Ravena, Spirit of the Titanic
The silent unseen passenger
My spirit was born in an idea within the minds of men like J. P. Morgan and Thomas Henry Ismay, White Star Line's owner and shipowner.
Alexander Montgomery Carlisle, whose main area of responsibility was the ships safety system, such as watertight compartments and lifeboats had misgivings.
While working on the liners, Carlisle had some minor disputes with Lord Pirrie over the number of lifeboats required for a vessel of this size. Pirrie, the chairman of Harland and Wolff, was satisfied that the number of lifeboats supplied more than met the board of trade regulations. Carlisle then retired and did not have anything more to do with shipbuilding. Thomas Andrews, Pirrie's nephew, was then made master ship builder. Contemporary documentaries claimed Carlisle retired in anger due to Pirrie not accepting his lifeboat recommendations, if his recommendations had been accepted, the overall death toll of the Titanic’s sinking would have been far lower. The Olympic-class liners were the last ships that Carlisle was involved with.
I am called Ravena. Every ship that is built receives a spirit. I was assigned the care of RMS Titanic from it's inception. The moment that they laid the first foundation, my task begun. One could actually say that I am the heart of the ship.
I must listen and gently nudge every person involved towards what is best for my ship, rather like planting an idea in the mind of an individual. Unfortunately, as in the ways of guides, we cannot directly interfere in the final decision process, or force anyone to make the right decision. We have to allow free will to take it's natural course.
I knew that Carlise was right, and I sincerely hoped that he had remained a little longer, and tried a little harder to convince his employers that safety was to be held far more important than the expedience of monetary gain. He was, however, up against hard headed, stubborn and unyielding men.
I watched in fascination as the ship was completed. "Add more lifeboats", I shouted, over and over, in silent entreaty. "Too much money", was the rejoinder, always. "Not necessary, strong ship, built to withstand every imaginable danger. She will hold strong".
Unable to interfere, yet knowing the fate of the ship, is a heavy burden to bear, even for me, a watcher and unseen caretaker of emotions.
There was so much joy and anticipation in the faces, the expectations of a luxurious and joyous historical journey of a lifetime. I felt great pride to be a part of such elation. They came in the hundreds, men, women, children, workers, crew, pets, among the many diverse medley of occupants, luggage and miscellaneous cacophony of the jumbled happiness boarding the ship.
Titanic was built to awe, render fascination, enchantment, captivation and open appreciation for the grandeur and welcoming layout of the ship. She was accessorized to appeal to the senses.
The first class accommodations were heavenly.
The type of first-class stateroom that predominated was a single, double or triple-berth stateroom which contained a dressing table, horsehair sofa, wardrobe, and marble-topped washstand with basin. Double berth cabins had "tipped" washbasins on shelves that could be folded back into the cabinet to save room. Many also had additional bunks suspended over the main bed that could be put next to the wall. Staterooms increased in size thereafter with double beds, built-in wardrobes, and comfortable seating areas. Single berth state rooms were decorated more modestly than the lavish period suites. Above most beds was an electrical outlet with a call button that could summon a steward, a reading lamp and a wire-mesh basket for storing small items. Although the Titanic was centrally heated, all first-class cabins contained electric heaters to provide additional warmth, and passengers could get electric bed warmers on request to a steward.
Second class passengers enjoyed almost the same luxuries, with somewhat less of the embellishments of first class.
There were, libraries, a heated swimming pool, cold and warm spas, posh lounges with a pianist nightly. They had a Gymnasium, a promenade for relaxation, a smoking room and great dining facilities.
Titanic's enormous size enabled her to feature unusually large rooms, all equipped with the latest technologies for comfort, hygiene, and convenience. Staterooms and public spaces recreated historic styles with a painstaking attention to detail and accuracy. There was a wide range of recreational and sporting facilities in addition which provided ample opportunity for amusement during a voyage.
Third class was less fancy, but had comforts available that rivaled accommodations being offered on other liners of the day.
Third Class accommodations also included their own dining rooms, as well as public gathering areas including adequate open deck space, which aboard Titanic comprised the Poop Deck at the stern, the forward and aft well decks, and a large open space on D Deck which could be used as a social hall. This was supplemented by the addition of a smoking room for men and a General Room on C Deck which women could use for reading and writing. Although they were not as glamorous in design as spaces seen in upper-class accommodations, they were still far above average for the period.
I cannot help but wonder if, just a single female's voice or input would have made a difference to the Titanic's tragedy. Would her innate nature to finesse detail have played a part in tiny improvements that would have mattered in greater ways. Maybe my female voice would have mattered, were I allowed to have one.
My first task of each day is to gently soothe the minds of the captain and crew. Arming them with the high spiritedness and an uplifting state of mind required to undertake the great responsibility that they had shouldered.
I watched, enchanted, as children ran, laughed and were happy with innocent delight. Watched as passengers basked in the jollity and fun of a marvelous sea adventure. They swam, dined, danced, relaxed, lounged and lazed in peace and harmony. Some worried, some became seasick. some got heckled for being a bit different. The intrinsic nature of different personalities always mystifies in human nature, some are such kind souls, yet others can be so insensitive. It seems a great big mixture of Ying and Yang is necessary in everything.
