Arsenic is about the same age as Rue and the twins, maybe a bit older. Percy describes her as "on the smallish side, thin compared to Rue and Prim, and a mite taller" with a serious face, dark hair and dark blue, almost violet eyes. She also has a predilection for sportswear and eschews wearing hats unless they are sunhats and serve an actual purpose. Overall she is very practical in her manner of dress, preferring clothes that offer a certain freedom of mobility and don't stain easily. In accordance with that she also keeps her hair in a simple braid rather than some fancier do.
She has a distinct Scottish accent (which she has tried to train herself out of) and smells of honeysuckle.
Arsenic was born as the fourth and youngest daughter of Preshea and Gavin Ruthven and grew up in Scotland.
She studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh via a correspondence degree and posed as a man for some of her practical experience. She also served as a battle field surgeon and accompanied the military to South Africa, though she was not enlisted.
In the books Edit
- Her mother not only named all the Ruthven girls after poisons but also taught them some of what she learned at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s and during her career as an assassin - even before studying medicine, Arsenic knew eight ways to kill a man
- Arsenic's older sister Belladonna is a professor of botany
- ↑ "Reticence", page 8