Miss Willard Relates Her Rescue from the Sea

Unidentified Newspaper

Duluth Girl at Home of Her Sister in St. Paul Says She Had Trying Time Edging Her Way to Lifeboat.

Was Reading in Berth When Crash Came.

ST. Paul, April 21 – Miss Constance Willard, the 20-year-old daughter of David Willard of Duluth, arrived at the home of her sister, Mrs Hope McCall, today after the most trying week of her life since last Sunday night, when the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank. Except for a little fatigue, Miss Willard is entirely well and was able to give a full account of her experience.

Miss Willard had her fortune told when she was very young and she was warned she was going to die when she was approaching 21 years of age.

“I had been reading in my bed late Sunday night,” she said, “when finally I decided to try to sleep. I had just shut my book when there was a tremendous crash. I sat up in bed. The crash was followed after a moment by a great trembling; then for a moment it was unnaturally quiet because the engines had stopped and with them the vibration. I had a peculiar sensation that something had happened which I had been expecting. I was not in the least alarmed.

“I lay still for a few moments, trying to hear what the people were saying out in the corridor. But I couldn’t and didn’t care much anyway, so I tried to go to sleep. I tried for a long while, over half an hour. I had an uneasy feeling, however, so I thought I’d call the steward. There was no answer when I pushed the bell. I repeated it several times and then I kept it ringing. Finally he came into the room. His face wore a scared expression which struck me as rather funny. He told me I must put on my clothes and get out on deck.

“I started to get dressed aimlessly at first and then suddenly I remembered the fortune teller’s prophesy. It has come true, I said to myself. I ran to my mirror and peered a long time t my image in the glass. It didn’t seem alarming that I was never to get to America, only interesting.

“As I stood on the hurricane deck, several paces from where the boats were being loaded, an English girl who wasn’t more that fifteen years old but a bride, came up to me and touched my shoulder. She was crying ‘my husband’. That was all. It struck me as terribly pathetic – she seemed so small and childish. That was the first real emotion I had in the wreck. I had had no desire to be saved until then but when she put herself in my hands that way I felt the responsibility.

“Then I heard a man say ‘the ship is sinking.’ For the first time I had a desire to get aboard a lifeboat – a real desire. Something seemed to hover behind those words which I didn’t like, thought I was still unafraid. I watched my chance and pulled my young friend through the eddies in the crowds. We saw five boats filled and lowered. We were within a couple of feet of the edge of one of them, but an eddy of the crowd would take us away off again. The suspense was annoying. It seemed as though we were never going to get into one of those boats. It was like waiting to get a chance at the cloakroom of a crowded operahouse or something like that. There was no terror to me in our repeated failures. Finally we got into a boat.

“I never saw anything so fine as the faces of the men standing on the deck of the boat as we were lowered to the water and were pulled away. They were very brave faces all of them wherever you looked, and many kindly smiles for us as we moved away. I shall never forget it.”

Related Biographies:

Constance Willard

Acknowledgements

Gordon Steadwood

Comment and discuss

500
Leave a comment...

Citation

Copyright © 1996-2019 Encyclopedia Titanica (www.encyclopedia-titanica.org) and third parties (ref: #19615, published 22 October 2013, generated 18th September 2019 09:27:00 AM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/miss-willard-relates-her-rescue-from-the-sea.html