World War I – Behind Enemy Lines.- The Drummond Sisters- 17.

The Drummond sisters were born and raised on the Clarence River in Australia.

Early in the 20th Century they lived in Berlin, Germany, and worked for the opera company there, for many years.

When war broke out in 1914, they were ‘trapped’ for some time – Behind Enemy Lines. This is their story, in their own words.

A Little Good News

‘Lute’ continues the sisters’ story of their plight of being – Behind Enemy Lines

Monday, August 31

Dear Mother, we were, can I say almost “reverently happy” on Saturday night. Miss Waller was having supper with us, when the evening paper came with the news of the first naval battle off Heligoland. Only a short paragraph- not any comments- just that the “far numerically superior” British boats sank three cruisers and a destroyer. We read it with bated breaths, but so quietly- almost as if it were too good to be true; for we’ve had to peruse such stuff for a whole month, about “ the English Shopkeeper’s miserable soul,” that we could hardly believe our glorious navy had any spirit left. Next day came the wonderful account of the chivalrous English sailors, who, risking their lives, tried to save the enemy. We wonder what they did. It must have been something extraordinary, or else the German papers would never have published it. Still, the people call this victory nothing. They say, “Wait- we’ll sink your whole navy yet. Your turn comes last. After we’ve thoroughly thrashed France and Russia we’ll have time to deal with perfidious Albion.”

The beautiful spirit of the British seaman is evidently the reason of his success. In an unbroken record of almost fabulous victories for the Germans for 31 days comes this little account of a noble deed for us, which made us both happy and humble.

The Germans have sold their two battle cruisers the Goeben and Breslau to the Turks. Fancy parting with two men-o’-war at such a critical time. Do you think they are scared?

Today is the full account of the Russian defeat in East Prussia. We knew 14 days ago the dreadful plan of the Germans, to put planks, grass, and seeming safety over those swamps, marshes and loosened dam, and then just drive the Russians headlong on to an appalling death. Think of the poor horses, and the thousands drowned, not in water, but in mud! One shudders at the horrors of this war. It makes me quite sick. Fight fairly and squarely, that is manly, but the tales one hears from all sides are worse than the mutilations of savages, or the terrors of the inquisition. We are told that the Russians enter a village, cut the right arm off every German man and boy capable of bearing a gun- disgrace the women, burn the people alive, and other monstrosities that can’t be put on paper. All these horrors are told by eye-witnesses who can never be found. But I can’t believe them. It’s the same with the Belgians. Do you think that this wonderful brave race could do a quarter of the things published in the German papers? Impossible. Always eye-witnesses have related these revolting things- but what the public believes during a war is to me one of the most astounding revelations that I’ve yet made.

All commonsense, judgment, balance and justice just disappear from the human mind, and the brain becomes like a dried up sponge, thirsting, not for wells of truth, but for the polluted springs of fantastic lies and accounts of degradation that panders to personal corruption.

We’re all crazy – nobody, not even the smallest child, thinks of anything but the war. The Germans now never dream of anything but the greatest and most glorious victory. Every house in Berlin is hung with flags, children carry them through the streets- such a thing as the intervention of a destiny finds not a corner in anyone’s brain. Poor France! When I read Poincare’s proclamation to his people on Saturday, I cried in my heart. He said “Our soldiers go without a quiver under the heaviest fire of lead and iron that the world has ever known.” And it was so true.

This terrible 42 centimetre gun- and an automatic heavy artillery machine, that can mow men down six feet deep. Think of it!It was tested on a forest first. In five minutes not a tree was left standing. It’s like fighting against fate. In their own account this morning I read where one shrapnel shell killed seventy-two French.

But, in the midst of all these crushing facts, I mustn’t forget to tell you that the defeat of the British Army was the only official report that was placarded on every column throughout the whole of Berlin. It was given out from the general staff and remains since Friday stuck up in every prominent place in the German capital. Don’t they glory in the humiliation of our soldiers? But we never lose heart, and grudge them nothing. If victory makes the Prussians still more unbearable, that isn’t our loss. They will also have a day of reckoning. Of that, I’m quite positive. The Kaiser addressed his troops after the battle of Metz, and told them that “ Unser guten alten Gott”(our good old God- perhaps better Our God of Ages) had not deserted them, so you see “Ich” is still “King” by Divine Right.

