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An Italian Princess and an English Lord for International #BathDay

It’s International Bath Day!

I used to write travel articles — one of my favorites was a story I wrote about European bathrooms — and oh, the tubs I found in such exotic places as the shared bath in my pension in Paris near the Boulevard St. Germain . . .

Or the bath with the century-old pipes and no heat in Passau, Germany . . .

And the most fabulous bath I’ve ever seen in my hotel in Venice, Italy! The shower was a waterfall coming down from the ceiling. Bellisimo!

———-

I promised you an English lord in a bath, too, so here is Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn:

TITANIC and the Loo

Today April 10, 1912, the Titanic set sail from Southampton, England with a handsome gentleman gambler aboard. Here we meet Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn:

————-

A funny thing happened to my heroine, Katie O’Reilly, on the way to the loo when she boarded the Titanic. She couldn’t believe what she saw in the stateroom of Captain Lord Blackthorn (Jack):

“I’m still waiting for you to remove your clothes,” Jack  said, agitated. She was not listening to him, marveling instead at the modern appointments in his elegantly furnished cabin. She seemed especially intrigued by the bathroom with its double sink and commode.

Had the girl never seen an indoor toilet before?  

I’m sure you’re wondering why his lordship asked Katie to remove her clothes. I’ll tell you this: it’s part of his plan to hide her from the captain and the ship’s officers during the crossing. Kate is reluctant to do what he asks:

“I’m leaving me homeland to be rid of such frippery and do fine and proper work.” Katie started putting her clothes back on. She wasn’t set on going to America all blushes and roses only to be pushed back into service. “No, me lord, I’ll take me chances with the captain.”

“Then you won’t change your mind?” 

“No.”

“Too bad,” he said with a smug attitude. “The countess’s stateroom has its own private bathroom.”

Her eyes bugged out. “You wouldn’t be fooling me?”

What Katie is about to find out is that Titanic’s first class passengers enjoyed such luxuries as an electric heater in their bathroom, linoleum tiles and pure Vinolia Otto toilet soap smelling of lemon and spice. The captain enjoyed his bath with a choice of fresh or seawater, hot or cold.

Third class or steerage had plenty of lavatories, but they didn’t wash much if the number of tubs on board was any indication, as Katie found out:

He shook his head. “I hear there are only two tubs in steerage for seven hundred passengers.

“Two tubs for all them people?”

“Rather cozy, if you ask me.”

“And you call yourself a gentleman?” Katie said. A girl might be convinced to take off her clothes with that kind of talk. That and a private bathroom. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you were like them gents who took advantage of a lady and kissed her full on the mouth.”

He smirked. “The ladies I’ve met have never objected.”

Captain Lord Blackthorn is quite a rogue and finds Katie more than he can handle. Can this plucky Irish lass win the heart of a titled British gentleman?

Or is it just a shipboard romance he’s after? After all, he’s used to a life of privilege and entertaining the most beautiful aristocratic ladies.

Wealth came with its own set of rules and the first passengers played it for all it was worth…will Captain Lord Blackthorn see that his world is coming to an end before it’s too late?

Before he loses Katie?

===============

Check out my Titanic novel, “Titanic Rhapsody,” about a poor Irish girl who escapes the law for a crime she didn’t commit in a grand house in Ireland and becomes a countess aboard the Titanic…

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon KINDLE & KINDLE UNLIMITED

*The Denver Times was the afternoon edition of the Rocky Mountain News, which ceased publishing in 2009.


Titanic Rhapsody from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon.

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TITANIC Week Day 4: Titanic and the Pig

TITANIC Week here on “Once Upon a Story.” Day 4: TITANIC and the Pig

Today April 12, 1912, the Titanic is at sea . . . let’s meet one of her most famous passengers.

————-

Did you know there was a pet pig on the Titanic?

According to the New York Herald on April 19, 1912: “Five women saved their pet dogs …another woman saved a little pig, which she said was her mascot.”

The reporter goes on to say that she didn’t know how the woman cared for her pig aboard the Titanic, but she carried it up the “side of the ship [the Carpathia, rescue ship] in a big bag.”

How did the pig get into the lifeboat? Was the pig traveling first class?

In a word, yes.

More about this intrepid little piggy and the important part it played in the sinking of the Titanic later. First, it seems you can’t get away from pigs and the Titanic.

