Comic Annual, 4 (1833), 1–12.
The Compass, with Variations
Magnetism, Navigation, Superstition, Magic
A striking-looking man is the only passenger on a vessel bound from the Bay of Naples to Leghorn, and when a terrific storm blows up, he shows no sign of fear. After the storm is over, the compass points in random directions, so as to be 'past the whole philosophy of Newton or of Bacon' (9). The stranger's presence is discovered to be the cause of the erratic behaviour of the compass, and the seamen conclude him to be 'Michael Scott—the Wizard!' (11). Instead, the stranger confesses to be Walter Scott, which solves the magnetic puzzle, since in him 'the North / Has lodged its main attraction!' (12). The illustration captioned 'A Star of the First Magnetude' (12) depicts a horseshoe-shaped magnet in the sky, casting beams of light through dark clouds.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005-07
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