We’ve never heard the word “Japan” since its declaration of war. From Australia we read with joy that it had sent practical help to Belgium, and Canada’s great gift was also another oasis in this German desert.

My brain works at angles and tangents. Think of the vagaries of the complacent “Mona Lisa”. We hear that she’s been stowed away in the steel chamber of Paris, together with “Venus de Milo”. When I think of the beautiful Louvre, and all its priceless treasures, then I realise how the Parisians must be feeling now.

If only Belgium gets back its independence! We’re hoping that England will win just for the sake of Belgium. It would be so lovely to be able to restore this gallant kingdom back to its rightful owners. Ah me1 If one were only God! How he regulates justice is to me incomprehensible- as we humans are such a mass of prejudice and personal feeling. But everything will come right in the end, and the fate of this little country then will no longer weigh so heavily on our hearts.

Its strange, but one never feels sorry for Germany. She always appears to me like a great big wonderful machine, too orderly to be pitied – too much iron about her to awaken sympathy.


World War I – Behind Enemy Lines.- The Drummond Sisters- 16.

The Drummond sisters were born and raised on the Clarence River in Australia.

Early in the 20th Century they lived in Berlin, Germany, and worked for the opera company there, for many years.

When war broke out in 1914, they were ‘trapped’ for some time – Behind Enemy Lines. This is their story, in their own words.

Losing Hope

‘Lute’ continues the sisters’ story of their plight of being – Behind Enemy Lines

Saturday, August 29, 1914

We’ve given up all hope. Nothing short of a miracle can save Paris now. The Germans have simply carried all before them, from Antwerp to the borders of Switzerland. French, English, Belgians completely defeated in all directions, and the Russians too, are getting now their daily portion. It takes one’s breath away to read of the rapidity and thoroughness of all their doings. Now their great desire is to get to either Antwerp or Calais and from there let “Zeppelin” loose on England.their terrible gun, that with one shot knocks a whole fort into ruins, terrifies me. Who and what can withstand it? The people say that the War Ministry wouldn’t buy it from the Krupps on account of the difficulty of transport – three engines to move it – so this inhuman machine was sent along by Krupps’ firm itself, manned by their own men, who alone understood the functions of this deadly monster.

Every day, with brilliant monotony, the extraordinaries are cast broad-shed through the streets, with glowing lines of brilliant successes. It must be too wonderful for the people.

Yesterday I paid a visit to Elizabeth Rotten, and the whole way I heard nothing but newspaper men crying out “complete defeat of the English Army” (Total Mederlage de Englische Armee.) What will Kitchener think?

And Belgium, beaten and occupied, and branded all over Germany as the home of beasts and monsters? Poor Belgium, we feel sorrier for it than words can tell. Trusting in the might of France and England and left alone to face the brunt of a huge German Army. Its fate is too terrible.

Prince Rupprecht of Baravia lost his eldest son, quite suddenly on Thursday. He caught diphtheria and succumbed before one knew he was ill. He was only thirteen, and very promising. Now the little chap who stood on his head inherits. He is the only surviving child.

Miss Waller came in on Thursday. She had been to a service in the Dome, where the refugees from East Prussia were having special prayers. She said it was very impressive. The Crown Princess was there, and the Royal Chaplain, himself a native of these Provinces, as well as all present, quite broke down in the midst of the ceremony. These poor peasants are quite homeless, but the city is providing food, lodging and comforts. Today the Russians have been beaten out of East Prussia. I suppose General Hindenburg drowned them all in that frightful mud and water set for them.

