Returning home was met with much grief. Because I have arrived home so late, the servants have long retired and the house is much quieter than it’s ever been. The first thing I see entering the foyer is his portrait, the one of him with gleaming eyes and a mysterious smile. I’ve always loved that portrait, and it seemed that it and its companion in my locket were all I had left of him. That thought made a tremendous weight settle upon my chest. Emotional shackles cause my feet to drag as I ascend the staircase. I sigh softly, removing my laced boots from my weary feet. The cool hardwood relieves my ache, and I step into the bedroom’s doorway.

Soft beams of moonlight roam the master bedroom’s floors. They dance and change shape at the liberty of swaying sycamores. I watch them in the doorway, feeling pitted and empty. As the moon beams sway, a garment of brilliant white silk glows brightly; a strange contrast to the otherwise blue-illuminated dark room. My eyes find and scan my to-be wedding gown, softly lit and delicately hanged from my wardrobe. I frown deeply, and go to it, feeling the smooth fabric beneath my fingers. A pit forms in my stomach as I recall the day I had gone to buy it.

I had tried on many a gown that day, none of them fitting my tastes. My very traditional, strict mother had attended, resulting in a large quantity of gaudy, colored, and hooped gowns. I would much more prefer to wear a bath robe than any austere fashion that was forced upon me by her. I had grown rather tired and discouraged, when I had found it. A piece so gorgeous and extravagant had then caught my eye. The garment was pure white silk, form-fitting, and had a long train. It was the most beautiful dress I’d ever seen…and I knew that I must have it.

I kindly asked the attendant to retrieve me the dress. As the beautiful thing slipped over my head, I felt a great warmth and confidence burst out from within me. My arms were laced, my rounded torso embellished in simple fine silk. I gazed in the mirror, admiring my plump form in all of its pure white wonder. I felt truly like royalty, like Queen Victoria herself. And as the attendant slipped the veil over my face, everything was for the first time in a wonderful perfection. It was solidified within me then that I would soon be formally devoted to my fiance.

I can no longer hold back tears now as I gently burrow my fingertips into the silk. It is beginning to dawn on me the reality of the situation: I would not ever wear this gown again. The one day that I had worn it for maybe ten minutes was the most use this gown would see. That pure white that excited me so would have to be replaced by black. At that thought, I choke back a wail.

“Wallace,” I rasp, the realization that I’d never see him once again dawning on me. I clutch to the locket around my neck, cradling the last remnants I'll ever have of my fiance. “Come back. I beg you, come back.”


Maria Robinson was the fiancee of Cunard Lines' cruise line violinist, Wallace Hartley. Born in Colne, England, Wallace Hartley grew up a choirboy in his father's choir. He learned violin from a fellow member of the choir, and became enamored with the instrument. He'd go on to play in several prestigious orchestras, before being hired by the historic Cunard Lines. But what Hartley is best remembered for is for having played on the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic, and continuing to play until the ship sunk. The heroic death came just a few weeks after getting engaged to his beloved Maria. As was Victorian protocol, Maria became a reclusive widow. After his death, she received the violin that had been strapped to his chest; the very violin she had given to her fiance as an engagement gift. The violin had an eventful life afterward, going from one history lover to next, from museum to museum, spent years in family inheritances, and then was sold in an auction to a private owner a few years ago.

The story of Wallace Hartley fascinated me, but was told in several biographies. Because of Maria's quiet life, her story wasn't recorded to history. That's why last year I wrote this historical fiction story about her, from her perspective. This is my favorite excerpt, I'd like to rewrite the other portions sometime to help the flow. Hope I got all the historical details right--- I did my best to research the Edwardian and Victorian eras when writing this. Thanks for the read :)