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April 15th, 1912

The Carpathia

I survived. How or why, I didnt really care. She was gone. God himself couldnt sink this

ship, they said. They were wrong. At 2:20 a.m. this morning, the RMS Titanic foundered with

over 1,500 souls aboard. Thankfully, I had escaped with my lifebut I didnt care. The book

was gone. The biggest project Id ever have. But still, I didnt care. How could I? William was

dead. Just the very thought of the love of my life having died just hours ago in my arms broke

my heart. Nothing else mattered. The other passengers who were aboard the ship this fateful

night will no doubt write their own recollections of the events that transpired, but permit me to

tell you my story aboard the wondrous ship of dreams.

April 10th, 1912. A day of destiny. Our bags were packed and ready to go. We left my

apartment and left for the train station. A musty smell filled the air as the train arrived. We had

heard wondrous things about the RMS Titanic. The richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor

would be onboard. A true melting pot. Families returning home from a summer abroad as well as

immigrants looking to start a new life, all heading for America. I wasnt looking to start a new

life, that was for sure. I was nervous, but having traveled the ocean several times on the

Olympic, the Mauritania, and the Lusitania to visit family back in America, it was nothing new.

Unsinkable they called her, and I regret believing their words. The ship was magnificent. Huge

steel plates were held together by rivets to create the beast of the ocean. The china had never

been used. The sheets had never been slept in.

As the train pulled into Southampton station, I glanced quickly at the clock. 10:00 a.m. Plenty of

time. We didnt shove off until noon. My protg, William Haldermann, and I stepped off the

train. I had inquired about getting First-Class tickets a few months back but the White Star Line
and National Geographic stepped up and bought our tickets in exchange that I wrote a book

about the maiden voyage. Southampton was a blizzard of excited faces and posh hats. There

were the 1st class cats and the 3rd class rats.

As soon as we were on board, we headed for our stateroom, cabin B-68. I stopped for a moment

to marvel at the glass dome on the A-Deck landing of the Grand Staircase peeking through the

stairs on B-Deck. We walked down the hallway and found our cabin. The room was small but

roomy enough. With two beds, a wash basin, a closet, and a couple mirrors, it was all we could

ask for since we both knew we wouldnt be spending much time in our cabin anyway.

That night, the first night aboard Titanic, was an incredible night. You see, William and I were in

a romantic relationship of sorts. Wed spent so much time at Oxford together that wed fallen in

love. Yes, it was quite scandalous, a professor and his student being in love, but we didnt care.

But it was a secret that had to be well-kept. If discovered, my career as a professor would be

over. And Williamhe wanted to work at one of the museums in the United States. And I

couldnt bear the thought of his career being over before it even began. I loved him so. It was a

difficult decision to make. But love won.

Do you remember the day we met, Robert? I had to laugh. It was such a stupid but funny story.

I was dragging my belongings from my car to my house on campus when he ran into me as he

was running down the sidewalk. He helped me up and introduced himself while helping me pick

up my things. The very next day, he was in my History of the Ancient WorldBeginnings to

1500 class. I wont lie. William spent an awful lot of time with me during office hours. But it

was great. We discussed politics, ancient and modern warfare, anything and everything you

could think of. I developed a fondness for him very early on. And as the years passed, as he

became a part of the long line of history majors Ive had the blessing to have mentored,
something changed. He wasnt just a student anymore. I found myself slowly falling in love with

him. And just a few days ago, he told me the same.

The hardest part were the endless dinner conversations. For example, a Mrs. Alice Reynolds

asked us how we had met. Well, Mrs. Reynolds, we met at Oxford University. Im a senior and

Im traveling along with Dr. Langdon to the States to help him finish his book and to do an

internship at the Smithsonian in the National Museum of Natural History. How wonderful for

you, William she said. She then inquired How does the Mrs. deal with your travels, Dr.

Langdon? My mouth gaped open for a moment and then I stuttered Well he William

stepped on my foot. SHES very content back at home in Oxford. Im only going to be gone a

couple of months and then return home.

Later that evening, I had the chance to talk with Alices husband, Teddy, as we were having a

nightcap before bed and he was looking for some advice about the upcoming birth of his first

child and asked me nonchalantly Do you have any children, Dr. Langdon?. I about spit out my

drink. I, uh, that is to say, oh gosh, its so hard to talk about. The Mrs. and I dont have any

children so we like to think of my students as our children. I have my senior classes come over

for dinner at the end of the year before graduation.

How wonderful for them. It seems you make quite an impression on your students to have one

so devoted to yourself as a traveling companion. If only he knew.

Before bed every night, William and I would go over these moments and just laughand

breathe a huge sigh of relief. By the 14th of April, our worries were behind us and a new future

awaited us in New York. I couldnt sleep that night. It was a quarter past eleven and William was

sleeping, so I went to the deck to have an evening stroll, but my leisure was interrupted as a
shudder shot through the boat. Like a baby giant had picked it up and shook it like a rattle the

ship convulsed and trembled knocking people off their feet and then it stopped. The shock only

lasted a few moments but those moments were long enough for the wave of fear to wash over

me. Those moments were long enough for people to laugh and carry on with what they were

doing but not for me.

Why has the boat stopped?

We can't slow down!

How dare the captain knock me off my feet

It gave me such a shock

Those were the cries and shrieks I heard from my fellow first-class passengers.

Then came the part where the crew lied to our faces. Put your life jackets on they said, nothing's

wrong, they said, no need to worry, they said. I thought it was better to leave William asleep

while they sorted things out as I didn't want him to be worried so instead I approached a crew

member.

How many compartments? I demanded not meaning to, but he only cheerily replied with

Sorry sir?

