Geneviéve Marie Pauline, marquise de Foucault, was born in Anjou and had just finished moving into the Château de Pronleroy in Picardy when World War I broke out in 1914. Pronleroy was behind the German lines for nearly three weeks before the tide of battle turned at the Marne and Pronleroy was left in a narrow zone of French territory close to the front. The sounds of the guns, the nightly whirr of hostile aeroplanes, and the threat of capture (more than once imminent) was a continual part of daily life for the inhabitants of the château. It became a scene of desolation, but Madame de Foucault stuck to what she considered her post, and for four years -- except for a few brief visits to family in Anjou and Orleans -- she played her role of hostess to an endless succession of army staff officers, men, and refugees quartered at the château or on its grounds. At the beginning of the war, Madame de Foucault's 16-year-old daughter Simone started a scrapbook with newspaper clippings and bits of village talk about the war. After Simone went away to school, her mother took up the idea of a journal, inspired by the example of her ancestor, the Marquise de La Rochejacquelein, who kept a similar journal of her life during the 1793 royalist insurrection known as the "War in the Vendée" during the French Revolution. Part of Madame de Foucault's diary was published in the Revue des Deux Mondes in 1929 and in book form in 1931 as A Château at the Front, 1914-1918.