Friday, 28 August 2009

Mercury poisoning, Shakespeare and Victorian crime novels




This villain could have graced the pages of a Victorian novel as a sly poisoner.
Sixty-nine year old William Dowling tired to woo back his estranged wife by poisoning her!
Poor unsuspecting Mrs. Dowling used to visit him weekly for a cup of tea. Mr Dowling served it to her in a bone china cup, but the tea had hidden extras.
Dowling, a retired electrician had a secret stash of mercury in his cellar, and was slipping it into her tea cup in the hope that she would become unwell and he could nurse her back to health. (No wonder she had left him in the first place – what a psycho)
Mrs Dowling became suspicious when she noticed small silvery ball-bearing like bits in the bottom of the cup. She also began to feel unwell.
Thankfully Mrs Dowling was seen at her local hospital, correctly diagnosed, and advised to report him to the police.
Prosecuting barrister Mark Lamberty kept alluding to Shakespeare in the trial (why he did this I do not know, unless he was trying to elevate the tone of the proceedings)

See if any of you can spot where the two quotes he used came from,
‘This even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice
To our own lips…

‘No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest—

Answers on a post card, or in the comments section below, and have a great week-end!

5 comments:

The Plashing Vole said...

Macbeth (who historically was the victim).

Laura said...

What are the symptoms of mercury poisoning? A raised temperature perhaps?!

Sue's Blog said...

Here are the answers to the Shakespeare questions

‘This even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice
To our own lips…
(Macbeth act I scene 7 lines 10-11)

‘No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest—
(Hamlet act III scene 2 lines 234-235)

Sue's Blog said...

Symptoms of mercury poisoning:

Inhalation of mercury can cause: Headache, cough, chest pain, nausea, fine tremor.
Ingestion can cause: gastroenteritis, abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhoea.
Worst case scenario: circulatory collapse, nephrotic syndrome and neurological damage.

Fou said...

Some people are quite simply bizar. Yes he is a psycho but at least he was trying to be originalI suppose?!
Having said that I'd still rather be wooed with roses than cups of mercury.