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