Sunday, September 20, 2015

Memories from the past, part 2

Since my tenant invited me over to talk about the sinking of the Titanic, this morning I went to visit her.  She was already waiting for me, and she took out what it looked like an old Edwardian cardboard box.

And then she opened it...

So many figments of the past!  She proceeded to explain everything about them:

To the left, a soap ad for a brand called Vinolia Otto; they had been awarded the privilege to provide soap for the First Class passangers of the Titanic.  The ad had run in British newspapers at the time, and that is where my tenant got it.
To the right, two menus from the First Class dining room, dated 12th and 14th of April.

Three Titanic postcards.  They could be easily acquired at the White Star offices and at newspapers stands.

To the left, her First Class ticket.  She told me she was able to move from the cabin she had purchased to a suite that had been assigned to another passanger, who finally did not embark.
To the right, an invitation to attend the launch of the Titanic. She confided that she was not actually in the launching ceremony, but that the invitation was given to her as a memento by Bruce Ismay, with whom she had tea once during the voyage.  She also stated she did not like him very much.  Even though he was very polite and correct, he had an unmistakable air of superiority that she could not stand.  On the other hand, she added, the Astors were nicer.  She and Madeleine Astor became friends during the voyage.  She stated that Mr. Astor liked to play cards during the evenings, and that she kept Madeleine company while her husband was out.

A ticket to the Turkish baths.  She said she had not been in a Turkish bath for centuries, and was eager to try the experience again.  She was supposed to give one part of the ticket to the attendant and keep the other, but apparently there was no one in charge when she arrived, and no one asked for the ticket while she was there.

Luggage stickers.  The square ones were for the luggage that would be checked and to be deposited in the ship's hold.  The romboid ones were for suitcases that would go in the cabins.  Hence, the "Wanted" and "Not wanted" printing.  They gave her an excess of stickers (or maybe she did not have many suitcases) and she kept them.

And of course, she had newspapers with the infamous headlines after the sinking.

She seemed very happy to be able to talk about something of her past.  She said her daughter (the one married to the man she got the plates from) is so used to hear her talk about her adventures that none seem to impress her anymore.

I was very impressed, and I told her so.  She smiled, and said I was more than welcome to visit any time I wanted, and she would tell me more of her stories.  I asked how she managed to feed during the voyage, and she smiled and said that Edwardian gentlemen were not as rigid as history would make us think, and they had no problems about accepting invitations to visit her on her suite during the night.  She did not elaborate any further, though.

She is indeed a mysterious being...

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