I Took a Voyage on the R.M.S Titanic
“In a way, it was beautiful; every light on the ship was on, and each porthole was illuminated. And then, across the water, came this enormous, awful roar.”
As the bow had plunged deeper, the stern had tilted higher. The sound resembling some monstrous metal beast in battle that came across the water to the waiting lifeboats was nothing less than everything on board the ship breaking loose. As Walter Lord describes it in A Night to Remember, “Twenty-nine boilers . . . 800 cases of shelled walnuts . . . 15,000 bottles of ale and stout . . . tumbling trellises . . . the fifty -phone switchboard” – everything went tumbling end over end:
Now, finally, the Titanic rose up, almost majestically, perpendicular to the water, sending people on board catapulting, skidding, sliding, and screaming into the water. The lights of the ship flickered once, flashed again, and finally went out.
And there, after a minute or two at a 90-degree angle, the ghastly rumbling roar mixing with terrified screams, the hull outlined now only by the red and green running lights and the clean white light of the stars reflecting on the placid water, the Titanic began to go. down, moving at a slant, picking up speed as she went. When the water closed over the flagstaff on the Titanic‘s stern, it was 2:20 A.M.
“I can remember, to this day, the noise the ship made as it went under,” says Marjorie Newell, trying hard to maintain her composure. “You could actually feel. the noise, the vibrations of the screams of the people, and the sounds of the ship.
“I don’t really know what happened on board after we left. People have asked me if the ship’s orchestra was playing ‘Nearer My God to Thee’ as the legend has it, but I don’t think so. I know I didn’t hear it, but that may be because we were far away by that time, as far away as we could get.”
As the morning broke, the Carpathia arrived, and the survivors, some 705 rowing, floating, sobbing, shocked men, women, and children, could at last see just where they were.
The lifeboats were scattered over four square miles of water. Surrounding them and separating them were dozens of small icebergs as well as three or four large ones 150 to 200 feet high. Off to the north and west, five miles away, there began a field of ice that stretched on forever. The spot where the Titanic had gone down was marked only by flotsam: crates, deck chairs, rugs, a few lifebelts, and one dead body, all rapidly being dispersed by the gentle waves.
Slowly, the survivors began boarding the Carpathia.
“Seeing all the icebergs around shocked us; it proved how dangerous our passage had been, and how irresponsible the Titanic‘s Captain Smith, who went down with his ship, had been. Anyway, we wanted to get aboard the Carpathia as fast as we could, so we could be reunited with our father. It never occurred to us that Father hadn’t gotten off; we didn’t realize how few had been saved.