soldiers scouring the country.'
* Let me see Louis Fritz,' said Mrs. Bathurst.
* He is gone to Spain.'
' Then let me see his wife.'
* She is gone with him,' and in despair Mrs. Bathurst
left him and returned to Paris. Here the Emperor gave
her leave to advertise for her husband in all the French
papers, w r hich only increased her suspicions that he had
something to hide ; for in those days England, like the
rest of Europe, stood in such terror of Napoleon that
any story against him, however absurd, was held good
enough to believe. But no answer came to the advertise-
ments, and after six months' absence Mrs. Bathurst
returned to England, weary and disheartened.
Her first act on reaching London was to send Rontgen
to Canning, begging him to let her know if any pass-
port had been granted in the previous year (1809)
to a man named Louis Fritz. In reply, she received
a message that no person called Louis Fritz had
ever applied for a passport at the office. This
caused Mrs. Bathurst's spirits to revive, for if her
husband \vas alive in the fortress of Magdeburg she
might one day see him again. But an end was soon put
to her hopes. Very shortly a visit was paid her by
Comte d'Entraigues the very Comte d'Entraigues
mentioned in her husband's half-finished letter, the man
whom he feared would be his ill-doing and he abruptly
told her that she might put on widow's weeds as soon as
she liked, for her husband had died in Magdeburg.
Mrs. Bathurst heard him with alarm, but not with
entire faith, and asked him for proofs of her husband's
death and particulars as to how it had come about.
He answered that on leaving Perleberg, Bathurst had
been seized by some mounted soldiers and conveyed to
THE VANISHING OF BAT HURST 47
Magdeburg, and that the governor, having written for
orders to Fouche, chief of the French police, had re-
ceived instructions to put him out of the way. Still
Mrs. Bathurst did not feel satisfied, and declared that
his bare word was not enough for her. D'Entraigues
then offered to write in cipher to Paris and promised to
show her the reply, which the poor woman awaited
anxiously ; but at the very time when it was expected to
arrive he and his wife were suddenly murdered by a new
French servant, who then killed himself. This was
also considered to be the work of the French Govern-
ment, furious at their spy d'Entraigues having betrayed
them, though it will appear to any reasonable person
that with the many wars on his hands it was hardly
likely that Napoleon w^ould take so much trouble over
what concerned one private individual.
As to Bathurst' s condition of mind before he quitted
Vienna, his wife expressly remarks in a letter which tells
of her adventures, that k she does not deny that he was
in a state of excitement,' but we do not know the reasons
he had for excitement, or what letters he had received
to warn him of danger. He was acting imprudently
by travelling in an enemy's country under a feigned
name. It seems that he suspected the king's messenger,
Krause (the secretary), because he found a bill for 5001.
on him, and feared that after all the man might be
bribed to give him up.
For months and years the search continued, but not
a trace of Bathurst was ever found, though some
suspicious circumstances did come to light. In the
March after his disappearance, a friend writes from
Hamburg to Mrs. Bathurst stating that ' not the least
proof exists of his being deranged, murdered or detained
a prisoner,' adding that he ' knew from a witness ' that
the trousers had been placed near the path in the wood
on purpose, and also that while at Berlin Bathurst was
48 THE VANISHING OF BAT HURST
warned that Krause was not to be trusted. Of course
this may have been intended, as his wife thought, to
induce him to discharge a man who was really faithful,
so as to leave the master at the mercy of his enemies
or it may have been true. Krause himself declared that
Bathurst had been standing about in the kitchen, while
the horses were brought from the post-house, warming
himself at the fire, constantly looking at his watch and
even pulling out his purse, in the midst of a crowd of
stablemen and postillions. Considering the terror which
possessed Bathurst, such conduct sounds very unlikely,
although the ostler, says Krause, who was present at the
time, also disappeared, and was never afterwards heard
Six years later the search was opened afresh by Mr.
Underwood, a friend of the family, but with no greater
success than before ; and indeed it is curious how many
people from whom clues might have been obtained died
before they had a chance of giving their information.
Besides d'Entraigues, Mr. Rontgen had also expired
by the time Mr. Underwood reached Paris, but
Dr. Armstrong, another untiring seeker after the
unfortunate Bathurst, told Underwood that he had
visited Perleberg himself, and that everybody there
was quite convinced that Bathurst had been robbed
and murdered before he passed the walls, and that
the murderer was a man whom both himself and
Johnson had examined.
