Empress of Ireland  - by David Mills

Slicing its way West across the Atlantic was the ship I was emigrating in, from England to Canada – Empress of Ireland. 

I was up on deck one night when something strange struck me. The smoke from the smokestack, which had been going steadily astern, had started to drift to one side, a little, then a lot. I watched, curiously, until it returned to where it had been, and could only conclude the ship had done a circle. But why, in the middle of the Atlantic, would a huge ocean steamer do that?

The following morning I asked the Chief Steward.  “I'm not supposed to tell anyone, but as you saw it happen, I guess you'd better know,” he said.  “Last night we lost a passenger, heart problem, and buried him at sea. We had to do a circle to get the wind and current right. Now please keep it quiet, sir.”


So, here I am keeping it quiet. Shhh! That was 52 years ago.