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Constance Charlotte Elisa Lennox Russell.

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climax of his good fortune came when he won the heart and
ultimately the hand of a charming young lady of high position.

The young surgeon met Lady Caroline Keppel at a ball
given by his patroness, and it was a case of love at first sight
on both sides ; but the course of true love ran anything
but smooth.

Lady Caroline, who was born in 1737, was the daughter of
William Anne Keppel, second Earl of Albemarle, K.G., who
commanded the left wing at CuUoden, and who ended his life
as Ambassador at the court of Versailles, where he lived in such
splendour that Horace Walpole called him " the most magnifi-
cent spendthrift of his time." He was greatly liked in Paris.
Marmontel, in his Memoirs, says, in talking of his death : " Lord
d'Albemarle mourut a Paris aussi regrette parmi nous que dans
sa patrie. C'etait, par excellence, ce qu'on appelle un galant
homme, noble, sensible, genereux, plein de loyaute, de franchise,
de politesse et de bonte, et il reunissait ce que les deux
caracteres de I'Anglais et du Fran9ais ^ ont de meilleure et de
plus estimable." Directly after giving him this excellent char-
acter Marmontel goes on to say : " II avait pour maitresse une
fille accomplie, et a qui I'envie elle-m6me n'a jamais reproch6
que de s'etre donnee a lui. Je m'en fis une amie ; '' c'etait un
moyen silr de me faire un ami de my lord d'Albemarle.

^ Lord Albemarle was of Dutch extraction, and was educated in Holland, and
only came to England when he was fifteen years of age.

- She was the "Adelaide" in Marmontcl's La Bcrgcrc des Alpcs.

88



Robin Adair, or the Fortunate Irishman

Le nom de cette aimable personne etait Gaucher ; son nom
d'enfance et de caresse etait Lolotte. C'etait a elle que son
amant disait, un soir qu'elle regardait fixement une etoile, ' Ne
la regardez pas tant, ma chere ; je ne puis pas vous la donner ! ' "

Mademoiselle Gaucher must have been as accomplished as
she was charming, for Marmontel also tells us that, " apres la
conversation de Voltaire la plus ravissante pour moi etait la
sienne." After Lord Albemarle's death. Mademoiselle Gaucher
married the Comte d'Herouville. By this means the fair
Lolotte hoped to make herself a position in French society, but
she met with so many humiliations that it was said her social
ostracism caused her death. Lord Albemarle had inherited
the estates of Elveden Hall, Suffolk, and Quidenham in
Norfolk, and ^^90,000 in the Funds ; and with his wife. Lady
Anne Lennox, daughter of the first Duke of Richmond, he got
;^2 5,000. Added to this he had the lucrative sinecure of the
Governorship of Virginia, and his public employments brought
him in ;^i 5,000 a year; yet such was his extravagance that at
his death in 1754 he left vast debts and deeply mortgaged
estates.

Lady Albemarle had fifteen children, of whom seven only
survived their infancy. One of them was the celebrated
Admiral Keppel, created Viscount Keppel of Elveden. He
and two of his brothers greatly distinguished themselves at
the taking of Havana, and when Lady Albemarle, who got
the name of the Mother of the Gracchi, first appeared at the
Drawing-Room after the news had arrived, she received a
sort of ovation from the royalties, and the Duke of Cumber-
land said to her, " By Gad, my Lady, if it wasn't in the
Presence-Chamber I should kiss you ! "

Lady Albemarle's brother, the second Duke of Richmond,

89



Robin Adair, or the Fortunate Irishman

with his wife, who was Lady Sarah Cadogan, were said to be
the proudest and the most exclusive couple in England. Thus
it is not to be wondered at that Lady Caroline Keppel met
with determined opposition when she announced that she wished
to marry the young Irish surgeon. Her only sister had lately
become the wife of Lord Tavistock, the Duke of Bedford's
eldest son, and as Lady Caroline was very pretty there seemed
no reason why she too should not make an advantageous match.
But she would not hear of giving up her " Robin." She was
taken abroad in the hopes that absence would make her forget
him, but in this case it verified the proverb and made the heart
grow dearer, and nature came to her rescue ; she fell ill and
had to be brought home. Then Bath was tried with no good
result, and it was whilst she was there that it is said she
composed the well-known song, " Robin Adair " —

" What's this dull town to me ?
Robin's not near ;
He whom I wish to see,
Wish for to hear !

Where"'s all the joy and mirth,
Made life a heaven on earth ?
Oh ! they're all fled with thee,
Robin Adair."

