Marie Cappelle Lafarge, a French woman notorious for her condemnation as a poisoner, born at Villers-Hellon, Aisne, in 1816, died at Ussat, a watering place in the Pyrenees, Nov.

7, 1852. She belonged to a good family, and was accustomed to all the refinements of Parisian life. In 1838 she married Pouch-Lafarge, an owner of iron works at Glandier, in the department of Correze, who represented himself as a wealthy country gentleman; but being disappointed in her expectations, she quarrelled with him and exhibited the utmost rancor toward him. After about 16 months her husband was seized with a strange illness, and within a fortnight he died. Strong suspicion fixed upon Madame Lafarge, who, it was proved, had twice purchased arsenic under pretence of killing rats. She was arrested, and when in confinement was charged by one of her relations with having stolen a set of diamonds; and these having been found in her possession, she was sentenced to two years' imprisonment (April, 1840). Not daunted by this, she represented herself as the victim of a deep-laid conspiracy, and declared her innocence of both robbery and poisoning. The public at home and abroad became interested in her case. She secured the services of three eminent advocates; and the evidence against her was so slight that a verdict of acquittal was confidently expected, when the celebrated Orfila, who had made a chemical examination of the body of the deceased, reported evidences of poison.

Madame Lafarge was found guilty and sentenced to hard labor for life (September, 1840). Public opinion was still divided. The chemist Raspail impugned the report of Orfila, and a bitter controversy ensued. The convict, incarcerated at Montpellier, published her Memoires (4 vols. 8vo, 1841-2), and continued to receive marks of sympathy. After five years of imprisonment she was permitted to remove to the convent of St. Remy, and the interest manifested in her behalf on account of her failing health contributed to procure her liberation in June, 1852. She removed to Ussat, where she soon died protesting her innocence. Her Heures de prison, containing her thoughts during her confinement, was published after her death (3 vols. 8vo, 1853).