2. April 19, 1912

April 19, 1912

Waldorf-Astoria hotel

11:15 P.M.

We arrived in New York last night. As expected, there were throngs of reporters waiting for us at pier 54. Senator William Alden Smith was there waiting for us, as well. Before we even set foot in the terminal, one of his aides presented us with a summons to appear before a Senate hearing at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel this morning.

We were both called to testify before the Senate Committee on Commerce and spent nearly the entire day there. It was circus. The meeting room was full of spectators, including the media. Senator Smith certainly hadn’t helped matters. It was a difficult day for all involved. I’ve never seen Tom so angry.


 


 

“It’s nothing but a giant farce,” Andrews said, slamming the door closed behind him as he stepped into the hotel room after Brynne.

“They just want to get to the bottom of it all,” Brynne said. She removed her hat tossed it to the bed.

“They want someone to blame,” Andrews countered. “It’s a witch hunt. I cannot believe the audacity of that Senator Smith. To even suggest that somehow you were responsible … it’s ridiculous. I had half a mind to reach across the table and give him a piece of my mind. He tried to use your relationship with me to discredit the firm’s work.”

“I know. He tried to depict me as some inexperienced ditz with too much influence and responsibility. He basically said that I compromised your judgment, which led to design flaws.” Brynne walked over and sat on the loveseat near the window.

“There were design flaws, but you didn’t cause them.” Andrews sat down beside Brynne on the sofa.

“No,” Brynne concurred. “Ismay did.”

“Some of them, yes, but there were others that he had nothing to do with.” Andrews looked at Brynne. He didn’t have to say aloud that he was worried. It was in his eyes.

“I know,” she said. “This has the potential to turn out quite badly for the firm, doesn’t it?”

“For us, too,” Andrews added. These hearings didn’t carry any legal ramifications, as they weren’t courts of law; but the social and professional consequences could be devastating. If this committee determined that the firm was largely at fault due to faulty design by the Harland and Wolff, the firm might never recover. Even if the firm survived, the men responsible for the Titanic’s construction were unlikely to come out of it unscathed. Their reputations would be irreparably ruined Andrews’s career would likely never recover.

Brynne sighed and took Andrews’s hand. “Well, one thing’s for sure – sitting up and ruminating over it isn’t going to get us anywhere, is it? It won’t solve a thing; it’ll only make us feel badly. It might be what Smith and the others want to do, and it might be what they want us to do, but we’re not going to play that game.”

Brynne stood and took a few steps over to the bed. She held out her hands to him, beckoning him to come to her. Andrews obliged. He stood and walked over to her, taking her hands.

Brynne gazed into Andrews’s brown eyes. “If Ismay had listened to you in the first place, no one would be in this mess,” she said. Then she kissed him. Her lips still within an inch of his, she added, “You’re the last person who would ever be at fault. I hope you know that.”

“I don’t know what I would do without you, Brynne,” Andrews said. “I can’t believe how close I came to losing you.”

‘You have no idea,’ Brynne thought, for if she’d succeeded in her mission and traveled through the link, she would’ve disappeared from his life forever.

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