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...the furniture...crashed upon the poor victims...

"My friend (a non-Catholic who was taking her instructions) and I, wanted by all means to get on the first boat, the Eastland.  When boarding the boat we all remarked jestingly: 'The boat is listing!'  Reaching the big dancing hall on the lower deck where many hundreds of excursionists were enjoying the music, we noticed that the floor was strongly tilted.  Then a man cried: 'All hurry to the other side, lest the boat tip!'  Even now we enjoyed rushing up the sharply inclined dance floor, when suddenly the mighty boat rolled to the opposite side, and all occupants were hurled into a helpless heap.  In the dance hall the furniture, the tables and chairs, the heavy piano, the large icebox and counter of the tavern, crashed upon the poor victims, so that many were killed outright.  Those who had been on deck were trapped deep down in the river, under twenty-three feet of water."

I saw no more of my girlfriend; but later her corpse showed a broken neck with many lacerations.  I myself, was covered with bruises.  I was one of the few who came out of the water although I was imprisoned inside the dance hall.  I could swim well and tried to rescue a little girl, but a man took hold of my arm and pleaded, 'Lady, please save me!'  I screamed: 'Let me go!  I have all I can do to save myself and this child!'  Then the fellow pulled me and the child down to the bottom.  I fought him off, and in the scuffle I lost hold of the poor child.  Only five other girls and men were swimming within the dance hall.  Luckily they found a ledge to which they now clung, and they called me to come and hold on.  For half an hour we took this rest, but the suspense became unbearable.  We screamed for help.  Finally we were noticed and strong arms drew us through a porthole."

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