Coroner’s Inquest.–At half past two o’clock yesterday, an Inquest was held at the Nag’s Head, Orange-court, Leicester-fields, before Anthony Gell, Esq. Coroner for Westminster, on the body of Madamoiselle Ann Paris, then lying dead at No. 4, St. Martin’s-street, Leicester-fields.
Sarah Upton deposed, that she is housemaid to the place; that the deceased had lodged about seven weeks in the house, during which time the witness attended more particularly than any other servant about the person of the deceased. She had frequently observed that the unfortunate young lady appeared to be rather flighty and tiresome in her manner, such as ringing the bell violently, giving orders and almost immediately after giving counter-orders; at other times she would ring with equal violence, and when any of the servants inquired what she wanted, she would tell them she wanted nothing. She was also extremely incoherent in her discourse, rambling from one subject to another with the utmost rapidity, and without there being the least connection between each.
In answer to a question from one of the Jurymen, the witness said that the deceased was by no means in the habit of drinking, but that on the day on which the unfortunate affair took place, she thought the deceased appeared wild, as if she had been drinking.
At one time the deceased told the witness that some one had said she was mad; another time she gave the witness a shilling to buy her some laudanum. The witness said ” Good God, Miss, you surely must be mad to think of such a thing; besides you know it is contrary to law, and I can’t procure it.” She then set down and wept bitterly; she said she could get it in a minute; she had been used to take it for a pain in her bowels.– The witness replied, “Very well, Miss, you may kill yourself, but I shall not give my assistance to the deed.” At other times, the poor young lady would be to all appearances in excellent spirits, when all of a sudden she would burst into tears, without any thing being said or done at the time to occasion it. She would sometimes fiddle with her clothes, like a person who was beside herself; she would collect a few flowers and deck her hair with them, and a thousand other little tricks that appeared to to the witness to be the most manifest proofs of a deranged intellect. On Wednesday, she went out at two, and returned at half after six o’clock. She then said, that she had given a coachman a 1l. note at Brompton, she had to pay the man only 2s. but she would not wait for her change, as she thought it was much better to lose money than time. She went out about a quarter of an hour, after the time of her coming home, and returned again at eight o’clock, having her bonnet all bedizened with artificial flowers. She got a candle, went up to her own apartments, and returned in about seven minutes time; she refused to take tea with two ladies that were in the parlour at the time; she sat down at first in an extremely pensive manner, then, in the course of a minute or two, with the utmost wildness in her countenance, she exclaimed, “Oh, I shall never see him again! I have done the job–I have taken good care that the laudanum I took should do the business.” The witness was instantly alarmed, knowing that the deceased had ordered her to get some laudanum for her before then. She ran up stairs in the utmost consternation, and saw the phials in the lady’s chamber. Upon her return she endeavoured to get some explanation for the poor young lady as to what induced her to commit such an act of desperation, but in vain–she looked wild, and continued raving for some time, and then fell into a state of stupefaction. Immediately on the unfortunate occurrence being known, medical assistance was sent for; three Professional Gentlemen attended, but they could afford her no relief. She died before daylight on Thursday morning. The witness knew nothing of any particular visitor to the deceased; neither had she the least knowledge of any of her relations or friends.
Mr. Emanuel Gristock, of Wardour-street, surgeon, stated, that between ten and eleven on Wednesday night he saw the deceased; she refused all medicine that was offered her for the purpose of expelling the poison; with some difficulty, however, the witness forced part of an emetic down her throat; she said she new she had done wrong; and in disjointed sentences and in broken accents raved something about her loving a young man. Upon examining her apartment the witness found one small bottle full of laudanum, and two others empty, which evidently had contained the same sort of poisonous liquid; their contents must have been between two and three ounces. He left the patient at twelve, being under the necessity of attending another at Knights – bridge.