It is very disappointing that Underwood does not
say a word to inform us who the man was, but most people
will agree that the explanation is probably the right one.
Klitzing always held this view, and he knew more about
it than anyone.
But though the good Perlebergers were quite deter-
mined as to how and. why Bathurst died, they were by
no means of one mind as to who killed him. Some
declared it was Augustus Schmidt, the possessor of the
THE VANISHING OF BAT HURST 49
fur coat, others that it was one Hacker, a shoemaker
and keeper of a low tavern near the post-house ; but
whatever the talk, there was nothing to bring the crime
home to either of them. It was not till the year 1852
that a discovery was made which seemed really im-
portant, and it happened in this wise.
An old house near Perleberg, on the road to
Hamburg, w T as pulled down for repairs, and underneath
the kitchen a skeleton was found, stripped naked, and
with its skull fractured as if from the blow of an axe.
Of course there would have been nothing to connect this
skeleton with Bathurst but for the fact that the father
of the former owner, Mertens by name, had been a
servant at the Swan on the night of the fatal Novem-
ber 25. No suspicion had fallen on him at the time,
and indeed he was much thought of in the town, and it
does not appear to have been considered strange that
he was able to give his two daughters marriage portions
which were large for girls in their class.
A few months after the finding of the body Mrs.
Thistlethwaite, Bathurst's sister, came to Perleberg, and
was shown the skull of the newiy discovered skeleton.
She positively denied that it could be the skull of her
brother, although it seems a difficult -matter to swear to
after forty-three years. If she was right, then the story
remains as mysterious in its end as in the beginning, but
after reading the tale and considering the evidence,
most of us will share Captain Klitzing's opinion, and
believe that when Bathurst was standing in the dark
at the horses' heads he was struck dead from behind
and carried away silently to a safe place, where all his
valuables were taken from him.
Since the above story was written, in August 1910, a skeleton
has been dug up near Perleberg which it was considered might be
that of Bathurst, though the reasons for this opinion were not very
clear. The discovery gave rise to a correspondence in which many
interesting particulars were disclosed, but none that really threw
any definite light on the matter.
IN THE SHADOW OF THE GUILLOTINE
IN 1769, the year in which Wellington and Napoleon
were born, the wife of a shopkeeper called La valet te
had a little son in Paris. The parents were very proud
of him, and thought him a wonder, as parents often
do ; and, indeed, they were not so much mistaken as
they sometimes are, for he was a lively baby, and soon
began to take notice of what went on around him. As
he grew older, he was never so happy as when he had
a book in his hand, so his father thought it was quite
clear that he was intended to become a priest, and
saved every penny in order to give his son a good
education, while his mother dressed him like a little
This was all very well when he was still a boy, but
as soon as he began to think for himself he made up his
mind that he did not want to be an abbe at all ; he
would rather be a lawyer, he said. So he began to go
to lectures and to read law books, till he was nearly
twenty, when the Revolution broke out, and the prison
of the Bastille was taken. Young Lavalette with a
band of his friends was present at that great sight, and
eagerly welcomed the captives who were released that
day, for a new France was born, he thought, and
everyone was to be free and happy. He enlisted
in the National Guard, which was to keep order and
prevent the nobles from oppressing the people ; but
by-and-by he found that the men who were now
IN THE SHADOW OF THE GUILLOTINE 51
governing Prance in the name of Liberty were quite as
tyrannical as those who governed it in the name of the
king, while nobody's life was safe if his neighbour
had a spite against him and denounced him as an
aristocrat or noble.
When he told his friends that all the bloodshed
which was going on filled him with horror they could
hardly believe their ears. ' What,' they cried, ' desert
the cause of the people, and throw in his lot with that
villain Louis Capet, once known as Louis XVI., and
his wife, the Austrian woman, who would have her
balls and amusements though her subjects paid for
them with their blood ? No, no ! there was an end to
all that, and let others take example lest But
Lavalette broke in impatiently, and said all that was
wild talk, and he was tired of hearing it. That what-
ever the kings before him might have done, Louis XVI.
had never hurt anybody, and the queen was a beautiful
woman, and he would be proud to die for her. And he
very nearly did, for he stood by the side of the Swiss
guards defending the royal family when the palace of
the Tuileries was attacked by the mob in 1792.
