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
Belief in the Good
Wednesday, September 9
Maubeuge fell yesterday, and 40,000 prisoners were captured, mostly British. Now the great battle under the walls of Paris is going on. How will it end? The Kaiser, besides his appeal to the American people, has also telegraphed to President Wilson. What’s at the bottom of this? The Germans have been practically crawling to the Americans ever since the outbreak of war. And now these appeals. Who, with a victorious army behind him, like the Kaiser, should care what the outside world thinks? We have been assured that their cause is a just one. Well then, why protest? Today, rumours are current on the Stock Exchange that the United States was going to declare war. And in fact, with Turkey shivering in its shoes, uncertainty over Italy, Spain and the United States’ intentions, there’s no rest at all. Canada is catching it. She is in very bad odour indeed. She refused to pay dividends of the Pacific Railway to either Austrians or Germans until cessation of hostilities.
Spain is running a special mail service three times a week, from Bilbao to Southamption, and all the little countries are getting in as much business as they can, while they can.
The new Pope, Benedict XV, has had columns devoted to his biography. He seems a very active man indeed.
Thursday, September 10.
We met the Thapell Meister from the Chicago Opera House (a German), and he told us that King Clark was in a sanatorium in Switzerland, suffering again with his head. He was very bad indeed.Of course, the man is overworked, over 108 lessons a week, and not even a summer holiday. He was rich, too, so there was no occasion to kill himself like this.
We’re living on tenderhooks to know how the great battle near Paris is progressing. We think perhaps the Australians are in it. Poor old France! It would be nice if she had a victory now. She’s had a goodly lose of hard luck, and deserves cheering up.
Miss Waller is coming this afternoon. She visits us twice a week and stays the night. As we have the grocer’s wife, so she has the chemist, with whom she discourses the various phases of events.
There’s been a great fuss about English soldiers using dum-dum bullets. We passes a window yesterday where one was on view “Notice: A dum-dum found on an English prisoner.” It’s all a made-up yarn, to excuse the Germans from having destroyed Louvain. Anyhow, as one man justly remarked; “What is the Zeppelin airship but a form of guerilla warfare, where bombs are dropped in the darkness of the night on innocent women and children, and even on hospitals?” These airships remind me of sneaking tomcats, prowling round the back fences in the depths of the night.
Monday, September 14.
Miss Waller has just left. We compare notes, and try and piece the impenetrable secrecy of the German papers. We can’t get any news. Although the Austrians were again evidently defeated at Lemberg, do you think the accounts credited Russia with the victory? Not in any way. One report said very naively:- “The Austrians were ‘voluntarily compelled’ to retire.” Isn’t that an Irishism? The Russians have been completely defeated and driven out of East Prussia by General von Hindenberg and his army.He is at the present moment the national hero, and is likened to Blucher, nicknamed “Marshall Forwards”. What the Allies are doing near Paris is a dead secret. The Germans are wondering themselves, as fights on the Marne are now reported.
Wewn’t the people disappointed when only 120 British were found in fortress of Maubege! And when these innocent 120 offered to shake hands with their German victors these said victors knocked the proffered hands on one side and muttered their intense dislike. The German account said:”Taking fortresses is not a boxing match, or a game of football; and it shows how little the average Englishman appreciates the sanctity and seriousness of war.”
There in a nutshell is one of the lights on this great contest – namely, an open, manly spirit against this terrible Prussian militarism.
It couldn’t hurt to take an offered hand; after three weeks of pounding away with heavy artillery, and the dessert of the 42 centimetre gun. But, you see, it’s again a case of different points of view. We heard on Saturday that the reason why Belfort hasn’t yet fallen is that in each fort the French have placed 800 German prisoners, and as the 42 centremetre gun kills the said 800 in one blow, the Germans are chary of using it. Only the usual heavy artillery can be employed, unless the general staff loses its patience and turns on this monster, in spite of the prisoners.
Perhaps if Prince Rupprecht is really a prisoner, he is immured within these walls. One has to use cunning against inhuman machines.
I don’t know how the loan is progressing, but even servants are invited to deposit their 100 marks. Bankruptcy cases are asked to terminate their legal processes, in order that the tied up money may be got at. Krupp, and the many insurance companies have sent in their millions, but it looks as if the bullions won’t be accumulated in a night.
To be continued