The Titanic End Of A Dream by Wyn Craig Wade

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Wyn Craig Wade has moved from writing about "Titanic" to writing about the Ku Klux Klan. I saw him on Discovery Channel discussing the Klan, this evening. Of course, like any sane individual, he's very critical of that organization. He wrote a book called "Fiery" something about the way the KKK maintains itself today. I wonder why Wyn Craig Wade became so interested in the likes of those guys? Has anyone read this book? When was it published? Does anyone know what other subjects Wade has written about?
He's pretty brave to tackle the KKK. I hope he doesn't live near any of them! We might keep him in our prayers. Those boys don't take kindly to books being written about them.
But you know, that reminds me of something. Walter Lord has written about other subjects, too, particularly the Civil War. Yet, he's only famous for his books about Titanic.

All the best,

Wyn Craig Wade is a social psychologist with a special interest in US cultural history. I guess it's not surprising he'd eventually be drawn to the most devisive, controversial aspect of American life - racism. His book is called The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America. Its astounding but disturbing, as only this subject can be. As you recall he touched a bit on the subject of racial prejudice in End of a Dream.

He's also been interviewed on a variety of other historical subjects - including the Civil War - for several recent documentaries. I like his work a lot.

Hello all-

Saw this revival of this thread and have been musing about it. There are few things I feel a need to talk about here, and I hope it can be of some help.

Mr. Wade's "End of a Dream" was probably the 2nd book I got about Titanic...after Lord's ANTR. I was about ten years old at the time, and alot of it went over my head. But it is still one of those "re-reads" over the years. And yes, the social commentaries in that book may very well have inspired myself to persue my own historical searchings.

Now, with his work on the KKK. It does not surprise me that he would take on this subject. Like myself, a Michigander, he is probably all too well aware of the racial divide that has been an unfortunate history in our mitten state. (I wish to make clear that I am only talking about the MI. scene...I am not so bold or educated to speak of these matters in other regions).

For a modern history, I'll try to be quick. Once the Ford auto-factories started their $5 a day workday in 1914, there was a large exodus of Southern and white...who found themselves living together, and among the "we're already here" folks. Now of course there was tension, which culminated in a race-war during WWII. Like a pot that boils over, the heat is turned off, but the mess on the stove was left. So enters the Detroit Riots in 1967. Which, unfortunatly, a generation later, we in south-eastern Mi. are still suffering the residual effects from. I have relatives who told me stories of having to manouever around Tanks to get home from work or school. Today it's one of those "everyone knows, but nobody talks about it" sort of thing. An un-healed wound, that someone like myself, born a couple years later, finds all this baggage being lugged around, and not really knowing why.

All in the past? Not really. I have discovered that history does not easily go away. And that is what Mr. Wade, I believe, is trying to convey in current and past works.

As for the Klan? Well, from my understanding, they most reside in northern, rural outreaches of the state. Which is amusing to me: since they hate black people so much, what better way to fight your enemies away from them! What idiotic dismissable (OK, got personal, forgive me!).

So much for being quick...just wanted to share some thoughts.

This is actually a very interesting book. It goes along well with the book that contains the transcripts from the American Inquiry. I thought Wade did a good job.
Inger (and Colleen): Found it! Finally.

While scoping out my "Senator Cary" post elsewhere, I ran across that excerpt I'd referred to previously -- the one I couldn't relocate. It's on page 221 of the Revised (1986) edition -- second page of Chapter 14, "Dies Irae". I'm including some surrounding text solely for "ulterior" motives: ;^)


The rumor (complaints about the detention of the crew) to which Mr. Scott alluded arose from a publicized visit the Titanic's crewmen had made to Ambassador Bryce Wednesday evening. Bryce was leaving for New Zealand Thursday morning, and according to Officer Lightoller, the men had merely called on the ambassador prior to his departure simply as British subjects calling on the official representative of their country. Concerning the rumor of complaints, Lightoller said to the press, "I am sorry such a report has gone abroad."