And Napoleon was sitting in the gardens with a
friend, and watched it all.
The taking of the Tuileries seemed to let loose all
the worst passions of the people, and after the horrors
of the September massacres Lavalette enlisted in a
regiment that was serving abroad, together with his
friend Bertrand and a few other comrades. Every large
town they passed through was in a state of wild excite-
ment, and, after many adventures, Lavalette was
thankful indeed to reach the place where his regiment
was stationed. He began at once to learn his
work, and to master every branch of it, and as men
who were energetic and capable came rapidly to the
front in those days, it was not long before he was made
52 IN THE SHADOW OF THE GUILLOTINE
a sergeant, while his colonel himself taught him how
to map out the countries they went through, and the
way to fortify a town or camp.
Soon he ceased to be a common soldier, and received
the rank of lieutenant. Like many young men, though
dauntlessly brave when actually fighting, it was a severe
trial to his courage to sit still on his horse amidst a
shower of bullets. ' I even sometimes caught myself
taking a circuit when I might have pushed straight-
forwards,' he says. He was horribly ashamed of him-
self on these occasions, and in the end got the better
of his fears. But, he adds, ' it was by no means the work
of a day. How often had I to turn back and take my
place in the thick of the fire ! But when I had stayed
there a good while I was pleased with myself, and what
can be nicer than that ? '
Certainly, he must have got over all desire to run
away when Napoleon made him his aide-de-camp in
Italy after the battle of Arcole. Henceforth the General
always stood his friend, and when he was wounded,
went up to him and said before the whole army,
' Lavalette, you are a brave fellow, and when I write
the history of this campaign I will not forget you.'
The heart of Lavalette glowed. Was it possible for
any man to be a coward after that ?
No man ever lived with such a keen eye for the
characters of the men he came across as Napoleon,
and it was to this fact that he owed so much of his
success. Except when family pride misled him into
placing his brothers in positions for which they were
not fitted, he gave to every man the work he was best
able to do. He found Lavalette to be modest and con-
siderate of other people's feelings, quick to notice, and
capable of giving wise advice, besides being an excellent
soldier. So he was often sent on missions where a
pleasant manner and prudent words were necessary,
IN THE SHADOW OF THE GUILLOTINE 53
and where a blunt speech might spoil all the General's
deep-laid plans. Lavalette could always be trusted,
and at last Napoleon began to think he should like him
for a relation, as well as a friend.
Now, busy as he was, Napoleon was as fond of
arranging marriages as any old lady, and paid scanty
attention to the feelings of the two people concerned.
Just as the army was about to start for Egypt, the
General informed his aide-de-camp that he had found
the very wife for him, and the next morning they
should be introduced to each other.
' A wife ? ' exclaimed Lavalette in dismay. ' But
we are on the eve of a war ! And as likely as not I shall
be killed, and she will be left a widow.'
' Well, if she is, she will be the widow of one of my
aides-de-camp, and have her pension and be received
everywhere. As it is, though she is pretty and charming
and clever, no one will have anything to say to her,
because she is the daughter of one of the emigrated
nobles who deserted France. Even Josephine, my
wife, can do nothing for her. Come, it is no use talking !
Within a week you must be married, and there will be
just time for you to have a fortnight's holiday before
' But the young lady ? ' asked Lavalette, who was
feeling quite bewildered. ' Not even for you, my General,
will I marry a girl who does not wish for me.'
' Oh, that is all right. She must be tired of school
by this time, and will be only too glad to live at Fon-
tainebleau with her grandfather while you are away.
You won't be killed, I know, and in two years you will
be back a general yourself, perhaps.'
' But who is she ? ' said Lavalette, who felt quite
' Didn't I tell you ? Mademoiselle Emilie de Beau-
harnais, daughter of the Marquis de Beauharnais,
brother-in-law of my wife. She is at present at school
54 IN THE SHADOW OF THE GUILLOTINE
'at Madame Campari's with my step-daughter Hortense.
We will drive you there ourselves and introduce you.'