In Julian Fellowes’ mini-series “Titanic”, a passenger in third class isn’t happy about traveling steerage to New York. She tells her husband that her daughter said their Irish Catholic family is like “…six little pigs packed into that cabin, all trussed and bound for market…”

They’re not the only Irish aboard the ship with pigs on their mind.

Katie O’Reilly, the heroine in my romance, TITANIC RHAPSODY, nearly doesn’t make it on board the ship because of a pig.

Katie runs away from the grand house where she is in service after she is wrongly accused of stealing a diamond bracelet. The law is after her, but she has one chance to escape.

The Titanic.

“Stop in the name of the law, Katie O’Reilly!” she heard the constable yell down from the open second story window.

She looked up at him, disbelieving. Stop? Was the man daft?

With her ticket clutched in her fist, Katie took off running, up one winding street and down the next. The smell of cooked onions and cabbages filled her nostrils as she sidestepped piles of horse manure in the middle of the road.

Then her hat flew off. When she stopped to pick it up, she nearly collided with a large pig being driven through the streets by a farmer.

Was she about to be done in by a pig?

She thought not.

Katie jumped out of the way, then bent down to retrieve her hat.

The pig’s hooves had ripped it to shreds.

She kept going, the morning dew on the air giving way to a fine salty mist, sweeping away her fear and clearing her mind as the offices of the White Star and American Lines came into view.

Will Katie make it on board the Titanic before she sails? Only by the skin of her teeth.

Does she see the pig during the crossing?

Few passengers did because the cute little pig with the curly tail was the lucky mascot of Miss Edith Russell.

She loved to wind up its tail and it would play a lively musical tune similar to a two-step called “Maxixe.”

You see, the pig was a musical pig.

The reporter on the Carpathia didn’t know the real story behind Miss Russell’s pig. How it was given to her after she survived a horrific motorcar crash. She promised her mother it would never be out of her sight. When she realized the Titanic was sinking and she’d left her mascot in her cabin, she sent the steward to retrieve her lucky pig.

Still, Edith was hesitant to get into a lifeboat. When a seaman tossed her pig into a boat (believing it was a baby wrapped up in a bag), Edith insisted on getting into the boat, too. Its nose was gone and its legs broken, but Edith and her little pig escaped in lifeboat no. 11.

Overcrowded with sixty-eight passengers (nearly one-third were children), Edith realized her little pig could comfort others as it had her. She wound up its tail so it would play music for the children. Most of the little ones stopped crying as the pig’s sparkling musical notes calmed their fears.

Its furry, white-gray body wet with sea spray.

Its cute grin giving them hope they would be saved.

It was the little Titanic pig that could.

===============

Check out my Titanic novel, “Titanic Rhapsody,” about a poor Irish girl who escapes the law for a crime she didn’t commit in a grand house in Ireland and becomes a countess aboard the Titanic…

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon KINDLE & KINDLE UNLIMITED


Titanic Rhapsody from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon.

TITANIC Week Day 3: Katie O’Reilly and how Titanic was born in Ireland

TITANIC Week here on “Once Upon a Story.” Day 3: Katie O’Reilly and how Titanic was born in Ireland

Today April 11, 1912, the Titanic stopped in Queenstown, Ireland to pick up passengers including my heroine, KATIE O’REILLY, in TITANIC RHAPSODY.

————-

Let’s go back to 1907 and a time when Katie O’Reilly, the heroine in my novel, Titanic Rhapsody, was fourteen years old and living with her da and mum and her older sister, Mary Dolores, near Queenstown in Southern Ireland. She was filled with curiosity and yearned for a better life, which often got her into trouble with the local sisters at the Catholic school.

While Katie was discovering that a poor Irish girl had as much of a chance to better herself as a prize pig did of escaping the butcher, up in Belfast an enterprising gentleman named Lord William James Pirrie had grand plans to help Irish girls like Katie find their dreams.

Now mind you, this was a time when more than a million people a year emigrated from Europe to the United States. Before the great steamers made the crossing, the steerage or third class passengers had to bring their own food and spent the week-long journey in cramped, unsanitary quarters. Those lucky enough to get a breath of fresh air on the upper deck shared it with chickens in poultry coops.

You can be sure when the emigrants arrived in America, they wrote to the folks back home: “Smelly, dirty trip on the ________ Line. Get a ticket on another ship.”

