Welcome back to Random Scottish History’s true crime project. This is part 2 of Madeleine Smith’s Trial round-up for the murder of her lover, Pierre Emile L’Angellier. How do we feel the first part went? Does she seem more or less guilty after the evidence so far produced? Mind, we’ve still got her cringe-worthy letters to go through. So, let’s get into it, shall we?
We’re continuing with the
Brechin Advertiser, Tuesday 7th July, 1857, pp.5 & 6.
THURSDAY, July 2.
The Court resumed to-day at ten o’clock. The prisoner on being brought up maintained her usual calm and composed demeanour.
The prisoner’s declaration was here read as follows:- My name is Madeleine Smith. I am a native of Glasgow; twenty-one years of age, and I reside with my father, James Smith, architect, at No. 7 Blythswood Square, Glasgow. For about the last two years I have been acquainted with P. Emile L’Angelier, who was in the employment of W. B. Huggins & Co., in Bothwell Street, and who lodged at 11 Franklyn Place. He recently paid his addresses to me, and I have met with him on a variety of occasions. I learned about his death on the afternoon of Monday the 23d March current from Mamma, to whom it had been mentioned by a lady, named Miss Perry, a friend of M. L’Angelier. I had not seen M. L’Angelier for about three weeks before his death, and the last time I saw him was on a night about half-past ten o’clock. On that occasion he tapped at my bed-room window, which is on the ground-floor and fronts Main Street. I talked to him from the window, which is stanchioned outside, and I did not go out to him, nor did he come in to me. This occasion, which, as already said, was about three weeks before his death, was the last time I saw him. He was in the habit of writing notes to me, and I was in the habit of replying to him by notes. The last note I wrote to him was on the Friday before his death – viz., Friday the 20th March current. I now see and identify that note and the relative envelope, and they are each marked No. 1. In consequence of that note I expected him to visit me on Saturday night the 21st current, at my bed-room window, in the same way as formerly mentioned, but he did not come, and sent no notice. There was no tapping at my window on said Saturday night or on the following night, being Sunday. I went to bed on Sunday night about eleven o’clock, and remained in bed Sill the usual time of getting up next morning, being eight or nine o’clock. In the course of my meetings with M. L’Angelier he and I had arranged to get married, and we had at one time proposed September last as the time the marriage was to take place, and subsequently the present month of March was spoken of. It was proposed that we should reside in furnished lodgings, but we had not made any definite arrangement as to time or otherwise. He was very unwell for some time, and had gone to the Bridge of Allan for his health, and he complained of sickness, but I have no idea what was the cause of it. I remember giving him some cocoa from my window one night some time ago, but I cannot specify the time particularly. He took the cup in his hand, but barely tasted the contents, and I gave him no bread to it. I was taking some cocoa myself at the time, and had prepared it myself. It was between ten and eleven P.M. when I gave it to him. I am now shown a note or letter and envelope which are marked respectively No. 2, and I recognise them as a note and envelope which I wrote to M. L’Angelier, and sent to the post. As I had attributed his sickness to want of food, I proposed, as stated in the note, to give him a loaf of bread, but I said that merely in a joke, and, in point of fact, I never gave him any bread. I have bought arsenic on various occasions. The last I bought was a sixpence worth, which I bought in Currie, the apothecary’s shop, in Sauchiehall Street. I used it all as a cosmetic, and applied it to my face, neck, and arms, diluted with water. The arsenic I got in Currie’s shop I got there on Wednesday the 18th current, and I used it all on one occasion, having put it all in the basin where I was to wash myself. I had been advised to the use of the arsenic in the way I have mentioned by a young lady, the daughter of an actress, and I had also seen the use of it recommended in the newspapers. The young lady’s name was Guibilei, and I had met her at school at Clapton, near London. I did not wish any of my father’s family to be aware that I was using the arsenic, and therefore never mentioned it to any of them, and I don’t suppose they or any of the servants ever noticed any of it in the basin. When I bought the arsenic in Murdoch’s, I am not sure whether I was asked or not what it was for, but I think I said it was for a gardener to kill rats or destroy vermin about flowers, and I only said this because I did not wish them to know that I was going to use it as a cosmetic. I don’t remember whether I was asked as to the use I was going to make of the arsenic on the other two occasions, but I likely made the same statement about it as I had done in Murdoch’s, and on all the three occasions, as required in the shops, I signed my name to a book in which the sales were entered. On the first occasion I was accompanied by Mary, a daughter of Dr Buchanan of Dumbarton. For several years past, Mr Minnoch, of the firm of William Houldsworth & Co., has been coming a good deal about my father’s house, and about a month ago Mr Minnoch made a proposal of marriage to me, and I gave him my hand in token of acceptance, but no time for the marriage has yet been fixed, and my object in writing the note No. 1, before mentioned, was to have a meeting with M. L’Angelier to tell him that I was engaged in marriage to Mr Minnoch. I am now shown two notes and an envelope bearing the Glasgow postmark of 28th January, which are respectively marked No. 3, and I recognise these as in my handwriting, and they were written and sent by me to M. L’Angelier. On the occasion that I gave M. L’Angelier the cocoa, as formerly mentioned, I think that when I used it, it must have been known to the servants and members of my father’s family, as the package containing the cocoa was lying on the mantelpiece in my room, but not one of the family used it except myself, as they did not seem to like it. The water which I used I got hot from the servants. On the night of the 18th, when I used the arsenic last, I was going to a dinner party at Mr Minnoch’s house. I never administered, or caused to be administered, to M. L’Angelier arsenic or anything injurious. And this I declare to be truth.
[Mary Jane Buchanan then corroborates the story regarding the purchasing of the arsenic.]
… The shopman suggested phosphorus to kill the rats, but prisoner said she had tried that, and found it did not answer, and that as they were going to the Bridge of Allan there would be no danger in leaving it lying about the town house. Witness is not sure of the quantity. Thinks prisoner asked what quantity would kill rats, and the shopman said such a quantity as she wished would kill a great many rats, and prisoner turned to witness and said she only wanted it to kill rats. Witness laughed at the idea of a young lady buying arsenic, and prisoner laughed also. In the course of last spring, or end of February, Miss Smith wrote to witness telling him she was engaged to be married to Mr Minnoch on the 6th March, and on the 31st she also spoke to witness on same subject, and said she was engaged, and of the marriage as to take place in June. She spoke of no doubt or difficulty to prevent this.
Cross-examined – … When we were at Clapton at school, I remember something being read in the evening about the Styrian peasants using arsenic to give them good breath in climbing mountains and giving them a plump and rosy appearance. This was not in the class, but when reading in the evening. Miss Guibilei was a pupil teacher at Clapton, and she was, I think, present at the reading. I should think Miss Smith would be present, as we were always obliged to be present at the reading. The rest of Miss Smith’s family went to Bridge of Allan on the 6th March.
William Murray, page to Mr James Smith, architect, at Rowaleyn, Row – … Miss Smith sent me to an apothecary’s about four months since for prussic acid. She gave me a line, on which was written, “Small phial of prussic acid.” The apothecary refused to give it me. I returned to Miss Smith, and, on telling her, she said, “Very well; never mind.” She said she wanted it for her hands…
George Yeaman, examined by the Lord Advocate – I am a medical man in Glasgow, and have a laboratory in Sauchiehall Street. I remember hearing of M. L’Angelier’s death. On hearing of it I recollected the circumstance of a paper containing writing having been presented to me by my assistant, on which was written the words, “Half an ounce of prussic acid.” I have no means of saying with any degree of certainty how long that would be before L’Angelier’s death. I should say it would be from four to eight weeks. I went into the shop when the line was brought to me. I saw a boy, who said he came from Miss Smith, Blythswood Square. I asked whether he knew what he wanted, and he said he thought it was poison. I said that if Miss Smith would call herself I would see whether or not she should have it. I did not give it to him. Miss Smith did not come, so far as I saw or heard of.
