When I was presented with the offer to write my surviving account of the Titanic, I blatantly refused. This catastrophic event had such an impact on my life, heart and soul, that I was tormented for years of the images, sounds and the stench of death that had swallowed me whole on that day. Its only now, 50 years on that I can finally express the emotion I encountered. As my green satin shoe touched the wet concrete of the dock, I could sense the air of excitement tingle down the back of my spine. The young steward carried our luggage behind us; we felt like royalty and were treated like it as well.
I could feel many jealous eyes upon my husband and I. We had been planning to move to New York for a long time, I suppose we were just looking for the right opportunity and when news got round about the Titanic, my husband could not resist the “cruise of our lifetime”. He never did pass up the excuse to treat me to some kind of luxury, no matter what the cost was, but luckily he could generously afford it. I lavished in the lifestyle he provided for me, I soaked in all the expensive jewellery, our mansion and its acres of land. I loved him ever so much and in fact I still love him to this very day.
I had married Arthur at the age of twenty-three, he was twenty-nine. My parents saw us as a suitable social match that would benefit me greatly as Arthur descended from a long line of high-class successful entrepreneurs while I was from an upper middle class of businessmen. His parents disapproved of the marriage, wanting Arthur to find a woman of a more suitable background, but he was very determined. I slid easily into the role of his wife and our marriage was a happy one. As we boarded, the sense of aristocracy followed us around like a servant to his master.
My glistening eyes were glazed over by the feeling of belonging, I was meant for this style of living. I had dreamed of this company all my life, the company of elegance. Ever since I was a little girl I had dreamt of being a princess, banded in gold and diamonds. Now as my satin shoes padded along the fresh red carpet, I thought of my new life in America, our mansion, our servants, and the high life. My days of a princess had eventually come. I didn’t bother to join the rest of the lower classes on the promenade when the ship set sail.
I didn’t see any reason to be there, there was no one of importance upon the dock; they were all aboard this magnificent voyager. Our accommodation was upon deck A in one of the finest staterooms, which contained a private en suite bathroom, bedroom, two wardrobe rooms and even a private promenade. Each room was decorated to the finest quality; woodcarvings from grand oak surrounded the walls, our mahogany bedposts supported little cherubs on each corner. The image of the bed dominating the room will be forever stained in my memory as that bed shares the last moments I had with my husband.
When we had reached our room, our luggage had already been brought. “What shall we do first my dear? ” Arthur suggested. “I think I shall take a small nap as I am quite tired from our journey, I want to be full spirited for our first evening meal” I replied. “Right then, you take your beauty sleep, I think I shall change for the courts, I fancy a round of badminton” He kissed me good-bye and off he went. My husband wakened me in the evening when we had docked in Normandy, I didn’t think I would sleep well on a ship, but the Titanic sailed beautifully.
I had a smashing game I beat that old major Miles by three games! Why don’t we head down to listen to the orchestra? ” I agreed and got dressed. We had a wonderful evening we danced and dined with the finest. The food lived up to the standards set by the rest of the ship, the meals matched with the meals we had encountered with in Britain’s finest restaurants. The next day I spent with Lady Sheila and Lady Charlotte. We had a grand time and in the evening we dined together as family. My husband had enjoyed the time again in the courts he was a great sportsman.
On the third evening I dressed myself especially as my husband and I were part of a selected company that would dine with the captain. I remember that exact black chiffon dress I wore, banded with rhinestones, over a gilt-patterned white satin motif supported with a shell-pink satin sash and pearl tassels. My husband whispered in my ear “You look stunning” as we entered the banquet hall. The conversation with the captain was quite entertaining. He couldn’t attend the whole course of the meal, as he was wanted upstairs, he was the captain after all.
After we danced romantically to the orchestra, they were beautiful musicians of the highest quality and they were a pleasure to dance to. We adjourned to our room at around ten in the evening, as I was restful after our dancing. That was the last evening we shared our love for each other and the last night I fell asleep in Arthur’s arms, as he held me close I was lay blissfully unaware of the fate that was upon us. I stirred about half an hour later by Arthur gently shaking me awake. “Darling I think something has happened, I’ve just felt a jolt from the ship, I’m going out to investigate.
Ten minutes he returned with news that we had collided with an iceberg, but nothing to serious the rumour was, but I had better get dressed just in case. I threw on some clothes and joined my husband on the top deck, as I passed through the corridors I heard slight commotion from the lower decks, as a crewmember passed me I asked me what was going on. “We’ve just had a slight collision with a iceberg, nothing to make a fuss over but make your way to the top deck just as well. ” I did exactly what he said, I suddenly felt sick and nauseous and stumbled along the corridor.
I came over faint and remember a worker form the steam engines had managed to escape and carried me out. All I could think of was where my husband was and if he was safe. The worker wouldn’t let me find him and pushed me into the line of woman of children waiting to aboard a lifeboat. I frantically searched the deck with my eyes, I thought I saw a quick glance of my husband’s handsome face, but I was violently pushed out into the next lifeboat. I cried out for my husband with all my soul but there was never a reply.
As we landed in the murky waters, I could see the state the ship was in, she had began to separate into two and from that moment I can never forget the images of people diving from the deck as a final chance to save themselves. I thought myself if my husband cannot be saved then I must try for others. All around me I could see heads bobbing out of the water, hands outstretched as their bodies slipped into unconsciousness under the ice.
My lifeboat was still not filled to the full; I attempted to drag bodies out of the water, but with little help from my companions, Stop it you fool we’ll capsize if we take any more bodies aboard” I ignored their remarks and managed to save a man and spotted the worker who had saved my life, just as he was about to sink beneath the waters I grabbed his hand and pulled him aboard. “Just how many worthless people are you trying to save? ” That voice was one of the Lady Sheila, I had only thought so well of her a day before, but now I looked at her tattered elegant evening dress in shame. As I tried to bring more aboard I realised by this time that their bodies were mere shells of their existence, but never less I continued to try and spot survivors.
When I realised that there was no hope in finding life filled bodies, my thoughts turned to Arthur, I knew that at least he would of went down with pride, courage and knowing that my love would be forever by his heart. As we drifted slowly away from the wreck that was one the royal Titanic, I saw how my life once had been and I knew that now when I landed finally in America that it would be a fresh start and a new beginning. The ship “Carpathia” rescued our lifeboat and on 18th April, three days after the Titanic had met her end we docked in America.
I decided to avoid the reporters and publicity, as I wanted so much to forget what happened, but when I moved to my lonely mansion I could never escape the horror. Even though Arthur had left me most of his wealth it would never mean the same to me, I moved to a much smaller house, where a gave birth to a daughter who was conceived on that very night I lost my husband. I decided to spare most the inheritance for my daughter and never again would I look down my tear stained nose at anyone. Due to the Titanic I lost the love of my life, nine moths later I gained another one.