In his autobiography, published twenty-three years later, however, Lightoller said that near the end, the crewmen "refused to have anything more to do with the enquiry" and it "was only with the greatest difficulty I was able to bring peace into the camp." Not so, said the Michigan Minutemen, whose duties involved eavesdropping on the crewmen. O'Donnell and Carroll maintained that the officers were indeed expressing annoyance at being detained in Washington and at Smith's nautical ignorance -- but the crewmen were posing no problems at all. They were now on a first-name basis with Senator Smith, who had managed to get Congress to raise their witness fees from three to four dollars per day. (emphasis mine) Wednesday evening they were followed all over the capital by a reporter from the Milwaukee Journal who said "they seemed to be enjoying the time of their lives."

Taken in that context -- Lightoller's much later assertions in his autobiography, versus presumably contemporary accounts from O'Donnell and Carroll, as well as Lightoller himself -- that dismissal doesn't seem unreasonable. (I'm not saying there couldn't have been more involved than meets the eye, but ...)

Anyway, the crew should have had something to cheer about there. They had been well-treated in the U.S., as far as I know, and Smith even got them a 25% raise. (Four dollars a day -- short of a Pound -- ain't bad in 1912 terms.) But I can also understand that later memory would still not tend to construe that "captive" series of events -- including the pressures of testifying -- as anything generally resembling a jolly time. Understandably. (Not dismissing your own observations here -- just again considering the potential vagaries of memory.)


Inger Sheil

Unfortunately, Wade doesn't source the O'Donnell and Carroll reports so we have little means of assessing them beyond taking Wade's interpretation at face value. We don't even know for certain that these are reports dating to 1912. There is contemporary source material supporting the idea that the Titanic's crew were understandably keen to return to the UK and became more so as time wore on (just flipping through newspapers and I came across The Evening Star of the 25 April, with a fairly candid shot of two of the victualling crew and the caption 'A Crawford and A Cunningham, Titanic Stewards who are anxious to return to England'). Towards the end - the time Lightoller was speaking about - there may well have been baulking among the Titanic's crew. Perhaps not wholesale mutiny, but discontent at continued detainment at the pleasure of the Committee. I'd be interested in seeing any accounts from the crew (as opposed to those filtered through Smith's agents) expressing such glowing appreciation for the Senator...on the other hand, we have views like that expressed by Hichens, who thought some of the questions posed in Washington "very absurd".

Lightoller was certainly due for a reappraisal before Wade came along - he'd been treated rather uncritically before 'End of a Dream', an apotheosis that reached its peak in the filmed version of ANTR. Wade was quite justified in subjecting him to critical scrutiny. However, I can't help but feel that Wade swung the pendulum a bit too far in some instances. Take, for example, the following from p. 125:

Lightoller's answers were as terse as possible, and a number of reporters felt he was definitely bent on protecting the interests of Ismay and the White Star Line. After all, as the highest-ranking officer to have survived the disaster, Lightoller's chances for promotion in the line had been substantially increased.

The first part is perhaps a fair observation (although perhaps it might have been balanced by the point that a number of other reporters found Lightoller a very impressive witness and didn't feel he was acting from self-interest). The second line, however, I find quite unfair and even cruel in its implications. I have seen no contemporary source that supports the idea that Lightoller saw the death of his colleagues as an opportunity, which is the clear insinuation. One of those bodies that it is implied Lightoller was anxious to clamber over was that of his good friend, William Murdoch.

Lightoller was so deeply affected by the death of his colleagues that night that he kept in touch with their families for long years afterwards, his concern extended far beyond contemporary expectations of a condolance note with a few observations on 'what I know of how 'X' died'. It extended to protracted correspondence and even personal visits far beyond 1912.

I'd be intrigued to see Wade's specific sources for his countering of Lightoller's recollection of events - contemporary manuscript? Later recollection? Quite possibly Lightoller's memory on this (as on several other points) was understandably hazy by the time he wrote his memoirs. I do think it is a distinct possibility, however, that he did act to induce cooperation from at least some crewman who were begining to express dissatisfaction with their detainment. No doubt Washington was a lark for some. For others, with families anxiously waiting for them at home, and given that they had just undergone a traumatic experience, I think it would be perfectly understandable if they expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the duration of the inquiry.

I've no doubt that Lowe was one of the officers who was quite ready to openly revolt. He had very personal reasons for objecting most strongly to the charge that he had been drinking (although almost any man who had been accused of drinking while on duty would find it objectionable), and was keen to take the matter further and find out who had originally made the allegation. Word of this reached Smith, and issued his 'clarification' at the same time he released Lowe and his fellow officers (save, briefly, Boxhall).