You know what I mean, how many compartments? I refrained from shaking him there and

then when he replied with

I don't know what you are talking about sir, everything is fine

I know damn well that everything is not fine, now you tell me how many compartments are

flooded or I will make sure that you are the first to drown after I said this he gave in his act and

muttered a reply under his breath

Pardon? I said
Six sir, six compartments are flooded which means -

I know what it means I interrupted Ive studied this ship stem to stern and am personally on a

first name basis with Thomas Andrews, the builder of this ship! As I walked as briskly as I

could back to our cabin, I realized that I had been a bit harsher than I intended to be. But if

theres one thing I detest, its being lied to.

I woke William up and told him to get dressed. Robert, its past midnight. Why the hell are you

waking me up?! If youre going to write in that damn book of yours, just keep your light on and

keep quiet. I shook him awake. Damnit William. Weve hit an iceberg and the ship is taking on

water. Fast! We dont have much time before this entire ship is below the Atlantic. Langdon,

what the hell are you talking about? This ship cant- he cut off as the reality of the situation

sunk in. Frantically, he got up and got dressed. We helped each other with our lifejackets and left

our cabin for the final time.

Back on deck they were lowering the lifeboats. 'Women and children only' the crew were

saying. Panic set in on the deck around us. People running every way. There were families

having to be separated. People were starting to lose their footing and mine wasnt so steady to

being with when the ship was level. Teddy and Alice were standing next to me, both in tears.

Alice refused to leave her husband but Teddy would have none of it. He put Alice onto a boat

and with William looking so young, he was granted a spot. So, we said our goodbyes. Williams

was short and sweet but I was overcome by emotion. I recited a poem my mother had read to my

father shortly before he died back in 1910.


Be thee well
May the lord who watches all watch over thee
May God's heaven be you blanket as you softly sleep

Be thee well
When you're fin'ly in my arms you'll plainly see
This devoted professors's heart and soul
Are yours to keep!

We'll meet tomorrow


We will find a path
And reach tomorrow.
Past this day of wrath
We'll be together once again
Cling to your hope and prayers till then...

I'll hold thee closely


As I say goodbye
And keep your image
In my memory's eye
And all this love of ours will soar
Come dawn or danger
We'll meet tomorrow
And have each other evermore

Come say you love me


As I kiss your eyes
Let one brief moment
Make eternal ties...

If tomorrow is not in store


Let this embracing
Replace forever
Keep us together
Evermore.

I told him I would see him soon, knowing full well I never would. Then they lowered the boat.

Tears came. There he was, being lowered in a small boat into the cold, dark Atlantic Ocean, with

no hint of a rescue ship in sight. Suddenly there was a commotion. Someone had jumped off the

lifeboat and back onto the ship. I ran to the edge of the ship to see who it was. William. He made

his way back up to the boat deck and I grabbed him and wrapped him in the biggest hug I think I
had ever had. I dont know what came over me, but I kissed him. Right there. In front of

everyone. We were both in tears. And I didnt care who saw.

We ran down the deck to see if Murdoch had any lifeboats left. He told us he had just

launched the last of them. There was no going back. The boats were gone. We knew it was only

a matter of time before Titanic plunged into the icy waters. We just had to pray we lasted long

enough in the water until the boats came back. IF they came back. We ran for the stern, to the

very back of the ship. She kept rising out of the water and was so beautiful, even her death

moans were a symphony of steel and machinery singing their unending hymn to Mother Nature

herself. We held on to the railings as long as we could. At that moment, the ship tore in half. The

bow section sunk under the water as the stern section was pulled straight up into the air. It

bobbed like a cork for a few moments and then sank into the sea beneath us.

When cold water hits you it's as if your brain cells freeze. When icy water hits you it's as

if all the pain in the world has come crashing down on top of you and your brain is paralyzed.

After I had absorbed the shock, I started to swim, pulling my body along with the last of my

strength. I held onto William as we swam away from the ship because I knew that the suction

would drag us under and he couldnt swim at all. We swam to Collapsible B, where Officer

Charles Lightoller and a few other men were clinging on for dear life. We held on to the boat as

best we could, for what felt like an eternity before Lightoller helped me up onto the overturned

boat.

I checked William every so often while I was climbing onto the boat and then helped him

out of the water. Hours passed. We would check every man aboard the boat every five or ten

minutes to check for life. We lost a few in that first hour but we held out. It was only when I

heard a splash later in the night that I checked for William. He had slipped off the boat and I
grabbed to pull him out of the water but I felt that his breath had stopped long before I wanted to

admit it. There I was. Floating all alone with Lightoller and a few other men in an overturned

lifeboat with the dead body of the love of my life in my arms, sobbing, in the middle of the

Atlantic Ocean. And when I saw the lights of the Carpathia it was the greatest feeling I had ever

experienced but I had forgotten that William could not experience that feeling with me. I couldn't

believe that I had survived when many others had perished. When Titanic went down I distinctly

remember the musicians playing a hymn. It was 'Nearer, My God, To Thee' and I thought about

how I would be with God soon, but instead William had gone to heaven and I was alone.

Epilogue

In the years after the sinking, rumors started about the infamous kiss William and Robert had

shared during the sinking. Dr. Langdon slowly found himself on the losing end of things. First,

he lost his position as the head of the History department at Oxford after a lengthy investigation

about his conduct with former students in 1914. Soon after, all his speaking engagements were

cancelled. His book sales diminished and he found himself penniless and a public disgrace.

Without the love of his life, on April 14th, 1922, ten years to the day the RMS Titanic hit the

iceberg, he picked up the gun he kept in his flat. He was found dead the very next day.