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"And last," he says. "We found this by the stove." He lifts out a heavy brass bowl with calibration marks around the lip. From inside the bowl he lifts out a heavy metal disk. "Some sort of pointing device?"

"It's the Bath Compass," Claudia says immediately. "Captain Torvey described it in an old letter I have. He was convinced it pointed north more accurately than any other compass. I can tell the full story, if you want."

"How does it work, do you know?"

She takes the device from William. "You fill the bowl with mercury," she says, "up to this line. Then you float the disk in it. When you're done, you use this spout to pour the mercury back."

"Into what?" William reaches down. "Into one of these, eh?" he says, pulling one out one of the thick glass bottles. It's full of shining silver liquid. "We found two of them next to the device, still full of quicksilver. Heavy, aren't they?"


An Access Excellence Science Mystery sponsored by Genentech, Inc.
Copyright © 1997 Genentech, Inc.; all rights reserved.


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