When it comes to inspirational women, I just had to add Mildred Aldrich. I have mentioned her before in the blog but I have now had time to read a little more of her amazing story, first published in 1915 by Constable and Company, London - "A Hilltop on the Marne".
Mildred was an American writer and journalist who moved to Paris. She decided to retire 'somewhere quiet in the country' and, at the age of 61 in June 1914, Mildred moved to a cottage on a hill overlooking the River Marne. It surely doesn't take much imagination to work out what happened next, especially since Mildred mentions that "trains to Belgium, Metz and Strasbourg pass within sight of my garden"...
I have often wondered how people found about what was happening in an age when scarcely anyone had a telephone and long before radio came on the scene, let alone television. Mildred answers that question telling us that in France at any rate, the local (equivalent of a) policeman went down the road banging a drum and posting up copies of the Order for Mobilisation.
After that, Mildred goes on to say "I silently returned to my garden and sat down. War again! This time war close by - not war about which one can read ... in the newspapers".
On 24th August 1914 Mildred wrote: "Brussels occupied Thursday, Namur fallen Monday."
Mildred wrote extensively about her experiences and her writing, in my humble opinion, makes fascinating reading. She was a friend of poet Gertrude Stein and mixed with many of the literary stars who lived in Paris in the early part of the 20th Century. Do try to read some of her work.
"A Hilltop on the Marne" is available on Gutenberg.