The Germans lost their first man-of-war this week, and the Russians were the heroes of this event. A beautiful “In Memoriam” to its memory appeared in the papers. Its heroic end was described etc. Of course, the Russians weren’t given any credit. The boat simply sacrificed itself by running on a bank, then “the numerically superior” enemy simply rushed in on its wounded prey, like ‘hungry hyaenas.’ Miss Hilder’s contract at Elberfield was declared invalid, owing to her English birth, and Jean also received notice that Barmen was not likely to be opened this season. The manager doesn’t quite know Jean’s nationality – they can’t distinguish between Australian, British, Americans

The women can’t be cured of their interest in the foreign captive officers. They were actually asking these broken-up prisoners for postcard autographs. Very stringent rules are being issued to cure these silly women.

To be continued

World War I – Behind Enemy Lines.- The Drummond Sisters- 15.

The Drummond sisters were born and raised on the Clarence River in Australia.

Early in the 20th Century they lived in Berlin, Germany, and worked for the opera company there, for many years.

When war broke out in 1914, they were ‘trapped’ for some time – Behind Enemy Lines. This is their story, in their own words.

No Good News for Us

‘Lute’ continues the sisters’ story of their plight of being – Behind Enemy Lines

Wednesday, August 26.

So, today week, the Germans expect to be in Paris- September 2nd, the anniversary of Sedan. Poor Belgium has already almost ceased to exist. No French is allowed in the conquered parts- the newspapers are printed in German, General von der Goltz, of Turkish fame, and our pet aversion, has been made Governor, and altogether the outlook is most hopeless.

What must Belgium think of France and England and their rosy promises? They can’t yet believe that the Germans possess their beautiful country- What will they do? I won’t have the heart to write any more, if we don’t get some scrap of comfort. The English infantry was also among the French army that fled before the Duke of Wurtemburg’s sword, to the account runs. Wild rumors went around the town last night, that not only General French, but Lord Kitchener was also a prisoner. Even the paper was humorous, and remarked we must first have the War Office in Downing Street, before we can get Kitchener.

The Austrians had a great victory today over the Russians, and altogether Germany’s enemies are faring very badly indeed. We are always holding councils of war in our bedroom. Miss Waller came again last night to talk over the situation. She thinks England must be planning something big. We hope so.

Jean went yesterday afternoon for her lesson, but Schoen Rene held forth for two and a half hours on the war, till our unfortunate sister got pains in her head with suppressed wrath. What she has to listen to against England is maddening. Germany is going to make them all pay- millions and millions she will demand. The whole map of Europe is to be altered, and in fact, the geography and history of the whole world is to be built up on a new basis.

Of course, there was no time for singing lesson, although Jean sat there from 4 pm till 6 30pm. The amusing thing about these ardent patriots is that they naturalize themselves as citizens of another country, and rather wear the Stars and Stripes of America than their own Schwartz, Weiss, rot (Black, white, red). In fact, human nature is altogether a mass of contradictions and I retire baffled from the field. We’re wondering how Mr von Kellar is faring in the Crimea. He was a guest there of a Russian family. He should have collected a nice handful of experience during these stormy weeks.

On the 21st August a total eclipse of the sun was to eventuate , and in order to study this phenomenon under the best conditions, a party of German scientists at the invitation of the Russian Government in July were settled in the Crimea. There these worthy men were sitting with their telescopes peering into the heavens for danger signals, when war broke out. Eight of the number really enjoyed a partial eclipse, for they were landed into prison, while the rest managed to scrambled back just in time to see the event from the heights of a German Observatory.

There was another party of naturalists, who were last heard of in the Canary Isles. They went out to study the monkey and his habits- and are still missing-(not links). Isn’t it laughable, how almost every individual was cut short in the midst of a career, a scientific discovery, a plan, a declaration of love, even a good or a bad deed?From the 1st of August Europe cried “Halt” and the wheels of ordinary life ceased to move – exactly as the sun obeyed Joshua’s command.

If we shall be able to resume where we left off after the victory has been won, is doubtful.

To be continued

World War I – Behind Enemy Lines.- The Drummond Sisters- 14.

The Drummond sisters were born and raised on the Clarence River in Australia.