~ Inger
Hi, Inger: Oh, I admit the story's not all out there. (And I'm definitely on your side regarding sources.) I *assume* from Wade's context that O'Donnell's and Carroll's rebuttals were contemporaneous to those events -- it does seem unlikely they'd have written this in some later memoirs -- but I don't know for a fact. To be entirely fair, Lightoller's 1912 response -- "I am sorry such a report has gone abroad" -- which Wade seemingly makes much of, is in my mind cleverly diplomatically vague. (He never actually said it wasn't so; he just said he was sorry it was broadcast!) ;^)

Like I said, there may well be more to this than meets the eye. (In essence, I'm not defending Wade's facts or sources there, just his apparent logic.)

One apolitical observation I'd like to throw in -- versus the merely partisan argument of "regular crew for, Officers against" -- is that it would perhaps be understandable that the normally lower-paid members of the crew receiving witness fees would likely be more contented (financially) than the higher ranks through economic perspective alone. Not knowing exactly how this fee system worked in practice (and not having a "Return of Expenses" document, as in the British Inquiry, with which to investigate it), I can't say with any certainty whether this fee was paid daily, even for standby status, or just on testifying days. But either way, the *relative* worth of that 4 dollars per day to an individual would depend largely on his normal fiscal expectations ($4 / day = £ 0, 16, 10 / day = £ 25, 5, 3 / month).

This isn't said in an attempt to reduce everything to a financial bottom line. But it would shed some light on the varying degree of satisfaction imparted by those fees. A per diem equivalent to £25, 5 per month would be quite lucrative indeed for some of those crew members!

Regarding Wade's wording you cited above, it does seem an unfortunate choice. It can be construed as somewhat less cruel than you've taken it, but there is unmistakable innuendo there. (Though I wouldn't stretch so far as 'clambering over the bodies of his friends'.)

For others, with families anxiously waiting for them at home, and given that they had just undergone a traumatic experience, I think it would be perfectly understandable if they expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the duration of the inquiry.

Agreed. Lowe's indignation at the implication that he might have been drunk is also quite understandable under the circumstances, but the question itself wasn't totally unreasonable. It did have some basis in fact, since one of the affidavits had suggested this possibility. Here I think Smith was just covering all the bases, though I can also fully understand Lowe's personal reaction.


Inger Sheil

John - Oddly enough, when I was looking through piles of copies for the 'Smithisms' article to transcribe for you (which still eludes recovery from the stacks of papers), I came across a piece dealing with expenses. Will have to see if by some miracle I can find it again and see if it has anything relevant on the question of how the witness fees were distributed...I have a vague recollection that there might have been a helpful nugget or two of information. Lowe was certainly a man to keep an eye on his funds - fiscal prudence was a distinct trait (following his agreements from the time he was an OS, it's clear that the stereotype of the freespending sailor is inapplicable in his case). As an ot aside, I seem to recall that he ran into Lord one day whilst going in to see Smith or his agents about expenses, and I've seen notations he made relating to the Brit inq calculating transport fees etc. No doubt the officers had other reasons as well for wanting to get home as soon as possible - their American experience was without precedent. Back home, they knew that had to face a BoT inquiry (at least two of them had already been through this experience in relation to other shipping accidents - both Lightoller and Lowe had testified at earlier inquiries). What would be the outcome in America, however? Lightoller and Boxhall narrowly escaped having subpoenas slapped on them as soon as they were released from giving evidence in Washington which required them to give evidence in a civil case - they escaped due to a technicality (they couldn't be subpoened for 24 hours after the Senate released them as witnesses, and an agreement was reached by their legal representatives that they would return to America at a later date to give evidence). Boxhall was also suffering from pleurisy. Nor is the division clearly along the lines of officers / rest of crew - Crawford and Cunningham, at least, expressed to the papers their anxiety to return home. Crew with families would be understandably keen to return home after such tragic events...perhaps some enjoyed something of a paid holiday, but for others suffering the trauma of the accident it probably wasn't the happiest of times, and home would have been calling.

