Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters, The



IF the scenes in the life-boats were tear-bringing, hardly less so was the arrival of the boats at the Carpathia with their bands of terror-stricken, grief-ridden survivors, many of them too exhausted to know that safety was at hand. Watchers on the Carpathia were moved to tears.

"The first life-boat reached the Carpathia about half-past five o'clock in the morning," recorded one of the passengers on the Carpathia. "And the last of the sixteen boats was unloaded before nine o'clock. Some of the life-boats were only half filled, the first one having but two men and eleven women, when it had accommodations for at least forty. There were few men in the boats. The women were the gamest lot I have ever seen. Some of the men and women were in evening clothes, and others among those saved had nothing on but night clothes and raincoats."

After the Carpathia had made certain that there were no more passengers of the Titanic to be picked up, she threaded her way out of the ice fields for fifty miles. It was dangerous work, but it was managed without trouble.


The shrieks and cries of the women and men picked up in life-boats by the Carpathia were horrible. The women were clothed only in night robes and wrappers. The men were in their night garments. One was lifted on board entirely nude. All the passengers who could bear nourishment were taken into the dining rooms and cabins by Captain Rostron and given food and stimulants. Passengers of the Carpathia gave up their berths and staterooms to the survivors.

As soon as they were landed on the Carpathia many of the women became hysterical, but on the whole they behaved splendidly. Men and women appeared to be stunned all day Monday, the full force of the disaster not reaching them until Tuesday night. After being wrapped up in blankets and filled with brandy and hot coffee, the first thoughts were for their husbands and those at home. Most of them imagined that their husbands had been picked up by other vessels, and they began flooding the wireless rooms with messages. It was almost certain that those who were not on board the Carpathia had gone down to death.

One of the most seriously injured was a woman who had lost both her children. Her limbs had been severely torn; but she was very patient.


In the first cabin library women of wealth and refinement mingled their grief and asked eagerly for news of the possible arrival of a belated boat, or a message from other steamers telling of the safety of their husbands. Mrs. Henry B. Harris, wife of a New York theatrical manager, checked her tears long enough to beg that some message of hope be sent to her father-in-law. Mrs. G. Thorne, Miss Marie Young, Mrs Emil Taussig and her daughter, Ruth, Mrs. Martin Rothschild, Mrs. William Augustus Spencer, Mrs. J. Stewart White and Mrs. Walter M. Clark were a few of those who lay back, exhausted, on the leather cushions and told in shuddering sentences of their experiences.

Mrs. John Jacob Astor and the Countess of Rothes had been taken to staterooms soon after their arrival on shipboard.

Before noon, at the captain's request, the first cabin passengers of the Titanic gathered in the saloon and the passengers of other classes in corresponding places on the rescue ship. Then the collecting of names was begun by the purser and the stewards. A second table was served in both cabins for the new guests, and the Carpathia's second cabin, being better filled than its first, the second class arrivals had to be sent to the steerage.


Mrs. Jacques Futrelle, wife of the novelist, herself a writer of note, sat dry eyed in the saloon, telling her friends that she had given up hope for her husband. She joined with the rest in inquiries as to the chances of rescue by another ship, and no one told her what soon came to be the fixed opinion of the men—that all those saved were on the Carpathia.

"I feel better," Mrs. Futrelle said hours afterward, "for I can cry now."

Among the men conversation centered on the accident and the responsibility for it. Many expressed the belief that the Titanic, in common with other vessels, had had warning of the ice packs, but that in the effort to establish a record on the maiden run sufficient heed had not been paid to the warnings.

"God knows I'm not proud to be here," said a rich New York man. "I got on a boat when they were about to lower it and when, from delays below, there was no woman to take the vacant place. I don't think any man who was saved is deserving of censure, but I realize that, in contrast with those who went down, we may be viewed unfavorably." He showed a picture of his baby boy as he spoke.


As the day passed the fore part of the ship assumed some degree of order and comfort, but the crowded second sabin and rear decks gave forth the incessant sound of lamentation. A bride of two months sat on the floor and moaned her widowhood. An Italian mother shrieked the name of her lost son.

A girl of seven wept over the loss of her Teddy bear and two dolls, while her mother, with streaming eyes, dared not tell the child that her father was lost too, and that the money for which their home in England had been sold had gone down with him. Other children clung to the necks of the fathers who, because carrying them, had been permitted to take the boats.

