusoe," and a very charming retreat it is. 
The windows and open door command a most 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 203 

beautiful view. Access to the " Crusoe " is gained 
by means of a ladder with wide steps, which is let 
down when required. When the visitors are safely 
ensconced in their leafy retreat the ladder is drawn 
up, and they remain there shut in on three sides by 
foliage and cut off from communication with the 
world below save by telegraph, for a wire connects 
it with the palace. Nothing disturbs the perfect 
calm and quiet at such a height, and many pleasant 
hours have been spent by her Royal Highness and 
a chosen few in that little nest. Nest is indeed the 
word, for that is the meaning of the Roumanian name 
" cuib " by which the retreat is generally known. 

The Grand Duchess Cyril of Russia, sister to 
Princess Marie, was a frequent visitor at Sinaia. 
At the time of her last visit she was still Duchess 
of Hesse, as she divorced the Duke of Hesse some 
time later. 

She was accompanied by her little daughter, a 
merry little soul, but not by any means to be com- 
pared with her cousins so far as looks were con- 
cerned. I often met the child playing about in 
the forest near the castle, attended by a nursemaid. 
Although so young, she was an expert horsewoman, 
and well do I remember one day meeting a riding 
party of three, the Grand Duchess, her little daughter, 
and Princess Elizabeth. The two children were in 
a merry mood, and as the way led past a group of 
cottages they had evidently made up their minds 
to " cut a dash." I heard one of them say, " Now 
let us go at full gallop," but the Grand Duchess 
nipped their aspirations in the bud, as I heard her 
reply, " You will do nothing of the kind, you will 
just go past quietly." I remembered that merry 



204 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

party and the happy laughter floating back to me 
on the breeze when later I heard of the tragic fate 
of Princess Ella, and the memory caused the sad 
news to strike more sharply home to me. Perhaps 
in England the foul deed to which I refer did not 
excite so much sorrow, but to us who had known the 
child it was a terrible tragedy. 

Little Princess Ella was on her way to Russia in 
company with her father, to visit the Czar and 
Czarina ; they were met at a small frontier town 
by their Majesties. Tea was served here, but it 
appears that no one happened to partake of it but 
Princess Ella. Immediately after swallowing the 
tea she complained of feeling ill, and although 
medical help was at once available she succumbed 
a few hours later. Her mother was telegraphed for, 
but the child was already dead when she arrived. 
It was understood that the tragedy was the out- 
come of an anarchist plot directed against the life 
of the Czar. It was by the merest chance (if there 
be such a thing as chance) that neither his Majesty 
nor the Czarina felt inclined for tea. 

One scarcely knows when Sinaia is at its best, 
whether in summer when the royal parterres and 
the gardens of the different villas are all a mass of 
colour, the brilliant sunshine lighting up the scene, 
and, beyond, the peaks of the Carpathians stretch- 
ing far up into the sky ; or in winter, when the 
ground is thickly carpeted with snow, and every 
branch and twig stands outlined against the sky. 
After a sharp frost, when the sun breaks through the 
clouds, lighting up the frozen branches and turn- 
ing them into silver, the scene is fairy-like. 

Sinaia is also not to be despised in autumn when 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 205 

the foliage is beginning to change. It is a real 
pleasure to wander through the woods and to feast 
one's eyes on the different tints of the changing 
leaves. The dark green of the pines, mingling with 
the lighter green, yellow, and crimson of the other 
trees, makes a blend of colour that delights the eye. 

For more than twenty years I spent a few pleasant 
weeks of each year at Sinaia, where I have fre- 
quently been a guest at the beautiful country home 
of the late Madame Take Jonescu, amongst others. 
I have visited the lovely place at every season of 
the year, and know it in all its varying moods. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

Franz d'Este and his morganatic wife at Sinaia — My recollection of 
him at Vienna — Society girls with cold feet — The German 
Crown Prince was popular at Bucarest — But he was only there 
a fortnight — The King and his " shade wers " — Predeal — The 
leap over the frontier — A little smuggling — A beautiful and 
historic road. 

THE Archduke Franz d'Este and his morganatic 
wife, the Fiirstin Hohenberg, whose murder 
at Serajevo by a Servian student was the ostensible 
reason for the outbreak of the Great War, visited 
Sinaia in the hfetime of the late King Carol and 
Queen Elizabeth. They were received there in a 
very private circle, no public reception being ac- 
corded them, as of course the Fiirstin, not being of 
the same exalted rank as her husband, could not 
have taken her place at his side. When the Arch- 
duke went to the Spanish wedding as representa- 
tive of the Emperor of Austria his wife accompanied 
him only to San Sebastian, and there awaited his 
return. 

Franz d'Este was not a pleasant person, and 
when I was a girl in Vienna I heard many stories 
of his escapades and of those of his equally wild 
brother the Archduke Otto. The Emperor was 
constantly obliged to call them to account. Many 
of the stories were no doubt exaggerated, but I 
understand that the often-told tale of how Franz 

206 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 207 

d'Este stopped a funeral procession and leaped his 
horse over the bier was well authenticated. 

I remember very well skating one afternoon at 
a place by the Stadt Park, near the Ring Strasse. 
Franz d'Este was amongst the skaters, and he was 
distributing his favours pretty impartially amongst 
the crowd of young society girls. They stood 
huddled in a crowd, and not one would move till 
Franz came to claim her. Poor things ! They 
must have had cold feet, but I suppose they thought 
it worth while. 

The German Crown Prince spent a fortnight in 
Bucarest some years ago, and I presume that he 
was also taken to Sinaia. Of that, however, I am 
not quite sure, as I was away at the time. Anyhow, 
I am certain of one thing, and that is, that he made 
himself most agreeable to the ladies of Bucarest, 
winning golden opinions on every side. 

Germans are not liked by the Roumanians, but 
the Crown Prince was an exception. He admired the 
ladies of society very much, and was greatly taken 
by their toilet. I daresay he gave many a hint 
to his wife regarding her dress on his return from 
Roumania. 

At the dances in the palace the Crown Prince 
never waited for a formal arrangement by the 
Master of Ceremonies. In the case of a young 
friend of mine, he simply took her by the hand 
when the music started and said, " Let us dance 
this together." 

On taking leave of the Roumanian officers who 
had been attached to his suite, he presented each 
of them with a photograph of the German Emperor, 
simply saying, " My father wished me to give you 



I 



208 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

this." All this absence of formality delighted the 
Roumanians, who like to dispense with ceremony 
themselves. But of course we must remember that 
the German Crown Prince only stayed in Roumania 
for a fortnight, and since then his character seems 
to have developed in an extraordinary way. 

The late King and Queen of Roumania liked to 
stay at Sinaia as long as they possibly could. King 
Carol's desire was to live as simply as possible and 
to stroll about the woods without any guard what- 
ever. Of course, a guard could not be entirely 
dispensed with, but private detectives were employed 
to follow the King in his walks as unobtrusively as 
was possible. Poor men ! I think they had a hard 
time of it trying to carry out their instructions. I 
met the King and Prince Ferdinand one day walk- 
ing in the woods, and some distance behind followed 
two rather shabby-looking men. They behaved in 
such a suspicious way, taking cover behind every 
tree or bush if they thought the gentlemen were 
about to turn, that if I had not been aware of their 
identity I should have thought they had designs on 
the King. They were detectives who were really 
concerned for the King's safety, but they were 
obliged to be careful, as his Majesty was always 
very angry if one of them crossed his path. 

The road from Sinaia to Predeal in the Car- 
pathians is beautiful and full of interest. There 
is a gentle incline for a considerable part of the way, 
till the road finally reaches its culminating point at 
Predeal, on the frontier between Roumania and 
Transylvania. 

Predeal is a pretty little village with a great many 
villas scattered about, as it is a favourite summer 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 209 

resort for the inhabitants of Bucarest. It is sur- 
rounded by pine forests, and these, together with 
the health-giving air (Predeal is situated at the 
highest point of the Carpathians), attract a great 
many sufferers from chest complaints. I spent a 
summer once in Predeal, and enjoyed it very much. 
The village is of course Roumanian, but our villa 
happened to be built just a few yards over the 
boundary on Hungarian soil. The Hungarians 
were very anxious that people should settle on their 
side, therefore they gave special facilities for 
building purposes. To mark the boundary there 
was a deep ditch running from the forest high up 
behind our house right down to the road. This 
ditch was constantly patrolled by a Hungarian 
soldier, who sternly prohibited any crossing into 
Roumanian territory except by the legitimate 
means at the barrier on the road further down. 

Now, as most of our friends lived on the Rou- 
manian side, the fancy often seized us to pay them 
an evening visit. But to travel all the way down to 
the road was not to be thought of when the crossing 
of the ditch was so easy. Therefore we used to 
watch for the favourable moment when the soldier 
was up near the forest, take a flying leap across the 
ditch, and land safely on Roumanian territory before 
the sentinel could return. When he did arrive he 
could do no more than hurl threats after us, as he 
could not leave his post. 

