The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current, June 15, 1913, SECTION SIX, Page 8, Image 76

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THAI senile paatin.e of donning an
armor of steel and going out be
fore breakfast to thrust home a
s-worU or lance through an enemy sim
ilarly equipped, indulged In by our best
little knights of old. is childish pursuit
and pales into insignificance beside
that of his modern brother, the knight
of the deep water. His incasement is
of rubber and canvas and he wears a
helmet of metal such as the ancient
lascelot could never have staggered
along under. His shoes are of iron and
brass and lead: he weights his body
heavily and goes down to do mortal
combat with the dangers of lack of
air, unusual pressure, entanglement of
wreckage and all other perila of limb
Se.3 Zise7- rrz
and life found beneath the surface of
all well-regulated seas and rivers. His
must be a courage and a quietness of
nerve that make his earlier-day proto
type look like a correct Imitation ot
the real thing. For at least the knight
errant had air and freedom of body,
and light In plenty and action. The
knight of the rubber ermor works In
darkness, exploring In an element for
eign and unfriendly to life and limb,
and he not only suspends his life by
the proverbial thread, but must rest his
assurance for the very air he breathes
in the keeping of the patient men
above, men who slowly, ceaselessly turn
the wheels of the air pump.
What think you, then, of a girl, a
Cass Bacics
mere .slip of lS-year-old womanhood,
who has adopted the strenuous calling
of the deep-sea diver for her life's
That is exactly what Marie De Rock,
a Portland girl, has done.
It all came about because Marie hap
pened to be a girl instead of a boy.
Father Fritz De Rock. Holland Dutch
In spite of his French sounding name,
was philosophical, if disappointed. "I'll
make a diver out of her. anyway, when
she gets big enough,'' he told his wife
when she bemoaned the fact that they
had no son to carry on the father's pro
fession. And when the little Marie
grew big enough and strong enough
she became a pupil under her father's
tutelage, and that is a tutelage that
comes from I'l years' experience in
deep-sea diving around Astoria and
river diving in the Columbia and Wil
lamette. The girl diver is a graduate of St.
Patrick's School, an excellent pianist;
she makes most of her clothes. Is a
dandy housekeeper and devotes a bit
of every day to serious reading. All
tills I learned later on, in a tour of
the houseboat, where she lives with her
parents, at the foot of Twenty-second
street. She showed me her room, a
typical "girl's room."
Marie made many preparations for
her dive, which was made from a scow,
and it didn't take as long to do it as it
requires to get all harnessed into a
modern gown. First Marie clothed
herself In heavy socks and underwear
of flannel, all well secured to prevent
slipping. A fat round pad that re
sembled a canvas doughnut was
slipped over her curly pate. This pad
takes some of the weight of the hel
met from her shoulders. Then she
wriggled her slltn young body into a
heavy suit of rubber and canvas, made
like a pair of night clothes worn by
very small boys who kick the covers
off at night. Rubber cuffs fit closely
at" the wrists and to make assurance
doubly sure a pair of rubber bands
were slipped, braceletlike, over her
wrists. Father and mother De Rock
were her valets. They chattered and
worked rapidly, fastening straps, bolts,
screws and clamps. An inner collar
and a breastplate of copper were fas
tened with clamps to the rubber gar
ment. Then the shoes, great clumsy
things of leather, with soles of brass
and lead, and each weighing -0 pounds,
were drawn on over the rubber socks.
Next a belt of brass and lead, a pretty
little trifle that tips the scales at ex
actly 90 pounds, was strapped about
Marie's waist. In carrying the shoes
and belt alone Marie doubled her own
weight, 130 pounds.
The helmet was the last of the ap
paratus to go on. Before it was ad
justed Marl telegraphed a message
with her eyes and a gesture of patting
her really lovely brown hair. Mother
De Rock, with her wisdom born of
women, stopped the proceedings to run
into the cabin and return with a soft,
lacy cap of the variety known as bou
doir. This she fitted over Marie's
curls, "so they wont get all mussed,"
she explained
Before adjusting the helmet, a cum
bersome dome-shaped head covering of
copper, the valves and telephones were
tested. The helmet is attached to the
pump with rubber tube, which is pro
tected by canvas and wire. It is
roomy, this helmet, and has a face
plate and a valve through which su
perfluous air escapes into the water.
Pete and Jake, the attendants, start
ed to pump -the instant -the- helmet was
JTJXE 15, 1913.
J clamped on. It was a cruel weight
and once it was adjusted Marie did. not
delay her descent. Her father and
an assistant half carried, half dragged
her to the side of the scow, where a
ladder led down into the water. They
placed her with her face to the ladder
and slowly "she climped down it. Then
while we all watched in tense silence
she slipped gently into the cold, dim,
greenish, unknown under-water world.
Mrs. De Rock stood leaning over the
scow's side, with the telephone receiver
strapped to her ear. and the transmitter
g'ued to her mouth.
"Hello hello -Is that you, Marie?
Yes this Is mamma hello how are
ou hello hello " the mother voice
kept calling.
I watched her face as she conversed
with Marie now going down rapidly as
the attendants let out the line.
"Ah, Marie, she Is very brave." said
the mother with that natural pride par
donable in mothers whose offspring do
things out of the ordinary, "but, some
times, I am not afraid, but I want her
tobe careful." Then It was that Just
mother love and fear for her one ewe
lamb was writ large In every note of
her voice. A swirl of little bubbles on
the water surface driven there by the
escaping aid in Marie's helmet located
the diver to those watching above.
