The Main Event Mrs Corey vs Mrs Becker


George Behe

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Dec 11, 1999
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Hi, Pat (Cook)!

I started a new thread because I lost track of the recent one about the identity of the woman from India whom Lawrence Beesley mentioned in his book.

Might the woman have been Mrs. Becker after all? Mrs. Corey and Mrs. Karnes presumably would not have had to put up with a child interrupting their conversation (while of course Mrs. Becker had Marion.)

Just a thought.

All my best,

George
 

Pat Cook

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Apr 27, 2000
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Hey George,

I very much appreciate your help, O M. As always I am wide open to the best candidate for each of his references. I will definitely have to rewrite my entry here, now regarding the child and doll. What drives me crazy is Beesley's used of the phrase 'child acquaintance'. Why would he say it like that? Did the child act in any way that would lead an onlooker to think it was not one of their own?

Also, according to that article I posted earlier (written last year, in research with the Corey family) since Mary Corey was some 8 months pregnant, I can't help for wonder if this condition wouldn't have ALSO made it's way into Lawrence's narrative. Unless (1) she wasn't one of the two ladies in white (2) she wasn't showing all that much or (3) he didn't notice her condition due to her dress.

As it is, I now have four candidates - Corey, Karnes, Funk and Becker. And, as you said, with Becker we get the child.

Aquaintance? Go figure.

Best regards,
Cook
 
Nov 22, 2000
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Hello Cook, Don't forget that in 1912 pregnancy was still unmentionable! I very much doubt if Beesley would have drawn attention to it in his writings.
Geoff
 

Pat Cook

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I am such a dolt!

First, Geoff, good point! I confess I hadn't thought of that. By the way, I STILL haven't received your email. Maybe I can reform the aluminum foil on my antenna!

Now, George, I don't believe that the child belonged to either of the two ladies in question. This is just my opinion here but here is my thinking on it.

Beesley gives us a clue here when he states, from the beginning of the paragraph, that the group is 'so near I cannot avoid hearing scraps of their conversation'. Now, if it was me and I saw a little girl come up to two ladies time and time again (without hearing their voices) I would figure she belonged to one of the two. However, Beesley states the girl is 'a child acquaintance' - an odd phrase as I mentioned before. Why did he say this? The inference, to me anyway, is that he overheard something to the effect that the girl did not belong to either of the ladies. An assumption to be sure but, again, 'a child aquaintance'?

This doesn't rule out Nellie Becker at all but I don't believe the child was Marion.

JMHO, OM

Best regards,
Cook
 

George Behe

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Hi, Pat!

I know *lots* of kids that I wish were just acquaintances instead of relatives. :)

All my best,

George
 
Nov 22, 2000
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Boys, well, you could start with my two!! Could the child have been simply attatching itself to them during the voyage - not one of the Beckers at all? Personally, I'm in favour of them being Mrs Karnes & Mrs Corey, probably bacause that was the first two who sprung to mind. Had it been Mrs Becker, surely he would have drawn attention to the other children? I also thought that Annie Funk may have been a little old to fit the description.
Now Cook, I hope you are not telling whoppers about my email!! Seriously, I'm still unable to send them out and am having to have someone come in to look at the darned thing - will get back to you as soon as possible.Until then, I'l keep putting more coal on and hoping for the best!
Geoff
 

Pat Cook

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I know what you mean, Geoff. I have to get a rope and pull start my computer in the morning.

Regarding the child attaching itself to the others, this is my idea as well, based on my train of thought detailed above. A bit of an assumption but, again, I'm going by Lawrence's 'phrasology'.

Needless to say, I've gone over this paragraph a few times in the last couple of days and I am still trying to keep an open mind on these two ladies. I wasn't the one who originally identified Corey and Karnes as this pair but they do seem to fit, in more specific terms, better than any of the others. Funk, as you said, may have been too old, 4 years (if I remember correctly) Beesley's senior. Again, we have a Beesley phrase to 'tease' us a bit - 'Probably friends only'. When I first read that I thought (and still think) these two were VERY chummy and Lawrence wanted to point out that he believed they were not related but 'probably friends only'. Again, this brings me back to Mary Corey and Claire Karnes. They were, indeed, friends and neighbors back in Rangoon, India, and one of them was a school teacher (Mary). What would REALLY cap this off would be a photo of either one of them wearing a pince nez.

