Monday, May 17, 2010
FREEDOM SHIP (part ll)
Freedom Ship (Continued)
It was now the Fourteenth of April. The voyage aboard the Titanic had gone very well. George had lost his insecurity of being on the great ship. Now he walked along the forward well deck. Flakes of ice that sprayed up from the ocean ran along the beautiful and brightly lit first class public section of the ship. He thought of everything he would do in their new life in America.
Far below him on F-deck, Margret was washing her face and getting ready for bed along with most other third class passengers. However, in second and first class most of the men were still up in the public lounges and smoke rooms playing cards and sipping brandy.
The hands on the clock that hung in the forward Grand staircase struck 11:40pm. In the crows nest, Fredrick Fleet saw a dark object that loomed out of the icy black water towards the ship. Frantically, he rang the bell three times then phoned the bridge to report “Ice berg, dead ahead!”
First Officer Murdoch gave the command for hard to starboard and full speed astern. An estimated thirty seconds went by before the ship's bow slowly turned away from the coming calamity. But an underwater ledge hit Titanic’s steal hull with a glancing blow. George saw the berg slide past the ship and dump ice onto the well deck. The well dressed first class passengers come out onto the promenade deck to see the mountain of ice pass by.
Margret was jarred from her slumber with the sound of metal twisting and glass splintering. A chunk of the ice berg had cracked the port whole in their cabin. She leaped out of the cabin and into the white corridor. Other curious faces peeked around their cabin doors. The hissing sound of furnaces being put out could faintly be heard. George, not thinking any thing of the coming catastrophe, walked casually to the staircase that led to third class. Suddenly, there was a peculiar noise. He looked down to see green sea water inching its way up the staircase. It was then that he realized the ship was slightly leaning forward. He began to walk very briskly down the hall. He spotted Margret looking down the corridor. At first he thought she was looking at him but her eyes were wide with fright and looking slightly past him. He turned and saw water poring over the stairs and onto F-deck. Margret ran back to the cabin and, to George’s surprise, Washing her face and putting on her best dress. She turned and said
“If I am going to be on the upper decks, I don’t want to look my class.”
George ignored this remark and pulled her out of the cabin. In the corridor, crew men were unlocking gates too the upper decks and shouting orders for everyone to get up and get there lifebelts on. The floors were now really beginning to list. Margret had to grope the railing to keep from falling down the stairs. Water was now flowing through the F-deck passenger corridor. The E-deck service hallway was littered with tray tables mainly from the second class dining room. George and Margret ran aimlessly through the maze of corridors until at last they found a flight of service stairs for the first class dining room.
Margret was awed by the lush carpets and fine china. The only thing that kept her from thinking that the ship was sinking was the water that climbed a beautiful oak staircase just out side the dining room. The lights in the reception room were turning a dim blue color as water seeped through the interior and soaked the wiring. Deafening moans echoed down the first class corridor that quickly slipping under water. At last they reached the staircase. George looked above and saw that it went up five or six decks.
In the foyer of the Grand Staircase, chairs and luggage that had been left behind littered the floors. A few pieces of furniture had slid toward the staircase and now lay at its foot. Margret and George walked quickly to the starboard vestibule. They had expected to see a bunch of wealthy celebrities walking proudly around public rooms smoking cigars. Instead they found a mixture of people in pajamas and diner cloths running to the stern for safety. George could easily see why. The bow was completely submerged and water was pouring into the B-deck windows. George clutched Margret’s hand as they headed toward the stern.
Inside the ship, the water had risen from D-deck all the way to B-deck in a matter of minutes. Bedding, luggage and furniture floated aimlessly about in the B-deck landing of the Grand Staircase. In the first class smoking room, the clock above the fire place chimed 1:30.
On the boat deck, George walked Margret over to the last lifeboat. With some persuasion she finally got in. She held onto her seat as the boat creaked to the ocean surface. The water was now spilling onto the first class promenade deck.
With no place of refuge, George held onto a lifeboat crane.
In the first class lounge, water pored in through the open doors and broken windows. The chandelier in the center flickered out. The stern rose higher and higher. George watched a scene of terror unfold before him. Passengers jumped off the deck and into the freezing water. Most of them didn’t survive the fall. And the ones that did were sucked into the rapidly sinking ship. In the Café Pereisenne, china spilled out of the cabinet and the furniture piled up at one end. The first funnel fell into the ocean with a deafening roar.
Margret was tantalized as the stern reached a terrifying fifty degree angle. Suddenly, the ship went dark. George felt the deck under him begin to sag. A window suddenly shattered and then another then another. Hundreds of rivets’ began to pop out of place and fall into the see. Steel beams began to rise up out of the wooden deck. Titanic was breaking apart.
The screams got louder as the stern fell into the see. George lost his balance and slipped over the edge. Luckily he was towards the front so he didn’t fall very far. When he surfaced, the front end had pulled the stern completely vertical. Now the great ship sat motion less. Passengers lost there grip on the rails and fell to there death that was waiting almost two hundred feet below.
After a few seconds, the Titanic slid gracefully beneath the waves. George began to swim the freezing cold water. It felt like a million pins sticking him all over. A man surfaced beside him and frantically asked “Where is she!”
George looked at him and said “Where is who?”
“She’s gone sir, gone forever.” George said as he swam toward the lifeboat that held his beloved Margaret.