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Sample World Events - Sinking of the Titanic

Adriadic booklet and newspaper clipping postcard of the Megantic The sinking of the Titanic is one of those events that continues to fascinate and to horrify. The giant luxury ship was heralded as "unsinkable" and even after the wreckage has been found and filmed, debates continue about what exactly went wrong on 15 April 1912 when the ship hit an iceberg and sank.

For Montgomery there may have been a special fascination and fear associated with the sinking. She and Ewan Macdonald sailed on their honeymoon from Montreal on the White Star liner, the Megantic, in July of 1911. Coming back in September, they sailed on another White Star cruiser, the Adriatic. The Adriatic booklet, pasted into Montgomery's scrapbook, tells about the ship itself and then goes on to describe the Olympic, "sister ship" of the new Titanic, soon to be available for regular service. With a few months' delay in her plans, could she have been on board? Though Montgomery made no mention of the sinking of the Titanic in her journal at the time, she clipped and then pasted into her several photos, articles, and tributes from newspapers, probably including ones sent by G. B. MacMillan from Scotland. She had just met MacMillan in person for the first and only time while on her honeymoon.

In a letter to MacMillan, Montgomery indicated that, before the events of the First World War and especially the sinking of the Lusitania and the Halifax Explosion, the sinking of the Titanic was a kind of cultural marker. She commented to MacMillan on 7 April 1918 about the Halifax disaster and then said: "What horrors have been in the world since the Titanic went down!" (MDMM,80).

The Titanic was no doubt the inspiration for the Flavian in Emily's Quest (1927), the ship that was supposed to bear Teddy Kent from Europe back home. In the novel Emily rescues Teddy by appearing to him just as he is ready to board the ill-fated ship.

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