Early in the 20th Century they lived in Berlin, Germany, and worked for the opera company there, for many years.

When war broke out in 1914, they were ‘trapped’ for some time – Behind Enemy Lines. This is their story, in their own words.

More About the German Victories

‘Lute’ continues the sisters’ story of their plight of being – Behind Enemy Lines

Monday, August 24, 1914

We’re brokenhearted. The French have been defeated all along the line, beginning with the heading off of the English cavalry; then the success of the German Crown Prince at Longwy, the trumph of the Duke of Wurtemburg, and ending with the glorious victory of the Bavarian Prince at Metz. We’re sitting in sackcloth and ashes. Not one bold dash from our side to cheer our hearts up. Can’t they really do anything? The Triple entente? Jean counsels me always to wait; and there i am waiting, and in the meantime the Kaiserin is kissing and embracing the Crown Princess on the Palace balcony; the crowds are cheering, singing, and enjoying their great victories, and the poor English hotels in Unter den Linden listen nameless to the enthusiasm. Hotel Bristol- unknown-the name is blackened over- the same fate befalls the hotels Savoy and Westminster. We only see Cafe Drei Wurst (Three Sausages), Hotel Adlon, and suchlike, presenting to us a face bristling with Germanism, pride and aggressiveness. Next time a war breaks out I hope to enjoy it on my own soil, and among my own people.

When Prince Rupprecht’s nine-year-old son (the second one) heard of his father’s victory, he said: “I must stand on my head,” and he immediately wagged his little legs in the air, to the satisfaction of his bubbling, childish heart. He’s evidently a chip off the old block, and a good sport.

Since Saturday the bells of the Catholic Church near us have scarcely ceased ringing. The church is only three minutes’ distance, so we get the full benefit, noisily musical, of the Pope’s funeral obsequies.

We went into town after supper, just to watch the crowds. Thousands walking about – celebrating the glad tidings. I don’t think the Germans will ever forgive the Japs their war declaration. I’m sure their ultimatum brought the hot blood to the Kaiser’s cheeks. I would have had a paralytic stroke on the spot. They left the ultimatum unanswered; but they are bitter, and no wonder. You see, the rub is that they at first wanted this smart race to participate in this banquet of nationalities. The Japs joined the glad throng; and now there’s no word bad enough to paint their conduct. “ Smiling they came to us, and smiling they left us.” And personally, I think, smiling they’ll enjoy attacking their European opponent. It will tickle their pride to outdo their masters.

There was a very curious document printed in the ‘Lokal’ yesterday – Austrian official explanation of their Servian action”

They must be making little or no headway against this small country, and must also be losing much life; for the official Note said “that it was a difficult war for the laity to understand- as the Servians were always numerically superior (!!!), and what’s more, they were fighting for their very existence.” One concludes that the Servians must be doing well, and fighting bravely, else why print this?They also went on to say that the Austrians must not look for victories in this quarter, it was against Russia that the decisive battles would be fought. Ashmead Bartlett, an English war correspondent, said before the outbreak of war, that the Austrians with their millions would never defeat the Servians. It looks like it.

The Hungarians today also demanded an explanation as to the tardy progress of their troops against Servia. Austria’s action is termed “an expedition of punishment.”Servia resembles so far the naughty boy who stole the farmer’s apples, then jumped the fence with his spoil, and from his ground of vantage, impudently invited the farmer and his whip to come on and over, if you can.

The Prussian Crown Prince’s victory was received with the greatest enthusiasm. Extraordinaries were scattered far and wide, pasted up in every window. First we heard that he captured 80,000 french, then 40,000. This morning it reads quite tame, dwindling down to “some thousands of prisoners were taken.”

Jean has just burst in upon me with the news that the Russians are coming. Now I’ll be like the Germans: “The Cossacks are coming, hurrah, hurrah, “ to be sung to the air “The Campbell’s are coming”.

