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She Set Sail To-day

April 10, 1912

At noon, amidst thousands of the curiosity-seekers and the well-wishers, she let loose her mooring lines.  It took six tugs to guide her along, past the other ships at the quay.  So great was her size and powerful her engines that as she passed a nearby ocean liner, she snapped its mooring cables.  It swung around into her path and those at her rails gasped at the thought of a collision while still in the harbour.  Her good captain calmly touched her telegraph lever and nudged the other liner away.  With just a bit of extra wash from the port propeller it was sent back toward the docks.  For nearly an hour she paused while the drifting liner was wrestled back into place.  An adjacent ship was also seen to.  Its cables were tightened to prevent it from floating free as well.

The harbour pilot saw her out of Southampton Waters and to the English Channel.  There he departed and from that point on she was under the skilled hands of her quartermasters.  The day was beautiful, the waters playful.  A fresh breeze swirled around her excited new residents as they walked her decks.  They were so captivated by her beauty that they could barely keep it to themselves.  A frenzy of chatter hovered above them as if to defy the persistent sea air.

Across the Channel she ploughed with not a care in the world.  Soon she came to drop anchor just off shore from Cherbourg, France.  It was here that she picked up more passengers and mailbags.  So large was she that she could not tie up there.  She had to be content with a visit from a pair of ferrying tender boats.  If she would have landed it was doubtful that she could ever shove off again for she would be wedged into the harbourís bed.

As the sun set upon her the electric lights flickered on.  They cast a festive glow on the water as if to echo the brilliant sky.  A bit before dark she pulled up anchor and proceeded to her next destination.  Through the bubbling excitement of the night she sailed.  Her exterior was forever serene and urbane but within, her the passageways and public rooms were abuzz with delighted people.  They gossiped, they drank, and they danced.

Many were not only sailing on a glorious new ocean racer they were also realising their dreams.  For the third-class and most of the second, this journey would find them arriving in the New World, at their new home.  America would help them to live beyond the class they were born into.  In America they could come to know happiness.  She promised a warm home, full stomachs, and steady employment.  Their hearts were full of hope and wonder and this grand lady would deliver them there...