RUMANIA: Vintila After Jon

Death sped unseen across a white-walled courtyard, passed up a marble stair, and seemed to pause, irresolute, last week, in the bedchamber of Rumania's greatest man. The room, warmed by a great tile stove, was cozy; and Prime Minister Jon Bratiano, 63, clung hard to warmth and life. He could not speak, for inflammation brought on by blood infection, had gagged his throat; but with a steady hand he wrote to the physicians who bent over him: "Do not be impatient. I shall make a good fight."

Three throat operations,...

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