Ultimately, seeing no hope of obtaining the consent of her
relations, Lady Caroline took the law into her own hands ;
and as soon as she was of age, on the 22nd February 1758,
she eloped with Robert Adair and was privately married to him.

Shortly afterwards he was appointed Inspector-General of

Military Hospitals, and furthermore George III., who took a

fancy to him, gave him the post of Royal Sergeant-Surgeon as

well as that of surgeon to Chelsea Hospital. But still Lady

90




^IR josiir.v ui;vNOl.ns, /"ini.



Lady Cakolink Adair.



Robin Adair, or the Fortunate Irishman

Caroline was not forgiven by her relations, who held out for nine
years. Then Lady Caroline's sister, the charming and amiable
Lady Tavistock, who was fast sinking into her grave, never
havitig rallied from the shock of her husband's untimely death,
and who was about to leave England on what proved to be
her last journey, effected a reconciliation. Lady Caroline and
Mr. Adair and her brother, Admiral Keppel, accompanied Lady
Tavistock to Portugal ; but the change of scene and climate
was unavailing, and she died in that country. Lady Caroline
herself only outlived her sister for one year, dying at the
birth of her third child, after ten years of happy married life.
Her husband survived her for twenty-one years. They had
three children. The son, v/ho became the Right Hon. Sir
Robert Adair, Vv'as the well-known diplomatist. It was of him
that the following story was told. When he was sent to St.
Petersburg the Empress Catherine asked Mr. Whitworth,
afterwards Lord Whitworth :

" Est-ce un homme tres considerable ce Monsieur d'Adda ? "
" Pas trop, Madame," answered Mr. Whitworth, " quoique
son pere etait grand saigneur ! " alluding to the fact that
Adair's father was a surgeon.

Their second daughter, Elizabeth Adair, married the Rev.
George Barrington, who became fifth Viscount Barrington ;
and through her there are innumerable descendants of "The
Fortunate Irishman."



91



THE STRANGE DISAPPEARANCE OF A
DIPLOMAT: AN UNSOLVED MYSTERY

In November 1 809 a great sensation was caused in diplomatic
circles, as well as in London society, by the most mysterious
disappearance of a very well-known young Englishman.

Benjamin Bathurst was the third son of Henry Bathurst,
Bishop of Norwich (nephew of Allen, first Lord Bathurst), his
mother being Grace Coote, sister of Lord Castle Coote of
Lepperstown, near Dublin. He was given the family name
of Benjamin after his grandfather, Benjamin Bathurst of
Battesden, of whom it is worth noting that he had no fewer
than thirty-six children, namely, twenty-two by his first wife,
Miss Finetta Poole, an heiress, and fourteen by his second
spouse, Miss Catherine Broderick, a niece of Lord Middleton.

The Bishop of Norwich was the second son of the latter
lady, and besides being a very able man, was celebrated for
his many virtues and unswerving integrity. It was to him
that Bulwer Lytton alludes in "The Pilgrims of the Rhine,"
as the prelate with whom the virtues lived so long that,
wearying at last of the society of a man who had not one
redeeming vice, the most volatile of them set out on the
famous expedition.

The son was worthy of the sire. Born in 1784, young

Benjamin Bathurst was educated at Winchester. When there

his father talks of him as "an uncommonly fine boy, with

a fair share of industry, considerable attainments for his age

92



The Strange Disappearance of a Diplomat

(fourteen), and full of affection," He went to Oxford as
Fellow of New College when he was only fifteen, and entered
the Diplomatic Service at a very early age, being described
at that time as " a singularly gifted youth,"

In January 1 804, when he was barely twenty, he held
some post at Vienna under Sir Arthur Paget, the English
ambassador. He remained there till March 1805, when he
made a tour in Italy and Greece to re-establish his health,
which he said had been " somewhat injured by a residence
of fifteen months in the most unwholesome capital of Europe."
On his return to England, when he was still only twenty-one
years of age, he was appointed Secretary of Legation at the
Court of Stockholm ; and it was then that Mr. Bathurst took
unto himself a wife, his bride being Phillida, daughter of
Sir John Call, Bart., of Whiteford, Cornwall.^ She was a
charming girl, some years older than himself, and he had
been engaged to her for two years. Her uncommon name
was said to be a diminutive of her mother's, which was Phila-
delphia ; but " Phillida " was the name of the heroine in one
of CoUey Cibber's plays, a favourite part of Kitty Clive.