George Murdoch, examined by the Lord-Advocate. – I am partner in the firm of Murdoch Brothers, druggists, Sauchiehall Street… I was aware that Mr Smith had a country-house on the Gareloch, and I directed my assistant to put up the arsenic; while he did so, I made the entry in the book, which Miss Smith signed, and I signed it as a witness. I don’t remember seeing the parcel made up; but the usual mode is to put it in a double parcel. It was common white arsenic, mixed with soot in the proportion required by the Act. I saw her again some three days before; she called and inquired if arsenic could not be white. I said it required to be sold mixed with something else. She did not purchase any more on that occasion. Some time afterwards my assistant delivered to Dr Penny some arsenic from the same bottle…
By Mr Young. – My shop is about three or four minutes’ walk from Blythswood Square. Miss Smith and her family were in the habit of dealing in my shop. Miss Smith got 1½ oz. of arsenic for the 6d. I don’t remember if she paid it. I have seen an entry in the journal of sales on that day to Mr Smith – “Two dozen soda water, 6d. worth arsenic, send and charge,” with a mark that the arsenic was sent… I understand the quantity of soot used in the arsenic was an ounce to the pound. That is more soot than the statute requires, but that was the proportion we used.
George Haliburton examined by the Lord Advocate – I am assistant to Mr Currie, chemist, Sauchiehall Street… [Miss Smith] asked for 6d. worth of arsenic. I asked her what it was to do, and she told me it was to kill rats. I told her we were not fond of selling arsenic for that purpose, in consequence of its dangerous properties; I recommended phosphorus paste, which I said would answer very well. She told me she had used that, but it had failed. She said the rats were in the house in Blythswood Square. She told me that the family were going from home next day, and that she would be careful to see it put down herself. She got the arsenic. It was mixed with indigo… In the registry-book there is also an entry under date 18th March; there are no other entries this year excepting these two;.. She asked for other 6d. worth; that in consequence of the first being so effectual – she having found eight or nine large rats lying dead – she had come back to get the dose renewed. Mr Currie was in at that time. He made some objections; he said that we never sold it except to parties we knew and to parties of respectability, and he was about to refuse it when I told him that she had got it on a former occasion, and then we gave it to her; it was from the same bottle. A young lady, who, I suppose was her sister, was with her. I never heard of arsenic such as I gave Miss Smith, being used as a cosmetic. A preparation of arsenic, is used as a depilatory for taking hairs off the face; that is the yellow sulphurate of arsenic. She paid for the arsenic.
By the Lord Justice-Clerk. – The yellow sulphurate is quite a different thing from the white arsenic. It is used as a depilatory, because it so affects the skin as to bring out the roots of the hair. That is the very opposite action from that of a cosmetic. I think any preparation of arsenic as a cosmetic would be extremely dangerous; it is not a thing that we sell for that purpose…
William Campsie – I am in the service of Mr Smith. He has a country-house at Rowaleyn, at Row [Rhu]. I have been in his service since 1855. I never got any arsenic or poison from Miss Smith to kill rats. I don’t recollect of having any conversation with her on the subject. I never had any arsenic there for that purpose.
By Mr Young. – We were very much troubled with rats, and we had used phosphorus paste for them. We found it to be effectual, and we got quit of them partly, but not altogether.
William Harper Minnoch, examined by the Solicitor-General – I am a merchant in Glasgow, and a partner of the firm of John Houldsworth & Co. I live in Main Street, above the house of Mr James Smith. I have been intimately acquainted with his family for upwards of four years. In the course of last winter I paid my addresses to Miss Smith, and I made proposals of marriage to her on the 12th March. She accepted. The time of our marriage was fixed between us. Previously to that, I had asked her generally, without reference to any time. That was on the 28th January. I did so personally. My attentions to her, I understood, had been such as to make her quite aware that I was paying my addresses to her. She accepted me on the 28th January, and we arranged it more particularly on the 12th March. From the 28th January to the end of March there was nothing which suggested any doubt to my mind as to the engagement continuing. I had no idea that she was engaged to any other person, and I was aware of no attachment or peculiar intimacy between her and any other man. The marriage was fixed to be on the 18th June… I called on Thursday morning, the 26th, at her father’s house. She was not in the house; I was informed she had left the house. I went to Rowaleyn in company with her brother, Mr John Smith, to look for her. We went by train to Greenock, and then on board the steamer, and we found her on board; it was going to Helensburgh, and then to Row; it called at Roseneath, and then returned to Greenock. We found her in the steamer a little after two o’clock. She said she was going to Rowaleyn. I went on to Rowaleyn with her and her brother; and then we ordered a carriage and drove her up to Glasgow to her father’s house. On reaching Glasgow I had no conversation with Miss Smith. I saw her again on the Saturday following. I had heard a rumour that something was wrong; she told me on the Saturday that she had written a letter to M. L’Angelier, the object of which was to get back some letters which she had written to him previously. She made no further statement at that time. I saw her again on the Sunday; there was no conversation on the subject then. I saw her on Monday and Tuesday; on Tuesday morning she alluded to the report that L’Angelier had been poisoned, and she remarked that she had been in the habit of buying arsenic, as she had learned at Clapton School that it was good for the complexion. I had heard a rumour that he had been poisoned. She said nothing further, and that was the last time I saw her. Before she made these statements to me I was not aware that she was acquainted with L’Angelier. I was not acquainted with him myself.
Cross-examined by the Dean. – … When we met her in the steamer I asked her why she had left home, leaving her friends distressed about her; but I requested her not to reply to me then as there were too many people present. I renewed the inquiry at Rowaleyn, and she said she felt distressed that her papa and mamma should be so much annoyed at what she had done. Mr Smith told me that she had left the house that morning; and I asked him the reason, and he said it had been some old love affair. I understood her to refer to that in the answer she made to me. She gave us no further explanation. She said not to press her, and she would tell me all again. We were only about three-quarters of an hour at Rowaleyn. We took her back to her father’s house and left her there. On the 31st March it was she who introduced the subject of L’Angelier’s death, referring to the report of his having been poisoned; that was about half-past nine in the morning…
Thomas Fleming Kennedy, examined by the Lord Advocate – I am cashier to Messrs Huggins & Co., Glasgow… [Mr L’Angelier] was not off duty from bad health till latterly. I think his health first became affected in February. I am not sure if he was ill in January; but in February he was laid up for a week. He got better, and came back again to the warehouse; then he got worse, and on the 9th March he got leave of absence. I think it was on the morning of the 23d February he came into my room and said, “I am ill, very ill, and have been ill the night before.” I asked what was the matter with him; and I ordered him to go home. He said he had fallen down on his bed-room floor at night before going to bed, and felt so ill that he could not call for assistance… I knew nothing further than that there was an intimacy till shortly before his death. He came to me one morning and asked what he should do about the correspondence. I advised him strongly to give back the letters, but he said he would not… He said he would never allow her to marry another man as long as he lived. I said it was very foolish; he said he knew it was, that it was infatuation. He said, “Tom, she will be the death of me.” That was about the last conversation I had with him…
By the Dean. – In February L’Angelier told me of Miss Smith’s desire to break off her engagement with him; I can’t say the exact day… he said that he had received a letter from Miss Smith that morning asking back her letters, and wishing the correspondence to cease, and he said that a coolness had arisen; I said, “You ought to give up the letters and be done with it;” I made the remark that the lady was not worthy of him. He said he would not give up the letters; he said so distinctly, determinedly; he said he was determined to keep them, but he threatened at the same time to shew them to her father. I told him he was very foolish, and that he had much better give them up. He said, “No, I won’t; she shall never marry another man as long as I live.” He also said, “Tom, it is an infatuation; she’ll be the death of me.” He was exceedingly excited during the whole time. I heard him say on one occasion, I don’t recollect when, “I wish I was six feet under the ground.” This was before the time I am speaking of. I took no notice of that statement; I never supposed that anything was wrong with him. I paid no attention to it…
[Testimony regarding the letters]
John Murray, examined by Mr Mackenzie – I am a Sheriff-officer in Glasgow… I went through the druggists and surgeons in Glasgow to inquire as to the sale of arsenic in December, January, February, and March last. I found some of them kept no arsenic at all, others kept it but did not sell it; from the registers of those who sold it I copied the entries. I ascertained that from December to March no person of the name of L’Angelier –
The Dean – Stop, stop. (Witness withdrawn.) This may be useful and important investigation for the Crown to make; but it surely is not to be contended that a policeman is to speak to the registers of the sale of arsenic in all the shops in Glasgow.
