EVA CARMICHAEL AND TOM PEARCE
WHY THEY DID NOT MARRY
By M. MOSELEY
I had a most interesting meeting with the late Mrs. Townshend, Eva Carmichael,
who was rescued from the wreck of the Loch Ard by Tom Pearce. The incident recalled by the recent announcement of the death of Mrs. Townshend. It occurred
when I was staying with my aunt in the Hotel des Colonies, Mentone. Riviera.
When I was a youngster my mother had often told me of the wreck of the Loch Ard, which had been the event of their young lives. It was so very poignant and romantic. Buttons picturing the two survivors' heads were sold to collect funds for the two survivors. The story always seemed to end so unsatisfactorily, with their going each their own way. My ques- tion was always the same: "But why did not Eva Carmichael marry Tom Pearce?"
In Mentone in 1925 a well-built, fine featured woman sat down alongside my chair in the saloon, where we were playing bridge, and looked over my hand. I was glad when, the rubber over, we moved to the fire. The woman asked me whether I was English. I replied that I came from Australia. "Oh," she said, "I have most unhappy recollections of Australia. I was wrecked on the Victorian
coast, and only one other and myself
"The Loch Ard." I cried. "Then you are Eva Carmichael?" She turned white, but I rushed on. "Now, why didn't you marry Tom Pearce?"
The question was a shock to her. She said: "It must be nearly 50 years since I have been asked that. Once it was always being thrust at me."
Then she went on: "Why should I have married Tom Pearce?" He was a seaman, she explained, although he came of good family, and had an uncle with money who would have helped him. But he ran away to sea. He was engaged at the time of the wreck, but owing to the peculiar cir- cumstances of his saving her he offered to break his engagement and marry her; in- deed he pressed her to agree. However, as they had nothing in common, she felt that it would be wrong. So, after having stayed as a guest at Government House while funds were collected, she went back to her grandmother In Ireland, having lost father, mother, brothers, and sisters in the wreck.
Later she married Captain Townshend, and two years previous to our meeting he had died in Monte Carlo. She had buried him in the little hill cemetery of Mentone, and had come to tend his grave, stopping one night in Mentone when we
Perhaps even stranger was this story. She told me that when living on the Irish coast she and her husband were constantly called out to help succour sur- vivors from wrecks. On one occasion who should fall to her care but Tom Pearce!