Smith was certainly keen on pursuing the angle of intoxication among the crew, largely due to the allegations raised by 'Luis Klein'. Curiously, I don't recall Wade addressing this angle of the investigation, and Klein doesn't show up in the index - did he refer to it at all? There was considerable effort expended on tracking down Klein and getting him to Washington, and at one point they even had him in a holding cell where he insisted - in spite of WS's denials that he was a crewman at all - that he had sailed aboard Titanic, and was ready to expose intoxication among the senior crew, even pointing out the drunk officers. Of course, he "did a runner" right before he was due to testify! Smith eventually decided to let it go. It does, however, seem to have prompted some of his questions to the crew about whether or not there was drinking aboard, and questions like those he put to Boxhall about whether or not he was temperate.

In Lowe's case, however, he seems to have responding to a specific note handed to him during the course of Lowe's testimony. I wonder if perhaps it originated with Daisy Minahan via one of her State reps (hence the fact that the note came from a man)? It would explain why Minahan was asked to submit an affidavit which dates to after Smith had issued his clarification re the question of Lowe and drinking. Other passengers in Lowe's flotilla of boats - including Rene Harris, who had expressed a desire to testify and who felt so strongly about Lowe she later gave an interview explicity to talk about him - were not asked to give evidence. It's speculation on my part, but I wonder if Smith included Minahan's affidavit as a justification for questioning Lowe about his sobriety.

Reading Wade, it's difficult to gain an appreciation of just how strongly Lowe felt about the charge - he was very visibly angry. Of course, Smith had no way of knowing what a sore spot he'd touched upon - it's simply unfortunate for both men that the charge was made and had to be addressed, as it further soured an already difficult situation between two the two men.

Amusingly, Lowe doesn't seem to have objected to the fact that Smith's later clarification had him 'intemperate' in general temperament, not intemperate with regards to alcohol. It was the charge of drinking Lowe found objectionable (this was a man who didn't even want to be called a 'teetotaller', declaring that he wasn't a teetotaller but rather a total abstainer). He would have freely owned up to the charge of being intemperate in language - use of highseas invective was by then a thoroughly ingrained habit that remained with him for the rest of his life.

~ Inger
Inger: I was sure Wade had at least touched on the Louis Klein affair but, like you, I couldn't locate it in the Index. I did ultimately spot the passage -- it's on page 157 in the Revised Edition, in Chapter 10 ("Back in Washington"). But from the looks of it, it doesn't seem likely that Klein was mistaken as a credible source for anything!:


After Jusserand left, Smith was called on by the Austro-Hungarian ambassador, Baron Hengelmuller ... (who) also had an extraordinary "lead" for the chairman. A Hungarian sailor, Louis Klein, had shipped aboard the Titanic and was now in Cleveland, where he had made the shocking disclosure that the Titanic's lookout had been asleep in the crow's nest and the crewman intoxicated; stewards had even served the men on the bridge champagne left over from one of the first cabin's parties. Smith thought the accusation highly improbable, if not ridiculous, but diplomatic tact necessitated his assuring the baron that he would look into it fully. Smith gave the assignment to his Michigan Minutemen, and Ed O'Donnell was sent packing to Cleveland. It would turn out that Louis Klein had never even been aboard the Titanic.

So, While I suspect Klein's assertions could have contributed to those questions being raised, I doubt Klein was in any way the "reliable source" or sole basis for the questioning. (Klein certainly wasn't the man who handed the accusatory note to Smith that led to Smith's questioning of Lowe about his sobriety.)

But then Lowe wasn't alone in this, either. Other officers, including Boxhall, were also interrogated regarding their temperance. One of the First Cabin passengers, as I recall, specifically attested in her affidavit to Captain Smith's sobriety after the Widener's dinner party which he attended. So the possibility of inebriation must have been a fairly generalized curiosity.

In all fairness to those involved, I have to point out that once such allegations *were* raised, any investigator worth his salt would surely check into them. Feathers might well be ruffled by the presumed insinuation, but such questions *must* be asked if meaningful answers are to be gotten from an inquiry of this type. (In Smith's shoes, I'd probably do the same myself, as I suspect most here would.)


