I have a request from anyone who owns Butler's book Unsinkable. I have a copy myself and don't think much of it, but there is a particular reference in it that I want to check. Unfortunately, my own copy is sitting in a crate at a shipping office in London, waiting to be shipped to India to our second home with most of my other Titanic books - when Lady Corona allows.
My request is about Irene Harris' supposed encounter with a stranger - presumably another First Class passenger - soon after the Titanic's near miss with the New York just as it left Southampton docks. He reportedly told her that it was a bad omen and although he was booked through to New York, he was going to get off in Cherbourg. Rene Harris never saw the man again and presumed that he had indeed left the ship at the French port.
My point is that in order to be able to meet Irene Harris, the strange man must also have been a First Class passenger. And if such a passenger had indeed broken his transatlantic journey and got off in France, it would have made quite a news story, especially in view of what happened later. But AFAIK, there is no record of any First Class passenger doing that in Cherbourg, unless I have missed it.
So, who was he?
I first read about it in Geoffrey Marcus' The Maiden Voyage first published in 1969. There was no source reference in the book. The incident is also mentioned in Stephanie Barczewski's book A Night Remembered, but she quotes page 42 of Daniel Butler's book Unsinkable as her source of reference.
What I would like to know is exactly what Butler's book says about it, including references; if Butler was quoting off Marcus' book, then we are back to square one.
That's a good one. I like it. That reviewer must have been a diplomat in another life.It has a bit of nostalgic value but not a lot more; certainly no new information. Without going into specifics, there are a lot of contradictory statements there that would be questioned today. Like some early reviewer commented "A narrative to which one has to allow the latitude normally afforded to an old sea dog reminiscing". That just about sums it up.