Mr. James Wilkes, of the Haymarket, surgeon, saw the deceased at half after two on Thursday morning; she was then in a state of actual torpor, the nervous system appeared to be totally deranged, and she was incapable of making the least exertion with her body or limbs. She appeared to be past all hopes of recovery from the moment the witness saw her. However, having been previously apprised of the situations of the patient, the witness had taken a bottle containing an emetic in his pocket. With the utmost difficulty he forced part of it down her throat, but it had no effect–the patient continued in the same torpid state until five o’clock in the morning, when she expired. Dr. Hooper prescribed some other medicines, which we attempted to be administered, ut in vain; the patient was totally incapable of swallowing them.
A jeweller had known the young lady for a considerable length of time; he had served her with a variety of trinkets in his line of business, and was in the constant habit of attending her two or three times a week. He had frequently observed the poor unfortunate young lady act with the utmost inconsistency and wildness; he had repeatedly known her to burst into tears in the midst of apparent merriment; he had known her to order clothes to dress for going out, then turn short and saw she would not go out that day; and he had known her once ,after sitting for some time in the most pensive mode imaginable, start up suddenly, and exclaim, “No, I will not stand this.” She was between 17 and 18 years of age; he understood that she was born in France, but she spoke English as well as French. The day before the occurance of the melancholy transaction, which was the subject of the prevsent consideration of the Jury, she had, with frenzy depicted in her countenance, exclaimed, “Well, if my wishes are not fulfilled, I shall hang or drown myself.” The witness had not the least knowledge of what she alluded to neither had he ever heard that she had any relations in London. He was most decidedly of opinion that she was deranged in her intellects.
The Jury without a moment’s hesitation, returned their verdict– Insanity.
The history of this poor young creature is at once romantic and interesting. She is the daughter of a Monsieur Paris, who was well known in the commencement of the Revolution, and in which he suffered.– Madame Paris, with her infant daughter, took refuge in this country, and in the ruin of her fortune, became a governess in a noble family in Scotland. After this she had a house in the New-road; and, about two years ago died of the rupture of a blood vessel. Her daughter had been placed at an eminent boarding-school near one of the new squares; and on the death of her mother was placed under the guardianship of a Member of Parliament, who, with the most liberal and benevolent attention to her destitute situation, resolved to compleat her education; and she had every master of eminence in all the elegant arts. She spoke French and Italian; touched the piano with great execution; sung with taste; and had read beyond her years.
About six or eight months ago, she was met in the square, when walking with the other young ladies by a young man in the dress of a midshipman, who followed her to the door, and who wrote to her under the name of Jones. A correspondence took place. Her imagination was fired; and she eloped with him under a promise of marriage. His address was found in her box, and they were traced by her guardian, and separated. Jones declared that she was virtuous, and his intentions were honourable; and as a proof of it he was ready to marry her with her guardian’s consent. In effect they were married, and she was completely undone. In about a fortnight or three weeks Jones threw off his disguise, and fairly told her his real character,– that he was no sailor, but lived by his shifts; that he had married her only for the sum, her Protector had paid him, and that she must provide for herself. She was abandoned; and the shock had such an effect on her imagination, that she has ever since shewed signs of a disordered intellect. With a heart that shrunk from vice, she was flung on the world without a friend, or a home; and in this deplorable state she became the victim of necessity.
About three weeks ago she saw an officer, who is distinguished for his gallantries, and who by his address and attentions so won upon her affections, that she could neither speak nor think of any other object. This fatal attachment absorbed her whole soul. They entered into engagements to live and die only for one another; and in the frenzy of this passion, or under the idea that she could not be his, and his alone, she took the desperate resolution of dying for him. She had prepared three phials of opium, who of which she swallowed; and she died with a spirit of heroism; for no persuasion nor force could make her, when seized with the nausea of the poison, take any antidote to the draughts. She would not suffer the medical men to approach her–and though after stupefaction came on they administered every known medicine, they all failed of effect.
Citation: Morning Chronicle (London, United Kingdom), 06 January 1810, available at the Scissors and Paste Database, http://www.scissorsandpaste.net/381.