powdered_opium (powdered_opium) wrote in little_details,

Poisoning and Public School queries

Okay, so I've questions for a project I've been researching because, alas, the wonders of Google have failed me...

The context is that two of my characters, let's call them (in a fit of originality) A and B, attend public school in England until the age of 16-17 when, in the year of 1864, I want them both to be expelled. Character A is the legitimate grandson of a Duke / son of a Lord, from a family of old money, and the sole heir to his father's land and estates. He's your usual rich little brat with a twisted past. 
Character B is the illegitimate son of a Lord who survives on a monthly allowance. His father has paid for his education. Both these amenities are based on the agreement that B won't turn up and cause trouble for his father.  
He's your usual partner-in-crime to the rich little brat. 
Both A and B are estranged from their fathers. 


- How would other students react to B's illegitimacy, given that it's a fairly well-known fact? How would teachers react to him?

- They're not actually in a sexual relationship, but they are close friends and A refuses to befriend anyone else. Am I correct to assume that there would then be rumours with regard to the nature of their relationship? What's the likelihood of them being confronted with these allegations directly? 

- What would cause them to be expelled from a public school?
(For the sake of future plot-lines, expulsion due to "unnatural sexual practices" or substance misuse can't happen. Research has informed me that "insubordination, profane language, violence, or general failure to comply with the rules of the school" would cause an expulsion. This is modern information, though, and whilst it's probably generally remained the same as it was then, I'd like examples which I cannot seem to find. Also, it's suggested that the school would be reluctant to expel A, if not so much B, due to A's influential father.)

- What position would A and B have attained in the school by the time of their expulsion (A is 17, B is 16)? What benefits or otherwise would this position bring them?

Search terms used: eton + expulsion, public school + expulsion, reasons for expulsion, reasons for expulsion + public school...all I'm getting is articles about recent scandals regarding substance misuse. 

And on to the second query~

A few years later - in 1869 London - the companion of A and B, cleverly dubbed C, has been poisoned. C has also spent a week tied up in a riverside cellar with rope and trauma to the head (he got hit by an assailant with a candlestick and blacked out). Because of various events, he's also been injected with poison. I'm having trouble figuring out what poison I should use. Preferably I would like the symptoms to include fever, hallucinations, possibility of permanent blindness in one of his eyes and damage to the nerves in his hands / lack of co-ordination. So far, methanol appears to be a definite possibility, but I have some questions about this.

- How long would it take for C to die from methanol poisoning? 

- How difficult would it have been to obtain methanol, and its antidote? 

- Would a mixture of two poisons e.g. methanol and lead, be more effective in creating the symptoms required? 

- Would C be able to function, if poorly, for twenty-four hours after he was poisoned? After these twenty-four hours, would he remain lucid, or would the poison take over? 

- What would be the effects of his confinement/restraint, lack of food and water, and being hit with the candlestick have on him, both physically and psychologically? 

Search terms used are: causes of hallucinations, poisons that cause blindness, blindness + poison, hallucinations + poison, fever + poison, methanol + antidote, effects of methanol. 

Thank you for your help! 

Tags: 1860-1869, uk: history: victorian era, uk: nobility, ~medicine: poisoning, ~victorian era

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