Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Monday, August 26, 2013

Unlike Grigor Rasputin, these Russians were not impervious to the effects of cyanide

The day we arrived back in Edinburgh after our American adventure there was a bit of excitement if the middle of town, with the Scotsman Hotel (on North Bridge - it's in what used to be the offices of The Scotsman newspaper) being evacuated and sealed off after a "chemical incident". There weren't too many details released, except that two people had been found dead in a hotel room and that a cylinder of a chemical had been taken away.

As the evacuation was very localised (and the casualty list very short) we clearly weren't talking about nerve agents or other war gases here. On the other hand, it must have been something gaseous or volatile, and highly toxic, to have caused the problem in the first place. I guessed a cyanide-driven suicide pact, and I seem to have been dead right (though I missed the nitrous oxide part). Certainly a lot more exciting than most finds of dead bodies in Edinburgh.

Here are a couple of vaguely relevant blasts from the past (1979 and 1978 respectively). No disrespect intended to the unfortunate pair in the hotel. Though as they were together in death perhaps I should borrow the phrase from Virgil, who in book IX of the Aeneid describes the equally dead best mates Nisus and Euryalus (very much a case of "don't ask, don't tell", it would appear) slain together, as "fortunati ambo" = "fortunate both", or "O happy pair".


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