Aconite

In Ithaca Bloom thinks of his father's death in 1886 from aconite poisoning. In Circe, as he reflects on "Patriotism, sorrow for the dead, music," and paternity (the “future of the race”), he mentally reenacts his father’s suicide, imagining the drawn blinds of the hotel room in Ennis, a suicide letter, and the soft breaths before asphyxiation. He imagines that Rudolph committed suicide by ingesting a “few pastilles of aconite.” Pastilles are small candies or lozenges often used to deliver doses of medicine. Aconite is a poisonous plant of the buttercup family, but it was used medicinally as an herbal remedy for a wide-range of symptoms including fever, constipation, anxiety, and sciatica.

Morgan Lawrence 2014

Tin of Allenbury's Throat Pastilles, produced ca. 1920-1940 by Allen & Hanburys Ltd., a British pharmaceutical firm. These pastilles contain cocaine, like aconite a plant-derived "Poison" meant to be used under medical supervision. Source: collectionsonline.nmsi.ac.uk.

St. Jacob's Oil, a pain-relieving liniment sold in the United States by A. Vogeler & Co., starting ca. 1880. The oil contained turpentine, camphor, ether, alcohol, carbolic acid, capsicum (to warm the skin), chloroform, and aconite (.0132%). Source: www.centerforinquiry.net.