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What Vasile Saw – Marie, Queen of Roumania (1875-1935)
JUST as one never thinks of Conrad as anything but an English writer, so one considers Queen Marie as Roumanian. She became, at the age of fifteen, the wife of the future King Ferdinand. Her work shows that she soon learnt the secrets of her adopted country, and that she won the hearts of the Roumanian peasantry. Her stories constitute the autobiography of a rich mind developed by contact with a country still by no means exploited for literary purposes.

This story was written in English, and was originally reprinted by permission of the author.
What Vasile Saw
It was night.

What Vasile Saw – A gusty wind swept over the plain; the cold was intense. Very far above, the stars shone quite small as though they had withdrawn as far as possible from the cold upon earth, but the thick snow that covered the fields so white that it radiated a faint light over the ground. Frofn time to time the wind stirred the sleeping surface, chasing it along in small clouds which rose straight into the air as though seeking escape from their tormentor.

A gloomy night, a sad night—the sort of night when one can imagine spirits abroad. When the howling of the wind abated, a sinister sound would occasionally roll through the night—a far-off boom that held within it the voice of war.

Near the road which was faintly distinguishable even in the night as a dark line where many feet had sullied the snow’s whiteness, sat a shiv-ering group of soldiers, huddled over an almost extinguished fire.

The wind seemed to single them out as special object of its fury, dash-ing the snowdrifts against them as foaming waves against a rock. The soldiers had pulled their collars up over their ears and their caps well down over their foreheads, but neither fur nor cloth could protect them against the icy storm.

What Vasile Saw part 10

But what was it that the Son of God was bearing on his shoulders— something dark and heavy and enormously large.His Cross! Christ too was carrying His Cross, why? oh! why..So lightly did He...

What Vasile Saw part 9

Why war? why suffering and cold and sacrifices when life might be easy—why? why? Why a God in the Heavens… too far off? Why symbols and superstitions and prejudices that had no clear meaning,...

What Vasile Saw part 8

Others rose to examine the longed-for wood Vasile had brought and exclamations of all kinds arose.The prisoners raised their heads and stared with sullen eyes at those who were talking. But Vasile was dumb....

What Vasile Saw part 7

With a rapid movement Vasile seized the first cross and tried to pull it from the frozen ground. … The cross resisted—resisted like a tree with roots deep down in the ground, resisted like...

What Vasile Saw part 6

Vasile crossed himself instinctively, murmuring under his breath a prayer for the dead. He stood gazing in a dazed way at those three melancholy effigies, vaguely wondering the end of whose road they marked....

What Vasile Saw part 5

“Wood—wood! I was to find wood,” he grumbled. “Where in this damned desert is there any wood I wonder! My God, what a night!The wind cuts like a whip and the snow it drives...

What Vasile Saw part 4

Vasile shrugged his shoulders. “As you will,” he said, slinging his gun upon his back and without further protest set out, wading with stiff movements through the deep uneven snow, little caring which way...

What Vasile Saw part 3

A gust of wind whirled up a great wave of snow and each man turned so as to meet the onslaught with his back.“A night for wolves,” said one.“A night for the devil,” said...

What Vasile Saw part 2

Their burly guardians paid little attention to them; in short sentences which the wind seemed to rend, they were talking to their only young companion who stood leaning on his gun as in summer...

What Vasile Saw part 1

Marie, Queen of Roumania (1875-1935)JUST as one never thinks of Conrad as anything but an English writer, so one considers Queen Marie as Roumanian. She became, at the age of fifteen, the wife of...

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