A letter home

Colaiste Bhride, Carnew

R.M.S. Carpathia

April 15th, 1912

Mother,

How do I start? The Titanic, the “unsinkable” ship that you got me the ticket for, now lies at the bottom of the Atlantic. I was so excited about seeing where Arthur and father studied, the College of the City of New York, where no female students are permitted and going to the metropolitan museum of art in Manhattanville. But now, I am on the top deck of the RMS Carpathia, freezing cold, drinking soup. I am one of the lucky 700 odd survivors. I must explain to you this ghastly accident. I was lounging around in my suite when at approximately 10:30 pm I felt the gargantuas ship shudder. I became rather alarmed and briskly stepped outside into the hallway. I stopped one of the stewards and questioned him regarding the shudder. The steward quickly calmed me by explaining that the ships engines had been temporarily shut off so I returned to my suite and attempted to rest. I was then abruptly awoken by an obnoxious knock on my door and someone requesting for me to put on my life vest and to dress warmly. I naturally became extremely anxious and did what I was told. I pulled out my finest, warmest coat and then proceeded to find, and tie on my life vest. I then vivaciously marched  into the hallway. Everybody was frightfully distressed. The people in the hallway were making their way to the top deck, so I followed. During this time I noticed the ship was slightly tilted but I ignored this observation and continued to walk up to the deck. It was when I reached it that I realized that we were in profound danger. Stewards were helping the first class women and children into lifeboats. I was absolutely freezing, I thought that I may have been in danger of getting hypothermia. I made my way to a boat and was escorted into it by a crew member. After a small wait, some other ladies and their children boarded the boat and we were finally lowered into the eerily serene ocean. At this moment anxiety was strong amongst the passengers. The ship’s tip was now beginning to submerge into the icy water. When we finally hit the water and detached from the boat, we rowed a far distance between us and the sinking ship. Shortly after, the ship violently submerged 180° into the deep, gloomy water. People began to jump off the ship, into the ocean. There was mass hysteria. The screaming and pleading from the water was terrifying. Some life boats went back to pick up some survivors, as the boats were not even halfway full! However we did not, for fear of getting swamped. Eventually, the screams quieted. We sat there, heartbroken, aghast, too stunned for words, let alone movement. Finally, our rescuers arrived.

We are now safe and close to New York.

Please write to me once you receive this letter.

Love,  Alice.