Titanic survivor who travelled as the personal maid to Mrs. Martha Evelyn Stone. Icard and Stone were rescued by the Carpathia in lifeboat 6. Amazing handwritten account, in French, written by Rose Amelie Icard, nine pages, 8.25 x 10.5, written in the 1950s. In full (translated): “The most tragic memory of my seventeen years trip around the world is the Titanic wreck. I am 83 years old, but it is a time of my life that I will never forget. I was in Paris when through an interpreter male friend I got acquainted with Mrs. George Stone, widow of an American husband, President of the Bell Company, a general telephone company, who was looking for a person liking to travel to accompany her. My forever dream was then realized; I decided to leave with her to America. I cannot enumerate……. all the countries that we have covered. Winter 1912 we were in Egypt; our trip continued to the Holly Land to end in Jerusalem. This unforgettable trip to Jesus land came very close to be the last of all trips. Back in Europe, after going through Paris and London, we embarked on the Titanic April 10, 1912.
It was Mrs. Stone who took the tickets in London and told me delighted that we were going to embark on the most beautiful liner. Nights before I had dreamed of death, of trunks smashed open, maybe a presentiment told me that I would not have chosen the Titanic. Captain Smith, even though on the verge of retiring, was designated by the White Star Line to command this floating palace for her maiden voyage; I can still see him, a handsome old man with a white beard. It is him who helped me get in the lifeboat.
During the four day that the ephemeral cruise lasted in the splendid transatlantic there were constant truly royal luxurious receptions, ceremonial dinners, the most sumptuous clothes, a dazzling display of jewelry, diamond rivière, worthy of oriental splendor. Among the elegant gathering were 7 to 8 young couples returning from their honeymoon, several of them were no strangers to us, we had met them during our stay in Egypt.
April 14, in the afternoon, it was a Sunday the music onboard had played several repeats, the Ave Maria of Gounod, the Merry Widow of [left out in text]. It was bitter cold! We were near Newfoundland island. I had to go down to my cabin to warm myself up.
A French ship, ‘the Touraine’ I believe, had indicated ‘Attention,’ Icebergs!! But the President Bruce Ismay asserted that there was nothing to fear, that the Titanic was unsinkable [written in misspelled English in text]. The last evening was particularly animated: Concert, ball, entertainment. Yet, all this could not chase the confused anguish that was still tormenting me. I did not even change clothes, I did not feel like it - while women rivaled in elegance around me.
Around eleven o'clock: Mrs. Stone and I went to bed. Forty-five minutes later, while the liner was at full speed a horrifying shock threw us out of bed. We were going to find out what was happening when an officer told us on the way ‘it is nothing go back to your cabin.’ I replied ‘listen to this loud noise, it seems like water is surging in the ship.’ Back in the cabin, I saw that our neighbor across had gone back to bed.
Her daughter came panicked shouting ‘mother, quick, quick get up - it is very serious.’ I helped Mrs. Stone to get dressed, she took her lifejacket and told me ‘come quickly.’ I was shaking, and still with my night gown on, I took a coat, my lifejacket and followed her on deck. There I found my traveling blanket and my fur coat, left on my long chair. They consequently proved to miraculously protect me. We felt under our feet the deck heel over the abyss. I wanted to go back down to get Mrs. Stone's jewelry, a fortune, I go the wrong stairway and I go back up half way. Luckily for me because I would never have gone back up. At that time we witnessed unforgettable scenes where horror mixed with the most sublime heroism. Some women still in ball dresses, a few of them getting out of bed, barely dressed, tousled, panicked, were rushing toward the embarkations. Commandant Smith had shouted, ‘women and children first.’ Officers and sailors firm and calm in the crush were taking women and children by the arm and directed them toward the lifeboats. Next to me were two handsome elderly Mr. and Mrs. Straus, owners of Macys Department Stores in New York, she refused to get in the boat after having let her maid get in it. She hung on her husband's neck while telling him ‘We have been married for 50 years, we never were apart, I want to die with you.’ They put the boat nearby the almost faint new spouse of millionaire J. Jacob Astor. coming back from their honeymoon, she was 19 years old, him 50 years old. She hung onto him, he had to push her back with force.
Sailors with blue blouson-style jacket, belt and beret started singing the beautiful canticle, ‘Closer to you my Lord; It is the cry of my faith.; Closer to you my Lord.’ The lifeboats were quickly lowered down. By miracle Mrs. Stone and I found each other in the same boat, where we were about thirty people. The officer told us ‘Row hard, you only have twenty-five minutes to save your life.’ I took the oars and rowed with so much energy that I had bloody hands and paralyzed wrists; because we had to be quick to escape the immense abyss that the Titanic was going to open while sinking. It is at that time that I noticed that someone was crouched under me. I did not have the strength to reveal his presence. I have never known who was the men who saved his life that way. While we were moving away on the nearly calm sea, only slightly lit by the lantern that the officer was holding, I did not keep my eyes off the (Titanic) blazing lights. Suddenly complete and impenetrable obscurity, horrible screams, shouting broke in the midst of creaks from the ship, then it was all. I sometimes still dream about it.
43 years after the drama. Only 745 people were saved from the 2,229 passengers and members of the crew. After that night of terror, at the first light of day, before the arrival of the Carpathia who had to take us in, numb, completely exhausted, our boat and a few others went back to the scene of the tragedy. The waters were calm and bare and nothing could have lead one suppose that the giant of the seas had been engulfed there. Alone before us, two ice cathedrals gave a pinkish hue to the first ray of sun offering a spectacle of rare beauty. When we were assembled in the Carpathia dining room, painful scenes unwound; young women were there without their husband, mothers without their son; a young mother whose son was snatched by a wave had gone crazy and mistook a child presented to her for her own. Some survivors told the story of atrocious moments in the course of which all human feeling opposed. There were sublime gestures. A stranger took his lifejacket off to offer it to an elderly woman who had not found a place in the embarkation and told her: ‘You pray for me.’ After having helped rescue women and children billionaire Benjamin Guggenheim put on formal clothes, a rose on the lapel, to die. A preacher says the prayers for the missing. The Carpathia who was on her way to Genoa, turned around to take us back to New-York.I will not talk about our arrival where we again witnessed poignant scenes.
Dedicated to Mrs. Versein in memory of her dear mother with whom I have lived this tragic catastrophe in the night of April 14 to 15, 1912.”
In fine condition, with a central horizontal fold and some light corner creases. Accompanied by a lengthy French newspaper article about Icard, dated August 22, 1951. A truly gripping account detailing the exceptional bravery and horror of that fateful night.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.