I wish you had once heard a conversation round the dinner table. It was amusing. Someone threw up the question, what he would do if he had some milliards.
The Prince* said: “I should do something to do away with the dreadful illnesses that make the country weak;” the aide de camp said: “I should build villages for the peasants;” a painter said: “I should make an arena in white marble for popular festivals;” the Princess** said: “I should have beautiful horses and flowers everywhere;” I*** said: “I would build a cathedral with a school for every art belonging to it, so that one would have to come to our country to learn;” and the Russian minister said: “And I should keep them for myself!”
The King**** said nothing at all, and quietly listened, covering a smile under the moustache he was gently twisting.
It was such an amusing conversation, so characteristic for everybody!
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* Crown-Prince Ferdinand
** Crown-Princess Maria
*** Queen Elisabeth of Romania
**** King Carol I. of Romania (1843-1916)
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From a letter of Queen Elisabeth of Romania to an American friend, from January 9th, 1902, in Bucharest. Source: “Letters and Poems of Queen Elisabeth of Romania (Carmen Sylva)”, Boston, The Bibliophile Society, 1920.