The Lord Advocate – we only wish to prove that L’Angelier’s name is not in these registers as a purchaser of arsenic.
The Court decided that the question was competent; it was simply to prove that L’Angelier’s name was not found in the registers, and it did not prove that he had not bought arsenic under another name, or in some other place.
Witness recalled – I found in none of the registers arsenic as having been sold to L’Angelier. I extended my inquiries to Coatbridge, and along the road between Glasgow and Coatbridge, and also at Stirling and Bridge of Allan; I found no such entry anywhere.
The Court then adjourned till next morning.
FRIDAY, 3d July (Fourth Day.)
Dr Penny recalled and re-examined for the Crown – I have made experiments as to the effect of the colouring matter in the arsenic of Murdoch and Currie, as to how far the colouring matter could be afterwards detected. I administered Murdoch’s to a dog, and I found no difficulty in detecting the soot in the stomach of the dog. I administered arsenic coloured by myself with indigo to another dog, and I had no difficulty in detecting the indigo in that case. I administered to another dog a portion of the arsenic sold by Mr Currie, and I detected black particles in the stomach, but could not undertake to identify the arsenic found with the arsenic given. I found carbonaceous particles, but could not undertake to say that they are of themselves sufficient to identify any particular description of arsenic. I could detect no arsenic in the brain, but I found it in the stomach, as well as in the texture of the stomach.
Cross-examined – I made myself acquainted with the colouring matter in Currie’s arsenic before administering it to the dog. The particles found in the dog’s stomach bore a close resemblance to the colouring matter both in their physical appearance and their chemical properties. Their appearance and properties were indeed identical.
James Galloway. – I live in 192 St George’s Road. I knew L’Angelier by sight. He lived next door to a relation of mine, and I saw him frequently. I saw him on Sunday night, the 22d March about nine o’clock in Sauchiehall Street. He was going east. He was going in the direction of Blythswood Square. He was about four or five minutes’ walk from it.
Thomas Kavan, night constable, Glasgow Police. – My beat in March last included the north and east sides of Blythswood Square, including Mr Smith’s house at No. 7. Shown photograph of L’Angelier. I have seen that person more than once. I saw him at least two months previous to his death. I saw him in Main Street. As well as I can recollect it would be ten or eleven o’clock… He once accosted me, and said, “It’s a cold night, policeman. Do you smoke?” I said yes, and he gave me two cigars. When I saw him he was about the breadth of this court from Mr Smith’s house…
Jane Scott Perry, now Mrs Towers. – I am sister to Miss Perry, who lives in Glasgow. I live in Chester, but in March last my husband and I lived at Portobello. I remember L’Angelier coming to visit us there. He dined with us. He talked of his health almost the whole time. He said he had been given cocoa and coffee, but after taking them they had disagreed with him, and he had been very ill. He said he had not been accustomed to them. He made the remark that he thought he had been poisoned. This was after speaking of the cocoa and coffee. Nothing was said or asked about who had poisoned him.
James Towers – I was at one time a merchant in Glasgow; but resided in Portobello in March last. I had met L’Angelier at my sister-in-law’s in Glasgow. I remember his dining with us in March. He told us he had had a very violent bilious attack or jaundice. He said he had had two attacks after taking cocoa or coffee; and that he had had other two attacks, in one of which he had fallen down, and was unable to creep to his bed or call to his landlady. He said he thought himself poisoned after taking the cocoa and coffee. I remarked, who would poison him, or what object could there be for that; but I do not recollect if he made any answer…
Mary Arthur Perry. – … I think he told me in February he had heard of another gentleman paying his addresses to Miss Smith. He said at one time she had denied it, and that at another time she evaded the question… I did not see him again till the 2d March. He was then looking extremely ill. We had some conversation about his illness. He said “I never expected to have seen you. I have been so ill.” He did not tell me he had seen Miss Smith on the 19th February. He told me he had had a cup of chocolate which had made him ill. It was on the 9th March he told me this, when he took tea with me. On the 2d he said he could not attribute it to any cause, but on the 9th he said, “I can’t think why I was so unwell after getting that coffee and chocolate from her.” I understood him to refer to two occasions. He was talking of Miss Smith when he said “her.” He did not say if the illness he had on getting the chocolate was the same illness of which he had spoken on the 2d March; but I did not know of his having any other illness on the 9th of March. He was talking of his extreme attachment. “It is a perfect infatuation I have for her; if she were to poison me I would forgive her.” I said, you ought not to allow such thoughts to pass through your mind; what motive could she have to do you any harm? He said, “I don’t know that perhaps she might not be sorry to get rid of me.” All this was said in earnest. I interpreted the expression to mean to get rid of her engagement. There seemed to be some suspicion on his mind as to what Miss Smith had given him, but it was not a serious suspicion. I never saw him again alive. He said to me that he had once offered to Miss Smith to discontinue the engagement, but she objected to it then. She wished afterwards that their photographs should be returned to each other. He had offered to return her letters to her father. I received a message on the 23d March, about ten, that M. L’Angelier was very ill; I went about mid-day, and found him dead. I called on Mrs Smith, and intimated the death to her. I saw the prisoner, but did not intimate it to her. She recognised me, and shook hands – asking me to walk into the drawing-room. I asked to see Mrs Smith privately, and said that Miss Smith would become acquainted with the object of my message. I never had seen Mrs Smith before. I knew Mr Philpott had a warm friendship for M. L’Angelier, and thought him a strictly moral, indeed, a religious man. He was very regular in his attendance at church. I was very much agitated and startled to find him dead.
By the Dean. – On the 2d March, he said, on his first illness, he fell on the floor and was unable to call assistance; at last he crept on his hands and knees and knocked on the wall, and the landlady came. He said he never had anything like it before. His second illness he called jaundice or a bilious attack. It was sometime prior to March that he told me of the proposals to discontinue the engagement. He imagined she seemed to be getting cool, and if she wished to break it off, he would accede to her wishes. At that time she did not wish to discontinue it. He spoke of this having happened some time before. It was after that that she proposed a return of her letters, and when he offered to return the letters through her father, I understood this, to be a consent on his part to give up the engagement. Miss Smith would not accede to the proposal to give her letters to her father, and the engagement remained unbroken, as I understood at Miss Smith’s desire.
The Court adjourned at six o’clock till Saturday.
North Briton, Monday 6th July, 1857, pp.3 & 4.
