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Equally harmless

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Peter picked up two small white paper packets, each neatly fastened with sealing wax. One bore the innocent label 'Bicarbonate of Soda', the other a more reprobate legend.

‘I say, Bunter, could you explain exactly what―?’

Bunter looked up from displeased inspection of a length of decayed Bunsen burner tubing. ‘Yes, my lord. Your cases have, naturally, made you quite familiar with these chemical compounds, but on terms perhaps best described as “either/or.” I am curious to try―to synthesise, as it were, a both/and approach, my lord.’

‘Disinterested scientific enquiry, eh? Nothing to beat it. Carry on.’