Pitt's niece claimed to have 'found a cure for the plague'

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An eccentric aristocrat who deserted English society to travel the world believed she had found a cure for the plague, letters show.

Lady Hester Stanhope, the niece of the Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, claimed to have cured a 12-year-old boy with a mysterious remedy called "serpent stone".

The ingredients are not described, but it is thought to have been a homemade concoction.

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