FIFTH DAY’S PROCEEDINGS – SATURDAY.
At precisely three minutes after ten the prisoner appeared at the bar, in charge, as on previous occasions.
Dr R. Christison recalled, and examined by the Lord Advocate – In regard to the use of arsenic, an ounce of it put into a basin of water would be very unsafe. Would expect inflammation of the eyes; and if it once got into the nostrils and mouth, being insoluble, it would be very difficult to get it out. Never knew it so used. Have heard of a preparation of arsenic used by the Turks for removing hair, not for the complexion.
By the Lord Justice-Clerk – There has been a great discussion about arsenic having no taste. Have made experiments, and the taste has been very slight indeed – sweetish. Orphila, the celebrated chemist, held rather a contrary opinion, viz., that there was considerable taste. I, and two other scientific gentlemen, have tried it repeatedly with great care, and we all agree. Orphila, of Paris, still maintains, alluding to my observations, that it had a taste, but, I think, I should add, my Lord, that neither Professor Orphila, nor others who have doubted my observations, have not stated that they themselves personally made experiments. In coffee or cocoa there would not in my opinion be any taste of arsenic at all. I might place that in a clear point of view by a few additional remarks in explanation of what I have said, viz., that several persons were taking arsenic in Orkney, without knowing what they were taking. Some observed no taste, others a sweetish taste, and others an acrid taste. But in regard to the acrimony, there are two fallacies; and in regard to the latter (the acrimony of taste), they confound it with the roughness of the taste; and, secondly, with the burning effects of the poison afterwards felt.
(Letter addressed to Miss Perry by Miss Smith.)
Dearest Miss Perry, – Many many kind thanks for all your kindness to me. Emile will tell you I have bid him adieu. My papa would not give his consent so I am in duty bound to obey him. Comfort dear Emile. It is a heavy blow to us both. I had hoped some day to have been happy with him but alas it was not intended. We were doomed to be disappointed. You have been a kind friend to him. Oh! Continue so. I hope and trust he may prosper in the step he is about to take. I am glad now that he is leaving this country for it would have caused me great pain to have met him. Think my conduct not unkind. I have a father to please and a kind father too. Farewell dear Miss Perry and with much love believe me
Yours most sincerely
The clerk then read No. 15.
My own darling husband, – I am afraid I may be too late to write you this evening, so as all are out I shall do it now my sweet one. I did not expect the pleasure of seeing you last evening, of being fondeled by you dear dear Emile. Our Cook was ill and went to bed at 10 – that was the reason I could see you – but I trust ere long to have a long long interview with you sweet one of my soul my love my all my own best beloved. I hope you slept well last evening and find yourself better to-day. I was at St Vincent St to-day. B. & M. are gone to call for the Houldsworths and some others. Never fear me I love you well my own sweet darling Emile. Do go to Edr and visit the Lanes – also my sweet love go to the Ball given to the officers. I think you should consult Dr McFarlan – that is go and see him get him to sound you tell you what is wrong with you. Ask him to prescribe for you – and if you have any love for your Mini follow his advice and oh sweet love do not try and Dr yourself – but oh sweet love follow the MD advice – be good for once and I am sure you will be well. Is it not horrid cold weather. I did my love so pity you standing in the cold last night but I could not get Janet to sleep – little stupid thing. This is a horrid scroll as I have been stoned twice with that bore visitors. My own sweet beloved I can say nothing as to our marriage as it is not certain when they may go from home, or when I may I may go to Edr it is uncertain. My beloved will we require to be married (if it is in Edr) in Edr or will it do here. You know I know nothing of these things. I fear the Banns in Glasgow there are so many people know me. If I had any other name but Madeleine it might pass – but it is not a very common one. But we must manage in some way to be united ere we leave Town. How kind of Mary to take any trouble with us. She must be a dear good creature. I would so like to visit her but no I cannot. I shall never ever forget the first visit I paid with my own beloved husband my own sweet dear Emile – you sweet dear darling. If ever again I show temper (which I hope to God I won’t) don’t mind it – it is not with you I am cross. Sweet love I adore you with my heart and soul. I must have a letter from you soon. I am engaged up till Friday night. Sweet pet will that be too soon for you to write. I have written a great many letters to-day. I am much behind in my correspondence. I do hope your finger is better take care of it. When may be may we meet again – soon soon I hope and trust. Sweet darling you are kind to me very kind and loving. I ought never in any way to vex or annoy you. My own my beloved Emile I wish to get this posted to-night as I don’t understand the post. I posted your Saturday note before 12 and you did not get it till Monday. We have had a great many letters go astray lately. I got a letter on Monday morning written six weeks ago. Are these Officers nice fellows. Why are they here. How is your mother and sister – well I hope my own sweet. But pet I must stop as they will be in shortly. If I do not post this to-night you shall have a P.S. Much much love kisses tender long embraces kisses love. I am thy own thy ever fond thy own dear loving wife thy
[All her letters are in the same vein, writing as though already married, and reconfirming her love for him – maintains the habit of calling him her husband with overt allusions to her hopes for their future.]
No. 43. Envelope addressed Mr L’Angelier, Bothwell Street Glasgow.
Beloved and darling husband dear Emile, – … Emile you ought in those sad moments of your’s to consider you have a wife. I am as much your wife as if we had been married a year. You cannot, will not leave, me your wife… I entreat of you my husband my fondly loved Emile only stay and be my guide my husband dear… Trust me. Heaven is my witness I shall never prove untrue to you – I shall, I am your wife. No other shall I ever marry… Now Emile I love and obey you – my duty as your wife is to do so. I shall so all you want me, trust me, keep yourself easy. I know what awaits me if I do what you disapprove off you go. That shall always be in my mind – Go never more to return. The day that occurs I hope I may die. Yes, I shall never wish to look on the face of man again. You would die in Africa. Your death would be at my hands – God forbid… I love you more than life. I am thine, Thine own Mimi L’Angelier. Emile you shall have all your letters the first time we meet. It may cost me a sigh and pang, but you shall have them all… Minnoch left this morning, say nothing to him in passing. It will only give him cause to say you did not behave in a gentlemanly manner. Do not do it. He said nothing to me out of place, but I was not a moment with him by my self. I did not wish to be alone with him.
The Dean of Faculty objected to the proof of any date to this letter.
Dated Glasgow, 6.45 P.M. August 14, 1856.
Beloved & ever dear Emile, – … For I can never be the wife of another after our intimacy. But sweet love I do not regret that – never did and never shall. Emile you were not pleased because I would not let you love me last night. Your last visit you said “You would not do it again till we were married.”…
[The letter reading continues – all in the same vein – she makes the claim, “I can never be the wife of another after our intimacy,” and she denounces Mr Minnoch and his “horrid old sister,” signing off “Mimi/Mini L’Angelier.” – Many contain apologies for having been out to varying entertainments with Mr Minnoch, that she wouldn’t hide these things from him, but that he’s purely her father’s friend, for example;]
Now I must tell you something you may hear, I was at the Theatre and people my love may tell you that M[innoch]. was there too. Well love, he was there, but he did not know of my going. He was in the Club Box, and I did not even bow to him. To-day, when B. Mama and I were walking M[innoch]. joined us, took a walk with and came home, he was most civil and kind, he sent Janet such a lovely flower to-night to wear on Monday evening. Now I have told you this sweet pet I know you will be angry, but I would rather bear your anger than that you would perhaps blame me for not telling you as some one will be sure to inform you of me…
[She constantly alludes to the sneaking about she expects him to do in order to see her at all.]
