Of all those who went to their doom on the "Lusitania," there was one whose fate aroused more widespread sympathy and called out deeper and more numerous expressions of sorrow than any other. That one was Charles Frohman, the theatrical manager - "C. F.," as his friends and employees affectionately called him.
"Authors, actors and actresses have lost the greatest friend they ever had. He did more for them than any other manager." "No man, woman or child ever saw him angry or heard him raise his voice. I never knew him to have an enemy. I never heard him speak ill of anyone." "He filled a unique position in all countries and belonged to the whole world, which will grieve for him as I do now." "I have never met a kinder, straighter, more generous, more considerate man." "It is doubtful whether any man in the theatrical business ever lived who gave away so much money to charity as 'C. F.'" "If when I die," he once said to me, "I can do so with the love and respect of all my stars, all my authors, all my associates, all my employees, then I will not have lived in vain." "Wherever two or three people of the theatre are gathered together, whether they be billposters or magnates, they will tell you that 'C. F.' was one of the squarest men ever engaged in the show business."
These are but a few of the many tributes from friends, associates, and employees to the memory of Charles Frohman, heard on every side after the tragedy of May, 1915. They explain the widespread mourning for his loss. They emphasize the meaning of that significant phrase "survival value."
This is the test of a man's work, his character, his life - its survival value. Only that which is useful to humanity has longevity. The good deed, the helpful service, the kindly act, the work which benefits the race - these are the things that endure.
History does not ask how much money a man has left, how many things he piled up about him, how many stocks and bonds he managed to get hold of, how much land he held the title deed to. It cares nothing about the selfish life, takes no interest in the accumulation of gold. The only question history will ask about you after you are gone is "How much of a man was he? What did he do for his kind? Did he add anything to the comfort, the convenience, the wellbeing, the happiness of his fellow men? What service did he render to humanity?"
The world erects its monuments to those who relate to it through their high qualities of manhood. It erects none to those who are connected with it only through their selfish relationship. Your contact with the world must be a vital one, one of helpfulness and service, or you will quickly be forgotten. It cherishes the memory of those only who have been useful to it, those who have given civilization a lift, who have in some way bettered the conditions of the race. It gives its love only to those whose hearts have beaten in sympathy with the race.
Because of his immense service to mankind, time only makes Lincoln loom larger and larger as an international figure. As the stress and anxiety of the war increases, one of the most noticeable things in England is its increasing admiration and appreciation of the greatness of the man and his service to the world. Leading English publications recently printed long articles about him, and English statesmen have quoted his words and acts as precedents for their guidance in momentous crises developed during the war.
Mr. Wu-Ting-Fang, former Chinese Minister to the United States, said of him, "To Lincoln may be applied the words which a Chinese historian uses in describing the character of Yao, the most revered and honored of the ancient rulers of China. 'His benevolence was boundless, his wisdom was profound; to anyone approaching him he had the genial warmth of the sun.' When viewed at a distance he seemed to have the mysterious warp of the clouds; though occupying the highest station, he was not haughty; though controlling the resources of the whole nation, he was not lavish; justice was the guiding principle of his actions; nobleness was written in his face."
Like Lincoln, the name and fame of Flor ence Nightingale are stamped for all time on the heart of mankind. The one was born in a log cabin; the other in a palatial home. But both lives were animated by the same passion for service which the world gratefully commemorates, not only in monuments of bronze, but in undying memory.
At a large dinner party given by Lord Stratford after the Crimean War, it was proposed that everyone should write on a slip of paper the name which appeared most likely to descend to posterity with renown. When the papers were opened every one of them contained the name of Florence Nightingale.
What the vast resources of the British army had failed to do for its soldiers in the Crimea, the great brain, the loving heart and tender sympathy of this frail, delicately nurtured woman had accomplished.
When Florence Nightingale went to the Crimea, a far larger percentage of soldiers were dying of disease than were being killed in battle. This because of the appalling unsanitary conditions in the hospitals, and the lack of all facilities for caring for the sick and wounded. With a largeness of brain, only equaled by her largeness of heart, she soon brought order out of chaos, and converted what had been a plague spot into a place of health and healing. No wonder they called her the "Angel of the Crimea," for the work she accomplished with hand and heart and brain was nothing short of miraculous.
"Wherever there is disease in its most dangerous form, and the hand of the spoiler most distressingly nigh," wrote a Crimean correspondent of the London Times, "there is that incomparable woman sure to be seen; her benignant presence is an influence for good comfort even amid the struggles of expiring nature. She is a 'ministering angel,' without any exaggeration, in these hospitals, and, as her slender form glides quietly along each corridor, every poor fellow's face softens with gratitude at the sight of her. When all the medical officers have retired for the night, and silence and darkness have settled down upon these miles of prostrate sick, she may be observed, alone, with a little lamp in her hand, making her solitary rounds."