Duties of the Internal Affairs: Living a life of duty is a lot different than living a life of luxury. Two women are about to learn that there are some things money and society just can't buy. Two officers are going to get more than a routine cross over the Atlantic.
Historical Note: Officer Harold Lowe and Officer James Moody were real people so I will do them their utmost justice by keeping them as true as possible to reality. As I was writing this, I had pages of notes from research. I shall uphold Titanic and her glory to my maximum potential. I do know the story behind Officer Lowe prior to the Titanic and the circumstances of his personal life. Like my other story involving Officer Murdoch, this is purely fiction and it is meant for enjoyment and not criticism of history.
Author's note: This story was finished in a little black book I would secretly write in during long lectures, while sitting behind the shadow of the student sitting in front of me. I took me three years to find the motivation to publish it. Do not get me wrong, I had every intention to share it. And even though this is a slight trite and common idea used in other stories, I hope that you shall enjoy my version of the scheme of things. A few people cried by the end of the story, and I hope you would feel the same also. However, as long as you enjoy the story, my duty as a writer is complete.
Please review because it tells me how the story is going. I appreciate all the support I can get. It is truly my motivation to keep going.
Disclaimer: I hold the rights of the characters in this story who are not real within history. The words in this story are also mine. However, everyone else who was on the Titanic, I mean no disrespect, and your entire honor belongs wholeheartedly to you.
"Make way!" A porter yelled on the dock as two cars romped, and bumped their way onto Southampton dock. The large ship in front of them let out some steam, and a resounding bellow from its horns. The Titanic was ready for its passengers, and its much worthy departure. The smell of fresh paint drifted from its hull, and it made the ocean's salty air fill with much anticipation. The gleaming bronze funnels divided the sunlight into millions of incandescent rays, and shone its golden aura on the waving relatives of the embarking passengers. It was a beautiful sight to look upon, indeed.
The two cars that was making its way onto the dock halted to a quick stop. A man, still young in seniority, stepped from the front, and moved to open the door for the riders inside. He adjusted his hat, and cane as a hand jutted out. His youngest daughter was the first to step from the car.
A head shorter than her father, Ella Wallace stepped from the car. Her blond head was covered by a large wicker hat with a wide brim, shielding her face away from the sun. The hat donned roses in the same color as her traveling suit. She took a moment to take in all of the scents, all of the sounds, and all of the emotions from the grand ship, and the people around her. As she looked up to the ship from top to bottom, her eyes lit up in joy.
"The ship is absolutely grand…"she breathed in amazement. She have been on other ships before, but Titanic's shere size took her breath away.
Another woman appeared right beside her. Her hat was more elaborate than the prior. It had a faded brown base for maturity, but pale pink and white ribbons, and a large beige plume was added for a sense of youth. The wind of the ocean wisped the ribbons in her hair, and hat around, and her ringlets that fell around her face swayed with the wind.
"I would believe so," she injected with the same enthusiasm. "It's 882 feet long, and when compared with the height of the Empire State Building, the Titanic is close," Adelaide Bowen proclaimed, waving her umbrella around to demonstrate its size. She, too, was in awe with the grand ship.
"It has been said that it is best ship in the world, dearest Ellie!" Their father leaned in to proclaim.
"But, it is the best ship in the world, Father," his young blond daughter cried. The youngest touched her hat, and turned to the ship again.
Her elder sister laughed at her much younger sister's amusement before turning back to assist her father help her mother out of the car.
"I told you that she was going to be in awe, Mother."
"The truth is, my Adelaide, she is in awe with everything." The two women let out a chuckle before their father, Sir Arthur Wallace, ushered them to the Deck D loading dock. Their maids, with hat boxes in their arms, stumbled after them, amazed at the ship themselves.
Adelaide fell into step with her sister, and they laced arms in great affection. "This will be a grand trip, Ellie! You are about to start your season on a very good note." She patted her sister's hands, nodding her head along with her statement.
"I do hope so."