Crossing the boundary with forbidden com- 
modities was always attended with a certain amount 
of risk. What an anxious moment when one was 
requested to come into the office, and how great 

was the pleasure afterwards when one was successful 

14 



210 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

in smuggling through certain articles ! Lengths of 
muslin pinned in front under one's skirt, cakes of 
soap hidden in the hat, chocolate in the bag or 
under the saddle of one's bicycle, what a pleasure 
it was to get them through ! The Customs officials 
may strongly suspect that something is hidden, 
but they must not touch or search the person 
unless they are certain. Should they do so and 
find nothing, it is then a punishable offence. We 
had a number of fowls which we had brought with 
us from Bucarest, but the grain to feed them had 
to be kept on the Roumanian side, as the duty on it 
was very high. Every time that the supply ran 
short we had to cross the boundary wearing cloaks 
or loose jackets. On returning, each person had a 
small parcel concealed under these garments, so 
the fowls had what they required and the Hun- 
garians were none the wiser. 

The road from Predeal down into the Hungarian 
plain is one of the most lovely I have ever seen. It 
begins at the summit of the mountain, gradually 
descending in lovely curves, with beautiful glimpses 
of the valley beneath. When one finally reaches 
the plain it is charming to look back at the heights 
from which one has come. 

How often have I cycled down from Predeal to 
Kronstadt, enjoying to the full all the lovely 
scenery en route ! I have made many enjoy- 
able excursions in the surrounding mountains, and 
one of these particularly is in my memory as I 
write. 

We started from Predeal one fine summer morning 
on foot, preceded by two lads carrying our basket 
of provisions. As we walked at a brisk pace down 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 211 

the road, we had still time to admire the dancing 
shadows caused by the sun shining through the 
trees that thickly bounded the road on each side. 
After a walk of half an hour we struck off to the 
right, and, after crossing some upland meadows and 
ascending the steep mountain-side for some time, 
found ourselves at the opening of a rocky gorge. 
The gorge was so narrow that there was just enough 
space for one person at a time to pass along the 
footpath, made of rough boards. By many turns and 
twists and sudden little jumps from one platform to 
the next lower down, we managed, with a good deal 
of difficulty, to arrive in the valley beneath. The 
slight bruises that we had sustained in the descent 
were now speedily forgotten, and we greatly enjoyed 
our lunch, supplemented as it was by the wild 
raspberries and strawberries which were growing 
there in abundance. As our party was mostly 
composed of Britishers, the inevitable cup of tea 
had to be provided. A little spirit-lamp was placed 
in the most sheltered corner we could find, and set 
alight. Just as we were in hopes that all was going 
on well and that the water was near boiling-point, a 
sudden puff of wind came along and blew out the 
flame. Time after time this tantalising experience 
was repeated. At length one of the party, a clergy- 
man, undertook the difficult task of getting the 
water boiled. To see him on his knees, anxiously 
shading the flame with his hat, his hands, his whole 
body, and softly ejaculating sundry remarks when 
the spiteful little puff of wind succeeded in getting 
in between and undoing all his work, offered a 
spectacle which helped to solace the others. I am 
sure if he had not been a clergyman he would have 



212 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

said something wicked. However, in the event, we 
had to content ourselves with tea made of lukewarm 
water ; and although the Roumanians of the party 
did not seem to mind, we Britishers decidedly 
disliked it. 

When one returns in memory to the scene of so 
much pleasure and enjoyment, it becomes impossible 
to imagine the bloody struggle that recently was 
enacted there. That beautiful road leading up to 
Predeal was probably cut up by the German heavy 
guns, the splendid forest trees torn to splinters, and 
all the merry animal life scared away. It is sad to 
think of the beautiful village of Predeal being even 
temporarily in the hands of the enemy, and of the 
number of valiant Roumanians who there made the 
supreme sacrifice. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

A delightful equestrian excursion — We leave Sinaia in order to witness 
the suni'ise from Omul — Midnight in the forest, and the ghostly- 
hours before the dawn — Gathering edelweiss whilst we await 
the sunrise — A glorious spectacle — The coveted province spread 
out before our eyes — An equestrian quadrille on the summit of 
Omul — The guest-house of the monastery — On the homeward 
way — We descend the Jeppi on foot and meet with unexpected 
difificulties — Danger follows upon danger — A dreadful night on 
a mountain peak — Excitement at Sinaia — Triimfiphant return 
of the " heroes " and " heroines." 

A PARTY of us, twenty in number including 
guides, set out on horseback one evening 
from Sinaia in order to ascend the Omul and view 
the sunrise next morning. The moon was just then 
at the full, and, as our way led by a very steep 
pathway up the mountain, we could catch glimpses 
from time to time of Sinaia with its twinkling lights 
far below. About 1.30 a.m. we stopped to rest the 
horses, the guides (who were really only horse 
keepers) made a roaring fire, and we feasted royally 
on tea and cozonak. 

It was sheer delight to sit there and drink in the 
pure mountain air, and the delight was enhanced by 
the eerie feeling induced by the solemnity of the 
hour (when it is said we are nearest the unseen), and 
by the awe-inspiring influences of the vast silent 
forest which surrounded us on every side. After a 
time we broke the spell, and songs and jests went 

213 



214 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

merrily round. We were loth to resume our 
journey, but we knew that the sun would not wait 
for us, so the order to march was at last reluctantly 
given. The guides started to gather in our horses, 
which had been hobbled near at hand, but mine 
could not be found. Search was made in every 
direction, but all in vain — the horse was not to be 
found. At length one of the gentlemen of the 
party kindly offered to lend me his mount with the 
proviso that it should be returned to him when 
mine was recovered, as his was such a fast trotter. 
To this I willingly agreed, so off we started again, 
leaving a guide to recover the lost horse, which I 
may at once say he did later on. Just at 3 a.m. we 
arrived at the summit of the Omul, the highest peak 
in the Carpathians. I felt cold at such a height, 
although I was well wrapped up in a fur coat. 
Until his majesty the sun deigned to make his 
appearance we occupied ourselves in gathering 
edelweiss, which grew there profusely. It is very 
highly prized, chiefly I think because of its inaccessi- 
bility, growing as it does only at such altitudes ; but 
to my mind it is by no means a pretty flower. 
Indeed, edelweiss always suggests to me flowers cut 
out of a piece of grey flannel. 

As the supreme moment drew near for the rising 
of the sun, we were enjoined to fix our eyes on a 
certain bank of grey cloud, and not to lose sight of 
it for a single instant. We obeyed, and in a few 
seconds a tiny crimson line appeared above the bank 
of cloud. This line gradually grew broader and 
broader as the sun rose higher, giving one the 
impression that some great being was behind it 
pushing it further and further up. Finally, the 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 215 

glorious sun in all his beauty shook himself free from 
the cloud trammels and flooded the surrounding 
peaks with radiant light. 

The view from the Omul is altogether glorious. 
iThe whole province of Transylvania with its lovely 
valleys, lakes, and winding streams is spread out 
before one's eyes — that province so long coveted 
by the Roumanians, which they have now justly 
secured for their own. 

After a slight refreshment, for which the keen 
mountain air had given us an appetite, we again 
mounted our horses in order to proceed to the 
monastery at which we were to dine. Again one of 
the horses was missing (this very often happens on 
these excursions), so, whilst waiting till the guide 
found it, the rest of us formed up on horseback to 
go through a quadrille. These country horses are 
very wiry and are splendid for travelling in the 
mountains, but graceful they are not. Their awk- 
ward movements, as we tried to induce them to 
go forward, then to retire, were so comical that 
we could scarcely retain our seats, we laughed so 
much. 

When the missing pony was at last found, and we 
had calmed down a little, we resumed our journey. 
Some stiff climbing, a good gallop over undulating 
country, the fording of a few shallow rivers (nearly 
all the rivers in Roumania are shallow), and we 
arrived at our destination. How glad we were to 
bathe hands and faces in the little brook that 
babbled along through the fields, then to rest our- 
selves luxuriously on the wide verandah of the 
guest-house, knowing that pretty soon our appetites 
would be satisfied with the simple fare of the monks ! 



216 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

As visitors are only expected during the summer 
months, the accommodation is of the most primitive 
kind. A tolerably large room is given up to the 
guests, well furnished with plenty of hay, in which 
to pass the night. Ladies sleep at one end, gentle- 
men at the other ; and really, after a day's hard 
riding one sleeps very well amongst the hay, and 
is even thankful to have it. On this particular 
occasion, however, we only remained for dinner, 
which was served on rough wooden tables (minus 
tablecloths), whilst we sat round on equally rough 
wooden benches. The fare was simple, but we 
enjoyed it thoroughly. The inevitable mamaliga, 
sour cabbage, eggs and yaort, a kind of thick 
preserved milk, formed the principal dishes of the 
repast. After many expressions of our grateful 
thanks to the monks who had so kindly entertained 
us, and after offering a trifling gift to the church, we 
started on the return journey, hoping to arrive in 
Sinaia about 7 o'clock p.m. 

