It begins filling with excited passengers at 6:30pm, the pleasure seekers in first class and the immigrants in steerage. The former, thrilled at the opportunity to travel in the world’s most modern vessel, wear black tie. As for the riff-raff in the cheaper cabins, voyaging to the New World in search of a better life, they make a shabby impression when arriving at the gangway. There, they are greeted by the first officer, a real gentleman, who looks immaculate in his maritime uniform. While he checks the tickets, deafening blasts from the ship’s whistle sound. There is no missing the sign that reads: “Welcome to Wednesday, April 10, 1912”.
As they are escorted inside, nervous folk are assured that the Titanic is “practically unsinkable”, although one wonders how such fools could have any doubts about the wonders of modern science. Lest there be any lingering doubts, crew point out one of the dozen watertight doors, which even the least educated know render the ship “practically unsinkable”.
The dining room is located on E deck, where all are attended to by servants. Although common, still the harshest critic must agree that they are comely and conscientious girls, who would no doubt make a loyal wife for a chimney sweep, or perhaps a bootblack. How amusing it is to watch the reaction of ‘the masses’ in steerage, most of whom have never ever been waited on before! You’d be lucky if even half could tell the difference between a salad fork, a fish fork and a dessert fork.
The crew are most professional- gentlemen all- and although it is entirely unnecessary, insist that a safety drill be conducted. While everybody knows that the Titanic is “practically unsinkable”, regulations demand it. Astonishingly, the vessel is not long out of port before some halfwit spreads a rumour about its soundness, leading to the exasperated first officer having to once again reassure everyone that it is “practically unsinkable”.
During dinner, a two act musical is performed. It appears that J. Bruce Ismay, chairman of the White Star Line, has reduced the quantity of lifeboats in order to clear room for a first class gymnasium. Although this means that the plebs would have to do without, it is baffling to observe the angry reaction of Molly Brown, a woman in first class. After all, as Ismay correctly observes, the liner is “practically unsinkable”! That the lady would continue to protest proves clearly that she is mad, if not a socialist.
Soon after, to nobody’s great surprise, the Titanic makes love to an iceberg. As the “practically unsinkable” vessel sinks, a furious Thomas Andrews, the designer, lashes out at Ismay for his negligence. The poor chap cannot believe the insubordinate accusations to which he is being subjected and reminds Andrews that he had informed him- Ismay- that the Titanic was unsinkable. “Practically unsinkable!” thunders Andrews in response. And thus the ship goes down, while all those not allocated a spot in a lifeboat queue for a refund.