Just over a hundred years since it serenaded Titanic survivors huddled in a lifeboat on the icy seas, a little toy pig’s music has been resurrected.
The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich explained on their blog this week that they were able to use high-definition X-ray imaging to examine the long-broken musical mechanism, with the goal of reviving the spritely tune. One problem, however: they had no idea what the old song was. For help with that, they turned to the crowdsourcing efforts of the internet. Today they announced that the the clanking notes have been confirmed as Charles Borel-Clerq’s 1905 “La Sorella.” Listen below and imagine hearing that light music carry over dark waters swarming with bodies and debris, while the lights of a massive ship fade beneath the water:
The toy was rescued from the doomed ocean liner in 1912 along with with its owner, Edith Rosenbaum (who later changed her last name to Russell). As she recalled in a 1970 interview, the then 32-year-old fashion worlder, clutching her cherished pig (a gift from her mother) on the slanting decks of the Titanic, would never ”have left the ship, but a sailor came along and he said ‘say you; you don’t want to be saved, well I’ll save your baby’ and he grabbed this pig from under my arm and he tossed it in the lifeboat [...] when they threw that pig, I knew it was my mother calling me.”
Rosenbaum used the pig to try to distract the children from the destruction and death as their Lifeboat 11 waited seven hours for rescue from the Carpathia liner. The pig was part of an exhibition at the National Maritime Museum last year for the centennial of the sinking of the Titanic, and next week it will again go on display, its curly tail reattached and its long-lost song identified. Now maybe we could arrange a duet with the Titanic violin that was last played on the decks of the doomed vessel for an exceptionally haunting collaboration?
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