DESCRIPTION: A man loves his maid servant. His mother is opposed. She becomes pregnant. He poisons her. Her mother asks for an examination and the doctors find arsenic. The man is tried but guilt was not proven. "We'll leave him to Heaven's just judgement at last"
EARLIEST DATE: 1908 (GreigDuncan2)
KEYWORDS: homicide trial pregnancy poison mother servant
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
GreigDuncan2 206, "John Lovie" (1 text)
NOTES: GreigDuncan2 quotes an account of the trial from Bruce, The Black Kalendar of Aberdeen (Aberdeen, 1854). Margaret Mackessar died August 14, 1827. John Lovie was tried and a "Not Proven" verdict returned. - BS
Emily Lyle, Fairies and Folk: Approaches to the Scottish Ballad Tradition, Wissenschaflicher Verlag Trier, 2007, p. 106, comments briefly on two "arsenic ballads" in the Greig/Duncan collection, "John Lovie" and "The Wife o' Gateside." She points out that Scots juries were allowed three verdicts, Guilty, Not Guilty, and Not Proven -- the latter of these allowing the accused to go free but saying that there was a significant probability of guilt. In both cases, apparently, the use of arsenic was demonstrated but it could not be shown who poisoned the dead person. - RBW
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