But what if the emigrants raved about the crossing? Good, hot food at every meal that included oatmeal and currant buns. Clean cabins with running water and nary a chicken feather in sight. Can you imagine the stampede to book passage on that ship?

Lord Pirrie, chair of Harland & Wolff, major shipbuilders, did. According to the oft-told tale, the idea for Titanic and her sister ships came about over coffee and cigars in Lord Pirrie’s fancy London town house. There he convinced J. Bruce Ismay, Chairman and Manager Director of the White Star Line, that he could build two ships—the Olympic and the Titanic and later the Britannic—bigger and more luxurious liners than his competitor, the Cunard Line, had. Ships that would hold more passengers and raise his company’s profits substantially.

He convinced Mr. Ismay he could also increase profits by catering to the society crowd traveling across the pond on a regular basis and doing the grand tour. They were willing to pay big bucks to be pampered as if they were staying in a fancy hotel.

Who could resist such an offer? A new era in trans-Atlantic passenger ships was born. New slipways were constructed in Belfast to build the Titanic and three thousand workers hired to get the task done (450 were injured and 17 died during the construction). By the end of March 1909, the keel was laid down and on May 31, 1911 the Titanic was launched at 12:15 p.m. with great fanfare. Tickets were sold to the public with all the money raised going to charity.

Now the real work began to get Titanic ready for the posh passengers and eager steerage emigrants who would marvel at her interiors and wander up and down her long corridors. Also, we can’t forget the second class passengers, many of them tradesmen (including a perfume salesman whose sample bottles were retrieved from the wreckage) who relied on crossing the North Atlantic to keep their connections on the European continent current.

On April 2, 1912, the Titanic started a series of sea trials to prove her muster to carry passengers. All the while, my heroine, Katie was going through her own trials.

Her parents have died and she’s toiling in service in the grand manor of a fussy earl and lucky to have it. Katie got the job through the efforts of Mary Dolores, also a housemaid. A fine job it is for a lass like her, but Katie has dreams of bettering herself and yearns to be free to choose her own path in life.

Until the jealousy of the earl’s daughter is her undoing. When her ladyship’s beau is more interested in Katie than her, she accuses the Irish girl of stealing her diamond bracelet. That brings the law down on Katie. She swears she’ll not go to prison for something she didn’t do.

Next begins a wild chase through the streets of Queenstown to the docks with Katie doing her best to avoid the constable. She’s more determined than ever to sail on the ship of dreams. The White Star liner promises her a new life in America. If only she can grab onto it.

Not an easy task for a poor Irish girl. Hard to understand today, but people accepted the separation of the classes back in 1912 as an undeniable part of life. A time when clothes did make the man. This was also an era when upper class females were called “ladies” and all other females were termed “women.”

A lady back then spent a good part of her day being dressed and undressed by her lady’s maid. Which is why women’s blouses, dresses, coats, etc. have their buttons placed on the opposite side of a man’s similar garment—since she wasn’t doing the buttoning.

It was also an era when a lady or a woman didn’t wear her hair hanging down, but pinned up (only her husband was supposed to see her hair down). Which is why Katie’s hair flying around her shoulders and blowing in the wind like a beckoning sea siren causes such a stir to notorious gentleman gambler, Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn, watching her from the Promenade deck of the Titanic. Looking up from the deck of the tender to the grand ship, Katie is awestruck. She’s never seen such a man. Tall, muscular and possessed with an arrogance that intrigues her.

No wonder she’s fascinated with the pampering he shows her in first class, while trying to seduce her by offering her his protection. Quite a tempting proposition for a lass like Katie. Her God-fearing soul swears to resist him. But for how long?

Still, the Titanic offered unrivaled luxury to its passengers during the Gilded Age, a time when one million dollars worth of diamond jewels and paintings and gold dinner plates were not uncommon as wedding gifts. A time of diamond tiaras and titles, when ladies spent their days making calls and drinking tea and thought nothing of lavishing a small fortune on silk underwear from Paris.

And no income tax. With their husbands’ fortunes at their disposal, these elite ladies spent extravagant amounts on gowns, jewels and hats. Big hats. Like the one Rose wears when she boards the ship in the film “Titanic.” Plumes, jeweled hatpins and wildly provocative veils added a sexy, mysterious aura to an Edwardian first class lady embarking on the ship’s maiden voyage, especially the elusive Countess of Marbury…more about her later.

And here is our Katie on the dock at Queenstown, her plain black hat lost, her long glorious hair the color of a deep red sunset whipping about her shoulders and down to her waist.

