From the penny pamphlet, “The True-Life Adventures of Mssr. J.B.”:
Monsieur J.B. was enjoying listening to the orchestra, sipping champagne, and basking in the adoration of his female companion when a servant politely coughed to get his attention.
“For you, Monsieur,” said the servant bowing low while presenting a silver serving tray with an envelope on it.
Plans are afoot, read the missive, We must meet in secret in the garden.
“What can this be about,” Monsieur J.B. wondered as left his companion pouting very prettily on the settee. “With everyone wearing masks, could the servant have mistaken me for someone else?”
As he strolled in the garden, Monsieur J.B. was approached by to dark figures.
“Monsieur Q,” said one of the figures with a thick Spanish accent, “the French King is not long for this world! It is time for you to put to rest the matter of the Crown Prince!”
“How is it to be accomplished?” asked Monsieur J.B.
“With the Moorish poison we provided to you,” said the figure with exasperation, “The same poison that the Royal Physician has used upon the King!”
“A good plan,” admitted Monsieur J.B., “were it not for one thing.” “And what is that,” asked the Spaniard.
“That you have confessed all to a true and loyal son of France. GUARDS, TO ME!”
While shouting his warning, Monsieur J.B. launched a powerful punch at the nose face of the larger figure. Taken by surprise, the figure had no time to counter the attack and Monsieur J.B.’s fist landed with an audible crack.
Seeing his companion collapse under the furious attack, the smaller figure turn to run but Monsieur J.B. was hot upon him. The villain was taken down from behind before he reached the edge of the garden.
“HALT! Who goes there!” challenged a guard.
“It is I, Captain J.B. of the Royal Dragoons!” announce Monsieur J.B. as he removed his mask with one hand while holding the Spaniard by the collar with his other, “Take this spy to the Bastille where I am certain that the Commissioner for Public Safety will be able to extract the full name for Monsieur Q!”
“Your exploits on the Spanish Frontier are known even to a lowly sentry such as I!” cried the guard, “It shall be as you command, Monsieur Captain!”
Post by l'Araignée Blanche on Jul 6, 2020 6:19:01 GMT
In The Châtelet...
First Voice: So, what can you medical men tell me about the King's death, Doctor?
Second Voice: His Majesty first took to his bed with a persistent cough and fever, Commissioner. None of the standard remedies tried by the Royal Physician were having any effect, so Baron Rodolphe Alméras called a number of us into his chambers in the Louvre for a consultation. He wished to learn whether any of us had run across anything like this before and might be aware of effective remedies.
First Voice: Who was present at this consultation ?
Second Voice: Who wasn't, Commissioner! ? Myself, all the lecturers at the Faculty of Medicine, Brigadier-General Armand Jacquier (the Surgeon General)...even the Resident Physician at the Lady's Slipper was asked for an opinion. The result was the preparation of a new draught for His Majesty.
First Voice: And this is what killed Him?
Second Voice: It appears so, Commissioner. Shortly after imbibing the draught His Majesty began complaining of blurred vision, dry mouth, dizziness and abdominal pain - and began to suffer from severe vomiting and diarrhea. It was at this point that the King had Baron Alméras arrested on suspicion of Treason and Brigadier-General Jacquierare took over responsibility for His Majesty's medical welfare. Unfortunately, despite the Brigadier's efforts, the pulse of His Majesty grew progressively slower, He slipped into unconsciousness and tragically died some days later.
First Voice: And what deadly agent is the draught thought to have contained?
Second Voice: The symptoms displayed by His Majesty suggest poisoning by mandrake root, Commissioner. Such cases are usually found in Spain and Portugal, where the plant is fairly common, though they are not unknown here in France. Although it's fallen out of favour due to the difficulty in preparing appropriate dosage without poisoning patients mandrake, or mandrogora, is still sometimes used to treat stomach ulcers, colic, constipation, asthma, hay fever, convulsions, and rheumatism. It would not knowingly have been used to treat His Majesty's cough, of course. Indeed, not a trace of it was found anywhere in Baron Alméras' surgery, laboratory or private quarters.
First Voice: How easy is it to obtain this mandrake root in Paris?