In the hospital and the public rooms lay, in blankets, several others who had been benumbed by the water. Mrs. Rosa Abbott, who was in the water for hours, was restored during the day. K. Whiteman, the Titanic's barber, who declared he was blown off the ship by the second of the two explosions after the crash, was treated for bruises. A passenger, who was thoroughly ducked before being picked up, caused much amusement on this ship, soon after the doctors were through with him, by demanding a bath.


Storekeeper Prentice, the last man off the Titanic to reach this ship, was also soon over the effects of his long swim in the icy waters into which he leaped from the poop deck.

The physicians of the Carpathia were praised, as was Chief Steward Hughes, for work done in making the arrivals comfortable and averting serious illness.

Monday night on the Carpathia was one of rest. The wailing and sobbing of the day were hushed as widows and orphans slept. Tuesday, save for the crowded condition of the ship, matters took somewhat their normal appearance.

The second cabin dining room had been turned into a hospital to care for the injured, and the first, second and third class dining rooms were used for sleeping rooms at night for women, while the smoking rooms were set aside for men. All available space was used, some sleeping in chairs and some on the floor, while a few found rest in the bathrooms.

Every cabin had been filled, and women and children were sleeping on the floors in the dining saloon, library and smoking rooms. The passengers of the Carpathia had divided their clothes with the shipwrecked ones until they had at least kept warm. It is true that many women had to appear on deck in kimonos and some in underclothes with a coat thrown over them, but their lives had been spared and they had not thought of dress. Some children in the second cabin were entirely without clothes, but the women had joined together, and with needles and thread they could pick up from passenger to passenger, had made warm clothes out of the blankets belonging to the Carpathia.


The women aboard the Carpathia did what they could by word and act to relieve the sufferings of the rescued. Most of the survivors were in great need of clothing, and this the women of the Carpathia supplied to them as long as their surplus stock held out.

J. A. Shuttleworth, of Louisville, Ky., befriended Mrs. Lucien Smith, whose husband went down with the Titanic. Mrs. Smith was formerly Miss Eloise Hughes, daughter of Representative and Mrs. James A. Hughes, of Huntington, W. Va., and was on her wedding trip. Mr. Shuttleworth asked her if there wasn't something he could do for her. She said that all the money she had was lost on the Titanic, so Mr. Shuttleworth gave her $500


Two of the rescued from the Titanic died from shock and exposure before they reached the Carpathia, and another died a few minutes after being taken on board. The dead were W. H. Hoyte, first cabin; Abraham Hormer, third class, and S. C. Sirbert, steward, and they were buried at sea the morning of April 15th, latitude 41.14 north, longitude 51.24 west. P. Lyon, able seaman, died and was buried at sea the following morning.

An assistant steward lost his mind upon seeing one of the Titanic's rescued firemen expire after being lifted to the deck of the Carpathia.

An Episcopal bishop and a Catholic priest from Montreal read services of their respective churches over the dead.

The bodies were sewed up in sacks, heavily weighted at the feet, and taken to an opening in the side of the ship on the lower deck not far above the water line. A long plank tilted at one end served as the incline down which the weighted sacks slid into the sea.

"After we got the Titanic's passengers on board our ship," said one of the Carpathia's officers, "it was a question as to where we should take them. Some said the Olympic would come out and meet us and take them on to New York, but others said they would die if they had to be lowered again into small boats to be taken up by another, so we finally turned toward New York, delaying the Carpathia's passengers eight days in reaching Gibraltar."


There were several children on board, who had lost their parents—one baby of eleven months with a nurse who, coming on board the Carpathia with the first boat, watched with eagerness and sorrow for each incoming boat, but to no avail. The parents had gone down.

There was a woman in the second cabin who lost seven children out of ten, and there were many other losses quite as horrible.


Among the rescued ones who came on board the Carpathia was the president of the White Star Line.

"Mr. Ismay reached the Carpathia in about the tenth life-boat," said an officer. "I didn't know who he was, but afterward heard the others of the crew discussing his desire to get something to eat the minute he put his foot on deck. The steward who waited on him, McGuire, from London, says Mr. Ismay came dashing into the dining room, and throwing himself in a chair, said: 'Hurry, for God's sake, and get me something to eat; I'm starved. I don't care what it costs or what it is; bring it to me.'

"McGuire brought Mr. Ismay a load of stuff and when he had finished it, he handed McGuire a two dollar bill. 'Your money is no good on this ship,' McGuire told him. 'Take it.'