… If at ten o’c[lock] don’t wait to see me, as Janet may not be asleep, and I will have to wait till she sleeps to take it in. Make no noise. Adieu farewell my own beloved my darling my own Emile. Good night best beloved. Adieu I am your ever true and devoted Mini L’Angelier… I don’t see the least chance for us my dear love. M. is not well enough to go from home and my dear little sweet pet I don’t see we could manage in Edr because I could not leave a friend’s house without their knowing it, so sweet pet it must at present be put off till a better time…
I felt truly astonished to have my last letter returned to me. But it will be the last you shall have an opportunity of returning to me. When you are not pleased with the letters I send you, then our correspondence shall be at an end – and as there is coolness on both sides our engagement had better be broken. This may astonish you, but you have more than once returned me my letters, and my mind was made up that I should not stand the same thing again. And you also annoyed me much on Saturday by your conduct in coming so near me. Altogether I think owing to coolness and indifference (nothing else) that we had better for the future consider ourselves as strangers. I trust to your honour as a Gentleman that you will not reveal any thing that may have passed between us. I shall feel obliged by your bring[ing] me my letters and Likeness on Thursday evening – be at the Area Gate and C. H. will [take] the parcel from you. On Friday night I shall send you all your letters Likeness &cs. I trust you may yet be happy, and get one more worthy of you than I. On Thursday at 7 o’C[lock].
I am &c.
No. 105, envelope addressed, immediately, posted in Glasgow:-
Monday Night. Emile I have just had your note. Emile for the love you once had for me [do] nothing till I see you – for Gods sake do not bring your once loved Mini to an open shame. Emile I have deceived you. I have deceived my Mother. God knows she did not boast of any thing I had said of you – for she poor woman thought I had broken off with you last Winter. I deceived you by telling you she still knew of our engagement. She did not. This I now confess – and as for wishing for any engagement with another I do not fancy she ever thought of it. Emile write to no one to Papa or any other. Oh do not till I see you on Wednesday night – be at the Hamiltons at 12 and I shall open my Shutter, and then you come to the Area Gate I shall see you. It would break my Mother’s heart. Oh, Emile be not harsh to me. I am the most guilty miserable wretch on the face of the Earth. Emile do not drive me to death. When I ceased to love you believe me it was not to love another. I am free from all engagement at present. Emile for Gods sake do not send my letters to Papa. It will be an open rupture. I will leave the house. I will die Emile do nothing till I see you. One word to-morrow night at my window to tell me or I shall go mad… I cannot ask forgiveness I am too guilty for that. I have deceived – it was love for you at the time made me say Mama knew of our engagement… Pray for me for a guilty wretch but do nothing. Oh Emile do nothing.
Tuesday Morning. I am ill. God knows what I have suffered. My punishment is more than I can bear. Do nothing till I see you… I am mad I am ill.
No. 107, Mr L’Angelier, Mr Jenkins’ 11 Franklin Place:-
Tuesday evening 12 o’C[lock]. Emile I have this night received your note. Oh it is kind of you to write me. Emile no one can know the intense agony of mind I have suffered last night and to-day. Emile my father’s wrath would kill me, you little know his temper. Emile for the love you once had for me do not denounce me to my P[apa]. Emile if he should read my letters to you – he will put me from him, he will hate me as a guilty wretch… On my bended knees I write you and ask you as you hope for mercy at the Judgment day do not inform on me – do not make me a public shame… I would not ask you to love me – or ever make me your wife. I am too guilty for that. I have deceived and told you too many falsehoods for you ever to respect me. But oh will you not keep my secret from the world. Oh will you not for Christ’s sake denounce me. I shall be undone. I shall be ruined. Who would trust me. Shame would be my lot – despise me hate me – but make me not the public scandal – forget me for ever – blot out all remembrance of me… Emile will you not spare me this – hate me, despise me – but do not expose me. I cannot write more. I am too ill to-night.
No. 117. Addressed to Mr L’Angelier. Posted at Glasgow, 4th March, 1857.
Dearest Emile. – I have just time to give you a line. I could not come to the window as B. and M. were there but I saw you. If you would take my advice you would go to the south of England for ten days it would do you much good. In fact sweet pet it would make you feel quite well. Do try and do this. You will please me by getting strong and well again. I hope you will not go to B. of Allan as P[apa]. and M[ama]. would say it was I brought you there, and it would make me to feel very unhappy. Stirling you need not go to, as it is a nasty dirty little Town. Go to Isle of Wight. I am exceedingly sorry love I cannot see you ere I go – it is impossible, but the first thing I do on my return will be to see you sweet love. I must stop as it is post time. So adieu with love and kisses and much love.
I am with love and affection ever yours,
My dear sweet pet Mimi – I feel indeed very vexed that the answer I rec[ieve]d. yesterday to mine of Tuesday to you should prevent me from sending you the kind letter I had ready for you. You must not blame me dear for this but really your cold indifferent and reserved notes so short without a particle of love in them (especially after pledging your word you were to write me kindly for those letters you asked me to destroy) and the manner you evaded answering the questions I put to you in my last; with the reports I hear fully convince me Mimi that there is foundation in your marriage with another, besides the way you put off our union till September without a just reason is very suspicious. I do not think Mimi dear that Mrs Anderson would say your mother told her things she had not, and really I could never believe Mr Houldsworth would be guilty of telling a falsehood for mere talking. No Mimi there must be a foundation for all this. You often go to Mr M.’s house and common sense would lead any one to believe that if you were not on footing reports say you are, you would avoid going near any of his friends. I know he goes with you or at least meets you in Stirlingshire. Mimi dear place yourself in my position and tell me am I wrong in believing what I hear. I was happy the last time we met, yes very happy. I was forgetting all the past, but now it is again beginning.
Mimi, I insist in having an explicit answer to the questions you evaded in my last. If you evade answering them this time I must try some other means of coming to the truth. If not answered in a satisfactory manner you must not expect I shall again write you personally or meet you when you return home. I do not wish you to answer them at random. I shall wait a day or so if you require it. I know you cannot write me from Stirlingshire as the time you have to write me a letter is occupied in doing so to others. There was a time you would have found plenty of time.
Answer me this Mimi, who gave you the trinket you showed me, is it true it was Mr Minnoch. And is it true that you are directly or indirectly engaged to Mr Minnoch or to any one else but me. These questions I must know.
The Dr says I must go to B[ridge]. of A[llan]. I can travel 500 miles to the I[sle]. of W[ight]. and 500 back. What is your object in wishing me so very much to go south. I may not go to B. of A. till Wednesday if I can avoid going I shall do so for your sake. I shall wait to hear from you. I hope dear nothing will happen to check the happiness we were again enjoying. May God bless you my Pet, and with many fond and tender embraces believe me with kind love your ever after husband
The Dean of Faculty objected to this production, and the letter was not read.
No. 121. No postmark date.
My sweet dear pet I am so sorry you should be so vexed, believe nothing sweet one till I tell you myself, it is a report I am sorry about, but it has been six months spoken of. There is one of the same kind about B. Believe nothing till I tell you sweet one of my heart. I love you and you only. Mrs A. only supposed M. never told her, but we have found out that Mrs A. is very good at making up stories. Mrs A. asked me if it was M. gave me the trinket you saw, and I told her no. My sweet love I love you and only wish you were better, we shall speak of our union when we meet… Adieu dearest love of my soul, with fond and tender embraces ever believe me with love and kisses to be your own fond dear and loving
If you do not go to B. of A. till we come home, come up Main St tomorrow morning and if you go come your own way.
The Lord Advocate held that the date of that letter was proved by its contents to be the 6th of March. They went to Row on the 5th, and returned on the 17th March.
