Reminiscences of the war 1877/78 – a fragment from the essay “Bucharest” (1893) by Queen Elisabeth of Romania (Carmen Sylva):


“A handsome young man had died in a tent opposite to mine, and the next morning dawned cold and dreary, for it was November. The fog shut us in like a wall, and the ground was like an oozy bog. All of a sudden, a man and a woman came forth from the fog like specters. The woman wore nothing but an old gray chemise, scarcely reaching to her knees, and about her worn old face hung the rags of what had once been a white linen wrap. She came forward on her bare feet through the deep mud, her arms clasping a bundle of linen for her son. She asked for him, and before I could get to her she fell on her knees with a heart-rending cry. A soldier with brutal haste had said to her, “Your son died in that tent yesterday”. The clean white shirts she had so lovingly brought for him slipped from her hands into the mud, and tearing her hair and smiting her breast, she cried again and again, “Radu, my son! Radu! Radu! Radu!” She would listen to no comfort, accept no food, no shelter, but rose at last and went away through the fog, turning back at every step to cry again the name of her lost son. Her figure assumed immense proportions in the heavy air, and her voice rang out strangely through the damp gloom; and when she was out of sight, we could still hear the cry of “Radu! Radu!” The scene haunts me often now.”


Read the whole essay “Bucharest” in:

The Child of the Sun: Royal Fairy Tales and Essays by the Queens of Romania, Elisabeth (Carmen Sylva, 1843-1916) and Marie (1875-1938). Selected and edited, with an introduction and bibliography by Silvia Irina Zimmermann. [Series of the Research Center Carmen Sylva – Princely Archive of Wied, vol. 9], 315 pages, 54 illustrations (7 colored), Stuttgart: ibidem-Verlag (Ibidem Press), 2020, 315 pages, 54 illustrations (7 colored), ISBN-13: 978-3-8382-1393-4.



Pages from the essay „Bucharest“ of Queen Elisabeth of Romania published in English translation in „Harper’s Weekley. A Journal of Civilization“, New York, 1893.