"Never fret, dear one…" Adelaide added as they walked up the gangway to the Deck D entrance. The people in front of them stopped to check their names off some type of list the man at the gangway door was holding. After being properly checked in, the crew kindly greeted them to the new ship. Since, Adelaide, and Ella were in front, they were appointed to check off their names from the list. Adelaide had her head up to take in every single rivet, and bolt of the ship. Her eyes were dancing with excitement, too.
Fifth Officer Harold Lowe, who was leisurely waiting for his queue to do his duties, stepped to the port side of the bridge, and peered down at the dock below. He was in charge of the telephones, but since the ship was still loading its passengers, the phone didn't need manning. He knew that it was not going to bloody ring. Who would really care if he choose to take a break, and turn his attention away from his duties for a mere second or two to look down upon the crowded Southampton? Besides, the telephones were close by! He could just merely slide over—since the floor was still slippery from their scrub earlier—to the phones, and tend to his duties. Standing rigid with nothing to do but wait for that faithful ring was getting boring, and Lowe wasn't a very patient man.
His eyes traveled to Deck D's loading plank, and his attention was drawn to the red headed woman with a brown hat. The sun made her red ringlets glow more than its original color. He could slightly see the curve of her gaping mouth from under the large hat. He couldn't peel his eyes away from her, and his sight followed her until she disappeared into the ship. There was something interesting about her that Lowe couldn't place his finger on. It was something that made his stomach fill with butterflies, and heart beat like a drum. He pulled himself back over the banister, and looked almost dreamily towards the far end of the dock. His sight was slightly hazed over by the thought of her. He had find out why she had such an appeal on him. He was going to do the unthinkable: he was going to seek out a first class passenger.
However, before he could go about making his plans, Officer Harold Lowe stopped, shaking his head of the horrid thoughts. Yeah, it truly was the unthinkable. Lowe almost laughed at his own stupidity as he stalked slowly back his station near the telephones, ignoring the fact that his heart was still in a flutter.
"The name please, ma'am," the man at the door as cordially.
"Wallace. Sir Arthur Wallace."
"What about your guests, ma'am?" the officer asked, looking over Adelaide's shoulders.
"Lady Gladys and Ella Wallace," Adelaide proclaimed as she motioned to her mother, and sister.
He moved to check their names off before looking up at her. Adelaide nearly cracked a smile when she saw that the man had a pink tint added to his pale cheeks. Adelaide was modest enough to save the man from his humiliation. "And, what is your name, miss?"
"Adelaide Bowen," the woman said clearly, looking at the paper in his hand.
He leaned over his clipboard and lastly checked her name. "Welcome aboard the Titanic, ma'am, sir." He tipped his hat, and smiled pleasantly.
Their party split into two groups involuntarily. The maids, and manservant turned to tend to their appointed staterooms, while the family walked away towards the jovial setting outside on the open decks. They took in the smell of fresh wood, and admired the grandeur of the panelings and seraph sculptures. "This is absolutely astounding," Sir Wallace remarked, turning his head all around to take in all of the details of the space. "I had never seen a ship grander than the Titanic!"
"Not even in your days of sailing, Father?"
"Never!" The man let out a hardy laugh. "The details of this ship is by far the best I have ever seen. Who could have imagined someone putting in so much time into just a staircase!"
Being in an environment like the Titanic, Adelaide had other things on her mind rather than the wood and the gold that everyone else was admiring. "I wouldn't mind marrying an officer! It would truly make my life an adventurous one," Adelaide proclaimed her thoughts out loudly without knowing it until her father let out a satisfied chuckle.
"If you were to marry an officer of a ship, I shall be a very happy man, my dear Adelaide."
Their mother hissed, and shook her head roughly at both of them. She had other ideas for both Adelaide Bowen, and Ella Wallace. "She'll do no such thing, and do not encourage her, Arthur. She will marry wealthily, and uphold her family's social level."
