What did Miss Emily buy from the druggist?

Miss Emily buys arsenic from the druggist. She does not, as the law requires, explain to him what she plans to use it for.

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Miss Emily Grierson goes to the druggist in search of poison. She declares that she does not care what kind it is, but only that she wants "the best." The druggist names and describes several different kinds of poisons that could be used to kill "rats and such," but Miss...

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Miss Emily Grierson goes to the druggist in search of poison. She declares that she does not care what kind it is, but only that she wants "the best." The druggist names and describes several different kinds of poisons that could be used to kill "rats and such," but Miss Emily inquires specifically about arsenic. The druggist begins to explain that she might want something different for the killing of rodents, but she claims that she does indeed want arsenic.

He is prepared to sell it to her, but he says that, by law, she must disclose the purpose to which she intends to put this particular poison. Now, Miss Emily stares at him in silence, refusing to address him at all, until he becomes so uncomfortable that he simply goes to retrieve the arsenic she has requested. However, the druggist does not return to her again and, instead, sends his employee to give her the package with a handwritten note that says, "For rats."

Evidently, the druggist does not feel comfortable refusing Miss Emily what she requested, but he also does not feel comfortable with simply giving her the arsenic without knowing why she wants it. Of course, as we learn later, it seems that Miss Emily did not want the arsenic for rats at all.

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