But man proposes, God disposes. The old lesson 
was taught us again. It had been decided by the 
gentleman in charge of the expedition (who claimed 
to have an intimate acquaintance with the moun- 
tains) that we should descend the Jeppi on foot, and 
so, after two or three hours' ride from the monas- 
tery, we dismounted, and the horses were led back 
by another route. Two of our so-called guides came 
with us to help us in the descent, but what a descent ! 
We had first to cross a grassy slope in order to reach 
a spur of the mountain from which the real descent 
began. The short grass had been made so slippery 
by the heat of the sun that it was with great difficulty 
we could keep our feet ; indeed, at one time some of 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 217 

us were reduced to crawling upon our hands and 
knees. From the edge of this grassy slope there was 
a sheer descent of very many feet. A false step 
would have meant, if not actual death, certainly a 
broken limb. 

Our relief w^as great when the dangerous stage of 
our journey was passed (as we thought) and we 
arrived on the peak of the mountain for which we 
had been aiming. But what was our horror to 
find that our situation was as bad as before, if not 
worse ! Imagine tw^enty people crowded together 
on an outstanding spur of the mountain, that 
terrible grassy slope behind us, and before us even 
worse conditions. At the first glance I thought it 
would be a sheer impossibility to descend on foot, 
and that nothing but a balloon could rescue us from 
the situation if we refused to return as we had come. 
From where we stood the mountain seemed to fall 
away directly beneath us, nothing intervening 
between us and the beginning of the wooded slopes 
far below but huge boulders that it seemed utterly 
impossible to get over or get around. What were 
we to do ? After much discussion, it was decided 
that one of the gentlemen should act as pioneer and 
discover if the descent was practicable. He was 
to hail us if he reached the forest in safety. Mr 

B , who had a reputation for athletics to sustain, 

was obviously the man for the task, and he set off 
willingly, our fears for his safety being perhaps 
intensified by our anxiety for our own. 

After what seemed an interminable time, a cheery 
cry reached us from amongst the distant trees, and no 
further time was lost in arranging our own departure. 
We went — as the animals are said to have entered 



218 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

the Ark — two by two, in this case a lady and a 
gentleman together. A considerable distance was 
maintained between each couple, as the danger from 
displaced boulders was great. It was a horribly 
difficult and a really dangerous descent, and it took 
a long time for us all to reach the head of the Jeppi 
in safety. But so far from our troubles being over, 
it seemed as though they had only just begun. The 
darkness was so great on the wooded mountain that 
it would have been highly dangerous to even attempt 
to continue our way without more guides. The 
moon was just at the full, but no ray of light pene- 
trated the thick foliage by which we were surrounded. 
To add to our troubles, one of the ladies of the party 
lost the use of her limbs through sheer fright ; she 
could literally not stand on her feet. In this 
dilemma it was decided that one of our guides 
should descend to Poiana Tapuliu, the nearest 
village, and send up more guides and a horse. Our 
situation was far from enviable, as we huddled 
together against a shelving bank at the foot of 
which ran the narrow pathway leading to the valley 
below. We were afraid to move, enveloped as we 
were in thick darkness, and having been warned 
that a sheer descent of unknown depth lay at the 
other side of the path. As the time dragged slowly 
on, we wondered what the people in Sinaia were 
thinking about us. Some of the livelier spirits tried 
to cheer up the party with song, but without much 
success. One restless young fellow would insist on 
moving about on the narrow pathway, to the terror 
of his sister, and indeed of us all, as we feared he 
would stumble in the darkness and fall over the 
precipice. Finally, to our great delight, voices were 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 219 

heard in the distance and Hghts began to twinkle. 
It was the guides who had come to rescue us, each 
one with a blazing torch. 

It was with great difficulty that the order of 
descent could be arranged, as so little space was 
available. However, at length the lady who was 
incapacitated was safely seated in the saddle, with a 
guide to lead the horse ; the other members of the 
party, each one with a guide to lean on, fell in 
behind, and we slowly began the descent. What a 
journey that was ! Shall I ever forget it ? Stumbling 
over the thick undergrowth, slipping on patches of 
frozen snow, only kept from falling and rolling down 
the mountain by a frenzied grip on the guide's 
arm : it was a wonder that no further accident 
happened. But none did, and eventually we all 
arrived safe and sound at the base of the mountain, 
there to be received like so many heroes and heroines. 
The whole population of Poiana Tapuliu was astir, 
bonfires had been lighted, and carriages were in 
w^aiting to drive us back to Sinaia. 

Instead of reaching there at 7 p.m. as had been 
intended, we arrived between 1 and 2 a.m. The 
excitement was great ; all sorts of rumours had been 
afloat as to what had happened to us when we did not 
appear at the hour appointed. As a friend told me 
afterwards, the road between Sinaia and Poiana 
Tapuliu had never been so animated — carriages 
passing to and fro, cyclists and foot-passengers, all 
anxious for news of the missing party. Sinaia is a 
small place, and such long excursions in the mountain 
arc of rare occurrence ; and besides, the members of 
the party belonged to the best-known families in 
Roumania. Fortunately, there were no bad results 



220 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

from our expedition. Even the lady who suffered 
from temporary disablement was quite restored to 
health after a few days' rest. It was the principal 
guide who came in for the greatest amount of blame, 
as it was considered by expert mountaineers a very 
risky proceeding indeed to bring ladies down by the 
Jeppi. 

None of us were likely to forget our experience that 
night ; but as nothing very untoward happened, we 
were able to laugh about it all later on. 

Since then I have made many excursions in the 
Carpathians : twice have I been on the Omul, several 
times on the Caraiman (where we were overtaken 
once on the summit by a snowstorm and were able 
to pelt each other with snowballs), but never have 
I had such an adventure as that of the Jeppi. 

Before leaving the subject of the Omul, which, by 
the way, means " The Man," I shall briefly relate the 
legend connected with it. It appears that a shep- 
herd called Marco had the temerity to aspire to the 
hand of his master's daughter. As he was a good, 
faithful fellow, and the daughter herself favoured 
his suit, the master agreed to give his consent to 
the marriage on condition that the shepherd would 
ascend the Omul and there spend the winter. The 
shepherd at once consented, and at the beginning 
of winter he made all his preparations for a long 
absence. He left his flocks in the care of his friends 
in Sinaia, then put into his knapsack some maize, 
cheese, and a few bottles of tuica. When all his 
arrangements were made, he went to the monastery 
to burn a candle to St Dimitri and to kiss the holy 
ikons, after which he set out to make the ascent of 
the Omul, accompanied only by his dog. As he 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 221 

neared the summit snow began to fall heavily, but 
still he hurried on. At last the goal was reached and 
he found himself on the lofty summit. There was 
no sign of animal life — the bears and other animals 
had all sought the warmer air of the regions below. 

Although no shelter was to be had on the summit 
of the rock, still, as the legend runs, the man and 
doff survived throughout the bitter winter. 

With the coming of spring, the young shepherds, 
Marco's companions, decided to climb to the summit 
of the mountain and discover how he had fared. 
Very joyously they set out, each one with his primi- 
tive instrument of music. As they approached the 
summit their delight was great on seeing the dog 
run to meet them, but alas ! there was no sign of the 
dog's master. 

When the summit was gained, however, they 
caught sight of Marco standing on a rock, living, 
breathing, but incapable of movement. His com- 
panions called him by name. He recognised them 
and strove to approach them, but his limbs failed 
him and he fell to the base of the rock on which he 
had been standing. When his friends reached the 
spot they stood sorrowfully around him. He spoke 
but a word to them, and then died. 

On the very spot on which he died his friends 
made his grave. A cross was erected to his memory, 
and anyone who takes the trouble to ascend the 
Omul may still see the remains of it. 



CHAPTER XXIX 

Cholera in Russia — I hurry back to Roumania — I am put in quaran- 
tine on the frontier and Hberally disinfected— The soldier guard 
aims his gun at me — My Jewish room-mate and her obtrusive 
husband— She plays " Patience " whilst he prays and expec- 
torates — I get my release and send a military expedition in 

search of a mirror — Miss R tries to escape from Russia — Her 

companion, a German engineer, develops cholera — The terrified 
peasants place them together in an empty cottage — The German 
dies — She finds, when after a terrifying experience she reaches 
Bucarest, her hair is snow-white. 