When Katie takes a flying leap across the gangway and ends up on the tender, Ireland, ferrying passengers and mail to the liner, she helps out a young theology student ordered off the ship by his uncle, the bishop. What Katie doesn’t know is that he’s just taken the last pictures of the Titanic. Father Browne had no idea then his photos of the Titanic would become world famous.

Before Katie finds her way aboard the liner with the law at her heels, the White Star Line steamship makes stops in Southampton and Cherbourg to pick up passengers and mail (400,000 letters are stowed belowdecks). What a grand day it is for the Titanic. She is the biggest ship afloat with 1,324 passengers and a crew of 899. Can you smell the salty air and hear the sea gulls cawing as she leaves Queenstown? Hear her whistle blast three times?

It’s 1:30 p.m. on April 11, 1912 and the Titanic is on her way to New York. Our Katie is belowdecks…hidden out of view by Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn. I shan’t tell you where and spoil it . . .

===============

Check out my Titanic novel, “Titanic Rhapsody,” about a poor Irish girl who escapes the law for a crime she didn’t commit in a grand house in Ireland and becomes a countess aboard the Titanic…

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon KINDLE & KINDLE UNLIMITED

Titanic Rhapsody from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.


TITANIC Week Day 2: Titanic and the Loo and a very sexy Lord in a Tub

 

TITANIC Week here on “Once Upon a Story.” Day 2: TITANIC and the Loo

Today April 10, 1912, the Titanic set sail from Southampton, England with a handsome gentleman gambler aboard. Here we meet Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn:

————-

A funny thing happened to my heroine, Katie O’Reilly, on the way to the loo when she boarded the Titanic. She couldn’t believe what she saw in the stateroom of Captain Lord Blackthorn (Jack):

“I’m still waiting for you to remove your clothes,” Jack  said, agitated. She was not listening to him, marveling instead at the modern appointments in his elegantly furnished cabin. She seemed especially intrigued by the bathroom with its double sink and commode.

Had the girl never seen an indoor toilet before?  

I’m sure you’re wondering why his lordship asked Katie to remove her clothes. I’ll tell you this: it’s part of his plan to hide her from the captain and the ship’s officers during the crossing. Kate is reluctant to do what he asks:

“I’m leaving me homeland to be rid of such frippery and do fine and proper work.” Katie started putting her clothes back on. She wasn’t set on going to America all blushes and roses only to be pushed back into service. “No, me lord, I’ll take me chances with the captain.”

“Then you won’t change your mind?” 

“No.”

“Too bad,” he said with a smug attitude. “The countess’s stateroom has its own private bathroom.”

Her eyes bugged out. “You wouldn’t be fooling me?”

What Katie is about to find out is that Titanic’s first class passengers enjoyed such luxuries as an electric heater in their bathroom, linoleum tiles and pure Vinolia Otto toilet soap smelling of lemon and spice. The captain enjoyed his bath with a choice of fresh or seawater, hot or cold.

Third class or steerage had plenty of lavatories, but they didn’t wash much if the number of tubs on board was any indication, as Katie found out:

He shook his head. “I hear there are only two tubs in steerage for seven hundred passengers.

“Two tubs for all them people?”

“Rather cozy, if you ask me.”

“And you call yourself a gentleman?” Katie said. A girl might be convinced to take off her clothes with that kind of talk. That and a private bathroom. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you were like them gents who took advantage of a lady and kissed her full on the mouth.”

He smirked. “The ladies I’ve met have never objected.”

Captain Lord Blackthorn is quite a rogue and finds Katie more than he can handle. Can this plucky Irish lass win the heart of a titled British gentleman?

Or is it just a shipboard romance he’s after? After all, he’s used to a life of privilege and entertaining the most beautiful aristocratic ladies.

Wealth came with its own set of rules and the first passengers played it for all it was worth…will Captain Lord Blackthorn see that his world is coming to an end before it’s too late?

Before he loses Katie?

===============

Check out my Titanic novel, “Titanic Rhapsody,” about a poor Irish girl who escapes the law for a crime she didn’t commit in a grand house in Ireland and becomes a countess aboard the Titanic…

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon KINDLE & KINDLE UNLIMITED

*The Denver Times was the afternoon edition of the Rocky Mountain News, which ceased publishing in 2009.


Titanic Rhapsody from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon.

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