Posted by: Jina Bacarr | October 23, 2011

Titanic and the Honeymoon Couple

© Gorgios | Dreamstime.com

Imagine you’re on your honeymoon and you’re sailing home on the Titanic.

Four days–and four passionate nights–at sea with your man.

Cozy afternoons in the lounge reading a book…slipping your hand in his. Knowing that later you’ll be in each other’s arms.

Long strolls at night on the deck, looking at the starry sky overhead.

Forget the bitter cold. He has his arms around you to keep you warm.

On a drizzly Sunday morning, you attend services with your man, then look forward to an informal dinner and another night of passion–

Until 11:40 p.m.

It’s the night of April 14th, 1912.

Your honeymoon comes to an abrupt end when the Titanic hits an iceberg.

According to Titanic Story, there were thirteen couples aboard the ship of dreams celebrating their honeymoon, though some sources report the number was twelve. The new young bride of Col. John Jacob Astor, pregnant with their child, was among them and escaped in lifeboat No. 4 (along with Katie O’Reilly, the heroine of my Titanic novel).

Here’s what went through her head when Katie, an Irish emigrant, found herself in the company of these women:

Katie held her head in her gloved hands. It wasn’t just that the fear of death was all around her or so shocking, but that she was here in the lifeboat and not the grand gentlemen married to the ladies in this boat.

First cabin ladies.

Wearing fur coats and teardrop diamond earrings and big, feathered hats with silver hatpins. Smelling of lavender and not the salty sweat of steerage. Dressed in the pink of fashion, they looked as out of place in the lifeboat as perfect plump prawns tossed into a fisherman’s dirty pail. Bickering among themselves about keeping their part of the boat for their kind only. Making comments about the sailor at the tiller smoking. And generally being what they were.

First cabin ladies.

Col. Astor did not survive and unfortunately, several honeymoon couples met the same fate.

A couple who did survive, John and Nelle Snyder, had left from Southampton and were returning home toMinneapolis, Minnesota.

According to a story in the Daily Mail, Mr. Snyder said he owed his life to his wife’s insistence that he get out of bed and check to see what happened when they felt a “bump” on that fateful night.

They were among the first to get into the lifeboats (they were in lifeboat No. 7 along with three other newlywed couples, according to one news source) and were later photographed in the clothes they wore that night. They were quite an elegant couple, according to the photo in the Daily Mail story referenced above.

They lived for many years afterward (Mr. Snyder was 71 when he died and Mrs. Snyder was 94), but their letters and photos have only now surfaced, engaging us with their wondrous escape. 

The Titanic continues to fascinate us with its elegance and romance. It’s comforting to know that for the Snyders, their Titanic honeymoon had a happy ending.

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