AS is pretty well known, cholera has never yet 
been entirely stamped out of Russia. Rou- 
manians are naturally on the alert lest the dread 
disease should be introduced into their country, and, 
thanks to the excellent arrangements made by them 
on the different frontiers, cholera has never yet 
succeeded in establishing itself on their side. I 
happened to be in Russia one autumn when the 
cholera was pretty bad. Frightful tales were brought 
in as to what was taking place in the next village — 
" people dying by the score, numbers being buried 
in one common grave," and so forth. Whether 
they were true or not, these stories frightened me 
so that I determined to leave at once and try to 
re-enter Roumania. The journey through Russia 
was anything but pleasant, all the railway carriages 
reeking of disinfectants. On arriving at the Rou- 
manian frontier, the train was stopped on the bridge 
over the Pruth close to the little village of Ungheni. 

222 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 223 

We were received by the doctor and a number of 
officials, one of whom at once demanded the keys of 
our trunks. Everything was pushed into an enor- 
mous stove, and steamed there for fully twenty 
minutes. We were then conducted to our apart- 
ments. Four or five peasant cottages had been 
cleared of their inhabitants, and were placed at the 
disposal of the travellers. I shared one of the rooms 
with a lady and her children. Every morning a 
soldier entered with a bottle (vaporisateur) of dis- 
infectant and liberally besprinkled us and our clothes 
with it ; so thoroughly was it done that my clothes 
reeked of the stuff for months afterwards. Towards 
mid-day another soldier presented himself with the 
menu from the station restaurant. Not knowing 
Roumanian very well then, I had no choice but 
to point to some dish on the menu ; and whether it 
were fish, flesh, or fowl, it had to be eaten. If I had 
refused it and chosen another dish, I might have 
fared still worse. 

We were guarded by soldiers and attended by 
soldiers. Indeed, so very strictly were we guarded 
that, one day going a few paces beyond the range 
marked out for us, a sentinel actually aimed his gun 
at me. After that, thinking discretion the better 
part of valour, I overstepped the limit no more. 
I was obliged to stay in quarantine for five days, 
paying two francs a night for my bed, and providing 
myself with food also. The lady who shared my 
room at the beginning left after two days, and her 
place was taken by a Jewess who arrived from Russia 
with her husband. They were a most amusing 
couple. She sat on her bed all day playing at 
" Patience." He in the corner of the room, with a 



224 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

hand-towel over his shoulders in lieu of a praying 
shawl, recited the prayers for the day, every now 
and then turning to expectorate, and most probably 
calling down blessings on the Christians. The 
husband was lodged in an adjacent room with another 
traveller, but was constantly coming in to ours to 
visit his wife. One morning he came at such an 
early hour that I had not finished dressing. I was 
very angry, but controlled myself as well as I could. 
After a few minutes he went back to his own apart- 
ment to fetch something, only to return almost 
directly. But I had been quicker than he. In 
those few moments I had barricaded the door. 
His disgust was great when he found he could not 
get in, and quite plainly I could see his form sil- 
houetted on the white window-blind as he took 
his revenge by putting his fingers to his nose. 
His wife looked stolidly on at all this byplay, but 
made no remark. She made no attempt whatever 
to interfere with me ; so I was free to dress at my 
leisure, and then, and not till then, did I open the 
door. At the next visit of the doctor I complained 
to him about the too frequent visits of the Jew, so 
he promised that I should not be annoyed again. 

When finally the day arrived that I was free to 
continue my journey, I felt that I should like to look 
into a mirror before setting off. But no such thing 
was to be had in any of the houses. Finally, after 
diligent inquiries prosecuted through the soldiers, 
I learned that two gentlemen who occupied a little 
cottage not far off were the lucky possessors of such 
an article. The soldier was at once despatched with 
a polite request for the loan of the mirror. It was 
at once granted, so I was able to see how I looked 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 225 

after five days' quarantine. Soldiers accompanied us 
to the station, and saw us safely into the train ; but 
our passports were not restored to us till we had 
arrived at the town of Jassy en route for Bucarest. 

On one of the frequent occasions when cholera 
became epidemic in Russia, a young English 
governess with whom I had some acquaintance met 
with one of the most tragical experiences I have 
ever heard of. 

Miss R accepted a holiday engagement with a 

family in Russia at some distance from the border, 
and as it was her first visit to that country she 
looked forward to it with the greatest interest and 
pleasure. For a time all went well, but at length 
cholera broke out in the neighbourhood and spread 
alarmingly. Poor Miss R was terribly fright- 
ened. She was the only foreigner in the place with 
the exception of a German engineer who was en- 
gaged on some important work in the district, 
and who, she soon found, shared her nervousness. 
The two decided to leave, but the family with whom 
she was living thought that such a course would 
be a very foolish one, and sought to dissuade her 
from it. 

Finding her still determined, her employers 

placed practical obstacles in the way. The place 

was situated very many miles from the nearest 

railway station, and they refused to supply her with 

a carriage or a vehicle of any sort. The German 

was for a time no more successful, but at length he 

did obtain a karutza, and the two set out upon 

a journey that was destined to have a ghastly 

termination. 

They had scarcely reached the first village when 

15 



226 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

the German fell ill, his symptoms clearly indicating 
cholera. Overcome with horror, Miss R aban- 
doned any attempt to proceed to the station, still 
many miles away, and sought help in the village. 
It was a practically hopeless quest. She knew no 
word of the language, and the villagers, terrified of 
the cholera, would have nothing to do with her or 
her sick companion. The latter knew a little 
Russian, and at length in response to his solicitations 
the two were shown to an empty cottage on the 
outskirts of the village, and here they took up their 
quarters. What a situation for a young English 
girl ! Left in a remote Russian village, alone, save 
for the companionship of a sick stranger of another 
race, and without the means of making known her 
wants even if the villagers had been able or willing 
to assist her ! 

Food and water were thrust through the window, 
but no other help whatever could be obtained. 
There was no doctor in the place, and she had no 
means of even appealing to her late employers. 

Faced by this terrible situation. Miss R braced 

herself to meet it and acted as an Englishwoman 
might be expected to act. She did her best for the 
German engineer, but the poor man, lacking medical 
attention or even drugs or restoratives of the 
simplest kind, was doomed from the first. He 
rapidly grew worse, and after a day and a night of 
terrible suffering, which his unhappy attendant 
could do little to mitigate, he died. 

Miss R 's situation, alone with the dead body, 

was scarcely better than it had been before, and she 
became resigned to the worst that could befall, 
feeling assured that the villagers would not help. 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 227 

What was her surprise, however, when, upon finding 
out that her companion was dead, they so overcame 
their fears as to take the body away and bury it ! 

Two days later — having apparently conferred 
amongst themselves in the meantime — they brought 
a karutza to the door and invited her by signs to 
enter it. She was then driven to the railway 
station, and eventually reached Bucarest in safety. 
When she encountered her friends there they 
uttered exclamations of surprise and even of horror, 
for the hair of the young girl had turned completely 
white. 

It was the greatest mercy that Miss R 

succeeded in getting through to Roumania in 
safety, as the Russian peasants often become quite 
crazy when cholera is about. They accuse the 
doctors of fostering the disease for their own ends, 
and often refuse to have their sick attended to. In 
one district they worked themselves up to such a 
pitch of madness that they attacked a hospital, 
dragged the patients out of bed, forced them to 
return to their own homes, and completely put to 
rout both doctors and nurses. Needless to say, 
numbers of deaths occurred in consequence of these 
terrible acts. Cholera is never really stamped out 
in Russia ; it is usually hanging about the remote 
villages, and it takes toll of a certain number of lives 
every year. 



CHAPTER XXX 

The beggars of Buearest — A plan that failed — Was it inspired by 
Count Rumford's Munich scheme ? — Where the beggars sjDend 
their hoHdays — No lack of charity — Footless, and yet wanted 
boots— Influence of priests and beggars on the currency — A 
stroll through the market — Servians as market gardeners — An 
exhibition in Buearest — Princess Marie and the water-chute — 
Excessive gambling — TheMosi — English " stupidity " — Nothing 
to buy in London — Buearest to London via the North Sea and 
Edinburgh — Jefferson Bricks in Buearest. 

BEGGARS form a prominent feature of life in the 
East ; and Roumania being considered the end 
of Europe and the beginning of Asia, the country- 
is not lacking in this characteristic. Beggars swarm 
in the streets, and are of all kinds. There is the 
familiar beggar who has his accustomed pitch ; the 
beggar who has a wound to exhibit ; the beggar 
who is, or feigns to be, a bit crazy, and twirls 
himself singing all down the street. He is, however, 
always sensible enough to clutch the coin one offers 
him. 

The practice of begging is winked at by the 
authorities, as otherwise they would not know what 
to do with the beggars. I remember once there was 
a change of Government, and sweeping reforms were 
going to be made by the incoming party. The first 
reform was to be the clearance of beggars from the 
streets. A notice was issued that all beggars were 
to assemble at the police stations in their respective 

228 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 229 

districts on a certain day. This was done, and great 
hopes were entertained that at last we should be 
rid of this nuisance. Next day we eagerly searched 
the newspapers for an account of the proceedings, 
and how disappointed we felt, and how futile it all 
seemed, when we found that it closed with the 
words, " The beggars were then dismissed, as no one 
knew what to do with them " ! 

