The Black and White Budget, 23 November 1901

                        Carmen Sylva in Her Boudoir
The latest photograph of the beautiful and noble Queen of Roumania


No nobler woman lives than Carmen Sylva, the Queen of Roumania, whose beautiful thoughts and beautiful writing’s are surely the delight of every true girl or woman. Have you ever read her Thoughts of a Queen, a dainty little volume in red published by John Macqueen? It not, you ought to. I know no finer collection of noble reflections on the vanity of human wishes. “To be the friend of a sovereign,” she .says, “you must be without passion, without ambition, without egotism, clear-sighted and farsighted: in short, not a man.” And then, again, this curiously just thought: “One often hears the phrase ‘Put not your trust in princes’ quoted from the Bible; but the rest of the verse, ‘For they also are men’ is overlooked.” How many will agree that this is true!

THE message to our readers which she has written on the back of her latest photograph is characteristic of herself. She is always working and working for the benefit of mankind. Her writings go throughout the length and breadth I of the world, comforting and consoling weary hearts and tired minds.

IN A Real Queen's Fairy Book, just published by George Newnes, the Queen of Roumania tells the tale of her childhood—those happy years spent among woods and in the company of birds:—

“Woodsong, Carmen Sylva, is my name—the name under which I hid myself for so long, and if to-day I come forth from that shelter that was so like the broad leaves of the silver-linden spread over me, it is because so many friends, and especially dear children, have asked it of me, and because I have white hair now, and would so gladly be a grandmother if only God had granted me that blessing. I must e’en be all children’s grandmother, and never refuse them anything they ask.

The Woodsong is, indeed, for all children, if they will only listen to it, and it will gladden them all alike ; whether they be rich or poor, well cared for, or in want, whether they go barefoot or wear boots lined with costly fur, the Woodsong loves all alike that come to her, and pours out her whole soul for their delight; and her white hair is like the silver lining of the linden leaves—it gives a bright sheen to thoughts that were otherwise too grave, and she desires that within her shadow it may always be light.

“But it is harder for poor Carmen Sylva than for any other silver-linden. For God had once given her the loveliest song of all, and then he took it away from her again because he wanted it in his own heaven. That song was her only child, a little girl whose name was Marie, but who called herself Itty when she was so small that she could not say ‘little,’ and so the name Itty clung to her. She glided about like a little fairy, as if she had wings, during the whole of her short life; she said the sweetest things; she would throw herself on the earth to kiss the sunbeams; she loved the trees, and the flowers, and the water ; she danced along the sweetest mountain-paths as if there had been no danger, no precipice below. And if ever I was sad, she sprang up behind me in the big armchair, and turned my face round to her and looked in my eyes to ask: ‘Are you not happy, mama?’

“But God called her back to Heaven because the little angel was missing there. . . .

“But years afterwards, all at once a soft murmur penetrated the sorrowing tree and stirred it to the very core, and then the sky grew bright again, and the birds sang once more, and the dried blossoms filled with honey, for it was the voice of Song and Story, the nearest approach this world can offer tor the voice of Itty—consoling and gladdening the heart by endeavouring to give comfort and joy to other's.”

This exquisite thought, springing out of real life, is at the heart of one of the fairy tales she tells, “The Story of a Helpful Queen.” Here the Queen saves the sick and crippled by taking the sickness and mutilations on herself instead. A poor mother comes to her and asks her to save her dying son. This the Queen does. “But sharp was her agony when, the very next day, her only child fell seriously ill. . . . Her supplications were in vain. . . . The child did not look up again, and only murmured at times of beautiful angels and flowers, until at last it lay pale and cold in her arms—and she a broken woman bereft of tears.”

The Queen, in this fairy tale, is no longer able to cure people, and all the light seems to have gone out of her life. At last, in a dream, the child returns.

“He breathed with a breath as of violets and joy possessed her. He spoke to her with the voice of a clear and resonant bell.

“‘Mother, weep not! You have given me a greater happiness than is known on earth—even through the sublimity of love, for you have opened up the heavens to me, and I have been permitted to return there without pain and sorrow—thanks to your self- sacrifice. . . . You can still console others, because you believe in the world to come. Yes, because you know for certain that it awaits us all. There is no such thing as death! There is only a rebirth. And if, O mother, you only knew how beautiful it is, you would await it radiant with joy, and never sigh again!’ . . .

“From that hour peace entered into her soul. She was able to do good, to console and give pleasure to others, but no longer to cure them! And she no longer asked for power to do these things, for she was quiet and content, and peace reigned around her.”

Carmen Sylva's message to the readers of the "Budget"

CARMEN SYLVA is probably the only Queen who has ever been a High School teacher. She used to give private lectures at her Palace, and these became so popular that with her husband’s permission she went through the whole High School course and so earned the diploma of which she is justly proud. Not that a certificate could make her any better a teacher than she is. The little moral epigrams contained in her Thoughts of a Queen are the best education a girl could have. Carmen Sylva’s special message to our readers, written on the back of the photograph which we have been privileged to reproduce, must appeal to everyone of us, preaching as it does the only gospel that ever satisfies amid all our troubles and vexations, the gospel of work. She herself has been the hardest of workers. Why not follow her example?