It was a shy and awkward young man who fol-
lowed Napoleon, Josephine and her son Eugene Beau-
harnais into the garden at Madame Campan's. In
-honour of the visit the girls had been given a holiday,
and somehow or other had guessed the reason. So
every window 7 w r as crowded with heads, each one eager
to know if the choice was to fall upon her, while Lava-
lette, who managed to see a good deal without looking,
was wondering on his side which of them was his future
wife. At last Hortense Beauharnais stepped out of the
long drawing-room window, followed by a tall graceful
girl with a lovely complexion. Without taking any
notice of Lavalette, who stood a little apart, they
greeted Josephine and Napoleon, and then Eugene
proposed that they should have lunch on the grass.
This delighted the young people, and by the time they
had laid the cloth and set out the luncheon things
they had become quite friendly.
When coffee had been handed round by Eugene
they all got up, and Emilie de Beauharnais felt her
cousin's hand on her arm and was gently led into a
walk at some distance from the house. In a few minutes
they were joined by Lavalette, and with a bow and
smile Eugene left them together, and Lavalette
; You have heard, mademoiselle, of the flattering
proposal made me by your uncle the General. You
belong to the noblesse ; my father was a shopkeeper,
and I have nothing to offer you but my sword. Hardly
even myself,' he added, smiling, ' for in a fortnight I
must leave you, perhaps to go to my death. I feel that
I could love you with all my soul, but if you think you
cannot love me well, I will take care that the General
shall not visit his anger upon you ! '
While he was speaking Emilie had been nervously
IN THE SHADOW OF THE GUILLOTINE 55
playing \uth some roses on a bush close by. When he
ceased she remained silent for a moment or two ; then
she broke off one of the roses and held it out to him.
This was almost more than he expected. Filled with
56 IN THE SHADOW OF THE GUILLOTINE
joy, he stooped down and kissed her hand, then together
they went slowly back to the rest.
Eight days later they were married, not only in the
presence of the mayor, but secretly by a priest in the
chapel of a convent, for Emilie would be content with
nothing else. But Napoleon's promised holiday of a
fortnight dwindled into less than a week, as the army
was hastening to embark for Egypt.
During twelve years Lavalette followed the fortunes
of Napoleon, and his brilliant services both in battle
and on the various missions entrusted to him by the
Emperor earned for him the title of Count. Between
the various campaigns he returned joyfully to his wife,
or, whenever it was possible, she came to join him.
After the abdication of Napoleon in 1814 he, like
Marshal Ney and many other generals, swore allegiance
to Louis XVIII., but with the landing of the Emperor
from Elba all things were forgotten and Lavalette was
aide-de-camp once more.
After Waterloo, when all w r as lost, and Louis XVIII.
again entered Paris, a general pardon was offered to
those who had broken their VOW T S and fought by the
side of Napoleon. There were, however, a few ex-
ceptions ; one of these was Ney, and another was
So little did the Count guess that his life was for-
feited that he made no effort to escape, as he might
easily have done. He remained quietly at home, and
was dining with his wife when he was arrested by the
police and taken to a temporary prison, where he was
kept for a week before his removal to the Conciergerie,
where Queen Marie Antoinette spent her last days.
Here for six weeks he saw no one but the turnkey,
and him only once in twenty-four hours ; he had no
books, and there was hardly light to have read them
had they been given him, though by straining his eyes
THE SHADOW OF THE GUILLOTINE 57
he contrived to make out his letters, which had, of
course, been opened by the officials. His wife tried
to keep up his spirits by writing that she was perfectly
well, but as he knew that she would never complain,
however ill she might be, he received little comfort
from her words.
As far as we can learn, his gaolers were kind, and
permitted their prisoner many small indulgences. He
was now and then allowed an interview with a friend,
provided the prison clerk was present. Occasionally
they let him see Marshal Ney, who was also confined
in the Conciergerie, and though Ney knew very well
that death awaited him shortly, he was very cheerful,
and passed his time in playing the flute. His friends and
fellow-prisoners listened eagerly for the notes w r hich
told them the Marshal was still alive. One day in
November the flute w r as silent : Ney had gone to his
trial, and three weeks later was shot as a traitor to his
In that same month of November Lavalette w r as
also brought before the court, and was sentenced to
die on the guillotine. His friends, some of whom were
in positions of trust about the king, did all in their
power to obtain a pardon, and high were their hopes
when Louis consented to receive Madame Lavalette,
whose father had, like himself, been an emigre. But
it all ended in nothing, and Lavalette had only three
days left to live.