"Suppose her telephone should get out
of order," breathed a cheery optimist.
Quickly the father replied, "She is sup
plied with a life line, and she can signal
us, and we can draw her to the sur
face with It if she got helpless for
any reason."
Before the advent of the telephone,
Mr. De Rock explained, divers had to
depend entirely upon jerks of the life
line for communication with the sur
face, and upon signs to each other
when two or more were working to
gether under water and wished to com
municate. . .
Later when Marie-had divested her-.
self of her diver's garments and sat in
the cosy little living room of her house
boat home, she talked easily and enter
tainlngly of her work.
"At first thought," she said, "it
doesn't seem such a difficult thing,
this going down under water and
breathing air sent In from a pump by
a tube. But the physical drawbacks
are great and the mental ones are, I
believe, even larger. For every ten
feet I descend I sustain an added pres
sure of four and a half pounds over
every square inch of my body. How
ever, the weight I wear on my shoulders
and the heavy leads on my feet make
considerably less inroads on my
strength while 1 am under the. water:
In fact if I didn't have them on I'd be
more apt to come to the surface than
stay down. But even If my weight Is
made less by the surrounding water
that same water clogs my efforts and
resists motion."
"Are you going into it as a profes
sion?" I asked her.
"Yes. I am." she replied. "There are
lots of uses for divers. The water
works in big cities employ them, so
do dock builders, wrecking companies,
bridge and construction companies; the
under river tunneling makes a demand
for their services, the Navy employs
many and every battleship has at least
two highly trained divers. Of course I
couldn't be in the hire of the Navy or
a battleship, but I just mention these
to show you in how many places a diver
can be used. They are called upon for
the most varied kind of work. My
father has rescued drowned bodies, re
covered cargo out of sunken vessels and
has looked for treasure. The most I
have ever done is to find some lost
articles of jewelry. It is really plying
pretty much all the land trades only
you do it under water."
"What do you see under the watersf"
1 asked Marie. Her blue eyes got big
and bright "Oh. I see all sorts of fish,
and when I reach the bottom of the
river there's tangled weeds and rocks
against which objects have lodged."
Sometimes the objects especially the
fish seem twice as large as they really
are. The first time 1 went down a
little harmless fish looked as terrifying
to me as a shark would now."
"I can't describe my sensations un-,
der water.
"No," she confessed. "T can't, be
cause they are indescribable. As I
sink in the water the daylight seems
to merge Into a sort of twilight. The
first thing that strikes my conscious
ness is that my suit seems lighter in
weight. Next I realize that the water
has settled down and tucked me in
all around like a coverlet. I breathe
just as freely except for a slight op
pression, as if I were above water.
There really is no disagreeable sensa
tion. I descend slowly, and swallow
as I go, otherwise I might bleed at
my nose or ears, or become unscon
scious. I come up even more slowly
and for the same reason.
When the dangers of diving were
broached, she smiled. "Oh, yes, of
course, it has dangers, but for that mat
ter so has everything else. For in
stance, any interruption of my air sup
ply means death. My helmet Is provided
with a check valve which prevents
water entering if the tube should be
cut or broken, but the air in the hel
met would last but a few minutes If
the supply were cut off. Another dan
ger Is that of fainting. In that case
I'd be in desperate straits, but the man
handling the line can 'feel' if anything
is wrong, and would haul me up at
once. In a case like t ,. t you can see
that the slender connecting link of the
telephone more than means every
thing." Marie is not in the least Impressed
by the merely romantic side of the life.
She wants to be a diver because it's
good and lucrative work. "The ap
paratus is expensive," she averred,
"and the risk is great, but it has more
than one recommendation as a profes
sion." It requires very little time and
tt pays well. It develops self-reliance,
quiet bravery and coolness s well as
skill, and these are traits few women
When I was bidding Mane goodbye
I asked her If she'd traveled much.
"Oh, yes," chimed in Mrs. De Rock.
"Marie has been to Astoria and to
Salem, and to Tacoma. "
"And to Europe twice," said Marie,
"Oh. yes." said her mother, "papa and
Marie and me, we go to Europe twice
to see our old homes. I dtdn't call that
Love - Making in Spain
The best of the Alcazar Is the Alca
zar gardens. But I would not Ignore
the homelike charm of the vast court
by which you enter the strt et outside
to the palace beyond. It is planted
casually about with rather shabby
orange trees that children were play
ing under, and was decorated with the
week's wash of the low, simple, dwell
ings which may be hired at a rental
moderate even for Seville, where a
handsome and commodious house in a
good quarter rents for $60 a year. One
of these two-story cottages, as we
should call them, in the ante-court of
the Alcazar, had for the student of
Spanish life the special advantage of
a lover close to a ground-floor window
dropping tender nothings dow n through
the slats of the shutter to some maiden
lurking within. The nothings were so
tender that you could not hear them
drop and, besides, they were Spanish
nothings, and it would not have served
any purpose for the stranger to listen
for them. Once afterward he saw the
national courtship going on at another
casement, but that was at night, and
here the precious first sight of it was
offered at 10 o'clock in the morning
Nobody seemed to mind the lover sta
tioned outside the Bhutter with which
the Iron bars forbade him the closest
contact: and It is only fair to say that
he minded nobody: he was there when
we went In and there when we came
out. and it appears that when it is a
question of love-making time is no
more of an object in Spain than in the
United States. The scene would have
been better by moonlight, but you
cannot always have it moonlight, and
the sun did very well; at least tJte
lover did not seem to miss the moon.