After some further explanations as to the future procedure of parties. The Court was adjourned at a quarter to five until Monday morning at ten o’clock.
End of Fifth Day’s Proceedings.
Caledonian Mercury, Tuesday 7th July, 1857, pp.2 & 3.
HIGH COURT OF JUSTICIARY.
TRIAL OF MISS SMITH.
The LORD ADVOCATE said, there was a passage in the letter No. 79, which he considered material to the case, and which he wished read.
The following passage was then read by the Clerk: – “B. and M. are from home. Will you not come to your wife Mimi? I think you may come shortly to the house. I shall let you in. No one will hear you. You can make it late; twelve if you please. I will long for you, sweet dear Emile. Emile, I will see your sweet smile, and hear your sweet voice. You will come to your Mimi and clasp her to your bosom, kiss her and call her your wife. I will not wish you a merry Christmas; but if we are saved till next together, we shall then be happy.”
The LORD ADVOCATE intimated that the case for the Crown was closed.
The exculpatory evidence was then proceeded with.
Robert Baker examined for the defence by Mr YOUNG – I am a grocer in St Helens, in Jersey. I lived in Edinburgh at one time. I acted as waiter in the Rainbow Tavern. I was acquainted with Emile L’Angelier. That was in 1851. He lived in the Rainbow for between six and nine months… He was much distressed. I slept with him, and saw a good deal of him. He was a quiet sort of person, but very easily excited. He was subject to low spirits. I have seen him in very low spirits, crying often at night. I latterly heard him speak of suicide before he went to Dundee. He often said he wished he was out of the world. I remember one occasion when his conduct had a tendency to suicide. He was walking in the room when the window was open, and it appeared he had opened it with the intention of throwing himself over… He did not tell me himself that he had met with some disappointment in a love matter. I was aware of it. My uncle told me about it. I often heard him speak of it to others. She was a lady from Fife. I cannot say he was much distressed at this, but he was much distressed that he was out of a situation.
Witness – … We have walked to Leith Pier together. He once spoke of suicide on Leith Pier. He said he had a great mind to throw himself over, he was so tired of existence. I have seen him read about cases of suicide in the newspapers. He said he wished he had the same courage. He did not appear to applaud it, but only made that remark.
By Mr YOUNG – Shown a letter. I received it from L’Angelier in Dundee… Witness here read the letter:- “I have arrived in Dundee, and I am working for my board and lodging. I don’t receive so much as a farthing. I beg of you to take care of my trunks and other things. Be sure as soon as a letter comes and send it to me, as it might be a situation. I was never so unhappy in my life. I wish I had a pistol to blow my brains out.”
William Pringle Laird examined by Mr YOUNG – I am a nurseryman in Dundee, and was acquainted with L’Angelier in Dundee, and also when he was with Dickson and Co. in Edinburgh… He spoke of a cross in love he had got. He assisted me in the seedshop, and sometimes in the nursery too. He said that it was reported that girl was to be married to another, but said that that was impossible, as he did not think she could take another. I understood that was because she was pledged to him. She was, I believe, in the middle station of life. I saw her marriage in the newspapers. He had seen it also… I told him I was sorry to see him so melancholy, and was sad to hear he had taken a knife to stab himself. He answered that he wished himself out of this world. He was in a very melancholy state after this. He was gloomy and moody, and never spoke to any one…
Andrew Watson Smith, examined by Mr YOUNG – I was acquainted with L’Angelier, when he was with Mr Laird in 1852… He told me of a disappointment in love. He said they had been engaged for a number of years, and had loved each other very much. He also said he was frequently tempted to destroy himself. He showed me a ring he got from her. He generally spoke of this in a melancholy strain, and declared he thought he would drown himself. I have a faint remembrance that he once told me he went to the Dean Bridge to destroy himself, because this lady had jilted him. He did not say what had hindered him. Self-destruction was a frequent subject of his conversation…
Wm. Anderson, late nurseryman and seedsman, Dundee, examined by Mr YOUNG – … His manners were more of the French, Italian, or Spanish style than belonging to this country.
Wm. McDonald Ogilvie, examined by Mr YOUNG – … He spoke of falling in love with [ladies]. On one occasion he said if he got disappointed in love he would think nothing of taking a large knife (then lying on the counter) and putting it into him… He spoke of his being in France. He travelled with some person of distinction, as he led me to suppose. He had charge of everything, horses, luggage, and the like. He said the horses were very much knocked up on one occasion, and he had given them arsenic to cure them.
By the COURT – He spoke that in English.
By Mr YOUNG – I wanted to know what effect it had on horses. He told me it was given them to enable them to accomplish the journey. He said that it made them long-winded, and by this means it enabled them to accomplish a journey.
Mr YOUNG – Go on and tell us what he said. In reply, I said was he not afraid of poisoning the horses? He said, Oh, no; so far from doing that, he had taken it himself.
Mr YOUNG – Just go on. I told him I should not like to follow his example. I should not like to try it. He said there was no danger.
By Mr YOUNG – Did he tell you what effect it had? In conversation he did. He told me at one time that it improved the countenance – the complexion.
By Mr YOUNG – The complexion? Yes, the complexion.
By Mr YOUNG – Did he tell you that he took it for his own complexion? He did not say that, but I inferred it from the way in which he spoke. He mentioned that as one of his reasons.
By Mr YOUNG – Did he say he had taken it himself medicinally for any pains he had? Yes, he said he had taken it himself. He had a difficulty in breathing, and it had a good effect in that way.
By Mr YOUNG – Did you ever see him eat anything that appeared to be dangerous? Yes, in more than one occasion I have seen him eating poppy seeds. I have seen him eat them in large quantities, in handfuls in fact.
By Mr YOUNG – Did you express any surprise at that? Yes. I remarked on one occasion upon the danger of such a practice. He took down a handful. I said it was very dangerous. He said so far from that he had eaten them in large quantities. There were much better than nuts.
The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – He spoke like a foreigner?
I can’t say he did; but he looked like one. He spoke remarkably good English. I think I only heard him speak French on one occasion.
The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – Are you sure he said “arsenic?” Quite sure.
The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – It was not the French word for the beer they give to horses? He spoke English.
The LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – But it was not the common word? No.
David Hill examined by Mr YOUNG.
David Hill – I am a market gardener in Dundee… I once found a small parcel. That was before L’Angelier was there. I found a small parcel, and lifted it, and put it into my pocket, and brought it to Dundee. The person I showed it to there supposed it to be arsenic. I don’t recollect how long that that was before L’Angelier came. I mentioned it to him. I told him of finding it there. He said, oh, that was nothing strange, he used it regularly. He said nothing more; at least, I don’t recollect.
Mr YOUNG – Did he tell you for what purposes he used it? No; he said he used it regularly. I tried to remember, but I don’t recollect for what purposes.
Mr YOUNG – After you heard of L’Angelier’s death in Glasgow, did you remember this circumstance? Witness hesitated.
LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – Did you recollect this circumstance of the conversation about arsenic when you heard of L’Angelier’s death? No.
Mr YOUNG – But you recollected it some time ago? Yes, Sir.
LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – If you did not recollect it then, what brought it to your mind? I do not recollect.
LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – Was it any conversation of others at Dundee that made you recollect this conversation about arsenic? I do not know, Sir.
Janet Christie, examined by Mr YOUNG, deponed – Some years ago I was acquainted with a Mrs Craig, residing in St George’s Road, Glasgow. She had a son in Huggin and Company’s warehouse, Glasgow. I visited her house frequently. I occasionally met L’Angelier there. I recollect hearing him say that the French ladies used arsenic to improve their complexion. That was about four years ago.
