Clare Sheridan, Sculptress-author, announced that Queen
Marie of Rumania has written a book called The Voice on the Mountain.
Mrs. Sheridan, who has read the book, finds it a
display of sentimentality, abounding in super-adjectives, containing
many plagiarisms, "the outpourings of a gushing school girl." She
regrets that Marie did not write of some lovely Rumanian legend, that
her Russian blood did not endow her with "some talent, mysticism and
taste," that the English blood did not "add a sense of humor to her
complex composition." Finally she is left pondering what on earth the
book is about. Says Mrs. Sheridan: "A strange young woman named Glava
rides a carrot-colored horse whose tail sweeps the ground. . . . She
does much climbing of mountains, dresses in white robes, carries a
spear, has her hair in two long braids. The horse is a 'grand creature';
so is Glava, and her nurse talks in an Irish dialect." It sounds a
thoroughly bad book, yet she counsels people to read it.
Queen Marie wrote before the War when she was Crown
Princess. The Lily of Life was a juvenile story for her children. Then
came the War and she continued to write for a Rumanian newspaper, the
articles being afterwards collected and republished in book form under
the title War Impressions. Her style in this book was ornate, feminine
and extremely sentimental.
But, in real life, Queen Marie is both a womanly Queen
and a queenly woman. Nearing the age of 50, she is no longer beautiful,
but attractive. Philippe Millet, distinguished French journalist, once
remarked of her: "As she enters a room she seems at the first glance to
dominate all those present. She receives their homage as a sovereign
should and has the air of reigning, even when she says 'good day.' The
chair on which she sits, perfectly erect, immediately becomes a throne."
Queen Marie is the daughter of the Duke of Edinburgh,
second son of Queen Victoria, uncle of George V, and of Grand Duchess
Marie, daughter of Tsar Alexander III of Russia. She is, therefore,
first cousin to King George, by birth a Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, by Royal
Proclamation a Windsor,* by marriage a Hohenzollern, having married into
the Catholic branch of that family when she became the bride of Crown
Prince Ferdinand of Rumania.
Before the War, the strict Court discipline of genial
German King Carol repressed her democratic sympathies and her natural
abilities as stateswoman and business-woman. With the coming of War, she
shed her frivolous exterior, became a nurse and truly endeared herself
to Rumanians who to this day call her "our Angel Queen" as they had
called her "Angel without wings" when she married Ferdinand. She once
said: "We hope that during our reign Rumania may grow in greatness and
happiness. To consecrate all my efforts to the alleviation of misery and
pain is the mission to which, as with all other great-hearted women of
the past, I will devote myself."
On the day she came to the throne she said: "I think
that few Queens have had the privilege to get so near their people. I
have really gone amongst them, there where very few go." When in the
agonies of War she was forced to leave the grave of her baby son and
become a refugee with the other members of the Royal Family, she turned
to her people, particularly to the soldiers who adored her, and so
carried out her promise.
But there is another side to her character. She has
not earned the title of "Diplomat of the Balkans" for nothing. It is
erroneously assumed that she earned the title for her work in marrying
her son and daughters into Balkan royal families. She herself says,
however, that "my daughters married off themselves." No doubt at all
that she married off her son, Carol, to princess Marie of Yugo-Slavia.
But she is a real power, abroad and at home, so much so that King
Ferdinand has been described as a cipher, which is partly true. She is
credited with forcing Rumania into the War on the winning side, she
often concludes much State business over the heads of her husband's
Ministers which makes her most unpopular with them. She holds sway in a
Court which is probably unmatched for it simplicity. She is democratic
almost to extremes, always vivacious and entertaining, and despite her
years, always fascinating and brilliant, as many a staid business man
and clever diplomat has known to his cost. In short, she is the model of
"a regular, regular, regular, regular Royal Queen."
* King George changed the name of the
British reigning House from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
to Windsor on July 17, 1917.