I have a strong impression that the plan was 
inspired by some recollection of the work done so 
successfully in Munich by that most remarkable of 
men, Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford, the 
English-American soldier, statesman, and scholar, 
from whom the famous englischen Garten derived 
its name (one wonders if it bears it still). 

The " rounding-up " idea, although it was not 
planned with the genius of a Rumford, nor carried 
out with the success which rewarded that great man's 
efforts, was recognised as having something practical 
about it, and it remains a cherished practice of 
the Bucarest police. Before a fete-day, such as the 
anniversary of the coronation, the police round up 
every suspected person, pickpockets, etc., and put 
them safely under lock and key till the festivities are 
over ; and then they are set at liberty again. 

Although the authorities accept no responsibility 
in regard to beggars, still there are many private 
societies formed to help them. One such society 
issues little books consisting of ten pages. Any 
charitably disposed person can buy a book for a 
franc and then distribute the leaves as he wishes. 
One page entitles the beggar to a basin of soup and 
a piece of bread. On presenting two pages he is 
entitled to a piece of meat. It is a capital plan, as 



230 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

one feels that one is really feeding the hungry (if 
hungry they be) and yet not giving them money to 
waste on other things. 

Roumanians are very charitable, and will seldom 
refuse a beggar. That is probably why there are 
so many. As they are not used to refusals, they are 
very insistent, and sometimes I have had a beggar 
follow me for quite a long distance, droning out his 
customary formula, till losing patience I have 
threatened him with the police. One poor little 
girl always excited my pity — a child of about eleven 
or twelve. She had lost both feet in an accident, 
but she was such a bright, cheery little soul that it 
was a pleasure to see her. She was always carried 
to a certain corner by a big boy, who then retired and 
watched over her from a distance. I always gave 
her a small coin, for which she was most grateful ; 
but one day she highly amused me with the request, 
" Do please give me a pair of boots." Seeing that 
she had no feet, I was at a loss to understand what 
use the boots would be to her, but I could get no 
enlightenment from her, only a smile and a re- 
petition of the request, " Please, a pair of boots." 

The coins used in Roumania are lei and bani, the 
equivalents of francs and centimes. The smallest 
nickel coin is five centimes. Several attempts have 
been made to introduce one- and two-centime coins, 
but after a time they have invariably disappeared 
from the currency — withdrawn, as I have been told, 
for very obvious reasons by the priests and the 
beggars. 

It is very pleasant to stroll through the market on 
a fine summer morning. On all sides there is a wild 
riot of colour which delights the eye. There are the 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 231 

fruit stalls piled with oranges, pomegranates, dates, 
green grapes of the native variety, and grapes of 
light amber hue from Constantinople. Scarcely less 
effective are the vegetable stalls with their bright-red 
tomatoes affording a brilliant contrast to the fresh 
greens of cauliflower and cabbage. Here, too, are 
radishes and pimonts. Then there are stalls with 
mushrooms of all varieties, stalls with cheeses, 
stalls with golden butter and white and brown eggs, 
and every here and there are mounds of melons. 
Some of the melons are of the yellow variety, but 
there are also plenty of water melons, with one here 
and there cut open to display the luscious pink 
interior. 

Roumanians do not grow all the vegetables that 
fill the market — often they are largely due to the 
labour and care of foreigners. I stayed for some 
weeks near Pitesti, a small country town, in the 
neighbourhood of which a number of Servians came 
to settle for the summer months. They rented a 
large plot of ground and grew vegetables of all kinds. 
They were most industrious and looked well after 
their produce. When the melons were ripening 
they even took it in turns to sit up and watch all 
night, so that would-be thieves might have no 
opportunity of helping themselves. Very often 
through the night we were startled by a rifle-shot. 
It was only the Servian on guard who fired from 
time to time to advertise his wakefulness. Two or 
three times a week a big waggon was loaded with 
produce and driven for miles round the country, 
even to Sinaia and beyond. Their produce was 
eagerly bought, as vegetables are not too abundant, 
especially in these summer resorts. When the 



232 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

market gardeners were quite sold out they retired 
to Servia with their profits, where they remained till 
next season. It must have been a profitable 
enterprise, as fifteen Servians were engaged in it at 
the place I speak of. 

The exhibition that was held in Bucarest some 
years ago was very creditable to the country, seeing 
that it was the first that had ever taken place. All 
the ordinary produce of the country was exhibited — 
cereals, fruit, cheese and butter, huge blocks of 
rock-salt, etc. The home industries of the peasantry — 
carpets, Roumanian costumes, embroidery, pillow- 
lace and fine lace (the making of the latter being 
taught in the schools) — formed perhaps the most 
interesting feature. A miniature creche was also 
shown, fitted with all modern appliances for the 
little ones. Although the exhibition was " Inter- 
national," the exhibits were mainly Roumanian. 
Some neighbouring countries took the opportunity 
of showing their wares, and Germany was repre- 
sented by a display of automatic pianos. 

Servia and Bulgaria sent embroidery, carpets, also 
broad leather waist-bands m which folk put their 
money. The colours employed in the carpets were 
rather crude, but the work was very good. 

One of the most effective exhibits, and that which 
showed the greatest taste in its arrangement, was 
the hall in which the Roumanian industry of cigar 
and cigarette making was shown. The entire hall, 
a fairly large one, was inlaid with cigars and cigar- 
ettes arranged in various fanciful designs. Small 
stacks of cigars tied with the Roumanian colours 
were placed at intervals down the middle of the hall, 
whilst gaily-decorated boxes of cigarettes of all 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 233 

sizes formed a sort of dado round the wall. A 
number of young girls, dressed in Roumanian 
costumes, busily engaged in the making of cigarettes, 
packing the boxes, etc., completed a picture that 
would strike the eye of an artist. 

Elsewhere was an interesting exhibition showing 
the improvement in the treatment of prisoners as 
contrasted with that of former times. The old cell 
was small and badly lighted, with grimy walls and 
low ceiling ; the modern cell, though also small, 
had a high ceiling, a good-sized window letting in 
plenty of light and air, and whitewashed walls, 
making altogether a neat, clean appearance. The 
clothing of the prisoners had also undergone a 
change for the better, as was shown in the figures 
in each cell. Close by was the hall in which work 
done by prisoners was on view. Well-made carpets, 
matting of cocoa-nut fibre, fancy articles carved 
out of wood, all testified to the ingenuity of the 
prisoners. 

The grounds of the exhibition were beautifully laid 
out, flowers growing everywhere in profusion ; but 
sufficient space was reserved for the various amuse- 
ments, the favourite one being the water-chute. 
This form of diversion was popular with everyone, 
but more especially with the present Queen, wlio 
took great delight in it. Several times she made the 
trip alone — that is, only with the man in charge — 
as the plunge into the water was so much more 
exciting when the boat was not heavily laden. 
Unfortunately, during the summer a quarrel 
arose between the Americans in charge of the water- 
chute and the exhibition authorities. Whatever 
may have been the cause of the dispute, the result 



234 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

was that the Americans were obhged to leave the 
exhibition, the management of the " chute " being 
given to a Roumanian company. 

Rumours were rife that jealousy of the Americans' 
" takings " was at the bottom of the trouble. 
Whether that was so or not, I cannot say. 

Gaming-tables were numerous, at which roulette, 
trente-et-un, etc., were played ; but stakes were so 
high, and the sums of money that changed hands 
so enormous, that the police were obliged to inter- 
vene and forbid all gambling in the exhibition. 

It was most enjoyable to lounge away an after- 
noon in the lovely grounds, listening to the strains 
of the string band or the varied music of the lautare ; 
and when the exhibition was finally closed it was 
greatly missed, as Bucarest is rather wanting in 
outdoor amusements in summer. 

The Mo^i 

The Mo§i, or great annual fair, which is held in 
the month of May, probably embraces all the usual 
features of fairs the world over. Its special dis- 
tinctions are that it assumes the importance of a 
national exhibition, and that the fair grounds, 
which occupy a vast area on the outskirts of 
Bucarest, are always visited by royalty. 

The Mo§i generally lasts for ten days, and during 
that time the traffic in the Calea Mosilor, which 
leads to the grounds, is the scene by day and night 
of a practically continuous procession which not only 
includes every kind of noise and extravagance 
incidental to our Derby Day, but can also boast of 
many picturesque features unknown in the pro- 
gress to the classic race. The residents in Calea 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 235 

Mo^ilor deserve and receive sympathy during this 
stirring time. 

