"…but many legal historians regard Cardoza's opening as a double entendre…."
That doesn’t make them right. I’ve consulted a number of respected legal historians and have quoted them in my chapter about the Wood case. You are welcome to draw whatever conclusion you will, but why not wait till you have read what the "other side" says? You are basing your opinion on what some have written. But have you read Goldberg’s paper? Have you attended any of the recent lectures by other professors who are using some of Goldeberg’s findings?
"….I think you are being very unfair and may have fallen too in love with your subject…."
I’m not being unfair, quite the reverse. Nor am I "too in love" with my subject. I am always passionate about my subjects but I am also always objective in my writing and research. I believe showing the flaws and failures of a subject along with his or her strengths and achievements is the only way to accurately portray any individual. I’ve done that in my news work as well as in my history writing.
"….She may have written all about her concern to close friends and relatives, but she certainly didn't emerge as one of the Titanic heroines…."
Conversely, neither did many other women on board emerge as heroines, but that doesn’t make them villains.
"….Come on, Randy, you are one person in a minority who is privy to documents that may show an empathetic side to Duff-Gordon. Of course, I don't have the information that you do…."
Yes, but I have shared that information in a public venue like this and in publications in order to show a side that hasn’t been aired. That’s the business of a biographer or any history writer —— to tell the truth, even when people would rather believe the more dramatic untruth. And I believe I have done the best that I can to tell the truth. It won’t change the fact that ill-informed people will always prefer controversy and enmity. But I think in time the truth will be seen by the fair-minded that it was nothing but tabloid sensationalism that originally indicted the Duff Gordons. Many responsible members of the press subsequently helped turn the bias and unfairness around, and in time the Duff Gordons were championed by the more prestigious sector of the media. But this part of the story hasn’t been told yet.
"….But the Titanic uproar lasted for a long time…."
No, it didn’t. You need to do more research there.
"….For the time, Cardoza stretched legal theory to find against Duff-Gordon. And this is from a judge regarded as "Mr. Fairness" himself…."
Cardozo stretched legal theory but he did it because he believed there was in fact a valid contract "however imperfectly expressed," as he put it. His finding wasn’t influenced by any personal feelings whatsoever about Lucy Duff Gordon, and to suggest it is to dishonor his character.
"….And who in heck cares whether Mabel, whose last name Duff-Gordon liked to "anglosize" was her secretary or her maid?…."
I care because it’s not true. Facts are facts, no matter how small, because they build to a larger truth. Mabel Francatelli was employed as a business secretary for Lucile, Ltd, Lucy’s company, and later as a social secretary to Lucy herself. Those are the facts.
"….But if Duff-Gordon was so caring, why couldn't she call her secretary by her name, rather than "Miss Franks"?…."
"Franks" was just a nickname like many of us have. It was an affectionate name, reserved for someone whom Lucy cared a great deal for, as her letters show. Mabel Francatelli adopted it as her own and even signed her letters "Franks." Her friends and relatives also called her "Franks" or "Frankie." You’re making something out of nothing.
"….And does it really make it any better that the nightgown was a birthday present?…."
It does. It shows the special relationship between the two, and Lucy’s generosity, which is characteristic of her treatment of her employees, as published and unpublished material support.
"….Hundreds of people are dying in front of their eyes, while they are in a lifeboat with 12 people, including themselves--and Duff-Gordon is concerned with her birthday present to her secretary?…."
You are determined to find fault, and are being really unreasonable. You must have very little understanding of humanity. People do and say all kinds of things when they are stressed or facing fear and grief. It is a known psychological fact. Just after the current disaster of the hurricane, a story was told me by an evacuee of a man rescued by fishermen who kept fiddling with his wrist watch, complaining that it had water in it. The mind tries to block out what’s happening. Lucy’s comment to Franks was a simple, unimportant remark, made in a moment of sorrow. She was trying to instill humor into sadness, as she often did. The actual remark, by the way, was "Fancy you’ve actually left your beautiful nightdress behind you," referring to her secretary having flung on an odd mix of clothes. I’m sure there were similar careless comments being made in other lifeboats by other people. But I bet you wouldn’t automatically assume those folks were insincere or cold-hearted. I suppose that with a wealthy, famous, titled lady, those facts alone create a persona of indifference. People want villains or heroes in a story. No one wants to hear that most people, including those who are labeled "villain" or "hero," are neither.
"….Randy, you must admit that even to bring up the subject of the nightgown then was trivial. …"
Trivial, thoughtless —— yes. Mean, uncaring —— no.
"….Actually, I was trying to help you, to suggest some balance. But never mind…."
Help me? Please spare me next time. Your tone and tack were not helpful and they weren’t intended to be. You were trying to be smart about something you don’t know anything about (and apparently don’t care anything about).