Some of the landsturm must go off at once, and an old major on the invalid staff has left from our house already for the Russian border. Our grocer’s wife, who, by the way is a Belgian (naturalized)banker’s sister and has lived fifteen years in Antwerp, gives Jean all these exciting tit-bits. She has been days again without news of her naval husband, and is very uneasy. You see, we have never heard any more about the various navies since the sinking of the English submarine – so we’re beginning to think that a naval battle is not on the plan of campaign.

Tuesday, August 25.

On Sunday the first thousand of refugees arrived from East Prussia. They had a pitiful tale to tell of plundering and burning. The tears filled our eyes, as we thought of these poor unfortunate peasants, homeless and destitute. The city is asking for money, food, clothes, homes, anything in fact, for these poor things. I have a bundle of things to send, which are lying useless in our trunks. I suppose they fled without saving a thing.

Today Namur has fallen, thanks to some wonderful siege guns the Germans possess. They have six of these deadly weapons, each shot costing 38,000 marks. They are enormous, and their working is a secret. God help Antwerp when they get to business there.

The Germans have a great plan for the destruction of the invading Russians. They have a dam at Elbing, near Konigsberg- which they have already broken- and the whole country round about is being flooded. This, with the Masurian Lakes and swamps, will drown the whole army operating there. So with the Russians’ fire and Germans’ floods, these East Provinces are not to be envied.

The Kaiser has bestowed the Iron Cross on the Crown Prince for his great deed, and telegrams of congratulation are flying all round the country. It really is astounding, what the Germans are accomplishing. One long unbroken chain of victories. The people in the streets are behinning to walk with their chests out, and joy written on every feature. From all accounts, they should be justly proud of their great army.

There are at present, 100,000 unemployed in Berlin, and no gold to be had anywhere. Brussels has already been asked for a goodly sum, war levy, and Ghent also. This Armageddon will cost a pretty penny by the time all accounts are settled. But let everybody go ahead. There’s nothing liker getting rid of bad blood to clear the atmosphere. The nations will be quiet after this.

I think the last batch of Americans leave today. Their warships are waiting to take them home. Mustn’t they be glad to get out of Europe?

To be continued

World War I – Behind Enemy Lines.- The Drummond Sisters- 13.

The Drummond sisters were born and raised on the Clarence River in Australia.

Early in the 20th Century they lived in Berlin, Germany, and worked for the opera company there, for many years.

When war broke out in 1914, they were ‘trapped’ for some time – Behind Enemy Lines. This is their story, in their own words.

The Wait Continues

‘Lute’ continues the sisters’ story of their plight of being – Behind Enemy Lines

The Kaiserin and the Princess were objects of enthusiastic ovations, and the streets were filled almost all night with jubilant crowds, cheering and singing their national songs. Today is a public holiday for the schools, and altogether we’re quite out of it.

Isn’t party feeling a curious thing? Why should we take sides with the French? We have lived in Germany nearly seven years now, and have only experienced kindnesses at their hands, yet we were almost on the verge of tears when we heard that they had been beaten. We bought a half-bottle of French wine and drank a glass of the sparkling ruby to their better success next time.

But, in spite of everything, war is glorious. Think how fine for manhood, how beautiful the deeds that are done. One has got tired of sitting so constantly on the high office stool of life, where thoughts become dull and grey from sheer routine- and where impromptu actions are out of place, because monotonous habit has made them so.

The war hasn’t made a scrap of difference to Berlin. No one would guess even that she was in the throes of a life and death struggle. Last night the streets were full, and where all the men come from puzzles me. A detachment of very young volunteers passed just as Inez was leaving us about 10. 30 pm. They were singing and marching with great vim. No one has paid any attention to the death of the Pope. Just glance at the heading and read greedily further. Australia’s name has been popping up rather frequently since the Japanese step. The paper mentions our antipathy to this race, and draws conclusions of our disapproval with England. They don’t know us, do they?

Eight o’clock- We’re in a fever of excitement. We’ve just read where the English soldiers are being shipped to Belgium, and have conned King George’s parting address. Oh, we’re glad. Aren’t we dying for the Highlanders to be true to their traditions, and the cavalry to have a charge? We’re very proud. For the Germans have been laughing all the time at our soldiers. (Jean and I have only one wish in this war, and that is to see a good colonial cavalry charge.)