For tlie peasants the Mo§i is a great national 
festival, and, attired in their gay costumes, and 
driving in ox-waggons canopied with boughs of green, 
they add much to the picturesqueness of these 
varied scenes. 

The first Thursday of the Mo§i is the great day 
when royalty honours the scene with its presence. 
Both Carmen Sylva and the present Queen, with 
their characteristic kindness of heart, always " did " 
the show thoroughly, and by the extent and variety 
of their purchases gladdened the hearts of an 
incredible number of stall-holders. 

Is there a fair anywhere in the world without 
gingerbread ? I remember it in this connection in 
my native Ireland, and I have met it at fairs in 
many parts of Europe since. The Mo§i adheres 
to the gingerbread tradition, and displays the 
popular delicacy (if it be a delicacy) in every con- 
ceivable variety. It is an unwritten law that no 
one, high or low, must return from the fair ginger- 
breadless. 

Of course you may eat what you like at the Mo!^i, 
but the local connoisseur knows well that the true 
gastronomical feature of the fair is an excellent 
small garlic sausage which I know Queen Marie 
tried on at least one occasion and commended very 
highly. 

I feel a slight consciousness of disloyalty now 
when I acknowledge that the Turkish stalls par- 
ticularly attracted me. TIic beautifully hne em- 
broidery, with small squares worked in gold and 
silver thread, the gorgeous carpets, the wide-sleeved 



236 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

blouses of delicate texture, richly embroidered in 
silk, the quaintly decorated pipes with beaded 
stems, and many other attractive articles of Otto- 
man origin, afforded opportunities for " fairings " 
of quite distinctive character. 

In various country districts fairs are held at 
stated seasons of the year. At Campulung, where 
I once spent the month of July, I was delighted to 
watch the peasant girls going to the fair dressed in 
all the finery of their national costume, many of 
them wearing curious billy-cock hats, and all with 
neat shoes and stockings. 

There was a bench opposite to our house, and 
here the girls on returning from the fair always sat 
down and divested themselves of their fine shoes 
and stockings, which they carefully wrapped up in 
paper, proceeding on their way both light of heart 
and light of foot. 

It is all very well to describe and criticise a 
country one visits, but it is also amusing to hear 
the criticisms of one's own country and people from 
those who have visited it for the first time. I was 
gravely informed once by a gentleman who had 
been in London for a few weeks, and who spoke no 
English, that the English were " very stupid." 
Asked to be a little more explicit, he informed me 
that when he wished to visit the docks of London 
he experienced the greatest difficulty in making any- 
one understand where he wanted to go. He stopped 
a cab and said to the cabman, " Promenade, 
dock," but cabby shook his head and did not under- 
stand. He then spoke louder, and a crowd began 
to assemble. Again and again he said " Promenade, 
dock," but still no one understood. At last a 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 237 

policeman put him into the cab and drove with him 
to the nearest big hotel, where the mystery was 
explained. " But," the gentleman asked me, " why 
did they not understand ? Promenade is the same 
word in English as in French, and dock is dock." 

A lady visited London with her husband for the 
first time. They had rooms at the Hotel Cecil, and 
were very much interested in seeing the sights, but 
the complaint of the lady was, " Oh, the shops are 
not up to much ; there was absolutely nothing to 
buy." The remark rather staggered me for a 
moment ; then I ventured to name some of the big 
shops in Oxford Street and Regent Street. It was 
all of no use : she still persisted in her assertion. 
She had been in Paris shortly before, where she was 
tempted to buy at every step ; but in London, 
" No, there was nothing to buy ! " 

Another lady and gentleman whom I knew started 
with their son on a visit to Norway. They had no 
idea what a sea voyage was like, and after being 
buffeted about in the North Sea for a day and a 
night, they much wished to be put on shore again. 
Although the full passage-money had been paid, the 
captain agreed to land them at Leith and to refund 
part of the money (at which they were very much 
astonished). For a time they made their head- 
quarters at Edinburgh, visiting the Trossachs and 
the surrounding country. Their admiration for 
Scotland was unbounded, more especially for Edin- 
burgh, with which beautiful city they were charmed. 
Norway could not be more beautiful, they thought ; 
they had lost nothing whatever by their change of 
plans. With occasional stoppages, the travellers 
made their way to London. The size of the metro- 



238 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

polls, the traffic and the order with which it was 
controlled, the numerous parks, all excited their 
wonder and admiration ; but still London did not 
charm them as Edinburgh had done. 

I was once at an evening party in Bucarest where 
some Roumanian current events were being dis- 
cussed. They were by no means matters of impor- 
tance. Suddenly a lady turned to me and asked, 
" What do the English say about it ? " I was 
rather embarrassed for a reply, but at last managed 
to suggest that perhaps they knew nothing of the 
affair. The lady was highly indignant. " We," said 
she, " know all that goes on in England and France, 
but the people there never seem to know anything 
of us." I pleaded guilty on their behalf, and re- 
membered Jefferson Brick and his friends. 



CHAPTER XXXI 

Roumania's early history- — Michael the Brave — Stephen the Great 
— A Spartan mother — Brancovan's noble efforts bring about his 
end— Oppression promotes union — Greek extortion — Russia 
and Turkey — The \\^esternising of Roumania — The Treaty of 
Paris — The European Commission — The new State of Roumania 
— Prince Cuza and his fall — The siege of Plevna — Rovmiania's 
present aims. 

1HAD been some time resident in Roumania 
before I made any study of the history of the 
country and its people. I found authentic material 
very difficult to obtain, and had continually to 
reconstruct the information I assimilated. 

Roumanian history did not attract me until I 
came to know and appreciate the people ; and if I 
have (as I sincerely hope is the case) enabled my 
readers to share my interest in some degree, I now 
owe it to them to give some slight historical account 
of our allies and of the land which they inhabit. 
Indeed, it is necessary to know something of the 
history of the country before we can appreciate 
the causes which were the determining factors of 
Roumania's participation in the war. It is a 
country with a future full of hope and promise, and 
it deserves to be better known than it is. 

Roumania was, as its name implies, a colony of 
ancient Rome. It has been suggested that it was 
a penal colony, but of this there is ccrtamly no 

239 



240 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

authentic proof. Many Roumanians hold the behef 
that they are, as a people, descended from the 
Roman colonists of the time of Trajan, but those 
of them who are versed in history do not by any 
means make a definite claim to this effect. 

Before the Roman epoch very little indeed is 
known of the country, and the scanty historical 
accounts concerning it are conflicting. With the 
thirteenth century begins the authentic history 
of the two principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, 
but it is by no means the history of a united people. 
These two principalities developed on distinct lines, 
and each had its separate annals. 

Later on, as they fell under the dominion of the 
Turk, a more uniform system of administration was 
adopted, native princes governing in both, but 
always subject to and under the control of the 
Porte. Of these native princes the most important 
were Michael the Brave, Stephen the Great, and 
Constantine Brancovan. 

On the Boulevard in Bucarest there stands a fine 
bronze equestrian statue of Michael the Brave, 
Prince of WaUachia. He it was who in concert 
with the then Prince of Moldavia partially freed 
the country from the Turks. His plans for the 
aggrandisement of his country succeeded so well 
that he invaded Transylvania, seized the reins of 
government, and secured his proclamation as prince 
of that province. Transylvania was afterwards 
conquered by the Hungarians, and ever since it 
has been the ardent wish of every Roumanian to 
regain this desirable territory. 

After the death of Michael, the Turks gradually 
regained their old power over the country, a succes- 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 241 

sion of princes reigning over it who were still obliged 
to buy their appointment at Constantinople. 

Stephen the Great, Prince of Moldavia, was also 
a man of great courage and resource. In one of 
his campaigns against the Turks his army at first 
was forced to give way, and he is said to have fled 
to his own castle for refuge. Upon his demand for 
admission, a lattice opened and his mother appeared. 
She, like the Spartan mother of old, refused to 
admit him, seeing he came not as conqueror but 
conquered. 

Her words animated both him and his followers to 
such a degree that they resolved to die rather 
than yield. They marched once more against the 
foe, and defeated them completely, forcing them 
to recross the Danube. 

Constantine Brancovan, Prince of Wallachia, con- 
siderably furthered the internal well-being of the 
country, which had never been so prosperous as 
during his reign. But this prosperity, becoming 
known at Constantinople, only increased the exac- 
tions of the Turks. Notwithstanding that all the 
demands were punctually met, the Sultan thought 
that Brancovan was becoming too powerful, and 
therefore an envoy was sent to Bucarest with in- 
structions to depose him. The Prince was con- 
ducted to Constantinople and quietly beheaded, and 
after his execution the Turks introduced a new 
system. The line of national princes ceased. Those 
who were now appointed were mostly Greeks, the 
office being sold to the highest bidder. 

Hereupon ensued a period of grinding oppression, 

the Greeks squeezing as much as they could out of 

the peasantry, the consequence being that numbers 

16 



242 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

of them emigrated. By degrees the two principah- 
ties of Wallachia and Moldavia came to recognise the 
need for a closer union in face of the common foe. 