The three of them didn't want to contradict the much superior female of the family and kept their mouths firmly shut. Sir Wallace just tapped his wife's hands gently. "Yes, of course, darling. Please forgive me."
Adelaide and Ella looked to each other in despair, but continued on, knowing that they couldn't let poor intentions ruin the mood of their embankment.
The Wallace family made it to the first class promenade deck on the port side, near the end of the ship. Adelaide was so enraptured with the activity of the open deck that she let go of her sister's hand and ran over to the railing. She cried, . "Good bye!" while waving her hand madly to the people below.
Ella had other ideas about moving to the railing, and saying good bye. She tried to be strong and face her fears of heights, but when she looked down the side of the ship to the people below, fear crept into her throat, and held its place. Her fear of heights was evident, making her clutch the railing tightly for some sort of security. It was different if they were out on the wide ocean. The size of the people below had told her she wasn't in a comfortable height from the ground.
"Good bye," she managed to choke out, trying hard not to look down. "Good bye," she tried again in a stronger tone. But fear was still resounding clearly from her voice.
Adelaide sent kisses down to random people, and their parents were busy giving their farewells to notice that their youngest daughter was whimpering from her fear.
Unexpectedly, a large gust of wind whizzed through the deck, and mechanically, as if they were all machines, everyone reach up to hold on to their hats tightly, in fearing that it would fly away with the gust. Ellie, who was busy fearing for her life, wasn't able to pry her hands off the railings to clutch onto her own hat. It flipped off her head, and down the side of the ship.
"My hat!" Ellie cried, desperately, but her hands were still clutching on to the railing for her deep fears of falling over the side, and dying instantly. The hat was terribly weighed down by the roses making it impossible for her to even attempt to lean over to save it. It willingly floated down towards the dock.
Sixth officer James Moody was just finishing checking the last of the steerage passengers when the hat came into his view. Involuntarily, his hand shot out quickly, and grabbed the hat before it fell into the grim water. The man silently prided to himself that he had such great reflexes.
He looked at it curiously. It was a simple little thing, but sadly, the ribbons, and roses come undone. Some of the wicker even came out of place. However, through all of the destruction, he could still see that it was a hat belonging to a first class passenger. Before closing the gangway door, he popped his head outside, and looked around in hoping to find the owner of the hat. His eyes searched the dock, and up to the far boat deck.
Against the bright light, he could see the only one head without a hat, leaning over the side slightly as if she was looking for it.
One thing he had learned about upper class ladies from his sister was that they would never go outside without their hat.
As his eyes adjusted to the luminosity of the sunlight, he could see the woman who leaning over to the side had a head of gold, and a pristinely childlike face. He was too far to read her expressions, but he could guess that it was in distress, and confusion from loosing her hat.
"Mr. Moody!" A seaman cried, and he snapped out of his trance, clutching the hat firmly. He was determined to give it back to her, whoever she was.
Moody stepped off the gangway and into the door again. "Right, right!" He tossed the hat to the curious looking seaman before turning his attention back to the gangway door. Moody thanked the man outside on the gangway for aiding him before Moody slammed it in a closed and locked it tightly. Sixth Officer Moody brushed the invisible dust from his sleeves as he turned to the seaman. The man looked at his superior questioningly as to why he was in possession of a destroyed lady's hat. Moody didn't say anything to answer the seaman's question, but thanked the man for holding the hat. The crewmen who were helping Moody looked at each other as if they were trying to find a reason for the junior officer's actions. After a few more moments, they shook their heads in annoyance and followed Officer Moody up to the bridge.
Ellie didn't have to look down the side for long to know that her hat was gone forever. She stepped from the railing to sit on an available deck chair behind a large wall of people. She could still see her sister happily waving to the crowd below. Adelaide was practically on her toes, and Ellie, aside from her subsiding fear of heights, had also a deep fear of her sister falling over. Knowing that she had nothing else left to do, she let out a sighed of contempt, she whispered, "Good bye," one last time, and the ship was steadily pulled from the dock towards the distant shores of America.