My job as soothsayer was done with great urgency. I breathed enjoyment and peace into the atmosphere of these voyagers, soothing their minds and hearts, preparing them as best I could. Their peace was essential, for I knew what was to come.
"Hello Sarah, lovely day, is it not".
"How are you today Marie?, it is indeed a divine day to be relaxing and having a swim".
"The children look lovely and happy at play, would that I were young again", laughs Rosalind.
"Look mama, a large fish just swam by", Star shouts.
"Be careful, dear, don't stand too close", her mama Jess fusses.
Beth, Anne, little James, Tom and Mary all ran up to peer over the sides, watching the sea creatures frolic and dance, all giggling happily.
More happy people pour out onto the first class deck, with it's many offers of enjoyment and delights. Be happy, I urged silently, find your joy in the days. I breathe calm and peace into each soul as the gorgeous day goes by as days should go.
In second class, I find folks are just as happy with their accommodations, lounging, reading, exercising, among the many activities.
"Would you like to play a game of squash John?, Frederick offered.
"Sure I would, just give me a minute and I shall be right with you".
"Simone, be careful on those stairs", Juliette implores.
"Can we go to library after the kids are done playing, Jules? I would like to study the ship's layout that they have there, and we can get some English lessons in for you".
"Of course Joseph, I also have some writing to do myself". Juliette knows that he prefers the silence and privacy of the library, in there he did not feel the discomfort of being a bit different.
"Mama, papa", little Louise is learning to speak. Her papa hugs her, with a pleased smile.
I have deliberately saved my time for the third class cabins. Today is the fourteenth of April. They will need me a little longer than the others will.
The Berger family is sitting out on the open deck, enjoying the ocean and sky after their meal.
"I wonder if we will get to New York in time for Jacob's birthday, we promised to be there for him", Lizbeth was a little concerned. Jacob was their oldest son, and he was waiting anxiously for their arrival.
"I'm sure we will be there with plenty of time to spare", Philip said cheerfully.
"I hope so", she sighed, Liz missed him a great deal.
"I hope that nothing happens down here", worried Frank. "They have that infernal gate locked.
"It is a bit of a nuisance, being locked away from the others, kind of insulting, don't you think"? Replied his brother Charlie.
"It is what it is, the rich have privileges, I guess, let's just enjoy ourselves, it's not so bad here after all".
I smiled at that.
There was a group of very quiet men, I believe they were from China. They kept mainly to themselves, talking in low tones. I sat among them for a while, soothing and listening. They were worried about what would happen when they finally arrived in New York.
"Do you think that they will let us stay there"? Lee asked. He was the youngest of the group.
"No worry so much", Chang, who was the oldest replied in English. He was proud to be learning and teaching them the language.
"Time will tell", Len who was the optimist smiled and turned to pick up the ball that rolled to his feet.
"Hello', Jude smiled, reaching for the ball. "Thank you". He ran off to play.
Len got up to go play a little with the boys kicking around a ball, it was a pleasant day all around. He was getting better at speaking English.
The children ran around freely and happily. There were no persnickety, particular or finicky demands down here. Everyone shared and shared alike. All united in their ability to care for one another without question or care about class or privilege.
"Pssst, just between us, this is my favorite place to be". I spend a long time down here, I must confess, just quietly laying a hand on the shoulders of these trusting and kind souls. Laughing, relaxing and watching them going about the days daily preoccupations.
After everyone goes to bed, I hang out with the night crew. They ribbed and joked with each other to pass the time.
HOW THE STORY ENDS
It is now almost midnight. The ship's destiny in unfolding. She will not fulfill her promise to her voyagers. I must prepare them all for their destinies, their fates have been sealed in the book of life.
She is going down, some to the lifeboats have gone, others watch and know that they will go down with her tonight. "Not enough lifeboats", again is the cry. Those who are saved no longer need me urgently. I must see to the ones who will go to their final rest this night.
The water pours in, the ship is doomed. My main purpose for being here must now be fulfilled.
I cannot do this alone. I summon for help, it is too much to bear. My fellow spirits, they come willingly to my entreaty for comfort, for every soul, ka and chi that has to be preserved into their watery goodnight. I cannot be sad, be of good cheer I keep repeating to myself. Do not let them feel your despair for you are here for them not for you.
One by one we soothe, comfort, encourage and lay our unseen hands upon each soul. Lulling them to calm and sweet rest. The water is freezing, adding to the plight of the unfortunate loved ones, agonizing at the thought of leaving each other this dreadful night. There are so many. How can this be? It is too much even for a spirit to bear.
Finally, it is over. All is quiet. Another ship has taken those lucky enough to have been saved. The others are sleeping peacefully, ushered to rest and home with whispered tranquility in silent repose.
My job is done. I did my best for those who lived.
I bid sweet farewell, to those asleep.
May you forever rest in peace.
Some info from Wiki.