Towards the close of the eighteenth century the 
Russo-Turkish war took place, at which time Austria 
profited by the situation to arrange with both 
parties for the cession of Bukovina, a richly wooded 
province of Moldavia. At the conclusion of peace 
Russia restored all the Danubian principalities to 
the Sultan, but with certain stipulations in favour 
of Wallachia and Moldavia. The treaty, however, 
was shortly afterwards violated by the Turks, who 
recommenced their old system of extortion, till, in 
1802, Russia once more asserted her treaty rights 
in favour of the oppressed inhabitants. It was at 
this time that the Turks ceded Bessarabia, a fertile 
province of Moldavia, to the Czar. 

Although these arrangements were made with the 
Turks, the ostensible rulers of the two principalities, 
Russian influence still seems to have been predomi- 
nant. Indeed, until the beginning of last century 
the Russian consul at Bucarest was all-powerful. 
The revolutionary movement of '48 extended even 
to the two principalities — their real object being the 
overthrow of Russian influence. In order to quell 
the disturbance Russian troops entered the country, 
whereupon the reigning princes fled to Vienna, 
leaving the government to their ministers. Great 
suffering was at this time inflicted on the inhabi- 
tants, but finally the Austrians induced the Russians 
to withdraw. 

One important consequence of the rebellion was 
the banishment of many rising politicians to Western 
Europe, where they were brought into contact with 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 243 

a higher type of civihsation. Statesmen received 
their pohtical training abroad, and returned to edu- 
cate their countrymen. 

The practice then began of sending Roumanian 
students to French, German, and Itahan univer- 
sities. To this fact we may attribute the rapid 
progress of Roumania as compared with the other 
Balkan States. 

I may here incidentally remark that D. Stourdza 
in one of his articles strongly repudiates the 
assumption that Roumania is one of the Balkan 
States.^ 

The Treaty of Paris guaranteed the privileges of 
the two principalities, whilst still recognising the 
suzerainty of the Porte. As a little sop to their 
pride, part of Bessarabia, which had been taken by 
the Russians, was now restored to Moldavia. 

The Great Powers at this stage decided to keep a 
protecting eye upon the two principalities, and there- 
fore a European Commission was formed to revise 
the existing laws and statutes, taking at the same 
time into consideration the opinions of the repre- 
sentative councils of the country. 

At the first sitting the councils voted unani- 
mously for the union of the two principalities in a 
single state under the name of Roumania, to be 
governed by a foreign prince from one of the reign- 
ing houses of Europe. 

To this the European Commission, recognising 

^ This view does not, however, by any means meet with general 
acceptance. In conversation recently with a highly-placed Rou- 
manian of scholarly attainments, this gentleman argued convincingly 
that Roumania is, beyond doubt, one of the Balkan States. Every 
great movement in tlio Balkans, he pointed out, has originated in 
Roumania, or has at least been participated in by that country. 



244 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

that union is strength, dedined to agree, decid- 
ing that the principahties should continue to be 
governed by their own princes. But the Roumani- 
ans were too clever for the Commission, and suc- 
ceeded in getting their own way by the simple 
device of both principalities electing the same prince, 
namely, Prince Cuza. And thus it was that the 
union of the two provinces was accomplished. 

At the beginning of his reign Cuza reigned very 
wisely. Reforms in many departments were due 
to him, and he founded the universities of Bucarest 
and Jassy. 

Later on he tried, unfortunately for himself, 
to concentrate all power in his own hands. This 
caused great dissatisfaction, and his dissolute con- 
duct increased his unpopularity. The leading states- 
men thereupon conspired to dethrone him. The 
palace was quietly entered one night, the Prince 
awakened out of sleep and informed of their de- 
cision. There was no use protesting. He allowed 
himself to be escorted to the frontier, then proceeded 
to Italy, where he died some years later. His 
widow returned to Roumania, and died there only 
a few years ago. 

So secretly had the plans of Prince Cuza's de- 
posal been carried out that very few people were 
aware of what had happened till next morning, 
when the news ran like wildfire through the capital. 
How his successor was appointed has been told in 
the romantic story of the advent of King Carol. 

The siege of Plevna took place during the Russo- 
Turkish War of 1877. The Russians sustained 
several defeats at the hands of the Turks, and the 
outlook for them was decidedly gloomy, when the 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 245 

Roumanians under Prince Carol crossed the Danube 
and came to their help. 

At first the Russians were inclined to treat the 
small Roumanian army with scant regard, consider- 
ing it " a contemptible little army," but the soldiers 
soon showed of what mettle they were made (just 
as the men of our own " contemptible little army " 
did), and under the efficient leadership of Prince 
Carol speedily succeeded in turning the tide of 
victory. 

One would have thought that the Russians 
would show themselves grateful to the friend in 
need. Their " gratitude " was shown by the an- 
nouncement that they intended to regain possession 
of the portion of Bessarabia which had been ceded 
to Moldavia after the Crimean War, giving the 
Roumanians in exchange the Dobrudja as far as 
Constanza. As Bessarabia is a very fertile province, 
whilst the Dobrudja is just the contrary, this 
proposed exchange aroused great indignation at 
Bucarest, but, as is too often the case, might served 
instead of right, and the Roumanians were finally 
obliged to yield. For a long time after this relations 
with Russia were strained, some of the leading 
statesmen even trying to promote a better under- 
standing with Austro -Hungary. But the strong 
anti-German feeling in the country worked against 
this, and finally various other causes contributed 
to a sort of passive preference for Russia. 



CHAPTER XXXII 

Turkish influence on Roumanian mind and manners — The origin of 
the people — Clearly descended from the Romans of Trajan's 
day- — Collateral evidence of Latin origin in the language — 
Pride of race — Roimaanian literature. 

ALTHOUGH so many years have passed since 
the Roumanians shook off the yoke of the 
Turk, still many little indications remain to show 
that Turkish influence on mind and manners has 
not yet totally disappeared. For instance, I was 
quite amazed one day to learn that the mother of 
a highly placed official could neither read nor write. 
Asking for an explanation of this singular state of 
affairs, I was informed that the lady in question, 
being of the older generation, had been brought up 
when the country was still under Turkish influence. 
The Turkish women were never allowed to read or 
write, so all fear of intrigue outside the harem was 
thus avoided. Roumanian women of that time 
were brought up in a similar fashion. Of course, 
nowadays, even in Turkey, all this is changed : 
education has found its way into the harems ; 
languages, music, and sciences are studied, with the 
result that Turkish women are amongst the most 
highly educated of the present time. Those who 
have read Pierre Loti's books on present-day life in 
Constantinople will understand the change that has 
taken place in the harems in regard to education. 

246 



TWF.NTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 247 

Roumanian ladies of the present day are also highly 
educated. 

It is not considered proper for a young Roumanian 
girl, or even a young married woman, to walk alone 
through the principal streets in Buearest ; and as to 
travelling alone, even a short distance, that is quite 
out of the question. 

A young girl whom I knew was very stout, and 
took so little outdoor exercise that I expostulated 
with her mother. The mother then confided to me 
that she did not wish her daughter to be seen often 
out of doors ; she preferred her to live a rather 
secluded life till she should become engaged. There 
again was an example of Turkish influence, as we all 
know how their women are forced to live a secluded 
life, and are never permitted to go on foot on the few 
occasions when they may go out of doors. 

It is no part of my present purpose to deal at any 
length with the vexed question of the origin of the 
Roumanian people. I have both read and heard a 
great many views expressed on the subject, but as 
these have been of the most conflicting character 
they have not helped me much. The most stupid 
view of all is that persistently expressed by many 
ill-informed Germans, who, because they are aware 
that there is a certain Sclavonic element in the 
country, contend that the whole of the Roumanian 
people are Slavs. 

The Roumanians are of course a Latin race — that 
is as clear as noonday. They are, however, like our- 
selves, a very mixed race. That fact is made suffi- 
ciently clear in the sketch I have given of the history 
of the country. Nations and tribes have overrun 
their land times innumerable, as other nations and 



248 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

other tribes have overrun our own; but whilst 
" Saxon and Norman and Dane are we," with the 
characteristics of these races now well blended 
(except perhaps in some remote provincial quarters), 
the Roumanians have retained, in what must be 
considered a remarkable degree, the language 
and characteristics of the people from whom 
they have clearly sprung, viz. the Romans of 
Trajan's day. 

It is not only to history that we may look for 
proof of this assertion. Were the history of the 
country unknown, its language would demonstrate 
the Latin origin of the people. It has much in 
common even with the Italian spoken in the present 
day ; and as I am acquainted with that language, 
I would instance a great many words which could be 
readily understood by Roumanians, so much do 
they resemble their own equivalents. In fact, I had 
a friend from Genoa who was able to manage very 
well in Roumania, though only able to speak to the 
natives in her own language. 

