Madame Midas eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 393 pages of information about Madame Midas.

Q. Then you found no appearances in the stomach, or elsewhere, which would lead you to believe poison had been taken?

A. No, none.

Q. From the post-mortem examination could you say the death of the deceased was not due to some narcotic poison?

A. No:  the post-mortem appearances of the body are quite consistent with those of poisoning by certain poisons, but there is no reason to suppose that any poison has been administered in this case, as I, of course, go by what I see; and the presence of poisons, especially vegetable poisons, can only be detected by chemical analysis.

Q. Did you analyse the contents of the stomach chemically?

A. No; it was not my duty to do so; I handed over the stomach to the police, seeing that there is suspicion of poison, and thence it will go to the Government analyst.

Q. It is stated that the deceased had convulsions before she died—­ is this not a symptom of narcotic poisoning?

A. In some cases, yes, but not commonly; aconite, for instance, always produces convulsions in animals, seldom in man.

Q. How do you account for the congested condition of the lungs?

A. I believe the serous effusion caused death by suspended respiration.

Q. Was there any odour perceptible?

A. No, none whatsoever.

The inquest was then adjourned till next day, and there was great excitement over the affair.  If Kitty Marchurst’s statement was true, the deceased must have died from the administration of poison; but, on the other hand, Dr Chinston asserted positively that there was no trace of poison, and that the deceased had clearly died from apoplexy.  Public opinion was very much divided, some asserting that Kitty’s story was true, while others said she had got the idea from ‘The Hidden Hand’, and only told it in order to make herself notorious.  There were plenty of letters written to the papers on the subject, each offering a new solution of the difficulty, but the fact remained the same, that Kitty said the deceased had been poisoned; the doctor that she had died of apoplexy.  Calton was considerably puzzled over the matter.  Of course, there was no doubt that the man who committed the murder had intended to poison Madame Midas, but the fact that Selina stayed all night with her, had resulted in the wrong person being killed.  Madame Midas told Calton the whole story of her life, and asserted positively that if the poison was meant for her, Villiers must have administered it.  This was all very well, but the question then arose, was Villiers alive?  The police were once more set to work, and once more their search resulted in nothing.  Altogether the whole affair was wrapped in mystery, as it could not even be told if a murder had been committed, or if the deceased had died from natural causes.  The only chance of finding out the truth would be to have the stomach analysed, and the cause of death ascertained; once

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Madame Midas from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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