Alexander Millar, examined by the DEAN of FACULTY – I am in the employment of Huggins and Company… [L’Angelier] told me he was going to be married. He told me so several times, first about nine months before his death. He said several times he intended to be married on certain days, but these days passed. At last he said he was really going to be married. I said it would pass over as usual. He affirmed, however, that it would not. He gave me to understand that it was to be in about two months after the time he told me. He told me on that occasion to whom he was to be married. He was very sensitive, easily depressed, and as easily uplifted.
LORD JUSTICE-CLERK – On a former day we got an expression from Mr Kennedy that he was very mercurial.
Examination continued – I do not recollect him speaking to me about suicide, or desiring to be in his grave. On one occasion, however, he said he wished he was dead. He once spoke to me of a person taking his own life. He said he did not consider there was any sin in a person taking away his own life to get out of the world when tired of it. Having lost all happiness in it, I think was his expression. I objected, and said that our life was not our own, and that we had not right to do with it as we chose. He did not acknowledge, so far as I recollect, having altered his opinion… He complained to me several times of having a kind of diarrhoea; and about the middle of February he said he had pains in the bowels and stomach, and his eyes were watering very much. He thought at the time that it was the effect of cold. He had on several previous occasions complained of the effects of diarrhoea. Almost since I knew him he complained so, but, latterly, he did so more frequently…
Cross-examined by the SOLICITOR-GENERAL – … The occasion in February when his eyes were suffused, was, so far as I can remember, about the 13th. There was another occasion when he complained – perhaps the 19th or 20th. I saw him that day in the warehouse. He came in at one o’clock. He had not been there earlier that day. When I first saw him that day, there was a sort of blackish appearance round his eyes, and a dark red spot on his cheek. I asked him what was wrong with him? He said he was nearly dead last night. I then asked what had been the matter with him? He said he had been rolling on the floor all night. He had been so weak that he had to remain quiet. He could not call for assistance. He was so sick, he said, he was like to vomit his inside out. I asked him what he had vomited? He said it was yellowish. I suggested it might be bile. He said his landlady suggested the same. He said that between four and six o’clock in the morning he called his landlady to get a cup of tea, he was so weak…
Agnes McMillan, examined by Mr YOUNG, deponed – I was at one time in Mr Smith the architect’s service as table-maid… On one occasion, Miss Smith told me something about arsenic. I cannot remember what brought the conversation on, but I perfectly remember her saying, either that arsenic was used for the complexion, or that it was good for the complexion; either the one or the other…
James Girdwood, surgeon in Falkirk, examined by Mr YOUNG – I have been in practice in Falkirk for about 40 years. Have you ever been asked as to the safety of using arsenic as a cosmetic? Very frequently, since the publication of that article in “Chambers’ Journal.” How long ago is that? It is about two years ago, I think.
[“… there is a practice of eating arsenic in small doses in Styria and other parts of Europe; that people indulging in the drug believe it produces a blooming complexion, a brilliant eye, and an appearance of embonpoint; that it is dangerous to take it at any other time than the increase of the moon;..” – Dr Inman on arsenic eating in Chambers Journal, July 1856.]
William Roberts, examined by Mr YOUNG – I am a merchant in Glasgow. I became acquainted with the deceased L’Angelier about 1853. He once dined with me. That was on Christmas day 1855. It was on a Sunday. On that occasion he became very ill. It was after dinner. There were a few friends dining with me at the time. When the ladies left the room, L’Angelier got ill. I showed him the water-closet and then left him. I sat for a considerable time waiting on him, and wondered why he was not coming. I opened the dining-room door, and heard a groaning, and some person vomiting. I went to the water-closet, and found L’Angelier very ill indeed, vomiting and purging. The men who were with me rushed out to his assistance. I went up stairs and got him cholera mixture, and he took a considerable quantity of it. We got very much frightened as cholera was in the town at the time. L’Angelier remained in the water-closet a considerable time. Some time after a gentleman took him home in a cab. L’Angelier returned a few days after to apologise for his illness. He was a considerable time ill in my house. I think an hour, probably two. I did not pay much attention as to time, never fancying that the case would come to this.
Cross-examined by the LORD ADVOCATE – I thought a good deal of L’Angelier. He sat in the church with me, and in the same pew, for three years. I would have believed his word at that time, as I had a very high respect for him.
By the COURT – I would not latterly have believed his word. That feeling does not arise from my own observation or knowledge, but what I have heard since. I mean from what I have heard since the commencement of these proceedings.
Robert Baird, examined by the DEAN OF FACULTY – I am a brother of the last witness. I was acquainted with L’Angelier… I remember his asking me to introduce him to Miss Smith. I cannot say how long that is ago. I should think somewhere about two years ago. He asked me several times to do it. He was very pressing about it. I introduced him to her ultimately… I introduced them on the street. He never asked me to introduce him to Miss Smith’s father, but he stated his determination to be introduced, and expressed some anxiety about it. When I introduced them, Miss Smith was not alone; her sister was with her…
[Varying pharmacists testify as to sales of arsenic – none are sure they’ve ever seen or dealt with Mr L’Angelier, though they’ve dealt with men with moustaches and glengarry bonnets on. Followed by those in the employment of the Chambers’ Journal and Blackwood’s Magazine as these publications had previously run articles with regard the therapeutic/cosmetic eating/application of arsenic.]
A number of letters were then put in, first G. 198, having postmark September 18, 1855. It was from the prisoner to the deceased, and was, as nearly as we could catch, as follows:-
“Beloved Emile, – I have just received your note. I shall meet you to-day. I do not care though I bring disgrace on myself. To see you I would do anything, and bear anything. I desire to make you happy. Beloved, you are young. You ought to desire life. Oh, for the sake of your love what would I not do, Emile? To succeed in this life, my dear, every one must suffer disappointments. I have met with disappointments, and I will meet with them again – Your beloved.
Letter marked 257 was then read. It was dated – “October 19, 1855. – Beloved Emile, – Your kind letter I received this morning. Emile, I adore you. It is for yourself alone that I live. I love you. I can give you no other reason than this for desiring you; but I can have no other. If you had been a young man belonging to Glasgow, there would have been no objection to you by my parents; but as you are unknown to them, they have rejected you. Before long, you say, ‘I shall rid you and all the world of my presence.’ God forbid that you should ever do this – (sensation). My last letter was not filled with rash promises. No, Emile; the promise in my last letter must be kept. God forbid that it should be prevented. – Mimi.”
Dr Robert Patterson, examined by the DEAN – I am a physician in Leith, and have been in practice there for years. I have seen several cases of suicidal poisoning. These cases were of persons in different situations in life, principally young females in mills. In seven cases the poisonings were by arsenic. In many the arsenic was got about the works, in others it was purchased. I was called to prescribe for them professionally. They all died, with one exception. I used all the remedies I could think of. In six cases the patients submitted to medical treatment, and made no attempt to prevent it. Not one of the six disclosed before death that they had taken poison. I inquired directly at several of them whether or not they had taken arsenic or poison. They all denied it, and submitted to medical treatment just like any other patients. In the case of the seventh that was a recovery. She admitted to me that she had taken poison, but it was after she had almost recovered. She was then aware that she was recovering… The seven cases of which I speak occurred within 18 years…
By the COURT – There are less facilities in obtaining arsenic now. There is less of it made now.