Now these poor innocent English things are to be let loose in a continental war, and we’ll see. The paper tonight said it will be interesting to study their different foes when they have them all prisoners together. In fact, they remarked how nice it would be to see the English and Russians, for instance, in the same company. Fancy, over 10,000 French prisoners taken at Metz! Our hearts are bleeding.

I can just see a tinge of jealousy among the Berliners over the Bavarian Crown Prince’s victory. Wouldn’t they have loved their own Prussian Crown Prince to have led the charge? There are postcards of him dashing on the French with swinging sword, and the poor French are flying before the wrath of his naked steel on to the four corners of the printed space. We must buy some. They will be interesting souvenirs, though published rather early, don’t you think?

Oh I wonder who’s commanding the English troops; of course, we hear absolutely nothing here but satirical remarks about the enemy. We’ve waited 22 days and are fed up only with German heroism and sincerity, while the rest of the world resolves itself, not only into a liar and cheat, but a coward as well. We feel like shouldering the rifle ourselves at times; but now that England has kept her word and sent help along, we feel more contented. You see one would think that England was only looking after her own skin, according to the Germans. They insinuated that she had left both France and Belgium in the lurch, and as we saw nothing to contradict this statement, we were beginning to feel sheepish and unpleasant. Now we have our self-respect once more, and in the Duke of Wellington’s pithy command:” “Up, Guards, and at ’em,”which is all we want.

To be continued

World War I – Behind Enemy Lines.- The Drummond Sisters- 12.

The Drummond sisters were born and raised on the Clarence River in Australia.

Early in the 20th Century they lived in Berlin, Germany, and worked for the opera company there, for many years.

When war broke out in 1914, they were ‘trapped’ for some time – Behind Enemy Lines. This is their story, in their own words.

‘Lute’ continues the sisters’ story of their plight of being – Behind Enemy Lines

Friday, August 21st– Miss Waller came yesterday to coffee and supper, and we had a great old chat. We laughed till the tears came about the change of front in the newspapers over Japan. First, when they were supposed to fight the Russians, they were a noble, fine class, even postcards were printed depicting the Jap prodding a pitchfork into the tail of the Russian bear, then slices of Siberia were apportioned off to them, including Vladivostock; now they are treacherous, dirty, carnivorous lot who just obey the slightest hint from England. Dear me! England is catching it over this move. It was too clever for Germany. Australia was not left open to an overwhelming attack. Everything is attributed to Sir Edward Grey, in fact. I suppose soon he will have murdered the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, and so will have given this awful war its miserable origin.

It was amusing too to read how everyone knew Japan would do this, how it was well known that they always loved the Russians- in fact, the Russo-Japanese war was merely a little family difference that had to be settled!Did you ever read such nonsense? And now the doggerel gets its fourth line, making the stanza complete:-

‘Jeder Schuss ein Russ, Jeder Stoss ein Franzos, Jeder Tritt ein Britt, Jeder Klaps (slap) ein Japs”

The poor old Siamese in Berlin who might be mistaken for Japs on account of their facial contour and colour are asked to wear a ‘white elephant’ in their buttonhole! (I really must laugh.) And the Chinese are to distinguish themselves by a badge of fine colours, red, blue green, yellow and while, I think. Oh, comedy and tragedy, you might merely be twin sisters, so tiny is the difference at times between you.

Jean was to have had her first lesson yesterday, but neither teacher nor pupil can be solely absorbed in the peaceful arts.

Miss Waller told us that she had a little monetary assistance from the King Edward VII Fund in Berlin. Do you remember when Sir Ernest Cassel, a German friend of King Edward’s founded this fund? He gave so much for the needy Germans in England, and a like sum for the poor English in Berlin.

We also gave her 20 marks to go on with, as she only had 30 pfennigs (3s) in her purse. No one has a penny, and there’s no way of getting money. I’m afraid we’ll soon have to quit Berlin, feeling is very bitter against the English, and one can never know how things will turn out.