In writing to announce his engagement to his brother
James (afterwards Sir James Bathurst and A.D,C. to Lord
Wellington in the Peninsula), Benjamin Bathurst says : " I
am sure you will admire her candour, simplicity of manners,
and cultivated mind which gain every heart wherever she
is known. No person was ever more beloved by her intimate
relations or esteemed more by the generality of the world ;
indeed I consider myself most fortunate in this lot, whatever

' Sir John Call was the eldest of four brothers who went to India about the
middle of the eighteenth century, sons of John Call, Esq., of Launcells, co.
Cornwall ; he served in India as military engineer with considerable reputa-
tion, and was created a Baronet in 1791.

93



The Strange Disappearance of a Diplomat

success may attend me in my progress through life in other
respects."

Mr. Bathurst was about this time Secretary of Legation
at Leghorn, and in 1807 was sent a second time to Stockholm
on a special mission, and on both of these occasions he was
accompanied by his wife. In the spring of 1809 he was
appointed Envoy Extraordinary on an important secret mission
to the Court of Vienna, his orders being to assure the Cabinet
there of the intention of England to send a powerful contingent
into Spain, and to use his best endeavours to induce Austria
to declare war. From Pesth he wrote in the middle of June :
"It would be endless to go over everything that has happened
to me since my being on this station, where I have hitherto
witnessed scarcely anything but distress and misfortune. I
got to Vienna the very day of the terrible accounts from
the Danube, and have seen little since to cheer the scene.
The desperate resolution of the Austrians keeps pace with
the military blunders they improve upon daily. No reverses
can correct, no experience instruct them ; a cause quite sacred,
pursued with a frantic zeal, an incomparable army and resources
without end, all yield to the ascendant of our abominable
opponent and his superior military skill. A miracle (or another
battle of Aspern, which was little less) may restore us, but
scarcely any other effort. I cannot say I am quite in Paradise,
though a very flattering situation, and an immediate actor in
events which inspire the deepest interest, atone a little for a sepa-
ration from Phillida, and a variety of other inconveniences."

On October 14, 1809, Mr. Bathurst wrote to his wife as
follows : —

" 1 am able to give you a few words of intelligence of me,
my dearest Phillida, by Heligoland, though hardly more from

94



The Strange Disappearance of a Diplomat

the smallness of the packet I am obliged to observe in sending
through this channel. Things are in the most desperate con-
dition, and if Bonaparte can be removed from Vienna without
some very signal catastrophe to Austria, the utmost of our
hopes will be fulfilled. My fate will, of course, be decided
amongst the other articles of the Peace. If the intercourse
with England is put an end to, which is next to certain, I shall
endeavour to get home by Colberg and Sweden, rather than
the Mediterranean, of which I had so disagreeable a specimen
in the spring. This, as far as my foresight will carry me,
is likely to be the result, unless some interposition of Providence
happens, for I hardly think anything else however v/ill do.
I shall rejoice to return once more to you, and as the affairs
of the Continent are for the present so hopeless, I shall not
much regret abandoning them, Krause (the King's messenger)
came back from Hamburg yesterday, having sent on my
despatches and letters. I see by the newspapers he brings that
Lord Bathurst ^ is Premier. For myself I have now nothing
but Parliament to look to. I must succeed in placing myself
there somehow or another. My distress is very great owing
to having no intelligence from England. I have not received a
word from you since the letters you sent by Krause ; write to
Heligoland to Mr. Nicholas and he will forward your letters
to me ; but the advertisement comes, I am almost afraid, too
late. Adieu, my dearest ! yours ever most affectionately.

"B. B.
"I am quite recovered."

On October 15th, the day after the above letter was written,
in consequence of Napoleon's triumphs at Eckmuhl, Assern,
Elsling, and Wagram, the treaty of peace between France and
Austria was signed. Austria was compelled to prohibit all

^ Mr, Bathurst's cousin, Earl Bathurst, had married in 1789 Georgiana,
daughter of Lord George Lennox, and sister to the fourth Duke of Richmond,

95



The Strange Disappearance of a Diplomat

intercourse with England, and the speedy return of Mr. Bathurst
was looked for by his family and by the Foreign Office. But
day after day passed and no further news was heard of or
from him. At first his relations and friends allowed themselves
to be buoyed up with the hope that he had been obliged to
take a circuitous route to avoid falling into the hands of the
French ; but as week after week elapsed and no tidings arrived,
their agonies of suspense became very great. " At length," writes
his sister Tryphena (afterwards Mrs. Thistlethwayte), " one
evening in December, my father received an express from Lord
Wellesley requesting his immediate attendance at Apsley House,
his lordship having something of importance to communicate.
On my father's return, we were all alarmed at his pale and
dejected aspect. He informed us that Government had re-
ceived intelligence of the sudden and mysterious disappearance
of my brother at Perleberg, a small town in Brandenbourg,
where he had stopped on the route from Vienna for rest and
refreshment."