Second Voice: Small amounts are grown - under glass - at the Jardin des Plantes, though records there show that none has been requisitioned by the Royal Physician since Baron Alméras secured the post. A number of apothecaries also stock it and are currently being checked regards any recent sales.
First Voice: So the hypothesis is that one of the physicians present at Baron Alméras' consultation added mandrake root to the draught being prepared for His Majesty without being noticed? Is there any indication as to whom this may have been?
Second Voice: I regret that there is not as yet, Commissioner, though it seems clear that Baron Alméras was not responsible. Might you see your way to releasing him...?
First Voice: I'm afraid not, Doctor. Someone will have to be seen to be punished for this heinous crime and, should we fail to determine the actual culprit, I'm afraid Baron Alméras must suffice. I will give orders that he is not to be subject to harsh interrogation any further, though it would be greatly to his benefit if he could recall seeing anyone tamper with the draught as it was being prepared...
Post by l'Araignée Blanche on Jul 7, 2020 9:12:48 GMT
Back At The Châtelet...
First Voice: Ah, Doctor! Has the check on the recent sales of mandrake root generated any leads?
Second Voice: I fear not, Commissioner. It appears that none of those Doctors invited to consult with the incarcerated Royal Physician have purchased any at all recently.
First Voice: So we are no nearer to finding the assassin responsible for King Louis' death ?
Second Voice: Happily that is not quite the case, Sir. Some other information has come to light which may point the way. A young...gentlewoman of my acquaintance who works at the Lady's Slipper brought another suspicious death to my attention. Four months ago a colleague of hers, Catherine la Bosse, had been complaining of severe constipation (possibly due to heavy opium use). The resident physician, Doctor Guy Rampillon, prepared a draught for her which soon resulted in complaints of blurred vision, dry mouth, dizziness and abdominal pain - and then Mlle la Bosse began to suffer from severe vomiting and diarrhoea.
First Voice: It cured her constipation, I see...?
Second Voice: Briefly. Her pulse then grew progressively slower, she slipped into unconsciousness and died some days later. Exactly the same pattern of decline as His Majesty suffered.
First Voice: So you think this Guy Rampillon treated her with mandrake root?
Second Voice: It would appear so, Commissioner - which in itself is strange since there is no record of his ever having purchased any. A couple of weeks before this he was seen in long consultation with two passing Spanish clients of the Lady's Slipper, however, after which he began ingratiating himself with the Royal Physician (by way of gifts, running errands, inviting him to share the rounds - and the 'benefits' - at the Lady's Slipper and so forth). This is the reason he was invited to the consultation alongside the more respectable members of Paris' medical fraternity.
First Voice: So what you are saying, Doctor, is that Guy Rampillon was approached by Spanish agents who provided him with mandrake root. He used some on the unfortunate Mlle la Bosse (presumably to ascertain dosage) whilst ingratiating himself with Baron Alméras and was called into consultation with the Royal Physician when the King failed to respond to treatment. Whilst at the Louvre he secretly added the mandrake root to the draught being prepared for His Majesty as a result of which the King was sent to an early grave?
Second Voice: It's certainly a working hypothesis, Commissioner. There are definitely grounds for questioning him while conducting a search of his rooms at the Lady's Slipper and his apartment on the Rue de Fosses. Finding mandrake root in his possession would be most suspicious. Finding a bag of Spanish doubloons in addition would be pretty conclusive, I'd venture to say...
First Voice: Very well. If this Rampillon proves to be our man, I'd appreciate your utmost discretion regarding the Spanish connection. Although the new King is desirous of knowing the truth, it may be politic to put out that Rampillon was eaten up by jealousy and anger at being passed over regarding the appointment of the Commissioner of Public Health, and was working alone while the balance of his mind was disturbed.
Second Voice: As you wish, Commissioner. With your permission I'll take my leave...
First Voice: Oh, If you have a young protegé in the medical profession you might wish to drop him a hint of an impending vacancy at the Lady's Slipper. Whatever the truth regarding Rampillon's guilt or innocence, Porget will not appreciate his drawing the unwelcome attention of the authorities to his establishment - and will doubtless give him his marching orders tout de suite...