And what we hear about the Belgians is awful! How they cut the breast off a nurse,poked the eyes out of a lieutenant who is supposed to be now in a Berlin hospital and other things too terrible to be repeated. I say to Jean,”Don’t believe it,” for in the first place a doctor with his sensitive instruments can hardly poke our eyes out and preserve life at the same time, much less an enraged Belgian with the point of his great bayonet. No one could live after that treatment. It’s funny! The Belgians must have inflicted some deadly blow on the Germans’ plans, else why all these frightful statements? Of their bravery or deeds we’ve heard nothing.

Great victories again today. After defeating the Belgians at Tirlemont, the Germans are in Brussels.

“ There was a sound of revelry by night,

And Belgium’s capital had gathered there

Her beauty and her chivalry.”

Sad, very sad, isn’t it? A desecration- words fail me. Then, an English submarine has been sunk, and various torpedoes destroyed by the wonderful long distance firing of the German sailors on the Kerlsruhe: successful cavalry charges against the French, and along the whole line good prospects. Poor us! We never get any chance of rejoicing in even the semblance of a victory.

One sailor, whose letter was published this morning, is in a very jolly mood. He can’t wait until he fires off a few shots at the thick head of an Englishman, and promises his mother, if she’s good and brave, a real tamed Londoner as a present!

Saturday, August 22nd– Yesterday, another overwhelming victory for the Germans. They defeated and Pursued the French at Metz.They were led to victory by Prince Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria. It may interest you to know that his mother, according to Catholic ideas, is the rightful heir to the English throne, being the direct descendant of the elder Stuart line. His sister-in-law is the Queen of the Belgians.

We read the news with a sinking heart. Poor France! Brilliancy and dash are robbing it daily of its sons. The Germans are doing famously. Victory after Victory! The Kaiser telegraphed “Viktoria Luise” the news at Brunswick, and she immediately hurried off on foot herself to the police barracks to acquaint them of the joyful tidings. Returning home in an automobile, she was constantly stopped by the crowds, to whom she read the good news. On reaching her palace she had to come out on the balcony and make a little speech. Nice, isn’t it? I suppose she’s thirsting for Prince Ernst August to do something brilliant- lead a dashing charge, as it must be a fine feeling to possess a daring, heroic husband.

To be continued

World War I – Behind Enemy Lines.- The Drummond Sisters- 11.

The Drummond sisters were born and raised on the Clarence River in Australia.

Early in the 20th Century they lived in Berlin, Germany, and worked for the opera company there, for many years.

When war broke out in 1914, they were ‘trapped’ for some time – Behind Enemy Lines. This is their story, in their own words.

No News but German News

‘Lute’ continues the sisters’ story of their plight of being – Behind Enemy Lines

The lists of dead and wounded are now being daily published and it must make the heart sick to scan these closely written long columns. The wounded also are in the Berlin Lazarettes, only the ‘slightly’, of course, as the serious cases are not at first transported. They are attended to on the spot in the temporary or field hospitals.

Jean has gone off to see Hilders. They are mad to get to England. Their money is exhausting itself, and they are consequently beginning to feel uneasy. Mrs Hilder is over 60, and I’m afraid wouldn’t stand a life of want and privation.

We had a card from Miss Waller this morning. She was out to see us on Sunday, but unfortunately we missed her as we spent that afternoon at Uncle Hoppe’s. She’s coming again tomorrow.

Inez was also here this morning. Her trousseau ardour is not at all damped, and she’s sewing away and buying all kinds of pretty things, for her future home in Africa. She went down to the American Embassy to see if any of the departing American Embassy  would post a letter from the United States to Africa. She wasn’t successful. I’m afraid it would be rather risky for anyone to go away with closed English letters. Of course all the people whom Inez asked were strangers to her. She said she’ll try at the railway station. My letter was not returned from Switzerland, so perhaps Miss Irvine has it ere this.

Imagine what the Kaiser must feel like if it’s true that Japan has declared war! It would turn me either into a devil of despair or revenge.