The Titanic was far and away the largest and finest vessel ever built, excepting only her sister-ship, the Olympic. Her dimensions were: Length, 882 1/2 feet; Beam, 92 feet, Depth (from keel to tops of funnels), 175 feet Tonnage, 45,000. Her huge hull, divided into thirty watertight compartments, contained nine steel decks, and provided accommodation for 2,500 passengers, besides a crew of 890.}


insisted Mr. Ismay, shoving the bill in McGuire's hand. I am well able to afford it. I will see to it that the boys of the Carpathia are well rewarded for this night's work.' This promise started McGuire making inquiries as to the identity of the man he had waited on. Then we learned that he was Mr. Ismay. I did not see Mr. Ismay after the first few hours. He must have kept to his cabin."

A passenger on the Carpathia said there was no wonder that none of the wireless telegrams addressed to Mr. Ismay were answered until the one that he sent yesterday afternoon to his line, the White Star.

"Mr. Ismay was beside himself," said this woman passenger, "and on most of the voyage after we had picked him up he was being quieted with opiates on orders of the ship's doctor.


"Five women saved their pet dogs, carrying them in their arms. Another woman saved a little pig, which she said was her mascot. Though her husband is an Englishman and she lives in England she is an American and was on her way to visit her folks here. How she cared for the pig aboard ship I do not know, but she carried it up the side of the ship in a big bag. I did not mind the dogs so much, but it seemed to me to be too much when a pig was saved and human beings went to death.

"It was not until noon on Monday that we cleared the last of the ice, and Monday night a dense fog came up and continued until the following morning, then a strong wind, a heavy sea, a thunderstorm and a dense fog Tuesday night, caused some uneasiness among the more unnerved, the fog continuing all of Tuesday.

"A number of whales were sighted as the Carpathia was clearing the last of the ice, one large one being close by, and all were spouting like geysers."


"On Tuesday afternoon a meeting of the uninjured survivors was called in the main saloon for the purpose of devising means of assisting the more unfortunate, many of whom had lost relatives and all their personal belongings, and thanking Divine Providence for their deliverance. The meeting was called to order and Mr. Samuel Goldenberg was elected chairman. Resolutions were then passed thanking the officers, surgeons, passengers and crew of the Carpathia for their splendid services in aiding the rescued and like resolutions for the admirable work done by the officers, surgeons and crew of the Titanic.

"A committee was then appointed to raise funds on board the Carpathia to relieve the immediate wants of the destitute and assist them in reaching their destinations and also to present a loving cup to the officers of the Carpathia and also a loving cup to the surviving officers of the Titanic.

"Mr. T. G. Frauenthal, of New York, was made chairman of the Committee on Subscriptions.

"A committee, consisting of Mrs. J. J. Brown, Mrs William Bucknell and Mrs. George Stone, was appointed to look after the destitute. There was a subscription taken up and up to Wednesday the amount contributed totaled $15,000.

"The work of the crew on board the Carpathia in rescuing was most noble and remarkable, and these four days that the ship has been overcrowded with its 710 extra passengers could not have been better handled. The stewards have worked with undying strength—although one was overcome with so much work and died and was put to his grave at sea.

"I have never seen or felt the benefits of such royal treatment. I have heard the captain criticised because he did not answer telegrams, but all that I can say is that he showed us every possible courtesy, and if we had been on our own boats, having paid our fares there, we could not have had better food or better accommodations.

"Men who had paid for the best staterooms on the Carpathia left their rooms so that we might have them. They fixed up beds in the smoking rooms, and mattresses everywhere. All the women who were rescued were given the best staterooms, which were surrendered by the regular passengers. None of the regular passengers grumbled because their trip to Europe was interrupted, nor did they complain that they were put to the inconvenience of receiving hundreds of strangers.

"The women on board the Carpathia were particularly kind. It shows that for every cruelty of nature there is a kindness, for every misfortune there is some goodness. The men and women took up collections on board for the rescued steerage passengers. Mrs. Astor, I believe, contributed $2000, her check being cashed by the Carpathia. Altogether something like $15,000 was collected and all the women were provided with sufficient money to reach their destination after they were landed in New York."

Under any other circumstances the suffering would have been intolerable. But the Good Samaritans on the Carpathia gave many women heart's-ease.

The spectacle on board the Carpathia on the return trip to New York at times was heartrending, while at other times those on board were quite cheerful.

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