The lady members of the fire brigade in 'Paris, who are the lions of the hour, are young English girls—the Misses Mortimer, Nicholls, Bessell, Pritchard, and Jeffs—who have come over with the delegates of the English fire brigades. They are all Londoners. I had a talk with the whole party, and with Major Beath, late of the King's Fusiliers, and Captain Louis, late Breach Consul trad ex-secretary of the French Embassy in London, under whose care two of the young ladies were placed by their fathers. Major Heath told me that to Miss Mortimer the honor Was due of taking the first step. Mr Louis suggested it to her. After a great fire he said to her that there was really no more danger in getting out vt a high window than out of one on a •first floor, if there were nerve and a cool determination to hold on to the rope or ladder. The peril lay, he said, in flurry and want of pluck. Were some plucky girls to show women how easy it is to make descents from top windows, the victims from fire would not be so many. Miss Mortimer consequently tried. She made her first perilous descent from a fifth story at Coventry. I asked her how she felt, and 9he said nervous, but not flurried or really afraid. All the girls began with perilous descents, and were not trained gradually to make their plunges down life-saving canvases. One of them made a plunge from the top of a, very high house, and was on her feet and safe in a moment, so that she had not time to be scared at what she had done. They have learned to go np ropes and ladders as well as down. While we talked, the young ladies, who were in ordinary clothes, were reminded that they had wry little time to dres3 for a soiree in the Avenue de Wagram, where the Prefect of Police and his fire brigade staff were to meet the Congress. After the soirsSe they were to be taken to the El Dorado, where 600 places had been engaged for the t]»legates of France and the foreign nations represented here. I remained to see them in their costumes, and tslked meanwhile with Major Heath. He told me that Madame Carnot had invited the girls to Fontainebleau, and that the President at the general review on Sunday was to see them at work. Everyone, he said, treated them with respect and sympathy. The objects of the Firemen's Congress were to make known the best means of preventing and putting out fires, and to make insurance companies bear a great part of the expense of keeping up efficient fire brigades, and provide for men maimed in trying to extinguish fires in insured houses. Resolutions to this effect having been carried, the young ladies came back dressed in their uniforms. They had red silk caps, dark blue short skirts not descending below the calf, soft leather boots, neat bodices, with broad brass buttons, and turned up with red at the neck and the cuffs. They went to dine in an improvised restaurant in a big court yard, where a shed had been erected to serve as a refectory. The young ladies sat at the end of the central table, the head of which was taken by a young man representing a Staffordshire brigade.—' Daily News' Paris Correspondent.
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Lady Firemen., Evening Star, Issue 8046, 24 October 1889
Lady Firemen. Evening Star, Issue 8046, 24 October 1889
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