First Class

Chris A Moody

Member
Feb 18, 2018
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1
Houston, TX, USA
Hi all!

For those who didn't read my introduction, I'm currently working on a science fiction book that will have Titanic as its setting. I'd like to get it as close to right as possible.

In my story a couple from the future will be going back and buying first class tickets for the Titanic.

Being that no one would know who they are, would everyone be asking them how they could afford 1st class? Or would they assume that the couple is a nobody, and ignore them?

I know it would really be different from person to person, but just looking for a general rule.

Thanks!

Chris
 

Athlen

Member
Apr 14, 2012
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If you're not aware, First Class passengers were provided with a list of passengers on board. You can see the list here. People used this list to see if friends or marriageable men or women were aboard.

A married couple traveling together would probably be afforded as much privacy as they desired. Well, "married" would be assumed for a man and woman traveling together.

This was not true of single women -- "unprotected ladies" had gentlemen offering them their "services" left and right. No romantic involvement was implied, though. It meant that the charming gentleman would dine with the lady and fulfill other social roles where people were usually coupled. This pairing was socially necessary. At dinner, for example, men and women were seated alternately around the table and men would, by custom, begin dinner by talking to the lady on the right, until at some point each lady "spontaneously" began to speak with the gentleman on her right. It was all very complicated, but lots of good books about etiquette are available online, for example at archive.org.

You must remember that quite a few First Class passengers were traveling with some strong reason to desire privacy. John Jacob and Madeline Astor were the most famous example, but lots of men were traveling with a mistress or what have you. Now, JJA was not a nobody, even though he was traveling under an assumed name (the Morgans). So, a First Class passenger wouldn't assume that a fellow First Class passenger was a nobody. If they were really somebody, they would recognize the name in the passenger list. As mentioned, they would allow privacy for anyone who seemed to prefer it. Being rich in the early 20th century was all about never making a fuss over anything in public.

Nobody would ask how you could afford First Class; that'd be patently gauche. Prying questions would never be asked. I suspect a proper rich person would wait for the couple to disclose their line of business, if they chose to do so. Innocent but probing questions might still happen -- "Of the Boston Dawsons?" (I forget what city Cal asked about) -- but they would always be escapable. Again, remember polite society was all about never making a fuss.

Your characters will be assigned a table in the First Class dining saloon. Check the D Deck plans for a layout -- there are very few tables for 2, as is still the case today. Most likely they will be at a table for 4 or 6 and larger tables were available. Who will their dining partners be?
 
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Chris A Moody

Member
Feb 18, 2018
16
0
1
Houston, TX, USA
Hi Athlen, I re-read what you wrote and this made me wonder, I had read that the ship sailed with large number of 1st class (and other levels) with no guests in them. Would someone have been able to buy 1st class ticket on the 9th? If they would have been able to, obviously it would be to late to get printed in the "who's who" list.