The Asyle Helene is supported partly by endowments and partly by State aid, and is managed by a committee. In connection therewith is also a boys’ school at Penteleimon, founded by the Ghika family, and remodelled by King Charles in 1868, to which a hospital of invalids is attached.
The girls’ training school of the State at Bucarest is an admirable institution, presided over by an accomplished and energetic lady, who expressed great regret that the want of sufficient funds prevented them from competing with the Asyle Helene, which is acknowledged to be of a higher order.
There is also a German ‘Realschule’ in Bucarest, founded by a benevolent German, at which the teaching is all that can be desired; but as to the State normal school for young men intended as country teachers—well, we refrain from expressing any opinion of our own. A learned friend hinted something about the application of dynamite to the whole concern; and if it could be done without injury to human life, perhaps that would be the best course to adopt.
The one fact in connection with the state of education in Roumania, however, which forces itself upon our notice, is the question of teaching the youth of the country at home.
Primary instruction is sure to progress; it rests to a large extent with the Government, and in the course of time teachers will be forthcoming to carry out the excellent system in its integrity; but as to applied science and higher education generally, that depends upon parents themselves; and, modifying a well-known saying, it resolves itself into the question of ‘Roumanians for Roumania, or Roumanians for France?’
And this reminds us of a matter to which we must make a brief reference, though it will be more fully treated hereafter, namely, the ethnographical character of the people of Roumania; for whilst it is unfortunate that in practical everyday life and in politics they do not at present rely sufficiently upon their own internal resources, there is no doubt that theoretically they are very sensitive and proud of their nationality. To a stranger visiting the country for a brief period this is the most perplexing question of all; but the perusal of its history, and a careful consideration of the opinions of well-known writers, bring into prominence certain facts which cannot fail to be interesting. From the number of tribes and nationalities by which the country has at various times been overrun, it is impossible for an unprejudiced thinker to come to any other conclusion than that, like ourselves, the Roumanians are a mixed race, although the Latin undoubtedly predominates; and to the evidence of history may be added that of the language and customs of the country. The language not only presents a variety arising out of the domination of the various races, but in some respects indicates the nature of that domination, and the customs have a like significance. As a general rule the Roumanian language is derived from the Latin, but there are many words of Turkish, modern Greek, Polish, and Hungarian or Magyar origin. Amongst the Latin words are the names of many localities and towns which have evidently existed since the Roman period, as witness:—