Posted by: Jina Bacarr | July 5, 2011

Titanic: The “Millionaire’s Special”

Money, money, money….American millionaires had it and they wanted to spend it. While there were only 19 millionaires in 1850 in the U.S., by the end of the 1890s that number had grown to 4,000.

At the time of the sailing of the Titanic, seven of the men on board were worth $420 million dollars in 1912 currency.

The Titanic was their playground.

Built as a “floating palace,” the Titanic had 318 first class passengers aboard who enjoyed every luxury, according to the Denver Times (“Men of Millions, Famous Beauties, on Wrecked Ship wrote one reporter) .

Sensual Turkish baths with a Moorish theme; a gymnasium with up-to-date equipment, including  a mechanical camel; squash racquet courts.

Three electric lifts.

First class dining saloon located on D deck with exquisite chinaware by Spode (which was recreated for the new TV mini-series about the Titanic to be broadcast in 2012).

Even the captain of the ship was a perfect choice for her maiden voyage. Known as the “Millionaire’s Captain,” Edward J. Smith was popular with passengers and intended to retire after the crossing across the North Atlantic.

How does my heroine, Katie O’Reilly, figure into all this?

Through a series of escapades, Katie finds herself in first class on the Titanic, the likes of which she’s never seen. This was a time when steerage passengers were confined to E deck and below. Or the third class promenade “poop deck” located aft.

Not our Katie.

She sneaks up to the first class promenade deck and runs into Captain Lord Blackthorn, who is trying to help her:

They stood close together, their frosty breaths as one, their eyes meeting yet she revealed nothing more, as if she chose to keep her secrets hidden from him for a while longer. He should let her go, but first he must tell her what he knew. “They haven’t given up looking for you, Katie. If you’re caught, I won’t be able to do anything to help you.”

Katie knows he’s right, but she doesn’t regret trying to better herself. She worked briefly in a grand house when she went into service (reluctantly, I might add) with her sister, Mary Dolores, so she had experienced a taste of fine living, but she was poor Irish and proud of it.

But what girl wouldn’t want to sleep in damask silk bedding and–

Glory be, can you believe some first class cabins even had their own private bathroom?

Next time: Titanic and the Loo


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