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Title: Sleight of Hand - A Practical Manual of Legerdemain for Amateurs & Others
Author: Sachs, Edwin Thomas
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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A Practical Manual of Legerdemain
for Amateurs & Others



Dover Publications, Inc.
New York

Published in Canada by General Publishing Company, Ltd.,
30 Lesmill Road, Don Mills, Toronto, Ontario.

This Dover edition, first published in 1980, is an unabridged
republication of the second, greatly enlarged, edition of the
work as published by L. Upcott Gill, London, 1885.

_International Standard Book Number: 0-486-23911-X
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 79-54184_

Manufactured in the United States of America
Dover Publications, Inc.
180 Varick Street
New York, N. Y. 10014


CHAP.                                              PAGE

INTRODUCTION                                         1

     PART I. DRAWING-ROOM MAGIC.                     4

I.--PALMING                                          5

II.--TRICKS WITH COINS                               9

III.--TRICKS WITH COMMON OBJECTS                    39

IV.--TRICKS WITH CUPS AND BALLS                     54

V.--TRICKS WITH HANDKERCHIEFS                       62

VI.--CHINESE TRICKS                                 70

VII.--TRICKS AT TABLE                               77

VIII.--TRICKS WITH CARDS                            88

     PART II.--GRAND, OR STAGE MAGIC.              149

IX.--GENERAL REMARKS                               149

X.--THE TABLE AND DRESS                            156


XII.--TRICKS WITH CARDS                            186


XIV.--TRICKS WITH COINS                            232

XV.--MISCELLANEOUS                                 257

XVI.--THE CORNUCOPIAN HAT                          346



XIX.--FINAL INSTRUCTIONS                           392


It is always a matter for self-congratulation on the part of an author
to be called upon to furnish a Preface to a second or subsequent
edition of some "bantling of his brain." In the present instance the
task is more satisfactory than usual, the author not coming before
the reader empty-handed. Since the publication of the first edition,
conjurors have not been idle, and numerous new methods for producing
magical surprises have been invented. Such of these as are suitable
or worthy--for, in their haste to be novel, many have failed to be
satisfactory--the author has incorporated; and, by a thorough revision
of the work, he has placed before the aspiring conjuror, written up
to date, all that it is possible for him to know in the region of

                E. S.


  _April_, 1885.



"It is as pleasant to be cheated as to cheat," is a maxim that must
have been framed expressly for conjuring, for the more completely one
is deceived by its medium (and, be it said, by its medium alone) the
better one is pleased.

The date of the origin of conjuring, as we now understand the art, is
not known, but there must have been proficients in the practice of
it as early as the time of Chaucer; for that ancient writer speaks
of one Coll Tregetour (Tregetour signifying a juggler) producing
a windmill from beneath a walnut shell. There is doubtless some
slight exaggeration in this statement, or else modern wizards are
far behind those of early days--an hypothesis I cannot accept. In
the superstitious lands of the East, jugglery was doubtless at the
bottom of the many manifestations that were mixed up with religion,
and the wily priests made the best (or worst) uses of its influence
on the uncultivated mind. When we consider the effect that is even
now produced on the minds of an enlightened audience by a skilful
manipulator, the wonderment of people who were but half civilised,
and who were taught to believe in spirits, is scarcely a matter for

Although superstition has not died out--if, indeed, it ever _will_
die out--there are now very few people who attribute the successes
of a conjuror to any other agency than that of his own skill; always
excepting that of the everlasting "confederate," who, as the reader of
the following pages will discover, exists, in ninety-nine cases out of
a hundred, only in the imagination of the spectator.

Formerly, conjurors appeared clothed in long robes and tall, pointed
hats, both covered with mystic signs and symbols; Robert Houdin, whom
we may consider the father of modern conjuring, being the first to
perform in the now conventional evening dress. This innovation had the
effect of increasing the genuineness of the performance, as it was an
easy matter to conceal large articles beneath a flowing robe, such as
had been previously worn; but the close-fitting dress suit affords no
means of concealment--to the minds of an audience, at any rate. Houdin
was the means of elevating the art in the eyes of the public, besides
investing it with nearly all that it possesses of the graceful; and,
as it has undergone still more improvement since his time, it has
now become a pursuit well worthy the attention of anyone inclined
to follow it up, as much for the amusement of himself as of others.
Besides its power of amusing, conjuring affords an immense amount of
instruction to its student, and is useful in inculcating coolness,
precision, and an endless amount of resource, which will always stand
one in good stead on the world's wide and ever-changing stage.

It is my intention to give, in the following pages, such instruction
as shall enable the merest tyro to become an adept in the art of
Legerdemain, providing that a due degree of attention is given
and a reasonable amount of practice undertaken. Practice, indeed,
is what is required in order to achieve success in any pursuit or
amusement, whatever its nature may be, and without it the best of
instruction is given in vain. For this reason, I must exhort such
of my readers as may seek to amuse their friends through the medium
of what I shall impart to them to devote as much time as they can
spare to practice at the outset, in order that they may acquire a
neat method of manipulation, which is the keystone of success in a
conjuror, and which, once attained, will never leave them. If to this
delicacy of manipulation is added a suavity of manner, accompanied
by a never-failing cool daring, then the perfection of a conjuror is

Magic may safely be divided into two parts, Drawing-room Magic and
Grand Magic. As it is in the family circle that every amateur conjuror
mostly exhibits his attainments, I shall first treat of drawing-room
magic; indeed, it is absolutely necessary to be a master of that
branch, in order to undertake grand magic successfully. The success of
the conjuror who can perform only on the stage, far removed from all
inquisitorial interference, will be but of short duration. I find it
has been the case with most amateurs, who rarely find opportunities
for performing on a stage, that their greatest successes have been
achieved in the drawing-room.

The very first thing a conjuror must procure is a conjuring-wand--an
implement that is always supposed by the audience to be for show only;
and for such they must always be made to think it is. It is, however,
an absolutely indispensable article, both to beginner and proficient,
as it serves as an auxiliary to the concealment of any article in the
hand, as will be explained hereafter. For the present, all the learner
has to do is to procure a round stick of ebony, about 18in. long,
fitted with ivory, silver, or brass ferrules (not caps) countersunk
at each end, and to trust to me to its being necessary. It is best to
have the wand made to suit the taste, as those sold at conjuring-shops
are invariably too short. Any walking-stick manufacturer will make it.



This derives its chief beauty from the fact that it is almost entirely
dependent on pure sleight of hand, a fact which audiences are never
slow to appreciate. The most familiar objects are dealt with, and are
made to vanish and re-appear in unexpected places, as though they
really were disembodied and reinstated. The amateur will find, after
a few years' experience, that the impromptu performances he may, from
time to time, be called upon to give in the drawing-rooms of his
acquaintances, will be much more satisfactory to both himself and his
audiences than the more pretentious affairs given upon stages, which
call for a great deal of management, apart from ability, to render
them successes. When once the performer has attained the credit of
being better than the ordinary ruck, it will become incumbent upon him
to keep up the level of skill by means of practice, as wonder must
follow wonder in ever-increasing proportion.

Coins, from being so readily procurable, and from their adaptability,
are deservedly favourite media, and with them I shall first deal. For
all general purposes, a well-conditioned florin will be found the
best coin for the beginner; although, of course, he must, in time, be
able to manipulate slippery half-crowns and pennies with equal ease.
Florins, as a rule, are more readily procurable in these days, but few
half-crowns being coined in comparison with them. But as the conjuror
must be provided against all emergencies, I shall give directions for
the best method of treatment for each coin. The means adopted for the
temporary concealment of a coin in the hand is known as Palming, and
I shall commence Drawing-room Magic with a description of the various




[Illustration: FIG. 1.]

[Illustration: FIG. 2.]

[Illustration: FIG. 3.]

_Method 1. The Palm Proper._--Hold the coin firmly between the thumb
on the one side and the middle and third fingers on the other, the
first and little fingers taking up graceful positions, as it were,
to cover the movement about to be made (Fig. 1). Remove the thumb
to its ordinary position of repose, and, at the same instant, let
the two fingers (second and third) press the coin into the palm of
the hand, half way down the root of the thumb, the muscles of which
must be brought to bear against the edge of the coin, so that it is
held firmly and forms a bridge over the hollow of the hand (Fig. 2).
A backward and forward swing should be given to the hand whilst the
coin is being palmed, as it not only covers the movement, but also
facilitates the operation in a marked degree. In pressing the coin
home, it will be found that the third finger will be more used than
the middle one. The instant the palm is effected, the hand must
be made to assume the most natural position possible under the
circumstances, the little finger being well thrown out, after the
dainty manner ladies affect when holding a cup, so as to give the hand
breadth. Some beginners think that in holding the hand perfectly flat
they are effecting a very beautiful palm; but this is not the case,
as can be seen at once by looking at the hand without any coin in its
palm. That is the model the conjuror must copy: any unnatural position
at once betrays the fact that something unusual is going on. For this
method, the florin will be found the best coin, its edge affording a
better hold than that of any other piece.

_Method 2. The Finger Palm._--The coin is held between the thumb and
forefinger, and the latter then slid aside, so that the coin rests
upon the side of the middle finger. The forefinger then takes the
place of the thumb, and the coin is held as in Fig. 3. The action is
simplified if the coin is held in the first instance between the thumb
and middle finger, but it looks awkward and suspicious. This method
will be found particularly adapted for concealing coins of the size of
a shilling and less. Larger coins should not be treated thus, except
in emergencies, when anything is allowable.

_Method 3. The Thumb Palm._--This palm is not generally known, which
is to be wondered at, for it is a very safe and easy one. The coin
is simply held between the thumb and forefinger, and then slid to
the root of the latter, where it is held, as in Fig. 4. The only
objection to this palm is that it keeps the thumb a close prisoner, to
the manifest loss of grace, but it is exceedingly useful for large
and slippery coins, such as half-crowns, pennies, and crowns.

[Illustration: FIG. 4.]

[Illustration: FIG. 5.]

_Method 4._--Two, three, and four coins may be palmed by the first
method, but the method shown at Fig. 5 is the safer. There is a
rather unnatural disposition of the thumb about it, but the fingers
are left free play.

[Illustration: FIG. 6.]

_Method 5. Reverse Palm._--It is sometimes required of the performer
to show that his hands do not contain any coin. If a coin is palmed
in one of them, he must first exhibit the other open in a very
ostentatious manner, and, whilst the audience is momentarily engaged
in looking at it, press the coin, by means of the thumb, through the
fingers of the hand in which it is held, so that it protrudes at the
back, and cannot be seen from the front (Fig. 6). Some performers
have brought this palm to a great state of perfection. One very
telling effect is to pretend to throw the coin away. For this purpose,
it is held between the tips of the first finger and thumb, whilst
lying upon the side of the middle finger. As the action of throwing
is imitated, the forefinger is slid over the coin, the thumb being
removed, and the coin thus made to protrude at the back of the hand.

Other fanciful methods of palming exist, but they will be of no
practical use to the conjuror, so I have omitted descriptions of them.




The uses of the palm will make themselves manifest in every trick in
which money is used as a medium, but the beginner can astonish his
friends, and, at the same time, make himself perfect, by any of the
following minor tricks:

(_a_) Throw the coin backwards and forwards, from hand to hand,
three or four times, in a careless manner, always taking care that
the left hand is shut well over each time the coin is contained in
it; and then make a feint of throwing, but, in reality, palm the
coin after the method that best suits its size. The hand (in most
cases it would be the left, as the majority of conjurers palm with
the right; with left-handed people it would be, of course, reversed)
which is supposed to receive the coin must be closed smartly, so as to
make a noise similar to that caused by a coin thrown into the palm.
This is effected by the ends of the two middle fingers striking the
fleshy part of the thumb (Fig. 7). If this is properly executed,
the illusion is perfect, and all eyes will be directed to the left
hand, when the coin can be quietly placed in a side or tail pocket, to
which receptacle it may afterwards be made to pass from the left hand,
where it is supposed to be, in a magical manner. I would recommend
the beginner to practice this movement sedulously in private, as it
teaches quick and neat palming, and will prove a most useful auxiliary
to many important tricks. By "passing" a coin from place to place "in
a magical manner" is implied the act of _pretending_ to do so; it
being an accepted axiom amongst conjurers never to "pass" anything
invisibly to any given spot until the article is already safely
located there. This practice will, of course, commend itself to all as
avoiding untoward mistakes. To "pass" a coin from the hand, wave the
wand over it, and say whatever you think will go down best with the
particular audience you have before you. A sharp rap on the knuckles
will complete the operation, but always take care to show the hand
empty, otherwise the trick is spoilt. If the wand is not handy,
pretend to rub the coin away between the fingers, or affect to give it
to one of the audience. (See Figs. 8 and 9 for an effective method.)

[Illustration: FIG. 7.
(The dotted line represents the coin palmed in the right hand.)]

[Illustration: FIG. 8.]

[Illustration: FIG. 9.]

(_b_) Have a coin palmed in the left hand, and borrow a similar one
from the audience, and have it well marked (always have coins marked
where possible, "to prevent changing"). Make a movement as though you
placed the marked coin in the left hand, but in reality palm it. At
the same time, open the left hand, and the coin that has been snugly
concealed there will look as if it had just left the right hand. By
this means a change is effected which you can utilise according to
circumstances. By fidgeting about among the audience, you may be able
to place the marked coin under one of them; the other coin being held
by someone who is directed to hold it "very high, sir, very high, so
that everyone can see it"--the real object being to keep him from
examining it too closely. By standing the holder of the coin on a
chair, an opportunity for slipping the palmed coin into his pocket
presents itself, and should be taken advantage of. The marked coin
being once safely hidden, it is an easy matter to palm the unmarked
one (which, of course, the audience has been led to believe is the
marked one) and make it "pass" invisibly to wherever the other may be.
The conjuror's own coin should always be provided with a very distinct
mark--a cross is invariably a safe one to employ--as it is rarely that
one meets with people who can refrain from instituting an illicit
investigation so soon as the conjuror's back is turned. When the
holder of the coin is seen to be surreptitiously examining it for the
mark, the conjuror should not prevent him, but call the attention of
the audience to the fact, and ask if the mark be visible. The holder,
seeing the cross, will answer in the affirmative; he not being aware,
of course, that the borrowed coin was possibly marked with a very
different sign. This incident will add to the effectiveness of the

In tricks _a_ and _b_ the wand will be found very useful. It
should always be carried under the arm, after the manner in which
soldiers carry their canes; and when any palm has been effected, and
the coin has to remain concealed in the hand, the wand should be taken
in the hand containing the coin. Beginners, especially, will find
this of great assistance, as in the case of a somewhat defective palm
the coin can be pressed well home by clenching the wand hard. Besides
this, the fact of carrying a wand in the hand keeps the idea of the
coin being there from the minds of the audience; and the mind is what
the conjuror has to deceive.

(_c_) Have a coin palmed in the right hand (Palm No. 2), and procure
a similar one, marked, which hold up to the audience by the left
hand. Pretend to take it in the right, but let it fall into the hollow
of the left hand (Figs. 8 and 9); the unmarked coin in the right
hand being exhibited. In order to effect this daring change naturally
and without detection, the thumb of the right hand must be passed
through the ring formed by the thumb and forefinger of the left and
the coin held between them, and the fingers closed well over the
coin, which will appear to be grasped by them. Now place the left
hand under the table, the right hand remaining above. Covered by the
action of bringing it on the table, execute Palm No. 1 with the
right hand, but keep the fingers formed as though they still held the
coin, which you then pretend to lay on the table with a sharp "click."
This "click" is made by the coin in the left hand, under the table,
in order that the illusion may be perfect. The right hand will then
affect to rub the coin through the table, and eventually the one in
the left hand, which has in reality never been out of it, will be
produced. The noise of rubbing is also made by the coin under the
table, only it must not be continued too long; and care must be taken
that the two hands act in perfect unison, as it will not do for the
noise to continue when the action of rubbing with the right hand has
ceased. This trick is not so difficult as it looks on paper, and is
very effective. The whole trick consists in pretending to take the
marked coin from the fingers of the left hand without doing so.

(_d_) Conceal a number of coins in the left hand. As a quantity cannot
be easily palmed, they must be held in the hand with the wand. If that
is not handy, hold the flap of the coat; but care should be taken
that the wand _is_ at hand for this trick. Borrow a hat, taking it in
the right hand (in which a solitary coin is palmed), and transfer it
rapidly to the left in such a manner that the crown is always towards
the audience, and the fingers holding the coins are inside. The coins
must not be jingled, or the trick will be exposed. Tell one of the
audience that he must be very rich if he can afford to carry money
about in such strange places as you perceive he does. Surprise will,
of course, be expressed on his part, when you will fumble about in his
hair, and eventually find the coin which you have had palmed. This is
a much better method of commencing than merely saying, "I have here
a shilling." It is sure to amuse the audience, and put you on a good
footing with them; besides which, it is always well to mingle as much
with them as possible, as then people go home and say, "Oh! he came
right down among us, and found money in people's heads," &c. Also take
care to find the money in an elegant and inoffensive manner. Having
spun the coin in the air, in order to show that it is a real one,
retire to the end of the room, as far away as you can, if the room
is small, and hold the hat, still in the left hand, before you, with
the crown towards the audience. With the coin in the right hand, make
a pass at the hat, palming the coin (Palm No. 2), and letting one
from the left hand fall. You will then appear to have passed the coin
from the right hand into the hat, by way of the crown. Should the coin
by accident fall on a soft place in the hat, and make no noise in so
doing, shake the hat about to show that the coin really is inside, or
no one will know what is supposed to have taken place. Now advance a
step or two, looking cautiously forward as if you saw something in the
air, and suddenly make a dart out with the right hand, at the same
time bringing the coin to the extreme ends of the fingers. The idea
conveyed is that the coin has been caught in the air (Fig. 10).
Pass it through the hat, letting another fall from the left hand,
and shaking the hat so as to ensure the two that have been dropped
jingling together, and find another in the air a little farther on.
Proceed in this way till all the coins in the left hand are exhausted
(varying the proceedings by occasionally finding one at your elbow or
foot), and then show the hat with coins to the audience, a member of
which will doubtless have "just one more" seated on the tip of the
nose, which coin is put into the hat in the ordinary way. The beginner
should use shillings, seven or eight only in number, for this trick,
although larger coins are certainly more effective at a distance. It
is best to use two palms, viz., the finger palm when the coin is to be
caught in the air or in the flame of a candle (a very pretty effect),
as it is more readily brought to the ends of the fingers from that
position; and either of the others (No. 1 for choice), when the coin
is to be found on the body or elsewhere. It is as well to occasionally
pretend to put the coin into the hat in the ordinary way, instead
of through the crown. Some conjurors object altogether to passing
through the crown; but this is merely a matter of fancy. It sometimes
happens that the person in whose hair you find the first piece will,
from his being a "funny man," or otherwise privileged person, ask you
to give him back his property. Acquiesce at once with his request,
of course after your own manner, which will be to palm the coin, and
pretend to give it to him, much to his discomfiture. In borrowing the
hat, be sure that it hides the left hand in the act of being taken,
so that any accidental exposure of the coins held there, which might
occur through inexperience, will be covered. Also observe the greatest
caution in dropping only one coin into the hat at the first pass.
After the first coin has fallen, it does not matter if two or more are
accidentally let fall at once, as the error could not be detected;
but at the commencement it would be simply fatal to do so. Under cover
of the hat it is easy to separate one coin from the rest for the first
drop. If the number of coins is very limited, you must give the hat a
short, sharp shake, which will serve in lieu of letting one fall; but
only do this now and then. This trick will be treated in an enlarged
form, under the head of "Grand Magic." When any number of coins are
required for any other trick, they should always be collected in
this manner, it being a most effective method. Always take a step
in advance each time a coin is found. For this reason the performer
should stand well to the right on the stage on commencing.

[Illustration: FIG. 10.]

(_e_) The following makes an excellent "follow" to the preceding
trick: Suppose that you have sixteen coins in all in the hat; conceal
four of them in one hand. If the hat is then held by the same hand,
it will not be noticed that it contains any coins. Now ask someone to
count the coins in the hat, and, of course, there will be twelve. Take
four of these away, and give them to be held by another person. Hold
the hat high in the air, and tell the person who has the remaining
eight coins to drop them into it when you have counted "three." Watch
the action of his hand narrowly, and, as the eight coins fall, release
the four concealed in the hand which holds the hat so that they all
fall exactly together. The great thing to avoid is the sound of two
distinct drops, which would be fatal. Leaving the hat, covered with a
handkerchief if you please, in the hands of your temporary assistant,
who will, of course, be enjoined to "hold it very high," you take the
four coins just previously given to be held, and "pass" them invisibly
into the hat, where, of course, twelve coins will be found. The method
for passing used is the same as that depicted at Fig. 7, with the
difference that the coins are not palmed. They must be held in the
fingers loosely (Fig. 11) so that when the false movement of placing
them in the outstretched palm is made they will come together with a
clash, which is highly necessary for the success of the pass. The
hand actually containing the coins must instantly seize the wand,
which article will then cause the magic journey from left hand to hat
to be made. Be careful that the counting of the coins is done in a
very deliberate manner, and in a loud voice, so that everyone in the
room knows how many coins are supposed to be in the hat before you
pass the rest into it. If this is not done, the effect of the trick is

[Illustration: FIG. 11.]

Here let me advise my readers to assiduously practise quick palming,
for which purpose I would recommend trick _a_ as a most effective
exercise. So much depends upon a quick and secure palm, that too
great a stress cannot be laid upon it. Indeed, I cannot too strongly
impress the learner with the necessity of practising everything, to
the minutest detail, in private, before venturing to perform before
others. By so doing, much chagrin and disappointment will be averted.

(_f_) The trick I am now about to describe will, I have no doubt,
be known to many of my readers; but I ask no excuse for giving it
here, as those who can claim a previous acquaintanceship with the
trick will, perhaps, here learn a wrinkle or two worth knowing:
Borrow a handkerchief. When I say "borrow a handkerchief," I do not
mean simply borrow one without any comment. On the contrary, make
a great fuss about never using your own handkerchief, &c.; and be
particular to hand round all borrowed articles for inspection, to show
that you "have no confederates." By making your audience thoroughly
sick of looking at borrowed articles, they are more likely to pass
over anything of your own that will not bear minute examination.
This should be borne well in mind. Spread the handkerchief out upon
the table, and place a coin, not heavier or larger than a shilling
(borrowed and marked), in the centre of it. Beneath the nail of the
middle finger of the right hand (which hand is immaterial, but for the
purpose of illustration it is necessary to use the terms "right" and
"left") you have a small piece of bees' wax (on no account cobblers'
wax) which you have previously made tolerably adhesive by working it
about. Place this finger on the coin, saying, "Now, in order that
all may see that I do not for one instant move the coin from its
position, I place this finger upon it," and, taking up one of the
corners of the handkerchief in the other hand, fold it over the coin
so as to well cover it, and press it down hard, allowing the wax to
come off on the coin, and to cause a mutual adherence between it and
the handkerchief. Fold the remaining three corners over one another
with great deliberation, exhibiting a portion of the coin each time,
to show that there is "no cheating." When all four corners are folded
over, the handkerchief will still be in the shape of a square, but
of course much smaller than it was at the commencement, and it will
have an aperture running from the centre to each corner. Note the
portion of the handkerchief to which the coin is stuck, and place
the two hands, side by side, in the aperture formed by this portion
and the one next to it (Fig. 12). If the hands are now separated
briskly, and the sides of the handkerchief allowed to slide through
the fingers, it stands to reason that, the coin being fast to the
corner of the handkerchief, it will, when the corner is reached,
find its way into the hand. The handkerchief must be shaken hard,
as soon as the coin is safe in the hand, for effect. The operations
of opening the handkerchief and shaking it must be practised until
they can be compassed both smoothly and quickly in one movement.
The trick is easy, but requires some little practice. Common soap
is an excellent substitute for wax, but it has the disadvantage of
being less portable. The beauty of the wax is that it can be so
easily concealed beneath the nail, and comes off the coin cleanly.
The coin successfully vanished from the handkerchief, it rests with
the performer to reproduce it in what manner he pleases. If he has
already found coins in the heads of the audience, the reproduction
can be varied. For instance, if a tiny piece of wax be affixed to
the flat end of the wand, and that end brought into contact with the
coin whilst in the palm, and a little pressure used, the coin will
adhere. Then, if the wand be passed rapidly behind a curtain, or
inside the coat of one of the audience, a great effect can be caused
by slowly producing the vanished article from its supposed place of
concealment at the end of the wand. The trick can be further prolonged
by having about 15in. of human hair, with a tiny bead of wax at the
end, affixed to a waistcoat button. Affix the coin to the waxed
end, and place it in a wineglass, in which it can be easily made
to dance by slightly moving the glass or depressing the hair with
the wand, which is supposed to be beating time. Such a combination
of tricks, each one easy in itself, affords invaluable practice to
the beginner. The conjuror, like the chess-player, must always see,
in his mind's eye, two or three moves ahead, so that no hitch or
hesitation occurs. For example, the instant the coin reaches the hand
from the handkerchief, it must be palmed, the wand taken up, and the
handkerchief ostentatiously given round for inspection to show that
there is no hole in it, or for any other plausible reason. Perhaps
you will only gain five seconds by this, but that is time enough to
enable you to press the wand against the coin. You must not, after
this, allow the least pause to occur, but at once seize someone, and
have your wand inside his coat before he knows what you are about; for
it must be remembered that, if the action is noticed, the coin will
be noticed too, as it is in a tolerably conspicuous position at the
end of the wand. Then, whilst you are rating the individual soundly
for having endeavoured to spoil your trick by concealing the coin, and
drawing universal attention to him, one hand will be busily employed
in pressing the waxed end of the hair against the coin. The trick of
dancing a coin in a glass is so well known that no one with any desire
for a reputation as a prestidigitateur would introduce it by itself;
but, in the illustration I have just given, the coin has been in such
a variety of places and situations, that the idea of its being fixed
to anything does not enter the minds of the audience. Half-a-minute's
dancing is quite sufficient, and at the end of it the attention of the
audience must be at once drawn into another groove by your showing the
coin to be the veritable one marked some time since, the wax being
removed by a finger nail.

[Illustration: FIG. 12.]

(_g_) Another very pretty trick is the following, although also well
known. Procure (a "magical repository" will be found the best place
to go to in the long run) a "nest" of round boxes, one fitting inside
the other. If the outside one is of the size of a crown piece, and
the inner one large enough to contain a shilling, the "nest" should
consist of nine or ten boxes. Have the lids arranged in order, one
within the other, and the bodies in the same manner, beside the
lids. If you are performing with a retiring screen, the boxes can be
arranged behind it. Lacking this, the next best plan is to have them
at the bottom of a bag, which will stifle the noise made by shutting
them. Borrow a marked coin, which you will exchange for a similar one
in your palm (Palm No. 1). Give this to be held. Say, "Now, here
I have a small box." But as you have purposely left the "small box"
behind your screen or in your bag, as the case may be, you will have
to go and fetch it. As soon as your hands are out of sight, pop the
coin (which will be the marked one) into the smallest box, and shut
all the lids down together. If you have to do this inside the bag,
and consequently in full view of the audience, your face must bear an
anxious and slightly annoyed expression, as if the box could not be
found. As soon as the manoeuvre is executed, exclaim, as if much
relieved, "Ah, here it is. Now, ladies and gentlemen," &c., &c. The
operation of shutting all the boxes down at once is a very simple
one if the lids are taken in one hand and the bodies in the other,
the two halves meeting, as it were, half way. A little practice will
soon show the futility of attempting to _turn_ the lids over on the
bodies. Place the box in a prominent place (do not give it to be held,
as a slight shake will reveal the fact that there is a coin already
inside), and, taking the coin out of the handkerchief, "pass" it into
the box, which now ask someone to open. Of course, box No. 2 will be
found inside, at which you will say, "Dear me!" or make any other
expression of surprise. Boxes Nos. 3, 4, and so on will in turn be
revealed, amidst great amusement, and in the innermost one, which
the performer must, on no account, open himself, the coin will be
discovered. You cannot very well avoid allowing an examination of the
boxes, but always take care that the lids are in one place and the
boxes in another, and all in great confusion as to gradation of size,
and at the earliest opportunity sweep them away. It is the fashion
to perform this trick with a coin previously sewn in a handkerchief,
which handkerchief is whisked in the air. The effect is decidedly
good, if not spoilt (as it certainly will be, ever and anon) by a
demand to examine the handkerchief, which demand, I need hardly say,
it is impossible to accede to. This sort of thing the conjuror must
never indulge in. Let him borrow and return his handkerchief like a
man, and trust to his sleight of hand.

(_h_) Palm a penny (Palm No. 1); borrow another, and a florin.
Ask one of the audience to extend his or her hands (palms open and
upwards) towards you; give the borrowed penny to be held by someone
else, hold the florin at the ends of the fingers of the left hand,
and execute the pass described in trick _c_, which will leave the
florin in the palm of the left hand. The penny in the right hand
must not, however, be actually exhibited, as is the coin in trick
c, but be immediately placed in one of the outstretched hands before
you. If the owner of them is at all restive, and anxious to see what
is in his or her hand, or is a person you know or think you cannot
trust, ask the nearest person to assist in the operation by holding
the hand in one of his or her own. This, you will explain, is to show
that you have no confederates. If the two parties are of opposite
sexes, you can improve the occasion by some gentle sally about the
gentleman being honoured by holding a lady's hand, &c. This operation
concluded, the audience, including the holder of the coin, is, you
may have no fear, under the impression that the florin is in the
holder's hand. You have now to make believe to place the penny into
the other outstretched hand. To do this, you must execute the same
pass as before, only reversed; _i.e._, the right hand will hold the
penny, and the left the palmed florin. This trick affords an instance
where palming with both hands is a requisite accomplishment. If the
performer is not able to palm with both hands, an opportunity must
be made for getting the coin in the left hand back into the right.
By repeating the change as before, you will be supposed to place
the penny in the other hand of the holder, and, drawing particular
attention to the exact position of the coins, command them to change
places. This trick, so simple to look at, is one of the most difficult
to perform of those yet described; for not only must the sleight of
hand be well executed, but the whole demeanour of the performer must
be impressive of the fact that he really is doing what he says he is,
instead of exactly the reverse. Yet the impressiveness must not be too
pointed, or the natural suspicion in human nature will be aroused.
The "happy medium" is well hit if the performer, in giving the florin
(in reality the penny), says, "Now, sir" (or "madam," as the case may
be), "I will ask you to take great care of this coin for me. Conjurors
are but poor people, and cannot well afford to lose money; for this
reason I have given you the florin to hold in your right hand, it
being the stronger." On giving the penny, you can say that "I would
rather, for safety's sake, that it were along with the florin in the
right hand, only, in that case, there would be no trick." In giving
the coins into the holder's hands, it is highly essential that you
close the latter rapidly, the coins being so covered by your own
fingers during the operation that nothing is seen of them. Otherwise,
it would be unnecessary to proceed further with the trick. The florin
may be marked, but not so the penny, unless the audience insists upon
it, as they sometimes will, at the instigation of Mr. Interference;
in which case the pennies must be once more exchanged--a very simple
matter--before the coins are returned to their owners.

(_i_) Borrow or produce (it is immaterial, save for appearance, which
you do) six to nine coins, and lay them, apart from each other, on
a table or slab. Have one of the coins marked by several persons in
the room (use the "no confederate" excuse), and placed along with
the unmarked ones in a hat and the whole shaken up so as to be
well mixed. Whilst this is being done, have yourself blindfolded.
Placing your hand in the hat, feel every coin, and you will at once
detect which is the marked one, by its warmth. The heat is imparted
to it from the many hands through which it has passed. It is always
advantageous to have the other coins lying on as cold a place as
possible; but never turn back a tablecloth for the purpose of allowing
them to lie on the bare mahogany, or a clue to the solution of the
mystery will be given. Sometimes some clever people will pretend to
put the marked shilling into the hat without doing so. This you can
easily detect by counting the coins. Of course, you would not count
them until you failed to find the marked one, as the trick should
be performed as quickly as possible. No sleight of hand whatever is
required; but it is a trick which never fails to excite the greatest
wonderment whenever successfully performed. By allowing the audience
to arrange the preliminaries, you disarm suspicion. The blindfolding,
which is an innovation of my own, I find a great improvement. Of
course, make the most of it.

(_k_) Have a shilling palmed (Palm No. 1), and borrow another; also
a handkerchief. Place the borrowed shilling in the handkerchief, which
roll up very loosely, the coin from the palm being included in the
folds, and as near the other one as possible without actually touching
it. Place the whole in a hat, with one end of the handkerchief hanging
out. Now borrow another shilling, which say you will pass invisibly
into the handkerchief. Make a pass, and ask someone to shake the
handkerchief into the hat, when the two coins will jingle together.
This is a simple trick, and is capable of variation according to

(_l_) The trick I am now going to describe, as a drawing-room
experiment with coins, surpasses, for simplicity and effect, all
others. But its simplicity must not lead the learner to attempt it
without having attained some proficiency in the foregoing tricks, for
considerable neatness is required to execute it effectively. Procure
a piece of glass of the size and thickness of a penny, and have the
edges ground smooth, but not polished. This is best obtained from a
lapidary--not an optician. Have it palmed in either hand (Palm No.
1). Borrow a penny, and, whilst it is being marked, ask one of the
audience to half fill a wineglass, which has been well examined, with
water. Always let the audience attend to such matters as these, as it
tends to disarm suspicion, and also saves you trouble. You will, of
course, not omit to make the most of there being no possible deception
in the glass, which you will give a lady to hold by the stem or foot.
Now borrow a white handkerchief, as coarse as you can procure it (do
not ask for a coarse handkerchief, for that would be impolite, but say
you want a gentleman's handkerchief, and then you can select which
you prefer), and, taking the marked coin in the same hand as that in
which the glass is palmed, spread the handkerchief over it. Approach
the lady holding the wineglass, and affect to take up the coin, with
the handkerchief, from the outside, by means of the disengaged hand,
but in reality take up the glass, palming the coin (Palm No. 1).
Now spread the handkerchief over the wineglass, with the supposed
coin exactly above the latter, and within an inch of its rim. Let
the holder of the wineglass grasp the coin (_i.e._, the counterfeit
presentment thereof) with the thumb and forefinger of the disengaged
hand, and keep it in the same position, with the understanding that
at the word "three" it is to be allowed to fall into the glass (see
Fig. 13). Take great care that the piece of glass is held exactly over
the wineglass, and utter the word of command only when there is a dead
silence. The jingling of the falling glass will, of course, be assumed
by the audience to be that of the penny. You will now express your
intention of invisibly extracting the coin from the glass. Use any
cabalistic form you may choose, and, with a flourish of the wand from
the wineglass towards your hand, exhibit the coin, and give it to be
examined. Let the lady withdraw the handkerchief from the wineglass,
which at once seize and show rapidly round. The glass at the bottom
will not be perceived, and you must take an early opportunity of
extracting it. Some tricks "take" in various degrees at different
times, but this one never fails to throw the audience into a state of
bewilderment. Always obtain possession of the wineglass as soon as you
can after the completion of the trick, for people will sometimes feel
to the bottom of it with their fingers, although without the faintest
notion of what they are looking for. When you bewilder people, you
must not be surprised if they do inexplicable things, and must prepare
yourself for all emergencies.

[Illustration: FIG. 13.]

My reason for directing the performer to borrow a _penny_ for this
trick is that it has, similarly with the circle of glass, no milled
edge, and is of the size most convenient for the occasion. In extreme
cases an eyeglass may be used, when, if it has a milled edge, as
most of them have, it would be as well to borrow a florin; but in
such instances there must be no dallying in showing the glass round
after the trick, or the ribbed edge will infallibly be seen. I
remember finding myself, on one occasion, without my piece of glass,
and borrowed an eyeglass of one of the audience, under the pretext
that the silken cord by which it was suspended was the very thing I
required for a trick. I did some trivial thing with the cord, but
forgot to return the glass for an hour or so, having in the interim
forced it out of its frame (it was mounted in tortoiseshell),
performed the trick, and replaced it. I knew that I should have to
perform this particular trick, or have my reputation tarnished, so
made a bold stroke for victory. Now I am never without the glass, and
advise my readers to observe the same precaution. A port wine glass
is the best to use, the piece of glass being liable to stick in the
comparatively narrow sherry glass. Always give the wineglass to a lady
to hold: ladies are less liable to attempt to conduct experiments
after their own manner, or to make premature disclosures, either of
which proceedings is embarrassing to the performer. The conjuring
repositories supply a champagne tumbler, with a glass exactly the
size of the interior of the bottom. This is an undoubted improvement,
as the water may be poured out, if an examination be demanded, when
the glass will still adhere to bottom of the tumbler, although the
latter be turned upside down. This trick, when "worked" in conjunction
with the nest of boxes, previously mentioned, makes an excellent
combination. The nest can be used for any sized coin by the simple
expedient of removing the very smallest boxes.

(_m_) Take a penny, in good condition, and make, or have made, by a
competent person, a groove, quite 3/16in. deep, all round the outer
edge. This is very easily and most efficiently managed by means of
a lathe; but, wanting that useful machine, a piercing-saw and flat
needle-file will answer. When the groove is completed, with the
piercing saw cut the penny into three pieces of equal width. Now take
a very fine indiarubber band, obtainable at all shops where rubber
goods are sold, and stretch it round the groove. The illustration
shows the penny in three pieces, and also the band--actual size
before being stretched. In putting on the band, commence with the
centre piece, and then fit in the side pieces, the greatest care
being necessary not to allow the band to get twisted. The result of
these operations, when concluded, is that the penny can be folded up
and made to occupy a space in width one-third of its usual diameter.
When held at a little distance from the spectator, the incisions are
not observable, especially before the penny is used for a trick, the
issue of which, being unknown, does not lead the suspicions of the
audience into any particular groove. As the act of folding causes a
sharp strain to be put upon the band at the junctions, the groove at
those points must be carefully filed, so as to completely do away with
anything resembling a cutting edge, or a disaster may very easily
occur. Invariably, before using, the band should be minutely examined,
and, if the slightest signs of wear manifest themselves, it should be

[Illustration: FIG. 14.]

The prepared coin (which need not necessarily be a penny) is generally
used in conjunction with a bottle, into which it is made to pass,
_viâ_ the mouth. In order to make the trick at all satisfactory,
a marked penny should be borrowed, and exchanged, by any of the
previously described methods, for the prepared one.

A soda-water bottle has been previously handed round for examination,
and this is taken in the left hand. With the right hand show that the
penny is at least as broad again as the mouth of the bottle, and then,
folding it up quickly whilst making a covering movement, and hidden by
the body of the hand, let it fall through. Show the bottle round to
the spectators, continually shaking it, as if to convince them that
the coin is solid and real, but really to prevent the possibility
of the slits being seen. The trick can now be finished in two ways,
viz., the bottle may be broken, or the coin can be shaken out again. I
fancy the breaking of the bottle is the more effective, as the shaking
out method impresses too forcibly upon the mind of an intelligent
company the fact that some mysterious, if ingeniously concealed,
preparation exists in connection with the coin. But the performer
in this instance, as in very many other cases, must be guided in
his actions by the mental calibre of the spectators. To shake the
coin from the bottle, the latter should be taken horizontally in the
right hand, the fingers of the left hand closing round the mouth,
leaving a hollow in the palm for the coin to fall into. A not too
violent sweeping shake is then given, bringing the mouth of the bottle
downwards, when the coin should pass into the left hand. Some little
practice will be required to insure this operation being brought
off at the first attempt. Having to shake the bottle three or four
times looks unskilful, although it does not absolutely spoil the
trick. I have directed the use of a soda-water bottle because it has
sloping sides, which facilitate the operation of getting the penny
out very considerably, and also because it is made of white glass.
If a coloured bottle were used (which it must not be, if possibly
avoidable), the spectators would suspect that a coin had somehow been
concealed in the interior before the trick began. However the coin
may be regained, whether by breaking the bottle or by shaking out,
it must be immediately re-exchanged for the borrowed penny, which
will then be returned. It is quite possible to have that coin palmed
during the whole operation; but if the performer lacks the necessary
skill for this, it should be carried in the ticket pocket of the coat.
The conjuror should have every coat he wears (excepting his dress
one) furnished with this ticket pocket, and it will be greatly to his
advantage to have one on each side. It should not be too deep, so that
coins and other articles may be speedily reached with certainty, and
it should not have a covering flap.

The penny can also be prepared by omitting the groove, employing
instead holes, made completely through, across the slits, through
which elastic is passed, and fastened. As, for this purpose, flat
elastic is immeasurably superior to any other form, some trouble is
entailed in making suitable slits through; but, once accomplished, the
article is far better than one prepared in any other way. The elastic
should run quite freely through the centre piece, and be fastened with
glue to the outside pieces only, first being slightly stretched, to
insure the whole being brought closely together. The grooved penny can
be purchased at a much less cost than would be incurred in making it,
and, in addition, is more likely to be correctly constructed.

[Illustration: FIG. 15.]

The following is a development of the use of the folding penny, which
is even more startling than the foregoing, one or more pennies being
made to pass into a bottle, which has been examined, and which has the
mouth stopped by a large cork. In this case, the cork (Fig. 15) is
a delusion and a snare. It is just 2in. long, and 1-1/16in. broad at
the top, tapering to 15/16in. at the bottom. Viewed from the exterior,
it is a cork; in reality, it is made of brass, with a thin veneer of
cork glued on the outside. The measurements given include the cork
skin. The bottom opens, flap-like, on a hinge, but is kept normally
closed by means of a fine spiral spring, running the whole length of
the inside, and soldered on the top and bottom. Protruding through a
hole drilled in the top is a pin, which also runs the whole length of
the interior (carried inside a small tube), and, when pressed, pushes
open the bottom flap, thus allowing any contents there may be to fall
out into the bottle. When the pressure upon the pin is removed, the
power of the spring closes it again. This cork is charged with one or
more folding pennies (three or four are generally used), and concealed
in the hand, a genuine cork being handed for examination. The latter
is changed for the "property" cork, which is then placed in the
bottle, which must be white, and, of course, have a very wide mouth.
The performer now produces some pennies, which he may "pass" into the
bottle in any way he pleases. A good method is to use the two boxes
described in "Grand Magic" as then the performer's hands are free.
But the pass shown at Fig. 11 may be employed, the bottle being
taken in the hand in which the coins are actually concealed. When the
coins are being "passed," the bottle must, of course, be held in one
hand or the other, and pressure given the pin by a finger at the
proper moment. Where one coin only is used, it may be simply palmed,
which method would also apply where the performer is skilful enough to
palm several coins at once. In this case, the coins would merely be
held in one hand, and the bottle in the other, and the coins thrown
into the bottle.

(_n_) A very pretty trick, though rather difficult to learn, is
performed, with the aid of the Reverse Palm (Fig. 6), as follows:
Borrow from two separate persons two coins of the same denomination.
Take particular pains to have the marks quite distinct on each,
so that the two are distinguishable from one another. There is no
objection to the performer superintending the marking, in order to
insure its being properly done. One coin, for instance, might have
a single stroke marked upon it, or a cross, whilst the other could
have a small circle or an initial. The numbers 1 and 2 could also be
efficiently employed; and, for facility of description, I will now
suppose them used. Palmed (Fig. 2), you have another coin of your
own, similar to those borrowed. You place two chairs or settees a
little distance apart, between yourself and the spectators. Take coin
No. 1, and, standing behind one of the chairs, facing the company, act
as though you tossed it upon the cushion. What you really do, however,
is to palm the coin by the reverse palm, following the instructions
on page 8, for throwing a coin away into the air; the coin that
has been concealed in the palm being released, in its stead. This
action must be assiduously practised until it can be performed with
complete certainty and smoothness. Practise first tossing a coin on
a chair from a distance of a couple of feet, and then imitate that
action as nearly as possible whilst making the change. The toss must
be made with a steady, smooth swing, neither too hurriedly nor too
slowly executed. When the manoeuvre is finished, the palm of the
hand must, of course, be towards the audience. A half, or whole, turn
of the body must now be made, to enable the performer to get the coin
from the back of the fingers to the palm proper. The way to ensure the
safe execution of this is to put the thumb over the first finger,
so that it grasps the coin, assisted by the middle finger. The first
finger can then be drawn out of the way. With coin No. 1 in the palm,
take coin No. 2, and repeat the changing operation, at the completion
of which the state of affairs will be: On chair 1, duplicate coin
(supposed by spectators to be coin No. 1); on chair 2, coin No. 1
(supposed by spectators to be coin No. 2); in performer's palm, coin
No. 2. Any fanciful form of causing a magical change to take place
may be gone into, and the performer then asks a spectator to examine
the coin on chair 2, which is found to be coin No. 1. As only two
coins are known to the spectators, it is taken for granted by them
that the one on chair 1 is coin No. 2; but it will be as well for the
performer to incidentally remark, "And, of course, there is coin No.
2," and then at once proceed to show the trick over again, "for the
general satisfaction of those present." For this purpose, coin No.
1 is taken from the person who examined it, and ostensibly replaced
upon chair 2. Instead, however, coin No. 2 is placed there. Under the
plea of placing the chair a little closer, so that a better view may
be obtained, the performer takes up duplicate coin from chair 1, and,
in apparently replacing it, substitutes coin No. 1. The coins have
thus been made to regain their old positions, and may now, of course,
be freely examined, the performer not touching them again. If the
performer feels any confidence in himself in this rather difficult
trick, he may use three marked coins, when, by skilful manipulation,
he may make all sorts of changes. By working changes with only two of
the three at a time, he always has one lying dormant, which is not
liable to inspection, and may, therefore, be the duplicate one. It is
not advisable for him to prolong the trick, unless it be going very
well. He must keep his wits about him, however, or he may find that he
has forgotten the precise whereabouts of his own coin. A very bold,
but remarkably effective, way of bringing about the final change is
to pick the coin from the chair, and, instead of moving that closer,
toss the coin into a lady's lap. The lady should be sitting upon
the extreme verge of the other spectators, or else must be shielded
by some article of furniture, or the coin palmed at the back of the
hand is not unlikely to be seen. The very boldness of this action is,
however, its chief safeguard, only there must be no sort of hesitation
in its execution.

A performer with large and muscular fingers can use half-crowns
for the trick, but for the beginner shillings and halfpence will
be sufficient. Copper coins are not so effective as silver; but an
accidental exposure of a portion of them is not so readily perceived
as is the case with the brighter metal--not that there is the least
excuse for such exposure.

Before returning the duplicate coin to the pocket, the performer may
produce one or two other effects with the reverse palm. Let him borrow
a hat, and a coin similar to the one concealed. Standing sideways to
the company, let him have the duplicate palmed reversely in the hand
that is farthest from the audience. Say it is the left hand. With the
right hand place the hat into the left one, the thumb on the brim, the
fingers inside. As the company have seen the palm of the left hand
open, not the slightest suspicion will be entertained that it holds
anything. The borrowed coin is now made to perform an ærial journey,
being palmed. The performer's eye follows its imaginary flight,
and then catches it in the hat, the coin in the left hand being of
course released, when it will be heard to fall. After showing this
coin, reverse palm the other, under cover of the hat, and repeat the
operation. To do this, the performer must be able to palm equally well
with either hand. If the trick be repeated, it should be varied each
time by some such device as finding that the coin had taken refuge in
a gentleman's hair, lady's handkerchief, &c., on its way to the hat.

By the time the learner has proceeded thus far with success, he will
have acquired a proficiency that will enable him to amuse a circle of
friends for an hour or two by means of coin tricks alone, without much
fear of detection, especially if the rule of rehearsing in private
before exhibiting in public be adhered to. The security afforded by a
good palm can scarcely be over-estimated, as it enables the performer
to attempt the most barefaced impromptu experiments with comparative
impunity. These impromptu interludes are always conducive to success,
for the audience can generally discover originality.

But, before taking a temporary leave of coins, I must put my readers
up to a few wrinkles in connection with the use of the sleeve--a
portion of the conjuror's attire which is but rarely employed,
notwithstanding the popular exclamation of "Up his sleeve," which is
usually made use of when the operator has vanished some trifle in the
shape of a cauliflower or rabbit, for the reception of which articles
the sleeve of a dress coat is so admirably adapted. No; the sleeve
is only used when its coadjutorship is unsuspected; and, in the case
of coins, only when the palm is suspected of containing the coin. So
many people have a misty idea of palming, that one frequently hears
whispered, "In his palm." Should the whisperer be wrong, of course
you will at once prove him to be so by exhibiting your palms empty;
but should he be right, you will then feign not to hear the whisper.
Sometimes, though, the announcement is not made in a whisper, but
in the form of a challenge to you, and this you must be prepared to
meet. Suppose the coin _is_ palmed and you are challenged; you are
close to or among the audience, and the challenger is importunate.
Nothing remains but to sleeve the coin. This manoeuvre is executed
by shooting the arm straight out, the palm open and downwards, with
such force as will carry the coin up the sleeve. Of course, you
must not stand in middle of the room shooting your arm out, or the
audience will either divine what you are about or will think you are
taking leave of your senses. The action must be covered by an advance
towards the challenger, which must be done as boldly as if you had
never even seen the coin, much less concealed it in your palm. As
you advance, say something; for example, "What! in my palm, sir? I
don't understand you. How can anything be in my palm? If you don't
believe me, see for yourself." With this, make the shoot, and turn
the hand over. Care must be taken that the arm is quite level, or the
coin will slide gracefully on to the floor. You must not stop here,
but say, "Perhaps you would like to see my other hand as well, sir"
(show left hand, at same time allowing coin to fall back in the right,
where palm it), "or maybe you think the coin is up my sleeve." Shake
both arms vigorously, which, as the coin is again in your palm, you
can do with impunity, and ask someone to feel your sleeves. An extra
effect is given by your asserting that the cause of the gentleman's
anxiety was that he himself had basely pilfered the coin, and wished
to pass the odium on to you. With this remark, produce the coin from
some part of his person. Barring the disturbance to the equilibrium of
one's feelings of security whilst the performance is going on, this
little interlude, promptly carried out, is as good as any set trick.
Of course there must be no bungling. Should the sleeves be turned
back, as they often will be, they must first be unrolled, with great
deliberation. In such an instance you would, of course, show that
your sleeves are guiltless of any deception, before exonerating the
palm. Practice will enable you at once to perceive the nature of the
objection about to be raised, so that ordinarily you can anticipate,
and turn down one sleeve at least. It is not often that the exigency
occurs, but it will infallibly do so at some time or other, so one
must be prepared to meet it, or be looked upon as an impostor. A
second method for sending a coin up the sleeve is to place it almost
on the ends of the fingers (Fig. 16) palm upwards, and, turning the
hand rapidly over, close it (Fig. 17). This will throw the coin
up the sleeve, whereas the appearance is that it is enclosed in the
hand. A third method is to hold the coin between the thumb and middle
finger (Fig. 18) and "flip" it up the sleeve. A fourth method is to
place the coin on the edge of the table and cover it with the ends of
the fingers, which draw smartly back and shut, when the coin will be
shot up the sleeve. This somewhat resembles the second method. A fifth
method is to spin the coin high in the air, and as it descends make a
"grab" at it as if catching, but in reality allow it to fall down the
sleeve, keeping the hand shut as though holding it. This is one of the
most thorough deceptions I know of. It is so perfect that the operator
himself cannot see the coin enter the sleeve. I am quite aware that
it seems improbable, but a trial will be conclusive on the point. A
pleasing variety of the first method is to place a coin (the heavier
the better) on the palm of the hand. Turn the hand over briskly, at
the same time thrusting it well forward, and the coin will slide up
the sleeve. In performing any of these tricks be careful to have the
shirt cuff pulled well up and out of the way, and do not wear large
links or solitaires, against which the coin will infallibly clink, if
only for the simple reason that it is not wanted to do so. No one but
a bungler would use the sleeve in his regular performances, except
when driven by necessity; but it is highly essential for a conjuror to
be perfect in all the minutiæ of his art, and he must practise them as
the pianoforte-player practises the scales which he never plays to the

[Illustration: FIG. 16.]

[Illustration: FIG. 17.]

[Illustration: FIG. 18.]

In using marked coins, always take the greatest care that the marking
is done in such a manner as to render it impossible for the coin not
to be recognised on making its reappearance; and also let several
people see the mark. It is very disheartening, when you have performed
an elaborate trick, in which a Mr. Interference has given you no
end of trouble, to hear the owner of the coin say that he cannot
recognise his mark. I have seen people put some trivial mark on a coin
in pencil, which would rub off immediately. It is also advisable to
have a quantity of cheap coins by you. In such tricks as trick _d_,
large, thin, and showy silver Turkish coins are the best. They possess
every advantage; the milled edge gives a firm hold for the palm,
whilst the substance of the coin allows of a large number being held
in the hand. Besides this, thin coins give a good business-like clink;
whilst a large coin is always more effective than a small one. Pennies
plated over make very fair substitutes, and do not entail much loss of
capital if kept aside ready for use, as they always should be, which
can hardly be said to be the case with florins or half-crowns.




I commence this, the second portion of drawing-room conjuring, with
the decided hope that, before my readers attempt to follow me, they
will have attained some proficiency in the art of palming and other
little matters alluded to in my remarks concerning the treatment of
coins. If such skill has been acquired, although in a small degree
only, it will be of use in rendering the manipulation of other objects
much easier. The prevailing idea with the public is that a conjuror
moves things about from place to place before one's very eyes, but
with such extreme rapidity as to avoid detection. This, I say, is the
prevailing idea, and long may it continue to be so, since it is the
very thing an audience is supposed to imagine. The learner, however,
must, from the outset, dismiss such an impression from his mind as
untenable, even for an instant. If he has a lurking opinion that
a hand _can_ be moved without the motion being detected, let him
practise at moving, say, a cork or a piece of sugar, a distance of
only one short inch. Let him practise for a twelvemonth to begin with,
and I will guarantee that at the end of that period he is no nearer
the consummation of the feat than he was at the commencement. If time
hangs heavily on his hands, let him go on practising, say, for five
or ten years: the result will be precisely similar. No; conjuring is
based upon more deceptive principles than mere rapidity of movement,
although that, of course, enters largely into its composition.
Articles are, indeed, transmitted from one place to another before
the eyes of the audience, but it is always, as it were, _sub rosa_.
This is the reason why conjurors say so much about the hand being
quicker than the eye, &c. The audience is continually trying to
detect movements which are never even attempted, the result being
that other movements are conducted with impunity. The conjuror must
start with the one principle firmly fixed in his mind that he is to
deceive his audience in every way possible. At no time is he actually
to do that which he says he is doing. Every look and gesture, besides
every word, should tend to lead the mind into the wrong groove.
MISDIRECTION is the grand basis of the conjuror's actions;
and the more natural the performer's movements in this particular,
the more complete will be his success. With each trick that requires
it, I shall give hints for misdirecting the spectator's attention,
although I am of opinion that every conjuror can best suit himself if
he is only firmly impressed with the necessity for misdirection. The
drawing-room conjuror must hold himself prepared to perform offhand
with any article that may happen to present itself to view; although
it is, of course, perfectly allowable for him to send for anything he
may require. An article which one is tolerably certain to find in most
houses is

_Sugar._--Take four well-shaped pieces, of a medium size, and place
them before you on a table, at which you will sit at your ease, in the
form of a square, and about a foot from each other. Hatch up a long
rigmarole about one piece being the Emperor of Japan, another his
wife, another his daughter, and another his prime minister, or any
other rubbish you please, so long as you bring it about that it is
necessary that all four should assemble together in one place. In the
country of which you are speaking, you will explain, it is the custom
of Royalty to travel by telegraph, and invisible to the gaze of the
"common herd." To illustrate how it is done, you will cover two of
the four pieces, each with a separate hand, and, at the word "pass,"
make a slight movement as if throwing a piece from one hand to the
other. On raising the hands, two pieces will be found under one, and
none under the other. Repeat this operation (the minority always going
over to the majority) until all four pieces are collected under one
hand. The explanation of this really pretty, and, to the uninitiated,
inexplicable trick, is, that you have a fifth piece of sugar palmed.
If this piece be released, and that under the other hand palmed, the
effect is the same as if an invisible journey had really been made.
Supposing the five pieces of sugar to be represented by numerals, the
various changes may be thus tabulated:

     _Left Hand._                      _Right Hand._

      1.--Raise 1          and        Drop 5 with 2.
2.--Drop 1 with 5 and 2    and           Raise 3.
      3.--Raise 4          and    Drop 3 with 1, 5, and 2.
           4.--Raise both hands and pocket 4.

The rough and adhesive nature of sugar renders it very easy to palm.
In palming, avoid all contraction of the muscles of the back of the
hand, which is visible to the audience, or a clue to the solution of
the trick will be given. If going out to a place where you are likely
to be asked to exhibit your skill, be provided with a piece of sugar,
and then ask for the requisite four pieces. If you are unprovided,
then you must secure possession of the sugar basin, and secrete the
extra piece as best you can. The extreme simplicity of this trick is
only equalled by the astonishment of the audience, who are straining
their eyes to catch a glimpse of the piece of sugar as it passes. I
need hardly remark that they never succeed.

