Seated in the library of her home on Washington street, amid a profusion of flowers sent by friends to express their welcome home, Mrs. Washington Dodge again told the story of her experiences on the night the ill-fated Titanic went down.
Dr. and Mrs. Dodge and their 5-year-old son, Washington Dodge Jr., arrived in the city yesterday afternoon, little the worse for their experience. The parents' one anxiety is for the boy, who is seriously ill from the effects of the exposure to the ice-chilled air on the night of the disaster.
"Was it cold?" said Mrs. Dodge. "You can imagine how cold it was when I tell you that we passed fifty-six miles of icebergs after we got on the Carpathia . The baby had nothing on but his pajamas and a life preserver.
"I think it is foolish to speak of the heroism displayed. There was none that I witnessed. It was merely a matter of waiting your turn for a lifeboat, and there was no keen anxiety to enter the boats because everybody had such confidence in that wretched ship. The officers told us that they had wireless communication with seven vessels, which were on the way to relieve us, and the men believed themselves as safe on board as in the boats. It seemed the vaguest possibility that the ship might sink before one of the seven vessels arrived.
"Of course, I left the Titanic before it began to settle into the water. The steerage passengers had not come on deck. In fact, there were few on the deck from which we left and more men than women.
TOOK SECOND BOAT.
"It happened this way. There seems to have been an order issued that all women should congregate on the port side of the vessel. The vessel was injured on the starboard side, and even when I left the ship there was a slight list to starboard. We did not hear this order. I was in my stateroom, had retired again after the accident when the doctor came saying he had met our steward and had been told to get into a life preserver. I slipped on my fur coat over my night robe and preserver, put on my shoes without stockings; I did not stop to button them.
"We had made a practice of sitting on the starboard side of the deck, the gymnasium was there, and naturally when we went above we turned to starboard. They were lowering boats. I entered the second boat with my baby. This boat had an officer in command, and enough officers to man the oars. Several women entered with me and as we commenced to lower the boat the women's husbands jumped in with them. I called to the doctor to come, but he refused because there were still a few women on deck. Every woman in that second boat with the exception of myself, had her husband with her.
BOATS HALF FILLED.
"I supposed all the women were congregated on the port side because it would naturally be the highest side, and the safest because [it would be] the last to go down. We had no idea then that there would not be enough boats to go around. In fact, the first boats were only half filled.
"There must have been some confusion in orders, else I do not see why some of the women were not sent from port to starboard to enter those boats being lowered there. My husband got into the thirteenth boat. At that time there were no women on the starboard side. There was not one women in the boat he entered, and no member of the crew.
"Bruce Ismay entered the fifteenth boat from starboard. It was being lowered at the same time, and the doctor says he remembers this because there was some fear that the boats might swing into each other as they were lowered down the side of the vessel.
CRYING OF THE DOOMED.
"The most terrible part of the experience was that awful crying after the ship went down. We were a mile away, but we heard itoh, how we heard it. It seemed to last about an hour, although it may have been only a sort time, for some say a man could not have lived in that water over fifteen minutes. At last it died down.
"Our officer and the members of the crew wanted to go back and pick up those whom they could, but the women in the boat would not left them. They told them if they attempted to turn back their husbands would take the oars from them, and the other men outnumbered the crew. I told them I could not see how they could forbid turning back in the face of those awful cries. I will remember it until I die, as it is. I told them: 'How do I know, you have your husbands with you, but my husband may be one of those who are crying.'"
"They argued that if we got back where the people were struggling, some of the steerage passengers, crazed with fear and the cold, might capsize the boat struggling to get it, or might force the officers to overload so we would all go down."
"After the crying died down, tow or three of the women became hystericalabout what I don't know; they were missing none of their people. I was trying to keep baby from realization of what was happening, but when these women shrieked he would begin crying and asking, 'Where's papa?'
"Finally I did what everyone thinks a strange thing. I changed lifeboats in midocean. We overtook the first boat. It was hardly half filled. They offered to take any of us aboard, and to get away from the hysteria of the others I changed.
ON THE CARPATHIA.
"The most pathetic thing was the scene on board the Carpathia during the rescue. As each boat drew up the survivors would peer over, straining to see the face of someone they had left behind. They were the young brides everybody on board, of course, had known they were brides, and they had watched them laughing and promenading with their husbands.
"The moans of anxiety and disappointment as each boat failed to bring up those that they were looking for were awful and finally that awful despair which fell over everyone when we knew there were no more boats to pick up.
"Still they would not give up hope.
"'Are you missing anyone?' the passengers would ask each other, never 'Have you lost anyone?'
KINDNESS OF PASSENGERS
"Too much cannot be said of the kindness of the Carpathia's passengers. They gave up staterooms, they took the very clothing off their bodies for us. I left the Carpathia wearing garments given me by a women whose name I do not know and will never know."
She exhibited the bloomer trousers she had cut for Baby Dodge from a blanket given her by a sailor.
"I am sorry that I knew the names of so few passengers. There were two men aboard particularly, who every day used to come on the sun deck to play with the baby, and we often fell into conversation. Those men were not among the survivors. I do wish I h ad known their names that I might tell their wives some of the beautiful things they had said to me of their home life, casually, in these conversation."