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