Written by Jacob's Little Wolf
April 10, 1912
My name is Elizabeth, Elizabeth Livingston, and I was onboard the unsinkable ship. I was only six at the time, but I can remember it as if it was yesterday. I was in first class with my parents. I made it to the other side of the Atlantic, but they didnít. My father told me about the wonders of America, how they had moving pictures and flying machines. He would make his millions there, he said. That was what really helped me want to leave. When he told us that we would be onboard the unsinkable ship, my mother gasped. That one phrase won her over in a flash. She was certain that we would be safe. How wrong she was.
We boarded the ship first, as first class passengers were thought to be most important for some ridiculous reason. I saw the third class people forced back to wait their turn. I looked back and saw a third class girl around my age. Her tattered scarlet coat stood out from the weathered gray clothes worn by other lower class people. We caught each otherís eyes and waved.
My father saw this and pulled me inside. "How dare you make eye contact with a third class person!" he shouted into my ear.
We were escorted to our stateroom right away. As we started to walk down the hallways, I saw that they were white with golden embellishments on the edges and ceiling. Photographs and paintings also covered the walls, mainly of the Titanic being built, blueprints, and photographs of the captain and crew. The ship went on for miles, or so it seemed. I couldnít believe that all this took only three years. I saw other first class gentlemen and women being shown to their rooms. They looked very arrogant and snooty, complaining to the crew about it being too crowded or noisy. I could faintly hear the third class people shouting and calling for each other. My father murmured something under his breath as he heard them.
I gasped as we stepped into our stateroom. It was like our manor house back in Berkshire, but on a ship! My room was attached to my parentís room, for obvious reasons. There was a lovely view of the ocean from the sitting room. The stateroom was fairly big, and very traditional, with ornaments anywhere possible. I automatically felt at home.
My father left my mother and me straightaway to join the other men in the smoking room. When the ship actually set sail, I could hear the cheers from the pier. My mother, at that point, took me upstairs to the promenade so I could see everyone on the pier and watch the ship finally set sail.
At dinner, my family and I all sat together. The Jacobean Room was a lengthy room with about half a dozen crystal chandeliers and gold-trimmed curtains. There were thirteen courses in total, with many freshly caught ingredients from the Atlantic. My favorite was the dessert, a creamy rice pudding. The meal seemed to last forever. Just as I thought it had ended, another course came out. It was fairly loud in the hall. The sound seemed to echo, projecting every laugh and whisper all over the whole room.
My parents left me to go to the ballroom as I watched a magician perform for me and the other first class children. The performance was held in the stage area in the ballroom. Some upper class gentlemen and women came to join us, as they were fascinated by the magic performed. They were baffled. Fewer and fewer people were dancing to the live band as more gathered around the magician. When the performance ended, my family and I went to the promenade deck. We saw the last of the sunset and the North Star beginning to glimmer. I didnít make it to my stateroom before I fell asleep up on the promenade.
The days seemed to rush by on the Titanic. My parents had several meals with the captain, while I played with other upper class children. I made several friends those nights. I still keep in contact with the few who managed to survive the sinking. The journey at that point was so much fun.
It was April 14, 1912. The waters were calm and the sky was clear. My family and I woke, as we normally did, at mid-morning. We had breakfast with the other first class passengers, once again at the normal time. That night, my father and mother were in their room, discussing our future in America, while I was in my bedroom, dressing for bed.
It was around 11:30 when I felt a shudder. My mother had said I should never leave my room, but I was so scared. I ran out of the room, but everyone and everything looked calm and normal. It was as if nothing had happened at all. I ran around, looking for someone I knew--anyone. I managed to find one of the older girls I was playing with earlier. Cathy was about five years older than me, with bright red curly hair. She was the leader of the girls. She explained to me that she and the other girls were going to the deck to find out what the sudden jolt was. I told her to wait as I sprinted to my room to grab my outdoor clothes. I had my fur coat and thick boots on. As we got to the deck, we saw it. An iceberg had hit the hull of the ship.
