Saturday, 14 April 2012

Day 5 Sunday the last day aboard Titanic

At the beginning of Chapter Nine of Tomorrow Belongs to Us Lucy writes in her journal:

Sunday April 14th,

We have been at sea for three days. The mornings are bright, but I am missing my newspapers. Daily bulletins via the Marconi Service are posted, but only in the first-class smoking room! Ladies are not allowed, so I have to pester Edwin or Marshall. I daren't ask Uncle Leyster for the daily snippets. The gentlemen must think I'm an egghead. Times passes quickly with dinner parties, dancing and concerts. Everywhere I hear words of admiration for the ship. I agree. She is all the designers and builders claimed – comfortable, secure and safe.

Cecilly has recovered from her malady. She attributes the restoration of her health to Dr. O'Loughlin's medicine. She now joins us for meals, however, she eats very little. We are meeting Edwin and Marshall, shortly, who have promised to escort us up to the Boat Deck to watch the captain's inspection.

Sunday on board Titanic was different from the other sea days. A religious service was held in all the class areas of the ship. The first-class interdenominational Christian service was conducted by Captain Smith. I use this time in my novel to explore the thoughts of my heroine, it provides a useful balancing point for an author, enabling the reader to understand the heroine better. Services are still held on British cruise ships at sea and they are usually taken by the Captain or one of the senior officers. The hymns used are very traditional, as those that would have been sung aboard Titanic. If there is a Catholic priest on board then he will usually offer a communion service for those who wish to attend. It is known that an Irish Catholic priest said mass in Third Class on Titanic on April 14th 1912.

As it was Sunday on Titanic there would be no dancing. This wouldn't seem strange to passengers, as it was the custom on land during the period. Also, theatres all were closed on Sundays in Britain, but Titanic didn't have a theatre. On board entertainment hadn't been developed to the level enjoyed by trans-Atlantic passengers today. However, there was a concert on Titanic where the band played a selection of music including some of the works of Offenbach. To-night in Belfast there will be a commemorative concert commencing at 8.00 pm (BST) which will be broadcast by BBC One TV.

Tomorrow I shall be reflecting on the aftermath of the disaster and including my thoughts about Captain Edward Smith.

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