Inger Sheil

John - I've had my suspicions that the index for "End of a Dream" wasn't entirely satisfactory! I seem to recall that the Cleveland Plain Dealer (or one of the Cleveland Papers) gave quite a bit of coverage to the story - there was even a photo of Klein that I've rather regretted not copying since. Wade's treatment of the incident isn't very full (and once again, I'd love to see the sources on which he's basing Smith's reactions - in this case, his non-acceptance of Klein). Klein gave his story to the newspapers - perhaps he also took it to the ambassador, but it was widely reported in the newspapers first. Wade glosses over the story's conclusion - even while Klein was being held in Cleveland, the papers were already questioning his version of events. WS had already made it clear he wasn't a crewman, but Klein still insisted he was telling the truth. Was it really necessary to call him to Washington? If Smith had such strong doubts about his truthfullness (and if he did, he wasn't the only one - even the press was skeptical), surely the ambassador was a reasonable enough man that if it was pointed out to him that Klein wasn't a crewman it would be enough to defuse any potential international incident?
. Matters took on an element of farce when Klein was finally called before the committee...only to have vanished.

I suspect that Klein was a source for some lines of questioning (such as the one put to a steward about 'banquets'), but - as stated above - I think it more likely that Daisy Minahan was the direct source for the question put to Lowe. I'm not suggesting the question shouldn't have been asked - it's just unfortunate that this particular allegation had to go to Lowe as it hit a particular nerve, and matters were already tense between the officer and the Senator. I'm not taking sides on this issue - as I said above, it was unfortunate that the charge had been made and had to be addressed.

I did also mention above a similar (if far less specific) question along these lines put to Boxhall. I seem to have seen two photos of Boxhall with what *might* be alcohol in front of him - one is possible a bottle of stout, and in another he seems to have a wine glass. When asking about the latter with the lady who owns the photograph, she said that she suspected it would have been water - she knew Joseph Boxhall well, and he was indeed a very temperate man.

I'm not interested in fault finding with either Smith or his you, I'm intrigued by the dynamics of the inquiry and the interaction of the committee members and the witnesses. There was considerably more to some responses that were given than is suggested in either the transcripts or even in Wade. Lowe's reply on the question of whether he'd been drinking wasn't born of banter or amusement at the stemmed from from personal pain and personal conviction. Smith could not have known it and could not have been prepared for the vehemence of Lowe's response, but unfortunately from Lowe's point of view there could hardly have been a more provocative allegation put to him.

~ Inger

Inger Sheil

Here's that fragment about expenses, part of a slightly longer article about the wrapping up of the inquiry (Washington Post, 2 May 1912):

The Senate so far has paid out $2,358 for witness fees and mileage expnese of those who have been here to testify. This amount covers the expenses up to date of all except the members of the committee, and witnesses Ismay, Franklin, Boxhall and Lowe, whose accounts will be closed immediately. All receive $3 a day witness fee, and the committee added $1 for the sailors who were detained in Washington.

No further effort will be made to find Louis Klein, who was brought here from Cleveland, and disappeared before being called to testify about a story he told in an interview regarding the disaster. The committee leared that Klein was not aboard the vessel.

Interesting that Lowe's account hadn't yet been closed - Franklin and Ismay one can understand, and Boxhall had to conclude his evidence when the pleurisy allowed it. But why is Lowe included in this group? There's no mention of him being detained - he was released at the same time as Lightoller and Pitman (only Boxhall was slightly delayed by the need to finish his testimony).

~ Inger
Hi, Inger: Thanks for that further excerpt! The only thing I came up with that would explain the continuation of Lowe's "account" until the news of May 2 was that diplomatic apology made to the Italian ambassador (US 1100, following). It wasn't officially entered into the evidence until U.S. Day 15 (May 9), but it was already "signed and sealed" at Washington, D.C. on April 30.

So, give the papers a day to catch up, and voila! -- the news hits the street the morning of May 2.

I don't know for sure if this was the basis. But it does fit the timing. Did Lowe receive a further stipend for this task, or continue to receive witness fees until its completion? (Smith said that Lowe wanted this in the record and the Ambassador wanted this in the record. But perhaps the U.S. government *also* strongly wanted this in the record, enough to keep Lowe on "retainer".) Or, was the dormant account simply left open pending any possible recall while Lowe was still in the country?


This is to certify that I, Harold Godfrey Lowe, of Penrallt Barmouth, fifth officer of the late steamship Titanic, in my testimony at the Senate of the United States stated that I fired shots to prevent Italian immigrants from jumping into my lifeboat.

