Today only historians of the sea have heard of the horrific loss of the steam packet Rothsay Castle in 1831. Yet in its day, the tragedy aroused considerable public indignation and mourning in England; and it remains one of the most unsettling of the nineteenth century’s long list of maritime calamities. We will retell the tale.Continue reading
The following tale appeared in an old volume of forgotten maritime lore. Its author, the indefatigable historian Edward R. Snow, relates that he first heard in as a young man in Bristol, England. He frankly notes the difficulty of substantiating its details, but suggests that, like many sea-yarns, it may contain the seeds of actual events. The story remains, in any case, a powerful allegory of love, loss, and commitment. The setting is the Isle of Wight. The time is the end of the seventeenth century.Continue reading
Coping With The Loss Of A Child (Podcast)
In this podcast, we discuss a serious subject. A reader explains that his family has just lost a young child, and he is searching for advice on how to deal with this calamity. I offer some suggestions drawn from Plutarch’s letter of consolation to his wife on the death of his two-year-old daughter Timoxena. We also discuss anecdotes from other sources (e.g., Cicero’s views on grief, the life of P.T. Barnum, etc.), and my own personal experiences. Fiat voluntas tua.Continue reading
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