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THE SINKING OF THE TITANIC
"Fra Elbertus," as he was familiarly known by his many friends, was a noted journalist, author and orator, head of the Roycrofters of East Aurora, New York. In connection with this selection it is interesting to remember that Mr. Hubbard went to his watery grave with his wife beside him on the torpedoed Lusitania.
It is a clear cold night of a thousand stars. The date, Sunday, April 14, 1912. The place off Cape Race, that cemetery of the sea. Suddenly a silence has come. The engines have stopped—the great iron heart of the ship has ceased to beat.
The few on deck and some peering out of the portholes see a great white mass go gliding by.
“An iceberg," some one cries.
Eyes peer, ears listen, startled minds wait. A half minute goes by. Then the great ship groans as her keel grates and grinds. She reels, rocks, struggles, as if to free herself from a titanic grasp.
Then the steam is shut off. The siren whistles cleave and saw the frosty air. In the lull of the screaming sirens, the hoarse voice of the captain is heard calling through a megaphone from the bridge:
“My men, remember you are Britons! Man the lifeboats, women and children first.” Women are loath to get into the boats. Officers
seize and half lift and force them in. Mother arms reach out to take the little ones. Parentage and ownership are lost sight of.
John Jacob Astor half forces his wife into a lifeboat. She submits, but much against her will. He climbs over and takes a seat by her. It is a ruse to get her in. He kisses her tenderly, stands up, steps gently out and gives his place to a woman.
"I'll meet you in New York,” cries Colonel Astor as the boat pulls out.
“Help that woman in,” shouts an officer. Two sailors seize Mrs. Straus. She struggles, frees herself and proudly says, “No, not I. I will not leave my husband. All these years we have traveled together, and shall we part now? No-our fate is one.”
“See,” she cries as if to change the subject. “There is a woman getting into a life-boat with her baby. She has no wraps.” Mrs. Straus tears off her fur-lined robe and places it tenderly around the woman and the innocently-sleeping babe. The ship is slowly settling by the head. The decks are at a vicious angle. The icy waters are full of struggling people. Those still on board climb from deck to deck. The dark waters follow after them, angry, savage, relentless. The decks are almost perpendicular. The people hang by the rails. Suddenly a terrific explosion occurs.
The ship's boilers have burst. The last lights go out. Then that great iron monster slips, slides, glides, down, down into the sea.
Where once this great ship grandly floated, there now lies a mass of wreckage, the struggles of the dying, and the black, all-enfolding night. Overhead the thousand
stars shine with a brightness unaccustomed. They have beheld sights and scenes like these before. What is the sinking of an unsinkable ship, when you have seen galleys galore go down to their death in a mad mass, armadas tossed and destroyed, whole cities engulfed, nations wither and perish, and all the pride and pomp of circumstance laid low?
Ah, by the breath of the north wind, and his allies, the rocks, the ice, and the rushing, lashing, angry ocean, Man is not master of this planet yet.
Col. Astor, I congratulate you that as your mouth was stopped with the brine of the sea, so were stopped the mouths of the carpers and the critics with the dust of your tomb.
Mr. and Mrs. Isadore Straus, I envy you the rich legacy of love and loyalty left to your children and grand-children. You knew how to do three great things, how to live, how to love, and how to die.
Archie Butt, the gloss and glitter of your spangled uniform were pure gold. You died the gallant gentleman that you were.
All America is proud of you. William T. Stead, you were a writer, a speaker, a doer of the word. You proved your case, and sealed the brief with your heart's blood. And, as your face looked for the last time at the twinkling, shining stars in heaven, God said in pardonable pride to Gabriel, “Here comes a man.'
And so all you I know, and all the thousand and halfthousand more I did not know, passed out of this earthlife into the unknown on the unforgetting tide. You were sacrificed to the greedy goddess of Luxury and her consort the demon of Speed. Was it worth the while?
Who can say? The great lessons of life are learned only in tears and blood.
You are now beyond the reach of praise or blame. Flattery touches you not. Medals for heroism-how cheap the gilt, how paltry the pewter. We have graved your names on the tablets of love and
memory. Your life work is ended. You are now at rest. You have drunk of the waters of Lethe. You are rocked in the cradle of the Deep. We hold out our hands and cry, "Hail and farewell, Till we meet again."
GRADY AND TAYLOR
Arranged from speeches made at different times by Henry Grady and Robert L. Taylor.
It is now just fifty years since the ragged remnants of the armies who wore the gray surrendered to the victorious legions who wore the blue, and in the gloom of defeat, left the firing line to rebuild their homes and to restore their ruined country. At the close of the dreadful struggle the South was a charred and blackened desert, with scarcely a schoolhouse or church left, and with every home in mourning. Her towns were heaps of ashes, her fields were stained with blood, but the ragged remnants went to work, they volunteered for life in the armies of enterprise and industry, determined to retrieve in peace the wealth and power they had lost in war.
This Southland of ours has been led from desolation into plenty, from poverty into substance, from passion into reason, and from estrangement into love. It has brought harvests from the ashes, raised up homes from our ruins, and has touched its scarred fields all over with beauty and plenty.
If it be given to man to read the human heart and