Friday, 20 April 2012

The 100th Anniversary of the Titanic

The RMS Titanic: drawn for my book by a friend (thank you!)

I know that it has been the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic this month, though I am a bit late in posting about it. We really ought to take the time to remember the Titanic, and those who perished in this event. I could easily go into more detail about the Titanic, having researched it a fair bit (I did a project on it for home-schooling, and later a massive internal on it in school for history), but as the event is well known, I feel that it is better simply to remember and learn from this tragedy. I found this article which is really worth reading as we commemorate the event:

This event really reminds me of this verse: 

“Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me.” - Jeremiah 9:23-24 

I always find it a little hard to write about sad events like this, as I am aware that they really happened and really did affect people in such terrible ways. However, we need to remember that God is in control even in terrible events like these, and they should serve as a reminder to us to turn to Him, rather than always looking to ourselves and our own strength, or even the strength of others. He is the only way to Salvation. 

When I was 12, I was inspired to write a story about the Titanic after learning about it for a home-schooling project. It was centred around the lives of three girls: Margaret, a privileged upper-class British girl; Beth, a middle-class French girl; and Elsie, a lower-class Irish girl. They all become friends while aboard the Titanic, despite their diverse personalities, and were each affected dramatically in different ways (Ironically, soon after writing this story, I became firm friends with Daisy and Hyacinth and it is funny how much like the imagined characters we are!!! I am very much like Margaret, Daisy is like Beth and Hyacinth is like Elsie). Now I know not everyone is into reading book excerpts (I certainly find it frustrating as I don’t have the rest of the plot and so find it a little boring!) so feel free to skip this section. I have tried hard to find exciting parts of the story which should hopefully make sense provided you know a little bit about the history of the Titanic. Bear in mind that it was written when I was 12, so it is not fantastic and very little editing has been done to it, so my apologies for any mistakes! :) There are also undoubtedly some historical inaccuracies, and so if you spot any feel free to comment and tell me as I’d love to be able to improve it!

(As an aside, I'd appreciate you not reproducing this or the picture anywhere else. Thanks!) :)

Excerpts from:
 A Titanic Story

Elsie's Story
April 14th, 1912,  
Late evening,  
Aboard the Titanic

When I got back, Timothy [postscript: I should mention here that he is Elsie’s older brother and they are looking after their younger siblings as their parents are dead] jumped up, a worried expression on his face. “What took you so long? I was worried sick!” he exclaimed. As we didn't want to wake the young 'un's with our loud voices, we went up on deck. Few people were out at this time of night. Timothy stroked my hair. “After Mama and Papa died, I didn't want to lose you or the young 'un's either,” he began. 

It was then that I saw the iceberg. It was just a hazy white blot, glistening a pale white in the moonlight. And the ship was heading straight towards it! 

“T-timothy...” I stammered. 

“...So don't go off like that again, little sister,” he continued, ignoring me. “What did you say?” 

“ICEBERG!” I shouted. He turned around just in time to see it slice into the side of the ship. There was an ear-splitting, grinding sound and suddenly the Titanic gave a shudder. Gradually, the ship slowed down and came to a halt. I opened my eyes again. Bits of ice were strewn about the deck. I looked up at the first class decks and there I saw the Captain Edward J. Smith. He had a worried frown on his face, but a calm poise. Slowly, he turned away. Third class passengers appeared on the deck, all asking the same question: 

“What has happened?”

I turned to Timothy.

“I'll get the young 'un's.” I said.

Margaret's Story
April 15th, 1912, 
 Early morning,  
Aboard the Titanic 

As we sat hopelessly at the cafĂ©, I looked desperately around for a familiar face. I soon spotted Stuart. He made his way towards me. His usually jolly face was grim and straight away he said in a firm voice, “Margaret, go up to Boat Deck and get on a lifeboat now.” 

“But why...?” I asked, but he had already walked away. I took a deep breath and turned to face my parents. “Stuart says we must get aboard a lifeboat – and fast.” 

“Stuart?” Father frowned and looked as if he was about to ask a question, but I interrupted him by saying, “Mother and Father, please listen to me. The ship is obviously in danger of sinking!” 

Mother stared at me for a minute, then blinked and said in a husky voice, “The Titanic cannot be sinking - she is unsinkable. Let me have a cup of tea to calm my nerves.” 

“But Mother -” I whispered urgently. She gave me a look. When Mother gives you that look, you don't argue, you just obey. 

Mother had her cup of tea, sipping it daintily, watching me over the the rim of the cup. She seemed to have woken up out of her shock, so at least that was a good sign. Mother sipped her tea ever so slowly that I thought she'd never finish, but at last she gave a contented sigh and lay back in her chair. A band was playing jumpy, happy, tunes that I could almost believe nothing was amiss. But, once on Boat Deck, I immediately realized the full extent of our situation. The Titanic was on a slightly slanted angle, and I assumed she was taking on water – and fast. There was no immediate panic – a few passengers strolled around as if nothing was wrong. One man even smoked his pipe calmly! The panic seemed to have subsided a little – for the moment. A few lifeboats were being lowered.

All at once, Father dragged Mother and me over to a lifeboat.

“Get in one,” he said firmly.

“But, dear, what about you?” Mother had gone pale.