There is also something more than history and 
language to go upon. It is very easy for a super- 
ficial observer to form conclusions with regard to 
the Roumanians which are entirely wrong. The 
national indolence, the disinclination to engage in 
industrial or commercial occupations, so long re- 
sponsible for failure to develop the resources of the 
country, render it difficult to appreciate the true 
character of the people. It is only when one comes 
to live constantly with them that one realises the 
pride of race which lies behind their careless de- 
meanour. It was this pride which rendered the 
Germanisation of Roumania an impossible task 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 249 

even for King Carol to accomplish, and which the 
enemy had to reckon with in the late war. 

I have endeavoured in these pages to present as 
faithfully as was in my power a picture of the every- 
day life of the Roumanian people. If I have failed 
to give my readers an impression of a thoroughly 
lovable people, the failure is due to my lack of skill, 
and not to any lack of appreciation of their many 
fine qualities. 

There are no warmer-hearted people in the world 
than our Roumanian allies. They are hospitable 
to an extraordinary extent, many of them keeping 
a perpetually open house for their friends. They 
are extremely charitable, and are invariably cour- 
teous and polite. Indeed, in their consideration for 
the feelings of others they evince a delicacy of per- 
ception which I have never seen equalled in any 
other people. 

An Italian diplomat once told me that he did not 
wish for any preferment, lest it should necessitate 
his leaving Bucarest, and I could well understand 
his feelings. 

Behind the laissez-aller which hinders endeavour, 
the Roumanians have a high order of intelligence. 
They have a quick appreciation of what is best in 
all that we mean by " progress," and are always 
ready to profit by the example of others who may be 
more advanced in some directions than themselves. 

As I have indicated elsewhere, the Roumanians 
do not sufficiently cultivate their native language, 
which indeed is to a serious extent abandoned to 
the common people. Roumania has not produced 
very much literature in the past which might have 
served to keep alive an interest in the language, and 



250 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

the modern writers who have utilised it in their 
works are few. The best known are perhaps the 
poets Eminescu, Alexandri, and Bohntineana. The 
works of the first-named have been translated into 
French and German, and those who are qualified to 
judge credit him with possessing the fire of genius. 
His work has been compared to that of Keats. 
V. Alexandri is par excellence the national poet. 
Bolintineana, who has achieved great popularity, is 
a writer of ballads. 

It may be that Roumanians have now found a 
stimulus to higher endeavours, and will cease to be 
satisfied with a life of pleasure. But even when 
considering the love of gaiety which is so distin- 
guishing a characteristic of the people, it is well 
to remember that they are never happy unless 
they can make all those with whom they come 
in contact happy also. 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

Conclusion 

Roumania's object in the war — Hungary's attempt to 
Magyarise Transylvania — Sympathy of the Motherland — 
" Awake, Roumania ! " — The new boundaries of Roumania — 
Room for her people — " Tlie Little Entente " — Safeguarding the 
peace of Europe. 

EVERYONE, I should think, would be fully aware 
by now of the aims which decided Roumania 
to intervene in the late war. To regain Tran- 
sylvania and see it incorporated in Roumania has 
always been the ardent desire of every Roumanian, 
young and old. In olden times the province 
formed part of the Roman province of Dacia under 
the Emperor Trajan. In the eleventh century 
the Hungarians made themselves masters of the 
land, which was then administered as a Hungarian 
province. In still later years Transylvania was 
for a time a free country; but in 1868 it was once 
more given into the power of Hungary by Franz 
Joseph, the late Emperor of Austria. From that 
time the Magyarisation of the principality was 
steadily carried on, in spite of the bitter discon- 
tent of the Roumanian element, which was by far 
the most numerous. 

The Hungarian Government, it is true, faithfully 
promised to respect the language, rehgion, and 
nationality of the Roumanians in the country, but 

251 



252 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

that promise was not kept. Hungarian alone was 
recognised as the official language, and laws were 
passed within the past few years aiming at the 
Magyarisation of Roumanian schools. Efforts were 
even made to suborn the Roumanian clergy so that 
they might help to this end. 

The administration of the province passed alto- 
gether into the hands of the Hungarians. The 
authorities controlled the elections so effectively 
that the Roumanian element had no adequate 
representation in the Hungarian Parliament. Con- 
sidering that there were between three and four 
million Roumanians in the country, justice de- 
manded that they should have adequate representa- 
tion, but it was never conceded to them. The 
Roumanians naturally did not take this treatment 
as a matter of course. They protested most ener- 
getically both at public meetings and through the 
press. How often have their public men been 
obliged to flee the country and take refuge in 
Roumania for fear of the consequences of their 
over-free speech ! 

When I was in Bucarest I made the acquaintance 
of a professor from Transylvania who had been 
obliged to leave everything and depart, as he had 
been too free in his criticisms of Hungarians and 
their methods. According to their law, a certain 
number of years had to pass (five, I think) before 
he would be permitted to re-enter the country. 

About thirty years ago there was formed a 
Roumanian National party, whose aims were to 
preserve the Roumanian language. Church, and 
schools, and also to restore autonomy to Transyl- 
vania under the suzerainty of the Hungarian king- 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 253 

dom. The petition of this party was refused, and 
the leaders of the movement were severely punished. 
After that the feeling beeame much more acute, 
every fresh act of aggression on the part of the 
Hungarians calling forth demonstrations of sym- 
pathy for their countrymen from the inhabitants of 
Roumania. How often have I been awakened on 
such occasions by the crowd parading the streets 
singing " Destaaptate-Romane ! " (" Awake, Rou- 
mania ! "), the national song of the Roumanians in 
Transylvania, which was forbidden to be sung there 
under severe penalties ! When staying in Kronstadt 
I often used to begin to sing this song unthinkingly, 
and what a chorus of " hushes " used to stifle my 
efforts ! 

I began to write this book whilst the war was 
still raging and my friends in Roumania were under- 
going terrific trials. I have no intention of dealing 
here with the sad times which now belong to the 
past. I prefer to think of the hopeful future of the 
country in which so much of my life was spent. 

It is reassuring to know that in the new maps of 
Europe, rendered necessary by the decisions of the 
Treaty of Versailles, the boundaries of Roumania 
enclose as far as appears to be possible the whole 
of the Roumanian people, with as few alien elements 
as possible included. 

There remain without the boundaries, in the 
Tinok Valley, the Western Banat, and in Mace- 
donia, some five millions of the Roumanian people 
who will be included in Jugo-Slavia; and, east of 
the Dneister, another five hundred thousand will 
be included in Russia. 

Many alien elements will remain in Roumania. 



254 TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 

The Jews, who, hke the poor, are always with us, 
will continue to be represented by a million of their 
race. A great colony of Hungarians still occupies 
a territory in East Transylvania ; whilst a German 
population which settled in Transylvania, Banat, 
Bukovina, and Bessarabia at various periods from 
the thirteenth to the nineteenth centuries numbers 
about eight hundred thousand. 

There will still be found some Bulgarians, Turks, 
and Tartars in the south of Bessarabia and the 
Dobrudja; Serbs, Poles, and Ukranians where 
Roumania adjoins Jugo-Slavia, Czecho-Slovakia, 
Poland, and the Ukraine ; and a considerable number 
of Russian refugees belonging to a strange religious 
sect called " Shoptchi," who fled from their own 
country to avoid persecution. 

Of Roumania's present seventeen million popula- 
tion it may be said that some fourteen millions are 
pure Roumanians. Outside the country's boundaries 
Roumanians number over one million. 

When we compare these figures with those which 
referred to pre-war Roumania we will find that the 
country has cause to rejoice. 

In 1916 Roumania had only eight million inhabi- 
tants, seven and a half millions of whom were 
nationals, constituting only half the race. The 
remaining half were citizens of alien countries. 

If the ideals of the enlightened Foreign Minister, 
M. Take Jonescu (who has always been such a sincere 
friend of Britain), are realised, a most important 
step will have been taken in the direction of safe- 
guarding the peace of Europe. One may hope, 
indeed, that the clouds which lowered so persistently 
over the Balkans will disappear for ever. 



TWENTY YEARS IN ROUMANIA 255 

Czecho-Slovakia and Jugo-Slavia, M. Joncscu has 
pointed out, have already entered into a defensive 
alHance ; and he hopes that not only Roumania, but 
Greece and Poland also, may join it, and that the 
three defeated countries, Bulgaria, Austria, and 
Hungary, may ultimately become members. 

The maintenance of the different treaties entered 
into since the war will of course be the great purpose 
of what M. Jonescu has described as " The Little 
Entente " ; but underlying this endeavour will be a 
sincere desire to establish such personal relations 
as will facilitate the settlement of various differ- 
ences which are bound to arise from time to time. 



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Tv;enty years in 
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