It appears that when Mr. Bathurst was told he must no
longer consider himself accredited to Buda, where the Court then
resided, he left that place, but instead of going direct to England
proceeded at first to Berlin, where he was in communication with
Baron Wissenberg, the Austrian minister, who had married an
English lady, and with whom he was intimate. On his return
journey he stopped at the Post-House at Perleberg on Saturday
the 25th November at midday. Soon after he sat down to write
in a small room, and remained there some hours, afterwards
burning several of his papers. He then ordered fresh post-
horses to be ready by seven o'clock to go on to Lenzen, the next
station, and went to the " White Swan," an inn close by, and had

an early dinner ; after which he inquired who was in command

96



The Strange Disappearance of a Diplomat

of the soldiers quartered in the town. He was told it was
Captain Klitzing, and he went to that officer's residence and
asked if he might be given a guard in the inn, as he feared
his life was in danger. He appeared agitated, in con-
sequence of something he had heard. Rightly or wrongly,
Mr. Bathurst, it was said, rather mistrusted Krause, concerning
whom he had received a warning ; and finding that Krause had
a bill for ;^500 upon him at Perleberg roused his suspicions.
In consequence of Mr, Bathurst's application, two soldiers were
appointed to guard the inn. At seven o'clock he dismissed
them, that being the time he had settled to start ; but at the
last moment he changed his mind and countermanded the post-
horses till nine o'clock. At that hour they were ready at the
door — the postilion was adjusting the harness and the hostler
holding a horn-lamp, as the oil lantern hung across the street
gave but a dim light, and the night was dark. Krause, who
though sometimes called King's messenger, is also called
"the secretary," was paying the account, the landlord standing
cap in hand preparing to wish his departing guest God-speed,
and, as the story goes, Mr. Bathurst's servant had actually
opened the door of the carriage for his master (who had been
standing near the horses' heads watching his portmanteaux being
placed on the top of the vehicle) to step in and take his
seat, when at that moment Mr. Bathurst, without any warning,
sound, or cry disappeared as suddenly as if the earth had opened
and swallowed him up. At first nothing was thought of the
delay ; but when nearly an hour had elapsed his companions
began to make inquiries for him in and out of the building.
All in vain; he was nowhere to be found, and every one about
the place denied having seen him. Mr. Bathurst's servant
then went to inform the governor. Captain Klitzing, of the

97 G



The Strange Disappearance of a Diplomat

circumstance, and that official sent immediately to the local
authorities at Perleberg and charged them to make all possible
inquiries. The four magistrates of the town were roused
from their sleep to join in the investigations. At the same
time, Captain Klitzing sent Krause and Mr. Bathurst's valet
to the hotel of the " Golden Crown," and ordered a guard
of cuirassiers to keep watch over them there. On Sunday,
every search having been fruitless, this officer went to Berlin
to communicate with the authorities there. Time was lost by
this journey, and it was not till his return that a judicial in-
vestigation took place, when all the inhabitants of the Post-
House were closely examined. They consisted of the hostler
Schmidt, his wife, son, and daughter, and their servant,
Elizabeth Nagel Schmidt, who besides being the head of the
Post-House was also the letter-carrier of the place, and had
formerly been a non-commissioned officer. Considerable sus-
picion attached itself to the son, August Schmidt, as he was
known to be a vagabond and a gambler ; and moreover Mr.
Bathurst's valuable travelling coat of sable was found in his
possession. This, however, was explained (and apparently the
explanation satisfied the authorities) by the statement that it
had been left in the Post-House ; so that August and his
mother were only sentenced to eight weeks' imprisonment for
not having declared it, and even that short sentence was
reduced in consequence of a general amnesty.

On December loth Krause departed for Berlin, where he
went to the Head of the Police to urge further investigation,
and he also laid the matter before the English Ambassador.
Meanwhile the search at Perleberg was continued with renewed
vigour ; citizens, peasants, gamekeepers and huntsmen worked

assiduously in every direction, the latter using their dogs to

98



The Strange Disappearance of a Diplomat

assist. All cellars, lofts, and every barn, ditch, and wood were

examined. The river Stepnitz was let off during two days by

the mill-master, and searched thoroughly, but all to no purpose.

