Diary of Eleanor Phillips- Saturday, April 20, 1912
New Rochelle, New York, United States of America
I am finally here in America. New Rochelle, to be more specific, in Mrs. Keates' home. The past few days have been- indescribable. I did not ever think it was possible for one to feel so much and still go on, yet here I am.
Our arrival in New York was a whirlwind of events that all seem to blend into one another. We arrived at the pier late on the evening of the eighteenth. There were more reporters waiting for us than I think there are people in London. After listening to Mrs. Keates relate our harrowing tale to no less than ten reporters, I began saying that we were passengers on the Carpathia and nothing more. Mr. Croughwell then escorted us to some hotel in Manhattan, I forget the name. I fell asleep almost immediately, still dressed in my evening clothes from Monday. However, it was not a sound sleep. Every time I shut my eyes and try to hear nothing but the stillness of the room, even now, after nearly a week, all I hear are the sounds of people screaming for their lives, freezing in the ocean water.
A week. It's hard to believe that it will be a week tomorrow. It feels like so long ago. Every moment has felt like an eternity since I lost William. I try to think of him as little as possible- his smile, his eyes, his voice- because when I hear those voices crying out, I hear his voice above all asking me why. Why did I not stay? Why did I leave him alone to die? I could have stayed and then we would still be together- in this world or the next. Yet I chose to betray him to the sea and now I'm alive and he's gone.
I feel so horribly drained though I've done almost nothing but sleep since I've arrived in America. I slept at the hotel, and then on the train ride to New Rochelle and I was sent immediately to bed when I arrived at the Keates home. Even now, though I've only been awake an hour or so, and am still sitting in bed in a borrowed nightdress, I feel as though I could drift back to sleep at any moment. But it does not matter, for I would just be woken by the voices.
A small bit of relief- a decision has finally been made as to what is to be done with me. I've been in limbo for the past week trying to figure out what to do. I have no family or friends in America no way to get back home. I have nothing but the clothes on my back and the little jewelry I wore on the night of the sinking, most of which has no value to anyone but me, excepting my engagement ring. Though it could certainly buy me a third-class ticket home, I do not feel that I can part from it- it is the last remnant of my dear William that I have. In any event, up until a few moments ago, I feared that I would have to become a beggar- or worse- in order to get myself home. However, Mr. Croughwell, who is staying in the Keates mansion as well, has come up with a clever solution. I am to stay here as a governess to the Keates children, until a tutor can be found. There has been no mention of what I am to do once a tutor is hired, but Mr. Croughwell assured me that all would be sorted out when the time came. He has already sent out a telegram to Mummy and Daddy seeking their approval.
I suppose I'm getting the life William dreamed of in his stead. He always dreamt of sharing all of his knowledge, educating children. Though I'm not nearly as educated as William is…was…I will do my best to make him proud of me, wherever he is now. I am not afraid of what is ahead, for whatever I face here, I will be alright, because William is watching over me, like he always has been.
I think perhaps it is best if I set my diary aside for now. There is so much racing through my head that I feel my thoughts are too mixed to commit to paper. There is so much I'd rather not discuss right now, and though no one will question me, I feel as though these pages are imploring me to speak of things I do not wish to mention. One day, when I feel ready, perhaps I will set pen to paper once more. Until that day, farewell.
Eleanor Victoria Phillips
Though this is the last chapter of this particular story, it is by no means the end of Eleanor's tale. Look for the sequel, 'Eleanor in America' sometime soon. In the meantime, you can check out my other two stories, 'Seeds of the Revolution' and 'Where East Is East.'
I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has read my story. All of your kind words and encouragement have really meant a lot to me since this is my first original piece. I would especially like to thank my beta, Alma Geddon, who helped to make my story as realistic and period accurate as possible, and my best friend, Erica, for reading every chapter before it was put up, including all ten drafts of the 'sinking' chapter and for offering me the best constructive criticism one could ask for. Without them, this piece would not be anywhere near where it is and for their help, I am truly grateful.