It was Tuesday night, and the Count said to his
gaoler, who was moving distractedly about the cell,
' It is usually on Friday, is it not, that the executions
take place ? '
' Sometimes on Thursday,' answered the man in a
low 7 voice, looking away.
' And the time is four in the afternoon ? ' asked
58 IN THE SHADOW OF THE GUILLOTINE
' Sometimes in the morning,' answered the gaoler,
opening the door quickly, so that nothing more might
And Lavalette understood.
In these last days his wife was allowed to come every
evening at six o'clock and dine with him. She had
suffered terribly during the last four months, but still
retained her old energy. When she was alone with her
husband she told him of a plan she had formed the
same as that employed by Lady Nithsdate a hundred
years before by which Lavalette was to escape dis-
guised as a woman. It was in vain that he assured her
it was absurd and impossible ; that the gaolers knew
him too well ; that the guards were too numerous, and
a thousand other tilings.
6 Well, if you are caught, you can only die once,'
she said ; ' but you won't be.'
The next night Madame Lavalette appeared in the
Conciergerie accompanied by her little girl, who was
then about thirteen, and the old nurse. The weather
was very cold, and the Countess had put on over her
dress a big loose cloak lined with fur, such as people
then called a ' pelisse,' and under it she carried a bag
containing a black silk petticoat.
You must put on these,' she said quickly ; ' they
will disguise you completely. How fortunate you are
no taller than I am ! I should have liked to give you
a veil, but as I never wear one I am afraid. Here are
your gloves, and hold my handkerchief to your face
as if you were crying. Be sure you walk very slowly,
and don't forget to stoop your head when you come
to a doorway, for if you were to catch your feathers
and your bonnet was to be pulled awry you would be
discovered at once.
' Of course the gaolers will be in the ante-room,
and remember that the turnkey always hands me out,
and to-day my sedan chair will be drawn up close to
IN THE SHADOW OF THE GUILLOTINE r,!>
the staircase. M. Baudus will be on the look-out for
you, and will take you to your hiding-place.
' That is all, I think no, don't touch me ! If we
break down we are ruined ! '
Pausing for a moment, the poor woman fought
fiercely with herself ; then she turned to her daughter,
whom she had sent out of ear-shot : ' Josephine,' she
said, ' I shall leave to-night at seven instead of eight.
Keep behind me as we go out the doors are so narrow ;
but when we get into the outer hall take care to be on
my left, and then the turnkey won't be able to hand me
out, which you know I hate. After we get outside the
grating and are going up the steps, come round to my
right, or else the soldiers will be peering under my
bonnet, as they are so fond of doing. Do you under-
stand ? '
' Yes, I think so,' answered the girl, and then they
all sat down to dinner, and for an hour both husband
and wife sat in silence, almost choking with every
mouthful they tried to swallow.
At a quarter to seven Madame de Lavalette arose
and rung for her faithful valet, who was waiting out-
side. She hastily whispered something to him, and
added aloud :
' Go and see if the chairmen are there. I am just
As soon as the valet had left the room she drew
her husband behind a screen and began to dress him.
It did not take long ; then, calling her daughter, she
said to her : ' What do you think of your father ? '
' My father ? ' gasped the child, staring.
' Yes, will he do ? '
' I think so : he isn't at all bad,' answered Josephine,
who was beginning to understand ; but she looked very
frightened as she spoke.
Her mother took no notice, as the heavy footsteps
60 IN THE SHADOW OF THE GUILLOTINE
of the gaoler were heard along the passage, and she
hastily sprung behind the screen, which shut off one
corner of the room. The door of the cell was unlocked,
and Lavalette, holding his handkerchief to his eyes,
and carefully bowing his head, walked out, followed by
Josephine and the nurse, and entered the hall which
was full of warders. Of course the little girl should have
been on his left side, but in her terror she became con-
fused and went round to her father's right. Full of
sympathy for Lavalette was a favourite in the prison
the turnkey laid his hand on the lady's arm and said :
You are leaving early to-night, Madame.' But the
only answer was a deeper bowing of the shoulders and