The only trace of the missing man that came to light was a pair

of grey " pantaloons," or " overalls " (as they were variously

called), which an old woman brought to Krause and said she

had found in a copse three miles from the town. This only

added mystery to mystery. They certainly were the " overalls "

worn by Mr. Bathurst at the time of his disappearance, but they

had obviously been laid out in the copse in a position purposely

to catch the eye ; furthermore they had two bullet holes in

them, but there was no blood, and it was thought from this

that the shots had been fired into empty trousers.^ In one of

the pockets there was a half-written letter to his wife, scribbled

on a dirty scrap of paper in pencil, which had got soaked with

wet from the heavy rains. The letter contained a representation

of all the dangers to which he was exposed in consequence, as

he said, of his being surrounded by enemies, and expressed fears

that he should never reach England, and that his ruin would be

brought about by Comte d'Antraigues" and the Russians. It

also contained a request to Mrs. Bathurst not to marry again in

the event of his not returning.

The English Government offered _^iooo reward for authentic
news of Mr. Bathurst, his family another thousand ; ten thalers
were added to this by the local authorities at Perleberg, and
one hundred friedrichs d'or by Prince Frederick of Prussia
— but these large rewards produced no evidence. Nothing
authentic ever came to light, though many and various were

' It seems probable that they had been placed there after the search.
* Comte d'Antraigues, a political adventurer, who was in the pay of both
France and Russia. See Appendix.

99



The Strange Disappearance of a Diplomat

the stones circulated, each new one contradicting the last.
Some palpably incorrect statements were printed at the time,
and these have since often reappeared in print. Thus one reads
in some that Mr. Bathurst was rash enough to be travelling
quite alone, whilst other accounts state that he foolishly
took all his suite with him. Neither of these statements are
correct: he had with him Krause (or Krouse), a King's messenger,
who appears to have acted as his secretary and courier on this
occasion, and his own Swiss body-servant, Nikolaus Hilbert,
in whom he had the greatest confidence, which apparently was
not misplaced. Mr. Bathurst and Krause travelled under
assumed names, the former as "Koch" and the latter as
"Fischer," and were described as merchants. At Berlin it was
given out that Mr. Bathurst had shown symptoms of insanity
and that he had destroyed himself; but this appears to have had
no foundation, and if it had been the case his body, sooner or
later, would have been found.

At the end of December the traveller Roentgen (or
Rontgen), a man well known in his time, who was a personal
friend of the Bathursts, volunteered to go to Perleberg to see
what he could discover. He went armed with money to
distribute amongst those who had exerted themselves for so
many weeks in the search, but he failed in getting any fresh
definite information. At Berlin he was joined by Mrs. Bathurst
herself. She had started for the Continent in the spring of
1810, accompanied by her brother, Mr. George Call, as well as by
a German interpreter and her own Swedish maid, and travelling
over Germany made the most exhaustive inquiries, having first
been solemnly assured by Napoleon that he was in complete
ignorance of her husband's fate. The following is the story of

Mrs. Bathurst's search told in her own words : " In the spring

100



The Strange Disappearance of a Diplomat

of 1810 I wrote to Napoleon to ask for passports to seek for
my husband, and desired they might be sent to our Foreign
Office, then under the direction of Lord Bathurst ; but my
brother George advised me, as I was bent on going, not to wait
for passports from Paris (for if refused by the Emperor we
could not risk going), but to go with Swedish passports round
by the Baltic. This I consented to do, and Baron Rehausen
gave us passports to land at Gothenburg as Mr. and Mrs. Call,
and get into Prussia by Pomerania. On arriving after many
adventures at Berlin George advised me to send for the French
Minister, and, letting him into our secret, claim his protection,
as he was literally the king of the country. This I did, and Count
St. Priest came to see me. On discovering to him my name, he
said, ' Ma chere madame, j'ai des passeports pour vous depuis
hier signes par S. M. I'Empereur lui-meme.' I answered,
"J'ai demandee des passeports a S. M. I'Empereur, mais j'ai
aussi priee S. M. de me les envoyer a Londres a notre Bureau des
Affaires Etrangeres, et comme je suis partie sans que personne ne
le savait, pas meme Lord Bathurst, ni aucun membre de nos
families que ma mere et mon beau-frere, cela me parait assez
remarkable.' He replied, ' EfFectivement, madame, je ne


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Online LibraryConstance Charlotte Elisa Lennox RussellThe rose goddess and other sketches of mystery & romance → online text (page 8 of 22)