We read the most frightful things about the Belgians. One woman chopped off a wounded soldier’s head with an axe. They have the knocked the tombstones off the German graves, have killed right and left in a most terrible manner. I can’t think that it’s true. You see, we only have German newspapers, and already we’ve found them out in fibs, convicted out of their own writings, and as we never did place much confidence in the ‘Lokal-Anzeiger,’ we’re left half the time to get the truth out of the English and French lies that are derisively printed. I wonder how will it all end. That great nightmare of the world being overpopulated can now be laid to rest. For millions of the world’s best men will be sacrificed before these war lords have satisfied their political aims; and the women, well, half of them will be dead too, judging by the already thin and starved faces one sees about.

Berlin has opened its first charity kitchen today, where, for the sum of one penny (10 pfennigs) the really poor can get a dinner. The charity works going on and being organized are legion. Everyone is doing something to lessen the want. Take, for instance, our world, the musical and theatrical one. In every German town, however small, is a theatre or theatres. This means not only artists, but workmen, mechanics, orchestra directors, etc. The “ Deutsches Opern Haus” employs a personal of 600. And in Berlin alone are dozens of theatres. Extend your vision over the whole of Germany, which, I think, in legitimate opera houses totals the goodly number of 300 alone. Then come the countless kinos, varieties, dramatic ventures, concerts and so forth. Can you picture in a slight degree the misery of the artistic profession during war? Trained to nothing but their theatrical work, and having little money and over-strained nerves, what are they to do? Shops can’t employ them, as they long since dismissed practically the half of their working staff; factories are closed as there are no men to work them. Charity, such as Red Cross, etc is done by ladies with means and voluntarily. For downright hard work they are unfitted, and anyhow this market is already overstocked. I often wonder what will happen if the war drags on into months. Germany reckons, with this last effort of putting eleven million men in the field.They can’t fight on empty stomachs, and as prisoners also have to be fed there looms very faintly but visibly on the horizon a food problem.Perhaps I’m pessimistic- but we’ll see.

Thursday, August 20th– Yes, it is really true. Japan has really demanded Kiao Chao from Germany! In the words of Bill Adams: “Well, I’d be blowed!” This is the last straw. Now I can plainly see that matters no longer rest in the hands of men- the gods have taken charge of the reins, and the nations are to be tumbled about in a difficult move.

Isn’t fate a coquette? At the beginning of the war the Germans were praying for the Japs to come in and tickle the Russian bear’s tail, as they put it. They were all jubilant how these smart fellows would thrash the Russians; what good friends they were to Germany, how clever they were. What excellent military pupils, etc. Well, now the Germans have them in the war ( but on the wrong side).

Of course, England gets all the blame and ignominy of this fresh step. She is termed the stage manager of this great war. Do you think we can flatter ourselves so far as to think that the world jumps when England presses the button? I wonder what the outside world thinks of this new phase! What do you think at home?

The Germans have had fresh victories in Belgium, Alsace and on the Russian border, and the Turks are praying hard in Constantinople for their successes, so things are more even. This is the first time that public prayers have been offered up in the Mosques for a Christian race. The prayers of the righteous do avail much, but somehow one looks upon the Turk more as a scallywag than as a pious saint.

You remember the fuss about the German women trying to flirt with the captive Belgian and French officers on the railway stations. There’s been a great to do. No more females are allowed on the stations when unwounded prisoners arrive, and the Red Cross women must show their official card, and must have on simple frocks. The first adventurous and gaily-inclined female caught making eyes at the much desired foreign officer is to have her name placarded over the country. It appears that in 1870 the women were also very ready to help the handsome captive to wile away the weary weeks of captivity, and went so far as to scatter roses on their invalid beds.

In this country a strange mixture of qualities? I never did think they possessed what are called ‘honour and morals.’ Evidently the War Office doesn’t trust the women either, as in the proclamation it asks the women: So to conduct themselves that they can look their husbands, fathers and brothers in the eyes when they return home after having defended the honour of the Vaterland.”

To be continued