29 May 2014

RMS Empress of Ireland: 100 Years

For the day, glimpses of A Package of Postcards and a "Wireless", published in 1907 by Canadian Pacific Railway as a means of promoting sister ships RMS Empress of Ireland and RMS Empress of Britain. Subtitled A Bride's Story, it's told in the form of postcards sent by newlywed Kate to her dear mother.

The first is mailed from Montreal's grand Place Viger Hotel, in which one presumes the marriage was consummated, as the couple are "leaving for the C.P.R. train for Quebec." There they stay, of course, at  the railway's Château Frontenac.

The photograph that follows hints at marital discord, though Kate's postcard suggests otherwise.

Still, does she not look a bit lonely here?

A pricey wire home describes a "marriage without a ripple".

Husband Jack spends his honeymoon with the boys, then begins putting on postnuptial pounds.

Five days in it looks like the honeymoon is over.

Kate and Jack disembark in Liverpool, then take the "C.P.R. Empress Special" to London. They spend the weeks that follow visiting Ireland, France and the Netherlands, then return home on RMS Empress of Britain.

Seventeen pages in all, the only thing not written by Kate comes in the form of this concluding note:

Not seven years later, 29 May 1914, the very advantage offered by the Canadian Pacific Empresses would lead to the loss of 1012 lives. It remains our worst maritime disaster. Nothing else comes close.

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