The Law and the Lady HTML version
17. Second Question--Who Poisoned Her?
THE evidence of the doctors and the chemists closed the proceedings on the first day of
On the second day the evidence to be produced by the prosecution was anticipated with a
general feeling of curiosity and interest. The Court was now to hear what had been seen
and done by the persons officially appointed to verify such cases of suspected crime as
the case which had occurred at Gleninch. The Procurator-Fiscal--being the person
officially appointed to direct the preliminary investigations of the law--was the first
witness called on the second day of the Trial.
Examined by the Lord Advocate, the Fiscal gave his evidence, as follows:
"On the twenty-sixth of October I received a communication from Doctor Jerome, of
Edinburgh, and from Mr. Alexander Gale, medical practitioner, residing in the village or
hamlet of Dingdovie, near Edinburgh. The communication related to the death, under
circumstances of suspicion, of Mrs. Eustace Macallan, at her husband's house, hard by
Dingdovie, called Gleninch. There were also forwarded to me, inclosed in the document
just mentioned, two reports. One described the results of a postmortem examination of
the deceased lady, and the other stated the discoveries made after a chemical analysis of
certain of the interior organs of her body. The result in both instances proved to
demonstration that Mrs. Eustace Macallan had died of poisoning by arsenic.
"Under these circumstances, I set in motion a search and inquiry in the house at Gleninch
and elsewhere, simply for the purpose of throwing light on the circumstances which had
attended the lady's death.
"No criminal charge in connection with the death was made at my office against any
person, either in the communication which I received from the medical men or in any
other form. The investigations at Gleninch and elsewhere, beginning on the twenty-sixth
of October, were not completed until the twenty-eighth. Upon this latter date--acting on
certain discoveries which were reported to me, and on my own examination of letters and
other documents brought to my office--I made a criminal charge against the prisoner, and
obtained a warrant for his apprehension. He was examined before the Sheriff on the
twenty-ninth of October, and was committed for trial before this Court."
The Fiscal having made his statement, and having been cross-examined (on technical
matters only), the persons employed in his office were called next. These men had a story
of startling interest to tell. Theirs were the fatal discoveries which had justified the Fiscal
in charging my husband with the murder of his wife. The first of the witnesses was a
sheriff's officer. He gave his name as Isaiah Schoolcraft.
Examined by Mr. Drew--Advocate-Depute, and counsel for the Crown, with the Lord
Advocate--Isaiah Schoolcraft said: