Women Had No Idea of Serious Condition of the Titanic
Gave Their Money to Charlie For Safe-Keeping Until They Met
Hugo Ross Was Ill in Bed When Disaster Occurred
Rescued Loathe to Talk
Strong and self-contained in the time of great bereavement, the survivors of the Fortune family, Mrs. Fortune and her 3 daughters, Mabel, Ethel and Alice, were joined in their rooms in the Belmont today by Charles Allan, of Winnipeg, who is engaged to the latter member of the family. But though showing remarkable fortitude, they would talk but little of the terrible tragedy by which they were robbed of father and brother. This strikes the newspaper man on the Titanic wreck assignment as being characteristic of nearly all of the survivors. There is a dread of recalling the awful disaster by talking of it, for the recounting of the events seems at once to bring the dreadful picture before their eyes. To Mr. Allan, however, the story has been told, in part disjointedly and with little sequence, but still bringing forth many graphic pictures.
Did Not Think it was Last Parting
Probably one of the grimmest features of this story, as told to the Free Press, is the fact that upon leaving on the sixth boat the sisters handed over their money to Charlie, their brother, for safe keeping. When they left the ship they had no idea that they would never see either brother or father again. The prevailing opinion was that the Titanic would float for many hours, and that within 6 hours’ time the Carpathia would arrive to take off those who were left on board. They had scarcely drawn away, however, when the big ship commenced to keel, and at a safe distance from the vortex they watched her lights, and by them saw her heave and sink like a wounded sea monster. Mingled in the churning ice-strewn waters were those to whom they had bidden what they thought was only a short good-bye; the lights went out, and with them 1,500 lives. Dawn came over the ice-dotted sea, and for 8 hours they floated in the lifeboat, until they were picked up, almost the last, by the Carpathia.
Hugo Ross Was Ill
Of other western people who perished, they have little to tell. Hugo Ross, sick in his cabin was warned to dress by Thompson Beattie. The latter was heard to remark shortly before the Fortune boat left, “Things look Pretty bad,” and then he went below to his friends.
Whether Mr. Ross managed to come on deck before the end came is not known. Neither of these men they saw again. None of the ladies had seen either J.J. Borebank, who was another Winnipegger lost. Alice thought she remembered having seen him at one time, but could not be sure. The boat on which the Fortunes escaped was ill manned, and the women who formed most of its human cargo took a hand at the rowing from time to time. The Dicks of Calgary were on board, but most of the passengers were steerage. A man clothed in a woman’s dress and with a veil tried to get on board, just as the boat was being lowered, a foreigner leapt on board. As they pulled away they saw the band, with life preservers round their waists, and playing ragtime music. Just before the last, however, the notes of “Nearer my God to Thee,” came floating across the water to the survivors in the lifeboats.
“They never tried to get away,” Miss Fortune told Mr. Allan. “They just stood and played while the boats were lowered away and the steward walked round whistling and caring for the lady passengers. They were very brave.”
Mr. Allan has arranged with the C.P.R. to have a special car brought down by which the family will be conveyed to Winnipeg, either on Sunday or Monday.
Mr. and Mrs. Heber C. Hutton, of Winnipeg have also joined them here.
(New York, April 19 - Special Staff Correspondent)
Related Biographies:Mark Fortune
Ethel Flora Fortune
Alice Elizabeth Fortune
Mabel Helen Fortune
Charles Alexander Fortune
John Hugo Ross