Janet Smith, examined by the DEAN of FACULTY – I am sister to Madeleine Smith, and am 13 years old. I was sleeping in my father’s house last winter and spring in Blythswood Square. I slept in the same bed with Madeleine. I generally went to bed before her, but we both went at the same time on Sunday… On the 22d of March we both went to bed at the same time. We went about half-past ten or after… We take about half-an-hour to undress commonly. We were in no particular hurry that night in undressing. She was in bed with me before I fell asleep. She was in her night clothes as usual. I don’t mind who fell asleep first. It would not be long before I fell asleep. I recollect papa making a present of a necklace to my sister. It is about a year ago. I have known her to take cocoa.
Dr James A. Lawrie, physician in Glasgow, examined by the Dean of Faculty – I have been in practice for a good many years. I have not made arsenic my particular study, but I have lately tried it on my skin. I have taken a quarter or half ounce of the arsenic sold by Currie, and washed my hands with it freely. I have put half an ounce in water, and washed my face. I tried the latter experiment on Saturday, but washed my hands before that. The effect was the same as using a ball of soap with sand. It softened the skin… I have treated one case of poisoning by arsenic. Some years ago, during the prevalence of cholera, I was asked to see a gentleman about seven or eight o’clock in the evening, and the account was, that he had been ill since three or four o’clock in the afternoon. I found him then labouring under premonitory symptoms of cholera, and I prescribed for him. I returned about ten o’clock, and discovered the symptoms very much aggravated, and the vomiting and purging still continued. His voice was not affected, and the vomiting was not the same as that superinduced by cholera. It was reddish-yellow matter, and I requested it to be set aside. I thought that it was not a case of cholera, and asked the gentleman what he had taken. He said he had only taken his ordinary food, wine, &c., but nothing else. The symptoms went on still further, and I called a consultation of other medical men. I put the question still more strongly to him, and he said he had taken nothing. I was still satisfied that something else was the matter from the aggravation of the symptoms, and at last he died about three o’clock in the morning. Next day I discovered from a druggist’s assistant that the deceased gentleman had purchased half an ounce of arsenic on the day of his death. I then caused an analysis of the vomited matter and of the stomach to be made, and discovered that arsenic was present in large quantities.
Dr Douglas Maclagan, Edinburgh, examined by the DEAN of FACULTY – You have had some experience in cases of poisoning by arsenic? I have. You have, of course, read a good deal upon the subject? Yes. And have devoted a good deal of your attention to chemistry? Yes. From what you know of the properties of arsenic, do you think that there would be any danger in using water in which a quantity of arsenic had been put, to wash the face and hands. There is so very little arsenic dissolved, that I cannot conceive that it would do any harm to anybody. What proportion of arsenic will dissolve in cold water? If the water is merely poured upon it and allowed to stand, a very minute quantity indeed; but if agitated in cold water, I think it dissolves 1 part in 400, or some such proportion as that. That is so very minute a quantity, that it could not do any great harm, I suppose. It would do no harm to the entire system… Are you aware that there is any authority for saying that jaundice is a symptom of arsenical poisoning? There is a single line in Taylor’s book which says that jaundice has been observed, and which refers to the remarks of Dr Marshall in the case of Turner. (Read from Dr Marshall’s book the account of Mr Turner’s experiment on his son, who states that he observed a yellowness in the face which had not been noticed in former experiments)…
[Goes into detail about washing the skin with arsenic in water and the symptoms of cholera – but as it’s fact Mr L’Angelier died of arsenic ingestion, it appears irrelevant.]
The DEAN of FACULTY then announced that the case for the defence was closed; and it being then half-past four o’clock, the Court adjourned till to-day, when the Lord Advocate will address the jury for the Crown.
Glasgow Courier, Tuesday 7th July, 1857, p.4.
NOTES ON THE TRIAL OF MISS SMITH.
(BY AN EYE WITNESS.)
The personal appearance of Miss Smith, the central figure in this remarkable case, is the point on which most attraction seems to be fixed in the court by the spectators with which it is thronged, and which is most talked of among the less privileged outside world. Eager crowds gather in the early morning at the Jail and in Parliament Square to catch a glimpse of the prisoner as she is taken to the Court. In the evenings thousands gather in the streets to see the cab in which she is borne back from the Court-room to the prison. Every day sees hundreds at the door of the Court who would willingly expend guineas in obtaining a look at the young lady. Hundreds are daily passed in for a few minutes by official friends to get a glimpse of the prisoner, and may be seen departing with the air of satisfied curiosity upon their anxious countenances… In the midst of all this excitement – passing through the eager crowd from and to prison – seated at the bar with hundreds of eyes fixed steadily upon her – Madeleine Smith is the only unmoved, cool, serene personage to be seen. From the first moment till the last she has preserved that undaunted, defiant attitude of perfect repose which has struck every spectator with astonishment. She passes from the cab to the Court-room – or rather to the cell beneath the dock – with the air of a belle entering a ball-room. She ascends the narrow staircase leading into the dock with a cool, jaunty air, an unveiled countenance, the same perpetual smile – or smirk, rather, for it lacks all the elements of a genuine smile – the same healthy glow of colour, and the confident ease. The female turnkey at her side looks more of the prisoner, for while she is still and scarcely ever lifts her eyes, Miss Smith never ceases surveying all that goes on around her – watching every word of every witness, returning every stare with compound interest, glancing every second minute at the down-turned eyes in the side galleries, and even turning right round upon the reporters immediately behind her, to see how they get along with that note-taking which is carrying her name and deeds into every British home. When judges and jurymen retire for lunch, she refuses even so much as a small packet of sandwiches. Others may be thirsty amid the hot excitement, but, when the female attendant offers her a glass of water, she will not have it. There she sits, refusing meat and drink or a moment’s retirement in her cell, with a smelling-bottle in her dainty little hand, which she never uses – a splendid specimen of physical power, and of such endurance as only a will of terrible strength could attain. When she is called upon to plead, she says, in a clear, sweet treble – no trace of huskiness or emotion perceptible in the voice, no trembling on her tongue – ‘Not guilty!’… Dr. Penny describes his analytical investigations of the portions of her old sweetheart’s body, and the ribbons of her bonnet are so still that you clearly perceive there is not even a hidden shudder passing through her frame. Dr. Steven narrates how L’Angelier’s body was exhumed, and she only leans forward on the railing before the dock to study the doctor’s face, and hear his words the more easily. The poor Frenchman’s landlady relates, with pathetic simplicity, how L’Angelier died, and Madeleine meets the eye of the honest matron without blanching for a moment. She sees her old school-companion and friend, Mary Buchanan, in tears; but the smirk does not desert her, and she cannot shed a responsive tear to those of the girl who was to have been her bridesmaid. The wife of the curator of the Botanic Gardens turns her honest, large grey eye upon the woman who deserted her old lodger, of whom she thought so highly, and whom she now laments so sincerely; but Madeleine is too much for the matron, and the witness is the first to lift away her gaze. Even Mr. Minnoch in the witness-box – placed in that position so peculiar and trying, solely by her influence – fails to steal from her a single particle of her equanimity, and she looks steadily at that deeply injured merchant, who has too keen a sense of his own humiliation to direct even a solitary glance in the direction of the dock!… She is elegant without show. A rich brown silk gown, with a large brooch low-set in the breast; a white straw bonnet, simply trimmed with white ribbon; a white cambric handkerchief, and a bottle of smelling salts in her kid-gloved hand; such is the inventory, so far as I can furnish it.
And, so, we arrive at the end of part 2 of the round-up of Madeleine Smith’s trial for the murder of her sweetheart, Pierre Emile L’Angellier. We may catch you for the third. Take care.
Narration by Jenny
Art by Alex
Intro-Outro by Tony ‘Lucky Dog’ Wilson
Greysteil by Paul Burns.