Best regards,
Cook
 
Nov 22, 2000
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Hello Cook, I reckon that we have a few suspects here as to the identity of the errant child!
a) Marion Becker
b) Marjorie Collyer
c) Nina Harper
d) Eva Hart
e) Winifred Quick

The other children were probably too old or too small to fit the bill.
Eva never made any mention of the tale, I brought up Beesley's conversation many times with her but she never took the bait.
Marjorie Collyer did have a doll, her mother's letter to Harvey's parents states that poor Marjorie "is as much distressed by the loss of her doll, as by that of her papa".
As for Winifred Quick and Nina Harper - who knows? My money is still on Marion Becker. It would seem likely that Mrs Karnes and Corey would have at least been aware of Mrs Becker and her connections with India and therefore the child would be at ease approaching the women. Yet then again, Marjorie Collyer seems, at least according to her family, to have been a precocious child and would probably not have thought twice about butting in to anyone's conversation!
However, the problem is easily solved simply by asking Mr Behe - after all, he was there at the time! Remember that mention of a grumpy old gentleman seated in the corner of the room? That was our very own George!

Geoff
 

Pat Cook

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Dear Geoff,

You really shouldn't tease George about his tremendous age. After all, he may really know where that fountain of youth is. Either that or he has this portrait in his attic that keeps getting very...well, tell you more later.

While you made an excellent point about Marion Becker, regarding the focal point of India being a 'connection', I tend to agree with your second idea that Marjorie Collyer may have been the 'child aquaintance'. As you mentioned, Margorie was obviously devoted to the doll and her mother, Charlotte, was seasick and rarely left her cabin - her account (seen here on this website) states she ventured out on the evening of April 14 for dinner but that was about it. This would have left Marjorie either on her own or with her father, Harvey, for the majority of the trip. Also, Marion was 4 and I tend to believe that Nellie would've been with her when not with her Richard.

Just my opinion here but when I read the 'child aquaintance' I pictured a child, say 7 or 8 years old or older.

Best regards,
Cook
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Just two cents worth here.

When I was about 4-5 years old, I selected an older German woman as my friend and visited her everyday on the park bench outside our small apartment. I was no older than this cause we moved just shortly after ward. She was blond with braided hair and I was a fearless 4-5 year old complete with doll and I knew no strangers. My mother was in ill health and did not go out with me and I spent many hours sharing and listening to this lovely woman and when we moved she was gone.

Marjorie...hmmmm, yeah, I figured that anyone seeing me with this lady day after day would have seen us as acquaintences. And a teacher as Beesley would have referred to me in terminology as a child acquaintance.

Just my two cents worth here.
Maureen.
PS- Geoff: hope your email thingy begins to work. Glad you have someone to look at it.
 

Pat Cook

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Hi Mo! Always tickled to hear from you!

If I understand what you're saying, I agree. To a point, that is. Again just my opinion (and I wish I had more to hang this on) but I believe Beesley had some reason not think the child a relative. For instance, someone may have see you and the 'older German lady' and figured you for a grandmother and granddaughter.

This brings me to a question for any and all. We know that steerage was kept apart from the others but could, say, a 1st class passenger go into the 2nd class library?

Best regards,
Cook
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Always glad to tickle you Cook!

How about this oone thought? What if over the three days period, the Beesley-type had seen me with my family and also had seen me run over several time towards to the older german woman to "bug her to death" and maybe my Dad had chastised me for "bothering the woman". But when alone, I visited freely and Beesley-type noted that.

That is just pure speculation, but for me...I mean I absolutely knew no strangers growing up and both of my kids are like that today. The one thing that I know is that I would seek out people to talk to like water seeking its own level and my parents had a difficult time keeping tabs of me. (Yes, me.) I was curious and wanted to know everyone. Perhaps Beesley himself had had an encounter with the little visitor but was unsure of her name.

Just a thought, but I will lwet you get on with the real stuff!

Good to share here Pat!
Maureen.
 

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