When asked what he thought the effect of the sinking would be on the United States, Mr. Kessler answered:
“My God! what can America do? Nothing will bring back these people to life.
“It was cold-blooded, deliberate murder, and nothing else—the greatest murder the world has ever known. How will going to war mend that?”
To the question whether the loss of the liner could have been avoided, Mr. Kessler said slowly:
“That is a very serious question, and I hesitate to give an opinion on matters which are purely technical.
“Still, it seems to me as a landsman, and one who has crossed the ocean a great many times, that the safety of the Lusitania lay in speed. We were in the war zone by 140 or 150 miles, and every moment that we dawdled at fifteen or eighteen knots was an increase of our risk of being torpedoed.
“Again, (and of course I merely make the comment,) I cannot understand why there were no destroyers or patrol boats about, as we certainly had been led to expect there would be when we reached the war zone.
“The ship was torpedoed at 2:05 P.M. My watch stopped at 2:30. It was 5 o’clock when I was picked up by the Bluebell, and it was 10 o’clock before we were landed in Queenstown.”
[Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES.]
LONDON, May 10.—A highly interesting story was told tonight by Rita Jolivet, the actress, who stood calmly chatting with Charles Frohman and Alfred G. Vanderbilt during the last tense moments before the Lusitania sank. The three of them, together with G.L.S. Vernon, Miss Jolivet’s brother-in-law, and Mr. Scott, who had come all the way from Japan to enlist, joined hands and stood waiting to face death together. Miss Jolivet said:
We stood talking about the Germans and the rumor which had gained currency that a man, obviously of German origin, had been arrested for tampering with the wireless. The story was that the man had been discovered at 1 o’clock in the morning a day or two before doing something to the wireless apparatus and had been immediately imprisoned. I did not see the man arrested, so I am not sure about the story’s truth, but there were good grounds for believing it.
We determined not to enter the boats, and just a minute or two before the end Mr. Frohman said with a smile: “Why fear death? It is the most beautiful adventure that life gives us.”
Mr. Scott fetched three lifebelts, one for Mr. Vanderbilt, one for Mr. Frohman, and one for my brother-in-law. He said he was not going to wear one himself, and my brother-in-law also refused to put his on. I hear that Mr. Vanderbilt gave his to a lady, Mrs. Scott. I helped to put a lifebelt on Mr. Frohman. My brother-in-law took hold of my hand and I grasped the hand of Mr. Frohman, who, as you know, was lame. Mr. Scott took hold of his other hand, and Mr. Vanderbilt joined the row, too. We had made up our minds to die together.