“Can't you hear?” Father said, sounding a bit irritated. “It's women and children only. No, Barbara, you and Margaret must go alone. I'll meet up with you when we are rescued.” He tried to look reassuring but I could tell from his face that he would probably not be rescued. For the first time, I realized how much I really loved Father.

“Oh Father, don't leave us!” I cried, and burst into tears.

He embraced me. “Margaret,” he whispered fiercely, “You must be brave for the sake of your mother. Now get aboard that lifeboat now.” I nodded obediently as if I was but a child, dried my tears and let Father lead Mother and me to the nearest lifeboat.

“Get in Charles, please!” Mother pleaded.

Father shook his head firmly. “My place is here,” he said. He and Mother had one last kiss, before Father turned to me. “Be brave,” he whispered, kissing me softly on the forehead.

A crew member helped Mother into the lifeboat, and then me. The signal for the lifeboat to be lowered was given and the ropes were let down by the crew until I thought they would snap from our weight. I looked up. Father stood there, the words 'Be brave' still on his lips. I closed my eyes for a moment as if this was a horrible nightmare that I would wake up from. There was a dull splash as we hit the water, and then we were away.

Beth's Story
April 15th, 1912,  
Early morning, 
Somewhere in the ocean

Almost as soon as I thought that we would just have to sit around and wait to die, the Titanic gave a sudden lurch and started to move. Annie and I grabbed onto a nearby pole. People were sliding down into the sea, screaming as they went. Annie gave a sudden scream of, “Bethy, help me!” as she slipped and fell in the bitterly cold water. 

“Don't worry, Annie, I'm coming!” I shouted after her. Taking a deep breath, I let go. 

I landed with a splash. I started swimming fast for the Titanic had started to slide into the ocean. I felt the water around me sucking, trying to drag me under the sea. I held my breath, and I could feel the very life within me fading away. Fortunately, it was my life jacket that jerked me back up to the surface. As I coughed and spluttered, I looked around frantically for Annie. My teeth started chattering as the water was ice cold, and I could barely call her name. At last I saw her. She had turned blue and was crying uncontrollably. Next to her was a corpse but it was not just any old corpse. It was Papa's dead body! I felt faint with grief. 

A piece of wreckage was floating near us, and I made a grab for it, but another girl got there first. She turned to face us and I saw that it was that girl, Victoria, whom Margaret had introduced to me only a few hours ago! 

“Go away, i-it's mine!” she said in between chatters. 

“A-alright, but p-p-please let A-annie on.” I was starting to feel numb with the cold. I didn't actually expect Victoria to grab Annie and help her on, but she did and then she helped me on. We huddled together for warmth and stayed like that, drifting in and out of consciousness, listening to the many calls for help. 

When most of those cries had died away, Annie whispered in a feeble voice, “I-I see a l-light coming our w-way. H-have we r-reached heaven?” 

Margaret's Story
April 20th, 1912, 
 In a hotel

I was beginning to get worried. Every day, Mother refused food and she wasn't sleeping well as there were huge black circles around her eyes. It was almost as if she blamed herself for the whole disaster, the death of Father and wanted to die! After three days of this nonsense, I'd had enough. Walking into her room, holding a tray laden with pastries and other mouth-watering delicacies, I shouted, “Mother!”

She looked up and lost her dreamy state for a moment, but soon her eyes returned to their hollow look.

“There is no point living,” she moaned.

“Oh yes, there is,” I said firmly, then in a gentler tone, “Mother, the Titanic sinking was not your fault, nor was Father's death. It was the good Lord's will.” Reaching for my Bible, I read aloud to her the story of the Tower of Babel.

“I think we were all like this,” I continued. “We all claimed that the Titanic was 'unsinkable' without any real proof. People said, 'God Himself cannot sink her.' So what did God do? By sinking the Titanic, He showed us that nothing we can create will ever be as almighty as Him.” I paused for a breath. “Mother, you must keep living, for me and for the sake of dear Father.”

I waited for her reaction. Slowly, with trembling fingers, she reached for a pastry. A small move, yet a big one. She was going to live.

Anyway, I know that this has been an awfully long blog post, but I think I can safely assume that if you have got to this point, you are probably as obsessed with this disaster and the lessons it can teach us as I am! So I’ll leave you with a few more links about the Titanic for your interest: 

The blog Unsinkable has some really interesting Titanic facts on it.

I REALLY want to read this book from over at the Living on Literacy Lane blog: 'Violets are Blue' by Elizabeth Rose, (character summaries from the book). :)

The In the Bookcase blog has been posting a lot of historical information on the Titanic which is worth exploring if you are interested.

God bless and remember Him this week! (As an aside, check out these posts by Gracie over at the It's a Beautiful Life blog as they really were a good reminder to me: Where is God when I'm Hurting?, Honesty).


Anonymous said...

Wow, that is soooo cool, Violet!! :D Thanks for sharing it!! And I look forward to reading more of your amazing story - its been so long since I last heard any of it!! :)
Praying heaps for you!!
Lots and lots of love,
Daisy xoxox ♥

Hyacinth said...

Dear Violet,
Thanks for putting this up, I've never read your story about the Titanic before! That's amazing that Daisy and I are very similar to your main characters! :)
With love,
Hyacinth ♥♥

Violet said...

Thank you Daisy and Hyacinth! Yes, I found it very funny to make friends who were so much like the characters I'd just invented!!!
I hope you both have a good week!
From your friend,