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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

An inferno, and Paddy the terrier

   Well may all this powerful machinery be encaged, just like wild beasts in a menagerie.
   Up and down steel ladders. Climbing over moving chain (like a bike chain) of steering gear, through stray jets of steam, in a forest of greasy machinery, guarded by steel rails, grease on floor; all apparently working alone under electric lights, but here and there a  man in brown doing nothing in particular. Dials everywhere, showing pressures, etc.
   Then to stokehold. Vast. Terrible. 190 colossal furnaces, opened and fed every 10 minutes, and coal flung in. Mouths of furnaces seemed to me very high for coal to be flung into them. The effect was like that of a coal mine with the addition of hell.
   This was the most impressive part of this ship. It stretched away with occasional electric lights into infinite distance. 1000 tones of coal a day. Finest coal. Very hot. An inferno, theatrical. Above, confectioners making petit fours, and the lifts going for 1st class passengers.
   Invited into Captain’s room. He showed us his photograph after being invested C.B.[Companion of the Order of the Bath] by King.
   Talk of Royal Family. The Englishman’s reverence for his old institutions, of all kinds, and his secret sentimentality (according F.R. the King was a fine fellow, and the Queen a woman of really unusual brain-power) comes out all over the ship all the time.

   At dinner, the purser on his Airedale terrier, Paddy. So comprehending that when his wife and he wanted to say something they did not want the dog to understand, they had to spell out the important word, instead of pronouncing it.
                                          Arnold Bennett's Journal - Lusitania. Monday, October 9th 1911  7.30 a.m.

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