Encyclopedia Titanica


No alarm felt by relatives and friends

New York Times

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Alarming Reports as to Her Condition Formally Denied by Secretary


Robert W. Daniel Receives Friends at His Hotel

At the home of Mrs. John Jacob Astor, 840 Fifth Avenue, it was announced last night that, while Mrs. Astor was ill as a result of the experience through which she had passed, her condition was not critical, as had been reported. No alarm was felt by her relatives and friends, it was said. Interviews had been sought by so many during the day that this statement was finally issued by William Dobbyn, who was Col. Astor's secretary:

Mrs. Astor is very ill and under the care of a physician. It will be impossible for her to be interviewed or to give out any statement.

Vincent Astor, son of Col. Astor, also refused to discuss the foundering of the Titanic, and devoted most of his time yesterday to interviewing survivors, in the hope that he might obtain some further information about his father.

In fact, he has refused steadfastly to believe that all chance that his father may have been rescued is gone, and is hoping against hope that he may have been picked up by some other craft. He obtained little news that was comforting, however, and was greatly depressed last night.

One of those whom Vincent Astor interviewed yesterday was Robert Williams Daniel, a banker of Philadelphia and Richmond, who is stopping at the Waldorf-Astoria. Mr. Astor went to the hotel during the afternoon, accompanied by Mr. Dobbyn. He had heard, he said, that Mr. Daniel had seen his father on the Titanic not long before the giant ship foundered.

Mr. Daniel's story was that he had seen Col. Astor and Walter M. Clark, another of the Titanic's passengers who lost his life in the disaster, leaning against the rail, talking. The last boat had gone then, he said, and Mrs. Astor was safe. He ran up to Col. Astor and Mr. Clark and begged them to jump overboard, in the hope of being picked up by one of the boats.

"They refused to leave the ship," said Mr. Daniel, "and I left them standing there. What happened after that I hardly know myself. I had not taken time to dress and wore only a bathrobe. Under this I had slipped a life preserver. It didn't seem to me that we were sinking, but the waters seemed rising up over us. Finally, I jumped in and I was
struggling about among the ice cakes, fighting for my life, when I was rescued."

According to relatives who were with Mr. Daniel when Vincent Astor called upon him, Mr. Astor was greatly agitated, and showed plainly the effect of sleeples [sic] nights and mental anguish. He had told them, he said, that while Mrs. Astor was quite ill, she was in no danger.

Mr. Daniel said that he was positive the first officer of the Titanic committed suicide by sending a bullet in his brain before the ship foundered.

"I know it," he declared. "I was not more than ten feet away. I do not believe the stories that Capt. Smith ended his life. He stuck to his post to the last. He was a brave man.

"There were several shots fired, however. I saw one man discharge a revolver several times to frighten others away from a lifeboat and then got into it himself. In fact, I saw him afterwards in the very lifeboat that picked me up."

Mr. Daniel seemed little the worse for his experience, and in th [sic] afternoon entertaind [sic] a score or more of his friends at the Waldorf.

Mrs. Henry B. Harris Slowly Regaining Her Strength


Mark Baber, USA


Encyclopedia Titanica (2006) MRS. ASTOR IS ILL, BUT NOT CRITICALLY (New York Times, Saturday 20th April 1912, ref: #4993, published 20 January 2006, generated 21st October 2021 12:14:18 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/mrs-astor-ill.html