We saw the lower class men throwing around bits of ice that had fallen from the mammoth iceberg. No one seemed slightly worried that it had hit the ship. It hadnít come across their minds that it could have caused a vast amount of damage. But that was all I thought about. So many questions went through my mind. Will the ship sink? Am I safe? I began to ask Cathy some questions, but she just ignored me. She threw some ice at me, and then a big ice fight began.
We had so much fun that I totally forgot about the iceberg. A steward came and found the girls and me and escorted us back to our parents. I said good-bye to the girls, unaware that I would never see them again. My parents lectured me on how I shouldnít disobey their rules. At each and every point, I tried to make them aware of the iceberg, but Father just talked over me. I was sent back to my room and I was made to promise that I would stay in bed. I couldnít just ignore the iceberg. So, I sat in the sitting room and tried to look out of the window to assure myself. I finally tried to go to sleep. But every time I closed my eyes, I thought of the things that could occur.
I managed to sleep for only twenty minutes when I heard a bang on the door. It was a steward. "Wake up, little miss. Put on your lifebelt and Iíll locate your parents," he said to me in a calm Cockney accent. Seconds later, my parents came through the door.
"Elizabeth, collect your belongings and put them in your suitcase, dear!" my mother exclaimed.
"All right, Mother. Why?" I inquired.
"Oh, just a little test, to check if we are aware of what we need to do in certain events," she murmured. I could sense a sort of fear in her voice. It was very uneven.
"Do as your mother says, Elizabeth. Now," my father ordered me.
I was shaking as I was packing, hearing calls and shouts for loved ones and stewards ordering people to the deck. I was muttering to myself about how my parents should have listened to me and how I was right, making sure that they could not hear me. I couldnít help but feel frightened and panicky. My mother was constantly dropping things; I could see her hands shaking with terror. My father pulled her outside and talked to her. I couldnít hear much, but I could hear my name being mentioned and Mother crying. I started to cry, too. I felt to blame for Motherís crying, even though it couldnít be my fault. She came in, wiped away her tears, and became her normal, authoritative self. She helped me pack my final things and we left the room.
We came out to the grand staircase and saw that we were alone. No one was there except us. We heard footsteps and calls from above, so we headed to the deck. I began to totter down the hallways, dragging my suitcase behind me. Mother and Father didnít seem too keen to get to the deck, taking their time, admiring the dťcor. I pulled on Motherís dress persistently, desperate for her to move even slightly faster.
"Mother, Father, please! We need to go faster. The ship is going to sink," I pleaded.
"Elizabeth, donít be so foolish. This ship is unsinkable. Thomas Andrews said so himself!" Father explained to me.
I looked at him solemnly, but he turned to Mother and laughed heavily with her. We turned the corner a few feet away from the deck and saw a grave-looking steward.
"What are you still doing down here? You should have been on the lifeboats thirty minutes ago!" the steward exclaimed over the cries of children and women as they scrambled into the lifeboats.
I managed to distinguish a lifeboat through the sea of people. I ran towards the lifeboat, shouting at Mother, "Thereís a lifeboat, Mother!"
Suddenly, I felt a forceful jerk on my collar. I looked up to see a fearful face staring down at me, and it was at that moment that I realized that my feet were no longer touching the ground. I was being lifted into a lifeboat without notice. I tried to shout to my parents, but they could not hear my hoarse voice over the hysterical cries of desperate women and children. As the boat was lowered to the choppy ocean, it suddenly hit me that I would never see either of my parents again.
The Carpathia arrived with a tearful crew, heaving alive and dead passengers onto the now very crowded ship. I looked over the railing of the ship to see a scarlet coat floating on the surface of the sea.
As we sailed into New York Harbor, I realized that from this point I would have to start my new life as an orphan, not knowing whether my beloved parents had survived that fateful day on the unsinkable Titanic.