I do thereby cancel the word "Italian" and substitute the words "immigrants belonging to Latin races." In fact, I did not mean to infer that they were especially Italians, because I could only judge from their general appearance and complexion, and therefore I only meant to imply that they were of the types of the Latin races. In any case, I did not intend to cast any reflection on the Italian nation.

This is the real truth, and therefore I feel honored to give out the present statement.

Fifth Officer late "Titanic."
WASHINGTON, D. C., April 30, 1912.
(On the reverse.)​
The declaration on the other side was made and confirmed this day by Harold Godfrey Lowe, fifth officer of the late Steamship Titanic, in my presence and in the presence of Signor Guido di Vincenzo, secretary of the legal office of the royal embassy.

Washington, this 30th day of April, 1912.
The Royal Ambassador of Italy,


Inger: I located further reference on the Louis/Luis Klein story yesterday, and thought I'd pass it along. This comes from the New York Times, Monday, April 22, 1912:



Senate Committee Decides on That Course--Sailor's Weird Tale.

Special to the New York Times.
One of the wildest stories yet circulated in connection with the disaster has reached the committee from Cleveland. There a man describing himself as a Hungarian named Luis Klein, a surviving member of the crew of the Titanic, told a story which was so extraordinary that he was taken before the Hungarian Consul and Vice Consul. Cross-examination failed to vary his story. When it was wired to Chairman Smith he telegraphed to the local United States District Attorney to have Klein held and then obtained by telegraph the sanction of the Attorney General.

Officer on Watch Accused.

Klein's story is that the officer of the watch was asleep on deck when the Titanic smashed into the iceberg's projecting spur, and that the other officers and members of the crew were drunk or drinking. 'Wine', he said, was being passed out of the cabin, where an elaborate banquet was in progress. The festivities were at their height, he said, when the impact of the berg brought them to a sudden ending.

The report of the alleged Hungarian sailor is discredited here. It is pointed out that, even if it were conceivable that on a ship of the Titanic's type such lax discipline could prevail, there is absolutely no other testimony to bear it out. In support of his story, the Hungarian reports that he has a medal for life-saving presented to him by the Hamburg-American Line. He says he shipped on the Titanic at Liverpool, but that he has lost his papers.

Whatever else may be said, the allegations raised are certainly serious enough to warrant further investigation. Whether this in fact incited the interrogation of individual officers as to their sobriety is uncertain, but a good investigator would pursue this line of questioning. But taking into account the fact that Lowe was asleep at the time (in his cabin), it would seem that his questioning was inspired by other sources. Daisy Minahan is certainly a possibility.

Incidentally, in reviewing Reade's analysis of the Washington Inquiries, I'm forced to re-evaluate my "equal bile for all" assertion (raised during the Gill thread). I was pretty much aghast at the apparent level of preconception Reade imparted to his reporting of the Senators' questioning of Lord, Evans, and Gill. But then, being as he introduced that chapter with observations gleaned from The Daily Telegraph, I can only wonder if he indeed approached this with extreme bias.

It might be "the burden of a common language", but Reade, among other things, makes much of Senator Smith's "I wish you would" response to Lord's suggestion he tell his story, as if it were scathingly indicative of the Senator's naivete. To the contrary, my reading of that testimony suggests that the remark in fact suggest impatience with Lord's surficial "cooperativeness", and may indicate very early skepticism on the part of the Senators.

Again, I really think I observe malice aforethought as regards Reade's perceptions. And I believe the wholesale belittling of the Senators at one point -- '... nor Senator Simmons, who knew how to disenfranchise Negroes ..." (p. 217) -- strongly supports this contention. Regardless of Reade's personal "take", the Senate committee reached the same ultimate conclusions as Mersey's inquiry did, so obviously some savvy was in effect there.

It's almost impossible to be too belittling of Furnifold Simmons. He was a racist of the worst type. He took no part at all in the Titanic inquiry. Why he was on the committee is a bit of a mystery, as there was no way he was going to get along with Senator Smith. It may have been because he represented the extreme right of the Republicans, supposedly to give balance to the committee.

Simmons refused to work with Smith and said that this was because Smith was mis-using the inquiry for his own ends, which to some extent I believe he was. However Wyn Craig Wade says that this was just a smokescreen. Simmons simply hated Smith's guts.
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