[Illustration: FIG. 19.]

[Illustration: FIG. 20.]

_Knives_, I think I may say, are also tolerably common articles, and
some good tricks are performed with them. Take a cheese knife and four
tiny squares of paper. Stand facing your audience, however small it
may be, and, wetting the papers separately, stick two on each side of
the blade, taking care that the positions on both sides correspond
as nearly as possible. Hold the knife before you in the fingers of
the right hand (Fig. 19), and in such a position that only one side
of the blade is visible. With the thumb and finger of the left hand
remove the piece of paper nearest the handle, and, putting your hand
behind your back, make a feint of throwing it away, without actually
doing so. Now, with a rapid movement, cause the knife to describe a
half circle in the air _still with the same side uppermost_; but the
position of the hand will be slightly altered (Fig. 20), which will
lead the audience to think that the knife has been actually turned
over. Barely before the movement is completed a finger of the left
hand must be upon the spot recently occupied by the piece of paper, as
if taking off a second piece from the opposite side. The first piece,
which has all the time been in the left hand, is thus made to do duty
twice. The second time, it is dropped on the floor in full view of the
audience, accompanied by the remark, "that makes the second piece."
Now remove the other piece of paper, and repeat the manoeuvre
executed with the first piece, taking the greatest care that only one
side of the blade is visible, and that the finger of the left hand,
with the concealed paper, is down upon the vacant spot before the
spectators' eyes can rest there. Having ostensibly removed the fourth
and last piece of paper, the knife is supposed to be empty, which you
boldly declare to be the case, making a rapid backward and forward
movement with the blank side to prove it. You then say you will cause
the papers to re-appear upon the knife instantaneously. All you have
to do is to put your hand behind your back and reverse the position of
the knife so that the side of the blade with the two pieces of paper
still remaining upon it is uppermost. Bringing the knife again to the
front, make another quick backward and forward movement, saying, "Here
are the papers back again on both sides as before," and then, without
any further preliminaries, draw the blade through the fingers and
cause the two papers to fall upon the floor. If this final movement
is not executed, the audience will, when they have recovered their
senses, point to the two papers which you dropped on the floor during
the performance of the trick, and want to know why they are there and
not on the knife. Continued rapidity of motion is what is required
for the success of this trick. There must be no halting in the middle
or hesitation of any kind, to avoid which practice in private will be
essential, as, indeed, it will be with every trick worth doing at all.

Borrow a _light_ penknife, and take care that it is not too sharp, and
has a good deep notch at the haft. You are previously prepared with
about two feet of very fine black silk, one end of which is attached
to a button of your vest, the other end being furnished with a loop
large enough to pass over a finger. This can either be wound round the
button, or can hang loosely, with the free end looped up. I prefer
the latter method, and have never found it lead to any inconvenience,
which at first sight it appears extremely likely to do. Also borrow a
hock or champagne bottle; pint size preferred. First send round the
knife to be examined, and, whilst the examination is going on, get
the loop of the silk over the end of one of the fingers of the left
hand. When the knife is returned to you, and not before, give the
bottle to be examined, and distract the attention of the audience by
allusions to the "departed spirits" of the bottle, and admonitions to
be sure and see that the bottom does not take out. By the time the
bottle comes back you have slipped the loop over the blade of the
knife and allowed it to catch in the notch, where cause it to remain.
If the knife is a sharp one, extra caution must be observed, or the
silk will be severed. This actually happened to me on one occasion,
so I speak from direful experience. By sending the bottle away to be
cleaned, I gained sufficient time to tie another loop in the silk, and
went on as usual; but the incident was not a particularly cheerful one
taken altogether--there was too much "glorious uncertainty" about it.
Take the knife upside down, _i.e._, with the sharp edge of the blade
uppermost, between the finger and thumb, hold the silk sufficiently
taut to keep the loop in position by means of the other fingers,
and drop the whole into the bottle. This must not be done with the
bottle in a perpendicular position (in which case the loop will
probably either break or slip off the knife), but with it inclined
at an angle of about 45 deg. (Fig. 21). This will allow the knife
to slide down at a safe speed and yet reach the bottom with a good
"thud." Having satisfied yourself that everything is in order, hold
the bottle perpendicularly in the left hand between the audience and
yourself, and about breast high. Make use of any cabalistic nonsense
you please, and then cause the knife to rise from the bottle by the
action of moving it from you and towards the audience. The action of
raising the bottle must be but sparsely indulged in, if at all, as it
is easily noticed; not so the horizontal motion. When brought to the
mouth of the bottle the knife quietly topples over on to the floor,
whence allow it to be picked up by a spectator, who will not require
much admonition to examine it. Also send the bottle round again;
and get rid of the silk as soon as you can after the trick is done.
It will be noticed that I have directed the performer to use a hock
or champagne bottle. The reason for this will be obvious after once
trying the experiment with a bottle having an abrupt shoulder, such
as an ale bottle. The knife catches in it, and a vigorous jerk, which
is as likely to cause a breakage as anything else, has to be resorted
to to free it. The sides of hock and champagne bottles presenting an
even surface the whole way up, that class of bottle is therefore to be
preferred. By means of the foregoing three tricks I have seen a room
full of intelligent people utterly bewildered.

[Illustration: FIG. 21]

The following trick I have never known to be discovered if only
properly performed. For it you will require another exceedingly common
object, viz.:

_Cotton._--Take a piece of any colour, 12in. to 15in. long, and see
that one of the audience is provided with a very sharp penknife.
Double the cotton once, and have the bend cut quite through. Double
again and have it cut, and repeat the operation until it is nothing
but pieces, each barely a third of an inch long. Rub the pieces
together in the fingers, and, after a short time, quietly draw out
the cotton again as it was in the first instance. That is what you
must ostensibly do: now for how to do it. First of all, have concealed
between your finger and thumb a piece of cotton about the length
above mentioned. This you must roll up small, and deliberately hold
between your finger and thumb, or, better still, if the fingers be
sufficiently large, between the tips of any two fingers, as they are
more naturally kept together. Nobody will notice it if the hand is
engaged in negligently holding the lappel of your coat, the wand, &c.
I need hardly mention that the concealed piece must be of the same
colour as that operated upon, as the production of a white in place of
a black piece would scarcely be satisfactory. To ensure the success of
this preliminary, some considerable manoeuvring has often to be gone
through, and no small amount of tact exhibited. Where you are showing
the trick for the first time, you can of course ask for any coloured
cotton you please (always choose black when you have a choice),
but it is such a fascinating trick that you will be called upon to
perform it over and over again in the same house, or before the same
people--which is quite as bad--and you will find that all kinds of
ingenious devices will be brought to bear upon you. As a commencement,
always carry in the corners of your waistcoat pockets two black and
two white pieces, ready for emergencies. Each pocket will contain
two pieces of the same colour, but differing in thickness, one in
each corner. It is useless to carry other colours on the mere chance,
as you are sure to be unprovided with the exact one required at the
moment. When coloured cotton is produced, you must, by some means
or other, get at the reel from which the cotton is taken. If driven
right into a corner, you must go so far as to ask someone (always
let it be the master or mistress of the house) to secretly obtain a
piece for you; but this you will have to resort to on rare occasions
only. Make all sorts of excuses so as to cause a delay, even going so
far as to postpone the performance of the trick, but not before you
have seen what colour you are likely to be favoured with. Your wits
must do the rest. The reader must remember that I have taken extreme
cases, and such as but rarely occur; but still they _do_ occur, and
if I did not warn the beginner of pitfalls ahead, he would not think
much of my teaching. In the ordinary way, he will be able to ask for
any colour he pleases, which will of course be similar to that with
which he is provided. We will suppose that everything has progressed
favourably. Take the cotton to be cut between the thumb and forefinger
of each hand, by the extreme ends, and, doubling it, let one hand
hold the loop to be cut, the fingers of the other hand holding the
ends. As soon as the knife has passed through the cotton, give it a
"twitch," and bring the ends, of which there will now be four, quickly
together, as if you had performed some very intricate manoeuvre. Of
course, you have really done nothing at all, the movement being only
a deceptive one to lead the spectators to believe that the secret of
the trick consists in the way in which you twist or double the cotton.
Have this in mind all through the trick, and keep up the deception.
Continue to double the cotton, taking the greatest care that the ends
all come neatly together, and that all the loops are cut through.
Do everything with the greatest deliberation (except the delusive
"twitch"), for there is no occasion for any hurry. When the cotton is
cut so small that it will not double any more, commence to knead in
the fingers, and gradually work the fragments behind the concealed
piece, which must be brought to the front. This you will do without
once removing the hands from the full view of the audience--in fact,
under their very eyes. When you feel quite sure that everything is
snug and secure, commence to unravel the whole piece, which will pass
for the resuscitated original.

People who have seen the trick performed before will sometimes suggest
that the piece of cotton should be measured before being cut up.
Allow this to be done with all the grace in the world (when you find
that you cannot do otherwise), but, before operating upon it, roll
it up in the fingers, either absently, whilst engaging the audience
in conversation, or for the purpose of seeing if it is of the proper
dimensions, and exchange it, unperceived, for the concealed piece,
which will be cut up instead. Although it is not advisable to have the
cotton measured first, yet, when it is done, it invariably adds lustre
to the feat. The pieces must never be carelessly thrown away, but
secreted in a pocket on the first opportunity that presents itself,
and afterwards burnt.

[Illustration: FIG. 22.]

_Rings_ can be made use of in many tricks, both in the drawing-room
and on the stage. The following will be found very neat and effective:
Procure a metal imitation of a wedding-ring, and have it cut neatly
through. Pass this ring under a single thread of your handkerchief
near one of the corners. Borrow a lady's ring, which palm, under
pretence of putting it in the handkerchief. (The best method for
palming a ring is to hold it between two fingers at the roots.) This
you will appear to have done if you give the false ring (under cover
of the handkerchief) to be held by someone who is not the owner of
the borrowed article. It is immaterial whether the genuine ring has
a fancy head or not, as the back of it will usually be about the
width of a wedding-ring. Take the wand in the hand, and, unperceived,
slip the ring in your palm over it until it reaches the middle,
still covered by the hand. Now ask two persons to hold the wand, one
at either end, and lay the handkerchief containing the false ring
(still held from the outside by the original holder) over it. If
you now remove your hand, you will leave the ring on the wand still
concealed by the handkerchief (Fig. 22). Take hold of the end of
the handkerchief which hangs down below the wand, and instruct the
person holding the false ring to leave go when you count "three." As
soon as you are obeyed, draw the handkerchief smartly across the
wand. This will cause the ring to spin round, and assist materially in
inducing the audience to believe that it was actually conjured from
the handkerchief on to the wand whilst the latter article was being
held at either end by two people. A slight jerk will detach the false
ring from the handkerchief, which you can send round to be examined.
A hint I can give the learner is, never to ask a lady to lend you her
wedding-ring or keeper. Many ladies are exceedingly superstitious, and
feel embarrassed when asked, from not liking to refuse, and yet being
unwilling to take their rings from their fingers. Always borrow a ring
the back of which nearly, if not quite, matches your false article in

Procure a metal ring, similar to the one used in the last trick, of
very soft brass, and, when you have cut it through, sharpen up the
two ends to points with a file, or any other way you please. Borrow
a lady's ring, and exchange it, as in last trick, putting the false
one in a handkerchief, which have tied with tape or string in such a
manner that the ring is contained in a bag. If the borrowed ring is
narrow all round, you may make use of your nest of boxes (described
in trick _g_, Chapter II.), if it has not been previously utilised
in some other trick; it being a golden rule among conjurors never to
use the same apparatus twice during the same evening. An apple (a
potato, small loaf, &c., will do as well) can be used instead with
effect, if a goodly slit be made in it, and the ring pushed in while
you are taking it from your bag or from behind the screen. Show the
apple round, boldly saying that everyone can see that there is no
preparation about it, at the same time taking care that no one has
time to decide either one way or the other from the rapidity with
which you pass it about. Place it in a prominent position, and then
take the handkerchief containing the false ring by the bag, allowing
the ends to fall over and conceal your hands. Quickly unbend the
ring, and, working one of the pointed ends through the handkerchief,
draw it out, and _rub the place of exit between your fingers, so as
to obliterate all traces of it_. All this you must do very quickly,
and, dropping the handkerchief on the floor, say, "Without untying
the string, I have abstracted the ring, which I now pass into that
apple." Here make a pass. Take a knife in the hand holding the false
ring (unless you have been clever enough to get rid of that article),
and, showing the audience that the other hand is quite empty, proceed
to cut open the apple slowly. When the knife touches the ring, allow
it to "clink" upon it as much as possible, and call attention to the
fact, as it is a great feature in the trick. Do not cut the apple
completely through, but, taking it forward (on a plate is the best
way), allow the owner of the ring to take it out with her own hand.
Of course, the audience must not be allowed to handle the apple, and
so discover the old slit. This trick should not be performed with
the preceding one, but on another evening. The principal effect of
the trick is the apparent abstraction of the borrowed ring from its
confinement in the handkerchief in an incomprehensible manner, and you
must, therefore, allow the audience to see that the ring undoubtedly
_is_ tied up securely in the first instance.

Another trick with a ring is performed by aid of the wand only.
Borrow a good stout ring, a signet for example, and, holding it near
the roots of the fingers of the right hand, pretend to pass it over
the wand, but, in reality, let it slide along on the outside of it,
and still keep it in the hand. The deception is assisted if the ring
be first carelessly placed upon the wand, and taken off again, two
or three times. Say to one of the audience, "Will you be so kind as
to hold one end of the wand with either hand?" and, in stretching
the wand out towards him, allow the left hand momentarily to pass
close under the right, and let the ring fall into it--of course,
unperceived. If you look at your hands whilst doing this, you are a
lost man. You must look the addressee boldly in the face, and thereby
divert attention to him--not that there is the slightest excuse for
exposing the ring during its passage from one hand to the other. When
the wand is firmly held at both ends, say something about the futility
of strength in certain cases, and eventually show the ring in the left
hand, and remove the right from the wand to show that it is empty.
If relinquished at this stage, the trick is very incomplete, as the
audience usually divine, or affect to divine, that the ring never was
put upon the wand at all. It is a peculiarity of this trick that this
remark is almost invariably made, so the conjuror must be prepared
with something still more "staggering." Return the ring to its owner,
and call attention to the fact that you have not cut it in any way
(not that anyone will ever think that you would do so, but you must
assume that this idea is prevailing in the minds of the audience),
and secretly take from your pocket, or wherever it may be concealed,
a thick metal (or gold) ring, which keep in the left hand. Borrow
the ring again, and slide it over the wand with precisely the same
movement which you used in the first instance, when you did _not_ put
the ring on. This time you must appear to be very clumsy, and let the
two hands come together so that everyone can see the action clearly,
and snatch the left hand away sharply as if it contained the ring.
You will doubtless see a number of heads lean towards each other, and
hear a good deal of loud whispering, in which the words "left hand"
will be conspicuous. Take no notice of this beyond looking as confused
as possible, and the audience will think they have bowled you out
at last. The strange part of it is that, in a trick of this kind, a
spectator who fancies, rightly or wrongly, that he has discovered
something, never attributes the fact to your want of skill, but to
his own remarkable powers of perception. The effect of the ruse
will be heightened if you allow a tiny portion of the false ring to
catch the eye of one or more of the audience; or resort to any other
artifice to induce them to believe that you really have the borrowed
ring in the left hand, and have allowed the fact to transpire through
carelessness. Now say that, the ring being securely on the wand, you
mean to take it off as before, and give the two ends of the wand to be
held. You will then appear to notice the incredulous looks and remarks
of the audience for the first time, and stoutly deny that the ring
is in the left hand, which, however, you decline to open. Allow the
audience to argue the point with you, and, when one has said that he
saw you take the ring in the left hand, and others have made a similar
statement, pretend to give in, and say that you must admit that you
are discovered; but, at the same time, you feel it incumbent on you
to do something to retrieve your character. You will, therefore, pass
the ring, now in the left hand, invisibly on to the wand. Make a pass
with the left hand, and draw the right smartly away from the wand,
causing the ring on it to spin round. The effect may be imagined. At
the instant the right hand leaves the wand, the left should place
the false ring (supposing one is used) in the pocket, as all manner
of questions will be asked afterwards. The trick can be varied in
many ways, by confusing the spectators. Peripatetic conjurors make a
good deal of money by means of this trick, by betting that the ring
is either on or off the wand. Manner has a great deal to do with the
success of it.




[Illustration: FIG. 23.]

The variety of tricks performed with the aid of cups and balls take a
prominent position in the repertory of every conjuror laying claim to
any proficiency in pure sleight of hand. Three tin cups (or, rather,
as they are always used in an inverted position, covers), rather more
than 4in. in height, and some 3in. across the mouth, with the bottom
concave, and two or three little rings near the mouth (Fig. 23) will
be required. Also make, to commence with, four cork balls, blackened,
either by burning or by colouration, each about the size of an
ordinary bullet. The audience know of the existence of three balls
only, the fourth being concealed by the conjuror between the roots of
the third and middle fingers. The very first thing the learner must
acquire is the knack of slipping the ball rapidly from the exposed
(Fig. 24) to the concealed position (Fig. 25) in a secure manner.
The ball is partly slid, partly rolled, partly dropped into the
position, the thumb, with a slight motion, which, in time, will become
quite an unconscious one, pressing it finally home.

[Illustration: FIG. 24.]

[Illustration: FIG. 25.]

The action, which must be accompanied by the backward and forward
swing used when palming coins, must be practised with both hands,
the more awkward hand of the two being taught first. When tolerably
perfect in this, practise getting the ball down to the tips of the
fingers at the roots of which it is held, care being of course taken
that no portion of it protrudes. The object of getting the ball
into this position is, that it may be placed under any cup, raised
ostensibly for some other purpose, without detection. As the cup is
placed on the table, the ball held in the fingers is slid quietly
under it. All conjurors do not use this method, some grasping the cup
as low down as possible, and jerking it up and down, thus getting
the ball inside direct from the concealed position (Fig. 25). This
latter method is exceedingly neat, but is the more difficult one
to accomplish. However, the learner may try for himself, and adopt
the method which comes the easier to him. The ball is not taken in
the tips of the fingers until the hand is about to grasp the cup,
the major motion shielding the minor one. With the two movements
described under his control, the learner should proceed thus: Place
the three cups in a row, with a ball in front (_i.e._, towards the
audience) of each, and explain that the cups are solid tin and are not
provided with permeable bottoms. There is no objection to allowing
an examination to be made, but it had better take place at the end
of the trick, or much time will be wasted. Say that the tin cups are
for the purpose of covering the balls, and place one cup over each
to illustrate it. Now take up cup No. 1, and, whilst placing it down
a few inches off, slip the concealed ball under it. Pick up ball No.
1, and vanish it by concealing it in the prescribed method (Fig. 25).
You can pretend to throw it into the air, or affect to put it into
the other hand (see Coins, Fig. 7), from which it will be "passed"
by a rap from the wand, which article you will find a true friend
when performing with the cups and balls, and which should be held in
readiness under the arm. Repeat the operation with cups No. 2 and No.
3, each having a ball placed under it when shifted. Tell the audience
that so well trained are the little balls, that, at your word of
command, they will return from their invisible wanderings to their
imprisonment beneath the cups, which you will then raise, and show the
balls beneath. This is the first and simple phase.

In the next, cup No. 1 is placed over a ball, and the concealed one
slipped in with it. Take up another ball, and pretend to "pass" it
through the cup, which raise, showing two balls together, and then
replace, slipping concealed ball under along with the other two; and
then "pass" the third ball through, which will bring all three balls
under one cup. On putting cup No. 1 down, after exhibiting the three
balls together, slip concealed ball under it, and pick up one of the
three, which vanish. Then say it is as easy for you to abstract a ball
from beneath a cup as it is for you to pass it to the inside. Put cup
No. 2 over the two balls, and pretend to take one out by means of the
wand, the concealed ball being exhibited as the one thus abstracted.
"Pass" this through cup No. 1, which raise, showing the ball already
there, and, on replacing it, slip under concealed ball. Recall the
ball you vanished previously, and show it under cup No. 1, and then
"pass" it back to cup No. 2, where the two balls still are; slip
concealed ball under, and then "pass" ball from cup No. 1 to cup No.
2. The ball "passed" must in each instance be picked up and vanished,
and not merely told to pass from one cup to another. The changes can
be kept up for a long time if a ball be slipped under a cup whenever
it is raised; but the performer must keep his head clear, or he will
find himself getting into trouble by showing four balls at the same

Phase 3 consists of piling the three cups one over the other, and
passing the balls into what I may term the storeys thus formed. It
is for this phase that the bottoms of the cups are made concave to
receive the ball. If the bottom were flat, the ball would roll off at
an awkward moment. Place cup No. 1, with concealed ball underneath,
on the table, and, taking up a ball, "pass" it through. Put cup No. 2
over cup No. 1, concealed ball being sandwiched between the bottoms
of the two. The slipping of a ball beneath a cup which is placed
on the table is a very simple matter, but it requires considerable
adroitness to slip one cleanly between two cups. It is only to be done
with a sharp jerk, the ball being thus sent to the top of the cup,
which is then rapidly placed over the other. Considerable practice
will be required to attain this knack, but the pretty effect well
repays any trouble. Even when taking the greatest care, the ball is
very liable to become jammed between the sides of the cups instead
of their bottoms. The noise made by the rattling of the ball in the
cup is covered by that occasioned by one cup being placed over the
other. Repeat the operation with the third cup, and then show the
balls in their respective positions. Should a cup cant over to one
side, it will be because the ball beneath, it is not in its place,
but is jammed in between the two sides of the cups. In this case, care
must be taken in removing the uppermost cup. If adroitly managed, the
errant ball can be brought back to its proper position on the top of
the lower cup by the action of withdrawing the upper one. This should
be practised in private, so that the emergency may be met without
difficulty when it occurs.

The fourth phase consists in apparently manufacturing an inexhaustible
quantity of balls beneath the cups. This is very easily managed by
first covering each of the three balls with a cup openly. Take up cup
No. 1, and put it down again a few inches off, with the concealed ball
under it. Pick up ball No. 1, and pretend to put it in your pocket,
but conceal it in the fingers; take up cup No. 2, and replace it,
with concealed ball beneath it, and affect to put ball No. 2 into the
pocket, but conceal as before. Repeat operation with cup and ball No.
3, and then recommence with cup No. 1. This phase can be prolonged at
will. A number of balls can be carried in the pocket, and afterwards
exhibited as the ones you have manufactured; but this is by no means
necessary to the success of the trick.

A most startling and amusing conclusion to a display with the cups
and balls is the introduction of large balls, potatoes, oranges,
lemons, apples, &c., beneath the cups. Care must be taken that these
larger articles will go into the cups easily, or a _fiasco_ may
result. The best balls are those made of fancy paper, as they are
nice and light. A convenient place for keeping them ready for use is
a shallow, oblong, open bag, made out of black silk or alpaca, and
furnished with a bent pin at each end, and one in the middle. This
bag you can affix to the tablecloth behind the table. In the absence
of such a receptacle, the tablecloth can be pinned up, and so form an
impromptu one; but this can hardly be arranged unperceived in front
of an audience. In the absence of both cloth and bag, the articles to
be conveyed inside the cups must be kept under the waistcoat, or in
the pockets, but, in this case, the pockets must be side ones, and
easily got at. The moment for introducing the large ball, orange, &c.,
into a cup is when the eyes of the audience are attracted towards any
object just revealed to them. The orange, &c., must be taken by the
left hand from its place of concealment whilst the right is engaged
with the cup; and the instant the latter is raised, for the purpose of
showing whatever may be under, it must be passed briskly--at the same
time, in a manner not too marked--to the left hand, and the article
slipped inside. The hands must remain together only sufficiently long
to permit the completion of the manoeuvre, when the cup must be
again held by the right hand only; the article inside being prevented
from falling by having the little finger placed beneath it. Sometimes,
I press the paper balls lightly into the cup, and am so enabled to
hold the cup by the top, and to raise it from the table, to show that
there is nothing under it. By bringing the cup down hard on the table,
the ball will become disengaged. This method should only be used as
a change. Supposing that you have an orange inside cup No. 1, place
it gently and unconcernedly on the table whilst drawing attention, by
means of your tongue, to cup No. 2. By the time cup No. 2 is raised,
the left hand will contain, say, an apple, which will go inside the
cup, and public attention drawn to cup No. 3, which, in its turn,
will be raised, and tenanted with a potato. You can now either knock
over all three cups, and reveal their contents, which has a very good
effect, or continue the manufactory as with the cork balls, pretending
to put the potatoes, oranges, &c., into the pocket. It will be only
necessary to have one of each kind of article, although the audience
will be led to believe that your pockets are crammed with them by the
time you have finished. It is best to have four kinds, as by that
means each cup has something different under it every time it is
raised. It is not advisable, however, to fill the cups more than twice
by this method. The performer must not have his head filled with the
idea that his movements are noticed, for the eyes of the spectators
are sure to be riveted on the article last revealed. Any hesitation
will be attended with disastrous results, so the thing must be done
with dash, or not at all. Every conjuror should endeavour to become
perfect with the cups and balls, as they not only amuse and astonish
audiences, but afford great practice to the learner.

One very important thing in connection with this trick is the talk
with which it is accompanied. The performer should be talking the
whole time, explaining everything as he goes on; at the same time, he
must not talk a lot of nonsense, which will only cause the audience
to form a low estimate of his prestidigitatorial powers, but infuse
his harangue with a little very mild humour. Something like the
following, varied to suit the circumstances, will be to the point: "I
have here three little tin cups, solid, and free from any trickery
or deception, as you may see for yourselves." (Hand cups round.)
"Kindly see that the bottoms do not take out. I have also three little
cork balls, equally guileless with the cups. Madam, will you be so
good as to squeeze one, and see that it is solid?" (Give a ball to a
lady.) "Thank you. These little balls, ladies and gentlemen, are, you
will be interested to hear, trained to a high degree of perfection,
and are perfectly obedient to my will, as I will shortly show you.
This cup, which you will perceive is perfectly empty, I place here
on the table, and, taking up one of the balls, I simply say to it,
'Hey, presto! begone!' and it has vanished. The second little ball I
take from beneath this cup, and command it to keep company with its
predecessor. 'Fly!' and it has gone. The remaining ball I treat in the
same manner. By the aid of my magic wand, I recall my little servants.
See, here comes one, and, following my wand, it passes through into
this cup" (tap a cup with the wand), &c., &c. It will be as well for
the conjuror to study what he intends saying beforehand, in the early
stages of his career, for he will find his wits sufficiently troubled
to execute his tricks properly without requiring to think about his

A little sleight, which may be introduced with effect, is the apparent
throwing of one cup through the other. This illusion is effected
by holding a cup, mouth upwards, lightly between the thumb and
forefinger. The other hand then throws a second cup sharply into it.
The lower cup is allowed to fall, and the second cup caught by the
thumb and forefinger, the appearance being that one cup has passed
completely through the other.




What conjurors would do without pocket handkerchiefs, I will not
venture to suggest. Almost every trick has a handkerchief of some kind
as a component part. Handkerchiefs are torn up, burnt up, tied into
knots, made receptacles for money, and used in a variety of other
ways; in fact, they are the conjuror's most faithful allies.

_Burning a Handkerchief_ is usually made a stage trick, and belongs
properly to Grand Magic; but there is a method which may be
successfully tried in the confined limits of the drawing-room. I do
not allude to the use of the "burning globe," which article entirely
dispenses with the necessity for the display of anything approaching
sleight of hand, with which I, in this book, have only to deal. By
using mechanical tricks, many feats of sleight of hand are imitated;
but then the apparatus cannot be shown round, and the audience goes
away from the performance impressed with the idea that conjuring means
exhibiting a certain number of cunningly-devised boxes, canisters,
&c. I remember being present at an amateur conjuring entertainment,
where tricks were exhibited that must have cost two hundred pounds,
at least. The eye was perfectly bewildered with the array of electric
clocks, drums, &c.; but every third trick failed at some point, which
was not to be wondered at, seeing that the thing was got through as
though against time. This sort of thing is not conjuring; although it
would be bad for conjuring-trick manufacturers if everyone thought
the same. Some apparatus one _must_ have; but only what is absolutely
necessary. The difference between an apparatus conjuror and an adept
at sleight of hand is as great as that between an organ-grinder and a
skilled musician.

To burn a handkerchief in what I may term a small way, be provided
with a piece of cambric, or other material resembling a handkerchief,
about four inches square. The best way is to cut up a cheap
handkerchief that has been hemmed. Have this piece rolled up in
the hand, and concealed by the act of holding the wand. Borrow a
handkerchief, which carelessly roll up in the hands, as if judging as
to its size, and get the piece mingled in its folds. Ask the owner
if he or she has any objection to your burning the end of it. Say
"Thank you," whether the answer be "Yes" or "No" (conjurors are often
afflicted with a convenient hardness of hearing), and proceed at once
to burn what is, in reality, your interpolated piece, but which will
appear to the audience to be the handkerchief, at a candle. When
you have burnt a tolerably large hole, put out the flame, and walk
towards the owner of the handkerchief, as if about to return it to
him, thanking him, at the same time, for the loan of it. If you had
not permission to burn the handkerchief, the owner of it will probably
now tell you so; and if he is at all testy on the point, so much the
better for the success of your trick. Say that you really thought he
said "Yes," are sorry for the mistake, which, however, cannot now be
helped, &c. If, on the other hand, you had permission to do as you
pleased, which a flattering, implicit faith in your abilities will
frequently accord to you, you must affect to see in the person's looks
an objection to take the handkerchief in a burnt state, and so, in
either case, eventually set yourself the task of having to restore
the injured article. This you can very simply do by rubbing it in
your hands, and concealing the fictitious piece rolled up in the
palm; or you can prolong the operation by folding the handkerchief
in a piece of paper, omitting the burnt piece, and then pronouncing
some cabalistic words over it, whilst it is held by someone in the
audience. This is, perhaps, the better way of the two. If the beginner
is afraid to trust to his own skill, and prefers using apparatus, he
can procure many kinds of canisters, &c., for changing handkerchiefs,
the working of which will be explained by the vendor, so there is no
necessity to do so here.

_To Pull a Handkerchief through the Leg._--This is a trick which will
bear exhibition in any company. It recommends itself especially for
drawing-room purposes. Take a very long handkerchief, and, seating
yourself, pass the handkerchief (apparently) twice round the leg, just
above the knee, and tie the two ends securely together, or have them
tied for you. Take hold of a single thickness of the handkerchief,
and jerk it sharply upwards, when it will appear to pass through the
leg. The secret of the trick is thus explained: When you pass the ends
below the leg, for the purpose of ostensibly crossing them, so as to
bring them up on opposite sides, you rapidly make a bend in one, and
pass the other firmly round it. By this means, a temporary junction is
formed strong enough to bear a slight strain. By distending the sinews
of the leg, the folds are compressed, and additional security is thus
obtained. The ends are of course brought up again on the sides on
which they descended, and the knot tied above the thigh--not beneath
it. The formation of the bend and loop round it must be practised
assiduously, for I do not know of any trick of the same magnitude
requiring more skill in execution than this one. The hands should
not remain an instant longer under the leg than one would require to
merely cross the ends, and there must be no fidgeting observable. For
performing this trick, Döbler (the original one) received a diamond
ring from the Emperor of Russia.

_To Untie a Knot by Word of Command._--Tie a knot with two ends of
a handkerchief, but in such a manner that one end is always quite
straight; in fact, one end should be tied _round_ the other, and
not the two ends tied together. If you take the extreme end of the
straight portion, anyone may pull as hard as he likes at it from the
other side of the knot without making it any tighter, although you
must lead him to believe that he is doing so. When he has pulled to
his heart's content, take the knot in one hand and cover it with the
rest of the handkerchief. Whilst doing so, work, with the concealed
hand, the straight end through the folds of the other, but do not
destroy the folds, which give to be held, of course under cover of
the handkerchief. Command the knot to come undone, and then shake
the handkerchief out. This is the groundwork of a trick on a much
larger scale, which will be treated of in Grand Magic. It is a very
effective little trick, and should never be despised.

_To Find Sweetmeats in a Handkerchief._--For this pretty trick the
performer will require a conical bag, made of fine calico, cambric,
or any other substance resembling a handkerchief. The length of the
bag should be about 5in.; and it must be furnished at the apex with
a bent pin--a black one. The mouth must be fitted with two pieces of
flat watch or crinoline spring, sewn in the stuff in such a manner as
to keep the opening closed. This bag must be filled with sweets, and
suspended, by means of the bent pin, on the edge of the table--out of
view of the audience, as a matter of course. Borrow a handkerchief,
and say that you will now find something that will please the juvenile
portion of the audience. Wave the handkerchief mysteriously about, and
then spread it out upon the table. Wave your hands over it, take it
up delicately by the centre with one hand, and squeeze it with the
other over a plate with which you will be provided. Naturally, nothing
will come of it, so you repeat the operation, this time at a different
part of the table. At the third or fourth attempt, the handkerchief
should hang over that portion of the table where the bag is suspended,
and when it is raised the bent pin should be included in the grasp.
On squeezing the handkerchief this time, the hand should compress the
ends of the springs, which will open, and allow the sweets to escape
and fall upon the plate with a great clatter. Do not empty the bag at
once, but give it two or three squeezes, allowing a little to fall
out each time, which will greatly heighten the effect. When the bag
is empty, the next thing to do is to remove it from the handkerchief.
If a chair is handy, the bag can be dropped on it; but the best way
is to boldly introduce the hand beneath the handkerchief, and, whilst
calling attention to the sweets, hang it again on the edge of the
table, which can easily be managed behind the handkerchief. The sweets
used should be small round or oval ones, they being best suited for
the purpose.

There are many little feats performed with handkerchiefs hardly
deserving the title of tricks, in the way of tying bows and knots,
&c., by entirely unorthodox methods. They are too insignificant
for performance alone; but they look very well when worked in with
more important tricks. Besides (and it cannot be too often stated),
conjurors should endeavour to know _everything_ connected with sleight
of hand. In drawing-room circles, one is continually asked if one can
do this, that, or the other; and it is quite as well to be able to
reply in the affirmative, for it always tells detrimentally to fail in
a little matter. The following feats will be found effective:

_To Lengthen a Handkerchief._--Having borrowed a handkerchief, great
amusement is caused when the performer observes that the article is
not long enough, and expresses his intention of stretching it. This
is done by taking the handkerchief by one corner in each hand, and,
whilst twisting it up, gathering an inch or two in each palm. Stretch
the arms wide apart, so that the handkerchief lies across the chest,
without allowing any of the gathered-up portions of it to escape. Now
give the handkerchief a turn or two in the air, and again stretch it
across the chest, this time allowing about half an inch to escape
out of the hands. Twist again and stretch, allowing a little more to
escape, and repeat the operation until the extreme ends are reached.
Imply by manner, as much as possible, that a deal of stretching
is taking place, and the audience will be led to believe that the
handkerchief has been extended at least six inches beyond its original

_To Appear to Tie a Knob that will not Draw Tight._--This feat is
also exceedingly diverting. The performer, apparently, goes through
all the necessary formulæ for forming a knot; but, lo! when the ends
are pulled out, no knot is seen. There are three ways of doing this.
One is to pass one end behind the other, instead of through the loop,
as usual, which must apparently be done. To do this neatly, one end
must be held in each hand, the handkerchief twisted sharply up, and
the hands then brought quickly together, which will cause a coil of
about two turns to be formed. Pass the right end quickly round the
back of the left, and then draw out both, as if tightening the knot.
As you pull, the coil will bunch in the middle, as if a knot were
really there, and increased tension will pull it out quite straight.
The second method is thus performed: Lay one end of the handkerchief
across the right hand, the major portion of it being on the outside,
and the short end held down by the little finger only. With the left
hand, take the hanging end, and, bringing it round on the inside, lay
it over the other. Pass the left hand through the loop thus formed,
take with it the uppermost end, and draw it through; but, just as
you pull the two ends out straight, slip the thumb of the right hand
under the inside bend of the lower end, and hold it between the
finger and thumb. In the third method, commence by taking one end of
the handkerchief in either hand. Pass the right hand over to the left
side, in front of the left arm, which is kept perfectly still in front
of the body, so that the handkerchief hangs on the left forearm in
the shape of a loop. The second end must now be placed in the left
hand, which thus detains both for the time being. Pass the right
hand, now free, through the loop from the inside, and, reaching up
with it, let it grasp its original end just placed in the left hand,
and pull it through. This must be done with great deliberation, as
the beauty of the sleight rests in the extreme slowness with which it
can be executed, the secret lying, not in any quickness of fingers,
but in the fact that the handkerchief ends are never looped one over
the other, as would be the case if the right hand were passed through
the loop from the outside, which the learner may at once discover by
experiment. In pulling the end out, as though tying the knot, if it be
retarded by the left thumb, a more natural appearance is given. This
method is to be preferred to the foregoing, which, however, are useful
as changes.

_To Tie a Knot Instantaneously._--Take an end of the handkerchief in
either hand between the thumb and forefinger, the end in the left
hand pointing inwards, and that in the right hand outwards, the hands
being held so that their backs are towards the company, the thumbs on
top and the little fingers below. Open the fingers of each hand at
the first and middle fingers, and then bring the hands together until
they overlap a couple of inches, the right hand on the outside. This
will bring the end of the handkerchief in either hand between the
opened fingers of the opposite one. The fingers close on the ends,
and the hands are at once separated, when the knot will be found to
be tied. This may be first practised with a piece of stout string,
and the learner must not be satisfied until he can tie the knot by
merely bringing the fingers together for an instant, the knot being
tied apparently by means of the mere collision of the two hands. It is
astonishing what perfection can be attained by means of practice, the
knot at last seeming to appear on the handkerchief, instead of being

_To Tie a Knot on the Wrist whilst Holding an End of the Handkerchief
in either Hand._--Jerk the right hand towards the left one, so as to
throw a loop in the handkerchief, through which dart the left hand,
still holding its end, and the feat will be accomplished. It should be
done in a _nonchalant_ manner, and without any ostentation. Practise
first with a piece of string.

The performance of the foregoing feats will be facilitated by the use
of a silk handkerchief that is not too new, and it should always be
first twisted, rope-fashion.




_Chinese Marble Trick._--Some years ago, there came over to England a
few Chinese conjurors, who were seen by the public but very little,
but who favoured me on several occasions with private views. Their
skill lay chiefly in the performance of such delectable feats as
swallowing sword-blades, tiny china cups, glass balls, and large
leaden plummets. Although appreciating such tricks, I respectfully
declined attempting to astonish my audiences by their means. There
was, however, one little trick performed with four small marbles,
which struck me as being something quite novel and quaint. Of the
four marbles (little ivory balls are what I invariably use), one is
concealed in the fingers, as in the cup and ball trick, unknown, of
course, to the audience, who are supposed to know of the existence of
three only. These three the performer puts into his mouth--one at a
time, slowly, is the best way--to show that there is "no deception."
He now forms his left hand into a fist, and holds it steadily in front
of him, thumb upwards, as though holding a sword at rest. With the
right hand he pretends to take a marble from the mouth, the concealed
one being exhibited. The action of taking a marble from the mouth
must be imitated exactly; and this is best done by rolling it along
the lips until it travels from the roots of the fingers to their tips.
The sleight must be quickly done, for the eyes of the audience are
full upon the hand. Place the marble on the top of the left hand,
_i.e._, on the doubled-up first finger, which, after a few seconds,
open slightly, so as to allow the marble to disappear in the hand.
With the right hand actually take a marble from the mouth, which will
now contain two. Pretend to place this marble on the left hand, as
you did the first one, but in reality conceal it. When the left hand
is momentarily covered with the right, as it feigns to place a marble
upon it, open the first finger, and, with the least possible jerk,
bring the first marble again to the top. The audience will think that
marble No. 1 is in the hand and marble No. 2 atop. After another short
pause, allow the marble to again sink in the hand, thereby causing
the idea that two marbles are concealed in it, and, with the right
hand, affect to take another marble from the mouth, the concealed one
being, of course, shown. Ostensibly, place this one on the left hand
(deception as before), and allow it to disappear like its two supposed
predecessors. At this stage, the state of affairs will be thus:--The
right hand, presumably empty, contains one marble; the left hand
contains presumably three, but in reality only one marble; the mouth,
presumably empty, contains two marbles. The performer then proceeds
as follows: Allow the marble in the left hand to sink until it is in
the position for concealing at the roots of the fingers. If with the
tips of the second or third fingers it can be pressed firmly home, so
much the better, for the command to vanish can at once be given, and
the hand opened--palm downwards, of course. If the marble cannot be
secured in this way, the thumb must be brought into use in the usual
way; but the hand must be waved about a little so as to cover the
movement. The three marbles are now supposed to be _non est_. The
performer can proceed to find the first of them in whatever manner
he pleases. He may pretend to pick it from the table cloth, break it
from the end of his wand, or find it in the possession of one of the
audience; how, is quite immaterial. As each hand conceals a marble, it
is also immaterial which one is used. This first marble is placed on
the table, and another one found. This second one, instead of placing
on the table, the performer affects to pass into his ear, concealing
it as before, and after a few seconds, it appears at his lips, the
one thence protruding being, of course, one of the two concealed
in the mouth. Allow it to fall from the mouth, and then proceed to
find the third marble, which pass, say, through the top of the head.
The remaining marble in the mouth is then exhibited, and the three
wanderers are recovered. If the marbles or ivory balls are not small,
their presence in the mouth, when they are not supposed to be there,
will be discovered. I always conceal one on each side of the mouth,
between the lower gums and the cheek. Ivory balls are in every way
preferable, as they do not strike cold to the teeth, and do not rattle
much, both of which disagreeable properties are possessed by marbles.
Any ivory-turner will supply the little balls very cheaply. The
performer must study to execute this trick with the greatest possible
delicacy, or--especially before ladies--it will become repulsive. The
method of finding the balls after vanishing them should be varied,
each one being found in a different way. The portion of the trick
requiring the most practice is that in which the left hand is opened.
The knack of concealing the ball held in it unobserved requires some
little address.

_Fire-eating._--This was another trick performed remarkably well by
my Chinese. It is, I should think, one of the best-known in England,
for every country fair has its fire-eater; but it is not everyone who
knows how it is performed. In the first place, prepare some thick,
soft string, by either boiling or soaking it in a solution of nitre
(saltpetre). Take a piece, from 1in. to 2in. in length, and, after
lighting it, wrap it in a piece of tow as large as an ordinary walnut.
Conceal this piece under a heap of loose tow, the whole of which is
put on a plate, and so exhibited to the audience. The string will burn
very slowly indeed, and the very little smoke issuing from it will
be quite smothered by the tow. Show the mouth empty, and then put a
little tow into it. Commence chewing this, and, after a little time,
put in some more. Repeat this three or four times, taking the chewed
portion secretly away each time you put any fresh tow into the mouth,
and in one of the bunches include the piece containing the burning
string. Do not chew this about at all, in reality, although you will
make great gestures as if so doing. Take a fan, and fan the ears, and
presently take in a good breath at the nostrils, blowing it out at
the mouth. This will cause some smoke to be ejected, the volume of
which will increase as the breathings are kept up. Always be careful
to draw in at the nostrils, and eject at the mouth; otherwise you will
be choked. Renew the fannings (merely for effect), and, by continued
breathings, the tow in the mouth will be brought into a glow, and
one or two sparks will issue from the mouth. When this has continued
sufficiently long, take in more tow, and so smother the burning string
again, extracting the piece containing it under cover of a loose
bunch. There need be no fear of burning the mouth, as, directly it is
closed, the light becomes a mere spark. The trick causes great effect,
not to say alarm on many occasions.

A very pretty and laughable termination to the above trick is to pass,
unperceived, into the mouth (under cover of a piece of tow, as usual)
a little ball composed of a long band of coloured paper, about half
an inch or so wide. Take this by the end, and draw it out through
the teeth. Tightly rolled up, a ball may contain several yards of
paper. It should be composed of three or four different colours, in
lengths, each pasted to the other, for there must be no break. The end
should have a piece of cotton attached to it, or it will be next to
impossible to find it in the mouth. The cotton will adhere to some
portion of the mouth, and so be easily found. These balls of paper
are supplied at all conjuring shops, as is also an article known as
the Barber's Pole. This consists of a spiral of paper, which shuts up
into a very small compass, but assumes a great length on being merely
twisted. A long pole appears to come out of the performer's mouth.

_The Butterfly Trick._--Invisible at a short distance, very fine silk
and hair are invaluable adjuncts to the conjurer's repertory, both
in the drawing-room and on the stage. The celebrated and fascinating
Japanese butterfly trick is performed with the aid of a piece of fine
black silk or horsehair. The former is, in my opinion, immeasurably
the superior of the two. Hair is most difficult to manipulate, from
its springy nature, and requires a great deal of coaxing before it
will condescend to be tied in a knot. In the butterfly trick, the
performer sustains one or more butterflies, made from rice (or tissue)
paper, in the air, by means of the current caused by the motions of a
fan. When this trick was first brought out, "all the world wondered,"
for no one, even after long practice, could keep the paper butterfly
hovering in a given space for a single moment. I tremble to think
of the number of fans I destroyed in my early days over this trick,
before I knew the secret of it. The fan used should be a very strong
and large one, of the old shape--not the circular--and be composed of
paper and wood only, so as to be free from superfluous weight. Affixed
to the top waistcoat button, or any other convenient spot, have from
3ft. to 4ft. of the finest black silk floss or hair, with a knot at
the free end. Have, also, a piece of crisp tissue (or rice) paper,
and a pair of scissors. Let the audience examine the paper, and then
proceed to cut out the rough form of a butterfly, explaining your
action as you go on, giving the centre a twist or two, for the double
purpose of forming a body to the insect, and concealing the knotted
end of the silk or hair, which it is as well to have between the
fingers before commencing operations, as it is not allowable to grope
about for it in view of the audience. When finished, the butterfly's
wings should have the appearance of being three parts extended, and
should be slightly concave from beneath. A little care bestowed on its
formation will be repaid by an increased steadiness when in the air.
When all is ready, hold the butterfly in the air at the full stretch
of the connecting medium, and fan pretty briskly with the other hand,
not immediately underneath the paper, but from the body, and along the
silk or hair, which must always be kept at a stretch, or nearly so, or
control over the butterfly will be lost.

Notwithstanding the aid of a connecting medium, there is more skill
required to perform this trick really neatly than is generally
supposed. After a time, practice will enable the performer to cause
the butterfly to settle on a flower or on the edge of another fan, and
also to sustain two in the air at one time, which has a very pretty
effect indeed. When two butterflies are used, it will be found almost
necessary to have two fans, one in each hand, and each insect must,
of course, have a separate thread. Some use wax at the end of the
connecting medium, but this is a bad plan, as it deters the performer
from giving round the butterfly to be examined after performing the
trick. Whilst cutting out and twisting up the paper, it is as well to
call attention to the fact that the trick is performed by some people
with the aid of a thread--an assistance which you will say you utterly
despise, as will be perceived. This will totally disarm those people
who may have bought the trick (it is sold universally), and are yet
only tyros at performing it.

There is a second method, in which two butterflies are joined by a
thread or hair a few inches long. These do not require to be attached
to the performer's person, the partnership being sufficient to enable
him to keep them in mid-air.

Speaking of the Chinese, it is a most noticeable thing that their
methods of vanishing and concealing articles are the same as those
practised by ourselves, which fully demonstrates the fact that there
is only one proper way; for there is only one thing more highly
improbable than that we learnt the _minutiæ_ of the art of conjuring,
practised by us for centuries, from the Chinese, and that is that the
Chinese learnt from us. It is only during the present century that we
have been sufficiently familiar with the Chinese to borrow their ideas
on magic, did we wish to do so.




_To Vanish a Glass of Sherry._--When invited out to a dinner party,
one usually leaves one's conjuring tricks at home; but in some
instances, where, perhaps, one's fame has gone before, an unexpected
call is made for an exhibition of skill. "Come, So-and-so, let us
see some tricks," says the host, and "Hear, hear!" say the guests.
You are, of course, quite unprepared, and beg to be excused, but in
vain. You must acquiesce, or be voted a boor. In an absent manner, you
place a glass of sherry to your lips, as though bracing yourself for
the fray. The glass is half emptied (be careful about this), when a
sudden movement is made as though you threw it up at the ceiling; but
nothing is seen to ascend, though the glass, with the wine in it, has
disappeared. After a short pause, to allow the general astonishment
to take full effect, the missing article is discovered inside the
coat of your immediate neighbour, with the wine in it unspilt. This
startling effect is thus managed: Open the legs just a few inches, and
in the disengaged hand hold a napkin or handkerchief. When the feigned
movement of throwing the glass upwards is made, the article itself is
left between the legs, and immediately covered with the napkin. It
is, however, of the highest importance that the hand does not dwell
an instant in leaving the glass behind, otherwise the movement will
be discovered. The action must be swift, clean, and noiseless. To
find the glass on the person of your neighbour, take it up, with the
napkin with which you have covered it, with one hand, and, bringing
yourself quite close to the party to be operated upon, whip it inside
his coat with the other. Produce it very slowly from its supposed
place of concealment, for extra effect. The success of the trick is
greatly enhanced by its total unexpectedness, and the performer must
take care not to reveal, by any word or gesture, what he is about
to do. He should, however, immediately preceding the vanish, draw
attention to himself by addressing the host, or otherwise engaging the
conversation, lest he perform the trick and afterwards discover that
no one saw it, for it is a trick that will not bear repetition. A tea
or coffee cup, small size, can be treated after the same manner.

_To Vanish a Plate._--This is considerably more ambitious than the
preceding, and requires some confidence in one's powers. There are two
methods, each differing only slightly from the other. In the one, the
plate, which should be small, is taken in the hand, and apparently
thrown up to the ceiling, but, instead, adroitly grasped by one leg,
purposely extended, behind the knee, between the calf and the thigh.
In the other method, the performer rises slightly from his seat, as if
to make an extra vigorous throw, and the plate is slipped beneath him.
Both methods are good; but it is essential to the success of either
that the performer sits on the extreme outside of everyone else.
Under any other circumstances, the requisite freedom of action cannot
be obtained. So soon as the plate has disappeared, the conjuror should
seize a napkin, wave it about, and find the plate in it. It must be
distinctly understood that the leg which is to hold the plate during
its concealment must be first brought round to the side of the chair
on which the performer is sitting, and there doubled up slightly, so
that there is just room to pass the plate between the calf and the
thigh, which will then hold it tight. The learner must not expect to
execute this vanish at the first attempt, but will require to practise
considerably before arriving at anything like perfection of execution.

A primitive method for vanishing a plate is to place the left hand
slightly behind the body, and with it receive the plate from the
right hand. In this method, which can only be used when the performer
is standing, the plate must immediately be found in someone's coat.
Books, straw mats, knives, and other large articles can be made to
disappear by any of the foregoing methods.

_To Pass a Fork or Spoon through a Tumbler._--The foregoing
successfully performed, take up a tumbler carelessly, and remark
to the host that you notice that he has some of the "patent filter
tumblers." Ignorance of the fact will, of course, be expressed,
and you then proceed to show that the tumbler you hold has a hole
through the bottom, by apparently passing the handle of a spoon or
fork, or any other suitable article, through it. This diverting
optical illusion is thus performed: Take the tumbler (empty) in the
left hand, near the bottom, not in the ordinary way, as if about to
drink from it, but in such a manner that it lies along the hand, the
mouth towards the wrist. Take the article to be passed through the
tumbler in the right hand, and, after thrusting it once or twice
against the bottom, pass it between the hand and the outside of the
glass, allowing two or three inches to protrude beyond the ends of
the fingers. This simple action causes it to appear that the spoon
handle, skewer, &c., has been passed through the bottom of the

_Permeable Plates._--Following up the idea of the patent filter
tumblers, you can mention that you notice that the host has also the
last new plate. Hold up a plate to the light and say, "Yes, I can
distinctly see through it." Laughter will, of course, ensue, and
you will offer to prove your assertion. To do this, make up three
bread-paste balls about the size of those used in the cup and ball
trick, of which this one is, indeed, only a variety. You will have an
extra one concealed in the fingers, of course. Now take two plates,
one in each hand, upside down, and held in such a manner that the
ball in the fingers is concealed. Place them on the table, about a
foot apart, and, by opening the fingers, allow the concealed ball to
remain under one plate. Vanish a ball as in the cups and balls, and
find it under the plate, repeating the process with all three balls,
the one concealed being dropped each time the plate is replaced after
raising it to show the one just passed through it. Now say that it
is as easy to perform the feat with another plate, and take up the
second one in the hand containing the concealed ball. Supposing this
to be, as it generally will be, the right hand, it will now be taking
up the plate on your left. Cross the arms, and, with the left hand,
take hold of the plate on your right hand, allowing the fingers to
extend well beneath it. Call attention to the fact that under the
left-hand plate there is nothing, whilst under the right-hand one
there are three balls; and then place the left-hand plate upon the
table, with concealed ball under it. Then command one ball from the
right-hand plate to pass under the left-hand one. With the fingers
seize one ball of the three, and raise both plates. Now bring back
the arms to their original positions, in order that the left hand,
which contains one ball concealed, may be brought to the single ball,
which is supposed to have been transferred from the right-hand side.
Replace both plates, allowing concealed ball to fall from the left
hand, and take up another, in the fingers of the right hand. Command
a ball to pass, and raise plates as before. Re-cross the arms, and
repeat the operation, when all three balls will have apparently passed
from one side to the other. Without crossing the hands this would not
be possible, and the reason you give for so doing is to show that it
does not matter which plate is used, both being equally permeable. The
learner must bear in mind that in this, the second phase of the trick,
the two plates are never relinquished simultaneously. The hand picking
up a ball cannot quite quit all hold on the plate, or detection would
ensue. The plate having a ball passed beneath it can be released for
the time from the hand entirely. The ball remaining concealed at the
end can be dropped in the lap under cover of the plate. It is always
as well to have one's handkerchief lying carelessly in one's lap, as
it comes in very useful for concealing small things. By taking some
cork balls in his pocket, the conjuror will avoid the necessity for
using balls made of bread.

Such occasions as the one I have now assumed are the ones favourable
for the introduction of the previously mentioned tricks with sugar and
knives; and, if the performer has taken my advice, he will be provided
with his disc of glass for the performance of the glass of water
trick, also previously described.

_Changing Dice._--It is also useful, on such occasions, to have in
the pocket a pair of dice, rather smaller than those in general use,
for the performance of the following trick. Place the dice, side by
side, between the finger and thumb. This will leave two sides, back
and front, open to view. Ask the spectators to note the numbers at the
front, and then those at the back. Show each side two or three times,
turning the hand over each time, and then give a slight twist with
the finger and thumb, just sufficient to cause the dice to revolve
the extent of one square only. This will bring different numbers to
the back, whilst the front ones have apparently remained unaltered,
as you will show, taking care to twist the dice back again to their
original positions. The twist must be given as the hand is turned
over, when it will be quite imperceptible to anyone. This is the first
and simple phase of the trick; the second is more convincing still.
It very frequently happens that someone says, "Ah! of course you turn
them over." This you stoutly deny, and proceed at once to prove the
fallacy of the idea that the dice move in your fingers. To do this,
give the twist backward and forward each time the hand is turned
over in what the spectators consider to be merely the preliminary to
the actual trick. Then say, "Now, I will turn my hand over as slowly
as possible, and ask some one to hold my fingers firmly so as to
render it utterly impossible for me to move them." Of course, as the
positions of the dice have been changed each time you turned your hand
over, you have now only to keep them still to effect an alteration.
This ruse invariably silences sceptics.

The trick is also capable of further development if the dice be
properly arranged. By placing the two fives face to face, the numbers
will read one-three, three-one, six-four, four-six. Hold the dice in
the fingers so as to cover one three-one and one six-four. The visible
numbers will then be six-four and three-one. Suppose the six-four is
on the top, the twist of the fingers will expose the hidden six-four
at the bottom, and the hidden three-one at the top. The two numbers
will then appear to have completely changed places. The fact that, in
one instance, the four and the one are where the six and the three
were previously will not be noticed if the performer is careful to
always call the numbers the same, viz., "Here we have six-four on the
top and three-one at the bottom; six-four" (turn over), "three-one"
(turn back), "change" (turn over), "three-one on the top, six-four on
the bottom." A fresh combination can at once be obtained by placing
any other numbers face to face, so that they be the same unit. This
variation will be found very effective and dumbfounding.

_To Cut a Person's Arm with a Knife, through the Coat, without
Injuring the Cloth._--Turning to his next-door neighbour, who,
I need scarcely say, must not be a lady, the performer seizes a
knife and asks him whether he would like to have his arm cut. A
bloodthirsty slash in the air will add emphasis to the question.
The person questioned will invariably decline, with thanks, and the
performer then affects to think that the reason for the negative is
an objection to having the coat cut, and not on the score of any pain
to be inflicted. He assures his neighbour, with great emphasis and
earnestness, that any injury necessarily done to the cloth will be
immediately remedied, and that no traces of a cut will remain. When
it is begun to be realised that the cloth is not to be cut, a joke
is anticipated, and consent to the operation will soon be obtained,
especially if the performer alters his manner, and becomes persuasive.
It is necessary, in order to invest the trick with interest, to work
up a state of apprehension to begin with, as it is but a small thing
in execution, and requires filling out. When the necessary consent
has been obtained, the performer places a napkin or handkerchief over
the biceps of his neighbour, and, introducing the knife underneath,
commences to saw away at the arm. Presently the patient will give
a sudden start, and, if at all weak-minded, he will shout "Oh!" as
well. On being questioned, he will explain that he distinctly felt
the knife cut into his arm, which is, indeed, precisely the feeling
communicated to him. The secret of the trick is simply a common pin,
which, under cover of the napkin or handkerchief, the performer takes
from his vest, or wherever it may be concealed, in the left hand. Both
hands are introduced under the napkin, the right hand sawing away with
the knife, with the blunt side against the coat. Great care must be
taken to employ a new knife, as old ones frequently have their backs
rather sharp, and the cloth might be cut in reality. Press pretty
firmly with the knife, sufficiently to make the patient feel it, and
then gradually push the pin through close beside it, pushing only
when pressure is put upon the knife. In time it will work through
the clothing--a quantity of which rather assists the illusion--and,
entering the flesh slightly, will cause a sensation precisely as
though the arm really were cut. The performer at once stops, and
either sticks the pin into the napkin or in its former place of
concealment, or else drops it on the floor. The trick may be repeated
upon other patients; indeed, it is not easy to appreciate it unless
it has been actually performed upon one. The pin need only be dropped
when the performer notices looks of suspicion directed at his fingers.
He has others concealed about him, naturally. Black pins should
be used as being less likely to be seen, especially when dropped;
although so common an object as a pin upon the floor, even if noticed,
would scarcely excite suspicion. Still, it is always best to think of
every contingency, and provide for it, or, haply, experience may teach
the lesson in a harsh manner.

_Corks_ are generally handy at a dinner table (at set dinners tricks
would scarcely be introduced), and, being easily palmed, form
excellent _media_ for small conjuring. The cork should be held by the
tips of the first and fourth fingers, lengthwise, and it then palms
right across the hand, the sharp edges (do not choose a ragged edged
cork) giving a splendid hold, especially as the article is so light.
Corks are very easily swallowed, being either placed (apparently) in
the mouth by the hand palming them, or else put into the other hand
first. Houdin used to regale himself at friends' houses by a dessert
of corks, brought on in a sauce-boat or soup tureen, especially
chosen because it concealed the hand when thrust in. The performer
continually took out corks, dropping the ones palmed as he did so,
until he had apparently eaten a dozen. A good deal of natural chewing
should be indulged in, and the changes continually rung upon the
various palms and passes taught in this book. Finally, the performer
says he can eat no more, as he is full up. As evidence of this, he
extracts from his ear the last cork he ate, and, after (apparently)
replacing this in the bowl, he is taken with a spasm, and another
cork is taken out of his mouth, the supposition being that it had
been unable to find room below. It is, of course, rolled into the
partially opened lips from the palm. It is quite open to the performer
to reproduce a number of corks from his person in this way, when the
company will imagine that he really secreted those he pretended to
swallow. This effect will be heightened if the performer has gone to
the dinner with half-a-dozen corks in his pocket. As a _finale_, he
says: "The rest are here in my pocket," and produces them all at once,
throwing them carelessly into the bowl. If he has performed the rest
of the trick properly, the company will think him quite capable of
secreting half-a-dozen corks in his pocket without being observed, no
one dreaming for a moment of any previous arrangement.

_Swallowing a Knife._--Performed after the following method, this
illusion can be carried out most effectively: Taking a large knife--a
carving-knife is not too large--the performer lays it in front of him,
right and left. He turns up his coat sleeves, as far as they will go,
and then, squaring his elbows, so as to bring the forearms across
his body, he places his hands along the knife, one hand overlapping
the other, so as to completely hide the knife from view. In the case
of a large knife, some parts of it--the ends--will be hidden by the
wrists. Nipping it with the thumbs, or with one thumb only, it is
raised from the table, the hands keeping their somewhat constrained
position upon it. One hand is now brought to the mouth, the other
being raised, and an apparent attempt made to swallow, the hands
appearing to tilt the knife down the throat. The performer, however,
suddenly begins to choke, and the attempt is relinquished, the knife
being laid upon the table again. It is, however, immediately raised
again, as before, but the second attempt is no more successful than
the first. The knife is once more taken in the hands, and, in the act
of picking it up, is brought just beyond the edge of the table, and
allowed to fall into the lap. It must be barely raised from the table,
or else the drop will be observed. The hands are, for the third time,
brought to the mouth, as before, when, of course, the swallowing is
successfully accomplished. The performer has taken the precaution to
have a napkin lying loosely upon his lap, in which the knife at once
becomes hidden. The illusion is a very complete one, especially if the
performer takes care to make each of his three movements of the hands
to the mouth precisely the same, the knife being brought beyond the
edge of the table at each abortive attempt, and not at the last one
only. If the performer pleases, he may refrain from turning up his
coat sleeves, and, when the trick is finished, show them to be empty.
Everyone will suppose that the knife has gone down the sleeve, and
it, perhaps, provides an extra effect to show that it has not done
so. As the position of the hands is somewhat unusual, the performer
should be explaining, during the performance of the trick, that the
true secret of knife-swallowing lies in the steadiness with which
the knife is passed down the throat, this steadiness being better
given with two hands than with one. As soon as the trick is safely
accomplished, the performer should get his legs well under the table,
and, taking the knife with one hand, place it under his knees, where
it must be gripped, or else stick it in his boot. The hand is supposed
to be placed below merely to procure the napkin, which is instantly
produced, and the performer's lips carelessly wiped with it. He can
then push his chair away from the table, and, leaning back, so as to
expose his lap, join in the conversation, or, better still, at once
commence a fresh trick. The thoughts of the company diverted, the
knife may presently be brought to light from under someone's coat,
or the performer may simply secrete it in his napkin, and place them
together upon the table.

A smaller knife can be very effectively swallowed as follows: A
cheese-knife is placed on the table, edge downwards, the left hand
retaining it in that position by holding it near the point of the
blade. It is then picked up by the right hand, the first and second
fingers of which nip the back of the blade, close to the point, about
half an inch of which is purposely left visible. The rest of the
knife lies along the inside of the hand, the handle being concealed
by the wrist. The handle is brought to the mouth, the knife being
held upright, and the left hand, by means of gentle taps, thrusts it
gradually downwards, until it wholly disappears down the throat. This
illusion is managed within an inch or so of the end of a precisely
similar knife to that supposed to be swallowed. This the performer has
concealed between two fingers, and, when the knife is picked up, it is
brought into position at the ends by means of the left hand, which is
all the time busy helping the right one. The knife is, of course, at
once dropped into the lap, the eyes of the company being fixed upon
the little piece visible, which they naturally take to be the actual
point of the knife. With the palm of the hand a few taps should be
given the fragment, so as to cause it to slide out of sight, but still
held between the fingers. The tapping is continued with the left hand,
although it is performing upon nothing, the throat of the performer
giving forth choking sounds, to assist the deception, until the
knife may be fairly supposed to be swallowed. The fragment of knife
is treated precisely as a coin held by the finger palm, and may be
placed in the vest pocket, under the plea of getting out a toothpick.
It should have its ragged edge nicely smoothed, so as not to cut the




Having shown the beginner what can be done with the ordinary objects
of everyday use, I will now endeavour to instruct him in the
skilful manipulation of cards. By his success or failure in this
particular branch of legerdemain will his reputation as a conjuror
be made or marred. Card tricks, more than anything else, demand
sleight of hand pure and simple, and success with them can only be
attained by assiduous practice. To the learner some of the following
directions will at first appear impossible of execution, owing to the
unaccustomed positions in which the fingers have to be placed; but
a little resolution will soon overcome all obstacles, and when once
success, however trifling, has been achieved, greater results will
speedily follow. In conjuring, as in most things, everything that is
at all worthy of accomplishment requires some little trouble; and the
learner must, therefore, not be disheartened if his early efforts are
not crowned with success commensurate with his wishes. There is no
disguising the fact that card tricks which owe their accomplishment to
sleight of hand (and they are the only ones worthy of the conjuror's
consideration) are difficult--in many cases exceedingly so; but this
fact ought only to make one extra energetic in mastering them. Amateur
conjurors of every grade I have met with, but those skilful with cards
I can count upon the fingers of one hand.

Before everything, let me inform the reader of one fact, not by any
means universally known, which is that the cards generally used by
conjurors are considerably smaller than those in ordinary use.[A]
I will not say that it is impossible to conjure successfully with
ordinary cards, because I know of very clever conjurors who use
the full-sized card, but they have strong hands; but the advantage
of using smaller ones is so marked that anyone thinking seriously
of practising sleight of hand should provide himself with some
small-sized packs. Many use the French cards, but I find them far
too flimsy for many things. The best are those made by nearly all
the large English card manufacturers for conjuring purposes. Bancks
Brothers, Glasshouse-street, London, are, perhaps, as good as anyone.
Should the reader be unable to procure these small cards, he can
provide very fair substitutes by having an ordinary pack shaved at the
edges, and so reduced in size.

To enumerate every card trick individually would necessitate a
separate volume, so numerous are the varieties of changes capable of
being introduced. All the teacher can do is to instruct in the general
principles, by means of which the results are brought about, and to
give illustrations of the actions of the same. Accident or design will
enable the performer to vary his tricks in hundreds of ways.

The chief things to be learnt at first are:

1. The pass.
2. The false shuffle.
3. The palm.
4. The change.
5. The slide.
6. The force.


With the foremost of these, as the most important, I will first deal.
The use of the pass is to transfer a given card from one portion of
the pack to another. In nine tricks out of ten, a card is chosen
and replaced in the centre of the pack, which is then shuffled. If
this were in reality done without any previous interference on the
performer's part, he would be at sea as to the position of the chosen
card, and so rendered totally unable to find it when he wanted to
do so. To avoid this _contretemps_ he, by means of the pass, brings
the card either to the top or the bottom of the pack, and executes a
shuffle which, although it appears to mingle all the cards, in reality
leaves the chosen one in its original position. If a chosen card is
placed in the centre of a pack, it divides it into two portions, and
the effect of the pass is to reverse the positions of these portions,
the upper one becoming the lower, and _vice versâ_. It will therefore
be seen that if the card is to go to the top of the pack it must, when
replaced, and before the pass is made, form the uppermost card of the
lower portion, and when it is to go to the bottom it must form the
bottom card of the upper portion. Except in very special instances,
the card is usually required at the top, and this, for the sake of
uniformity, I shall assume in my examples to be the case.

[Illustration: FIG. 26.]

[Illustration: FIG. 27.]

For the purpose of learning the pass, it will not be necessary to
assume that a card has been chosen, but let the learner take the pack
in the _left_ hand. The little finger is inserted in the centre of the
pack, thereby dividing it into two portions, the upper one of which
must be held by the fingers as securely as the unusual circumstance
will admit (Fig. 26).[B] The right hand is now brought across the
left hand, as in Fig. 27, the _lower_ portion of the pack being held
between the thumb at one end and the second and third fingers at the
other. The state of affairs is now this: The upper hand holds the
lower portion and the lower hand the upper. Now, in order to alter
the positions of the two halves of the pack, the left hand must draw
off, under cover of the right hand, the upper portion, and, working
as though it were a hinge, replace it beneath the lower one, which
is slightly raised by the right hand during the operation, so as to
facilitate its execution. The cards should not be held in a horizontal
position, but at an angle of fully 45 deg., or even more, the
declension being towards the right hand. The movement should first be
practised as slowly as possible, and with a few cards only. It will be
time enough to increase the speed when a good action has been secured.
One little point must be borne in mind, and that is that that half of
the pack which was originally the lower one, and therefore held by the
right hand, must always be kept hard against the root of the thumb
of the left hand whilst the pass is being made, it working there as
if hinged. At first the two halves, in passing each other, will make
a scraping noise, sometimes very loud. This noise must be studiously
avoided, as the pass must be noiseless as well as invisible. When
making the pass before an audience, move the hands up and down or from
side to side, to cover the movement. It is sometimes required to pass
a single card from the very top of the pack to the very bottom. This
can, of course, be done in the foregoing manner, but the quickest way
is to simply press the fingers of the left hand (the hands being in
position for the pass without the little finger inserted) on the top
card, and then execute the hinge movement. This will pull the top card
off and slip it to the bottom; but it is hopeless to expect to do this
without some slight noise, although that can be almost nullified by
immediately running the thumb sharply across the edges of the cards,
and so causing a similar sound to be made. Such is the double-handed

[Illustration: FIG. 28.]

[Illustration: FIG. 29.]

[Illustration: FIG. 30.]

There are also various single-handed passes, one or two of which,
at times, come in very handy. They are very difficult to master,
and are best learnt with two cards only at the very commencement.
The neatest, and in every way most effective, is the following: Hold
the pack by the ends of the fingers and thumb, the first and fourth
fingers acting as supports, by being slightly bent under (Fig. 28),
and allow a portion of the cards to drop from below (Fig. 29). This
portion push back towards the thumb by means of the first and fourth
fingers, until it will permit of the upper portion dropping down, and
so becoming the lower (Fig. 30). The asterisk denotes the chosen
card, which is passed from the centre to the top of the pack. Although
three positions are here shown, in order to make the action of the
pass clear, it must by no means be thought that there should be three
distinct movements. When the beginner can execute from thirty to forty
passes in the minute, he may consider himself tolerably proficient. It
will assist the action if the fingers are well raised and the thumb
held a little low, thereby causing a better fall to be made; also
considerable swing should be given to the hand, to cover the shifting
which takes place. With practice this pass can be made without

[Illustration: FIG. 31.]

[Illustration: FIG. 32.]

The pass shown at Figs. 31 and 32 is a fairly good one, but much
more difficult than any other. The middle and third fingers are
inserted in the pack, the bottom portion of which is held by the four
fingers, two above and two below. The upper portion is held between
the roots of the thumb and forefinger. The fingers draw out the lower
portion and place it upon the upper one. This pass is useful when it
is required to pass a card from the bottom to the top. Under most
circumstances, the pass first described (Figs. 28, 29, and 30) is
preferable, except when the top card has to be passed to the bottom,
when the following method is sometimes adopted. Push off the top card,
which is the one to be passed, by means of the thumb, until it lies
well over the ends of the fingers. Stretch the fingers out straight,
and the card will be drawn completely off the rest of the pack,
which is quickly raised by means of the forefinger, and placed over
the card. A good backward and forward swing will assist the action

Experience has taught me, however, that the pass shown at Fig. 31,
&c., is the best one for getting a card from the top to the bottom
single-handed. The cards are so firmly gripped by the fingers that
the pass may be executed, no matter what position the pack is held
in, whether end on, sideways, or upside down. The beginner will find
that the thumb has but little difficulty in dragging off the top card,
especially if very slight pressure indeed be put upon it to commence
with. If an examination is made of the root of the thumb, a line will
be found to run half way round it, joining other lines on the inside,
where the flesh is loosest. The card should be held just there.
Matters will be greatly facilitated if the right hand, whilst placing
the pack in the left, holds it for an instant. The thumb of the left
hand then draws the card off an eighth of an inch, which will be quite
sufficient to enable the card to be seized by it at the root. But the
aid of the right hand should be dispensed with as soon as possible.
The passing of cards by means of one hand only is not suspected by
the general run of spectators, who are, however, always suspicious
directly the two hands are brought together.

[Illustration: FIG. 33.]

The _learner_ should always use the double-handed pass, practising the
single-handed ones in private, until he has attained that confidence
in his skill which is afforded by frequent exhibitions before his
friends, &c.

An easy, but somewhat clumsy, single-handed pass is depicted at Fig.
33. The third finger is inserted in the pack, and the top portion held
between it and the middle finger, the rest of the pack being between
the first finger and thumb. The top portion is then twisted round in
a semi-circle in the direction of the arrow, and so brought beneath
what was originally the lower one. The objection to this pass is that
it disarranges the cards a good deal. The best way of avoiding this
is to move the hand towards the table whilst making the pass, so that
the edges of the cards can be set square at once on its surface. The
motion must be made as if it were merely intended to place the pack
upon the table.


This is a very useful variety of the two-handed pass, by means of
which cards placed simultaneously in different parts of the pack are
at once brought together. Say, three cards have been selected by
various spectators. The performer presents the pack to each in turn,
requesting to have the card chosen placed in any portion of it. The
chooser thereupon pushes the card between the others, which are not
opened out by the performer, but merely presented in a compact body.
The card is not permitted to be pushed quite home, the performer
withdrawing the pack in time to prevent this. The pack is presented
to the two other selectors of cards, and, when the three have all
been placed in it, the performer apparently pushes them home with
the right hand. What he actually does is thus described: Nip the
three cards by the still protruding portions between the thumb and
middle finger, across their width, and, in the act of pushing them
into the pack, turn them obliquely sideways sufficiently to cause the
right-hand top corners to project a quarter of an inch from the pack.
The length of this projecting portion will be rather more than an
inch, and is easily hidden from the spectators by means of the first
and second fingers of the left hand. The top left-hand corner must be
pushed down out of sight, and it will then be found that there are
two considerable projections on the side and bottom of the pack. The
right-hand one is hidden by the palm of the hand, and the lower one by
the little finger. The pack, as it appears at this stage of the trick,
held in the left hand (the right hand being removed for the sake of
clearness), is shown at Fig. 34.

[Illustration: FIG. 34.]

As the cards are supposed to be pushed home along with the rest of the
pack, it is advisable to actually remove the right hand for a short
time, the performer commencing to say what he is about to do with
the cards. When he subsequently brings the hands together again, for
the purpose of making the pass, the thumb and second finger of the
right hand should again nip the upper end of the pack. A simultaneous
twisting movement is made with both hands, the right hand turning the
pack to the right, whilst the left turns the three cards to the left,
until they are clear of one another, when the motions are reversed,
the three cards being placed either on the top or at the bottom, as
the performer may desire. He will find it easier to place them at
the bottom, as they come more naturally there. The position of the
left hand remains the same throughout, the three cards being held in
position by the pressure of the little finger at the lower right-hand
corner. The making of the pass must be covered by a slight swinging
movement of the two hands in any direction. Some performers, finding
it rather difficult to push home several cards into the desired
position simultaneously and neatly, make the pass each time a card is
placed in the pack. It is open to the learner to adopt this method if
he so pleases, but he is more liable to detection; besides which, the
feature of the pass is the showing the cards all in different parts of
the pack, and then apparently pushing them home at one and the same

An alternative method is to push the cards down, with the projecting
corner on the thumb side of the left hand, and then, by straightening
the cards at once, leave half an inch or more of the whole width of
the chosen cards projecting from the bottom of the pack, instead of
having them diagonally across the pack, as is shown in illustration.
A trial will show the learner that this method is an expeditious one,
but my reasons against its use are twofold. Firstly, too much of the
cards to be passed is exposed, and, secondly, the act of pushing them
down is extremely likely to carry along with them indifferent cards
intervening between two of them. This is especially likely to be the
case with cards that are at all worn. The reason for this is that
there is no stop to the body of the cards, which stop is provided, in
the method shown at Fig. 34, by the little finger, during the whole
of the operation. The act of pushing the cards transversely down, from
the opposite side of the pack to that depicted, renders it impossible
that the little finger can be in position on the lower side of the
cards at the most critical time, the commencement, to prevent any but
the desired ones from being pushed down. Its presence just at the
corner seems to me to be very essential to the effective performance
of the pass, combined with security from mishap.


This the conjuror will find a very useful adjunct to the pass. There
is nothing very difficult about it, but it is necessary to be somewhat
bold in executing it. The two methods of shuffling in ordinary use are
the perpendicular and the horizontal. The perpendicular is the most
business-like, and I have no doubt that it is used by most of my male
readers who are card-players. Ladies, I am aware, mostly patronise
the horizontal shuffle, in which the cards are passed from right to
left, or _vice versâ_, alternately over and under. To illustrate
the perpendicular method, suppose the card to be at the bottom of
the pack, just passed there, and it is desired to keep it in that
position. By applying pressure with the fingers and thumb, the top
and bottom cards will be retained in the left hand when the right
hand draws away the rest of the pack, which is then shuffled over the
two. The operation can be repeated hundreds of times without fear of
a mistake. With the card at the top, the action is more complicated,
though not difficult. The pressure with thumb and fingers must be made
as before. This will bring the chosen card from the top to second from
the bottom. Commence the shuffle a second time, and the card will
be the bottom one of those held in the right hand, the one recently
beneath it having been drawn off by the fingers of the left hand. It
now remains to continue shuffling vigorously until the chosen card
alone remains in the right hand, which then leaves it on the top of
the pack in its original position. For this shuffle, which I prefer
to any other, I have to thank myself. It is utterly impossible for
the eye of anyone, be he the most practised conjuror, to follow the
positions of the one card, even supposing that an opportunity for
minute investigation were allowed, which it scarcely would be during
a performance. When exhibiting before a select company of extra
sharp people who have vague notions of false shuffles and passes, it
is sometimes advisable to bring the chosen card to the top, with
one card or more above it. You can then say, "Now, it is utterly
impossible for me to know where the card is. You see it is neither
at the bottom nor next to the bottom" (throw bottom card off), "nor
is it at the top" (throw as many cards off the top as are above the
chosen card). More than this the spectators can hardly expect you to
do. In the horizontal shuffle, with the card at the top, draw the
card off between the first and second fingers, and put all cards
which are shuffled above it between the first finger and thumb. This
will form two packs, divided by the first finger. The final movement
in the shuffle is the replacing the lower half on the upper; but I
prefer bringing this about by means of the pass. With the card at the
bottom, one has merely to shuffle the cards in the ordinary way, just
taking care that the bottom card is shuffled last by itself to the
top, where it may be left; or it may equally easily be shuffled to
the bottom again by simply retaining it in the hand last. This is the
simplest shuffle of all, but it will not deceive enlightened people.
I find it an excellent method to combine two methods of shuffling.
Great rapidity of action should be studied; everything, however, being
practised very slowly at first, until the proper method is secured.
The false shuffle is very useful in covering the pass. The pass should
be made, and the shuffle at once proceeded with, without allowing a
fraction of a second to elapse.

Leaving the beginner to overcome at his leisure the various
difficulties connected with the mastery of single-handed passes, I
will describe some tricks performed by the aid of the pass, assisted
by the false shuffle alone, commencing with the most simple. Lest the
reader should say, "Oh! but no person in his senses would be deceived
by that simple thing," I will observe that he should endeavour to suit
his audience to his skill. The learner should commence by allowing
a card to be selected from the pack, which he then cuts near the
centre, and requests the person who selected the card to place it upon
the lower portion. He then replaces the upper portion, taking care
to allow the little finger to intervene between the two, so as to be
ready for the pass, which must be made on the first opportunity, and
the pack handed to a spectator to hold. Now say that you will cause
the card chosen to rise from the centre of the pack, where it is
supposed to be, to the top, and then let the holder of the pack show
that such has actually been done. By inserting the finger beneath the
card before making the pass, it will be brought to the bottom of the
pack, whither you can afterwards command it to go. In these instances
the effect will be spoilt if any shuffling takes place; but, in most
of the following, false shuffling should be resorted to, attention
being called to the fact that the cards are well mingled, and that
you, therefore, cannot possibly know the position of the chosen card
in the pack.

_To Cause a Card to Show itself on the Top of the Pack._--Bring the
card to the top, and, holding the pack in the right hand, push it off
with the thumb of the left hand about half an inch, and then throw the
pack violently on the table or floor. The resistance of the air will
cause the uppermost card (the chosen one) to turn completely over,
without losing its position. The effect is very good indeed.

_The Attached Card._--Bring the chosen card to the top, and give the
pack to be held by one corner tolerably firmly, between the finger,
and thumb. See that it is held neither too tightly nor too loosely,
and then suddenly strike the cards upwards with the hand. Give a good
strong blow, and all the cards, with the exception of the top one,
will fly into the air, the chosen card remaining in the fingers. If
the card is brought to the bottom, the cards must be struck downwards
to the floor, which method certainly has the advantage of causing less
litter. The effect is increased if two cards are chosen, one being
brought to the top and the other to the bottom. The cards are then
struck--only moderately hard in this instance--sideways, when the top
and bottom cards will remain in the holder's fingers.

_To Catch Two Cards in the Air, out from the Pack._--A better way
with two cards is, after bringing one card to the top and one to the
bottom, to take the pack firmly between your own thumb and fingers,
and jerk it upwards. This will cause all the cards to fly towards the
ceiling, except the top and bottom ones, in a bunch. Before the cards
fall, you make a dash at them, and affect to catch the two chosen
cards in the air out from the rest. This is a very finished illusion.
The audience, having their eyes upon the pack, do not notice the two
cards between the performer's fingers, but the dash at the pack must
be made immediately.

_The Congenial Aces._--Select from the pack the four aces (four cards
of any other denomination would serve equally well, but aces are best
for effect), and allow the pack to be thoroughly examined for the
purpose of showing that there are no others contained in it. Give one
ace to one person, another to a second person, and the remaining two
to a third. Have the first ace placed at the top of the pack, the
second at the bottom, and the third and fourth in what the audience
will suppose to be the middle of the pack, but in reality between the
top and bottom cards brought together by means of the pass. As you
turn to the third person holding aces you pretend to open the pack
in the middle, but in reality make the pass, but without bringing
the two portions together again. The two remaining aces are thus
innocently placed between the two already restored to the pack, which
you instantly close up, whilst calling particular attention to the
fact that you do so with all possible deliberation and slowness. Now
command all four aces to join company in the centre of the pack. On
the pack being opened, the command will be found to have been obeyed.
The trick can be varied by placing a red ace in the centre and a black
one on the top or bottom, and then causing them to change places by
means of the pass. But the most startling change of all is when
two aces of one colour are placed in the centre, and the two of the
other colour, one on the top and one at the bottom, and then made to
change places. The company cannot realise that this can possibly be
accomplished in so brief a space of time; but it is simple enough. It
should always be produced as a final effect, the performer saying,
"Now I will show you something more remarkable still." He then places,
say, the two red aces in the centre of the pack, and one black ace on
the top and the other at the bottom. In order to convince the company
thoroughly that things are as stated, the pack is turned over and
opened slightly, fanwise. In showing the cards thus, it will be very
easy to insert the little finger between the two red aces unperceived,
and the double-handed pass is made in the act of turning the pack
over. It is instantly placed in the hands of one of the company,
who may be asked to blow upon it, or to perform any other operation
equally unlikely to bring about any magical change, and then the cards
can be examined without the performer approaching them again. But,
in such cases, much depends upon how the pack is examined, and it
should always be done under the performer's directions. For instance,
he would say, "On the top was a black ace; will you please look at
the top card now?--you will see that it is a red one. At the bottom
was also a black ace; turn the pack over, please, and you will find
a red one there also. In the centre were two red aces; kindly look
there, and you will find the black ones." By this means, the whole of
the company are informed of what has taken place, which would only be
unsatisfactorily done if it were left in the hands of the temporary
holder of the cards, who only thinks of satisfying his own curiosity.

The single-handed pass (Fig. 28, &c.) may be employed in this trick
to great advantage, whenever it is required to bring cards from the
outsides to the centre. Where cards, already in the centre, have to
be brought to the top or bottom, the insertion of the little finger
is necessary, and so the double-handed pass has to be employed. In
such cases, the employment of the pass depicted at Fig. 33 would
be possible; but the performer would have to execute it in a more
masterly manner than I have yet seen exhibited. For the first phase
described, the single-handed pass (Fig. 28, &c.) is perfect. Two
aces are placed, one at the top and the other at the bottom of the
pack, and as the performer turns to the holder of the two others, he
executes the pass, leaving the cards open, precisely as depicted at
Fig. 30, turning the hand slightly downwards, so that the ace in the
middle shall not be visible. It then appears to the spectators as if
he had merely opened the cards slightly; and, when the two aces are
inserted, the top half is allowed to fall to, and the pack given there
and then into the hands of one of the audience.

_The Reversed Card._--This is not at all a bad termination to a trick.
Bring the chosen card to the top, and then pass it to the bottom
with the two-handed slip pass previously described; but, in passing,
cause it to turn upside down. This, it will be found on trial, is
very easily managed by keeping the face of the card always against
the pack. Now make the ordinary pass, and so bring the card to the
middle, and then throw the pack along the table, when the chosen card
will appear in the middle, face upwards. If you like, you may ask the
audience whether the pack shall be reversed and the chosen card found
face downwards, or _vice versâ_. It does not matter which is selected,
as it is only necessary to turn the pack over before spreading it out,
in order to bring about a reversal of affairs.

_The Travelling Card._--By attaching a hair to a waistcoat button, and
affixing the other end, by means of a tiny bead of wax, unperceived,
to the chosen card, it can be made to walk out of the pack at the
performer's command by a slight motion of the body. The cards should
be spread face upwards upon the table, and the effect of one card
disengaging itself from the rest is a very comical one. The waxed end
of the hair should be held in a finger nail, so as to be at hand.
Another method is to bring the card to the top, and then, holding the
pack upright in one hand, with the faces of the cards towards the
audience, pretend to pluck a hair from the head, and then to wind it
rapidly round the pack with the disengaged hand. Pretend to pull at
the imaginary hair, and, with the first and second fingers of the
hand which holds the cards, work up the chosen card from the back.
The effect is very comical. Two or three cards, selected by different
people, may be treated in the same manner, when it is as well to come
forward, after the first card has risen, and, making the pass, show
that the chosen cards are not on the top. Before continuing, the pass
must be again made to bring the cards back, the little finger having,
of course, all the while divided the two halves of the pack. The trick
should be practised before a looking-glass to ensure that the working
of the fingers is not observed. It will be found necessary to allow
the cards to well cover the finger roots. The performer should stand
well away from the audience, and be certain that no one has a side
view of his hand.

_The Lady's Own Trick._--Say that you have now done quite sufficient
yourself, and think it time someone else had a turn. Bring the card
to any portion of the pack you please, so long as you know where it
is. Take sixteen cards from various portions of the pack (you may
have them selected if you please), taking care that the chosen card
is included in the number, and arrange them in four divisions. Now,
say that this trick must be done solely by a lady, and, giving your
wand to one of the fair sex, ask her to point to any two divisions.
The exact words you will use are, "Kindly tell me which two divisions
I shall take." The word "take" is intentionally ambiguous, as, if one
of the two divisions pointed at contains the chosen card, on which
you are, of course, keeping a sharp eye, you will understand it to
mean that you are to take those two and continue with them. If, on the
other hand, they do not contain the card, you will assume that they
are to be removed, and throw them aside accordingly. Two divisions
will now remain, and you ask the lady to point to one of them, using
the words, "Now, which do you prefer of the two?" This is, again,
ambiguous, and you can do as you wish about taking or leaving the
division pointed at. Four cards now remain, and you ask that two of
them shall be selected, and, on two cards remaining, you repeat the
request. If the chosen card is then pointed at, you allow it to be
taken up; if the other, remove it, leaving the chosen card to be
picked up by the chooser. You must endeavour to impress spectators
with the idea that it is all sleight-of-hand, and _never do it twice_.
Some tricks (not very many, though) will bear repetition, although
it should always be avoided if possible. If there is no help for it,
endeavour to vary the method as much as possible.

[Illustration: FIG. 35.]

Another very rapid single-handed pass is depicted at Fig. 35. As
it is only useful for passing one or more cards from the top to the
bottom, or, rather, from back to front, it is not in general use, but
forms almost a separate trick by itself. The cards, which should not
exceed twelve or fifteen in number, should be held at the top corners
by the first finger and thumb, and the third finger inserted beneath
the card to be brought to the front. This card is then, by means of
the middle, third, and little fingers, which hold it, brought from
behind and passed round the others, care being taken to bring all
together evenly. In executing this pass, the pack is first held up
with the faces of the cards towards the audience, and is then turned
downwards for a moment. When the pack is again held up, it is seen
that the front card (the bottom one) has changed. The trick can be
thus worked: Place secretly at the back of the pack three of any
denomination of card, say, the fours. At the front, place the other
four, which suppose to be the four of clubs, and request one of the
audience to say into which other suite the card shall change. You will
know the order in which the three fours at the back are placed, so you
will only have to place the third finger beneath the one named and
pass it to the front. If it is the actual top card, you will bring it
forward alone; but if it is the second or third, those above it must
come forward as well. As this pass cannot be effected without noise,
it is always best to pretend to pass the card chosen as the one into
which the original four is to change from some cards held in the other
hand. Ruffle these cards with the thumb and say, "Did you not hear it
go?" The slight noise heard will be accounted for by the cards passing
from one pack to the other. If a duplicate four of clubs is held at
the bottom of the second pack, it can be exhibited as the one changed
in the other pack. But the best trick performed by means of this pass
is by the aid of two duplicate cards, say, the knave of clubs and the
ace of hearts. A pack must be held in each hand. At the top of the
right-hand pack put the ace, and at the bottom the knave. At the top
of the left-hand pack put the knave, and at the bottom the ace. The
cards at the top are placed there secretly; those at the bottom openly
before the audience. Hold the faces of the packs towards the audience,
and, calling particular attention to the positions of the cards, say
that you will make them change places. Turn the packs face downwards,
with a flourish, executing the pass with both hands, saying, "Presto!
pass. Did you not see them go?" On holding the cards up again, it will
be seen that the knave has gone over to the left-hand pack, and the
ace to the right-hand one. This is very effective indeed.


This, as a sleight-of-hand feat with cards, takes precedence, for
bare-faced daring, of, perhaps, any other. It consists in deliberately
exchanging a card held in one hand for another in the pack held in the
other hand, and this in full view of the audience. Such a feat may
appear at first sight impossible, but, with a little attention and
practice, it will become as easy as any other, although it will always
demand some care and address in execution. There are various methods
by means of which the change is effected, of which the following
three are perhaps the best. For simplification of description we will
suppose that the ace of diamonds is to be exchanged for the ace of

_First method_: Hold the pack, with the ace of clubs on the top, in
the left hand, between the first finger and thumb. The other fingers
should be so disposed under the pack as to leave a space between the
first and middle fingers. This space, is for the reception of the card
to be exchanged, in this instance the ace of diamonds, which is held
between the first and middle finger of the right hand. To effect the
change, bring the hands momentarily together, and place the ace of
diamonds between the first and middle fingers of the left hand; the
thumb and first finger of the right hand taking, at the same time,
the ace of clubs from off the top of the pack. Just before executing
the change, the thumb of the left hand should push the ace of clubs
slightly off the pack, so that it may be in a favourable position for
the finger and thumb of the right hand to seize. The action must, of
course, be instantaneous and unaccompanied by the slightest hesitation
or bungling. There must also be an auxiliary movement of the body
from right to left, without which it is exceedingly difficult, if not
impossible, to execute the change unperceived. The left hand must also
be taken away from the other, at the same moment, the feat being
practised until it can be accomplished in one movement, the hands
not dwelling together for the most infinitesimal period of time. The
learner should first practise by saying to himself, "Now here I have
the ace of diamonds, and, by simply rubbing it on this table" (here
give the body a half turn from right to left, and execute change), "I
will transform it into the ace of clubs." This form of address should
be used when exhibiting the change in this its most simple form before
spectators. The chief principle to be engrafted on the mind is, that
the first half of the change is performed with the right hand and the
second half with the left--the two movements being interwoven, as it
were, with the body swing. On no account must the hands be brought
suddenly together and then parted as if something had been snatched
away. This method is the one in general use, and, for ordinary
purposes, I can scarcely recommend any other. By its means, it is as
easy to exchange two, three, or more cards for others as a single
card. The cut (Fig. 36) illustrating this change shows the two hands
in actual contact. It will be seen that the actions of leaving the one
card and taking the other are simultaneous.

[Illustration: FIG. 36.]

[Illustration: FIG. 37.]

_Second Method_: By the first method it will be seen that the card
first shown is left, after the change, at the bottom of the pack.
This result is not always desirable. When the cards have to be, as
is sometimes the case, changed back into their former positions, the
card must be left at the top at each change. In this instance, the
ace of diamonds must be held between the thumb and first finger of
the right hand; the ace of clubs being, as before, at the top of the
pack, and slightly pushed off by means of the thumb. On the hands
being brought momentarily together, the ace of clubs is seized between
the first and middle fingers of the right hand, the ace of diamonds
being left on the top of the pack. The thumb of the left hand is
utilised in detaining the ace of diamonds, which, without its use,
would probably fall on the floor. The first finger of the left hand
must be kept well out of the way, or it will interfere with the smooth
passage of the cards. Fig. 37 represents this change just as the
hands are brought together. Noise is more likely to be made by this
change than by the preceding one, so care must be taken to avoid it
as much as possible. The "three card trick," so much in vogue amongst
card-sharpers in wheedling money out of the pockets of greenhorns,
becomes very amusing when worked by means of this change. The usual
shifting about of the cards upon the table must be executed in the
most childishly simple manner, which will not much matter, as you will
take care to speedily change the card to be found, for one on the top
of the pack. When the spectators have amused themselves for some time
in endeavouring to find out a card which is not there at all, you will
change it back again.

[Illustration: FIG. 38.]

_Third Method_: Hold the pack in the left hand, with the ace of clubs
at the top. Take the ace of diamonds in the right hand, between the
first and middle fingers, and, bringing it briskly across the pack
from front to back, take off the ace of clubs by means of the first
finger and thumb, the ace of diamonds being left in its place. The
little finger of the left hand should be curled up behind the cards,
and so prevent more than the top one being removed, as will sometimes
be the case if this precaution is not observed. This change is shown
at Fig. 38.

Besides the part it takes in regular set tricks, the change is of
the utmost utility to the conjuror in cases of emergency, especially
when he makes, as he infallibly must at various times, a mistake. On
eventually producing a card which turns out to be a wrong one, the
performer must not appear in the least discomfited, for that would
commit him at once, but ask the chooser of the card if the one now
exhibited really is what he or she states it to be. Of course, an
affirmative will be received in reply, and the performer must say,
"Well, I would not for worlds contradict you, but really I think
in this case you are wrong. Will you, madam" (here give the card,
rapidly changed in the transit to someone else), "say if this card is
the seven of diamonds, which this gentleman says it is?" As it has
been changed for the ten of hearts, or whatever the desired card may
be, a laugh will ensue, and it will appear as if the climax of the
trick had been arrived at, and no one will know that you intended
doing anything else. One of the great arts in conjuring is that of
turning all mistakes and unexpected occurrences to the best advantage,
and a thorough knowledge of all the various artifices and dodges is
necessary to accomplish this.


"Palm a card!" exclaims the reader, "how can one possibly palm a
card?" Not after the manner of a coin, certainly; but, after the
proper method, the palming of a card--_i.e._, the concealing it
unnoticed in the hand--is not at all difficult. It is as important as,
and, next to the pass, more used than, the other sleights with cards,
there being a continual demand for its assistance. To palm a card in
the right hand, take it in the left, across the middle, and place it
in the right, so that the top left-hand corner is against the inside
of the little finger, and the bottom right-hand corner against the
fleshy part of the thumb. This pressure is quite sufficient to hold
the card, but other parts of the hand and fingers will render a slight
assistance. This, unless one possessed an enormous hand, would be
impossible of accomplishment with the ordinary playing-cards, hence
the necessity for using those of smaller dimensions. When the learner
can palm the card tolerably well, he should learn to secrete it from
its position on the top of the pack, under which circumstances the
palm is mostly used. The right hand must press upon the pack, and
when it is felt that the card is in position it must be slid off
sideways, not lifted. The hand containing the card should not be
held unnaturally flat, but considerably curved, care being taken not
to bend the corners of the card to any extent. The wand will, as
usual, be of use here, as, if held between the finger and thumb, it
will assist in disabusing the minds of the audience of the idea that
anything is contained in the hand. It is not very likely that they
will think so, for the idea that it is even possible to hold a card in
the hand, without its being discovered, never occurs to anyone. The
wand can also be held flat in the hand across the card, which is as
good a way as any. Palming is not by any means confined to a single
card, any number, up to a whole pack, being rendered invisible by this
method. When two or more cards are to be palmed from the surface of
the pack, they must be first slightly dislodged by the thumb of the
hand holding them, and held a very little--not more than a quarter of
an inch--above the others, just sufficient to enable the other hand to
palm them rapidly without disturbing the pack. The palm is, of course,
executed right in front of the audience, who never dream of what is
going on. To entirely vanish a pack, take it in the right hand, across
the back, lengthways, the thumb being at one end and the fingers at
the other. Stand sideways to the audience, and, bringing the hands
together, make a perpendicular swinging motion once or twice, as if
about to toss the pack towards the ceiling. Make a final and vigorous
toss, as if you had done so, and, with the left hand, press the cards
into the right hand. The wand should be under the arm during this
operation, in order that it may be at once seized by the thumb of the
hand concealing the cards. If it be not handy, the lappel of the coat
must be brought into requisition. It causes a good effect if the cards
are afterwards found inside the coat of one of the audience, with whom
you affect to be displeased thereat. You can also go down among the
audience, and pretend to give someone the pack with the left hand,
which must, of course, be so disposed as if it really contained the
cards. To do this requires a little confidence, and care must be taken
to hold the inside of the hand well towards the body, or detection may
easily ensue when one is quite surrounded by eager, prying eyes. The
simplest trick performed with the use of the palm is to ask someone
to look at the top card on the pack held in your left hand, and to
replace it. In the right hand you have a card palmed. Ask the name of
the card just looked at, and, on being told it, affect surprise, and
say that you fancy there must be some little mistake--you feel quite
certain that the card is not what it is stated to be. Of course, the
party who looked at the card, and who probably allowed it to be seen
by others, will be positive, so you say that you will show that you
are right. Bring the right hand over the cards in a similar manner
to that employed when about to perform the third change (Fig. 38),
and, with one movement, leave the one palmed on the top and pick it
off again. The picking off will be done very slowly, to show that you
really do take the top card. Finish up by palming the card originally
looked at, and remarking that you cannot understand how the mistake
occurred, "for here is the card in my pocket." Produce it from thence,
the hand containing the card being merely plunged into the pocket, and
slowly withdrawn, holding the card in the tips of the fingers.

Another very effective method is to stand sideways to the audience,
and hold the pack perpendicularly (the length being horizontal) in
the left hand, with the faces visible. In the right hand have a few
cards palmed, with the faces towards the hand. Suppose the seven of
hearts to be at the bottom of the pack in the left hand. Say that you
can change it by simply passing the hand across it, which you then do,
leaving one behind. If two or three are left by accident it does not
matter, the chief object aimed at being smoothness. Care will have to
be taken to have the end of the fingers of the left hand protruding
well, so as to be in readiness to take the card thus left on the seven
of hearts. The motion of passing the right hand over the left should
be an upward one, and the performer should practise to dwell as little
as possible over the pack.

The palm is also invaluable when anyone insists upon shuffling the
pack, so as to make sure of mingling the cards well. The card secure
in the performer's hand, the pack may be shuffled for a whole week
without much harm being done. With the palm and the pass shown at
Fig. 35 combined, a very pretty trick can be performed. It is
somewhat similar to one already described. Take four cards of any
denomination, and, cutting the pack into two halves, place one of the
four at the bottom of one half. Place the remaining three at the top
of the other half, which give to be held by a spectator, the three
cards being previously palmed, and put on the top of the other cards,
as you take them up to show the card at the bottom. Tell the person
holding the cards, which are supposed to contain the three, to keep a
very tight hold, and, tapping his pack with the wand, affect to take
one of the cards away and pass it into your pack. Give a flourish, and
pass one card to the front. The slight noise made by the pass will not
signify if you say, "Ah! you heard it go?" Repeat this operation with
each of the cards, when you will show all four at the bottom of your
pack, whilst the three will be found to have vanished from the one
given to be held by one of the audience.

_The Royal Marriages._--This is a very pretty variety of the foregoing
trick. Take the four queens from the pack, and place them on the
table, remembering the order in which the suits run. Take the four
kings (in the same order as the queens), and have them put in one
portion of the pack, which you have divided as before. If the kings
are placed in the centre, you can make the usual pass, palm them, and
put them, unperceived, on the top of the other portion of the cards,
and then let someone shuffle till he is tired. The trick now proceeds
very much as before, except that you commence operations by placing
one of the queens on the bottom of the pack held by you, which has
the four kings on the top. The lady is then supposed to call for her
husband, who, as in duty bound, arrives with all despatch. Then place
another queen at the bottom, and cause another king to arrive; and so
on until all have appeared. The effect of this trick will be lost if
the king of clubs arrives to console the queen of hearts, and so on.
They must come together in suits.

As the pass employed in this trick becomes difficult to execute when
many cards are held in the hands, eight or ten only should be taken up
in the first instance, as eight will be added during the performance
of the trick.


[Illustration: FIG. 39.]

This is a very simple, but not, therefore, any the less useful, little
deception, which deserves to be brought more into use by conjurors
than it is. It consists merely in sliding back, in a particular
manner, the bottom card of a pack, with the fingers of one hand, so
that the other hand may remove the one next to it, and yet appear to
actually remove the bottom card. The particular method of holding
the pack is shown at Fig. 39. The cards are taken, face downwards,
in one hand, and the first and second fingers push back the bottom
card to the extent of from half an inch to an inch. Damp a finger
of the other hand, and apply it to the bottom of the pack, drawing
away the last card but one instead of the last. Thus, if, as in the
illustration, the seven of hearts is at the bottom, and the seven of
clubs next it, the red card will be exhibited to the audience at the
bottom of the pack, which is then turned over. The seven of hearts
is then ostensibly taken from the bottom of the pack (the seven of
clubs being taken instead), and then made to change, whilst covered
by the hand of a spectator, from the heart to the club suit. This
is the simplest form in which the deception can be employed. It is
very useful in demonstrating to the audience that a chosen card is
neither at the top nor the bottom of a pack, when it is actually at
the bottom. A card or two can be taken from the top, and then a few
from the bottom, the actual bottom card being slipped aside. After
taking off cards in this manner, always ask whether you shall take
any more away, and so disarm the suspicion that you know the position
of the card, and have only removed a certain number of cards so as to
ultimately reach it. Should anyone not be satisfied, but demand to
have the pack turned over, you must comply, making the pass as you
turn the cards over. This will bring another card to the bottom; but,
if you do not remove the finger from between the two portions, the
pass can afterwards be repeated, and the cards brought back to their
former positions. This is a ruse which will naturally occur to most
conjurors when performing.


This is the last of the elementary principles to be learnt, and in a
highly important one. It is hardly a feat of sleight of hand, although
requiring considerable practice and determination to carry out
properly. The act of forcing a card consists in inducing the chooser
of a card to select from those proffered by you any particular card
you please. As will hereafter transpire, it is highly essential for
some tricks that a particular card, and none other, be chosen. The
best method is as follows: Have the card which you desire to have
selected at the bottom of the pack, in which the finger is inserted
ready for the pass. As you advance for the purpose of presenting the
cards, make the pass and allow the middle finger to remain under
what was the bottom card, now somewhere in the middle. Spread out
the cards, keeping them in constant motion, and as the chooser's
hand is put forward to select a card, the middle finger should run
the desired card into it. This action must be performed as naturally
as possible. There must be no distinct motion of _pushing_ the card
into the hand, the cards being so manipulated that it always appears
as if they were only just ready as the chooser's hand reaches them.
Usually the difficulty of forcing a card is very small indeed, persons
unacquainted with the ruse taking the first card that reaches their
fingers with charming simplicity. In the event of a failure, do not
appear in the least degree disconcerted, but "force" the card on some
more tractable person, and then ask a third party to choose between
the two cards selected. You will explain that your reason for having
two cards chosen is to prove that you do not "force" any card, and
then say, "Now, which card shall I take?" If the card you want is
indicated, say, "This one, then, I am to use for my trick;" but if the
other card is pointed at, then say, "This card I am to take away,"
and suit the action to the word. By this means you will appear to
have given the audience a free choice, and at the same time obtained
your own private ends. The beginner is sure to be nervous in forcing
a card, and he must endeavour to overcome the feeling as quickly as
possible. Some performers (I won't say conjurors) use what is called
a "forcing pack," viz., a pack consisting entirely of cards of one
particular kind, which will, of course, be that which is required for
the trick. As, however, it is utterly impossible to allow such a pack
to be examined, and highly disastrous to allow any number of the cards
to fall or otherwise become seen, the conjuror should disdain to
seek such adventitious aid as that afforded by a "forcing pack," the
possession of which generally causes the appellation of "duffer" to
attach itself to the owner.

With a command of the foregoing "elementary principles" the performer
may attempt anything with the cards, taking care, however, always to
rehearse any new combination carefully, lest it prove too much for
him in the hour of trial. As previously stated, tricks with cards are
without end, and the conjuror may vary his causes and effects at will.
I give, however, a few of the most favourite tricks, so as to afford
an idea of what may be attempted by the learner.

_La Carte Générale._--This is, perhaps, as pretty a trick as can well
be conceived. Force a card, say the eight of hearts, have it replaced
in the pack, and re-force it on someone else so far removed from the
first chooser that the possibility of their seeing that they have both
selected the same card is avoided. Have the card replaced in the pack
and re-force, repeating the operation four, five, or six, or even more
times, according to the size of the room and number of the audience.
Now and then it is as well to pass the card to the top, palm it, and
then have the pack shuffled by one of the audience, or, at least, to
shuffle it yourself. When you have forced the card a sufficient number
of times, bring it finally to the top of the pack, from which select
haphazard a card. Show this card to one of the choosers, and ask if it
was the one selected. A negative will of course be given. Look neither
surprised nor satisfied, merely exclaiming "No?" inquiringly. Show the
card in turn to each of the persons who selected, asking if it belongs
to them. When you have completed the round, turn to the first chooser,
changing the card unperceived for the one (the eight of hearts) on
the top of the pack, and holding it in front of the person, face
downwards, so that no one can see what it is, say, "Well, since this
card belongs to nobody, will you kindly tell it to go away?" As the
words "go away" are uttered, run the thumb sharply along the edges of
the cards held in the left hand, and "flip" the eight of hearts with
a finger of the right hand, so leading the audience to believe that
some miraculous change had taken place. Now hold the eight of hearts
to the person whom you addressed, saying, "Is not that your card?"
On receiving, as you will, a reply in the affirmative, turn the card
face downwards and proceed to the next chooser of a card, and so on,
until all are satisfied. As all are supposed to have chosen different
cards it is imagined that each card is invisibly changed for the
next one required. Commence another trick immediately, or otherwise
divert the attention of the audience, or the drawers of cards will
begin to "compare notes," and so discover that they all drew the same
card. Although this discovery does not actually spoil the trick, it
diminishes the effect immensely. It adds to the effect of the trick if
the performer pretends to place each card, as chosen, upon a table,
or other prominent place. Upon each occasion, however, he must change
the forced card for an indifferent one. The last time the eight of
hearts is actually placed with the rest. The supposed chosen cards are
then held up, fanwise, together, and the choosers asked if they do not
see their cards amongst them. As they all see the eight of hearts,
they reply in the affirmative, and thus the idea that only one card
has been selected is very unlikely to be entertained. To effect this
valuable addition to the trick, great facility with the change is
absolutely necessary, as it has to be so frequently executed.

_The Sympathetic Cards._--Palm a few (say, four) cards, and ask one
of the audience to take any number, without any reference to their
specification, from the pack. Suppose eight are taken: how many is
quite immaterial. Borrow a handkerchief; and after satisfying all that
there is nothing whatever in it, ask for the eight cards, to which
number add, unperceived, those you have palmed, and place the whole in
the handkerchief with great deliberation. Fold the handkerchief up,
and ask someone to hold it very firmly. Now have some cards drawn
from the pack. "Any number you please," you will say carelessly,
taking particular care that neither more nor less than four are
chosen, the "force" being here brought into play. You now ask the
person who selected the first batch how many are in the handkerchief,
and the answer in this instance will be eight. "Eight, and four I have
here, will make twelve, will they not? Now, sir," addressing the party
holding the handkerchief containing the cards, "please to keep a firm
hold whilst I pass these four cards into the handkerchief to join the
other eight." Make a movement as though you threw the cards towards
the handkerchief, palming them, and then have the handkerchief opened
and the cards counted. The beauty of the trick is that the audience
apparently selects the number of cards in each instance, the idea
of any previous calculation on your part taking place being thereby
precluded. Be careful to call attention to the number of cards in the
handkerchief, and to the number to be passed into it, or the effect of
the trick will be lost. This trick is sometimes performed without a
handkerchief, the cards being given to be held in the hand only. Which
method is the better is purely a matter of opinion, and the learner
may follow which he pleases. Do not allow the drawer of the second
batch of cards to examine the faces of them, or it will be noticed
that they did _not_ pass into the handkerchief, should anyone be 'cute
enough to look for them. This possible _contretemps_ can be avoided
by having duplicate cards palmed in the first instance, in which case
the faces of the cards should be shown to the audience, who will be
asked to remember them. This is decidedly an additional feature to the
trick, but it entails far more trouble. It is for the learner to try
these little things, and then retain or relinquish their use as he
finds it assist or trouble him.

Another way of performing this trick is to ask one of the company to
count thirty cards from the pack, and then to cut them roughly into
two parts. Taking one of the parts, ask a spectator to count them.
Suppose the number is sixteen. Taking them momentarily in the hands,
for the implied purpose of describing exactly what you wish done, you
place the four palmed cards upon the sixteen, and then instruct the
spectator to hold them very securely. Now count the other heap. There
will be fourteen cards, which number you announce to be quite correct,
sixteen and fourteen together making thirty. Pick the cards from the
table, and, in giving them to someone to hold, palm off four, taking
the wand in the hand to cover the constrained position of it. Now you
command four cards to pass from the heap last picked up to the one
first given to be held, and, when the cards are counted, this will be
found to have taken place. The trick may be reversed with success; the
ten heap having the palmed cards secretly put back, and given to be
held again, the twenty cards heap having four abstracted before being
finally parted with. The cards are then commanded to go back to their
original places. This method will possibly be found more difficult
than the first one, in which a handkerchief is used.

_The Permeating Card._--Have a card chosen, and, bringing it to the
top, palm it. Ask someone who is seated to hold the cards in two
hands, over the head, holding the pack in the desired position, and
about six inches beyond the person's reach. This will cause him to
rise slightly from his seat, when you instantly slip the card beneath
him, saying at the same, "No, don't stand up; pray be seated," and
allow the pack to reach his hands. The attention of the audience must
be directed to the pack, or the action of placing the card beneath the
holder will, perhaps, be perceived. The manoeuvre requires a little
care in execution, and it will be necessary to be as close as possible
to the person operated upon, and at his side. Ask for the name of the
card, and then command it to pass through the holder of the pack, who,
on rising at your request, will find that he has been seated upon it.
This trick usually causes much hilarity.

_Divination of Thought._--This is an ambitious and daring experiment.
Hold the cards upright, and fanwise, before one of the audience (a
lady for choice), and run them rapidly from right to left, or _vice
versâ_, in such a manner that only a very small portion of each card,
one excepted, is visible. The bottom, or front, card is carefully
concealed by the hand, so that it cannot be seen. The cards are run
so rapidly across that it is impossible to recognise any of them
by the very small portions of them exhibited by you; but one you
allow to be very much exposed, and on that one you place a finger,
and continue pushing the rest over in a rapid manner. Whilst thus
running the cards across, you ask the lady to kindly think of any one
of the cards she sees. As you take good care to show only one card,
you may rest assured that that is the one thought of, although it is
advisable, on being told that a card has been thought of, to inquire
if it were actually seen in the pack. Keeping the finger on the card,
turn the pack over, and then make the pass. The card can then be
produced after any method the performer pleases, but he should first
ask the name of the card (at which he has taken a glance), as there is
considerable uncertainty about forcing a card upon a person's notice
in this manner. In the event of the chooser naming a card other than
that manipulated by the performer, he must at once look through the
pack for it, and first palming it, boldly declare that it is not in
the pack, which he will give to be inspected. The card named can then
be produced from someone's pocket, &c. The method of passing the cards
fanwise from side to side, so as to expose the face of one card only,
should be practised in front of a looking-glass until the learner
is perfect. Perfection is the only degree in which it is allowed to
exhibit conjuring tricks, especially those with cards.

_To Cause a Card to Appear in any Position in the Pack, Counting
either from the Top or from the Bottom._--This, a very favourite
diversion in card tricks, is capable of being performed in many ways,
the best of which are given here. The method of procedure is to
bring the card either to the top or the bottom of the pack, after
due shuffling, &c., and then to ask one of the audience to name the
position in which it is to appear. If you have brought the card to
the bottom, then say, "At what number from the bottom shall the
card appear?" It will not answer to count it from the top. Suppose
the fifth card is decided upon, all you have to do is to slide back
(Fig. 39) the bottom card, which is the selected one, and draw away
the next card instead. When four have been thus extracted, draw away
the card itself, and the trick is done. This is the only method used
when the cards are counted from the bottom. In counting from the top
proceed as follows:

_Method 1_: Bring the card to the top and then make the pass in such
a manner that the two halves of the pack are facing each other,
after the method previously described in dealing with a single card.
This will cause nothing but the backs of the cards to be visible at
both top and bottom. Hold the pack in the left hand with the thumb
turned underneath it, and the fingers curled round the front side.
The selected card is at the bottom, and it is required to produce it
fifth. (For the sake of simplicity, I will suppose that the card is
required in this position in each of the methods given.) Count off,
one by one, four cards from the top, and then, whilst affecting to
examine the last one, or to recount those taken off "to make sure,"
thus drawing attention away from the left hand, turn the pack rapidly
over. This will bring the chosen card atop, and you have then only
to take it off and show it. The reversion of the pack must be very
rapidly and quite noiselessly made, and care must be taken that the
cards set evenly at the edges, or the audience will perceive that one
half of them are reversed: and although the elucidation of the trick
will not of necessity follow, yet it is just as well to avoid the
discovery if possible. If the pack be at the same moment handed to one
of the company, with a request to have the next card looked at, to see
if it be the right one, the action of reversing will be less likely to
be remarked.

_Method 2_: Bring the card to the top, and hold the cards in the
left hand as if about to deal them. Do not hold them quite squarely,
but let the thumb push off the upper ones in such a manner that each
card overhangs slightly the one beneath it. Now commence to take off
apparently the top card, but in reality the one immediately beneath
it. This is accomplished by exerting more power with the first finger
of the right hand than with the thumb thereof, the thumb of the left
hand at the same time putting sufficient pressure on to the top card
to detain it in its position. The top card is taken off with much
ostentation, when it is required for production. This deception
is capable of immense development, if assiduously practised, it
being possible to deceive those who actually know what is taking
place. If the learner has this method at his command, he need never
resort to any other, for he will never be discovered. This practice
of dealing the second card in lieu of the first is a common dodge
amongst card-sharpers, who are thereby able to retain all the good
cards, which they have previously marked, for themselves. I strongly
recommend the adoption of this method in preference to all others, but
it must be well executed.

_Method 3_: Bring the card to the top, and count the cards off in
regular order one by one. As the first card removed (now the lowest
of those dealt off) is the selected one, the fifth will naturally be
a wrong card. You appear surprised, and say that you must have made
some mistake in the counting. Gather up the five cards, the selected
one being at the bottom, replace them on the top of the pack, and ask
the chooser of the card to count them off himself. This time, the card
will, of course, turn up in its proper place. This is the simplest of
all the methods, and is now and then seen through; but not often. On
counting the cards off for the first time, they must on no account be
turned face upwards. If this were done, it would be at once perceived
that the chosen card was on the top in the first instance.

_Method 4_: Bring the card to the top, and hold the pack in the left
hand, in a position similar to that shown at Fig. 38, the little
finger being in this instance not curled up behind the cards. Place
all four fingers of the right hand well over the top card, almost
covering it, and the thumb well under the bottom card. Draw the hand
sharply away, bringing with it the bottom card by means of the thumb,
which it will be as well to damp a little unperceived. The rapid
motion will prevent the audience from noticing what has actually taken
place. When the time has arrived for so doing, show the chosen card
very slowly indeed, or even ask one of the audience to remove it, to
show that it really is in the desired position. In counting off the
underneath cards, use a fair amount of rapidity, and be careful not to
draw away more than one card at a time. The action of drawing off the
cards must be made towards the body, and not outwards.

_Method 5_: Bring the card to the centre of the pack, keeping the
finger upon it, and, when you have counted off four cards, make the
pass, thus bringing the card to the top. This method should only be
used when some sharp person insists upon looking to see if the card is
at the top or bottom of the pack.

After bringing the card to any number from the top or bottom, you
can offer to perform the still more surprising feat of causing it
to appear at any place indicated by the insertion of a pen or paper
knife between two cards. To perform this feat, which, by the way, is
a variation of my own, hold the pack as in Fig. 39, face downwards,
and, presenting the end to one of the audience, ask to have indicated
the place in which the card is to appear. When this is done, hold
the bottom portion by the finger and thumb of the left hand, across
the cards; and insert the first finger of the right hand, which is,
of course, holding the upper portion, into the space made by the
instrument of indication, from the front. Ask whether the person is
quite sure that the place indicated is the right one, and whether
another would not be preferred. This is to show that it really does
not matter what position is indicated. On receiving a reply in the
affirmative, draw off the top half rapidly, bringing with it, by means
of the ends of the fingers, as taught in describing the "slide,"
the bottom card also, and hold the whole up to the audience. This
manoeuvre defies detection, and possesses the advantage of bearing a
fair amount of repetition. Before commencing, it as well to show that
the card is neither at the top nor the bottom. As it is at the bottom
all the time, the slide will have to be brought into play, in order to
enable another card to be drawn away from the bottom and exhibited.
What lends great finish to the trick is the bringing the first finger
over the ends of the upper cards, as by this means the slipped card
can be immediately brought close against the others, and not allowed
to stand out away from them, which would give the audience the idea
that the trick had been clumsily performed, even if it did not afford
a clue to the secret of it.

_Card-boxes._--A well-known, but, when well executed, very effective,
trick is performed with the aid of one or two boxes, known as
"card-boxes." They are about half an inch deep, and sufficiently large
to hold a card very easily indeed; that is to say, there is a good
eighth of an inch to spare all round the card when it is in the box.
The boxes are black inside, and are furnished with a thin piece of
wood, also blackened, which is placed loosely within and fills up the
entire interior space. This piece of wood is the secret of the box,
for by its means a card is made to appear and disappear. Suppose that
the box is wide open, and in the right-hand half is placed the card,
whilst the left-hand half contains the piece of wood. If, on the box
being closed (which movement must be rapidly executed, or the wood may
unexpectedly fall out) the left-hand half is turned over on to the
right-hand half, the card contained in the latter will necessarily
be covered by the blackened piece of wood, and will appear to have
vanished entirely when the box is re-opened. By simply turning the box
over, the card will be made to appear.

The trick is performed by means of a duplicate card, which can
either be forced, and, after being placed in the box, made to return
invisibly into the pack whilst the latter is being held by one of the
audience, or the box may contain one of the duplicate cards in the
first instance. The other one can then be forced, replaced in the
pack, brought to the top, and palmed. The pack may then be examined,
after the card has been shown to be in the box, to prove that it
really has gone from it. The proper time for replacing the card in the
pack is immediately after the person has finished the examination.
You take the cards from him, and, placing the palmed card on the
top of the pack, make the pass, and so bring it to the middle; you
can then perform the operation of passing it invisibly from the box
back again to the pack, where it will, of course, be found. Opinion
is divided on the question of handing the box or boxes round for
examination. If this is done, the trick decidedly attains lustre
thereby, but, of course, the false wooden bottoms must be concealed
about the performer's person, and slipped in whilst retiring to his
table. In showing the boxes round with the false bottoms in them, keep
a finger on the latter, and knock the boxes about a good deal with
the wand to show they are solid, &c. In "passing" the card, either
from box to pack, or _vice versâ_, make a great show of taking it from
either place by means of the wand, on the end of which you seriously
declare you can distinctly see it. Conjurors are able to make great
capital out of doing simply nothing at all; and as it is impossible,
when performing with nothing, to make any mistakes, then is the time
to do the most extraordinary things. The trick with the boxes can be
varied by having two duplicate cards of different denominations, one
of each kind being concealed in a box. Say the cards are the six of
clubs and king of hearts. Force these cards from the pack and place
the drawn king in the box containing the six, and the drawn six in
the box containing the king. You have only to turn the boxes over to
effect the change, although you of course affect to bring it about
by magical means. You may then remove one six and one king from the
boxes, leaving one of each still concealed, and, placing them in the
pack, bring them to the top, palming them and proceeding as directed
for one card only. This makes a very pretty trick. The boxes are best
purchased from a conjuring repository, where they can be obtained

_To Throw a Card._--In a large room, throwing cards from one end to
the other has a very good effect. It is astonishing how few people can
throw a card, seeing how easy the feat becomes with a little practice.
But I suppose it is just this practice which stands in the way. The
card should be held across its end, the end of the first finger just
turning the outside corner. When in position for throwing, it should
rest upon the middle finger, which will be curved slightly for the
purpose. Bend the arm back until the card almost touches the chest,
and then throw it with considerable force from you, taking care to
give it a spin with the end of the first finger. If this spin, the
secret of the feat, is not given, the card will not travel three
yards, whereas a good thrower can send one thirty or forty. For long
throws, ordinary heavy cards should be used, but care must be taken
to elevate the trajectory, as such cards hurt severely when they
strike the face with full force, and serious injury might result if
one struck the eye. Mehây used to place one card across the back of
the left hand, and flick it off with the first finger of the right.
People with strong fingers may try this method, which will, however,
never send the cards farther than eight or ten yards. Some throwers
merely seize a corner of the card between the finger and thumb, whilst
others hold it between the first and second fingers--the latter being
a favourite method.

_The Revolution._--This, as an interlude, has a very pretty effect.
Take a full pack of ordinary cards, and throw them obliquely on the
table, so that they spread nearly across it, each card resting upon
the one next it. Run the eye along the cards, and see they are all
even, as a break will spoil the feat. Place the hand well under the
first (the lowest) card, taking care not to disturb the position
of those immediately next to it, and turn it suddenly over in the
direction of the other cards, which will, each in its turn, be made
to reverse their positions on the table. The first card must be more
pushed than lifted over; indeed, that end of it which is towards the
other cards must always remain on the table as if hinged there. If
they have turned over in good order, they may be turned back again by
the same means. The success of the feat depends upon the neatness with
which the cards are thrown down in the first instance. Simple as it
appears, very few persons can execute it neatly, or with many cards.
When the line is very long, considerable force will have to be applied
in turning over the first card. The cards may also be spread in the
shape of an arc, which has a still prettier effect, but considerable
practice will be required in laying the cards out. A more difficult
method still is to lay the cards along the forearm, and turn them over
there. Many will be the spills, however, in practising this feat.

_Prepared Cards._--Under the heading of "Sleight of Hand," the
words "prepared cards" may seem out of place; but one of the chief
articles in my creed is that a conjuror should know everything
appertaining to his art. Besides this, many tricks with prepared
cards require considerable sleight of hand in their performance; and
not infrequently their introduction is the means of defeating an
antagonistic and inquisitive element which will sometimes introduce
itself into an audience, members of which possess just that "little
knowledge" which is said to be "a dangerous thing."

_Cut Packs._--In some instances, it is very useful to have the edges
of the cards shaved off obliquely, so that one end is broader than the
other. When a card is taken from the pack, the performer should watch
and see if it is turned round whilst in the possession of the drawer.
If it be not turned, then he must reverse the position of the pack
before the card is returned to it. The cards may then be shuffled
any number of times, and the performer will always be able to find
the card by the fact of its broad end being where the other cards are
narrow. This ruse is but little known among amateurs. It saves a good
deal of passing, but it will not obviate the necessity for forcing.

_Long and Broad Cards._--This, a most useful preparation, consists
merely in having one or more cards in the pack a shade longer or
broader than the others. I, myself, never use more than one card so
prepared. When not forced, or otherwise actually in use itself, it is
very useful to place over or beneath other chosen cards, which will,
by its means, be easily found when wanted. My preference is in favour
of a broad card, as opposed to a long one: it is more easily found
by the finger when preparing to make the pass. As one cannot procure
single cards longer or broader than others, it will be necessary to
have the other cards shaved down a little, omitting, of course, those
intended to be longer or broader than the rest. It is not necessary
to go to a card manufacturer in order to have these operations of
cutting and shaving performed; any stationer or card-plate engraver,
who possesses a paper-cutting machine, will be able to do all that is

_Pricked Cards._--An excellent method for detecting given cards is to
have them pricked in the corners, very nearly through, with a needle.
The hole, or, more properly speaking, the indentation, should be made
on the back of the card, so that the face presents a little mound to
the touch. The card should be marked in each corner, so that it will
not matter which end of it comes to hand first. When it is desired
to mark more than one card in the same pack by this method, one card
should have one hole in each corner, another card two holes, another
card three holes in a triangular form, another card a line of holes
along each end, and so on. It will, however, be seldom necessary to
mark many. Card cheating is to this day often practised by this means,
cards of value of a certain suit being detected by the dealer as he
deals them out.

_The Chameleon Card._--Have two cards chosen, and bring one to the
top and one to the bottom. Take the pack, face upwards, and make the
single card slip pass from top to bottom, reversing the card during
the process. This will bring the two chosen cards back to back. Openly
take them up by one corner, but show only one card. Ask the name of
the other card, and, blowing on the two in the hand, turn them rapidly
round, and thus show the one at the back. Replace the cards at once in
the centre of the pack. Care will have to be taken that the cards are
very even when back to back, or it will transpire that two cards are
in the fingers, and not one only. This trick is sometimes performed
with the aid of prepared cards, the two--duplicates of which must,
in this instance, be "forced" from the pack--being gummed together
back to back. Supposing the cards to be queen of hearts and ten of
spades, the performer would thus proceed: Bring the ten to the top,
and the queen to the bottom, unknown to the audience. Produce, as a
single card, as if taken from the pack (you will, of course, have them
concealed about you), the prepared cards, showing the audience the
ten. In the left hand you will hold the pack, displaying the queen.
Prepare for passing the ten (_vide_ Fig. 35), which is at the back,
to the front, and then say, "Hey, presto, pass!" Turn the prepared
cards rapidly round, and at the time execute the pass, when the change
will have been effected. Palm the prepared cards, and give the pack
round to be examined. This method is useful when the performer is able
to execute the pass peculiar to the trick with one hand only. As this
is a very pretty effect, which may be introduced in all manner of
emergencies, two illustrations are given (see Figs. 40 and 41).

[Illustration: FIG. 40.]

[Illustration: FIG. 41.]

A very excellent variety of this trick is that described by Houdin in
his work on "Conjuring," and communicated to me by Professor Hoffmann,
to whose research the conjuring world is not a little indebted. Most
of us have seen the three cards forming a portion of the marvellous
and heterogeneous pennyworth offered to the public by a versatile
itinerant vendor. When spread open one way, the seven of spades only
is visible, and on being shut up and opened the reverse way, graceful
female figures or donkeys' heads meet the view; Houdin's trick is
framed upon this model, but, of course, very much elaborated and
improved. Indeed, it was a peculiarity of Houdin's that he never did
touch anything without improving it. The directions for the trick
under notice are as follows: Have a pack made with plain white backs,
each card being divided by a line diagonally from corner to corner.
Of the halves thus formed, one is to represent queen of spades, and
the other the ten of hearts. On the back of each card paint the ace
of clubs. Have a heap of cards near you, the three uppermost cards
of which are duplicates of those in the prepared pack, arranged in
an order which is known to you. If you prefer it, these cards can at
first be forced from an ordinary pack, and then given to be held in
the audience, which heightens the effect of the trick. Take one of
the three cards--for example, the ten of hearts--and, after showing
it to the audience, say that the fact of placing it with those held
in your hand (the prepared pack) will change them all into tens of
hearts. Taking care that the ten of hearts halves are farthest from
you when the cards are held faces downwards, as they must be, place
the card at the bottom, and, after a little nonsense, spread them all
out fanwise, with the faces towards the audience. Close them again,
and remove the ten of hearts. Then take up next card, the queen of
spades, and place that at the bottom, having previously taken care to
turn the pack round so as to bring the court card halves to the fore.
Repeat the operation of opening the cards as before, and reclose them,
discarding the queen. Now take up the ace of clubs and place it at the
bottom, or anywhere else you please. Give the cards a flourish, so as
to enable you to turn them completely over, and then open them once
more, this time displaying the backs to the audience. It is as well
to have the top card of the prepared pack quite plain at the back, as
it is not always possible to avoid showing it whilst performing the
trick. When the aces are shown, this card can be passed to the middle,
where the absence of an ace on its centre will not be noticed. The
beauty of this trick is considerably enhanced if the prepared pack be
palmed, and another ordinary one shown round for examination. When
this pack is returned to you, you place upon it the hand in which the
prepared cards are palmed, and, saying, "Now I take a few cards from
this pack," affect to do so. This at once disarms all suspicion of
any preparation. There is no necessity for using more than eighteen
or twenty prepared cards, and that number can easily be palmed with a
little practice. Some advise changing the packs altogether, but this
method I cannot recommend, as it entails a deal of extra trouble,
without a commensurate meed of effect. In "Grand Magic," a method
for changing packs of cards will be described in its place, and the
learner can then choose for himself. When well executed, there is no
prettier trick than the one described above.

_The Travelling Cards._--This is a pretty trick, and one that is
always much commented upon by spectators who have seen it neatly
performed. The performer has a couple of cards chosen, which he brings
to the top of the pack; then, addressing the company, he refers to
the notion that the sleeve of the coat is employed by conjurors
for their concealment. He deprecates the attempt, made by many
performers, to deny the immense aid afforded by this portion of the
attire, especially for the effective concealment of eggs, pigeons,
cannon-balls, and other articles equally easy of manipulation (this
as sarcastically as he pleases), and says he will now proceed to
demonstrate, conclusively, in what way the sleeve is employed. "So far
from there being any difficulty, ladies and gentlemen, in concealing
cards, in the sleeve, for instance, it is a very easy matter to cause
them to travel up or down with great rapidity, and invisibly. My
waistcoat, as you see, contains nothing." The performer cannot very
well unbutton and open his waistcoat before the company, so, to show
it is empty, he places his hand inside, and performs the action of
emptying sufficiently vigorously to dislodge anything that might be
there. He next palms a dozen or more cards from the top of the pack,
and then, extending the left arm, ruffles the edges of the remaining
cards. This act, he explains, has had the effect of sending a card
up his sleeve, and he affects to watch its progress. A jerk of the
arm is made, the contraction being caused, the performer says, by the
passage, by the card, of the elbow. Plunging the right hand into the
vest, the cards palmed are dropped there, one card only, taken from
the bottom, being slowly extracted. A second card is made to pass in
the same way, and another indifferent card extracted. The performer
now asks the choosers of the two cards on the top at what numbers
they shall pass up the sleeve. This feat is easy of accomplishment,
as the cards are taken from the bottom until the proper number has
been reached. When the cards in the vest have been exhausted, more can
be palmed, and the operation continued until all the pack has been
employed; but this finish is by no means necessary to the success of
the trick, which may be considered concluded when the two selected
cards have been withdrawn, although it is as well to continue passing
cards until no more are left in the vest.

_The Assembly._--In this trick, four cards are laid separately on the
table, in a row, and upon each card three more are placed from the
pack, making four heaps of four cards each. The company themselves
select one of the four heaps, which is found to consist entirely
of the four cards that were only just previously laid upon the
table, apart from each other, the remaining three heaps consisting
of four different cards each. To accomplish this, the performer
commences operations by picking out of the pack four cards of any one
denomination, say, the knaves. This is far better than having four
different cards selected, as the trick is one of startling effect,
and four picture cards are better for the purpose, apart from the
fact that no one in the company is called upon for an effort of
memory. The performer gives the four knaves to one of the company,
and seizes an opportunity for palming three cards. He now allows the
four knaves to be placed upon the top of the pack, which he holds in
the left hand, supplementing secretly the three palmed cards. He then
proceeds to deal off the four topmost cards, one by one, placing them
in a row, divided by a few inches, saying, as he does so, "Here I
place one knave, here a second, here a third, here a fourth." After
he has placed the fourth card, which will naturally be the only one
of the four that is really a knave, upon the table, he pauses for a
moment or two, and then turning it over remarks, pensively, "Ah! the
knave of diamonds," or whichever it may be. This is really to let
the spectators see the only knave there is, in order to convey the
impression that all the rest are knaves also, they being led to fancy
the performer looks at the suit of it for the purposes of the trick.
The remaining three knaves are now, of course, on the top of the pack,
the three palmed cards and one knave having been removed from above
them. It is open to the performer to place these three at once on the
top of the fourth knave, and this is generally done, but I do not at
all advise it. Invariably make a pass at this point, so as to bring
the three knaves to the centre of the pack, keeping the place where
they are well defined by a finger, or by a break in the pack. I then
place the three cards now on the top upon one of the three ordinary
cards, emphasising the fact that they come from the top. I then open
the pack a little lower down, and taking three cards from there, place
them upon another ordinary card. The middle of the pack, where the
three knaves are, is now reached unsuspiciously enough, and they are,
of course, placed upon the fourth knave. Three more ordinary cards,
from still deeper down in the pack, are placed upon the remaining
ordinary card, as much deliberation being paid to this last card
as to any other, or the conjuror's manner may reveal that he has
accomplished what he wanted, however unknown its precise nature may
be. The selection of a heap then proceeds precisely as described in
_The Lady's Own Trick_, first two, and then one being removed. The
four knaves are then shown together in the supposed selected heap.

A second method depends upon the neat execution of the pass, and is
to be commended because, each time three cards are placed upon one of
the four lying upon the table, they are first shown to be ordinary
mixed cards, and not knaves. Three cards are palmed, and placed upon
top of the four knaves, as in the first method, and the three ordinary
cards and one knave are placed in a row, as before. Three mixed cards
are then taken from any part of the pack, their faces shown casually,
and they are then put upon an ordinary card. This is gone through
three times, the knave being left till the last. As if by mistake, the
performer places the three cards, which he has shown to be mixed ones,
upon the cards in his left hand, instead of upon the knave on the
table. At this instant the three are passed to the bottom, the right
thumb at once taking off the three knaves, as though they were the
cards just placed there by mistake. On no account must the performer
make any apology; he need merely say, "Oh! that's wrong; they must
go here," and place the cards upon the knave. One must be perfect in
making the pass before attempting this method; but it is very easy
indeed to pass so few cards as three from top to bottom.

A third method is also accomplished by means of the pass, and is
preferred by many conjurors. The four cards are shown, and, as they
are being put upon the pack, the little finger is passed between the
third and fourth, three cards thus being above it. The insertion of
the little finger is in all cases greatly facilitated if the cards are
spread a little, fanwise, at the moment of placing them on the pack.
The three topmost cards (knaves) are immediately passed to the bottom,
leaving one knave on the top, and the little finger kept between them
and the rest of the pack. This card is then placed upon the table, its
face being accidentally (?) shown to the spectators, and three others
(ordinary cards) successively laid beside it. Three ordinary cards,
always taken from the top, are then placed upon each of the ordinary
ones lying singly upon the table, the audience seeing their faces each
time, and then the pass is made, bringing the three knaves from the
bottom back again to the top. These three cards are then placed upon
the other knave, which brings about the desired state of affairs. As
these three knaves cannot be shown to be ordinary cards, as was each
preceding set of three cards, I here recommend the conjuror to make
use of a little ruse of mine. It is to take off from the pack four,
instead of three, cards, the three knaves thus having an ordinary card
beneath them. Holding the edges even, so that only the lowest card
can be seen, the performer says, "Now I once more take three cards,
and"--here he turns them over, and, spreading them slightly, discovers
four cards, so he continues, "Oh! I see, I have taken one card too
many." He then removes the underneath card, and places the remaining
three upon the knave. To show the faces of three out of four heaps of
cards and not those of a fourth, causes suspicion to be thrown upon
the latter. By adopting the ruse described, this is ostensibly done;
at any rate, sufficiently so to satisfy the spectators, which is all
that is desired.

A fourth method is bolder still, and calls for a masterly execution
of the change. Matters progress precisely as in the second method,
except that the three knaves are always slightly pushed off the top of
the pack, ready to be exchanged at any moment. It is just as easy to
change three cards as one by the method illustrated at Fig. 36. The
fourth time is perhaps again the most favourable for the substitution,
as the performer may cover the action of changing by handing the pack
to be held. Holding the pack, with the knaves on the top, in the left
hand, and the three ordinary cards in the right, he should turn round
suddenly to someone on his extreme left, and somewhat behind him, when
every opportunity will be afforded for executing the sleight. Or the
act may be gone through by giving the last three cards to someone on
the performer's left to place upon the remaining uncovered knave, when
the same facility for an exchange will be afforded.

Yet a fifth method remains, which is a very fine one indeed, if the
performer should happen to be an adept at changing. To attempt this
method, he must be absolutely perfect in this sleight. The four knaves
are first thrown down upon the table, faces upwards. One is then taken
in the right hand, and three cards put upon it from the top of the
pack, held in the left hand. That is what the performer appears to do,
but, in reality, as he approaches the pack with the knave, the change
is effected, the knave being thereby placed at the bottom of the pack.
As he executes the change, the performer says, "I will now take three
more cards from the pack," and, under cover of the quite natural
action of bringing the knave into proximity to the pack, the change,
if only adroitly executed, will pass unnoticed. The three cards
required are drawn off by means of the right thumb, and the heap of
four placed at a corner of the table. A second knave is similarly
treated, followed by a third. Three knaves are now at the bottom of
the pack. The performer may now either make the pass, bringing the
three knaves to the top, and then place them upon the fourth, or else
he may say that he will take three cards from the bottom of the pack,
to show that it is immaterial to him from whence they come. As the
feat of changing three times in succession is materially assisted by
some freedom of movement, it is as well to place the four heaps at
the corners of the table, wide apart, the performer being thereby
compelled, in the eyes of the company, to move about a good deal. The
one great feature connected with this method is, that the four knaves
are shown faces upwards, until the very moment of their being placed
in a heap. In each of the last three methods, the selection of the
knave heap proceeds as described in the first method.

The five methods described give the conjuror his choice according to
his greater facility with the pass, the palm, or the change; and he
will also find that they are capable of far wider application, in
connection with other card tricks.

_Thought-reading._--Give the pack into the hands of a spectator,
and allow one card to be secretly chosen. Replaced in the pack, it
is passed to the top (or bottom), and a furtive glance taken at it,
the palm being employed, if necessary. Let three cards be chosen in
this manner, a fourth being forced, consequently previously known.
The object of this diversion is in order that the last card selected
may be placed in the pack by the chooser, and the cards immediately
shuffled, which will distract attention from the fact that this was
not done in the other cases, which, however, could be done after the
performer had glanced at the card, if necessary, which it is not, as
it draws out any trick too long to have the cards frequently shuffled.
The performer must be careful to remember the cards, and by whom
drawn. Taking the pack in his hand, he presents one end of it to a
card drawer, explaining that he is about to give an exposition of
thought-reading. Although there is no reason for failing, it is as
well not to make this announcement any earlier, in case of anything
going not quite rightly. The performer makes a great fuss about the
necessity for looking full in the eyes of the person drawing the card,
and pretends to arrive at the designation of the card by slow degrees,
saying to himself, but audibly enough to be heard, for instance, "A
red card--hearts--one, two, three, four, five, six, seven spots;" and
then, loudly, "The seven of hearts." Every incidental occurrence in
the behaviour of the persons whose thoughts are being read must be
taken advantage of; a want of alacrity in obeying instructions, for
example, tending to make the reading more difficult, the subject being
even left for the time being, and returned to after other cards have
been revealed. This trick has the advantage of bearing considerable

A second method is as follows: The performer holds the cards in one
hand, and presents them to a spectator to cut, with the injunction
that the underneath card of the cut shall be removed, looked at, and
remembered. It is immaterial how many cards are thus chosen. As they
are selected they are replaced in the pack by the person choosing, the
performer turning his head away, if necessary, whilst this is being
done; or they may be put back together, and the pack shuffled by the
company. Simply by placing one end of the pack in the chooser's hand,
whilst holding the other end himself, the performer is enabled to
name the cards as before. This phase of the trick is accomplished by
means of a "cut force." Glancing at the bottom card, the performer
makes the pass, keeping the two packets apart by means of the little
finger. The card which the performer has seen is now at the bottom of
the upper half, and the pack is presented for cutting. As the four
fingers are along one side of the pack, and the thumb along the other,
the cut must be made lengthwise; and, as the little finger keeps
the pack open at the back, it must be made there. The person cutting
will notice nothing. Whilst the card is being examined, the performer
glances at the fresh bottom card, and, when the upper half of the
pack is returned to him, once more makes the pass, and presents the
cards to another person to be cut. Four cards are quite sufficient
for the effect; but, if the performer can remember others, he is
quite at liberty to increase the number. The finish of the trick
will depend upon the performer's ability to simulate the possession
of thought-reading powers. If he has been showing any card tricks
previously, with success, he may commence this one by saying, "I have
an idea that many here fancy I have a method for forcing certain
cards upon persons, such cards being previously known to me. Now, in
order to render such a proceeding quite impossible, I will ask this
gentleman to shuffle the cards thoroughly, so that I cannot know the
position of any one of them, and then have the cards cut haphazard."
This explains why the cut is used, and at once makes the trick appear
stupendously difficult.

The "cut force" here described may be successfully employed for the
purpose of reproducing cards that have been previously chosen, thought
of, &c.; one of the company being made to cut the pack at the very
spot where that card is situated, after shuffling, &c.

If the company appears still sceptical about the powers of mind
claimed by the performer, he may give a final convincing proof.
Placing the pack entirely in the hands of the company, he desires them
to select two or three cards. These cards are gathered by a spectator,
and given to another to hold, and afterwards placed by him in the
pack. The performer then presents his hand to each chooser, and reads
the cards as before. Unless the performer can execute the change with
certainty, he must not attempt this method, or ruinous exposure may
await him. About the first portion of the trick all is fair and above
board, the company selecting the cards as they please. The performer,
taking the pack in his left hand, then says, "Now, in order that I
may not get a sight of the cards, will some gentleman kindly gather
them in his hand?" Whilst this is being done, the performer must
watch narrowly whose card is placed first, whose second, &c. Taking
the three cards from the hand of the collector, the performer turns
to a spectator on his left, requesting him to hold them between his
hands. As he turns, he makes the change, the three chosen cards being
left at the bottom, and three indifferent ones removed from the top,
and given to be held. Great caution is necessary to keep the cards
well covered by the upper hand, so that the performer shall not see
them--his actual anxiety, of course, being lest any one else should
do so. By this time he has glanced at the bottom card, and, making
the single card slip pass, sees the next also, and the third soon
afterwards. Affecting to see mistrust in the faces of the company, the
performer says that perhaps it would, after all, be better to have the
three cards in the pack. For this purpose the pack is handed to the
person holding the three cards, who is directed to shuffle them with
the rest. The trick then proceeds as before. If the change is properly
executed, the effect of this trick is extraordinary, because the three
cards have, apparently, always been in full view of everyone; and even
if the performer had accidentally seen the face of the lowest one, the
others have certainly never been visible to him.

_A Game at Napoleon._--The performer forces five cards in succession,
as quickly as he can, and remembering the whole five. Practice in the
preceding trick will enable him to accomplish this, at first, rather
difficult task, in public, it being simple enough to remember five
cards when one has nothing else on hand at the same time. It is best
to force all five cards on one person, who retains them. If forced
upon different people, they must be afterwards collected in one hand.
Giving the pack to another of the company, the performer asks for any
five cards to be given him. This done, he tells the holder of the
forced cards that he is about to play a game at "Napoleon" with him.
For the sake of effect, he may allow one half of the company to see
his hand, the other half looking over the hand of his opponent. In
this way, universal interest is excited. Should the opponent have a
poor hand, the performer may give him the choice of saying how many
tricks he will declare. Should the opponent have at all good cards,
however, then the performer must say, "I declare first." What he
declares will, of course, depend upon the cards; but, in nearly every
case, he can go "Napoleon," one condition of the trick being, as he
will explain just before playing the hand, that the opponent must
play the cards as called for by the performer, who, of course, must
not make his antagonist revoke. With this proviso, it is wonderful
how often it is possible, even with the least promising cards, to win
all five tricks; the cases in which four only are possible being very
rare. A couple of sample hands will be instructive.

FIRST HAND.--The opponent's cards are:

[Ad] [10d] [Kh] [Jc] [7s]

The performer's being:

[Jd] [2d] [10s] [4s] [3h]

He declares "Napoleon," and the hand is played as follows:

1. Performer plays [10s] and calls for [7s]

2.    Do.          [4s]       Do.      [Kh]

3.    Do.          [3h]       Do.      [Ad]

4. Performer plays [Jd] and calls for [10d]

5.    Do.          [2d]       Do.      [Jc]

Had the performer's highest diamond been less than the opponent's ten,
then only four tricks would have been possible.

SECOND HAND.--The opponent's cards are:

[Kc] [9c] [Qh] [Ad] [8s]

The performer's being:

[10c] [5c] [7h] [2h] [5d]

He declares "four," and the hand is played as follows:

1. Performer plays     [7h] and calls for [Qh]

2. Performer calls for [9c] and plays    [10c]

3. Performer plays     [2h] and calls for [Ad]

4.       Do.           [5d]     Do.       [Kc]

5.       Do.           [5c]     Do.       [8s]

Should the opponent, by any chance, hold an overwhelmingly superior
hand, such as, for instance, five high cards of one or two suits,
and the performer low cards of the same suit or suits, the latter
must say, as soon as he realises the state of affairs, "Ah! I see,
I haven't the ghost of a chance against you with this hand; have
I?" at the same time throwing down his cards, faces upwards, and
demanding a fresh hand. Of course, the astonishing part of the trick
to the spectators is the fact of the performer being able to call the
opponent's hand, card for card, and no one cavils at the absurdity of
permitting him to do so utterly regardless of the general rules of the

The performer can, of course, make sure of winning the whole five
tricks every time, if he prearranges to give a poor hand to his
opponent; but a great deal of the fun lies in the fact of good cards
falling to insignificant ones. If the performer arranges to have
five fairly good cards, three of them of one suit, with a big one
at their head, on the top of the pack, it may be as well, as, when
he asks for five cards, they are sure to be given him from that
position ninety-nine times in a hundred. Should the five cards drawn
prove, by accident, the masters of them, then, of course, shuffle the
pack before asking for a hand from it. Personally, I like as little
prearrangement as possible about the trick.

_The Lightning Change._--This is an effective trick of my own, and
the outcome of practice at the single-handed pass shown at Figs. 31
and 32. The performer has several cards selected haphazard. How many
is not material, but four or five will be sufficient. These he has
placed in the pack in the ordinary way, and brought to the bottom;
an extra card, not one of those chosen, being added last of all. The
order in which the cards were replaced in the pack should be noted.
The performer stands sideways to the audience, with the left arm
extended, the pack being held in that hand perpendicularly, and not
horizontally--the faces of the cards, and not the backs, visible. The
thumb should lie well across the centre of the undermost card, and
the performer should ascertain by feel that he has it in his grip
before continuing the trick. The card that is exposed to view is the
added one, and it conceals the first card gathered in of the chosen
ones, which is naturally the undermost. The chooser of this card is
requested to name it, when the performer informs the company that,
if they watch closely enough, they will see the one card change into
the other. Anyhow, if they are unable to see it, they will infallibly
hear it. As this pass cannot be made noiselessly, the latter is a
very necessary remark to make. The change is not effected with the
hand held stationary--no pass ever is--a rapid movement, some six
inches in extent, and somewhat circular, being made towards the body
and back again. It is only a fraction of a second in duration, but by
the time it is completed the pass must be accomplished. Each card is
made to appear in turn, the performer taking care not to attempt the
pass until he feels the card well gripped by the root of the thumb;
otherwise, a fiasco may easily result. The pass may also be effected
whilst turning the pack face downwards and back again very rapidly,
but I do not find this method quite as good as the partially circular
movement towards the body, the cards sometimes flying out of the
fingers in a body, which is destructive to the success of the trick,
and highly disconcerting to the performer. The feat is ostensibly
exhibited as one of skill, and, when properly executed, invariably
affords astonishment; for, although the company are apprised of the
actual moment at which the cards change, and even hear the movement,
they can see nothing of what takes place.

This concludes the series of card tricks, and also the first part,
Drawing-room Conjuring. I have not pretended to describe--and,
indeed, the feat would be quite impossible--every trick capable of
being performed with the various articles mentioned. Every conjuror
who is what is popularly, if somewhat bluntly, termed "worth his
salt," will find out little dodges and variations in the course of
practice and exhibition; and I would advise no one who discovers a
method for arriving at any given result which comes to him easier
than any described by me, to follow my instructions in preference to
his own ideas. This advice more particularly applies to card tricks.
Conjuring, it must be borne in mind, is not like cricket, or rowing,
or shooting, or anything else; there is no _legitimate_ means of
arriving at anything through its medium. The wished-for result must be
produced by fair means or by foul.

Many tricks included in the first portion may be successfully
introduced on the stage. This is essentially the case with the more
showy card tricks.


[Footnote A: Since this was written, a great change has come over the
fashion connected with playing-cards, the large, heavy card giving
way rapidly to a smaller and more flexible article, the American
round-cornered cards occupying a prominent place.]

[Footnote B: Some conjurors (myself included) use the third finger,
but the little finger is the better one to employ, as it is more
removed from observation. It is more difficult at the commencement,
the digit being so weak; but the better execution it ensures repays
the extra trouble.]





The learner has now arrived at that point where he will quit the
humble drawing-room, understood in its ordinary sense, and essay to
grander flights on the stage. It is true that this stage may, after
all, consist only of the back drawing-room, the front one serving
as the auditorium; but, in a conjuring sense, it is a drawing-room
no longer. It is the exclusive domain of the performer, in which
he will work his spells of enchantment unmolested by busybodies
indulged in too close a view. In this exclusiveness consists the
main difference between the two branches of conjuring. In what may
be aptly termed impromptu conjuring, the performer is greatly at the
mercy of his audience, who may at any moment, if so disposed, seize
upon him and wring from him his secrets. He is beset with difficulties
on all sides, and must exhibit a total invulnerability. In stage
performances, he has matters much more his own way. To a great extent,
he can control circumstances, to which he is constantly liable to
fall a victim when exhibiting in a humble way. He can so arrange
matters that one effect follows another in a most natural manner--a
state of affairs which it is almost impossible to bring about under
any other system of arrangement. So far stage conjuring possesses its
advantages; but, unless the conjuror has gone through a course of
training such as has been set before him in the preceding chapters, he
would be quite unable to avail himself of them. The performer, with
a limited amount of skill in execution, could never succeed in true
legerdemain on the stage, where it is far more difficult--in most
cases impossible--to cover a mistake or clumsy movement. Everything
must be reduced to an absolute certainty. To ensure this, the learner
must engraft on his mind the single but important word "preparation."
Effective preparation is the great secret of success in stage
conjuring of any magnitude: without it, things are tolerably certain
to result in what is expressively termed a "bungle." The reader will
discover, as I progress, what is meant by "preparation" quite speedily
enough, so I will not now enlarge on what will sometimes prove a
somewhat tedious operation. I once asked a well-known conjuror how
he liked conjuring for its own sake. "As far as conjuring itself
goes," he said, "I could perform all night; but what settles me is the
everlasting preparation." I must say, that my ideas on the point are
marvellously like his.

There are many axioms which belong equally to either branch of
conjuring, and which it is well for the learner to bear in mind at the
outset. By getting into the way of acting up to them from the first,
they soon cease to be irksome, and so assist, instead of detain, when
anything important is being undertaken. One important thing is to be
careful to give borrowed articles to be held, when it is required to
do so, in a part of the room as far removed from the owners of them
as possible. This rule need not be observed when the article is not
to be changed; but it is so seldom that this is the case, that the
possibility of its occurring is hardly worth while considering. It can
never do any harm to remove an article which is not to be changed far
from its owner; but a great deal of harm may be done by substituting
one article for another in such proximity to its lawful possessor
that that individual is able to discover the fraud. If this care be
not taken, the most perfect dexterity will be thrown away. In a large
room, full of strangers, one can perpetrate the most barefaced deeds,
such as giving a substituted ring, which is in every respect totally
unlike the original borrowed one, to be held openly in the fingers.
Neither the holder nor the owner of the ring will know that the
article is not the one which was borrowed.

Where possible, always give articles, when they are not too ponderous
or awkward, into the custody of members of the weaker sex. Ladies, as
a rule, have much less self-possession than men during performances,
and, besides, are naturally anxious (and not without some success) to
do everything that is asked of them in the most graceful and effective
manner possible. These causes conduce to the result which the
performer so much desires, viz., an absence of that inquisitiveness
which ultimately leads to a private and premature examination of the
article in custody. This axiom applies only when an article is to be
held passively. Under no circumstances must the performer cause a
lady to rise from her seat; rather let the trick be shorn of some of
its effect. When the assistance of one of the audience is required,
select an intelligent-looking man, who will not be likely, from either
incompetency or malice, to act exactly contrarily to your directions.
Unfortunately, a large number of block-heads and malicious persons,
with intelligent and winning expressions of countenance, do exist.
On meeting with either individual in a dangerous shape, make him
look ridiculous by giving him something big and cumbersome to hold
above the head, in a conspicuous position (such as when standing on
a chair), and let him remain there during the whole of the trick, or
even longer, if he will put up with it, selecting someone else to
render you the assistance you require. Be careful not to allow it to
be palpably seen that you are hoaxing the person, or offence may be
given to more than one: and conjurors must always strive to keep their
audiences in the best possible humour.

Never perform a trick twice. If the performer is weak enough to give
way on this point, he must expect to have the secrets of half of his
tricks the common property of his audience in a very short time. Such
interludes as swallowing an egg, orange, &c., and finding it at the
elbow, point of the toe, or other unexpected place, one may repeat
with tolerable frequency, although it is as well to vary the precise
method a little each time. The reason such feats are comparatively
safe to repeat is, that they come unexpectedly. If people knew that it
was intended to vanish any particular article, they would keep a sharp
look-out, and endeavour to discover what really became of it; but, as
the performer is particularly careful not to warn his audience of what
is about to be done, the movement is executed before anyone has had
time to think. I wish to lay particular stress on the suicidal policy
of performing the same trick twice during the same evening, as I know
it is a weakness to which young beginners are much addicted.

Conjurors must never fail; that is to say, they must never allow the
audience to see that they have failed in arriving at any desired
result. The surest method of avoiding this is to practise and rehearse
everything, down to the minutest detail, in private, so as to be
able to present it in its perfect form to the audience. The beginner
feels a little awkward and stupid in rehearsing at first, but when he
discovers, as he soon will, the necessity for it, he will soon become
used to it. The great thing is to begin well, and this is best done if
two persons commence studying together, in which case one will act as
a critic to the other. My plan--and I recommend everyone else to adopt
it--during the first six months, was to write down everything I had
to do or say, accompanied by the most minute stage directions. Each
hand and foot had its proper position at a given moment. Book in hand,
my fellow-student would take up his position as audience, and keep me
rigidly to my stage directions, besides giving such hints as seemed
to him to be necessary. At first, this kind of thing feels somewhat
irksome, but the good results derived will soon make themselves
manifest, and compensate for all trouble. I have frequently spent
a whole evening in getting perfect in a single trick, which would
perhaps be rehearsed ten or twelve times. The properties of each trick
should be written on a separate card.

One thing of paramount importance is the talk to be used with
each trick. At the outset, this should invariably be written out
beforehand, and committed to memory, if not word for word, very
nearly so. By this means, one is best able to avoid a repetition of
any well-marked points, which would pall upon the audience, and cause
them to fancy the performer before them to be a man of limited ideas.
At the same time, great care must be taken to avoid making anything
approaching a speech, which is even worse than saying nothing at all.
People come to conjuring entertainments expecting to see sleight of
hand performed, and not to listen to speeches, however beautiful
they may be in themselves. What is wanted is something to accompany
the trick, just as a pianoforte-player accompanies a singer. If this
simile be borne in mind, the learner will not go far wrong. The
only occasions on which nothing should be said are when some feats
of dexterity--corresponding to the runs and scales of the expert
vocalist--are being performed: a verbal accompaniment would only spoil
them. On the other hand, a very poor trick can be made a good deal of
by the introduction of a few lively sallies, mingled with allusions
to topics of the day, which will be made to appear to bear upon the
matter in hand. I shall give but very few examples in my descriptions
of tricks, for I think that a conjuror should be, before everything
else, original; and this he would not be if he only repeated what
other people had to say. I hope the reader is impressed with the
absolute necessity of being as well up in "patter" as in sleight of

Address in execution is another thing which cannot be too attentively
studied. It is not enough that an orange is successfully vanished;
the operation should be performed with all possible grace. This will
naturally be impossible if the performer is not well up in his trick;
but this he must not fail to be. The learner must study to acquire a
manner that is neither hurried nor slow. Some tricks it is necessary
to do with extra dash and rapidity; but the extra speed will never
require to be sustained. As a general rule, audiences prefer a suave
and easy style--one which appears free from the slightest exertion.
Being in a hurry is the way to forget many little but telling points;
whilst being too slow is the way to weary the audience. The worst
possible style to adopt is that which impresses the audience with
the idea that conjuring is nothing but a mere cheat--a swindle--from
beginning to end. This impression is given when the performer wishes
to appear extra sharp, and endeavours (to use a common idiom) to
thrust everything down people's throats, whether they will or not.
Always endeavour to impress spectators that they are being deceived by
skilful manipulation, and not "bamboozled" by talk.

Be careful not to substitute impertinence for impudence. Too many
beginners err in this respect. They mistake the precise nature of
the impudence required by the conjuror. A better name for it would
be audacity. To be successful out of the ordinary way, the conjuror
must be audacious and venturesome now and again, although it is as
well not to tempt Fortune too much or too often: the jade may fail at
an awkward pinch. The warning not to play with edged tools should be
taken to heart by the conjuror.

On no account play the buffoon, as I have seen conjurors do before
now. When a laugh is raised, it should be with, and not at, the
performer. Also, on raising a laugh at anyone's expense, let it be
done in a polite and inoffensive manner, unless, of course, it be a
punishment for previous misbehaviour.




Of very important assistance in Grand Conjuring are the specially
prepared tables, of which one, two, or three will be used, according
to the size of the room. These tables differ from ordinary ones, in
the first place, by being considerably higher, their height being from
2ft. 10in. to 3ft. This is to render it unnecessary for the performer
to stoop when taking anything from or placing anything upon the table,
as the action would take away a great deal from an effective execution
of many things. The next important difference (unknown, however, to
the audience) is that the body of the table is a hollow box, of which
that side which is unseen by the spectators is perfectly open, and
is furthermore provided with a protruding shelf, technically called
the _servante_. This shelf is one of the conjuror's most invaluable
assistants. It is always at hand to receive any article which it is
desirable to get rid of, and is a patient holder of others which it
may be required, at a particular moment, to produce from an invisible
source, but which are too large to be concealed about the person. This
shelf should be about 5in. or 6in. broad, and should have the ends
either rounded or cut off obliquely. If this is not done, the shelf
will be noticed by persons standing or seated at the extreme sides
of the auditorium. The edge should be furnished with a small raised
beading, to prevent articles from falling off. The depth of the body
of the table should not exceed 6in., or it will excite suspicion and
remark. If the shelf is fitted to the body of the table by means of
hinges, it will be found a great convenience. It will never become
mislaid or knocked about, and so be either missing or useless when
most required; and it also enables one to use the body of the table as
a means for conveying the bulk of the conjuring apparatus. The legs
should be made to screw on and off, so as to increase the portability
of the whole; but see that the worm of the screw is long and deep, or
the table will be unsteady.

But, if the back of the table is mysterious, the top of it is still
more so. For the speedy, easy, and complete vanishing of objects,
particularly solids, it has been found convenient to fit the tops
of tables with spring traps, which, yielding to certain pressure,
resume their position when it is removed. Judiciously used, these
traps are very useful, and the results attained by their use are
most bewildering. In a table 36in. by 18in. (a very convenient size)
there should be a round trap, 3-1/2in. to 4in. in diameter, in each
front corner, and an oblong trap, 9in. by 5in., in the centre. These
traps are made of zinc; but I would recommend no one to attempt
manufacturing them at home whilst they can be purchased so reasonably
at conjuring trick repositories. I would certainly recommend having
the table itself made, under personal supervision, by a carpenter,
who will let the traps into the top of the table. The ordinary
price for a 4in. trap is about 7s. 6d. There are many elaborate
mechanical traps devised for changing articles, but I have never
found them of much assistance in the hands of amateurs, so cannot
conscientiously recommend them. There are also several methods for
arranging piston rods, which work up and down by means of a string
drawn by a confederate at the side or rear, or by electricity. But
such assistance is so seldom required by the amateur conjuror, that
I cannot recommend him to encumber his table with more than three
traps. Everything beyond this he will find an unnecessary expense.
The amateur will also find that his sphere will be continually
changed, one day performing at this friend's house and the next day at
another's. Hence he will be unable to produce the results which are
attainable only by those who, like professional conjurors, have sole
dominion over their stage and its surroundings at all times. As these
chapters are written solely for the edification of amateurs, and not
for the purpose of training up professionals, I shall not launch out
into descriptions of things impossible to the great majority.

When the size of the room permits of it, the performer should have,
besides his oblong table in the centre, one or two small round tables
at the sides. These tables should be of the same height as the large
one, but only about 18in. in diameter. They should be provided with
one round trap and a small _servante_. The border should have a deep
fringe. The tops of all three tables should be covered with a check
pattern, in order to hide the lines of the traps. On a perfectly plain
surface these might be noticed. Do not forget to provide the smaller
traps with bags to receive the articles passed through. An egg would
make an unseemly mess inside the table, whilst an orange or a lemon
would descend with a thud sufficiently loud to reveal to the audience
what had taken place. The centre trap, being used almost exclusively
for vanishing live stock, need not be furnished with a bag.

Whilst on the subject of traps, I will describe the method for
passing articles through them. Supposing an orange has to be made to
disappear. After showing that it is a real orange and perfectly solid,
&c., place it upon the trap, the spring of which must, of course, be
strong enough to bear the weight without giving in the least. Turn
up your sleeves very deliberately, and then place the hands around
the orange as if about to take it up in them. Screened by the front
hand, the rear one presses the trap down quickly, and the orange
falls through, the hands being brought together as though holding
it. Advance towards the audience a step or two and commence rubbing
the hands together, gradually making the circumference of the hollow
smaller and smaller until the orange appears to have been rubbed away.
The action of vanishing the article must be assiduously practised,
for the hands must not dwell perceptibly on the table, but appear to
actually take up whatever they are supposed to. When pretending to
rub it away, the eyes must be directed attentively to the hands as if
interested in the experiment. When passing one article into another,
as an egg into a lemon, place the lemon just in front of the trap,
and, holding the egg in the rear hand, pass it down the trap under
cover of the front hand, which will at the moment be just closing upon
the lemon. The two hands then take the lemon, and, after rubbing it
about a little, show it _minus_ the egg, which you will say is inside.
In the drawing-room, without the table, the same results would have
to be arrived at by means of "vesting." The present instance affords
an excellent illustration of my remark that drawing-room conjuring is
more difficult than grand conjuring.

Another method for vanishing articles through traps is to fix a cord
to the under side of the trap, and, by means of a tiny pulley and
staples, bring it to a hole in the end of the table, on the outside of
which a knot is tied. The article can be then placed upon the trap and
covered with a hat, &c., and made to disappear by pulling the cord. It
is better to have the cord belonging to the right-hand trap coming out
at the left-hand side, and _vice-versâ_; otherwise the audience would
be likely to notice the action of the hand pulling the cord, from its
close proximity to the hat. By standing at that end of the table
which is opposite to the hat, the performer can turn sideways, and
point with his wand to the hat or tap it, when the action of pulling
the string will be concealed by his body. In covering any article with
a hat, be careful that the front or back part of it is towards the
audience. The arch formed by the side brim of the hat of the present
day enables one to see anything placed underneath it, and it must be
admitted that it would be rather awkward if any of the audience saw
the article suddenly drop into the body of the table. The uses of the
large trap will be dilated upon at another time and place.

The uses of the _servante_ being to hold things as occasion requires,
they will make themselves manifest in due course.

_Dress._--The conjuror's dress will command a great deal of
consideration, the disposition and capacity of the pockets being of
considerable importance. I will first take the coat, which will, of
course, be a dress one. The whole of the inside of each breast of
this should be one huge pocket, the opening of which is perpendicular
instead of horizontal, and about two inches from the edges, so as to
just escape observation. This enables large objects to be concealed,
and yet easily got at. The tail pockets are not used in performing,
so can be either entirely absent or else made in the usual way. One
tail, however, should have a large pocket about five inches deep at
the bottom, and right across its width. This pocket should be made
very loose so as to be always open to a slight extent, for it will
often have articles dropped into it at all sorts of odd times. Some
conjurors have copper wire in the edge to keep it open when required.

The vest is extremely important. It should be split right up the back
and then re-joined by three bands of broad elastic. This is to enable
one to put large articles in the breast without causing any unusual
wrinkles or bulging. For vesting purposes, some have a strip of thin
leather, about two inches broad, sewn round the bottom, inside, but I
do not find this sufficiently safe. I usually have some fine elastic
run in the hem by means of a bodkin. It should be tight enough to
hold an egg (a heavy, slippery thing, and awkward when dropped)
securely; but it must not pull the vest out of shape. The only extra
pockets required in the trousers are one at each hip, covered by the
tails of the coat. They should be about three inches long by one and
a half in depth, and constructed so as to be always partly open. They
are very handy for receiving such articles as coins, little balls,
rings, pocket-knives, &c., which it is desirable that the audience
should not see. Little pockets, of a similar nature, are sometimes
used behind the lappel of the coat; but those in the trousers are
far superior, as they are got at by the perfectly natural action of
dropping the arm. The inside turn-up of the sleeve of the coat I have
also seen similarly employed, but have not noticed any particular
advantage to be derived therefrom.

Starting now with his prepared tables and mysterious suit, and armed
with a fair amount of manipulative skill, the learner ought to be able
to bid defiance to the world, and to boldly attempt anything within
his particular scope or province that he has seen anyone else do.

Before commencing, always say a few words, to the effect that you are
there to conjure, and not to make speeches; so you will not detain
the audience with a history of conjuring from the year 1, but proceed
to show them what can be done in the present year. In family circles,
more talking should be done than in public places, where an impressive
style should be cultivated.

_Introductory Tricks._--Besides, by means of the few words the
performer addresses the company before commencing, it is quite in
order that he should introduce himself to the spectators magically;
that is to say, give them at once some little evidence of his skill,
without any formality of explanation. A well-used trick for this
purpose is that of causing a flower to appear instantaneously at
the button-hole. Just as the performer is about to step forward, he
perceives that he has forgotten his flower, but explains that the
omission is very soon rectified, as he notices a bouquet in the hands
of a lady, or some flowers in a coiffure, or about a costume. Asking
permission, and taking it at once, the wand is waved in the direction
of the visible flowers, and the button-hole then touched with it, when
instantly a flower appears. The flower is an imitation one, and is
attached to a piece of elastic, which passes through the button-hole,
and inside through the one next below, so that it may be fastened to
a vest button, or elsewhere. When the performer comes on, the flower
is concealed under the left armpit; so that, when the button-hole
is touched with the wand, all that is necessary is to raise the arm
slightly, when the flower, being released, flies instantly into

Another common, but very effective, practice is to come on the stage
with the gloves on. As they are taken off the hands, they melt away,
apparently, for nothing more is ever seen of them. Elastic is again
at the bottom of this, one end passing round the wrist of the glove,
whilst the other is fastened round the biceps of the arm, or attached
to the brace. The glove is removed, care being taken not to let it
slip too soon, and, when held between the two palms, is allowed to
go, when it flies, unperceived, up the sleeve. The performer must not
dwell at all upon the fact that he is doing anything magical, but act
as though his gloves were merely performing their usual evolutions on
being taken off for the day.




_Sleights._--Often, in the description of a trick, the learner is told
that a handkerchief, coin, egg, orange, or other article has to be
made to disappear or appear by sleight of hand. In the descriptions
here given, my own methods naturally appear in preponderance over
those of others; but it is a mistake for conjurors to confine
themselves arbitrarily to any such, whose soever they be, or whatever
their nature. The peculiar means for magically vanishing or producing
an article which has seemed to me to be most convenient under the
conditions governing the particular trick under notice, I have always
laid the most stress upon; but it is very likely that, were half a
dozen experts to write upon the same tricks, they would each vary more
or less in the precise means by which the same results were arrived
at. This is only as it should be, the success of a conjuror, like that
of an actor, depending, in a very great measure, upon his originality
or individuality. The reader will notice that I frequently describe
a trick, and then give one or more alternative ways of doing it, the
last-named being usually methods I have seen adopted with success by
other conjurors. In order to save endless repetition, I give here a
few sleights which the learner should be incessantly practising, just
as he would the pass or the palm. Some of the feats actually form
small tricks in themselves, but are only introduced by the performer
as suddenly inspired interpolations in the course of a trick, of
which they may, as a fact, really form part. For the disappearance
of a coin or coins, the various palms provide; the method described
in connection with the cups and balls (page 55) suffices for the
evanishment of marbles, nuts, and articles of that size; whilst the
palming of cards has been specially treated. The other sleights which
I have found most necessary are as follows:

_To Produce an Egg, Orange, &c., from the Wand._--This daring feat
is certainly one of the most wonder-inspiring description. The
performer says, "I now require, for my trick, an egg. I presume none
of the company happen to have such an article about them; and, as
I have forgotten to provide it myself, I must make an appeal to my
wand, which rarely fails me in such cases." Standing sideways to
the audience, the performer holds his wand in the fingers, at arm's
length, and then, suddenly running his hand along it, upwards, as
though squeezing it, he produces, from the very top, the egg. As his
sleeves are turned well up, and nothing has been visible in either
hand, the mysterious appearance of the required article is quite
inexplicable. It is thus managed. The egg may be either upon the
shelf at the back of the table, or under the vest band. I prefer the
latter place of concealment, because the performer is better able to
carelessly show his hands quite empty just previous to the production
of the article; whilst a longer time must elapse between the secretion
of the article in the hand and the moment of its appearance on the
top of the wand, if it be placed upon the shelf. Apart from this,
going behind the table should always be avoided where possible. It is
the easiest thing in the world to get down the article from the vest
in the act of turning round. It should find its way at once to the
very centre of the hand, the root of the thumb gripping it, and the
fingers should either seize the coat flap, or the wand should be put
into it. The _modus operandi_ may be simply described as follows: The
wand is lying upon the table and the performer comes forward, showing,
by rubbing them together in the act of speaking, that his hands are
empty. When he has uttered the words "in such cases," he wheels round
_to the left_, for the purpose of fetching the wand from the table,
and when his back is fairly towards the audience, he gets down the egg
in the right hand, which then seizes the coat flap. A very important
matter must here be observed. The article vested must always be
placed on that side of the body which is opposite to the hand that
is to bring it down. If, in the present instance, the egg were upon
the right side of the performer's body, taking his vest buttons as a
central line, the act of getting it into the right hand could not be
achieved without sticking out the elbow, which would at once reveal to
the company that the performer was carrying out some manoeuvre with
that hand, and, when he turned round, they would immediately fix their
eyes upon it, and keep them there, to the serious detraction of the
proceedings following. The golden rule must be followed of glueing,
as it were, the upper arm and elbow to the side. Then the forearm
and hand may do as they please, with impunity. The getting down of
an article from the vest need occupy only a half-second of time, so
the performer turns briskly to the table, his every visible action
and look being, of course, concentrated upon the matter in hand--the
fetching the wand from the table. With the right hand, containing
the egg, holding the coat flap lightly and naturally, the wand is
picked off the table with the left, the performer's right side being
towards the company. Holding the wand for a few moments in the left
hand, and looking at it amusingly, as though wondering quite as much
as the company how it is going to accomplish its task, the right hand
is brought boldly to the front, and the wand placed in the fingers.
The back of the hand is, of course, towards the company. The fact of
its containing a bulky article will naturally cause it to be somewhat
curved, so it is necessary to cause it to look as flat as possible.
This is best managed by straightening the fingers and bending the
wrist outwards, the whole length of the fingers being thus presented
to the view of the company. It will be found that the wand, pressing
against the article in the hand, assists towards keeping it in its
place there. In the case of an egg, care must be taken not to put on
too much pressure. The wand must be held by its middle portion, and
should not remain in the right hand for more than a couple of seconds,
at the outside. It is then re-taken by the left hand, but by the lower
end, the right hand simultaneously making the upward "squeeze;" the
article being produced at the tips of the fingers, when they reach the
top of the wand, it being allowed to drop from the palm into the bent
fingers just previously. The illusion is complete when the sleight is
performed with neatness and dash, the article appearing to actually
come out of the wand, although everyone knows how impossible it is
for it ever to have been there. An article so mysteriously produced
should, by all means, be given for examination. It is surprising
what very large-sized oranges can be produced by this means, when
the performer has once acquired sufficient boldness. Audacity is the
chief ingredient in the sleight, and the learner will acquire it by
beginning with small-sized articles. Brilliantly-coloured articles,
such as oranges, or perfectly white ones, as eggs, make the best

_To Produce Articles from the Persons of the Company._--Here audacity
plays a very important part indeed, as the performer goes in amongst
the spectators and finds such oranges, eggs, lemons, &c., as he may
want, in their hair and apparel. In the _Gant de Paris_ (page 228),
I have seen a performer use an orange, a lemon, an egg, and a walnut,
all of which he has found upon the company within a very few seconds
of time. A description of how this is done will suffice as a guide to
the learner how to proceed in all similar cases. The walnut should be
palmed, and the lemon held in the same hand, the other hand holding
the orange, both hands of course seizing the coat. The egg is vested.
Coming on to the stage from behind, the performer proceeds rapidly
into the very midst of the company, and says, "Can any one lend me
a kid glove for a few minutes?" then, turning suddenly towards a
male spectator--with long hair, if such a one be handy--"I beg your
pardon, sir, but I see a something in your hair; what is it?" Whilst
this is being said, a rapid dash is made at the addressee's hair, the
orange being slid to the ends of the fingers, and produced with all
slowness. It is given a second spectator to examine, who is discovered
to have a lemon in his hair, or inside his coat. Whilst the lemon is
being produced, and all eyes are intent upon it, the empty hand gets
down the egg. This is found in the hair of a third person, whilst
the walnut is discovered on the tip of the nose of a fourth. When
the performer afterwards collects all four articles into his hands,
it will never occur to the company that so much bulk could have been
deliberately palmed by him in their very midst. As a matter of fact,
it is easier to do these sort of things in the midst of a numerous
and rather closely-packed company, than in the presence of a meagre
and widespread one, and the performer should always go where the
spectators are thickest.

_How to Cause Large-sized Objects to Appear to Vanish from the
Hands._--By large objects are meant eggs, oranges, ladies'
handkerchiefs, gloves, small birds, &c. The sleight-of-hand conjuror
should embrace every opportunity for a display of his skill,
handkerchiefs being swallowed and reproduced elsewhere, and other
articles thrown away or made to pass imperceptibly from out of the
hand into thin air, nothing being left of them when the hand is
opened. In order to bring about these things, all that the conjuror
has to do is to adapt, to the altered circumstance of having larger
articles to deal with, what he has been taught in connection with the
palming and passing of coins. Take, first, the apparent placing of
an article in the mouth, and swallowing it. The method adopted will
vary, according to the size of the article. If it be a comparatively
small one, such as a walnut, then the action depicted at Fig. 7 must
be followed, the article being palmed in the right hand, the back
of which must necessarily be turned towards the audience more than
is shown in the sketch, by reason of the more bulky nature of its
contents, and the fingers of the left hand rounded in a way suggestive
of containing the article supposed to be put into them. The right
hand then takes the wand, which, in these cases, must _always_ be
carried under the right armpit. Should the article not be swallowed,
the wand strikes the closed fingers of the left hand, which are
simultaneously opened and shown to be empty. The success attending
this method will depend solely and entirely upon the neatness with
which the palm is executed, and the article apparently placed in the
left hand. It must not be ostensibly thrown there, as is the case with
a coin, but deliberately put in, the fingers of the right hand, after
the execution of the palm, forming as though they actually held the
article, those of the left hand closing around them, as if taking it
firmly in charge. It is always as well to actually place the article
in the left hand at least once, thereby silently impressing the
company with what is to be done with it. The palming of a walnut is
quite as easy as that of a coin, and the pass must be regarded as a
very simple one to learn.

Eggs, oranges, lemons, and solid articles of that size, must be
treated according to the action shown at Figs. 8 and 9, facility
in executing which will render the accomplishment of what is now
described very easy. As the article is not a coin, it must not be
held between finger and thumb, but made to rest upon the very tips
of the fingers of the left hand, which is held perpendicularly for
the purpose. It is thus very conspicuously in sight of everyone. It
is allowed to rest there for a few seconds, when the right hand is
brought suddenly in front of it, and the action gone through of taking
it. At this instant, the orange (say) falls into the hollow of the
left hand, which is immediately dropped to grasp the coat flap, whilst
the right hand apparently puts the orange into the mouth, a muffled
noise being made indicative of the mouth being full. Before the hand
is removed, the mouth is closed, when it is as well to bulge one of
the cheeks out with the tongue, and then make three or four desperate
attempts (ultimately successful) at swallowing, accompanied by choking
sounds. A smile should then illumine the face of the performer, who
appears to have enjoyed the operation, and the orange, if it is wanted
again, may be produced at the right elbow, or brought round from the
back of the neck, rolled along by the tips of the fingers. A very
effective sleight with which to quickly follow the foregoing is as
follows: Place the wand under the left armpit, and hold the orange
in the fingers of the left hand, as above described. Open the legs
slightly, and then apparently take the orange in the right hand and
smash it into the right leg, just above the knee. The orange must be
apparently vigorously snatched out of the left hand, which at once
mechanically finds its way to the wand, that article being grasped
by the thumb only, the fingers and palm concealing the orange. The
performer allows a second to elapse, and then, briskly taking the
wand in the right hand, rolls the orange from behind his left thigh
to the front. It does not in the least signify what the company fancy
actually happened with the orange, so long as they are not allowed
to suspect that it never left the left hand. Obliged to account for
the phenomenon, the theories formed will be various, the majority
polling for a tubular communication between sleeve and sleeve, viâ
the performer's back. As the orange is apparently smashed into the
leg, the performer will find it necessary to stoop slightly. This
sleight should follow the preceding one before the spectators have
begun to recover from their wonderment at seeing the orange apparently
swallowed and then reproduced. A cigar, or article of the like shape,
can be similarly treated if it be held in the left hand between the
tips of the middle finger and thumb, the broad end being against the
thumb. As the right hand covers it, in the act of apparently taking
it, the broad end is allowed to fall against the root of the thumb,
and the hand turned slightly over and then allowed to hang down at
the side. A very little pressure on the part of the middle finger
will suffice to keep the cigar in position. The right hand must
conform itself as closely as possible to the shape it would assume
if it actually contained a cigar. This sleight will come in handy in
conjuring at table.

A more complete method of vanishing is as follows: Take the article in
the right hand, and hold the waistband of the vest by the left. Toss
the orange, &c., twice or thrice in the air, and then whip it swiftly
beneath the vest, which will be partly raised by the left hand. The
two hands thus brought together should be closed one over the other,
as if they contained something, which something you will then proceed
to gradually rub away. As you have nothing whatever in the hands,
you will be able to execute this portion of the deception with great
confidence and ease. When you slip any article beneath the vest, the
body should be partially turned from the audience. Quickly done, the
movement will never be noticed, and it is one of the most perfect
deceptions practised. The vest is never thought of by an audience
as being a place for the concealment of articles, and so it escapes
notice, and everyone wonders where the vanished article can have gone
to. The vest is also an excellent place in which to carry such things
as eggs, lemons, &c., which may be required during any trick.

_To Change an Article._--This is executed very much after the manner
of the preceding, with this exception: the left hand contains the
article concealed, which is to be exchanged for whatever is held in
the right. Say, for example, that the right hand holds an orange,
which the audience, of course, examines. The left hand conceals, say,
an apple. The orange is vested in the orthodox manner, and the hands
brought together as directed, but this time they contain the apple.
Rub them a little, and exhibit the apple, which can be brought back to
its original shape--an orange--if the performer pleases. On no account
must the conjuror inform the audience what he is about to do, or he
may find the ideas of the spectators anticipate his actions, which is,
to say the least, awkward. These actions of vanishing or exchanging
can be done when one is actually surrounded by people; but the hands
must be quick and must appear natural: for instance, when supposed to
contain an orange they must not be compressed so as to barely leave
space within them for a walnut. Nothing but careful practice will
ensure a satisfactory result, for the least bungling will lead to
detection. I need hardly say that it enhances one's reputation greatly
if one can be said to have "changed a real orange into a real apple
under our very eyes" without the aid of any gaudy boxes or canisters.
By all means allow the orange to be squeezed and the apple to be eaten.

_To Vanish Handkerchiefs._--Not being solid bodies, handkerchiefs will
require different treatment, and present the greatest difficulties,
which are fully compensated for by the superior effects produced. In
the first place, the performer must be careful to borrow a lady's
small handkerchief, if for the purpose of vanishing. In performing
_The Knots_ (page 218) a small handkerchief is generally included
amongst those borrowed. It is not used for the trick; but the
performer says he is very fond of such handkerchiefs, and forthwith
rolls it up in his hands, pops it into his mouth, and swallows it.
Whilst the company are wondering, he suddenly pulls the handkerchief
out of his leg. This is a most wonderful sleight, and one the conjuror
must endeavour to become perfect in. He should begin with a small
piece of muslin, which rolls up very tight and easily. This he takes
between the two hands, the left hand below, with its back turned
somewhat towards the company, and rolls it sharply round and round,
until he feels that it is well balled. Then, with the right hand, he
apparently takes it up, the left hand really retaining it by means of
the thumb, and grasping the coat-flap, as in other cases, or the wand
under left armpit. The right hand apparently conveys the handkerchief
to the mouth, where the choking and swallowing performance is gone
through. After a pause of a couple of seconds, the conjuror looks
curiously down at his leg, and, pouncing at a spot in the rear of the
thigh, just above the knee-joint, presses the handkerchief there,
to enable the fingers to obtain a hold of a very small portion of
it. It is then at once jerked forcibly away, when it will appear to
the spectators precisely as though it had been pulled out through
the cloth. The different movements must all follow one another with
regularity and swiftness, and yet the performer must not appear to be
hurrying himself in the least. If the handkerchief experimented upon
be large, some risk is run of a portion appearing from the left hand.
Even with small handkerchiefs this will, at times, occur; but if the
performer carries out the movements of the right hand properly, the
eyes of the company will be directed solely to that.

The same sleight is employed in feigning to throw back a handkerchief
to its owner, the action of throwing being employed instead of
affecting to place the article in the mouth. In this case, it is as
well to pivot round at once, vesting the handkerchief in so doing, and
then at once inquiring, with empty hands, if the handkerchief arrived
at its destination all right. It may be afterwards produced from the
interior of a spectator's coat, by being whipped quickly in and then
produced very slowly and at extended length. If this reproduction
is to follow quickly, then do not vest, which is only done for the
purpose of showing the hands empty. If the performer pleases, he may
plunge his hand into his breast, and produce the handkerchief; but it
will cause less wonderment, and no amusement at all.

Small birds present considerable difficulty, the object being to
conjure with the bird without injuring it. A bird cannot be palmed,
like a walnut, nor can it be rolled up, like a handkerchief. But,
strange to say, the very difficulty of the feat assists the performer.
In the first place, the company never suspect that the bird is about
to be made to disappear, unless the performer is weak enough to
forewarn them; and, secondly, never having experimented, they do
not suppose for an instant that the bird will be simply retained in
the hand all the time, as it really is. All the conjuror has to do
is to hold the bird in the right hand, outside the wings, and head
downwards, the tail pointing up the wrist, and then affect to put it
in the left hand, which is bulged so as to appear to hold it. The wand
must be under the right armpit, and the right hand seizes it at once,
the left hand being struck and opened, showing the bird to be flown.
The sooner the bird is reproduced the better. The most unlikely, and
therefore the best, place to produce it from is the bottom of the
trouser--a lively course of speculation as to how it got there being
thrown open to the company. If it be desired to get rid of the bird
altogether, the performer must pivot round and vest. There is not much
chance of the bird moving in that position, but, of course, it will be
better for the performer to make an early exit, and relieve himself of
the encumbrance.

Doves are made to disappear by means of the shelf at the back of
the table, or the pocket directed to be made at the bottom of the
coat-tail. The shelf vanish is more open to suspicion, but I have,
nevertheless, found it enormously successful, when properly managed.
The performer, in the first instance, must not announce, by word or
deed, that the disappearance is about to take place. Standing to the
left (_his_ left, facing the audience) of the table, and slightly to
the rear of it, he takes the dove in the right hand. Walking briskly
past the table, at the back, he casts his eyes upwards, and just as he
reaches the extreme corner of the table, makes a movement of tossing
the bird into the air. It is, instead, placed gently (not dropped, or
thrown) upon the end of the shelf, the brisk pace of the performer
carrying him at once a good yard beyond the table, from which spot
the dove is apparently cast into the air. The success of the sleight
depends very much upon the exactness with which the performer imitates
the actual throwing of a bird into the air, and the fearlessness with
which it is conducted. Any symptom of a glance at the shelf would be
fatal. The bearings must be taken whilst stationary, and the rest
carried out with the eyes fixed earnestly on the ceiling. Rabbits and
guinea pigs may be similarly treated; but large-sized rabbits are
unsuited, since it is not easy to place them upon the shelf. When
the pocket is used, supposing it to be in the right coat-tail, as it
probably would be, the performer should stand with that side away from
the audience, and ascertain, by means of the right hand, if the mouth
of the pocket be open. Lean slightly over to the right, and then,
taking the dove in the right hand, make a movement of casting it into
the air, straight upwards, whither the eyes are directed. It is, of
course, left in the pocket, head downwards. An attempt to place it
there tail first would be likely to lead to disaster. As this sleight
may be performed away from any table or chair, it is, of course, to
be preferred. It is, undoubtedly, more difficult of accomplishment
than the shelf vanish, requiring more neatness in depositing the bird;
for, if the downward sweep be too vigorous, it will have the effect
of disturbing the coat-tail, which will be momentarily seen, pushed
out behind the performer, by the company, and the place of concealment
thereby betrayed. It need hardly be pointed out that, in either case,
the hand must grasp the bird firmly by the body, clasping the wings
tightly down. If it be felt struggling in the pocket, the performer
should bow himself off at once.

_Mesmerising a Dove._--The apparent mesmerising of a dove makes, of
itself, a capital effect, leading the audience to pay high respect to
the necromantic powers of the conjuror. Also, it makes an admirable
introduction to the vanish. The bird is taken in the right hand,
outside the wings, and laid upon its back on the front edge of the
table, so that the head just projects over. The beak is now taken
in the left hand and the head turned backwards, as far as it will
go. When held in that position for a few moments, the hands may be
removed, when the bird will lie perfectly still. It will not always
do this at the first, or even the second, attempt, but perseverance
will always be rewarded with success. The performer must be as gentle
as possible, and go slowly to work. We need not stay to discuss the
reason for the singular phenomenon, it being sufficient for our
purpose to know that the bird will lie still when placed in the
proper position. The performer waves his hands over the bird, as
though mesmerising it, and then he may take one of the feet in his
fingers and actually raise the bird, by one of its legs, completely
off the table. This will require the greatest delicacy and patience
to accomplish, operations being discontinued the instant the bird
shows any signs of fluttering. Anything approaching a jerk will rouse
the bird, so the lift must be made as gradual and as imperceptible
as possible. The reader will, doubtless, be able to appreciate the
sensation that will be caused when, the mesmerising accomplished, the
bird immediately afterwards vanishes from sight, no one knows whither.

_To Exchange Borrowed Rings for Dummies._--With a single ring, and
in a small way, this may be done by means of the finger palm (Fig. 3),
the dummy being already held in the left hand, between the roots of
the fingers, and a feint made of placing the borrowed one into it.
(See "Tricks with Coins," _b_, p. 11). This does very well for the
drawing-room, in which domain the following method may also be adopted
when two or more rings are borrowed. Have the dummies screwed up
in a piece of paper, which hold in the left hand, and cover with a
precisely similar piece of paper, open. Into this latter place the
borrowed rings, and screw up. All that is now necessary is to reverse
the positions of the two parcels, the left hand carrying away the
borrowed rings, the right taking the dummy ones, the paper containing
which is, of course, not opened again during the trick. The same
method should be adopted with large audiences when a borrowed watch
and chain have to be exchanged; but the following method is far away
the best to adopt on the stage with rings.

For the purpose of collecting rings borrowed from the audience, the
conjuror should provide himself with an ebony wand, rather thicker
than an ordinary penholder, and about eight inches in length. If he be
performing with an assistant, that person should do the collecting.
Upon the wand are already placed the dummies, covered by the hand
holding it by one of its ends. The wand is presented the persons
lending the rings, who slide them on. The performer remains well up
the stage, and, the assistant, turning towards him, changes the wand
from one hand to the other, securing the borrowed rings under the
latter, and spreading the dummies along the wand. This can be quickly
effected, and the assistant at once turns round facing the company,
presenting the wand, with dummy rings, to the performer, who takes it;
the borrowed rings remaining in the assistant's hand, dropped at once
to his side. The performer at once draws attention to himself, and the
assistant makes off with the rings for whatever purpose may have been
previously arranged. An assistant must be something of a conjuror to
possess the necessary _sang froid_ for effecting the exchange without
drawing attention to his movements, so the performer may have to
execute it himself, in which case he would place the dummy rings in
some conspicuous position, and pass behind the scenes momentarily on
the strength of some plea, which would suggest itself according to
the trick in course of performance.

_How to Show the Hands Empty whilst still containing Coins._--In
many tricks with money ("Hold them Tight!" for instance) it may be
advisable, or even compulsory, by reason of the doubt of a spectator,
to show that the coins are not in the hand, whilst they really are so.
With a single coin to manage, the reverse palm will suffice. When two
or more are in the hand the coins must be slid inside the doubled up
fingers which hold the wand, placed across the hand. The really empty
hand is opened, and the one containing the coins also, as far as the
performer dare. Now, if he held the fingers doubled up without the
wand in the hand, the spectators would know where the coins were; but,
seeing the wand, the partial closing of the hand seems natural enough.
Of course the hands are boldly thrust out, the performer saying the
while, "It is pretty plain that I haven't the coins, for here are my
two hands both wide open. Now sir, what have you done with them?" &c.
Unblushing audacity is again the order of the day. A capital effect
is made if, after showing the hands apparently empty, the coins are
abstracted from the hair or beard of a spectator. One never knows when
such a sleight may be wanted. When it is, it is as well to know what
to do, so as to prevent exposure.

_To Mark a Card, in the Course of Performing, so as to be able to
Recognise it again._--This is a very useful little dodge, as by
its means the machinations of the obnoxious person in this book
denominated Mr. Interference may be defeated. It is only requisite
when it becomes absolutely necessary to convince the company that you
do not know the position of the card in the pack. It is necessary to
get at least a portion of the card in the hand, when, from the upper
side, an indentation is made in the card with the thumb nail, one of
the fingers, on the under side, performing the office of pressure
pad. The card need not be removed from the hand of the chooser, the
performer merely touching it momentarily whilst explaining what
he wishes done. It is as well to make the mark near the centre of
the card, as then it is more easily found. After it has been made,
the pack may be given the company, the card placed in it, and the
whole well shuffled by anyone. The card will at once be recognised
by the slight projection that has been made on the under side.
Should a repetition of the ruse become necessary, the performer must
either leave the card originally marked out of the pack, or else
make two marks on the next; but it is better to leave the first one
out. As the whole of the pack is not used--at least, not under my
instructions--some spare cards are always lying unused upon the table.
This spare heap is always exceedingly useful, as cards such as the
one under notice may be placed in it, whilst others, which may be
presently wanted, can lie upon the top, ready at hand.

_To Pass a Handkerchief over the Flame of a Candle without Burning
it._--This is a remarkable effect, which only requires confidence
to ensure its successful execution. The performer has a lighted
candle standing upon the table, and when in possession of a borrowed
handkerchief for a trick, he introduces the sleight as an interlude.
Grasping the handkerchief by one corner, in such a way as to spread
it somewhat with the fingers, he holds it in front of the candle, and
then draws it upwards and backwards, right over the flame, almost
extinguishing the latter in so doing. The handkerchief should be an
ordinary white one, and the flame will be seen by the spectators to
be eating into it, apparently. There is not the least necessity to be
in any hurry, the action of drawing the handkerchief over the flame
being a steady and deliberate one. It may be repeated as often as the
performer chooses, but not made anything of by him, the impression
to be conveyed being that the power of placing a handkerchief in the
flame of a candle without injuring it is one necessarily possessed by
him, as a matter of course. This sleight will come in particularly
_à propos_ if it precedes a trick in which a handkerchief is burned.
It is not advisable to try the feat with a scented handkerchief, it
being just possible that the spirit contained in the perfume might

_The Conjuror's "Shuffle."_--Nearly all good conjurors preface
their card tricks with an exhibition of shuffling, a process always
conducted in the showiest manner possible, although, by the time it is
completed, it is possible that the position of the cards has not been
interfered with in the least. As the term "shuffling" is only employed
for want of a better one, and it is merely a question of exhibiting
skill, this does not signify. When a conjuror wishes to shuffle the
cards, he adopts the specious method generally in use--if he can.
According to whether he be a genuine adept, or only a performer of
an inferior order, so will the phenomena exhibited to the spectator
in this connection vary. In the one case, the performer, holding the
cards in the two hands, suddenly opens them very wide apart, the cards
spreading, after the manner of a comet's tail, from one hand to the
other. For an instant they form an aerial arc, when, before they can
fall to the ground, the hands are brought smartly together, collecting
the cards by the action. This movement is repeated twice or thrice.
This is what the genuine man does. The impostor ostensibly does a
very great deal more, for he begins by parting and bringing the hands
together again, as one does in playing the concertina, several times,
the cards acting the part of the concertina perfectly. He then tosses
the cards about from hand to hand in the most _nonchalant_ manner, the
cards invariably following one another in an unbroken stream which
assumes serpentine and other shapes, at the will of the performer.
They are spread along the conjuror's arms, and over his chest, and are
invariably gathered in again without a single one being allowed to
fall. The feats performed appear to be nothing short of marvellous,
until one becomes possessed of the interesting fact that the cards are
all sewn together, so that the whole thing is merely child's play.
Now, although I have seen conjurors with good reputations using these
prepared cards, I entirely disagree with their use myself. In order
to deceive the public, one must not be particular about the means
employed; but here it is a question of one conjuror setting up to be
vastly superior to others, the facts of the case being precisely the
other way. As a matter of fact, these prepared cards are only used
when the performer is so wanting in skill that he cannot execute the
genuine shuffle. Looking, as I do, upon the use of these cards as
being unworthy anyone but a music-hall performer, I never hesitate
to expose the fraud whenever it is perpetrated. I shall, of course,
describe nothing in connection with it, but pass on to the genuine
article, which may be at once recognised by the noise accompanying its
execution, the fraudulent method being quite noiseless. As the feat
is really difficult of accomplishment, its study must be conducted by
easy stages. The pack, which should be composed of small cards (the
large English ones being very unsuitable), thirty or so in number,
is held lengthwise in the right hand (left hand if the performer is
very decidedly left-handed) by the thumb at one end, and the first,
second, and third fingers at the other end, the body of the hand
making an arch over the cards. The left hand is held out, a little
lower than the elbow, in front of the body, with the fingers spread
out, and slightly curled upwards, the first finger a great deal more
than the rest. Now, if the cards be squeezed by the fingers and thumb
of the right hand, they will bend thus, [downward curve]; but if, just
as the pressure is put on, the fore finger of the left hand pushes
the centre of the pack from below, the opposite curve will be taken,
thus, [upward curve], which is the one wanted. With the cards thus
bent, they must be held over the left hand, and more pressure then
applied, when they will "squirt" into the left hand, their foremost
ends striking against the up curled forefinger, and so being prevented
from falling to the floor. In making the squeeze, it will be found
that the middle and third fingers use more influence than does the
first finger, which is merely an auxiliary at the commencement. The
greatest power of all must be exerted by the thumb, which is always
pushing the cards forwards with considerable force. The learner must
content himself with merely "squirting" the cards from the right hand
into the left, at a distance of two or three inches only. When he can
do this easily and smoothly, and without dropping any on the floor, he
may increase the distance to six or eight inches. This is about the
greatest distance he will be able to attain by simple "squirting."
In order to make a more effective show, he will have to give to the
right hand an upward movement at the moment the cards are pouring
from it. This will tend to increase the distance between each card,
but as, at the same time, it kills the forward _momentum_, the cards
would simply fall to the ground were they not prevented from so doing.
To accomplish this, the left hand must follow them up quickly. For
an instant of time they will poise in the air, and then commence to
fall; but, at that moment, the left hand comes upward with a rapid
sweep, bringing the cards together against the right hand. By not
attempting too great a distance at first, the learner will progress
more rapidly; and he should not be satisfied until he can compass a
distance of two feet. Great experts can accomplish very much more than
this. As proficiency is attained, the "shuffle" should be made more
across the body, the direction being from the left hip towards the
right shoulder, this being more showy. A very difficult, but highly
effective, method is to make the "shuffle" the reverse way, _i.e._,
downwards. The left hand is held nearly shoulder high and the cards
"squirted" into it, the right hand sweeping downwards in the direction
of the right hip. The performer must always direct his practice
towards making the cards remain as long in the air as possible. To
this end, the movement of the right hand must be exceedingly rapid,
so that all the cards are visible to the spectators at once; and
the longer the left hand dallies, the more rapid must be its motion
towards the right hand. It must be distinctly understood that the two
hands do not move simultaneously, there being two decided movements,
one following the other. Old cards are useless for this feat, as they
come off in batches, and have no spring. American cards are a trifle
too thin, and are only good when new, whilst the regulation English
whist card is too thick; therefore a medium thickness must be chosen.
The finest quality cards will be found the cheapest to use, as they
stand the strain better. Inferior cards soon become demoralised by
the rough treatment to which the "shuffle" subjects them. After using
a pack faces downwards for some time, turn it over, and use with
the faces upwards, changing back again when the spring of the cards
becomes weak.

PROPERTIES.--Besides the auxiliary articles mentioned in
connection with various tricks, there are some that are of general
application which the conjuror should always have in readiness. They
are here enumerated and described:

_The Devil's Handkerchief._--The peculiar use of this article is
that anything wrapped in it is made to disappear when the performer
desires, by simply shaking out the handkerchief. The secret lies in
the fact that there are two handkerchiefs, three of the four sides of
which are sewn together, the fourth being left open, so as to form a
bag. The article to be made to disappear is apparently placed under
the handkerchief, but really into the bag, and it is usual to give
this to be held by one of the spectators. Later on, the performer
takes the two upper corners of the handkerchief, and, asking the
spectator to loosen his hold, gives it a vigorous shake. The company
look in the air, or upon the floor, expecting to see the object there,
but of course it is at the bottom of the bag. Cards are successfully
vanished in this manner, as also watches, eggs, and articles not more
bulky than they. The handkerchiefs should be of a sombre colour, and
have a decided pattern. This will tend to conceal the contour of the
article inside the handkerchief after it has been made to disappear,
although the performer invariably retires with it to the stage, out
of harm's way. Some performers use handkerchiefs sewn up on all four
sides, and having merely a slit, from four to six inches long, made in
one handkerchief.

_The Coin Handkerchief._--This is an ordinary coloured handkerchief,
into one corner of which, by means of a small extra piece of
stuff, is sewn a piece of metal (to avoid unnecessary sinking of
capital) resembling a coin. The performer should have on hand three
handkerchiefs prepared with pieces of metal to represent sixpences,
shillings, and half-crowns. For the latter, a penny will do admirably,
and it will also act for florins and pennies, the public not being
able to appreciate the slight difference in size when felt or seen
through the folds of a handkerchief. The shilling handkerchief will
answer admirably for halfpennies. A borrowed coin is apparently folded
in the handkerchief, which the performer has drawn carelessly from his
pocket, and not had lying in state upon a table, but palmed instead,
the dummy being presented in its place, and given to be held. The
palmed coin is then secreted in the place to which it is presently to
be magically transported. To cause the coin, supposed to be wrapped
in the handkerchief, to disappear, the performer shakes it by one or
two corners, as in the case of the _Devil's Handkerchief_. Each of
the three prepared handkerchiefs should be of the same pattern, so
that, if more than one are used on the same evening, no remark will be
excited as to the appearance of a new property upon the scene.

_The Flying Ring._--This is a dummy ring, attached to a piece of
elastic passing up the sleeve, with the other end fastened to the
brace, or elsewhere. On a ring being borrowed, it is apparently placed
in a handkerchief, the _Flying Ring_ being substituted, and held by a
spectator, of course through the handkerchief. At a given signal the
ring is released and at once disappears up the performer's sleeve.

_Magician's Eggs._--These are merely blown eggs, which should always
be used when the employment of solid ones is not imperatively
necessary. Their lightness enables the performer to palm them with
considerable ease, and the same peculiarity renders them less liable
to break; and, when they do, by chance, crack, no disconcerting
emission of glutinous contents ensues. Besides this, a stock can
always be kept on hand ready for any performance, which cannot be done
with real eggs. Imitation eggs are made in indiarubber. These are
of everlasting wear, bodily, but the exterior paint wants renewing
occasionally, in order to maintain the resemblance to the real
article, at no time any too exact.

_Productive Eggs._--These are blown eggs containing lengthy slips of
coloured paper, rolled up tightly. The introduction of the paper is
thus managed. The egg blown and dried, a slit is made along one side
with a piercing saw or fine file. A wire is then passed longitudinally
through both thick and thin ends, one end of the paper inserted
through the slit, and rolled up by means of the wire, twisted from
the outside, until the egg is full. A piece of cotton is attached to
the loose end of the paper, and the slit and holes in the ends of
the egg closed up with plaster of Paris. At the conclusion of any
trick in which real eggs have been used, one can be exchanged for a
prepared egg, which is then broken, and the paper extracted, the piece
of cotton at once showing where the loose end is to be found. Into
a good-sized egg some fifty or sixty feet of paper may be secreted.
The paper may be purchased at conjuring shops in large rolls; and the
conjuror will find it better to prepare a quantity of eggs at a time.

_The Coin-vanishing Tumbler._--This is an ordinary tumbler, with a
horizontal slit at the side, on a level with the interior bottom,
large enough to allow of the passage of a half-crown. If the tumbler
be held in such a manner that a finger closes the slit, liquid may
be poured into it. This should be done casually, and not professedly
for the purpose of showing that there is nothing peculiar about the
tumbler, such a suggestion being unnecessary and dangerous. The
company would naturally say, "If there be really nothing wrong with
it, why does he not place it in our hands for examination?" A coin
placed in the tumbler may be got into the hand at any moment _viâ_ the
slit, the top being covered with cards, &c., to prevent the exit of
the coin that way: as if coins were in the habit of leaping out of
tumblers into which they have been placed, and deceiving audiences!
Nevertheless, an audience is invariably satisfied when inanimate
articles are covered up, and so supererogatorily prevented from
performing acts which are not possible to them.

_The Magic Plateau._--This is a glass plateau, in form like a school
slate, there being a broad fancy wood border, glass taking the place
of the slate. The plateau is held like a tray in the hands of the
performer, and coins are placed upon it, which disappear when it is
waved in the air. The secret lies in the fact that the wooden border
is undermined, and, when a sideways movement is given to the plateau,
the coins disappear underneath. The plateau is then carried with that
side in which the coins are concealed, downwards. It makes a trick of
itself, but is more useful as an adjunct to other tricks. As it is
advisable to have a very narrow frame, shillings should be used: in
no case coins larger than a florin. The plateau is also of great use
when the performer is desirous of changing several borrowed and marked
coins for some of his own. Taking the plateau, with the marked coins
upon it, in the right hand, he pretends to pour them off into the left
hand, where the conjuror has his own coins concealed. The marked coins
disappear under the frame, and the concealed ones are exhibited. When
the reappearance of the coins on the plateau is desired, they may be
shaken out of the frame as easily as they were sent there; but I do
not advise this addition, as it is very likely to give a clue to the
mystery. The article is not difficult of construction, and the fact of
the greater part of the material being transparent glass, lends it a
desirably innocent appearance.




Nearly every modern conjuror of any pretensions to skill commences
with a card trick. There is something about a good card trick well
executed that always takes with an intelligent audience. When a
performer does not commence with the cards, it is generally because
he does not possess skill enough to do anything effective with them,
although he will generally make a virtue of necessity (at which
conjurors are particularly apt), and give some totally different

_Vanishing a Pack._--When the time is limited, none should be wasted
in preliminaries; but, when possible, the performer should always
vanish the pack, by palming it, and find it either at the elbow or
sole of the boot, or else in possession of one of the audience; or
he can pretend to give it into the hands of a spectator, and then
discover it some distance off, with someone else. To execute this
properly, the cards should be palmed in the right hand, which affects
to put them into the left hand. The right hand should take the wand
or lappel of the coat, and the left be disposed, palm downwards, as
though it held the pack. Such a little exhibition of skill makes a
good impression at once, and puts the spectators on the alert from the
very commencement.

_The Egyptian Pocket._--One of the very best sleight-of-hand card
tricks is that introduced by Herrmann, who, a few years ago, was
such a favourite throughout Great Britain. He called it the Egyptian
Pocket, though, for all the name implied, it might as well have been
called the Nubian, Chinese, Japanese, or Brazilian Pocket. One of the
audience took a pack round, and allowed four cards to be drawn from
it. These cards were afterwards gathered in by the same person, who,
after mounting the stage, placed them in the pack, which was then
well shuffled. The pack he placed in his breast pocket, and then drew
out, one by one, three cards of those selected in the audience as
they were called for. The fourth card, however, he failed to find,
and was told to search the pack for it. The search proving fruitless,
he was told to manufacture the card, and, on expressing his ignorance
of the proper method to pursue, was directed to blow into his pocket,
where the missing card was then discovered. He was found, however,
to have blown too hard, for his vest contained a perfect avalanche
of cards; whilst his nose, on being squeezed, gave forth a stream
of them, amidst roars of laughter. The method for performing this
trick is as follows: Place upon your centre table two bulky packs of
cards, and step forward with a third pack in your hands. Ask someone
to assist you, and give him the pack in the shape of a fan, directing
him to ask certain ladies, four in number, whom you will indicate
with your wand, to select one card each. On this being done, take the
pack from his hand, and direct him to receive the four cards, faces
downwards, on the flat of one hand. Whilst this is being done, step
on the stage, but never take your eye off the operations that are
going on, for you must notice whose card is placed undermost, whose
next, and so on. Request your volunteer assistant to kindly step on
the stage, and, opening the pack in the middle, ask him to place
the four cards inside. Close the pack, keeping the finger inserted
where the cards were placed, ready for the pass, and inquire if the
person on the stage with you possesses an inside breast pocket to his
coat. If it is outside, it does not much matter, but the inside one
is better for the trick. On receiving an answer in the affirmative,
ask to have the pocket emptied. Whilst this is being done, sometimes
amidst much amusement, by reason of the miscellaneous character of
the contents of the pocket, make the pass, bringing the four cards
to the top, and, opening the pack slightly, carelessly run the eye
over them. It is always as well to know them, in case of an accident
occurring. Palm them, and give the rest of the pack to your assistant
to shuffle. Taking the pack back, replace the palmed cards upon it,
re-palming the top card only, and bid your assistant place the pack
in his pocket. Feel the outside of his pocket, under the pretence of
seeing that everything is all right, but in reality to give the cards
a bend, crosswise. This bend will cause the back of the uppermost card
to be the first met with by a hand entering the pocket. Now inquire
of the chooser of this said top card--which, as you have palmed the
original top one, will be the third one gathered in--what the name of
her card is. You will affect to do this haphazard, and not as though
you selected that particular person to inquire of. On receiving a
reply, desire your assistant to put his hand quickly--"very quickly
indeed, sir"--into his pocket, and draw out a card. If you have
arranged everything properly, this will be the desired card. Now ask
the chooser of the second card what the name of hers is, and repeat
the operation. Do the same with the first card, and then with the
fourth. By thus apparently dodging from one lady on one side of the
room to one on the other side, it will still more appear that you are
indifferent whose is asked for. This last card will not, of course,
be forthcoming, and after a few fruitless attempts to produce it,
plunge the hand, in which the card is palmed, into the pocket, and
draw out the pack, leaving behind the palmed card. The assistant looks
through the pack, but does not find the card, and you say, "Well,
sir, you must make one, I suppose." On hearing that he does not know
how, say, "Oh! it is as simple as possible. Take this wand in your
right hand, and open your coat with the left. Good. Now blow into your
pocket." The card will be found there, and your assistant, thinking
it is all over, will be about to retire, when you, having just palmed
one of the packs from the table, detain him with the remark that,
"Although you did the trick very well, sir, for the first time, yet,
owing to your inexperience, you unfortunately blew a little too hard.
See here, sir, what you have inside your vest!" You then plunge the
hand containing the cards rapidly inside his vest and draw out one
card only, then another, another, and so on, and finally say that,
as you do not know how many more there are, he had better take them
out himself. Whilst he is doing this, palm the other pack, and say,
"Have you any more cards, sir? No! Excuse me, but will you allow me
to finish my experiment?" You then place your hand to his nose, and,
compressing the hand, cause the cards to shoot forth in a stream on to
the floor. Immediately it is over, shake hands with your assistant,
and say you are extremely obliged. This will ease his mind of the idea
that you meant to make a fool of him.

Sometimes, in drawing the cards from the pocket, the assistant will
accidentally take them from the bottom, instead of from the top. In
this case, they will be wrong cards, and you must say, "Ah! you don't
do it quickly enough; this is the way," and, plunging your hand in the
pocket, draw out the desired card, giving the pack, at the same time,
a good bend, when you can allow the assistant to try again. About
thirty cards will make the best pack for this trick, and great care
must be taken that it does not contain two cards of a kind, for if one
of these duplicates is chosen, and it is the fourth card, _i.e._, the
one which is missing at the last, it (its duplicate) will be found
in the pack when it is gone over, and all your blowing in the pocket
performance, which is the great feature in the trick, will be knocked
on the head. I have actually seen this occur. All the performer could
do was to palm the card and pretend to pass it into the pocket, where,
of course, the duplicate was found; but it was a very weak finish.

_The Missing Link._--This is another very telling card trick, and
one that has made the fame of more than one amateur conjuror. A
card is chosen from the pack and torn into shreds. The pieces, with
the exception of a single one, which is given into the custody of a
spectator, are then put into a little box, piece of paper, &c., and
made to disappear. The card is then found restored in some part of the
audience, but it is noticed that a small portion of it is missing.
The single piece, which was given to a spectator to hold, will be
found to be of the very size and shape required, thus proving that the
performer restored the actual card that was destroyed.

For this trick, some slight prearrangement will be necessary. In
the first place, a card (say, the six of hearts) must have a small
piece torn out from one of its sides. This mutilated card must then
be secreted in some out-of-the-way place in the auditorium, or, what
is still better, in the pocket of one of the audience, of course
some time before the performance begins. I once had it sewn up in
the lining of a coat, and on another occasion inserted in the sole
of a boot: but, in such instances as these, care must be taken that
the article containing the card is to be worn on the evening of the
performance, or a fiasco will result. It is, however, always worth
while to run a little risk for the sake of increased effect. The small
piece torn from the card is carefully kept, and, whilst the trick is
being performed, should be on the table, concealed by any trifling
object that may be upon it at the same time.

"Force" (see instructions for "forcing") a card, exactly similar
in every way to the one you have previously mutilated and concealed,
and then ask the chooser to tear it up. Whilst this is being done, go
to your table for your box or piece of paper, according to which you
may elect to use, and bring with it, concealed in the fingers, the
little piece of card. Then have the pieces, which should be reduced
as nearly as possible to the size of your secreted piece, placed in
the box or paper and, putting your fingers among them, affect to take
out one piece, but, in reality, show the one you already had in your
hand, and give it to a spectator to hold very tightly, or if he likes,
to put it into his purse. If you have plenty of time on your hands,
and wish to make extra fuss, you can have it put into an envelope and
sealed by the audience, which certainly improves the effect. A very
pardonable joke here comes in well. On giving the portion of the card
to be held, say to the gentleman, "Will you kindly keep the piece,
sir?" and then, affecting to notice reluctance in his looks, "No! then
I must apply to a magistrate, who will, I have no doubt, bind you
over to keep the _peace_ for six months or so, whilst I shall only
trouble you for a bare six minutes." If you have had the pieces put
in paper, you can roll it up into a ball and vanish by palming in the
right hand, whilst affecting to place it in the left, after the manner
previously described for vanishing objects. A box can be treated in
the same manner, or you can give the trick extra finish by having two
boxes exactly similar, one being filled with chocolate creams or other
comfits, and exchanged for the one containing the torn-up card. The
box should be a small round one, and can then be treated exactly as if
it were a coin, and palmed.

The pieces are then commanded to pass to wherever you have originally
concealed the torn card, which will be found in due course. You
exhibit it triumphantly, not affecting to notice the absence of a
portion of it at first and, when you do make the discovery, you must
appear overcome with bewilderment. Then suddenly remember the piece
you have given to be held, and have it fitted to the card, which it
will naturally make quite complete. Then, if you have used boxes, have
the box supposed to contain the pieces opened by the lady who chose
and tore up the card, and present her with it and its contents. Most
conjurors leave the trick here, but, if the performer pleases, he can
go still further, and render the card quite complete again. This is
easily managed with the use of a card box (see p. 127), which can
have a perfect card concealed in it. The incomplete card and piece are
put in, and the box turned over. This latter phase is not absolutely
necessary for the success of the trick. When, as is sometimes the
case, it is found to be impossible to conceal the mutilated card
satisfactorily in the audience, the card box will have to be used in
the first instance.

This trick is best introduced in the middle of a performance, when the
production of the card from the person of one of the audience will
look more genuine than it would if it took place at the commencement.

_The Ascending Cards._--For this trick some little preparation is
also necessary, and a certain amount of apparatus will be required.
Three, four, or more cards are chosen, and then shuffled up in the
pack, which is put into a metal or cardboard receptacle of the size of
a pack of cards. At a word of command, the cards ascend, one by one,
from the pack, without any apparent agency.

The apparatus required for this trick consists of the case, which can
either be made to conceal the cards entirely, or may have the front
cut out so as to show the face of the foremost card, a small border
being left for the purpose of preventing the cards from falling out.
This case is divided into two divisions, the rearmost one being much
smaller than the other, and just large enough to hold about ten
cards. To the top of the dividing partition affix a piece of fine
black silk, which allow to hang over the smaller division. Into this
smaller division now introduce a card, which, as it is put in, must
have the silk under it. Now introduce a second card, but pass the silk
over this one instead of under it. Put in a third card with the silk
under it, and a fourth with the silk over, continuing the operation
according to the number of cards you intend performing with. When
the silk is pulled, it will cause those cards which have it passed
beneath them to ascend. The same effect would be caused without the
intervention of intermediate cards, but then they would all rise at
once, whereas the trick is to make them do so singly. The performer
must have all this arranged before commencing, and also have the
silk passed out either at the back (which is to be preferred, where
possible) or the side of the stage, where an assistant is stationed,
holding the end of it. If at the side, then a small staple or pulley
must be fixed in the back of the table and the silk passed through it,
otherwise a direct pull will not be obtained. The case holding the
cards can either be made to fit in the neck of a decanter by means
of a cork on the under side, or can be permanently fixed to a tall
stand. I prefer the decanter myself, as an opaque stand always causes
suspicions of mechanical assistance to arise in the minds of the
audience. The decanter should be given for examination.

The performer must force duplicate cards of those arranged in the
small division of the card-case, of course taking no notice of those
over which the silk passes, as they will never be exposed, and, asking
the audience to remember the names of them, have them put in the pack
and shuffled. The rest of the trick follows as a matter of course.
The pack is placed in the larger front division of the case, and, as
the chosen cards are called for, the assistant, who must have a view
of the cards from his place of concealment, pulls the thread. A very
commonly practised piece of humour is to include a knave in the forced
cards, and to place two in the small rear division of the card-case.
The one that is to appear first is put in upside down, court cards
with one head only being used. It is upbraided for thus making its
appearance, and it is replaced in the pack--still upside down--but in
the front division. The second time, the other knave appears, right
side up. The marvel of the audience is how the card managed to reverse
itself in the pack. These card-cases can be procured from any of the
vendors of conjuring apparatus.

A better arrangement is the following, which enables the performer
to have his case examined by the audience--always a great advantage.
It will require a little construction on the part of the performer
himself, unless he is more fortunate than I ever was, and can find
someone to carry out his ideas for him.

Instead of having the tin case made with partitions, let him have it
quite plain, and just large enough to take from thirty-five to forty
cards. This will bear any amount of examination, and a pack of cards
should always be put in it before the audience, to show that it is
entirely filled therewith, and so cannot possibly be made to contain
any mechanical contrivance. The performer's little arrangement lies in
a few cards, which, with others, are lying carelessly upon his table.
These cards are prearranged with the silk exactly as just described
for the small partition of the case, the end of the silk being
affixed to the top of the undermost card. When the performer returns
to his table with the pack, he should place it, whilst arranging his
case in the decanter, with the loose prepared cards, which should
then be picked up with it, the pack being undermost. The trick can
then proceed as usual, and the case be handed round for examination
afterwards. Great care must be taken not to disarrange the silk whilst
picking up the cards, as any fault in this respect cannot possibly
be remedied. The more simple and free from apparatus the method of
performing this trick, the better it will be appreciated.

A third method, quite original, which I have adopted with unvarying
success, the performer, will, I expect, prefer to any of the
foregoing. It is the only method which does not call for the forcing
of the cards; and its general surroundings are so simple that I find
conjurors themselves sometimes puzzled to explain how the result
is brought about. The performer has the usual bottle, which it is,
perhaps, as well to open before the company. It should be of perfectly
clear glass, and some fluid should be left in to give it steadiness
during the performance of the trick. The card-holder should have the
front side open, a quarter-inch flange being left on each side, to
prevent the cards from falling out, and the inside coloured black.
The silk, by means of which the chosen cards are to be made to rise
out of the pack, has a small round cloth-covered button attached to
the free end, and this button must be lying upon the table, in a
convenient position. The performer first comes forward, and gives the
bottle and card-holder into the hands of the company for examination.
The examination concluded, he takes the articles to the table, and, as
soon as possible, drops the button into the bottle. He next fits the
holder into the neck, taking care, as he does so, to cause the thread
to pass over the top of it. He now brings forward his pack, which he
gives up entirely into the hands of the company, who select three
cards. As many people nowadays have some idea of the "force," this
at once disarms suspicion in a remarkable manner, and puts off many
knowing ones, who are sure to have seen the trick before, otherwise
performed, it being a very favourite one with conjurors. The performer
now takes the pack back to the table, getting a picture card to the
front, as he does so. If he chooses, he may ask the selectors of the
cards to mark them with pencil, and whilst this is being done, he
goes with the pack to the table, where he places it carelessly into
the holder, taking care that the thread passes over the top of the
cards. It also passes over the front of them, but, as a picture card
is in front, it is not seen, as it would be if a card with much white
showing were there. For this same reason, the inside of the holder is
coloured black. The three cards are now fetched from the audience,
faces downwards, so that the performer, as he will explain, cannot see
them. It will not assist him in the least if he does; but audiences
invariably think an immense deal attaches to the fact of the performer
seeing a card, and it is as well for all conjurors to conspire to keep
up the delusion. Laying the cards first upon the table, he takes up
one, and places it amongst those in the holder, some three or four
from the front. As the card is pressed down, it takes the silk with
it, care being taken to keep the latter as near the middle of the
card as possible. The second card is now placed a few cards farther
in the rear, and the third still farther back. It will be necessary
to keep a finger of the disengaged hand upon the top of the card or
cards in front of the one being placed into position, or the downward
pressure will cause a corresponding, but premature, upward motion to
be imparted to those already in position, which would spoil the trick
at once. Whilst the cards are being thus placed in the pack, the
performer must be careful to keep the company engaged in conversation.
The trick then proceeds as usual; but, at the conclusion, the
performer, seizing the bottle in one hand and the holder in the other,
separates them, and comes rapidly forward to give them and the cards
for examination. The assistant keeping firm hold of the thread, the
button is drawn out of the bottle, and no trace remains of the medium
by which the ascension was accomplished. I take some pride in this
little arrangement, which, I need scarcely say, is not elsewhere made

To force three or more cards, pass them all from the bottom to the
centre together, and not one at a time. Always be very particular
about showing round the decanter or bottle, the most innocent portion
of the whole apparatus. Where convenient, it causes a good effect to
have a bottle of champagne opened on purpose. Give some of the wine
away, and use the bottle half emptied, saying that you must keep some
of the spirits in it for your trick.

_The Salamander Card._--A card is chosen and torn in halves. One half
is given into the custody of the audience, and the other placed in
a cleft stick or crayon-holder, and burnt over a candle. The ashes
are put into a piece of paper, which is rolled up and made to vanish
by sleight of hand, the method used being one which ought, by this
time, to be familiar to the performer. A letter here arrives addressed
to the performer, brought in by an attendant at the door by which
the audience has entered. The performer asks one of the audience to
open it for him, as he cannot stop in the middle of a trick. Inside
the envelope, which is sealed, is found another, and, inside that,
another; and so on until a fifth or sixth is reached. Inside the
innermost of all that half of the card which was only an instant
before burnt before the eyes of the audience is found, as is proved by
fitting it to the portion in the custody of a spectator.

This trick is thus managed: The cleft stick, which is an ordinary
piece of firewood rounded and smoothed a little, has a cleft at each
end. A metal crayon-holder, with double ends, also serves the purpose
admirably. In one end, the performer has fixed the half of a card,
which must be one of the pack from which the card is to be chosen,
doubled up tolerably small. This end he conceals in his hand, and then
has the half of the card which is to burnt doubled up and placed in
the cleft in the other, retaining the stick in his hand all the time.
On turning round to his attendant (who must know his part, and have
rehearsed it once or twice) for a candle, he reverses the ends of
the stick, and, removing the piece of card just placed in it, gives
it to his attendant whilst in the act of taking the candle. If the
attendant is not very proficient, the performer may go to the side
and stretch the hand containing the abstracted piece of card behind
the screen or curtain, and so effect the transfer. The attendant
should stand with one hand open and the candlestick in the other (of
course, out of sight). The performer will call out for the candle,
but, receiving no answer, will go quickly to the side, where he will
obtain it. The stick, with fictitious card in it, he must have in the
other hand, which must be outstretched all the time, and never for an
instant removed from the view of the audience. If this is not done,
no suspicion will be attached to the fact of his going to the side.
The instant the attendant receives the piece of card, he must slip
it inside the small envelope, which will be arranged, in order with
the others, beforehand (the outside one being already addressed, as a
matter of course), and either take it round to the front himself or
deliver it to the servant who is to take it into the room. Too much
rapidity cannot be exercised in executing this portion of the trick.
When once the letter is delivered, the performer has nothing more to
do in the way of exerting his skill, but has merely to do a little
talking, and eventually have the letter opened. Indeed, in this trick
there is but little sleight of hand to be exhibited; but a bungler
would nevertheless make an egregious muddle of it. It requires great
neatness of execution. For instance, in turning round for the purpose
of reversing the position of the stick in the hands, great care must
be taken that no movement of the elbows is visible. The movement made
must be confined to the arm below the elbow, or even to the wrists
only. This movement of the wrists must be practised, as it is a highly
essential one and has to be brought into use frequently. If any of the
audience see the arms moving, they know, or surmise, that something is
going on, even though they cannot divine what it is.

Although not absolutely necessary, it is as well always to force a
card for this trick. The card can then be doubled up with the pips
outwards if the prepared end of the cleft stick contains a portion of
a similar card. For frequent performances of this trick and _The
Missing Link_, it will be advisable to have what I have previously
described as (but condemned the open use of) "forcing packs," viz.,
packs the cards of which are all of one denomination and suite, as
it will not do to tear up cards from ordinary packs. They are easily
obtainable at conjuring repositories or card manufacturers.

This trick is also exceedingly effective when a borrowed letter or
other document is used instead of a card. In large public audiences, a
bank note or other paper of value may be borrowed. It is easy to have
a piece of a note of the "Bank of Elegance" in the concealed cleft,
in imitation of a bank note. On important occasions the performer
should always have three or four sticks prepared with various coloured
papers, so as to be ready for any emergency. The preparation is
trifling, and the sticks not used will do for another time.

It is quite immaterial which way it is done, but sometimes I tell the
person to whom I give the stick and candle not to burn the paper, but
to "put it in the candle." When I notice that it is in a fair way
to be burned I look in another direction, as if not noticing what
is going on, and am horrified on turning round to find the paper
destroyed. This answers best when the material burnt is a borrowed

Most conjurors perform this trick with the aid of a square wooden
ladle, which possesses a movable flap similar to that of the "card
box," and worked by twisting the handle round. This flap releases a
fictitious paper, whilst it covers up the borrowed one. The excuse
given for using this ladle is that the performer does not want the
audience to suppose, as they would do if he handled it, that he
changes the paper. This excuse is poor and weak, as it puts the idea
of fictitious substitutions (the heart and soul of stage conjuring)
into the heads of people who would otherwise never have dreamed of
such a thing.

The arrangement of the premises very often makes the employment of the
envelopes one within the other impracticable. As a substitute method,
I here give one of my own, which, whilst it is not as amusing as the
first one, is far more wonderful and inexplicable to the company.

Subsequently to borrowing a piece of paper or bank note from one
of the company, the performer shows round a piece of glass tube,
say four inches in length, having both ends hermetically sealed by
being melted up. This piece of tube is folded in a piece of paper,
and given into the custody of one of the company. The trick is gone
through, as above described, except that the burnt paper is found
restored inside the tube, which, of course, has to be broken before
the contents can be recovered by their owner. This, on the face of it,
is, of course, an utter impossibility; but it is thus accomplished.
Glass-blowers, and those who have studied practical chemistry, know
that to construct such a glass receptacle as that above described,
all that is necessary is a piece of tube and a spirit lamp. The tube
is held in the flame by the hands, and, as the glass melts it is
drawn asunder, the result being that the two new ends thus formed
collapse, and, cooling, take the form of points. Behind the scenes
the assistant is provided with a piece of tube, eight or ten inches
in length, one end of which has already been melted up. So soon as he
receives the piece of paper from the performer he folds it up small,
and pushes it down the tube as far as it will go. Then he melts this
tube some three inches up, which will be far enough removed from the
paper to keep it from being burned, and by this means the paper has
become hermetically sealed inside a glass receptacle. If the assistant
has had the necessary practice, the operation should not take long.
When it is concluded, the assistant brings the glass on, and, under
pretence of fetching away the candle, which the performer has placed
upon the table, leaves it upon the shelf. The empty tube is upon the
table, and the performer, in fetching it, takes with him, secretly,
the one with the paper inside. This is very easily concealed in the
hand if one end be pressed against the root of the thumb, the other
end being pressed by the middle finger. The empty tube is shown, as
also a piece of paper, in which it is ostensibly wrapped, the one with
the paper inside being substituted. This substitution is effected by
having the one tube concealed in the left hand, the empty tube being
apparently transferred to it, but really palmed, as above directed.
The right hand at once seizes the paper, and covers the tube in the
left hand with it, and the wrapping-up is immediately proceeded with,
as no further exposure may be permitted. If the performer prefers it,
the assistant may wrap the prepared tube in paper, similar to that
used by the performer, who then conceals the parcel under his vest.
In this case, the empty tube is wrapped up by one of the company,
the performer giving the parcel the necessary resemblance to the
other (each should have twisted ends), and the exchange may be made
subsequently. After the parcel has been opened, for the purpose
of showing the tube with the paper inside, the performer must not
approach it until the owner of the paper has broken it open with a
hammer (the use of the wand for this purpose has less appearance
of premeditation about it), and identified his property. I do not
recommend the use of a card for this trick, as therein the spectators
might find some explanation of its wonderful character. By employing a
piece of a letter belonging to one of them, complete mystification is

The restored card may be reproduced from a candle, by way of variety.
The performer has on his table two or more candles; on no account
brought on purposely for the trick. It will not matter in the least
how long they have been burning, so that a good portion of them be
remaining. As though struck with a sudden inspiration, the performer
suggests, in his happiest manner, that the destroyed article be found
inside one of the candles. The company not objecting (spectators,
anticipating amusement from them, never object to the conjuror's
suggestions in these cases), the owner of the paper or chooser of the
card is requested to say which candle shall be employed. One being
pointed out, and extinguished, it is taken out of the candlestick and
put upon the table, where the performer proceeds to cut it in two with
a knife, affecting great pains in making the portions exactly equal.
He now asks which half he shall take, and, when the person asked
says, "the right" (or left) half, he must inquire, "Which right [or
left]; mine or yours?" The chosen half is again cut in two, and one
of the portions chosen, that portion being again divided. The pieces
remaining will be an inch or so long, and one is selected of these.
This the performer gives to the person most interested amongst the
spectators, on a plate, along with a knife, and, when it is cut open,
the paper or card is found inside.

The way this is done is simplicity itself. The candles are all
ordinary ones, so it really does not matter to the performer which
is chosen, although he will do well to exhibit anxiety on the point,
by way of effect. Neither does it matter to him which portion of the
cut-up candle is eventually chosen, he having previously given off the
piece of paper or card to the assistant, who has placed it in a small
piece of candle, which the performer has safely secured under his vest
whilst he is cutting up the chosen candle. When the last stage of the
cutting is finished, the prepared piece is got down and exchanged in
the usual manner for the innocent piece. It is then brought forward on
the plate, and the remainder follows, as a matter of course.

_The Obliging Bouquet._--This trick resembles to a great extent _The
Ascending Cards_, and was one of Hermann's many masterpieces. As
performed by him, it outshone, in exquisite neatness and effect, all
other card tricks; but the amount of skill and daring necessary to
carry it properly through is considerable, and persons of nervous or
uncertain dispositions had better consider well before they attempt
it. At the same time, those with the requisite skill and nerve may
earn incalculable glory by including this trick occasionally in
their programmes. The description of it (never before made public)
is as follows: A bouquet of real flowers is handed to a lady in the
audience, and three or four cards are then chosen from the pack. These
cards are made to disappear. One by one they are then seen to rise
from the bouquet, which is still held by the lady.

As in _The Ascending Cards_, a case for holding cards is required,
but in this instance it is made of zinc, and just large enough to take
about eight cards. The outside is painted dark green. This case must
be prepared beforehand, with cards, as described in _The Ascending
Cards_, with the exception that human hair is substituted for silk.
It is also as well either to have the intermediate cards, _i.e._,
those over which the hair passes, fixed permanently, or else to have
partitions of the same material as the case. The loose end of the hair
should have a tiny bead of wax on it, and the case must be placed in
the centre of the bouquet, in such a position that, although it is not
visible from the outside, yet the cards will have a tolerably free
passage for their ascent. If possible, bring the mouth of it just
beneath two buds of roses, which will give to the slightest pressure,
and allow the card to come up between them. The hair should hang down
between the buds, passing between the stalks. The greatest care must
necessarily be taken in arranging all this, and the trick rehearsed
within an hour of its performance, to make sure of everything being

Bring the bouquet on, and, selecting the lady least likely to
interfere with your arrangements (this selection should be made whilst
you are on the stage performing other tricks), ask her to kindly hold
the bouquet for you, calling attention to the fact that the flowers
are real ones. If possible, always have the bouquet held in the front
row of the audience, and take care that the hair is towards you
all the time. Now "force" duplicate cards of those in the bouquet,
and then cause them to vanish as you please. As looking the most
skilful, I prefer palming to any other method, on all occasions. If,
from knowing the cards as you "forced" them, you are aware who took
particular cards, you can ask the person who chose the duplicate card
of the first in the case, the name of it, and then desire that one
to rise from the bouquet. On hearing the name of the card, or just
before, advance to the bouquet, and ask the holder of it if she saw
the fairies bring the cards to the flowers, or any other fanciful
question you please, and then, under the pretence of having it held
a little higher or lower, or a little more to the right or to the
left, advance the hand to the bouquet, and so obtain possession of
the end of the hair. A good deal of deceptive action must now be
introduced, the wand being put into the hand holding the hair, which
must then be pulled very slightly indeed, and if the card rises the
strain can be continued. Just before the card shows itself, say, "No!
I am afraid the fairies have been disobedient to-day." This will
momentarily remove the interest of the audience from the bouquet, and
attention will be directed to you, as if inquiring what will be done
next. This is the opportunity you must seize for causing the card to
rise, and then exclaim, "Ah! there is one, after all." Run the card
up quickly, and take it out of the bouquet, or, if it appears to be
very loose, allow the holder of the bouquet to remove it. If, at this
juncture, you fancy your temporary assistant is at all suspicious, at
once take the bouquet to someone else; but on no account take this
step if all is going on well. Ask the name of the next card, which
cause to rise in the same manner, and repeat the operation with the
remaining card or cards. As the hair becomes gradually longer, you
will be enabled to stand a little further off on each occasion. You
must contrive to alter your attitude as often as possible, and also
endeavour to look quite unconcerned. The best way to assume this by
no means easy appearance, is to affect to be rather more amused at
the ascension of the cards from the bouquet than the audience itself.
One ticklish point is in ascertaining whether everything is in order.
This never reveals itself until the first pull is made, when, if there
is anything wrong, a jerk will be felt by the holder of the bouquet,
and, in all likelihood, a clue to your secret will be given. If you
only so much as fancy that anything is wrong, take hold of the bouquet
with your disengaged hand, without taking it away from the holder of
it, and have it held a trifle higher or lower. This will enable you
to give a precautionary pull without allowing any strain to be felt.
Such a thing as a hitch ought not to take place, for the previous
arrangements should be so perfect as to do away with all possibility
of such an occurrence. The cards all out of the case, inquire, for
the sake of effect, if there are any more chosen ones that have not
appeared, and then take the bouquet round, allowing people to smell
at it, &c. This is really to enable you to remove the case from the
bouquet, but ostensibly to show that the flowers are real. The best
way of removing the case is through the stems of the flowers, and for
this purpose it is made of zinc, it being a weighty metal. As it is
a small affair, it can easily be palmed. The bouquet should be then
presented to the lady who held it during the performance of the trick,
with the request that the flowers should be examined to see if there
be any preparation about them.

Taking into consideration the difficulty in performing the trick, the
desirability of having as small a case as possible, and the usual
shortness of hair, it is advisable to force only three cards, although
three or four hairs may be employed. When I first saw Herrmann perform
this trick, I was simply appalled at the audacity required to perform
it successfully; but experience has taught me that, with practice,
it is as easy as many other tricks which are not one quarter so
effective. The difficulties to be overcome are causing the first card
to rise without being discovered, and removing the case. It will be
found that if the bouquet is held a little lower (only a few inches)
than the hand holding the hair, there will be less likelihood of any
strain taking place. If the performer pleases, the chosen cards can
be torn up or burnt in the first instance, but the destruction is a
needless one.

_The Hatched Card._--A chosen card is destroyed or made to disappear,
and on an ordinary egg (selected from a number) being broken, it is
found inside.

Before describing the trick itself, I will give a unique method
(Herrmann again) for obtaining the eggs. A rehearsed assistant will be
required, and he must have in his mouth an egg, and, besides, either
a portion (either end) of the shell of, or a wooden or porcelain
imitation of, one. Under the vest band, and sustained by the elastic
thereof, you have four more eggs concealed. You come on with your
assistant, whose mouth is then empty, and, telling the audience that
you will require an egg, ask him if he has taken the egg powder you
gave him, and whether he thinks he can give you any eggs. On receiving
his reply in the affirmative, tell him to fetch a plate. This he does,
and, at the same time, pops the egg and real or imitation portion
of shell into his mouth, all done in an instant, so as to avoid
suspicion. He now takes up his position in the centre of the stage, a
little "up," with the plate held before him and elbows close to his
sides. You stand beside him, and place your rear hand upon his head.
He then slowly exhibits the egg, which, with the forward hand, you
then extract with seemingly immense difficulty. Whilst the forward
hand is thus engaged, the rear one takes an egg from the vest, and
you cross over behind the assistant, and are just about to take the
plate from him when he exhibits the shell, which, to the audience,
appears to be another egg. You exclaim, "What, another! you must have
taken too much powder," and then advancing the forward (late the rear)
hand, you slip the egg palmed in it half into your assistant's mouth,
and then proceed to drag it forth with the same difficulty which
attended the abstraction of the first one. The rear hand has by this
time another egg in it, and you go round behind the assistant, only
to find him exhibiting another egg, which you extract, as before. The
process is repeated until all the eggs are gone. It is not advisable
to use more than five eggs, for precautionary reasons, and that
number is quite sufficient to excite wonder. The assistant must be
careful not to allow the shell inside his mouth to be seen whilst you
are removing an egg just "laid." If you can find anyone with a mouth
capacious enough to contain two eggs (small ones will do), secure him
as an inestimable treasure. No trick being more conducive to laughter
than this one, extra care must be taken with it. The performer should
move about in an easy and unostentatious manner, and endeavour, by
word and mien, to keep up the impression that the whole of the trick
lies in the assistant's mouth. The use of the extra egg end is not
absolutely necessary, for the palming can begin with the first egg,
the one originally in the mouth being kept there till the last, when
it may be allowed to fall out into the performer's outstretched palms.
Either method is effective. Show the eggs round on a plate, and have
one selected with which to perform the succeeding trick. For that, the
following apparatus will be necessary.

Make, either of wood or metal (tin, brass, zinc, &c.), a hollow wand
(open at one end, and closed at the other), painted or varnished on
the outside, so as to resemble in every little particular the wand
you ordinarily use. If the latter has ivory or brass tips, then your
imitation wand must have the same. There is not the least necessity
for running into any expense, for, by going to a working tinman or
walking-stick maker, the thing can be obtained for a shilling. I much
prefer wood to metal, and would recommend its use. This imitation need
not be made of real ebony, although it should be of tolerably hard
wood. Fitting inside there must be another piece of wood, an inch
shorter than the interior of the wand itself, which should move up
and down pretty easily, but not loosely. Commencing exactly 2in. from
one end, cut a slit 1in. long, and, making a little peg of wood, or
providing yourself with a small brass round-headed nail, which must
be afterwards coloured to match the wand, drive it into the sliding
piece of wood, which must be pushed up against the closed end of the
wand at the time. By holding the wand at the closed end, and placing
the thumb on the little peg, the sliding piece of wood can be made to
move up and down as easily as can the pen or pencil inside an ivory
holder. By making the slit the same length as the space left at the
open end of the wand, the sliding piece will not protrude when the peg
is pushed down by means of the thumb. The sliding piece should also be
blackened all over, as, if left white, it might show through the slit
or at the exposed end, which, however, should never be turned full
towards the audience at any time.

It is now open to you either to force a card or to have one selected
haphazard. If the card is to be forced, then you can have the wand
loaded beforehand. This is done by doubling up the card until it is
only 1in. wide, rolling it up, and putting it into the wand, which you
can then leave on the table handy. If the card is not to be forced,
the wand must be behind, and the card chosen before the egg-laying
performance (supposing you find your eggs in that way) takes place.
Have only about twenty cards to select from, and let your assistant
know what they are. They can be arranged in sequences or suits, for
greater convenience. When your assistant retires, after producing the
eggs, he takes the pack of cards with him; and whilst you are showing
the eggs round he looks through the nineteen cards and finds out which
one is missing. He then takes a duplicate of this, and puts it into
the wand. For the sake of expedition, you should have a duplicate
of each of the twenty cards in readiness. I remember once finding
myself without a duplicate of a selected card, and I had actually to
go forward and, under the plea of placing it in an exposed position,
"where everyone could see it," effect a change. I left a dummy card on
the chair (the "exposed position,") face downwards, and carried off
the chosen one in triumph, feeling very much relieved. This method
of having a card or cards chosen from a pack, the cards of which are
known, does not belong particularly to this trick, but can be used in
many others. It is only worth while to take the trouble when your
audience is a particularly sharp one, and not likely to be imposed
upon by a "force." The egg and card both chosen, you may do what you
please with the latter, so long as you get rid of it, and, taking the
egg, which you have previously had minutely examined and held up to
the light, to show that it is empty, upon a plate, give the plate to
be held by a spectator, and then break the shell by means of the open
end of your prepared wand. Immediately you are well through the shell,
push the peg along by means of the thumb, and the rolled up card will
be forced into the egg, whence have it extracted by a spectator. If
you please, one of the audience may hold the egg whilst you break the
shell. I need hardly mention that, before you bring your wand into
play, you should make a fuss about passing the card into the egg. The
reader, by this time, will take that as a matter of course. Always
have a cloth or handkerchief handy in this trick for wiping egg and

The preceding six card tricks, used judiciously, that is to say, not
too frequently, should, with those described in "Drawing-room Magic"
(_La Carte Générale_, for instance), last a conjuror a lifetime.
They are the very best I have seen performed, for they combine
sleight of hand with a minimum amount of apparatus; indeed, the
articles I have directed to be used are hardly worthy of the name,
the nearest approach to it being the card-cases and the hollow wand.
There are a number of tricks sold in which cards rise from demons'
heads, imitation plants, and pedestals; but these are all exceedingly
expensive, and are nearly all worked by electricity. Besides this,
there always seems to be an artificial effect about such things. For
all the audience know, there may be a small boy concealed in the
demon's head, or in the huge flower-pot in which the "Magic Rose Tree"
is generally stood. At any rate, the idea of "sleight of hand" is not
conveyed, and, if for that reason only, I will have none of them.




_The Restored Handkerchief._--This title will doubtless apply to many
tricks with handkerchiefs, so, if the performer thinks it too general,
he can find another of his own for this particular trick. Herrmann
called it Le Mouchoir Serpent, from the fancied resemblance to a snake
which the handkerchief was made to take at one stage of the trick. For
it the performer must have prepared a lemon, with a small handkerchief
inside. The way to operate on the lemon is as follows: Cut off one
end--the apex is the best--and then, by means of a spoon, take out
the whole of the interior, being careful to remove the inner white
skin. Push in the handkerchief, replace the portion of lemon which
you cut off, and sew it carefully on with yellow cotton or silk. The
first lemon or two are rather tiresome to prepare, but after a time
the job can be done very quickly and neatly. The method of sewing
which should be adopted is that known as "under-sewing," and it will
be necessary to guard against including the handkerchief itself in
the stitching. As the handkerchief placed inside is meant to be
subsequently destroyed, it need be of the very commonest description
only. It can be obtained for three-halfpence. On the centre table have
a small scent-bottle, with methylated spirits, a lighted candle, a
common plate, and a knife. Concealed in the palm of one hand are about
ten pieces of cambric, each about three inches square, and properly
hemmed. Under the vest is a piece of cambric two inches broad and
about four feet long, doubled, not rolled, up. Behind the scenes are a
couple of pieces of thin wrapping paper about nine inches square. In
the hand not occupied by the pieces conceal the prepared lemon, and
advance to the audience. Pretend to see something in a gentleman's
hair, and, after fumbling in it, produce the lemon. Let several
persons smell at the fruit, taking care to present the better-looking
end, in case your sewing has not been very successful. Of course, the
lemon must not leave your hand, except to be tossed once or twice in
the air, to show that it is real. Place this lemon on a side table,
and there leave it, with the sewn-up end from the audience.

Now borrow a small handkerchief, the smaller the better but do not
take one that is much ornamented with lace. Turn to a gentleman, and,
whilst asking him to stand up, roll the handkerchief up carelessly in
the hand, and, working it round the bundle of pieces which you have
concealed, bring it underneath and let the pieces appear at the top.
This can be done in an instant whilst you are talking with the person
whom you wish to assist you. Give the bundle of pieces, which the
audience will think is the handkerchief, to him, with instructions to
rub it gently in the hands. You have, in the meantime, taken care to
keep the exchanged handkerchief well concealed in the palm. Retire to
the stage, and, whilst mounting it, vest the handkerchief and take in
its place the doubled-up long piece, which keep concealed by means
of the wand. Ask your assistant how he is getting on, and explain
that you wish him to rub the handkerchief so small that it can be
passed inside the lemon. After a little rubbing has taken place, ask
him to open the handkerchief out, to see if it is any smaller. Of
course, when he attempts to do so, it will drop about in pieces, to
everyone's astonishment. Affect great annoyance, and advance, saying
that the trick is now spoilt all through the handkerchief being
_rubbed the wrong way_. Collect the pieces together, and, rolling
them up, exchange them in the hand for the long piece. This exchange
may at first seem very daring and difficult, but, if care is taken
always to have the piece or pieces concealed well down in the hand
before the substituted article is removed, there need be no fear of
detection; only the performer must go right at it, and not falter in
the least. Give the long piece to your assistant, and tell him to rub
it this time with the left hand. Whichever way he rubs you must say
is the wrong one, and finally ask him to give you one of the pieces
that you may show him what you mean. In his attempt to give you one
of the supposed pieces, he will unroll the long piece amidst much
laughter. After suggesting that the gentleman pays for the destroyed
handkerchief, rub it up in the hands and "pass" it into the lemon. For
this purpose, it may be rolled up on the table, and passed down a trap.

Instead of "passing" with the hands, it is in every way neater and
more effective to use a conjuring pistol, which is loaded with the
handkerchief and then fired. This pistol will have to be provided
with a large tin funnel, so constructed that the tube portion, which
must fit the barrel of the pistol closely, extends for a long way
inside the funnel. When a handkerchief, or similar article, is rammed
into the funnel, care is taken that it goes around the tube so that,
on the pistol, which has been previously loaded, being fired, the
flash passes harmlessly down the tube. The mouth of the funnel must
never, by any chance, be seen by the audience. These pistols, which
are exceedingly useful at all times, can be purchased at conjuring
repositories; but it is easy for anyone possessing an ordinary pistol
to have it fitted with a funnel by a tinman.

Suppose the long piece either "passed" or fired out of the pistol,
take the lemon and cut it open with the knife, and pull out the
handkerchief that was already in it. Pretend to advance for the
purpose of returning it to its owner, but suddenly discover that
it smells of lemon. Say that you will put some scent on it, and,
placing it upon the plate, saturate it with spirits from your bottle.
Whilst advancing a step or two, to inquire if it is enough, your
stage attendant enters and quietly sets light to the spirits with the
candle. You turn back and nearly burn your fingers, and start aside

A slight scene now takes place between you and your attendant, who
insists that you told him to set fire to the handkerchief. Run down
to the audience with the plate and its blazing contents, asking the
owner of the handkerchief to take it in its present state. Turn back
and drop it on the floor of the stage, and then go behind the scenes,
where quickly take the original borrowed handkerchief from the vest,
and wrap it in one of the two pieces of paper (it will add to the
effect if you scent the handkerchief a little), which hold in the
hand covered by the second piece of paper, open. During your absence
your attendant has been dancing about, affecting to burn his fingers,
&c. When the handkerchief is nearly burnt out, snatch up the remains
of it quickly and pop it into the open piece of paper, roll it up
rapidly and exchange for the real handkerchief in paper, vesting it
at once, or a severe burn may ensue. This is done whilst hurrying
towards the owner of the handkerchief, to whom you say that you have
done the best you can, and are sorry that you have only the ashes of
the handkerchief to offer; but that if she will leave her address,
you will forward a new one in the morning, &c. Finally, you have the
supposed ashes blown upon, and then tear open the paper, revealing
the handkerchief. If you have scented it, call attention to the fact.

If I wanted to test a conjuror's ability, I should give him this trick
to perform. No duffer could ever get half way through it; and yet, by
attention to the rudiments of palming, &c., it becomes easy enough.
There can be no two opinions about the effect produced. The principal
portions should be rehearsed with your attendant.

A very amusing variation to this trick is the following: Purchase two
cheap sunshades of a precisely similar pattern. They should be small,
and the covers of light alpaca. From one carefully strip the cover, so
as to leave the ribs bare, and, at the end of each rib, fasten a piece
of cambric exactly similar to those used in the rubbing-away episode.
This sunshade have lying upon the shelf at the back of the table,
rolled up in paper. In one of the large side pockets have concealed
the cover, rolled up and tied with very fine thread, that may be
easily broken. Upon the table have lying a piece of paper similar to
that in which the sunshade upon the shelf is wrapped. At the opening
of the trick, show this sunshade round, and then proceed to wrap it
up in paper, on the table. You will always have some extra sheets,
and behind one of these the one sunshade is exchanged for the other.
Give it to be held in the company. Then borrow a hat, and secretly
introduce the cover, placing the hat on a side table. When the trick
has proceeded as far as the discovery of the small pieces in the hands
of the spectator who is rubbing the handkerchief, place them in the
pistol and fire at the sunshade held in the company. Great amusement
ensues when the bare ribs are discovered, with the pieces of cambric
flying from them. These are then taken off, and the trick proceeded
with, as before described, the cover being discovered in the hat at
any convenient period. Break the thread, and shake it out well before
bringing to view, so as not to suggest any idea of its ever having
been rolled up tightly into small bulk.

_Sun and Moon._--This is another amusing trick, in which handkerchiefs
are destroyed and restored in a most lavish manner. Beyond the
preparation of a couple of handkerchiefs, and the use of a conjuring
pistol, no apparatus is required, if the trick be performed after the
following method, which is according to my own arrangement, and in
keeping with my belief in sleight of hand as opposed to apparatus.

Purchase three common coloured cotton handkerchiefs, all of precisely
the same pattern, and from the centre of one of them cut a circular
piece some three or four inches in diameter. Replace this with a white
piece, so that you have a coloured handkerchief with a white centre.
Take a white handkerchief, and cut from its centre a circular piece
just a trifle smaller than that from the coloured handkerchief, which
latter then sew in the centre of the white handkerchief. A friend
of yours in the audience should have the second of the coloured
handkerchiefs in his pocket, and receive instructions to the effect
that, when you ask for a handkerchief in a particular manner (you
can easily arrange a sort of by-word between yourselves), he is to
offer this particular handkerchief, which you tardily accept. This
is one of the very rare occasions on which I permit myself to have a
confederate in the audience; and I only do it because (1) a really
capital trick would otherwise be impossible of performance, and (2)
because it is not at all necessary that your confederate should know
anything about the trick. I always say that it is necessary for me to
have in such-and-such a trick a coloured handkerchief, _merely for
effect_, and it is rarely that people bring coloured handkerchiefs
with them, so, to avoid disappointment, &c., &c. If the person who
officiates be a dullard, he will be none the wiser, and if he be a
relative, as he should be, he is tolerably safe. Coloured handkerchief
No. 3 you have rolled up in a piece of paper and placed in your
capacious breast pocket. Besides these, you must have in the palm of
one hand an ordinary white handkerchief concealed. The two prepared
handkerchiefs already described are done up in paper in the shape
of a ball and placed upon the shelf at the back of the table, on the
top of which are lying a few loose sheets of paper similar to that in
which the handkerchiefs are wrapped. Also on the table are two plates,
some methylated spirits, a lighted candle, two pairs of scissors, or
else two sharp knives, and a funnel pistol. Advance to the audience,
with the white handkerchief concealed in the palm, and borrow two
handkerchiefs--one a white one, at hazard, except that you endeavour
to let it be one somewhat similar to your own, and the other, the
coloured one, from your friend. Exchange the white handkerchief for
your own, as in the preceding trick, and vest it, and then give both
white and coloured handkerchiefs to be held by separate persons.
Each handkerchief should be held horizontally by the two hands, one
holding the very centre of it, and the other grasping it a few inches
away. Give the scissors or knives to two other persons, and bid them
mark the handkerchiefs. At first some hesitation will be shown at
cutting the handkerchiefs, but you must say there is no fear. From the
position in which each handkerchief is held, it will be incumbent on
anyone cutting between the hands of the person holding it to take a
piece clean out of the centre. When this cutting is over (you might
do it yourself, only it looks more genuine and creates more fun to
have it done by the audience), say that there will be no mistaking
the handkerchiefs now, for they are marked with a vengeance. Now take
the mutilated coloured handkerchief and the white piece, and put them
on one plate, the the mutilated white handkerchief and coloured piece
being put on the other. Pour spirits on both, and set fire to them.
When they are well ablaze, pretend to discover that you have made
the mistake of mixing the colours, and endeavour (fruitlessly, of
course) to take out the burning pieces. Remark that it is a very bad
job, as you had hoped to have shown a specimen of your skill, but now
everything is spoilt through your forgetfulness. Your stage attendant
can attend to the burning of the handkerchiefs, if you so please,
in which case you can give him a good blowing up, and threaten to
discharge him on the spot. The more penitent he can manage to look,
the better it will be for the effect of the trick. Take the ashes, and
put them in a piece of the paper which is on the table, and, whilst
affecting to put this in a second piece, exchange it for the prepared
handkerchiefs in paper on the shelf. This method is very easy, and
is thus performed: Stand at the end of the table, and, with the hand
that is nearest the audience, raise a piece of paper partly from the
table, but not so much as to enable the audience to see under it, and
behind this temporary screen the exchange can be effected by means
of the rear hand with impunity, providing it is done quickly but not
hurriedly, and with the eyes turned towards the audience, to whom the
performer is impressively descanting on the many vicissitudes which
chequer a conjuror's career. Directly the two parcels are safely
exchanged, go forward and give the paper to be held by one of the
audience. An ordinary pistol can now be let off, or a word of command
given, and the paper then opened. Affecting not to notice that there
is anything wrong, you proceed to return the handkerchiefs to their
respective owners. Laughter will, of course, ensue, and you will
then appear to be overwhelmed with confusion. Borrow a hat, put the
handkerchiefs in it and take them out again, and finally drop one on
the floor. The action of stooping to pick it up will enable you to
bring the opening of the hat against your breast, and you must seize
this opportunity of slipping the roll from the breast pocket into
it. Go back to the table and place the hat upon it, and then, taking
up the funnel pistol, ram the handkerchiefs into it, with the remark
that you may as well get rid of them altogether. Fire the pistol, and
then ask if anyone saw anything pass into the hat, as you fancy you
did. Go to the hat and produce the roll, which open, and show the
coloured handkerchief. Spread this out, to show that the centre is
perfectly restored, and, whilst going forward with it, take the white
handkerchief, unperceived, from the vest, and roll it up inside the
coloured one. Then say, "Ah! but we have not the white handkerchief
yet; well, perhaps we shall be able to find it." Rub the coloured
handkerchief in the hands, with the white one inside, and, finally,
open both and return to their owners. This finale is, perhaps, the
most difficult part of the trick. Take care when the funnel pistol
is fired that you either stand it upon its broad end, or else place
it upon the table with the mouth from the audience. Although, to the
audience, an enormous amount of destruction appears to be going on,
such is not really the case, as two handkerchiefs only are destroyed
in the trick.

[Illustration: FIG. 42.]

[Illustration: FIG. 43.]

_The Knots._--I call this trick by a simple name, because extreme
simplicity is its prevailing feature from beginning to end. The last
few tricks described have all had apparatus, to some extent, as a
component part; this one is all sleight of hand. In "Drawing-room
Magic" (p. 65), I gave directions for untying a knot by word of
command, and noted at the time that an enlargement of the trick would
be given in "Grand Magic." We have now arrived at the enlargement.
In the minor trick, the knot is tied in a peculiar fashion by the
performer himself; now the knots are to be tied by various members of
the audience, and it is this which gives the trick such a marvellous
appearance. The performer advances, and begs the loan of several
handkerchiefs. He takes two of those proffered, and, advancing
towards one of the audience, presents just four inches (on no account
more) of one end of each handkerchief, one being crossed over the
other, with the request to have them tied together in a knot. The
reason for crossing one end over is to induce the tyer to make either
a "granny" or a reef knot, which are the knots easiest to undo--that
is, after the conjuror's method. Fig. 42 shows a "granny" knot. The
general appearance of a reef knot is somewhat the same, so it does
not require a separate sketch, and the mode of proceeding will be in
both cases similar. For convenience of description, I have depicted a
dark-coloured and a white handkerchief, and the performer will do well
to take this hint, and always, where possible, borrow handkerchiefs
varying in colour or texture, in order that the sinuosities in the
knots may be easily followed by the eye. As the performer wants a knot
that is tied neither too loosely nor too tightly, he must keep his
eye upon it whilst it is being tied. If it is loosely done, he must
say, "Don't be afraid of tying it up tight, sir [or madam]; pull as
hard as you like." In the event of a too literal acceptance of his
words, he should take the handkerchiefs at once. Even when the knot
is tied as hard as a stone, the performer takes it in the hands, and,
with the remark, "Oh! this is not half tight enough yet," pretends
to pull it up with all his force. What he really does is to take the
small end of one handkerchief in one hand, and the body of the same
handkerchief on the other side of the knot in the other. By pulling at
these hard, and, where they do not give easily by wriggling them as
well, the end of the handkerchief will be pulled out quite straight,
as in Fig. 43. It will there be seen that the white handkerchief
has been manipulated upon, and that the dark handkerchief is now
really only tied _round it_. In some cases, the greatest difficulty
arises through some malicious person tying an extremely hard knot. If
the performer pulls too hard, he will, in all probability, rend the
handkerchief without making things much better. In this case, he must
endeavour, whilst borrowing another handkerchief, for the continuation
of the trick, and under concealment of the same, to loosen the knot
a little in the ordinary way, and then he can straighten the end
openly later on, as though trying if all the knots were secure. It
is not often that the amateur will, at the outset of his career,
find much difficulty of this kind, for his audiences will not be of
the antagonistic class. Suppose everything has gone favourably, the
performer then takes another handkerchief, and has that tied on also,
of course to a disengaged corner, and so goes on with four, five,
or six, each knot being operated upon as soon as it is tied. If he
notices that anyone is tying a reef knot, he should at once audibly
remark upon it, as the public has a great idea that a reef knot is the
most difficult to untie, whereas it is really the easiest of all. When
anyone goes in for a multiplicity of twists, one end being wound round
the other several times, let the performer rest easily in his shoes,
for he has only to pull that end round which the other one is coiled,
and five or six coils will make no difference; at the same time, he
must appeal to the audience whether it is fair, &c., for effect. When
the required number of handkerchiefs have been tied together, and all
the knots have been operated upon _secundum artem_, the performer
retires to the stage, and, taking a chair or low table (the chair
for preference), proceeds to place the handkerchiefs in a pile upon
it after the following manner: Knot No. 1 is held between the tips
of the finger and thumb in such a manner that the main body of the
straight end lies along the palm of the hand. The loose portion of
the handkerchief is then opened out by the left hand and covered over
the knot, which is placed, at the same time, upon the chair; whilst,
under cover of the handkerchief, the little finger of the right hand
is drawn up by a contraction of the hand as closely to the knot as
possible, and there grasps firmly the main body of the straight end.
By straightening out the hand again, the end will be pulled right out,
and the handkerchiefs parted. All this must be done quickly. If the
end, as it often will, requires two pulls to draw it clear, it is best
to lift up the handkerchief, and exhibit the knot again, to show there
is "no deception," or on any other plea, before giving the second
pull. Proceed after the same manner with all the knots, each one being
covered with a separate handkerchief, taking great care that none of
them slip off the chair during the operation, or it will be shown
that the knots are already undone. The handkerchiefs should either be
trailed on the floor or hung over the back of the chair, where they
will not become confused or get under the performer's feet, and so
receive an undesired tug. For the purpose of diverting the attention
of the audience during this operation, the performer should make some
jocular remark concerning each knot. He should say something about
having at length come to the "knotty point," and then describe each
knot, whether correctly or incorrectly will not much matter. One, he
must say, is the reef knot, another the Gordian knot, and another a
weaver's knot. The last made will generally be a true lover's knot,
about which the performer may remark, before small audiences, that it
was a _knotty_ (naughty) person who tied it. The performer has only to
wave his wand over the heap, or to blow upon it, and then lift off
the handkerchiefs one by one. The beginner will do well to try only
three knots as a commencement, and to have them tied by ladies, who,
as before explained, are always the best to fly to in risky cases.
Whilst the knots are being tied, hang the handkerchiefs already joined
over one arm, where they will be out of the way of danger, and in the
way of assisting the performer by concealing any covert proceedings
on his part in untying obstinate knots. The knot depicted at Fig. 44
I have christened the _bête noire_ knot, and such the performer will
find it whenever it is tied for him. If he does not put the ends of
the handkerchiefs crossed into the hands of the person whom he
requests to tie a knot, he will find the _bête noire_ appear with
marvellous rapidity. When it or any other difficult knot appears, the
only thing to be done is to untie it covertly, and do it up again
after the matter described in "Drawing-room Magic." This may seem
a very cool direction to give, but is the only one appropriate to
the occasion, and the performer must make the best of a bad job. I
have often untied a knot whilst mounting the steps of the stage, and
had everything done up again by the time I reached the chair. The
performer must practise by tying for himself the most intricate knots
imaginable; or, if he learns with a companion, let the two tie knots
for each other. Silk handkerchiefs are, as a rule, the best; they
slip easily and do not tear readily, which latter quality is not the
lesser advantage: it makes one very uncomfortable to have to return
a handkerchief with one end hanging by a thread. This trick is one
of the few which it is impossible to purchase. Let every conjuror be
careful in his performance of it, and only give it "by request," or on
special occasions, for it is worth half a dozen apparatus tricks put

[Illustration: FIG. 44.]

Although very good indeed, the following method, in which one
handkerchief only is used, is not so effective as when several are
employed. The performer takes a large handkerchief, and ties a single
knot in it, near the centre. He does not pull this knot tight, but
leaves a loop large enough to receive his hand, or, at least, several
fingers. Holding this loop in one hand, and presenting the two ends,
side by side, with the other, he has another knot tied upon the first
one. Whilst passing to another person, one end is pulled out straight,
of course whilst ostensibly tightening the knot, and another knot
is then tied; the end before straightened is again pulled at, and
another knot tied, and so on until the handkerchief is all knots.
The performer takes a pull at the straight end to ensure its running
easily, and also pulls it through as far as it will come without
actually untying. He then covers the bunch of knots with the loose
centre of the handkerchief, and gives the whole to be held in the
hands of a spectator. As the trying of many knots will have caused
the centre of the handkerchief to become tightened up, it will be
necessary for the left hand to take some time in opening it nicely.
The time thus gained is just sufficient to enable the right hand to
work out the straight end through the many folds; the movement being
naturally screened by the open portion of the handkerchief in the
left hand. Ask the person to whom the bundle is given to hold, to
feel that the knots are still there. He will feel the hardened folds,
and will mistake them for the knots. Always borrow a handkerchief for
this trick, or the audience will infallibly think that the knotted
handkerchief is rapidly exchanged for another. If anyone starts tying
a _bête noire_, you can stop him at once by saying that there will be
no room for anyone else to tie a knot. This method is much easier than
its forerunner, but, as before stated, it is not half so effective.

_The Decanted Handkerchief._--The performer comes forward with an
empty decanter, which is examined, and then completely covered with
a cloth and given to a spectator to hold. The performer takes a
second decanter, and places in it a handkerchief, also previously
examined, and stands upon the stage. At the word of command, the
handkerchief vanishes suddenly from the second decanter, which is
not covered, and, on the cloth being removed from the first decanter
by a spectator, the handkerchief is found inside. This pretty trick
is thus performed: Procure two toilet water-bottles--by courtesy
called decanters--with as wide necks as possible; also two silk
handkerchiefs, precisely similar. Scarlet is a serviceable colour for
the purpose; and the handkerchiefs should be of very fine material,
in order that they may be rolled up into a very small space, and
not more than 15 in. square--rather less, if anything. Behind the
scenes the performer folds up one of the handkerchiefs small enough
to be concealed under the fingers when they are holding the neck of
the bottle. If three fingers are sufficient, so much the better; but
even if four are used no uninitiated person would ever suspect that
anything would be concealed in so audacious a manner, especially
as not the least clue has been given by the performer as to what
is to be subsequently performed. The bottle shown round, a cloth
is produced and covered over it, the handkerchief concealed in the
fingers being popped into the bottle during the process. As it should
at once spread out, it is not advisable to "double" it up tightly in
the act of folding, but rather to "bunch" it, as it will then spring
open the more readily. The bottle should be completely wrapped up in
the cloth, bottom and all, and the spectator into whose custody it
is placed must be enjoined to place one hand on the top and another
at the bottom. The performer now proceeds with his other bottle and
the visible handkerchief. Around his left wrist he has attached a
thick eyeglass cord, which passes up the sleeve, round the back, and
down the right-hand sleeve, where it has a short hook attached. In
order that it may be readily found, this hook should be fixed in the
inside of the coat cuff. The performer shows round the handkerchief,
leaving the second bottle on the table, and, as he turns to fetch that
article, the hook is got down and fixed firmly into the _centre_ of
the handkerchief. It is then pushed down the neck of the bottle by
the performer, the pushing down being conducted in such a way as to
suggest the extreme difficulty of getting the handkerchief into the
bottle. The wand may here be used with effect to ram it down. Standing
with his right side towards the audience, the performer holds out
the bottle, and announces his intention of causing the handkerchief
to fly from it into the one held by a spectator, the holder being
enjoined to keep a good watch, &c. At the word "three" (counting
"one, two, three," slowly, always adds to the effect, by preparing
for a climax), the performer thrusts out both hands to their fullest
extent, when the handkerchief will fly out of the bottle up the right
sleeve, its passage being shielded by the right hand, which must, of
course, be disposed preliminarily so as to afford a free course to the
handkerchief. If the performer, holding the bottle in the right hand,
presented his left side to the company, many spectators might be able
to see the handkerchief fly up the sleeve. With the right side towards
them, they only see it disappear suddenly from the bottle. The length
of the cord will require adjustment, and it should be as short as the
conjuror can conveniently manage without cramping the movement of the
arms. Some performers use a piece of stout elastic, which certainly
has the property of causing a self-acting, rapid disappearance; but
when once the hook is in the handkerchief, and the latter in the
bottle, a constant hold must be kept on the elastic to prevent a
premature flight, which would at once destroy the trick. The spectator
holding the bottle is asked to remove the cloth and examine the bottle
as much as he pleases, and the performer then hands the second bottle
for examination, which has not been done before. A trick so very easy
of management, and yet so effective, should be a favourite one with

[Illustration: FIG. 45.]

_The Melting Handkerchiefs._--The performer comes forward with a
soup-plate in one hand and two silk handkerchiefs in the other. The
plate, after being shown empty, is placed upon the ground, inverted,
whilst the performer takes the handkerchiefs in his hands, and
commences to roll them up in them. He rubs his hands together, and, on
opening them, the handkerchiefs are found to have melted completely
away. The soup-plate is then raised by one of the company, and the
handkerchiefs are found beneath.

The soup-plate portion of the trick is thus easily managed: The
performer has balled up under the fingers of the hand holding the
plate duplicate handkerchiefs of those he holds openly in the other
hand. They are of very fine silk, and so are easily concealed. As
he boldly shows the inside of the plate, where the fingers are, the
spectators never suspect the presence of the handkerchiefs, or of
anything else. As the plate is laid carelessly upon the floor, it is
drawn a few inches towards the performer, the side that is towards
the company scraping the ground. In this way the handkerchiefs are
got underneath. The melting away of the handkerchiefs is accomplished
with the aid of the plain-looking implement depicted at Fig. 45. It
is constructed of wood, is hollow, and is blackened on the outside.
Through the end is a hole, and through that is passed a piece of
stout elastic, having a knot on the inside. On the side seam of the
vest is sewn a ring, and the end of the elastic, after being passed
through this, is brought round the back and left side, and fastened
securely to a button in front. This great length is necessary for
the facile performance of the trick. When at rest, the wooden holder
rests against the ring on the vest. After the performer has finished
placing the plate upon the floor, he retires to the stage, and stands
sideways to the company. Supposing the holder to be on his right side,
that side would be nearest the company. First of all, the sleeves are
turned very far back, and then, under cover of the right forearm,
the left hand seizes the holder, and, drawing it out of concealment,
places it in the right hand, where the handkerchiefs are being held.
The performer may get out the holder before this, if he pleases--the
proper time for so doing being whenever a favourable opportunity
presents itself--and keep it palmed in the right hand. The arm will
always prevent the elastic being seen by the company. With his arms
outstretched, and the hands together, the performer proceeds to gather
in the handkerchiefs by slow degrees, the fingers of the left hand
pushing them into the holder. When they are all pushed home, the hands
are opened slightly, the left hand only being moved for this purpose,
and the holder, thus released, flies back until stopped by the ring.
The performer continues rubbing away the handkerchiefs, still supposed
to be in his hand, and he must act as though they were being rolled
into an ever-decreasing ball, the final kneading being done by the
tips of the fingers of the right hand, working in the palm of the left
hand. All that now remains is to have the plate lifted. The trick may
be prolonged and varied if the performer has a second holder on his
left side containing handkerchiefs of other colours to those first
used. By getting this holder out and rolling up the handkerchiefs from
under the plate, the new handkerchiefs may be got out and the old
ones substituted. Or the trick may be done the other way round, and
the change executed first, the second handkerchiefs being found under
the plate. There is no reason why this trick should not be even more
elaborated, and further changes of handkerchiefs made. This may be
done by means of a holder, some four inches in length, open at each
end, and connected with the elastic by a metal fork-shaped piece,
upon which it swivels by means of a pin passing through the centre.
Each side can contain handkerchiefs of different colours, the pin
through the centre preventing their becoming mixed with one another,
and a variety of changes made, which will be intensely bewildering
to the spectators, especially as the performer each time gives the
handkerchief for examination, and shows his hands empty. The perfect
simplicity and completeness of the method of vanishing permits of
its being repeated any number of times, each successive change or
disappearance causing fresh wonderment. Care must, however, be taken,
in each instance, that the handkerchiefs are pressed well home in the
holder, as an exposed portion might be seen as it flashed under the
coat; whilst there is still greater danger of its subsequently working
out and becoming slowly visible to the company. If the great length
of elastic which I have recommended were not employed, the performer
would not be able to stretch his arms out to their full extent in
front of him; and it is highly essential for effect that the hands
should be as far removed from the body as possible. The ingenuity of
the performer will enable him to employ the holder in many tricks in
which handkerchiefs take part.

_Le Gant de Paris._--For this trick, which will bring the performer's
utmost skill into play, the following articles will be required: An
orange, a lemon, and a walnut, all embowelled. The walnut contains a
small kid glove, the lemon contains the walnut, and the orange the
lemon. Besides these, the performer has a whole orange, lemon, and
walnut, which he can either bring forward, or, for preference, find in
persons' hair or on their noses. He has, also, concealed separately
under the vest, a tiny glove, not more than three inches in length,
and another quite ten inches long. These will be best manufactured at
home under personal supervision, and they should be well made. The
three fruits, produced or discovered, are placed in various positions
on the table, or tables, care being taken that the lemon is situated
conveniently near a trap. Opportunity must be taken for exchanging the
orange for the prepared one. There are many ways for doing this. One,
which is as good as any, is to give the perfect orange to the stage
attendant, telling him to place it upon the table, and then at once
engage the audience with something else. In going towards the table,
the attendant effects the exchange. Other methods, such as having the
prepared orange on the shelf, and exchanging it with the other whilst
calling attention to the lemon--carrying it in the breast pocket, and
exchanging it when the back is turned to the audience--will readily
suggest themselves. It is impossible to set down any hard-and-fast
rule for such _minutiæ_ as these. Sometimes the disposition of the
stage, or of the audience, will necessitate the adoption of a method
that would, under other circumstances, be impossible of introduction.
The small glove is now brought down and kept concealed in the palm,
and a kid glove, of the same colour as the one inside the prepared
walnut shells, borrowed. Express your intention of making it pass
inside the walnut, and observe that it is a little too large. Saying
that you will make it a little smaller, proceed to rub it in the
hand, and eventually exchange it for the tiny glove, which produce,
and give to a gentleman to fit upon the hand. Of course, it will be
too small, and you will inquire what size glove the gentleman wears.
You affect to misunderstand him, and clap on ten sizes more. Thus,
if eight and a half is said, you exclaim, "Eigh_teen_ and a half!
That's a very large size, sir. But perhaps you think I can't make one
so big. I will show you." It is sure to be explained that eight and
a half, and not eighteen and a half, was the size mentioned, but you
affect not to hear the correction, and proceed to rub up the small
glove, having previously got down the large one. Make a great fuss of
stretching, and finally produce the large glove, allowing the small
one to drop inside it. The original borrowed glove in the meantime
vest, if you have not done so already. Now proceed to the table, and,
rolling up the large glove, with the little one inside it, tightly,
pass it down a trap, and affect to rub it away into the walnut. Take
up the walnut and vanish it by sleight of hand, pretending to pass it
into the lemon, which get rid of, along with the nut, down a trap, and
finally cut open the orange. Take out the lemon and cut that open,
and produce the walnut. Ask one of the audience, on that side of
the auditorium which is opposite to where the owner of the borrowed
glove is seated, to open the walnut, at the same time getting down
the borrowed glove from the vest. Take the glove from the walnut in
one hand, and, pretending to place it in the other, whilst advancing
towards the person from whom it was borrowed, effect an exchange. This
must be done with all possible neatness and skill, or, at the last
moment, the trick will fail. Supposing that you take the glove from
the walnut with the left hand, the right should contain the borrowed
glove. The left hand then makes a rapid movement towards the right, as
if placing the glove in it. The glove in the left hand is in reality
concealed, and the one in the right hand revealed. Half an hour's
practice will make a wonderful difference in the execution of this
pass, which will often have to be used, sometimes in cases of great
emergency. On cutting open prepared oranges, lemons, &c., always be
careful to throw the skins behind you, or elsewhere away from the view
of the audience, who are not likely to be deeply impressed in favour
of your skill after a close examination of the remains of the prepared
articles. If the triple combination of orange, lemon, and walnut is
at first too difficult, try the dual one of lemon and walnut only. It
is still very effective, and there is far less to think about. If the
performer is limited as to traps, the large glove can be fired at the
walnut from the pistol tube. The variation is quite unimportant.




_The Invisible Transit._--This is a remarkably effective coin trick.
Several coins are inclosed in a little box, which is stood in a
position close to the audience. An empty tumbler is placed upon a
chair or table far away on the stage, and the performer, abstracting
the coins one by one from the box, "passes" them into the distant
glass, into which they are heard to fall. On the glass being brought
forward, the coins are poured from it, and the box into which they
were put is found to be empty.

The tumbler used should be coloured and opaque, or semi-opaque. Into
it is fitted a zinc plate, depicted at Fig. 46. This plate is,
it will be seen, divided into two unequal portions, which are then
hinged together. B is an arm which, in the position shown in the
sketch, prevents the flap C from opening; and E is a tiny pin fitted
into C for the purpose of preventing the arm B going too far, and so
becoming difficult to control. At D is a pin which, first connected
with the arm B, runs through the plate, and then through the bottom
of the tumbler. Underneath, it is provided with another arm (A,
Fig. 47), the position of which should correspond with that of B.
The pin D should be considerably larger than the holes (they should
be round ones) in the glass and zinc plate, and those portions of it
which are to pass through the said holes must be filed down to the
necessary thinness. By this means two shoulders will be formed, which
will prevent the plate from coming down too far, and thus keep a space
clear between it and the bottom of the tumbler. This space should be
about three-quarters of an inch in depth. The best method for fixing
A to D is to have a tiny hole through the protruding end of the
latter, through which a cross-pin can be passed. It will be seen that
so long as the arm B is kept against the pin E, or anywhere near it,
the flap C cannot possibly open, even though the tumbler be inverted.
The shifting aside of the arm A will cause a simultaneous and equal
movement on the part of B, and, when the glass is again inverted,
whatever has been concealed in the space beneath C will fall out.

[Illustration: FIG. 46.]

[Illustration: FIG. 47.]

The performer will also require two little boxes, resembling each
other in every particular. If nothing else be at hand, then little
fancy cardboard boxes may be used, but it is by far the best to have
a couple turned out of some light wood. The turner should receive
directions to turn them both out of the same length of wood, which
should have some slight imperfection running through it, as this will
cause each box to be naturally marked in a similar manner. Should
one lid have a little knot in it and the other be without such a
blemish, it can be faithfully imitated by making a hole in the wood
and running a little shellac into it. The boxes should be turned as
lightly as possible, consistent with strength, and should just admit a
half-crown. The interior depth should be that of six half-crowns. One
of these boxes the performer conceals under the vest band. The tumbler
he loads with four or five half-crowns, placed in the space under C,
and the arm B is turned into position against E. This glass is placed
upon the table. In one outside trouser pocket is a half-crown.

The preparations made, the performer advances with five other
half-crowns and one of the little boxes, and gives the whole into
the hands of a member of the audience, with the request to have the
box examined and the coins placed in it. Whilst this is being done,
the concealed box is got down from the vest into the left hand. The
box, with the money in it, is taken by the right hand, and apparently
put into the left. It is, however, palmed, and the empty box shown
instead. The performer executes this movement as he is passing to
another portion of the audience, to whom he will explain matters
briefly. This passing about the room is highly essential in concealing
many movements, and the conjuror's actions should be well mapped out
beforehand, and not left to accident. As I am describing the trick,
the money should be put in the box by someone on the conjuror's right.
It then becomes natural for the performer to place the box in his left
hand, in order to exhibit it to those on that side of the room. The
learner will find, as he progresses, how highly important it is to pay
attention to these apparently small, but by no means insignificant
matters. The performer's motions should balance, as it were; and
his great study should be to make actions that are absolutely
indispensable to him appear to be perfectly natural, if not the only
ones that could be suitable to the occasion.

The empty box is then placed in the fingers of the right hand, in
which the box containing the half-crowns is still concealed. The
performer brings a chair close to the audience, and places upon it the
empty box, first shaking the hand once or twice to show that the money
is still inside. The coins rattling in the hidden box will appear to
be in the one which is really empty. Care must be taken to keep the
back of the hand towards the audience, and to allow it to hang down
considerably, so as to do away with any possibility of an accidental
exhibition of the palmed box.

The performer now proceeds to his table, pocketing the box with coins
as he does so in as noiseless a manner as possible. He then takes
the tumbler in one hand, and, rattling it hard with his wand all the
time, turns it upside down to show that it is empty. On turning it
back again the rattling must be repeated. This rattling, the reader
will readily comprehend, is for the purpose of covering the slight
clinking of the coins that are confined within. It is a good plan to
have a piece of baize or cloth on the bottom of the tumbler, inside.
This will deaden the sound of the clinking when the tumbler is being
replaced upon the table. The performer now returns to the little box,
previously getting the half-crown from the pocket into his palm, and
feigns to abstract one coin from it, the palmed coin being shown.
This, with appropriate explanation, he "passes" into the tumbler,
into which it is distinctly heard to fall. The whole of the coins
are, one by one, abstracted from the box, and made to pass into the
tumbler. The methods of extracting them should be varied. One can
be taken out by means of the wand, another caught in mid-air, the
next be found at the tip of someone's nose, and the next in somebody
else's hair, whilst the last will probably be found attached either
to the performer's elbow or to the sole of his boot. This variety of
movement keeps the audience amused, and, consequently, distracts their
attention, which might, perhaps, be employed in watching other matters
somewhat too narrowly. The same system of variation should be observed
in "passing" the coins, three or four different passes being brought
into use. The last "pass" may be effectively made with the reverse
palm, by the method described on page 8 for throwing the coin away.
The palm can then be shown perfectly empty, the coin being recovered
as the performer proceeds towards the glass.

The mystery of the coins being heard to fall into the tumbler has
yet to be explained. The explanation is, that the conjuror's stage
assistant is concealed behind the scenes, in a position as proximate
to the tumbler as possible, with another glass and some coins. The
performer and assistant must have an understanding between them, and
when the assistant hears the word given he drops one coin into the
glass, allowing a short time for the supposed journey. The word "pass"
is the one commonly used, and is the best, for the conjuror is using
it all through the performance, and it does not, therefore, excite any
particular attention. It is as well to vary the speed with which the
coins travel. The first two should occupy from a second and a half to
two seconds in travelling from hand to tumbler. The next the conjuror
should say will take a little longer, it being a very old coin and,
consequently, weak. Five seconds will be quite long enough for this,
and the next can be despatched with the command, "Presto, pass!" This
should arrive at its destination in half-a-second. If no arrangement
on this head has been made beforehand, the performer must take care
to speak loudly and distinctly. This co-operation of performer and
assistant has already been explained in connection with _The Shower
of Gold_.

Sometimes, with the view, I imagine, of making the trick appear still
more difficult, the tumbler is covered with a borrowed handkerchief,
pocketbook, programme, &c. When this is done, the assistant must cover
his glass with a handkerchief, and so cause the sound of the falling
coins to be muffled. I have seen an assistant commit an absurd error
of using only one coin. The sound caused by one coin falling upon
others in a glass is very different to that of a coin falling into an
empty glass.

The use of the two little boxes in this trick is an idea of my own.
Other conjurors invariably use a box with a hinged lid, which has
a horizontal plate on a level with its upper rim. This plate has
four slits in it, and into each slit is placed a half-crown. By an
exceedingly ingenious mechanical arrangement, a coin is made to drop
into the body of the box each time the lid is shut down. The performer
affects to abstract one in the manner just described. The chief
objection to this box is its great expense; otherwise, it is a very
good piece of apparatus.

Another piece of apparatus that is also frequently used in conjunction
with the trick is what is called the Half-crown Wand. This is a hollow
tin wand, with a sliding piston inside it. One end is divided into
two parts, which are hinged. A half-crown, that has been cut into
three portions, is concealed in this opening top, and by means of a
complexity of hair springs, and the action of the piston, moved by
the thumb from the outside, the three fragments are pushed out, and,
ranging themselves side by side, cause the appearance of a half-crown
on the end of a wand. All I can say about this piece of apparatus is,
that it is a pity the inventor's ingenuity was not directed towards
making something else. I believe, though, that the article sells well,
as it does away with the last piece of sleight of hand left in the
trick, and so gives lazy people and duffers a chance.

_The Banker._--In "Drawing-room Magic," a method for collecting
coins from the air, &c., and passing them into a hat through the
crown, was explained. Before larger audiences, the trick is capable
of being much more elaborated. Going down amongst the audience, the
performer collects quantities of coins from the heads and persons of
the audience. There are various methods of executing this. One is
to keep a coin palmed, and then produce it from the hair, whiskers,
beards, sleeves, elbows, &c., of different spectators, a motion of
throwing it into the hat being made each time it is produced, and
the hat shaken, to cause the resemblance of a coin falling into it.
Another method, which I hardly like as well, although successfully
adopted by some good performers, is to dip the hand into the hat, and
gather some coins quickly in it. These coins are kept in the palm of
the hand, and concealed by the two outside fingers, and the thumb
pushes one forward as it is required for production. The coins, in
this instance, are actually tossed in the air and caught in the hat,
which is of itself a great advantage, but the chances of detection are
considerable. Nevertheless, the effect is very fine when the conjuror
moves rapidly about, picking coins indiscriminately from everyone
around. It is possible to hold a great number of large coins in the
hand without detection ensuing. The third method is somewhat similar.
The coins are gathered in the hand from the hat, but, instead of being
reproduced singly, they are all swept from the head of a spectator
into the hat. Coins invariably drop on the floor when the latter
method is adopted, and the conjuror is enabled to take a fresh dip
into the hat unperceived, whilst busying himself about the recovery
of his property. What I recommend is a happy mixture of all three
methods. Whichever is adopted, the performer must be exceedingly rapid
in his movements, never stopping in one place, and accompanying his
movements with a running commentary, such as, "Ah, one more on your
nose, sir. Thank you, sir, just a few in your hair. Madam, a little
one hiding itself under your bow, and, I declare, another in your
fan." A lady's muff, when handy, can be well employed. It should
be taken in the hand containing the coins, which are allowed to
run through into the hat. A good variation, too, is to snatch a hat
from a person's head or elsewhere, and dropping a few coins into it,
immediately toss them about, and then pour them into your own hat. The
larger the audience, the better this money collecting will succeed. It
is a great feature in a performance, and always takes well.

A little piece of apparatus which, although I never use it myself,
many find very useful for the magical production of coins, is what is
known as the "money tube." This is a long flat tube of tin, japanned
on the outside. It is just wide and deep enough to admit of the coins
in use passing easily through it, and no more. At one end, on the
outside, it is furnished with a broad flat hook, for the purpose of
suspending the tube from a buttonhole or slit in the interior of the
performer's vest or coat. The bottom end is furnished with a lever
arrangement on the outside, which for half-crowns would be thus
constructed: In length it would just exceed the width of a half-crown,
and each end be furnished with a peg about a quarter of an inch long.
In the centre is drilled a hole, and on the tube is a bifurcated
projection, also with a hole through it. The lever is placed in its
position, and a pin passed through it and the projection. A joint will
thus be formed very similar in appearance to the centre joint of an
umbrella rib. In the tube (exactly underneath the pegs, which must be
towards the tube) pierce two holes, and under the upper half of the
lever fix a small piece of spring, tolerably strong. The apparatus
is then complete. The spring causes the upper half of the lever to
rise, and, as a natural consequence, the lower half to be depressed.
The lower peg thus prevents anything that may be in the tube from
passing out at the end. So soon, however, as any pressure is put upon
the upper half of the lever the lower peg rises and allows the coin
to escape. The upper peg, descending at the same time, prevents the
escape of any other coins that may be in the tube. The method for
using the tube is to fix it securely under the vest or coat flap,
with the bottom end all but exposed. When the performer requires a
coin, all he has to do is to curl his fingers under the mouth of the
tube, and press the upper portion of the lever, when a coin will
fall into his hand. As the operation is invariably accompanied by
a slight clattering, however careful the performer may be, the hat
should always be shaken for the purpose of smothering the sound made
by the tube. A small band of elastic on the coat or vest will serve
to keep the tube steady. The lever lies transversely across the tube,
and not straight along it. This enables the little pegs to pass into
the triangular spaces left between two coins, the edges of which are
touching. It is not advisable to produce many coins in a short space
of time by this method, as the frequent repetition of the movement of
the hand might easily be noticed.

An effective continuation is to apparently cause the coins to pass
through the crown the reverse way, _i.e._, from the inside to the
outside. For this purpose, the performer must retire well up the
stage, concealing, as he does so, several coins in the palm of the
hand, one being shown at the ends of the fingers. The hat is held
out, crown downwards, in the other hand, and the coin in the fingers
then tossed high in the air. Whilst it is descending the thumb gets
another coin in readiness, and as the coin in the air falls into the
hat the one brought from concealment is put against the crown and
instantly pulled sharply away from it. The effect is as if the coin
thrown in the air had passed through the crown of the hat, and was
caught by the performer as it came through. Considerable practice must
be undertaken, as it is indispensable that the fall of the descending
coin into the hat and the production of the fresh one at the crown
be precisely simultaneous, otherwise the effect will be weakened,
if not altogether spoilt. The hat must contain some coins at the
commencement, otherwise the accumulation of those thrown into the air
and subsequently caught in the hat, would, of course, be noticed. The
effect is improved if the crown of the hat be turned slightly towards
the audience at the moment when the coin is supposed to come through
it. As the eyes of the spectators always follow the coin in the air,
the slight motion of the thumb in getting a fresh coin in readiness is
never perceived. Large coins tell best, and about six should be used.

When the performer has sufficiently amused the audience in this way,
he can proceed with the trick under notice. For it he will require--at
least, he will find it advisable to have--an oval tray of japanned
tin. To all appearances, the tray is only an ordinary one, but it has
a double bottom, the space between the two bottoms being a little more
than the thickness of a half-crown, or whatever coin the performer
may be in the habit of using. The rims of the two bottoms are joined
all round, with the exception of a portion at one end, which is left
open to the extent of a little more than the width of the coin in use.
Two strips of tin, soldered firmly in their places, extend from each
side of this opening, in parallel lines, to the other end of the tray,
and so form a passage between the two bottoms capable of receiving a
quantity of coins, ranging in number according to the length of the
tray or the will of the performer. When the tray is tilted to any
extent, the open end being the one that is depressed, the coins will
naturally slide out one after the other. If the space between the
double bottoms is too deep, the rearmost coins will overlap those in
front, and so cause an obstruction. The tray is loaded with (say)
five coins, and so brought on. Fifteen (a few more or less will not
matter) coins are then taken from the hat, and placed upon the tray,
which is then put into the hands of a spectator, who must be enjoined
to rise for the purpose, and to keep very steady, so as not to upset
the coins. A boy's cap is then borrowed, and put into the hands of
another spectator, who is placed in a position close to and facing the
holder of the plate. In the absence of a cap, a handkerchief, held in
the form of a bag, will answer as well, if care be taken to arrange
it so that none of the coins can escape and fall to the ground. The
performer retires to the stage, and explains that, when he counts
"three," the holder of the tray is to pour, as rapidly as he can, the
fifteen coins into the cap, the holder of which is directed to close
the cap immediately this is done. As the performer has taken care to
place the tray in the assistant's hands, with the opening from him,
it follows that, when the fifteen coins are poured from the surface
into the cap, the five from the concealed receptacle will accompany
them. A very distinct mark should be made upon the tray so that the
performer can readily distinguish one end from the other. When the
cap is closed, the performer counts five more coins into his hand,
and "passes" them into the cap, the holder of which is then requested
to count out the coins upon the plate, to show that the number has
been increased by five. All counting of coins should take place both
before and afterwards, or the audience may fail to perceive what
has been done. The trays sold at conjuring repositories are nearly
always round; this is a bad shape, as there is nothing to induce the
holder of the tray to tilt it as the performer desires. When it is
oval, it is only natural to pour the coins off the narrow end. It is
also impossible to notice from any distance if a round tray has been
shifted, accidentally or otherwise. A couple of inches difference will
cause the trick to fail, for the coins will not pour out; and some
people who are in the secret are malicious enough to be capable of
wilfully turning the tray round for the purpose of spoiling the trick.
The name of "The Banker" is given to the trick, because the performer
supposes the holder of the cap to be the banker, and he then shows how
he pays in his money. The great effect of the trick is derived from
the fact that the performer never approaches the custodians of the
money after once giving it into their hands.

_Hold them Tight!_--The performer takes a few coins--four half-crowns
or florins will be found the most suitable--and also a strong
white cotton handkerchief. He then asks the assistance of one of
the spectators, stating his predilection for a very strong man. The
more burly the volunteer, the better he will suit the conjuror's
purpose. Seat him on a chair a little on one side, and facing the
audience. Place the coins in the centre of the handkerchief, which
then invert, and grasp the coins through it from the outside. This
is done openly and deliberately, and the assistant is requested to
hold the handkerchief firmly between the two hands a few inches
below the coins. He is then asked if he thinks it possible for the
performer to pull the coins through the handkerchief without making
a hole, or to get them out without interfering with the assistant's
hand. The answer will invariably be a negative one, and the performer
then says, "Very good; that is your opinion. I will now see what the
audience think about it." With this, the performer steps forward with
the coins and the handkerchief, and explains to the audience that it
is a trial of Strength _versus_ Skill between the strong man on the
stage and himself. He then requests someone to place the coins in
the handkerchief, so that there shall be fair play, the handkerchief
being spread over the performer's left hand for the purpose. When the
coins are placed in the handkerchief, they should be grasped through
it by the thumb and first and second fingers. The performer then turns
suddenly to the person on the stage, and says, "I trust you are not
nervous, sir; you look very pale." This will cause everyone to look
at once at the person addressed, who will, if under the glare of
footlights or other strong gas, infallibly bear a pale appearance.
But whether he looks pale or not will not matter, the diversion being
made for the purpose of distracting the attention of the audience
from the performer for a moment or two. Whilst all eyes are directed
towards the assistant, the performer turns the coins over twice in the
handkerchief, a fold of which is taken at each turn, and the coins
thus enveloped. The coins are then grasped in the right hand, and a
good shake given to the handkerchief for the purpose of straightening
it as much as possible. The result of this manoeuvre is that the
coins are simply hidden in a couple of folds on the _outside_ of the
handkerchief, the supposition indulged in by the audience being that
they are _inside_, and that the handkerchief has been merely inverted
as before. This folding and turning is not easy to accomplish quickly
and neatly. The coins must be held firmly, and the fingers then turn
them over inwards, the thumb being raised to allow them to be pushed
well under it. Before the fingers are removed, the thumb descends
and nips securely that portion of the handkerchief pushed over with
the coins by the fingers, and retains it whilst the second turn is
being made, the same process being repeated. With the fold well made,
the performer may venture to allow that portion of the handkerchief
containing the coins to hang downwards, and even give a slight jerk to
cause the coins to jingle. This will totally disarm suspicion. It is
much easier to hold the handkerchief, with the coins, in one hand and
make the folds with the other, but the proceeding is unbusinesslike
and provocative of suspicion.

The handkerchief is then put into the hands of the seated assistant,
as before, the performer holding that portion containing the coins.
A tremendous mock struggle ensues, the performer allowing himself to
be pulled nearly over once or twice, which will cause him to remark
that he has made a mistake this time, and has met with someone a
little too strong for him. All the time he is working a finger into
the folds, which he quietly undoes, and, under cover of the left
hand, gets the coins out into the right. With this hand he takes his
wand, which is held under the armpit during the trick, and continues
pulling with the left. After a while, he says that it is no use, and,
relinquishing his hold, asks to have his money given back to him. Of
course, the assistant knows nothing about it; but the performer points
out the fact that there is no hole in the handkerchief, consequently
_he_ cannot have the coins. Under the plea of finding out where they
are concealed, the performer taps with his wand on various portions
of the assistant's person. When he reaches either the elbow or the
knee, he allows the coins in the hand to rattle against the wand at
each tap, and it will appear to the audience that they are concealed
up the assistant's arm or leg. Grasping the sleeve or trouser, the
performer turns it up a little, and rattles the coins out on the
floor. If found in the trouser, the assistant should be asked to place
his foot upon a chair. It is very easy to jerk the coins a few inches
up the sleeve or trouser leg as it is being turned up; they will then
fall out naturally. The reason I give directions for using a strong
pocket handkerchief is because the continued pulling will sometimes
cause a sharp-edged coin to cut through. I never use any but my own
handkerchief, for this reason.

There is another method of folding the coins in the handkerchief,
which surpasses the one above described for neatness, and it may be
executed in full view of the audience, with their eyes specially
directed upon the performer's hands, instead of momentarily diverted.
The coins, in this instance, are taken between the finger and thumb
of the left hand, and held perpendicularly. With the right hand, the
handkerchief is thrown over them. This the performer does close to his
temporary assistant upon the chair; upon which he says, "That is all
very well: you know that the coins are safe inside the handkerchief;
but I must also convince the rest of the company." Suiting the action
to the word, the performer advances a few paces, performing, as he
does so, the following manoeuvre: With the right hand inverted,
_i.e._, the palm turned upwards, the coins are seized between the
first and middle fingers. Simultaneously the left hand is shifted a
couple of inches backwards, and the right hand, turning over in that
direction, places the coins once more between the left finger and
thumb, but this time there are two thicknesses of the handkerchief
intervening. That half of the handkerchief which is hanging on the
side nearest to the company is now raised by the right hand, when
the coins will be exposed to view. The act of shifting the left hand
back a couple of inches has caused the fingers of the left hand to be
covered by a false fold of those dimensions. The company, therefore,
cannot see the said fingers, the performer making doubly sure by
holding his hand as low as possible, without exciting suspicion. Now,
after having shown the coins, if the performer merely turned back the
half he had lifted, no particular result would be arrived at; but the
learner, who is, of course, following me with coin and handkerchief in
hand, will at once see that, if that half of the handkerchief which
is hanging on the side nearer the performer be turned over along with
the one that has been raised to show the coins, in the direction of
the company, the result achieved is that the coins are on the outside
of the handkerchief, but enveloped in the 2in. fold. This turning
back of two halves, instead of one, being the vital part of the
whole thing, must be done with great carelessness. Indeed, the action
of turning the rear half over with the right hand is a mistake: all
that is necessary is to drop the left hand with a good shake, when
both halves will fall on the same side, as naturally as possible.
These little things require a good deal of explanation, but it is a
really very simple manoeuvre, which I divide into four distinct
movements, viz.: First movement--placing the coins under handkerchief,
in left hand; second movement--turning over coins with right hand,
and seizing again with left thumb and finger (see Fig. 48); third
movement--dropping left hand and raising front half of handkerchief
with right hand; fourth movement--releasing handkerchief with right
hand and shaking two halves over with left. When the fourth movement
has been completed, the right hand should seize the handkerchief
just below the coins, which can then be struck upon the left palm,
carelessly, but hard, so as to indirectly convey the idea of their
being contained in a bag, made by the handkerchief. There need be
no fear of the fold becoming loose if the handkerchief be gripped
firmly; and the boldness of the act will disarm suspicion. The very
security of this fold renders it more difficult to work the coins
out when the "trial of strength" comes on, and the assistant must be
made to hold the handkerchief some distance away from the coins, so
that the performer's hands have plenty of space to work in. Whilst
the assistant is thus holding the handkerchief, it is a good plan to
allow that part in which the coins are folded to hang down--whilst the
sleeves are being turned back, for instance. This will keep up the
impression of their being enclosed in a bag.

[Illustration: FIG. 48.]

_The Money Changer._--This trick is accomplished by means of the first
deceptive fold described in _Hold them Tight!_ Its simple nature may
cause it to appear easy of execution; but let not the learner foster
this delusive idea, for the slightest bungle will spoil the trick,
which depends entirely upon sleight of hand.

In the left hand the performer has three pennies concealed. Three
half-crowns and three pennies, all marked by various members of the
audience, are then borrowed. The three half-crowns are first collected
in the right hand, and given into the custody of one of the audience.
The pennies are next collected, in the right hand also, and then the
performer begs the further loan of a couple of handkerchiefs. Just
as he is stepping forward to take the proffered articles, he says
to one of the audience, "Would you kindly hold these pennies for an
instant?" and, making a "pass" (Fig. 11) towards the left hand,
exhibits and hands the coins therein concealed. The idea conveyed by
the performer is that, the coins being in his way whilst borrowing
the handkerchiefs, he wants to be rid of them for a short space of
time. This covers the action of the pass, which might otherwise appear
suspicious, as being unnecessary and meaningless. Take the first
handkerchief in the right hand, and let the second hang over the
left shoulder. Now go at once to the holder of the half-crowns, and,
taking them from him, place them in the centre of the handkerchief,
previously spread over the right hand, which contains the marked
pennies. Turn briskly to another member of the audience, executing as
you do so a single turn only of the coins in the handkerchief with the
fingers of the right hand, the coins that are in the hand itself going
over as well. Take that portion of the handkerchief which contains
the coins in the left hand, grasping the whole securely. Remove the
right hand from underneath, and with it grasp the handkerchief some
four or five inches from the coins, and then reverse the positions of
the hands, handkerchief and all, the right being above and the left
below. The pennies which were recently in the right hand will now be
in a bag, as it were, formed by the handkerchief. The half-crowns are
still on the outside, hidden by one fold of the handkerchief, and held
by the fingers of the left hand. Request the person to whom you have
advanced to stand up, and inform him that you wish his right hand to
take the place of yours, and that he is on no account to relax a firm
hold for an instant, or to allow any coins either to enter or escape.
As you say this, dance the coins two or three times up and down in
the left hand, which hollow as much as possible, and the half-crowns
will fall into it. Their clinking will not signify in the least, as
it will be attributed to the coins in the handkerchief. Then give the
handkerchief into the custody of the person selected, the left hand
simultaneously finding its way to the handkerchief hanging from the
left shoulder, which it takes. The same manoeuvre is then repeated,
the handkerchief being spread over the left hand with the half-crowns
in it, and the right eventually securing the substituted pennies. All
that remains to be done is to command the coins in the handkerchiefs
to change places, which feat is apparently accomplished. The great
peril of the trick lies in the necessity of repeating the action of
folding. To avoid detection, the performer must be always on the move,
and endeavour by gesture and speech to continually direct the general
attention of the audience to the persons whom he is addressing. The
most dangerous person is he from whom the coins are taken before being
put into the handkerchief. The best method for disarming him is to be
very profuse with thanks for his kindness. By the time you have done
thanking him, your object has been accomplished. It is strange what a
trivial thing is required for the purpose of distracting the attention
of the audience, whether collectively or individually, if the
performer can only assume an appropriate expression of countenance.
On the other hand, the least appearance of anything approaching to
bewilderment only tends to make the audience doubly sharp. "Hallo!"
they will think, "he is in a fix," and forthwith the minutest action
is devoured.

In this trick, the effect of manner will make itself manifest in a
marked degree. It is evident that, if anyone in the audience fix his
eyes intently upon the performer's hands from the commencement of
the trick to the finish, never removing his gaze for an instant, he
is bound to notice the turns that are made. Now, it is impossible for
a conjuror even to keep his eye upon every member of his audience
for the purpose of noticing who is and who is not watching him. The
utmost he can do is to make such diversions as are best calculated to
accomplish his ends in a general way. If anyone in the audience be
particularly sharp, and will not be taken in, it cannot be helped.

I make these remarks in this place because a good opportunity presents
itself: they are of universal application. It is only another sermon
on the old text, misdirection.

It is as well to borrow either very thick handkerchiefs or else
coloured ones for this trick. Thin white handkerchiefs will reveal
the nature of the coins contained in them under certain conditions of
light. The person who temporarily holds the substituted pennies should
be enjoined to close his hand. This is to prevent him from whiling
away the time by seeking for the marks. A person might do this merely
out of curiosity, and without any malice whatever. When practising,
it is best to commence with a single coin of each sort, then two, and
finally three. Four coins would only make the trick more difficult,
without increasing the effect. With one coin only, the trick is
very poor; besides, it naturally appears to the audience to be more
difficult for the performer to transmit a number of coins from one
spot to another than to perform a like feat with a single coin.

_The Crystal Plateau._--This is a very pretty, but almost unknown
trick. Hanging by a couple of cords at the back of the stage is an
oblong plateau, composed simply of a frame and a piece of glass.
The performer borrows three marked florins or half-crowns, which he
can either hold in his hand, or place in the little box described
in _The Invisible Transit_. He calls attention to the plateau,
the transparent nature of which seems to render any examination
unnecessary, and announces that, not only will he cause the coins to
invisibly leave his hand (or the box), but they shall do so one at a
time, and affix themselves to the glass of the plateau. This is done,
the coins appearing one after another upon the face of the plateau,
from which the performer removes them, and hands them back to their

[Illustration: FIG. 49.]

This fine effect is thus managed: The plateau (Fig. 49) is composed
of two pieces of glass, one behind the other. The front piece is
fixed firmly into the frame, but that in the rear is only loosely
fastened. An indiarubber band, passing across the lower portion of the
latter, keeps the two glasses close together at their lower edges,
but at the top they are kept apart to the extent of about twice the
thickness of a half-crown. From the upper part of the frame three
spaces are cut out, wide enough to admit a coin, and deep enough
to cause a coin dropped in from that point to fall between the two
glasses. To keep the coins temporarily suspended, three holes are
drilled through the rear glass, just below the places for the coins,
and little pegs inserted therein. To each of these pegs is attached
a thread, held in the hand of the assistant behind the scenes. The
latter should be immediately in rear of the plateau, in order that
he may get a straight pull. When the performer cries "Pass," one
peg is pulled out, and the coin it supported falls between the two
glasses. As these approach each other by degrees, the falling coin
sticks fast about mid-way, appearing to the company--and, for that
matter, to the performer, too, so perfect is the deception--to be
stuck on the surface of the front glass, supposed by the company to be
the only one. When all three coins have thus made their appearance,
the performer proceeds to the plateau, and, placing a hat beneath it
with one hand, opens the rear glass slightly out from the front one,
the coins thus falling out. The marked coins have, of course, never
left the performer's hand, three of his own having been placed in the
little box, if that was used; and it is very easy for him to palm
these in the hat, and produce the marked ones, as though taken from
it. To pass them, one by one, from the hands, they must be held in
the left hand, and palmed singly with the right. If the performer is
skilful enough to palm them one over the other, so much the better,
otherwise the palmed coin must be got rid of in the little trouser
pocket each time, whilst the contents of the left hand are being

_The Money-producing Candle._--The performer commences by stating
that the next trick will be performed with a quantity of shillings.
He will want so many that the company can scarcely be able to supply
them, so he will not put them to any trouble, especially as he has
perfected a new invention by means of which money can be manufactured
out of candles. He either borrows a hat, or takes a plate, which
should be given for examination, and then approaches a candle, which
has been burning for some time on the table. Turning up his sleeves,
and indirectly showing both palms to be empty, he places his thumb on
one side of the candle and the fingers on the other, near the bottom,
and draws the hand upwards, as though squeezing the candle. Two or
three quick movements are made, and then a shilling appears in the
performer's fingers as though it had been taken out of the very flame.
The coin is placed in the plate, or hat, and, after the palm has again
been shown empty, a second shilling is squeezed out of the candle,
_viâ_ the flame. This is repeated a great number of times, a quantity
of shillings being produced, with which a trick should be subsequently
performed, the candle experiment, in itself, being of insufficient

[Illustration: FIG. 50.]

The secret lies in the candle. This is a brass cylinder, covered with
white paper (Fig. 50), a piece of candle being introduced into
the top, and lighted. This introduction must be neatly done, and
some wax from the candle scraped over the junction, so as to hide
it. Inside the cylinder is a spiral spring arrangement, precisely
similar to the cylindrical sovereign-holders sold, from which one
coin at a time is extracted by a simultaneous pressing and drawing
action. Such a holder, placed inside the imitation candle, with the
opening downwards, would be the very thing (for sovereigns), provided
an opening were made just below it sufficiently large to permit the
insertion of a finger with which to withdraw the coin. The spiral
spring continually presses the coins from above, keeping the lowest
one always at the opening, it being prevented from falling by a narrow
projecting rim inside, which leaves a large portion of the central
space of the coin free to be acted upon by the inserted finger. The
side of the candle upon which the opening is situated is, I need not
say, turned away from the spectators, and, as the performer slides his
hand slowly upwards, a finger brings away a coin--the movement being,
of course, continued evenly, and no stoppage made at this particular
moment. With a little practice, the coin can be extracted with
wonderful facility. Before commencing, the performer should show that
there is no preparation about the candlestick, by turning it upside
down, and banging it upon the table. The candle is grasped by the
hand, for the purpose of removal, over the spot where the opening is,
and it may then be shown on all sides; but I do not advise that the
performer should draw attention to the candle. No hint of a prepared
candle should be given the spectators, who are not at all likely to
think of such a thing unless it is suggested to them, particularly
if the performer advances boldly, candle in one hand and candlestick
in the other, and exhibits them. It will be found that an imitation
candle to take shillings will have to be a fairly large one, so the
conjuror must use his judgment, and have one for sixpences only,
if his exhibition of an abnormally large candle be likely to draw
suspicion towards it. For large stage performances a candle capable
of taking florins might be used. The candle can be profitably used
incidentally to vary the collection of money in the air (see page
14, &c.), a coin being now and again placed visibly into the hat,
instead of "passed" magically through the crown, and a fresh one
obtained from the candle, just as would be done from the money tube
(see page 239).

_The Flight._--This is a method for causing five coins to disappear.
It is a very useful interlude when the performer is hard up for
something to do, and when it is desirable to lengthen out the

Take five well-worn half-crowns (your own or borrowed; marked or not),
stand sideways to the audience, right side to the front, and extend
the left hand, palm upwards. Hollowing the hand slightly, place one
coin upon the tip of each finger. Place the right hand upon the left,
the corresponding fingers of each hand meeting at the tips, so that
the coins are held firmly between them. Give the hands a half turn, so
that the back of the right hand is towards the audience, and hold them
in this position for a few moments, the eyes being directed upwards,
as though the remainder of the trick were to be in connection with the
ceiling. Give the hands two upward and downward sweeps, increasing in
vehemence, and at the third bring the points of the fingers together.
This will cause the coins to lap one over the other in tolerably good
order, when they must be pushed firmly between the root and first
joint of the right thumb, breadthwise (see Fig. 5). The action must
be executed as the hands descend for the third time, and with such
speed that the coins must be secure in position when the hands are
brought up again, when they will affect to toss the coins hard up at
the ceiling. This takes some little doing, as there must not be the
slightest pause in the upward and downward swing. The coins can be
reproduced from the person of the performer or from the audience, or
they need not be reproduced at all.

The feat is capable of being introduced into tricks where five coins
are made to disappear. Unless each finger has an occupant, it does not
look complete, so it is not advisable to introduce the variation where
four coins, or fewer, are employed.

_Coin and Worsted Ball Trick._--A very good trick indeed is performed
with a ball of worsted and a coin. Have a flat metal tube broad enough
to admit with ease the coin intended to be used, and wind round
one end of it a quantity of worsted, so as to form a large ball,
completely closing up one aperture, the other end being left open and
protruding half an inch or so. Place this in a pocket or a bag, or
behind a screen. You must have a duplicate coin palmed, which change
with the borrowed one, and give to be held in a handkerchief. The coin
would, of course, be marked. When the worsted ball is in a bag, or
behind a screen, the coin must be dropped down the tube, which is then
withdrawn, and the ball compressed in the hand so as to obliterate
all traces of an opening. It is, however, a much neater way to have
the ball and tube in the pocket (it will have to be a side pocket);
another ball being sent round to be examined before anything is done.
When the coin is in the prepared ball, and the tube withdrawn, it
can be exchanged with the other. When this has been successfully
accomplished, give the ball to be held high in the air, and, taking
the substituted coin, "pass" it inside. Now have the ball placed in a
tumbler, which is held by one person, whilst another pulls at the end
of the worsted, and so unwinds it. In the centre will, of course, be
found the borrowed article.




However great the respect which one may have for sleight of hand pure
and simple, it is quite undeniable that a set performance is greatly
improved by the occasional introduction of some neat-looking, but
not gaudy, apparatus. Under this head need by no means be included
self-acting machinery, during the performance of which the performer
acts as a mere puppet. All the apparatus mentioned in this work will
require adroit handling; and the conjuror will do well to practise
as thoroughly with each article as he would towards the acquisition
of a feat of sleight of hand. Apparatus seems to have a malicious
pleasure in going wrong, always on the most critical occasions, and,
for this reason, the majority of skilful performers feel most happy
when using very little of it. One thing may be taken for granted,
viz., that apparatus, exhibited without the assistance of sleight
of hand, and plenty of it, causes the performer to degenerate into
a mere showman--opening a box here, and taking off a lid there. In
introducing apparatus, the performer must lay a very great deal of
stress upon the sleight of hand portion of the business, as though
therein lay the whole of the trick, the apparatus being a mere
necessary evil in connection with it. By engaging the attention of the
company with sleight of hand, it is drawn away from the apparatus, the
spectators being so convinced of the performer's skill that they do
not so readily accuse him of trusting to gaudy boxes and canisters for
his effects.

Some of the apparatus described can be made at home, but, as a
general rule, it is cheaper and more satisfactory to buy it at a
conjuring repository. Low prices are the order of the day; and, as the
articles are made by experienced men, they must be superior to those
manufactured by persons new to the business.

_Houdin's Die Trick._--Although this trick, sold everywhere for a
shilling, must be as well known as any, I have found it appreciated
by certain audiences, which have, by the way, invariably been
drawing-room ones. Before a boys' school, or large public audience, it
would not be advisable to exhibit it. The trick consists in placing
a die upon the uppermost of two hats, covering it with a cover, and
causing it to pass through into the lower hat. The secret lies in a
hollow false die, which has five sides only, and which fits over the
real die like a cover. The actual cover used in the trick fits over
the dummy die. The method of performance is extremely easy. Place the
dummy die in the breast pocket, in a handy position, and give the
real one to be examined with the cover. Whilst this is being done,
borrow two hats, and take them to the centre table, slipping the
false die from the pocket into one of them when your back is turned.
Place the hat containing the dummy on the table, crown downwards, and
invert the other one over it. Now take the die and place it upon the
uppermost hat, and explain to the audience as follows: "Ladies and
gentlemen,--You have all kindly examined the die and cover, and found
that both are genuine and free from trickery. I now take this solid
die and place it upon this hat; but before doing so I will show you
that the hat has no hole through the crown. [Take up hat, and hold it
before the light, and bang it about a little, then replace and put
die upon it.] The trick I shall perform will be to cover the die with
this cover, and, on again removing it, it will be found that the die
will have passed through the hat into the one underneath, thus [tilt
the top hat so as to cause the die to fall into the lower hat]. Now
that I have explained what is to be done, I will proceed to do it."
Take the dummy die out of the hat (being careful to keep the open
part from the audience, and leaving the real die behind), and place
it, with the opening downwards, upon the upper hat, which you have
replaced. You can pretend to cut through the hat, all round the die,
with a penknife, making a noise with the nail to imitate the sound of
cutting, and then, placing the cover over the die, give it a rap with
the wand. Grasp the cover very tightly near the bottom, and raise it,
bringing away the dummy die as well. Hold it up to the spectators, and
rattle the wand inside, and then turn out the real die from the hat
on to the floor. Whilst doing this with one hand, the other should be
passed behind the table, and the dummy allowed to slide out of the
cover on to the shelf. This latter effect is invariably omitted by
conjurors, and the trick, in my opinion, spoilt, as attention to it
enables the performer to hand round the cover for inspection after
the trick is performed, thereby totally upsetting those who, having
purchased the trick, fancy they know all about it. I have frequently
been asked by such people how I do the trick, they little thinking
that the apparatus I use is exactly similar to their own. The die,
cover, and dummy can be purchased so cheaply that it is scarcely
worth while for the conjuror to manufacture his own. If he wishes to
exercise his ingenuity, let him try the following method, which is an
improvement on Houdin's old one only inasmuch as it is not so well

Procure a die some four inches square, with dummy and cover complete.
A smaller size can be used, but I give the most effective for the
trick. Now take five pieces of cardboard, each the size of one side
of the die, and join them together with hinges of linen, not all in
a row, but with one in the centre and the four others on either side
of it. Lay these upon the centre of a large coloured handkerchief,
and place another handkerchief, of a precisely similar pattern, over
it. Sew the two handkerchiefs and cardboard together through the
centre piece of card only, and then sew the edges of the handkerchiefs
together all round. The two handkerchiefs are made to pass as a
single one only. Before commencing, the dummy must be placed, opening
downwards, upon the shelf, and the handkerchief should be lying
carelessly upon a chair or side table. Show the die and cover round,
and borrow two hats. Take the cover and hats to the table, and whilst
one hand is placing one hat over the other, as in the first method,
the other should place the cover over the dummy die on the shelf,
which must thus be picked up. Show the inside of cover (_i.e._, the
inside of the dummy), and place it upon the uppermost hat. Now take
the die and place it upon the table, a few inches only from the
back. Spread the handkerchief over it, and whilst taking hold of the
centre piece of card of the internal arrangement across the middle,
with one hand, from the outside, pass the other hand underneath the
handkerchief, and, under cover of the same, place the die upon the
shelf. The hand holding the handkerchief will all the time appear to
be holding the die in the air a few inches from off the table. Fold
the handkerchief carefully up, and the five pieces of card will give
an exact resemblance of a die folded up in a handkerchief, which idea
is what you wish to convey to the minds of the audience. Place this
carefully upon a side table, and then explain that you are about to
pass the die from the handkerchief invisibly under the cover. Raise
the cover--and, along with it, the dummy die--once more rattle the
wand inside, and replace it. Then take the handkerchief carefully by
two corners and suddenly give it a hard shake in the air. The die
that is supposed to be inside will not, according to the expectations
of the spectators, roll upon the floor, but you will show it to be
on the top of the hat by raising the cover only, and revealing the
dummy. Remove the dummy from the hat to the table with two hands,
as if it were solid, and act as if you were about to return the two
hats. You, however, take one of them, opening downwards, and, bringing
the brim on a level with the top of the table, but overhanging the
shelf considerably, pop the die inside it with the other hand, which
instantly takes up the second hat, and you advance with both. Before
you have progressed very far, however, you say that, perhaps, after
all, the audience would prefer seeing the die back again; and it is
very evident that so large an object must be somewhere. Of course,
no one will object, and you replace the hats one over the other, the
one containing the die being naturally the lower one. The trick then
proceeds as before described, the dummy die being carefully lifted
with two hands upon the uppermost hat, and the cutting operation gone
through. The difficult portion of the trick is getting the die from
the shelf into the hat. This should be well practised.

_The Gold-fish Trick._--Of the first three questions asked a conjuror
by a new acquaintance, one will infallibly be, "Can you do the
gold-fish trick?" When it was first exhibited, it caused intense
excitement, and, the secret being fairly well kept, the trick is but
little known even now. The performer advances with a shawl or large
handkerchief, and, after waving it about, he produces from it a
large glass bowl full of water, in which gold-fish are complacently
swimming. I have heard the wildest suggestions made in explanation of
the trick. One says the bowls of water come up a trap door, regardless
of the fact that the cloth does not reach the ground, consequently
anything coming up through the floor must infallibly be seen at once.
Another explains that the performer has the bowls empty about him,
and has an indiarubber reservoir of water up his back, with a pipe
coming down the sleeve. Where the fish come from is not explained.
No one seems to be able to think of the real secret--an indiarubber
cover. The bowls are flat, not more than two inches deep in the
centre, resembling gigantic saucers made of glass. The indiarubber
covers are made exactly the size of the rim of the bowls, and have a
broad turn-under edge besides. The bowls are filled with water, the
fish put in, and the covers are then stretched over. To put them on
neatly and with dispatch two persons are required, as some force is
necessary to pull the indiarubber out sufficiently far to enable it
to go on the bowl. Deep, round-bellied bowls should be avoided, as
the covers cannot get a good grip upon them. As, with ordinary care,
there is no possible chance of a leakage taking place, the bowls can
be placed anywhere the performer pleases, and in any position. The
favourite places about the person are inside the vest, which will
distend sufficiently if prepared with elastic behind, and inside the
large breast pockets of the coat. Some conjurors, however, prefer
placing the bowls simply under the armpits, inside the coat, and it
is surprising how remarkably safe they are in such a position. They
are certainly less liable to cause any extraordinary distension of
the performer's person, and are far more easily got at. But this is a
matter entirely for the consideration of the performer. Some go so far
as to put a bowl up the back, which to me seems making the trick as
difficult as possible. Wherever the bowls are put, they must be pushed
well back, so that all the distension takes place behind, and the
performer must necessarily always face the audience during the trick.
A bowl is also sometimes placed upon the shelf of the table; but a far
better place than this is the back of a chair, made opaque on purpose,
where the bowl is held by means of two large wire hooks. As three
bowls are generally sufficient for most audiences, one can always
manage to carry a sufficient number about one's person. I usually have
one in the vest and one in each breast pocket.

To produce the bowls, the performer takes a cloth by two corners,
and, after waving it about a short time for effect, he throws it over
one shoulder, allowing it to hang well down in front of him. If the
bowl is to be taken from the left side, then the cloth must cover
that side most, and the left arm must be held out so as to allow the
right arm room to work. With the right hand, take the bowl from its
hiding place, and hold it horizontally under the cloth, which then
draw off the shoulder by means of the other hand, and let it hang over
the bowl. Now, with the disengaged hand, grasp the indiarubber cover
firmly on the edge of the bowl, through the cloth, and remove it from
the bowl with a backward motion. This wants some little doing, as,
although it greatly heightens the effect to spill a _little_ water, it
looks clumsy to three parts empty the bowl. Lay the cloth carelessly
aside and take up a fresh one for each bowl. Some conjurors, Dr. Lynn
amongst them, use only one cloth, which is provided with pockets, into
which the covers are stowed away; but this is a totally unnecessary
innovation, and often obliges the performer to fumble about before
he can get the covers into the pockets. The idea that the audience
think more of the trick if the bowls are all produced from one cloth
is erroneous, for in most instances the fact is not noticed; and
when the performer uses a fresh cloth for each bowl the spectators,
when they give the subject any thought at all, attribute it to the
cloths becoming wet and so disagreeable to use a second time. By using
several cloths, greater freedom of action is obtained.

An innovation by Herrmann was calculated to make the trick even more
wonderful than it is in its ordinary form. Herrmann, after producing
no fewer than four bowls, used to go right amongst the audience, and
there, from a borrowed handkerchief, produce a fifth. This bowl was
carried either in the vest or in a breast pocket, and its production
was the more extraordinary by reason of the handkerchief being held
across the performer's breast by one of the spectators. It may be
safely asserted that no such feat of daring has ever been performed by
any other conjuror. Few men possessed such indomitable pluck and nerve
as Herrmann, who, during a performance, was to be deterred by nothing.
He took the precaution of using a very shallow bowl with sharp sides
and a very thin cover. The instant the cover was off, the handkerchief
containing it was rolled up in the hand and carried off along with
the bowl as if by accident, to be immediately returned to its owner,
_minus the cover_.

The most recent addition to the trick is causing the bowls to
disappear after production. The simple method for doing this is
to have a double handkerchief, as described in the die trick,
with a circular piece of cardboard, the size of the bowl to be
made to vanish, inside. The bowl is placed upon the table, and the
handkerchief spread over it. As one hand raises the card the other
hand places the bowl upon the shelf. The handkerchief is then brought
forward with great care, and then shaken out in the midst of the
audience. A piece of wet sponge is kept on the shelf, and this is
squeezed when the performer goes forward with the supposed bowl. A far
better method than this is to use a bowl the top of which is entirely
of glass and made in one piece with the bowl, the water and fish being
put in through a hole underneath, which is stopped with a cork or
plug. It must not be quite filled with water, and when produced the
surface must be held a little from the audience, so that the glass top
cannot be noticed. When the bowl is to be vanished, all the performer
has to do is to cover it with the cloth, and thence quietly put it
back into his pocket or vest. It must, of course, be done quickly.

Some ludicrous mishaps have occurred with carelessly covered bowls.
One celebrated conjuror produced two bowls with the contents of a
third distributed impartially about his person, saturating his clothes
and filling his boots. Another performer, a very skilful amateur,
accidentally threw the whole of the water from a bowl into a lady's
lap, much to the discomfiture of both parties. Had due care been
taken, these accidents could never have taken place.

The bowls and covers can only be obtained at conjuring repositories.

_Gold-fish and Ink Trick._--This is another instance of astonishing
and inexplicable effect produced by most simple means. A large globe
(not a bowl, such as is used in the foregoing trick), full of ink, is
produced. The performer ladles out some of the ink and sends it round
on a saucer for examination. He also dips a white card into the globe,
and brings it out dripping with ink. After this, he merely spreads a
handkerchief over the globe, and instantly removes it, when the ink
is found to have disappeared and its place supplied by pure water and

The preparation for this trick is as follows: Procure a piece of
black silk, in width about four-fifths of the height of the globe,
and sufficiently long to go once round it on the inside. Sew the two
ends together, so that a broad band is formed. To any part of the top
edge fasten a piece of thin wire, which blacken. With this silk line
the inside of the globe, and then pour in water exactly to the height
of the top of it. The wire must be turned over the edge of the globe
a little, so as to be easily found. When the globe thus prepared is
brought on, it is impossible to tell it from one full of ink. The
ladle, which will be best procured at a conjuring repository, is not
an ordinary one, but has a hollow handle communicating with the bowl
by means of a tiny hole. This hole is made where the stem joins the
bowl, and at the upper end of the handle is another small hole. The
hollow handle is filled with ink, and a finger or thumb placed over
the uppermost hole, thus preventing the fluid from running out. When
the performer puts the ladle into the globe, as if dipping some ink
out, the thumb or finger should be removed from the upper hole, and
the ink will then flow from the handle into the bowl of the ladle.
The methods for filling the handle with ink are various. One way is
to fill the bowl of the ladle with ink, and then apply suction to the
hole at the other end. This is a very simple method, but, unless the
person who applies the suction has a decided taste for ink, it is not
a pleasant one to adopt. Another method is to exhaust the air from the
handle by means of suction, and then put the ladle in ink; but this
is even worse than the other. The way I get over the difficulty is
by making the upper hole, which is never seen, large enough to admit
the nozzle of a very small syringe, by means of which article the ink
can be injected into the handle with cleanliness and dispatch. In
purchasing a ladle, care should be taken to procure as plain a one as
possible. A fancy ladle excites suspicion. If the conjuror does not
mind a little expense, he will possess a most perfect article if he
purchase a cheap plated sauce ladle, and then have the handle and stem
fitted with a hollow back. This will be entirely free from suspicion.
The card which is dipped in the supposed ink is simply a piece of
card, about an inch and a half wide and a few inches long, with about
half of one side of it blackened with ink or paint. The white side is
shown to the audience, and it is then turned over with the peculiar
twist illustrated in "Drawing-room Magic," Figs. 19 and 20. It is
then actually dipped into the water and brought out with the blackened
side towards the audience. The water dripping from it will appear to
the audience to be ink, and the deceptive twist can be again given to
show that both sides are blackened.

In apparently taking out ink with the ladle, and dipping the card
in, care must be taken that the manner of the performer does not
too forcibly impress upon the minds of the audience that he is over
anxious they should believe there is actually ink in the globe. The
ladling out and dipping the card in must be done tolerably briskly;
for, if the audience have time, some of the members may suggest, what
is only reasonable, that the performer should show the bowl round
bodily. The trick is finished by a large, dark-coloured cloth or
handkerchief being thrown over the globe, and instantly removed, the
performer taking care to grasp the wire, which will, of course, be
on his side of the globe, through the cloth, and so cause the silk
lining to come away inside the cloth or handkerchief. I do not believe
in introducing rock work into the globe, as it gives the audience
the idea of something fixed, and they thus obtain a groundwork to
start upon. Water and fish are enough to manufacture from ink, in all
conscience. The trick is also very effective when performed in a small
way with a tumbler.

_The Ubiquitous Glass of Water: First Method._--Procure two small
tumblers, exactly similar in size, shape, and appearance. Fill one
with water, cover it with a tight-fitting indiarubber cover, and
place it in the breast pocket or inside the vest. These little
covers are easily procurable, as they are universally sold as covers
for jam-pots. They cost about sixpence each. Have a small double
handkerchief or cloth, containing a circular piece of card, the size
of the mouth of the tumbler, with a few stitches through it to keep it
in the centre. Show the empty tumbler, and then fill it with water.
Cover it with the handkerchief, and affect to take it up, but place
it on the shelf. Advance very carefully with the supposed glass of
water, and either stumble on the floor and drop everything, or else
pretend to place the glass in someone's hands. If you stumble you
must take care to avoid injuring the concealed tumbler. The glass and
water vanished, it is now your business to find them again. For this
purpose, you call in the aid of a spectator (a youth preferred), whom
you request to stoop. Over his back spread the cloth or handkerchief,
and, grasping that portion containing the card, raise it gently.
Hold it a short time in the air, and then say that you will throw it
into someone's pocket, indicating the particular person. Shake out
the handkerchief or cloth again and then desire the person indicated
to examine his or her pocket. Of course nothing will be found, but
you borrow the handkerchief, which will have been taken from the
searcher's pocket during the examination, and, waving it about, get
the tumbler into it from the pocket, according to the directions
given for producing the bowls of water and fish. Remove the cover
and produce the glass and water, saying that you knew you had passed
them into the indicated pocket. The cover being small, it can be
easily removed and the handkerchief returned. It improves the effect
a great deal if a small piece of wet sponge can be introduced beneath
the cloth whilst the glass, presumably found in the youth's back, is
being held, and then squeezed in imitation of the spilling of water
from the glass. The sponge can be carried at the mouth of one of the
large breast pockets, and, if carefully disposed, need not make the
performer uncomfortable by wetting him. I have even seen the sponge
attached to the under side of the prepared cloth or handkerchief,
which is an excellent plan if the performer is careful not to expose
that side, as the sponge is always at hand, and there is no necessity
to introduce the hand under the covering, compression from the outside
being equally effective in exuding the water.

Some performers think it necessary to go through certain actions for
the purpose of convincing the company that the handkerchief does not
contain a card or other shape. I must confess that I regard such
actions as being decidedly supererogatory, for there is not the least
foundation for assuming that the audience suspect the existence of
any such thing; and for the performer to do anything indicative of an
anticipation on his part that the company are likely to divine what
is the true secret of the trick is highly suicidal. However, all are
not of my opinion, so, if any beginner thinks he would like to be able
to draw the handkerchief through the fingers previous to using, he
can easily do so. All he will have to do will be to run a couple of
stitches from two adjacent corners to the centre of the handkerchief,
and inclose his card in the triangular space thus formed. As it is now
loose, when the handkerchief is held by one of the opposite corners,
the card falls to the extreme border, and the bulk of the handkerchief
may be drawn through the hands. When the handkerchief is held by that
side which forms the base of the triangle, the card falls at once into
position in the centre. A copper or brass wire ring, being heavier
than card, is perhaps more serviceable, as it more readily falls into

_Second Method._--For this a special tumbler will be required. It is
a large one, with perfectly straight sides, and is furnished with an
outside cylindrical shell, also of glass, which is not discernible
from the glass itself when in position. This outside shell must be
sufficiently large to slip over the hand of the performer, so it will
be seen that it is of considerable dimensions. This fact is always of
value from the point of view of effectiveness: the larger the article
the performer can manage to successfully manipulate, the better. The
performer advances with the glass and shell together, and fills the
former to the brim with water. He then places the whole on the rear
edge of the table, and covers with the cloth. Grasping the shell,
from the outside, with one hand, and placing the other hand below,
the glass is slid gradually off the table, when it will drop through
the shell into the hand of the performer, which places it upon the
shelf. The more rapidity there is employed, the better. The performer
comes forward with the shell inside the cloth, and allows the audience
to feel its shape, and also taps it with the wand, to make the glass
ring. He cannot allow the shell to be actually seen, as the absence of
any water would be at once noticed; but the satisfying of the senses
of touch and hearing will be sufficiently convincing. Retiring to
about the centre of the stage, the performer thrusts one of his hands
through the shell, from the bottom, and, whilst supporting the card
shape with the fingers, allows the shell to glide down the arm, inside
the coat sleeve. The handkerchief is then shaken out, and shown to be
empty. In this case, the glass is not reproduced, the trick depending
for effect upon the apparent bringing of a very large glass, full of
water, amongst the audience, and causing it to vanish before their
eyes. In the first method, there is no tapping of the sides of the
glass when in the handkerchief, or any feeling of its shape, which
is, of course, a very great feature of this method. The cuff must be
gripped by the third and little fingers, when the arm may be dropped
without any fear of the glass shell falling to the ground.

_Third Method._--This method is, in every way, vastly superior to
either of the preceding, and, in clever hands, becomes perfectly
marvellous to the uninitiated. Only one tumbler is employed. This
should be of a substantial character, and requires to be fitted with
a flat glass top, exactly the size of the top of the tumbler. To the
under side of this should be cemented a slightly smaller circular
piece, the size of the interior circumference of the mouth of the
tumbler. The glass top cannot now possibly shift from its position.
This top the performer has concealed under his vest or in his breast
pocket, so that it is readily at hand. Without so much as approaching
a table or chair he has the tumbler filled, and, as he covers it with
the cloth, he gets out his top and places it into position. With the
supposed object of, say, placing the tumbler upon a chair, so that
some plea be instituted for bending the body, the tumbler is removed
from the cloth and put into the pocket at the bottom of the coat tail.
The performer now goes through any performance he pleases with his
shape and sponge, and, at the proper moment, produces the tumbler
again. In doing this, however, he must get both hands under the cloth,
so that he may secrete the top in one of them. It would not do to lift
this off from the outside of the cloth, as its extra presence would be
noticed. Its size enables it to be readily nipped between the joints
of the fingers and root of the thumb.

As the performer does not approach the table, it is impossible for the
audience to imagine what has become of the glass, filled, as it is,
with water. There is no doubt that this method calls for more skill in
execution than does the first, but the effect is immeasurably superior.

_To Invert a Glass of Water._--This is an effect which may either
be accomplished separately, or may follow the third method of the
preceding trick. The performer places the tumbler upon the table,
fills it with water, and, in the act of shifting its position, places
the lid, unperceived, upon it. He is provided with a half-sheet of
note-paper, which he places upon the tumbler, and then, covering the
whole with one hand, inverts the glass upon it. He then addresses
the company, remarking that they are, no doubt, familiar with the
schoolboy trick of holding an inverted tumbler of water, with merely
a sheet of paper to keep the contents from falling to the ground. To
illustrate this, the performer holds the tumbler by the base in the
disengaged hand, and removes the one below. In the ordinary way the
paper would fall to the ground; but the performer has taken care to
allow it to become slightly wetted, so that it adheres to the glass
top. The performer now proceeds: "This any schoolboy can do; but I
dare say you do not think it possible for me to remove this paper and
yet retain the water in the tumbler. However, I will show you that
such a feat is possible." Taking the paper by an edge, the performer
gradually removes it, all the time affecting to hold the tumbler with
the greatest steadiness, and keeping his eyes rigidly fixed upon it,
as though momentarily anticipating some catastrophe, to avert which
a concentration of all his energies is necessary. If he pleases, the
performer may swing the tumbler into an upright position and back
again, repeating the action three or four times. The paper may be
eventually replaced, and the top removed inside it, or that article
may be got rid of without the aid of the paper at all.

A slight objection exists in connection with the use of the glass top,
from the fact that it is liable to "talk," _i.e._, make a noise, as
it is being placed in position. This does not signify on the stage,
but, when performing before small audiences, it may be as well to
use a piece of mica. As this has no sunken edge, it is not quite as
secure as the glass top; but, with ordinary care, no mishap need be
apprehended. In removing the paper from beneath, it will be necessary
to adopt great caution in avoiding all approach to a sideways sliding
movement, which would probably have the effect of shifting the mica,
when a deluge would immediately follow. The paper must be boldly
peeled off away from the mica. Mica may be purchased in sheets,
and the conjuror should cut several sizes, both, for tumblers and
wineglasses, and carry them in his pocket-book.

When at a house, if even only for the evening, where he is likely to
be called upon, he can soon obtain an opportunity for fitting the
various glasses in use, by carrying a mica in the palm. Performed
with a wineglass, the trick makes a very valuable addition to the few
applicable to the table. In turning the glass back to the upright
position, always place the hand beneath first, as, in removing it, it
is then an easy matter to take away the mica.

_The Shower of Gold._--The conjuror can perform this trick with the
same tumblers and prepared cloth. One tumbler must be filled with
imitation sovereigns (which are sold cheaply as whist counters) and
placed upon the shelf. The empty tumbler is handed round, and then
covered with the cloth, and apparently placed upon the table. It is
instead rapidly exchanged, under cover of the prepared cloth--which,
when held by the circular card, will sustain the idea that the
tumbler is inside it all the time--for the one containing the coins.
The performer now goes down to the audience, and continues to find
in various ways either single coins or three or four of such at a
time, which are "passed" into the distant tumbler by the various
methods described in "Drawing-room Magic." As coins thrown from a
distance would not in the ordinary way fall into a glass receptacle
without causing any sound, it behoves the conjuror to imitate such
sound. This is easily accomplished by having an assistant behind the
scenes, stationed as close to the table as possible, and provided
with a quantity of coins and a tumbler. When the performer "passes"
any coins towards the tumbler, the assistant should, after a short
lapse of time, allow some to pour into his tumbler. The attention of
the audience is so riveted on the covered glass that the deception
cannot be detected. Indeed, it is difficult for anyone who knows
exactly what is going on behind to notice anything at all suspicious.
The deception is a very perfect one, and is used in many ways by
the best conjurors. Of course, performer and assistant must be _en
rapport_ with each other, the one being careful to state loudly at
each "pass" how many coins are being transmitted, and the other paying
strict attention to what is going on. Supposing the performer finds a
single coin, he will exclaim loudly, "Ah! madam, here is just _one_
coin on the edge of your fan! Permit me." And, on finding several,
he will say, "Ah! in your head, sir, quite a quantity of coins. One,
two, three, four, _five_!" Sometimes, too, it is as well, for effect,
to vary the speed with which the coins perform their imaginary aerial
journey. "This one," the performer will say, "is, I see, a very old
coin, so will go very slowly indeed;" or, "quite a new one, I declare;
see how quickly it will travel." If the assistant be not listening,
the effect will be absurd. The tumbler into which he drops the coins
should be covered, or the sound will be too sharp. It should be a
muffled sound.

_The Egg Bag._--This is a bag which, although repeatedly shown to be
quite empty, continues to give forth eggs. In its smallest form, it
consists of a square bag, made from chintz, or similar material. One
of the sides is double, and thus forms a secret compartment, the mouth
of which is at the bottom of the bag, inside. The bag can be taken
and turned inside out, to show that it is empty, and yet have an egg
inside the compartment. The bag, on being turned back again, can be
held upside down and shaken without the egg falling out, for it will
still be sustained by the inner lining. To produce the egg, all the
performer has to do is to put his hand inside the bag and take the
egg out of the compartment. He can then replace it, and cause it to
disappear. Sometimes the inner lining covers only about three-fourths
of the real side of the bag, but it is best to have it almost the
same size. If, in turning the bag inside out, the double side were
accidentally shown to the audience, they would infallibly notice the
mouth of an inner bag, if it were placed about three-fourths of the
way down one side; but if it came on a level with the bottom of the
bag itself, it would rarely be noticed.

The larger egg bag, for the production of many eggs, is a very
different affair, and requires some making. There are various
patterns, the best of which I give: No. 1 is a chintz bag, about
two and a half feet long, and of proportionate breadth. There is no
double lining to it, but it is barefacedly provided with as many
little pockets, each just capable of containing an egg, as one side
can be made to take. These pockets have buttons, and the eggs are
placed in them, and they are then fastened, their mouths being, of
course, downwards when the bag is held in its proper position. The
performer brings on the bag; and, after explaining that he has simply
an ordinary chintz bag in his hands, proceeds to show that it is
quite empty by turning it first upside down and then inside out. In
performing the latter operation, that side which is provided with
the pockets must, naturally be always turned towards the performer.
The bag is then turned back again, and waved about, and, saying that
he fancies something has been put into his bag by the fairies, the
performer puts his hand inside, opening one of the pockets rapidly
as he does so. The egg thus released is produced, and the bag again
waved about. The operation of producing the eggs is continued until
all are exhausted. It is perhaps better to open the pocket sometimes
as the hand is withdrawn with an egg. This will enable the performer
to compress the material round the egg, thereby released from the
outside, before inserting the hand again to extract it, and exhibit
its contour to the audience, who will then see that the egg is
not placed into the bag by sleight of hand just previous to being
withdrawn. No. 2 is made of any opaque material, a soft one for
choice. Besides the ordinary mouth, it has two smaller ones, each some
sizes larger than an egg, at the bottom corners. They are best made
by simply cutting the corners off. The double lining is very small,
it being only of sufficient breadth to take an egg. It is situated
at the mouth of the bag and runs along the entire length of it. It
has only one opening, a slit across the centre, and the eggs are put
in through this. For safety's sake, it is as well to have the opening
secured with a button. After the bag has been duly turned inside out
and back again, and the slit (if closed) opened, the fingers are run
along the top of the bag, where the narrow strip of inside lining is
situated, and an egg squeezed out through the slit. This egg falls
into the bag proper, which is then tilted sideways over a plate or
a basket, or even a hat, and the egg thus caused to roll out of the
open corner. No. 3 is similar in principle to No. 2, but has a net
underneath, into which the eggs drop with very pretty effect. The
corner openings are dispensed with, and the hand is inserted into the
bag when an egg is to be taken out.

What puzzles audiences as much as anything is that so many eggs
are manipulated and yet not broken. The secret of this is that the
eggs used are, with the exception of the one first produced, which
is broken on a plate as a specimen, guiltless of the possession of
any interior, the performer having taken the precaution of blowing
them. This enables the performer to throw the bag carelessly on the
floor and then to trample on it. Of course the trampling would be
equally fatal to both blown and unblown eggs if the performer did not
carefully avoid that portion of the bag which contains them; but the
mere act of throwing a bag full of eggs in their original state on
the floor would alone be disastrous to many of them. The method for
holding a bag for the purpose of taking out an egg is to hold one
corner between the teeth and the other in one hand stretched out.
This leaves the other hand free for operation. Ordinarily, conjurors
do not produce more than eight eggs. If the amateur wishes to perform
the trick in really good style, he should have a bag made capable of
producing at least two dozen eggs. For this, a large-sized chintz bag
is recommended.

_Incubation by Magic._--A very amusing trick can be performed when an
entertainment is given in the country, or anywhere where a few very
young chickens are procurable. Take four or five of these, and put
them in a black alpaca or silk bag, the mouth of which is tied with
cotton, and is easy to open. Place the bag on the shelf. Be provided
with a blown egg, not too large, which palm. Borrow a hat, and find
the egg in any way you please, and then retire to the stage. Place the
hat on its side on the table, with the crown towards the audience,
and the brim over the back edge, just where the bag is placed on the
shelf. Do not place the hat in the desired position at once, but try
it in various places first, and finally decide that the position in
which you place it is the only secure one. Stand at the end of the
table (R), and place the left hand on the brim of the hat, to
hold it steady. With the right hand take the egg, and, after one or
two feints, make a pass at the crown of the hat with it. Palm the egg
and rub the hat, as if the egg had gone through it. This process of
palming is not difficult when the egg has been made light, by blowing
out the inside; the small end fits nicely between the two fleshy
portions of the hand. Find another egg (_i.e._, the same one), in your
leg, wand, or elsewhere, and pass it through the hat as before, and
repeat the operation as often as you have chickens inside the bag.
This bag will have to be introduced into the hat with the left hand,
and the best time for doing this is when the right hand is engaged in
finding another egg on any part of your person. It is not advisable to
do it when the hat is first set down, as the eyes of the audience are
full upon it. This is an illustration of misdirection. When you have
"passed" the requisite number of eggs through the hat, raise it and
bring it forward, remarking that not only have eggs passed through,
but they have all become hatched. (The hatching can, of course, be
done over a candle.) Great astonishment and amusement will be caused
when you produce the chickens one by one. Before removing the last
one secure the bag in the hand, for it will never do to allow the
audience to see that. The egg you, of course, vest before commencing
to reveal the contents of the hat. This trick is but little known,
which is a pity, as it is a very simple one, and invariably causes
great amusement. It also serves to vary the conventional list of
tricks performed with hats.

There is a capital method for collecting the eggs for this trick in
place of finding each one with the hand, and "passing" it through the
crown of the hat. The hat is loaded, as before, with the chickens in
a bag, and placed upon a side table, as being the least suspicious,
brim upwards. The performer now takes a handkerchief, which is lying
carelessly about, and opens it out. It is then doubled lengthwise,
perpendicularly, and, held by opposite ends; one end is tilted over
the hat, when an egg slides out. The handkerchief is then opened
out to show that it is perfectly empty, is taken up by two corners,
folded, and once more emptied of an egg into the hat. This process is
repeated as often as necessary, when the handkerchief is put aside and
the trick proceeded with, as before described.

The secret of the handkerchief is that on one side is suspended a
blown egg, by means of a piece of black silk thread. A very thick,
or, at any rate, opaque handkerchief, must be employed, so that by
no possible chance can the shape of the egg be seen through it. The
length of the thread will require nice adjustment, as will also its
position on the handkerchief, for naturally it must not be long enough
to allow the egg to appear below the lower margin of the handkerchief,
when that article is held up by two corners, but must still have an
inch or two to spare, to enable it to fall into the hat without being
jerked backwards in the least, for so unnatural a movement imparted to
a falling egg would at once undeceive the company. The position for
the thread to be sewn to the handkerchief is about half way between
the centre and a corner. The folding of the handkerchief must be done
in a very easy manner, but without imparting a wavy motion to it, for
the least lifting of the lower portion will expose the egg. When the
handkerchief is folded the performer may go with it to various parts
of the room, seeking where he can magically find an egg. The egg
found, one of the company may be allowed to feel its contour through
the handkerchief. The opening out of the handkerchief, after the egg
has been poured from it, requires some attention. The lower end is
released, and then the two upper corners are seized, one by either
hand, and the handkerchief thrown wide open, showing the side to which
the egg is attached. It is then thrown forward, so as to spread over
the hat. By this act it has been turned completely over, the audience
having seen both sides of it, whilst the egg has been peacefully
resting inside the hat, the thread not being sufficiently prominent
to become observed. The two corners nearest the performer, originally
those belonging to the lower end of the folded handkerchief as the egg
was tilted into the hat, are then taken, and the handkerchief drawn
off from the hat towards the performer, with an oblique upward motion.
The handkerchief is then in the position for refolding, and right for
the discovery of a new egg.

One defect which always struck me as being apparent in this method
was the fact that the handkerchief could never be given round for
examination. This difficulty I surmounted by the following method: The
egg and thread I keep apart from the handkerchief until the actual
moment for performing the trick arrives. At the loose end of the
thread, the length of which has, of course, been previously adjusted
to a nicety, I fasten a bent black pin; that is, a very much bent
pin--a hook, in fact--with the head end very short and the pointed end
very long. The egg lies in my capacious breast pocket, and the hook
is fastened in a convenient position in the edge of the coat flap.
The handkerchief is given round for examination, and returned to the
performer, who, as he retires to the stage, fastens the hook into it.
Before he turns for this purpose, he must have fixed his eye upon the
place where the hook should go, and have grasped the handkerchief
there, so that afterwards he may be able to conclude his movements
without turning his eyes upon the immediate scene of operations;
not that this need take very long. The pin hook must not be merely
stuck through the handkerchief, such a hold being very insecure,
but it must be put through and brought back again immediately. This
will effectually prevent its slipping out during the manipulations
to which the handkerchief is subjected. So soon as the pin is fixed,
the performer faces the audience, if otherwise ready, and, taking
the handkerchief by the two upper corners, stretches them out, when,
by putting his hands away from him in front, the egg will be drawn
out of the side pocket. The trick then proceeds precisely as before.
If the performer deems it necessary to allow the handkerchief to
be again inspected, which is a matter of fancy, he must, prior to
commencing, place a white handkerchief in the hat, "in order that the
eggs may fall soft, and not make an omelette," he will explain. When
the requisite number of eggs have been found, the pin is unhooked,
and the egg allowed to remain in the hat, from whence it is removed,
folded in the white handkerchief. If the performer observes a suitable
handkerchief amongst the company, he may borrow it, when, of course,
the egg must be got rid of; but it is not often that this circumstance
will occur. It must be admitted that connected with the whole of this
trick there are a style and a neatness which are very different from
the general run of conjuring tricks.

_The Resuscitated Fowl._--This can either follow the trick just
described, or it can form a separate trick altogether. It is very old,
and has formed a portion of the stock performance of conjurors for
hundreds of years. The head of a fowl is concealed in the hand, and
a live bird seized. The conjuror engages in a mock struggle with it,
endeavouring to seize its head, the object of the disturbance being
to enable the real head to be turned down under one of the wings, and
there held with one hand, and the loose head to be held on with the
other hand, in its place. The stage assistant now advances with a
large knife, and cuts off the imaginary head. The performer must make
the deed as realistic as possible by causing the fowl to appear to
struggle vehemently, and twitch its legs if possible. The head is then
taken, and applied to the neck, the conjuror remarking that nothing is
easier than to cause it to grow on again. Palm the loose head, and,
at the same time, allow the real one to escape from its confinement,
when it will at once appear to have suddenly grown on again. Release
the fowl for a short run, to show that there is no mechanism about
it. This trick is frequently performed by the very best conjurors,
sometimes with a pigeon. The loose head must match the real one as
nearly as possible, or the deception may be noticed.

_"Kling-Klang."_--This is a pretty little trick, and does not take
long to perform. Take a fancy coloured silk handkerchief, of a small
size, not more than a foot square, at the utmost. To the centre of
this attach a _blown_ hen's egg by means of a piece of thread 2in.
to 3in. long. The end of the thread inside the egg is attached to
the centre of a tiny piece of wood, such as a portion of a match,
which can be pushed in, end foremost, through the hole at the end of
the egg, but which, when once inside, will steadfastly refuse to be
pulled out again. This method is far better than all other devices
with cobbler's wax and glue. Two other silk handkerchiefs, quite
opposite, in point of colour, to the one attached to the egg, will
also be required, as will a toddy glass with a foot, and an ordinary
egg, not blown. The last-mentioned article must be vested. One of
the two handkerchiefs of a like colour fold neatly in the palm, and
in the same hand take the blown egg, and, as a natural consequence,
the handkerchief attached to it, which arrange neatly around the
egg, so as to conceal the handkerchief in the palm. Place the other
handkerchief in the toddy glass, and, with the wand under arm, emerge
thus laden from the secrecy of "behind the scenes." Give the glass
and handkerchief to one person, and ask him to examine them both,
and then take from him the glass, to be held by another person. Then
say, "I have here another silk handkerchief and an egg. The egg I
will place in this glass, and then cover it with the handkerchief."
Proceed to do this, taking care to slip in the concealed handkerchief
_under_ the egg, and then retire to the stage, taking with you the
second of the duplicate handkerchiefs. As you go to the stage, bring
down the egg from your vest, and take the handkerchief in the hand
which contains it. Turn to the audience, and ask the holder of the
glass to shake it gently to show that the egg is still inside. The
peculiar "kling-klang" made by the egg against the glass gives the
name to the trick. A caution from you not to shake too strongly, as
you do not want an omelette inside the glass, is sure to amuse. Now
bring both hands together in front of you, and commence to draw in the
handkerchief little by little. At intervals have the glass shaken.
When a few inches only of the handkerchief protrude from the hand,
draw near the holder of the glass, whom desire to cease shaking.
When you have drawn the handkerchief completely into the hands, and
feel that it is perfectly concealed, ask a spectator to hold out his
hand, and suddenly produce the egg, which give to him. Without losing
a moment, raise the handkerchief from over the glass by its centre,
thus removing the egg at the same time, taking care to continually tap
the glass with the wand during the operation, otherwise an accidental
knock of the egg against the side of the glass would be heard, and
the whole trick spoilt. Call particular attention to the fact of
the egg which you produce being a genuine one, and then get away
with your other properties as fast as you decently can. The trick is
mostly performed with an imitation egg, instead of a real one. The
egg is hollow, and has a great opening in one side. Into this the
handkerchief is forced. There is no sleight of hand about this, and
the egg cannot be given for examination, which is fatal.

_The Harmless Shot._--Procure a substantial-looking muzzle-loading
pistol, the larger the better, and get a tinman to make a tube that
fits neither tightly nor loosely inside. One end of the tube must be
closed, and the open end be furnished with a turn-over rim, which you
colour or polish, so as to resemble as nearly as possible the muzzle
of the pistol. If it comes easier, by all means reverse the process,
and make the muzzle of the pistol resemble the muzzle of the tube.
The tube should be at least two-thirds the length of the interior of
the pistol barrel, and not about an inch and a half only. Now make a
wooden ramrod, which will fit rather tightly into the tube--tightly
enough to bring it away from the interior of the pistol when withdrawn
after being rammed into it. The exterior of the tube should match the
ramrod in colour and appearance, so that the fact of the one being
within the other when held in the hand in that condition will not be

Advance to the audience with the pistol, ramrod, powder, caps, paper,
and bullets. The tube is concealed somewhere about you. Give round
one or more bullets to be marked by the audience, and, at the same
time, give the pistol into the hands of someone for examination.
If the pistol takes to pieces, so much the better, as it is highly
advantageous for the audience to be quite convinced that there is
no mechanical preparation of the performer's own devising connected
with the implement. Have a fair charge of powder put in, and give the
ramrod for ramming the charge. Whilst this is being done, get the tube
into the hand, and, when the ramrod is returned to you, pass it into
the tube, and then at once say earnestly, "I hardly think you rammed
it sufficiently, sir." Without taking the pistol yourself, hold the
muzzle in the fingers of the left hand, and ram with the right. The
left hand must pinch the rim of the tube, which will thereby become
disengaged from the ramrod, and remain inside the pistol. By this
means the tube has become inserted in the pistol without any occasion
for the pistol leaving the possession of the person assisting. The
bullet or bullets are then dropped in by such of the audience as have
marked them, the pistol being handed round by the volunteer assistant,
who is also asked to put a piece of paper in as well. This piece of
paper is very small, and is rolled up by the performer himself, who
will, of course, take particular care that it is not bulky enough to
jam in the tube. The performer now, without taking the pistol, puts
in the ramrod and presses down the bullets--apparently. He, however,
takes good care to avoid pressing them at all, but brings the hand
holding the ramrod over the muzzle of the pistol, and so secures the
tube. There is nothing in the action to excite the least suspicion;
still, it is best to have the ramrod of such length that only an inch
or so of it protrudes from the muzzle. If this particular be observed,
then the hand must approach the muzzle on every occasion of ramming
down a charge, and so no suspicion can possibly be excited by the
action. The imaginary ramming is, of course, continued, the tube being
moved up and down inside the pistol vehemently. Withdraw the ramrod
and tube, carefully concealing the junction of the two, and have the
pistol capped. Having secured the bullets in the tube, the next thing
is to get them into the hand. As it is impossible to withdraw the
rod from the tube in full view of the audience (it can certainly be
done behind the table; but the unavoidably lengthened absence of both
hands for the purpose would be fatally suspicious), the performer
must necessarily retire behind the scenes. The best excuse is that of
requiring a plate. Whilst fetching this, the rod is withdrawn from
the tube, and the bullet or bullets shaken out. The paper ought not
to stick, but it might; and so it is always as well to have a piece
of wire with a sharp hook at one end in readiness. This abstraction
of the bullets could be managed whilst the performer retires up the
stage, and it would be advisable to do so if the bullets were certain
to drop out, which, however, they are not. When the performer has a
stage assistant, as he always should have when possible, the matter
becomes much easier. The assistant holds the box of caps on or near
the stage, and the performer goes to him for them, and gives him the
wand with the tube on it in an offhand manner. The assistant then
manages all the abstraction whilst the capping of the pistol is going
on, and stands, just removed from sight, with the plate in one hand
and the bullets in the other. The performer then has only to stretch
his arm behind to receive the bullets first and the plate next, both
in one hand. The bullets are held under the fingers, which are on the
inside of the plate. The performer now holds the plate either in front
of his face or at arm's length, and requests that the pistol may be
fired at it. When this is done, the bullets are allowed to roll on the
plate, which is brought simultaneously into a horizontal position, a
kind of "grab" being made with it, as if catching the bullets in the
air. I like this method better than catching the bullets in the mouth,
as the performer can at once run forward with them on the plate,
and the audience will be thus enabled to see for themselves that no
substitution has taken place during transit.

The difficulty of extracting the bullet or bullets I finally mastered,
after various trials, by using a tolerably thick piece of cork for
the purpose of closing the one end of the tube. When the performer
retires up the stage, he holds the closed end in his hand and presses
the ramrod against his body, thus forcing out cork, bullet, and paper
with one vigorous push. The operation does not occupy a second, and,
when the performer turns facing the audience again, the ramrod is in
his hand as before. It will naturally occur to everybody that, if
the ramrod fits tightly into the tube, the whole arrangement will
be neither more nor less than a popgun, and the cork will be blown
out as soon as the ramrod is inserted into the tube. To avoid such
a startling result, the ramrod must, although fitting the tube at
certain places, be made out of truth, so as to admit of an escape of
air, or else the cork must have a hole burnt through it by means of
red-hot wire. Piercing a hole through the cork will not suffice, as
the nature of the material will speedily cause the opening to close up
again. If this cork arrangement be used, then the performer need never
leave the stage.

I have given the learner what I consider to be the best method for
performing the trick. A method which differs only slightly from mine,
the principle being the same, is to use a tube barely two inches in
length. This tube is dropped into the pistol by the performer, who
takes the pistol entirely in his hands, for the purpose of ramming
down the powder charge. As it lies secreted a long way down the
pistol, it, of course, can never be seen. In pushing the ramrod down,
it becomes fixed in the tube, and brings it away, the ramrod being
the least bit tapered, to insure its going into the tube. It should
be tapered at each end, so that there may be no bother about looking
to see which end is the graduating one. The rest of the trick is
performed exactly as in the other method. My objections to the use
of the short tube are that, in order to get it into the pistol, the
performer must secure actual possession of the firearm, and he must
repeat the manoeuvre when he wishes to take it out again. Again, it
is very difficult to conceal the point of junction of a short tube on
a long ramrod. If the performer does not use the utmost caution, the
tube will be noticed sticking on the rod as they are withdrawn from
the pistol. The rim of the long tube is covered with the hand before
the abstraction is made, and added to this is the fact that the pistol
never leaves the hand of the volunteer assistant, which is a great
feature in the trick. The only objection to the long tube I found to
be the difficulty sometimes arising in abstracting the bullets; but
my cork has now removed that difficulty. I have given both methods
that the learner may choose for himself. Although I have said "bullet
or bullets," because some conjurors employ one only and some three or
four, I should, myself, never think of using more than one. The effect
is the same, whilst the trick is made immeasurably easier to the
performer. People may, perhaps, be a little more satisfied at seeing
several bullets marked by different people, but it is just as easy,
and quite as effective, to have one bullet thus treated. It will not
matter in the least to the performer how many people mark it.

Another method for performing the trick is to substitute for the
marked bullet a blacklead one. This, on account of its lightness,
the performer must himself drop into the pistol and see that it is
so rammed that it is broken up. I would never advise anyone to adopt
this method, although Houdin caused consternation amongst the Arabs by
allowing himself to be fired at from a distance of a few paces. With
his usual completeness he finished the trick by firing another pistol
at a whitewashed wall, on which appeared a large splash of blood. This
was managed by means of a ball of black wax, the inside of which was
filled with blood. The Arabs were duly impressed.

There are some pistols made with spring openings in the barrel,
through which the bullet falls into the hand of the performer; but,
in this case, the pistol cannot be examined, which fact is quite
sufficient to taboo the method. Unless the pistol is given to be
examined, and left in the hands of the spectators the whole time,
there is, in my opinion, nothing in the trick.

_A Bottle of Ginger Beer._--The reader will scarcely require to be
told that one of the great deceits practised by conjurors is that
of duplication. In order to apparently execute the impossibility of
conveying a large solid body invisibly through space, the conjuror has
to cause the article itself to disappear by any means at hand, and to
produce another similar article, or counterfeit thereof, at the spot
to which the original one is supposed to be magically transported. In
the case of Houdin's die trick a counterfeit die was made use of, and
in many of the coin tricks duplicate coins were employed. Whatever
the article used, the method is almost invariably the same; and the
public are often invited to witness the exhibition of a new wonder,
which is in reality only a variety of what has been done in hundreds
of ways before.

One very effective variety of this particular deceit is the
transposition of a ginger-beer bottle from one paper cover to another.
The trick and its explanation are as follows: The performer brings
forward a ginger-beer bottle and a glass, on a tray. If he pleases,
he may have two ginger-beer bottles, and ask the audience to choose
between them. He should ask them to select between the one on the
right and the one on the left. If "right" is said, and the one with
which the trick is to be performed is on the left of the audience,
then the performer must say, "On _my_ right. Thank you"; and instantly
take up that bottle without more ado, and uncork it. He then pours
out the ginger beer, to show that it is genuine--so he says, but the
real object is to keep the spectators from suspecting that there
is anything "uncanny" about the bottle itself. The peculiarity of
the bottle is that it either never had a bottom to it, or else that
portion of it has been forcibly removed. Some few conjuring trick
makers supply bottles without bottoms; but any lapidary will perform
the desired operation should the performer himself be unsuccessful
in accomplishing it with a hammer. The chief thing is to obtain
two bottles that match exactly in colour. Height is not of much
consequence, as that is not so readily retained by the eye as is
colour; still, it is as well to have them match in that even, but
colour stands first in importance. One of these bottles is placed
upon the right-hand side of the shelf behind the table, and the other
is fitted inside with either a piece of thick cork or gutta-percha.
Whichever it is, it must fit very tightly, and be situated about an
inch from the foot of the bottle. The cork must be left out until the
last minute, or the fermentation of the ginger beer will cause the
false bottom to come out unexpectedly with a "pop." This prepared
bottle is the one that is brought on on the tray, with or without
another genuine one, as the performer pleases. When two are brought
on, the second one should always be left with the audience for them
to open if they be so minded. It is sure to be examined with strict
minuteness, and its unblemished innocence will reflect upon its late

Under his vest band the performer has a small apple, a walnut, or
little ball. This he gets down as he retires to the table, and slips
it in the lower cavity of the bottle, holding it there suspended
by means of the little finger. He then places the bottle upon the
left-hand front corner of the table, and on the corresponding corner
he places a duplicate of the article which he has secretly introduced
under the bottle. This duplicate will have been lying on the table
all the time, and can, of course, be examined. The performer now
takes two cardboard or paper covers, each just large enough to cover
a ginger-beer bottle easily, and shows them round. These covers
can be made with very little trouble, and the plainer they are the
better, in my opinion. Spectators think no more of a trick because
of a cover of many colours covered with gold or silver stars. A
fancy paper on the outside is all that is required, for it will not
do to look "beggarly." These two covers are now taken back, and the
performer goes behind his table. With the left hand he places one
cover very slowly and deliberately over the bottle, and calls very
particular attention to what he is doing. The cover in the right hand
is meanwhile being placed over the bottle on the shelf. The conjuror's
whole attention, eyes and everything, must be engrossed on what he
is doing with the bottle which is visible. Any glance which he may
want to take for ascertaining the exact position of the bottle on the
shelf must take place as he goes behind the table; any downward look
after this would be fatal. Directly it is felt that the hidden bottle
is safe in the cover, the latter must be brought into view again; and
care must be taken that it is held a little obliquely, the mouth being
towards the performer. As an additional security, it is always as
well to have the inside of the covers blackened, or lined with black
paper, and the inside and base of the second bottle treated likewise.
Any accidental exposure will then not be so likely to be attended by
serious results.

When the first cover is fairly over the bottle, the second one,
containing the other bottle, is placed over the little ball, or
whatever it is. The performer next takes up his wand and says,
"Now, what I am about to do is to cause the ginger-beer bottle and
the little ball to change places. This, I am aware, anyone can do
by simply lifting off the covers and altering the positions of the
articles with the hand; but I shall do nothing so transparent. I will
show you that the articles are still where I placed them, and that I
have not already moved them from their positions." (The covers are
alternately lifted, care being taken not to prematurely expose the
wrong article.) "My method of procedure is as follows: First, I take
out the little ball" (on the shelf there is a third article, similar
to the other two, and this the performer palms in the left hand) "in
this manner. You see, I simply run my wand up the side of the cover,
and here I have the little ball in my hand." (Strike left hand with
wand, and open it and put the ball on table.) "This cover is now
empty. By means of my wand, I remove the ginger-beer bottle, large and
cumbrous as it is, from the cover--here it is, see, on my wand!--and
pass it gently, for fear of breakages, into the empty cover. This
little ball I take thus, and pass into this cover, where the bottle
was, not five seconds since." (Perform any pass with the ball, and put
it back upon the shelf.) "On raising the covers, it will be seen that
the change has actually taken place." Raise the left-hand cover first,
grasping it firmly so as to ensure the bottle from slipping, and then
show the second bottle on the right, bringing the left hand, at the
same time, over the shelf, upon which the first bottle is permitted to
drop, very gently, from the cover. Both covers should be afterwards
shown round, although the trick can be repeated, i.e., done backwards,
if the performer desires. If he does so, he should say, "Ah, I daresay
everybody did not see how that was done, and, as I always like the
method of my tricks to be understood by everybody, I will do it over
again. There is no fun in a trick if one does not see how it is
done." On removing the bottles at the close of the trick, care must
be taken that the hidden ball, &c., is not knocked down on the floor,
as is sometimes done by accident. This is a genuinely good trick, the
opening of the ginger-beer bottle before the audience serving to throw
that body off its guard.

_The Flying Plume and Seed._--This is another trick in which
duplicated representations play an important part, but the articles
and methods employed are so totally distinct from those used in the
preceding trick that one might follow the other in a performance, and
yet both appear to be totally distinct in every way. There is a little
simple apparatus in connection with the trick. First of all, a tin
tube, 18in. long, and at least 1-1/2in. in diameter. It is provided
with a cap at each end, fitting inside, and not over, as is usual. The
tube also possesses the peculiarity of being divided longitudinally,
by a tin partition, into two portions. This partition does not run
down the centre of the tube, but takes a transverse direction from one
side of one end to the opposite side of the other end. By this means,
both ends are open to their full extent, and the tube can be shown
briskly round, with the cap off, without anyone being able to detect
anything wrong. Of course, only one end will be given for inspection,
the audience not suspecting the existence of more than one opening.

Then there is a vase, also of tin, but painted on the outside or
japanned. This vase has a foot about 3in. high, which is hollow, and
is connected with the body of the vase by means of a very large hole.
This hole is hidden by a large domed cap on the end of a pin, which
runs through the foot, and is furnished with a button underneath. A
spiral spring inside keeps the cap down on the hole, but pressure on
the button under the foot causes it to rise, and any seed that may be
in the body of the vase will instantly run down into the foot. Two
plumes of exactly the same colour and length will also be required.
These plumes can be obtained at a cheap rate at any plumassier's. One
of the compartments of the tube is secretly filled with seed, and the
end opening that division is closed with the cap. This cap should bear
a distinct mark to distinguish it from the other. In the vase there
should be an egg, orange, lemon, or apple, &c., which must not be seen
by the audience, and on the table there should be another similar
article. Up the performer's sleeve, or in his side pocket, one of the
plumes is secreted. The other plume is handed round and then thrust
down the tube, which, to all appearances, it entirely fills. Place the
tube on a chair or on the floor, and then take the vase, and into it
pour a quantity of seed, going forward so soon as the article at the
bottom is covered. Show the vase round full of seed, and then place it
on another chair, the button being pressed and all the seed allowed to
run away in transit.

Now borrow either a hat or a handkerchief. If the plume is up the
sleeve, then a handkerchief is required. Spread the handkerchief over
the hand, as if showing there is nothing in it, and seize the end
of the plume through it with the other hand. Draw the handkerchief
smartly away with the plume inside it, and throw both on the floor. If
the plume is in the pocket, then borrow a hat and slip the plume into
it. The plume will curl round inside the hat, and remain firmly fixed,
so the hat can be turned brim downwards without fear of the plume
falling out.

These preliminaries concluded, proceed as follows: Touch the tube
with the wand and say you have taken out the plume, which you then
"pass" into the hat or handkerchief, as the case may be. Now touch the
vase with the wand, and say that you have removed all the seed, which
you then command to go into the tube. Vanish the egg, or whatever
it may be that you use, down a trap, and "pass" it into the vase.
Nothing then remains but to open the tube, and to show the vase and
handkerchief or hat. Millet is by far the best seed to use. It is
light, and its spherical shape causes it to run smoothly. A conjuror,
who was experienced enough to know better, persistently used rice for
this trick. The result was extra delay, for the rice generally managed
to clog somewhere, and always made a tell-tale rattling as it trickled
into the foot. It made one tremble to look and listen. The trick is
very easily managed, and creates a remarkably pretty effect. The
conjuring shops supply the apparatus.

_How to Make and Cook a Pudding in a Hat._--Procure a large size
gallipot with nice thin sides. Have a tin lining made to fit the
inside of this, and divide the lining into two portions by means of a
horizontal division across the middle. The inside of a gallipot being
somewhat narrower at the bottom than it is at the top, the lining
will be taper, and consequently one partition will be larger than the
other. Into the larger partition put a plum pudding, or cake, hot, and
stand it on the shelf, without the gallipot. Borrow a hat, and, whilst
busy about putting some paper at the bottom of it, and explaining that
it is to prevent its being spoilt, take an opportunity of slipping
the tin containing the pudding into it. Now take some flour, eggs,
plums, sugar, and water, and mix them all up in the gallipot, to the
accompaniment of some facetious remarks about your being a first-rate
cook. Next pour the paste from the gallipot into the empty division of
the tin, and, putting the pot momentarily into the hat, press it down
well over the tin, which it will bring away, leaving the pudding alone
behind. Now hold the hat over a spirit lamp (a candle would spoil the
hat), and profess to be cooking the contents, which presently take out
close to the audience and distribute. Some conjurors make omelettes
and pancakes, which certainly make a good show, and are suggestive
of being cooked on the crown of a hat. Some address is required in
executing this trick, especially in getting the tin into and out of
the hat. The knack of putting things into hats from the shelf neatly
is one of the most difficult things to acquire, and the performer must
never be nervous at the moment, or he will be certain to allow himself
to be discovered. Sometimes the egg is first broken into the hat
(_i.e._, the tin), and the flour and water afterwards mixed up in the
gallipot. The effect of the contents of an egg dropping into a hat is
certainly good.

An amusing interlude, when borrowing a hat, is to apparently push the
forefinger through the crown and then restore the hole supposed to be
made by the act. This deception is managed by having a cast of a human
forefinger made in either wax, gutta-percha, or plaster, and provided
with a pointed wire at the thick end. This finger is concealed in
the right hand, and the left hand put inside the hat. The right hand
is then brought on the outside of the crown, and with the remark, "I
fancy you have a hole in your hat, sir," an apparent effort is made,
and a finger shown protruding through the crown. All that is done is
to pass through the wire, which is held on the inside by the left
hand. After making a few sharp movements simulating a finger in the
act of being shaken, bring the right hand on to the crown again, and
make as though considerable exertion were required in order to get
the finger back again. The dummy is, of course, merely secured in the
right hand, and the hat immediately shown ostentatiously round, so as
to keep attention away from the right hand. The imitation finger must
naturally be coloured to resemble the performer's flesh. The trick
must not last long--a quarter of a minute is ample. If the finger
remains through the hat for any length of time the audience will soon
realise what the nature of the deception is. It should appear as if
the finger had been just pushed through, shaken derisively, and then

_The Flags of Old England._--Without any visible preparation, and
from no conceivable source, the performer produces hundreds of
flags with the hands. The flags, which can, of course, be of any
colour, but, for obvious reasons, should be red, white, and blue,
for preference, are thus made quickly: Procure some sheets of tissue
paper, and cut them into slips of equal dimensions. A good size to
commence with is 3in. by 1-1/2in., three of which will make a flag of
4in. by 3in., a very nice size. For rapid pasting, place, say, the red
slips one over the other, each one permitting just a quarter of an
inch of the one beneath it to be seen. With one sweep of the brush a
large number can be thus pasted. Perform the same operation with the
blue papers, and the white ones will not require any paste at all.
Join the three together, and, when dry, paste them on either very
thin sticks or wire, or else on bass. The latter is far preferable to
any other substance, and can be easily procured. Now make some flags
about 6in. by 4in. in the same manner, and, if you choose, a few even
larger still. Roll them all up very tightly in two or three bundles,
and secrete them about you. I always place a bundle of small flags
up each sleeve, the larger ones being either in the vest or in the
large breast pocket of the coat. Take a little flag in each hand, and
advance with them. Wave them about, and, lowering one hand, allow the
bundle to slide into it from the sleeve, care being taken that the
back of the hand is towards the audience. Bring the hands together
immediately, and continue to wave them about for a few seconds, when
commence to unroll the flags, and cause a few to appear first at the
top, and then to fall on to the floor. Continue this, all the time
moving about, until you find the supply getting low, when, with a
downward sweep of the hands, extract the bundle from the other sleeve.
This movement will be perfectly concealed by the numerous flags flying
about. It will also be perfectly easy to obtain possession of the
other bundles from the vest or pocket, if care be taken to raise the
flags that are being exhibited, so as to conceal the motion of the
hand. When the larger flags are being unravelled, the waving should
increase. The effect of a quantity of flags coming from apparently
nowhere is always very bewildering to an audience, and this is
heightened when the larger ones appear. I remember producing one quite
8ft. in length, with a complimentary motto, allusive to the season of
the year, elaborated upon it. There is, however, no necessity to go to
such a length as this. Buatier, instead of two flags to commence with,
takes a bundle of coloured paper, which he rolls up, and then pretends
to transform into flags. This is not at all a bad method, and, if
the performer prefers it to my own, there is no harm in adopting it.
Buatier decidedly makes a mistake, though, in producing the original
paper after he has manufactured several hundreds of flags from it.
This is not consistent.

_The Chinese Rings._--Whether originally Chinese or not, is of little
moment: the trick has received the name, and is known by it only, so
I adhere to it. The trick consists in apparently accomplishing the
evident impossibility of linking strong metal rings, that have no
break or opening in them, one within the other. The secret of the
trick lies in the fact that one of a number of rings is provided
with a slit or opening, which is kept carefully concealed by the
performer's fingers. As, however, one ring with an opening would not
alone suffice to link several others together in a continuous chain,
the rings are made in sets of three and two welded together, besides
three or four single ones. The set of two I always dispense with as
useless. There is not the slightest necessity for going to a conjuring
repository to obtain the rings, for an ordinary smith can produce a
much more serviceable article. My idea of a good ring is one made of
iron wire fully 3/8in. in thickness and 9in. in diameter. Let the
metal be well burnished, and see that the welding is properly done.
The opening in the one ring should be 7/16in. wide so as to admit the
other rings freely. Some rings have a slit merely, whilst others have
the ends springing one into the other. These precautions are quite
unnecessary, for the secret ring is never given round for examination.
When the performer comes on, he has the open ring concealed either
under his armpit, in his breast pocket, or in the vest; or he may have
it hanging behind a chair, if he has one with an opaque back on the
stage. The other rings he has in the hand, and gives them round for
examination. Unless this examination takes place, there is nothing in
the trick, for the audience would justly argue that all the rings have
secret spring-bolt openings which are invisible at a short distance.
To abstract the concealed ring without detection requires, at times,
considerable address. A good way is to allow some of the others to
fall, and whilst stooping quickly for them, get out the concealed
one. Turning the back upon the audience, and deliberately taking the
ring out from its place of concealment whilst walking towards the
stage, is the method I usually adopt. When it is hung at the back of a
chair, the bulk of the rings should be placed upon the seat, and two
or three taken up in one hand; say, the right. In stooping to pick up
some more rings with the left hand, the right, naturally enough, finds
its way to the top of the back of the chair, and, as the ring will be
suspended half an inch down, the end of one finger will be sufficient
to obtain it.

I lay some stress upon this recovery of the open ring, for in its
neat execution lies the whole secret of the trick. If the performer
feels that he has accomplished the feat without being observed, he
may boldly assert that he knows that other conjurors perform the same
trick with prepared rings--he does nothing so mean and despicable. As
a rule, I disagree with any hint whatever that may give a clue to the
secret of a trick; but this particular one is so widely known that I
doubt if an audience of ordinary size could be found with everyone
ignorant of its secret. Under these circumstances, the conjuror who
wishes for success must be different to everyone else. If he is not
"prepared to do or die," let him leave the Chinese rings alone.

The method of "working" the trick is to first take up the open ring
and one of the single ones, one in each hand. Unless the performer
be left-handed, or ambidextrous, it is always advisable to hold the
open ring in the right hand, the opening being between the finger
and thumb. Stand at the front of the stage (if there are side boxes,
then a little back), and let the open ring hang carelessly on the
thumb, only broadside on to the audience. By turning up the point of
the thumb ever so little, the opening is rendered quite invisible
to spectators, who will think that two perfect rings are being held
before them, they having no possible reason to suspect even that an
open ring is anywhere about. Bang the two rings together several
times, and pretend to make two or three attempts to fit one into the
other, by what precise movement does not matter in the least.

Presently slip the solid ring rapidly through the opening of the
other, without ceasing for an instant the movements you have hitherto
made, which continue as if the two rings were still apart. Soon you
will work the two close together, and, by degrees, bring round the
solid ring to the bottom of the open one, and then allow it to hang
from it. Be careful, however, that the opening is never so much as
approached by the solid ring after the latter has been passed through
it. By a reversal of the proceedings, the ring must be taken off
again, the two rings being held touching one another, and worked about
as if still linked, long after the actual detachment has taken place.
The audience are supposed to actually see one ring pass through the
other, and the performer must cause this to appear to be done at the
lower half of the open ring. Performers always make a grand mistake
in hurrying over this, the opening part of the trick, which is really
the most important part of it. Within reasonable bounds, the linking
of the two first rings cannot be much too long drawn out. If he be
possessed of sufficient daring, the performer may advance to one of
the audience with the two rings linked, and give him one of them
(the solid one, of course) to hold. Just as the ring is put into his
hand, the disconnection should take place. This is an interlude, which
the performer may use or not, according to how he feels in spirits,
for conjurors are like race-horses, and are at times "in" or "out of
form." Two loose rings can then be put on the open one, one at a time,
and then removed and held together. The open ring can be passed over
the arm out of the way, the opening being, of course, concealed, and
some "business" can be gone through with the other two, which, as they
never were together, can be separated without much difficulty.

Some conjurors become breathless at the bare idea of allowing the open
ring to leave the hand, whereas, when properly managed, there is not
the least danger to be apprehended. When the ring is passed over the
arm, the hand does not leave the opening until it is well embedded
inside the elbow joint. It is bad policy to hold one ring continually
in the hand, as the fact is extremely likely to be noticed. When a
few evolutions have been performed with the single rings, including
throwing one in the air and catching it on the open ring on its
descent, the triplets should be taken up, and, after plenty of shaking
about and turning round and over, an end one should be linked on. By
linking up the other end as well, a square is formed. Give two rings
of this to be held by different people, and tell them to pull. Give
one or two jerks yourself, and at one of them disconnect, and then
gradually appear to unlink the square, bringing, at last, the four
in a single chain. Make a lot more flourishes, but merely bring the
four side by side in one hand, hanging. Hold the open ring firmly,
and allow the others to drop steadily. This they will do in two
distinct stages or jerks, at each of which you make a movement with
the disengaged hand as if controlling them. As a finish, it is usual
to put all the rings in a bunch on the open one. When this is done,
one of the solid rings should be made to sustain the rest for a short
time in place of the open one, which may be allowed to hang down in
the rear of the others, where it will not be seen. The solid ring thus
temporarily used should be held alternately in several places, so that
the audience, and especially such as know the secret of the trick,
may see that there is actually no opening it. This is an excellent
_ruse_ to adopt. When performing with the rings, always make a deal
of clatter with them; it adds to the effect. An effective _finale_
is to grasp the open ring by the solid part immediately opposite
the opening, and, turning the whole bunch rapidly over, shake the
other rings loose upon the floor, dropping the open ring amongst the
rest. The apparent recklessness of this goes still further to disarm
suspicion as to an open ring.

It will be seen that, beyond obtaining the open ring, everything is
what is understood as "hankey-pankey"--in fact, downright humbug--but
it is humbug of a superior order. The performer who introduces it
injudiciously and unskilfully will have reason to regret any imperfect
study of this trick. There is not much true sleight of hand in it, but
the perfection of "address" will be required.

_The Drawer-Box._--This is not the name of a trick, but of one of the
most useful pieces of apparatus which a conjuror can possess. I have
purposely refrained from making any mention of it before, because I
wanted to make the beginner an adept at vanishing and producing with
his hands before I gave him an article that would save him the trouble
at the loss of a large amount of effect. When a person is able to do
considerable execution with his hands alone, there need be no anxiety
about giving apparatus into them. It is only with the beginner that
the danger lies, for he will say, "Oh! this box does all I want--at
least, quite well enough for me--so why should I take the trouble
to learn to do it without?" The expert is never too anxious to use
apparatus, and invariably manages with as little of it as he can.

Now, the drawer-box is an article of such peculiar handiness on so
many occasions, that the temptation held out to beginners to use
it frequently is too great to be resisted. It will bear a cursory
examination, and yet, although crammed with any kind of article to its
fullest extent, it is made to appear quite empty, by merely being shut
and re-opened, and this in the midst of the audience; or the operation
may, with modifications, be reversed, and the box shown first empty,
and then full.

Most of us must have seen the little cigar-case which is so handy to
smokers who wish to keep a good brand of cigar to themselves. The
drawer-box is made on exactly the same principle as this, only, of
course, in an enlarged form, and in wood.

[Illustration: FIG. 51.]

[Illustration: FIG. 52.]

The appended sketches (Figs. 51 and 52) show the apparatus. I give a
minute description of it here, as it is only in very large towns that
the article is procurable, made in the manner it should be, so the
conjuror can either get a cabinet maker to make him one, or, if he be
anything of a carpenter, make one for himself.

A (Fig. 51) is a lightly-made drawer, without any back end, and
fits somewhat easily into F (Fig. 52), which should be made of
3/8in. stuff, and strongly put together. B is another lightly-made
drawer, smaller than A, into which it fits. A has a narrow combing all
round the upper surface of the front end and sides. This serves to
conceal the presence of B, which in reality looks like the inside of
A. To perfect this deception, the open sides of A are, as depicted in
sketch, made with mortises, and the end of B being allowed to extend
a little each side, and also mortised, the two dovetail one into the
other, and present a most innocent appearance. The knob D is not
fixed, but has a slight perpendicular play. It is connected with a
piece of flat metal, which extends from the knob to the upper portion
of the wood, inside the combing, where it is furnished with a catch,
which can be made by turning over the end of the metal and sharpening
it a little. In B there is a slight incision made at C. When B is
pushed home into A, and the knob D pressed downwards, the catch fixes
itself into C, and thus keeps the two drawers firmly together. The
action of shifting the knob up and down is very slight indeed, a
1/4in., or, at the outside, 1/3in. play being ample. When the two
drawers are thus fixed, they may be shown round, and no one not in the
secret will suspect that there is more than one drawer. The more care
and attention that is paid in fitting the drawers nicely together, the

At the lower part of the back end of B will be noticed a protruding
piece of wood, E. This fits closely against A when the two are closed
together, but it plays an important part in the working of the box.
In the body, F (Fig. 52), is cut a square hole, immediately under
the point where the thumb is seen to be pressing. G is a flat spring
let into the bottom of F, and fixed at the end farthest removed from
the square hole. A square piece of wood, the same thickness as the
bottom of the body F, and slightly smaller than the hole, is glued
firmly on the free end of the spring, so that it is always in the
hole. The exterior of the box should be painted or French polished,
and the bottom covered with baize or cloth. The material should be
glued on, the space covering the spring, and half an inch all round
it, being left free. The apparatus is then ready for use, and is thus
"worked": We will suppose that it is required to cause several apples
to disappear. The drawer A, with B inside it, and the knob pressed
firmly down, is shown in one hand, and the body F in the other. The
apples are then put into A (really into B), which is then pushed into
F. After the performer has pretended to extract the apples by magical
means, he takes up the box with both hands, one hand grasping one end,
with the thumb on the spring G (Fig. 52), and the other hand seizing
the knob D, which it presses upwards, thus removing the catch from the
slit C. With the thumb pressing as hard as possible on the spring,
the drawer A is pulled out. The square piece of wood on the end of
the spring G, being pressed inside the box, causes an obstruction to
the inner drawer B through the medium of the protrusion E, and B is
consequently held back in F. The drawer A, which is, after all, merely
an outer shell, is shown instead, and the audience, not knowing of
the existence of a double drawer, imagine that the one shown them is
the one which they saw filled with apples. When the box is opened, it
should be held sideways, with the top turned towards the audience,
and when it contains such articles as apples, which easily shift in
a very audible manner, it should be placed in this position on the
table, before the contents are made to disappear. It would be stupid
to pull out an empty drawer and then cause a rumbling to be heard. The
audience would at once divine that the articles were kept back in the
body of the box by some means.

When the box is made so large that the hand cannot grasp it in the
manner shown at Fig. 52, the closed end should be furnished with
a knob matching that on the drawer A. This can then be held by the
fingers, and so enable the thumb to find a purchase.

A very good box is one made without the spring acted upon by the
thumb. In its place is a loose metal peg, which drops in and out
of the hole in the double drawer by the mere tilting of the box.
This style of box is best made with both ends of the cover open, an
increased appearance of innocence being thereby secured.

With such a handy article at command as the drawer-box, which will
vanish or produce anything at will, it will be easily understood that
the beginner is extremely likely to be tempted into using it with
too great a frequency. Let him beware of this, and, at the outside,
use it not more than twice in the same evening, and then only under
completely differing conditions, and after the lapse of a good
interval of time. In a number of the foregoing tricks the drawer-box
could be used with success, I grant, but not with any very great
effect. In the trick with the large die and the handkerchief, it would
be handy for causing the die to vanish. It could be used in _The Sun
and Moon_, _A Bottle of Ginger Beer_, and in a dozen others, but the
temptation to do so must be resisted.

Popular usage has assigned the drawer-box the position of a regular
"property" in a very effective trick performed with a large solid
block of wood, familiarly known as the Cone. It can be made of any
size, but it is as well to have it as large as possible, that is,
not less than 6in. in height. When large, it is just as easy to
manipulate, and is much more effective. The only desideratum is that
it should go comfortably into the drawer-box. It should be well
tapered from the base to the summit, which may be simply flat or
fancifully turned. Over this block fits a thin shell, the _facsimile_
of it--the die and dummy repeated, only in a different shape. The
dummy shell is usually turned out of a piece of wood similar to that
of which the block is made, and both are polished to match. It is
essential that they be very smooth. All else that is required is a
very tall paper cone, which passes very loosely over the shell, and
a couple of apples, oranges, lemons, or any similar articles, both
being placed on the shelf. The drawers, fastened, should be taken out
of the body and stood upon it at one end of the table, and the cone,
with the shell on it, at the other end. The performer next takes the
paper cone and exhibits it. He then says, standing behind the table,
"This cover, which is, as you see, made simply of paper, is for the
purpose of covering this solid block of wood." The paper cover is
passed over the cone and shell, which are grasped firmly with one hand
and slid off the table on to the other hand. The shell is then grasped
a little higher up, through the paper, and the solid block jerked out
of it on the floor. The paper containing the shell cone is then laid
flat on the table, with the closed end towards the audience, and the
solid cone picked up and placed in the drawer, which is first shown
briefly round. The drawer-box is closed and placed on a side table
to the left, and the performer, passing behind the table, takes up
one of the two articles which are upon the shelf. This he produces in
any way he pleases, taking it from the wand being the most effective
method (see "Sleights for General Use"). He should then say that he
requires an orange, &c., for the trick, which he will ask his wand to
give him. The orange, or whatever it may be, is then placed upon the
table, and covered with the paper cover, with the dummy cone inside
it. The performer then explains that what he is going to do is to
cause the solid cone to come out of the box and pass into the paper
cover. Whilst saying this, he goes behind the table and secures the
second of the two articles that were on the shelf, in the right hand.
He then comes round, and proceeds: "To do this, it will be first
necessary for me to remove the orange from the paper, and I accomplish
the feat in this manner." (He runs the wand lightly up the side of
the paper, and then produces the orange out of it, the action being
somewhat similar to that used in the previous production.) "Now that
the cover is empty, I can pass the block of wood into it. I take it
out of the box, thus" (taps box with wand), "and, see, it is on my
wand. I carry it carefully to the cover and pass it thus into it." The
wand is carried very gingerly, in a horizontal position, as if the
block of wood were really balanced upon it.

The paper is then taken by its very apex, and lifted carefully off the
dummy shell, and the drawer-box opened, as previously explained for
showing it empty. The performer, after a short pause, to allow of the
free circulation of universal wonderment, says, "Ah! but perhaps I
did it a little too quickly, and you did not notice how it was done.
I will do it in a different way. Here we have the piece of wood,
which I cover with the paper; my box, empty, I shut and place here,
and the orange I take in my hand, thus" (trap it), "and rub it slowly
away. I command the block of wood to pass back again into the box,
and the orange to appear under the paper cover." Lift the paper and
dummy together, pinching them at the base, and lay them down as before
directed, and then tilt out the drawer, allowing the wood to fall
upon the floor. If the cone be not very large, then the dummy may be
allowed to slide out of the paper cover on to the shelf, and the paper
shown empty.

There is an objection to having the dummy shell made of wood, which
is that it is necessarily very light, and so easily overturned. An
accidental stumble against the table will sometimes effect this
untoward result. Zinc and tin are heavier, but there is an objection
laid against them as well: they "talk"--that is, they make a scraping
noise against the real block of wood when withdrawn from it. I leave
the conjuror to decide which is the lesser of the two evils. Cones
standing two or three inches in height can be successfully passed
through hats, after the method employed in Houdin's die trick.

Further uses for the drawer-box will appear in the course of the
description of other tricks.

_Bacchus' Dovecote._--The performer advances with a bottle and
glasses on a tray, and a dove on his shoulder. From the bottle he
pours some wine, and then places it upon a side table. The dove
is next wrapped in some paper, from which the tail is allowed to
protrude, and the performer then jumps upon it or else burns it. On
the bottle being broken, the dove is found inside.

The bottle is prepared by having the bottom knocked out, which can
be easily managed with a hammer, smart taps with which have to be
administered, in a circle. The hand holding the bottle whilst this
is being done should have a glove upon it, in case of a breakage. A
dove is put into the bottle, head first, through the bottom. This
is rather uncomfortable for the bird, and I cannot bring myself to
think that the latter likes it; but no bad results seem to follow
the treatment, which should be rendered as gentle as possible. A tin
tube is passed down the neck of the bottle, secured at the mouth by
means of red sealing-wax, and then filled with red wine. On the table
are spread some sheets of paper, on the margin of one of which are
pasted some dove's tail feathers. The exhibited dove is placed upon
the centre trap, and the performer pretends to wrap it in the paper
having the feathers upon it. It is, instead, passed through the trap,
and the paper rolled carefully up, as though the bird were inside.
The protruding feathers leave no doubt of this in the minds of the
audience. The ends of the paper should be screwed up tightly, and
a little hole torn in the parcel, "to give the dove air." If, when
placed upon the floor or table the paper should accidentally roll
slightly, the performer must attribute it to the restlessness of
the bird supposed to be inside, and apostrophise it accordingly. If
crushed, it should be treated lengthways, so that the feathers are not
afterwards observed, or the audience might think it only reasonable
that the bird found inside the bottle should be _minus_ a tail if he
has left it behind him in the paper. It may seem very simple on their
parts, but audiences never seem to doubt that the dove apparently
wrapped in paper and the one found in the bottle are one and the
same bird. There is no distinguishing mark on it to identify it, and
everything tends to make one think otherwise; but never a doubt is
raised. This circumstance should be very consoling to the conjuror.
I have even seen two doves put into a drawer-box and two other doves
made to appear at the other end of the room, and no one seemed to
doubt for a moment that they were the same ones that had been just
before put into the box.

Doves are most docile creatures, and accommodate themselves to
circumstances in a remarkable manner. When passed through a trap, they
never wander about and exhibit themselves at the corners of the shelf,
or otherwise expose the performer's secrets. At times, though, they
will start their peculiar call, but this happens very rarely. Most
regular performers, whether professional or not, usually keep a pair
of doves at least. They are very hardy, and soon become accustomed to
being pulled about.

_The Wine-drinking Crystal Ball._--The tube in the neck of a
bottle, mentioned in the preceding trick, is a very effective and
much-practised deception. In the present instance, the performer
selects an opaque bottle with a deep "kick" in the foot, and has a tin
tube fitted into its neck. The mouth of the tube is provided with a
rim turning outwards, to prevent a total disappearance of the article
inside the bottle. This rim should be nicely rounded, so as to fit
the mouth of the bottle neatly, as it will not do for the audience
to entertain the slightest suspicion of its presence. The bottle
is three-parts filled with water, and the tube with red wine. The
performer is provided with two clear white glass balls, a little over
an inch in diameter, and one red one, of the same dimensions. These
are concealed conveniently about the person. The trick is commenced
by the wine being poured into glasses and handed round. Retiring to
the table, the tube is extracted and "vested," or put elsewhere out
of sight, and one white ball got into the hand. By means of the wand,
this ball is magically produced. The performer then remarks that
he wants two balls, and manufactures another by striking the one he
has in the hand with the wand; the explanation given being that the
original one has been cut in two. The reader will understand that the
second white ball has been got down from concealment, and exhibited at
the proper moment. Two balls are not really required for the trick,
but the diversion is made for the sake of increasing the attention of
the audience, and for giving the trick a general completeness. If he
so pleases, the performer can proceed to rub one of the balls until
it becomes as small as a pea, or as large as an orange: all that is
required is to be provided beforehand with balls of the necessary
sizes. The ball which is supposed to be undergoing the compression
or expansion can be easily palmed in the right hand, the fingers of
which are engaged in shaping the latest arrival by rolling it in the
palm of the left hand. To get it back to its original size from the
tiny one, the small ball has only to be concealed between the roots
of the third and fourth fingers (Fig. 25). To get it back from the
large size, place the large ball upon the table over a trap, and,
after admiring it as a splendid production on your part, pretend to
take it in the hands, trapping it. After much hard squeezing and
rubbing, accompanied by expressions of doubt as to the success of your
exertions, all enacted close to the audience, the original ball will
be produced, it having been, of course, palmed the whole time. Give it
to a spectator to hold, and then fetch the bottle. Whilst retiring get
down the coloured ball and introduce it into the "kick," where keep
it by means of the little, or any other convenient, finger. With the
bottle in the left hand, return to the audience, and, taking the white
ball from the person holding it, palm it at once, retiring a few steps
as you do so, holding the fingers as though they contained the ball.
If the palm be kept upwards, there is no fear of the ball slipping out
of it, which it possibly might do--it being an awkward thing to hold
firmly--were the fingers turned downwards. Explain that you are about
to throw the ball into the air and catch it in the bottle. As the ball
is considerably larger than the mouth of the bottle, this announcement
will naturally be received with incredulity. You, however, with the
hands as widely separated as possible, toss an imaginary ball into the
air with the right hand, and affect to catch it in the bottle with
the left. A vigorous shake given to the bottle will cause the ball
held in the foot by the left hand to rattle, and the illusion of the
catch will be perfect. Now say that, having got the ball inside the
bottle, you must break open the latter in order to get the ball out,
and turn round, feigning to look for a hammer. This will give you an
opportunity for concealing elsewhere the ball in the palm. So soon as
this is done, say, "Well, perhaps I shall only make a litter with the
broken glass; so I will get the ball out in a more artistic manner.
Whilst I am talking, though, I fear the little gentleman inside is
making very free with the wine." Ask the ball how he is getting on,
and advise him not to drink too much, &c., and then proceed to get
him out of the bottle by striking the palm of the right hand on the
mouth of the latter with considerable force. At the third blow or so,
release the ball in the "kick," and it will fall to the ground with
the appearance of having been forced through the bottom of the bottle.
Call attention to the fact that it is red, and consequently, as you
feared, must have been drinking the wine. To test this, pour out
the contents of the bottle, which, being pure water, will cause the
audience to be of your opinion, ludicrous though it may appear. After
this, hand round both bottle and ball for inspection. It is a great
mistake to omit showing the bottle, as the audience is invariably
impressed with the idea that it has an opening in the bottom.

Instead of the imaginary catch, the bottle can be stood upon a table,
and the ball passed into it by any ordinary "pass." The disadvantage
attending this is that the ball is not heard to fall into the bottle,
as in the other method. It is natural that a heavy ball falling into
a bottle must make some noise on striking the bottom. Audiences,
perhaps, are not sharp enough to remark the absence of this natural
result, but there is no denying that the trick is rendered more
complete with its addition. Besides, when placing the bottle upon a
table, the ball in the "kick" would naturally be loose were not some
method for preventing this to be adopted, and it would become a matter
of great difficulty, if not an absolute impossibility, to raise the
bottle again without revealing the real state of affairs. A little
black wax in the apex of the "kick" serves to sustain the ball in a
very satisfactory manner; but, in adopting this auxiliary, one has to
dispense with what I consider to be a most necessary feature in the
trick, viz., giving the bottle round for examination afterwards. The
wax will tell an undeniable tale.

It is possible to vary this trick in many ways, quite according to the
fancy of the performer. It is well, however, to be certain of palming
and vanishing your ball quickly and neatly before attempting the trick
at all, as everything depends upon this. If the white ball is observed
to be still in your palm, no amount of rattling in the "kick" of the
bottle, however seductively executed, will convince an audience that
it has passed into the bottle.

_Bacchus' Maypole._--I do not mind admitting to the reader that,
where my imagination will permit, I am inventing new names for my
tricks. I do this in order to save those who may hereafter undertake
performances a certain amount of trouble, and also to get a little out
of the beaten track. Ever since this trick has been invented it has
been known as "Ribbons and Bottle." Now, that is a very poor title
to put upon a programme, which, as it cannot possibly give any very
valuable information to the spectator, may as well be embellished
with neat terms as slovenly ones. A bottle and some ribbons certainly
are used in the trick; but, as the old title does not reveal whether
the ribbons go into or come out of the bottle, or whether the bottle
comes out of the ribbons, a more fanciful one, so long as it is near
the mark, seems just as appropriate, and much more ornamental. At the
same time, it is very unadvisable to fill a programme with outrageous
and ridiculous titles. I went to an entertainment once, given by a
gentleman afflicted with a liking for high-sounding titles. At first
I thought I was going to see something totally new, and waited for
the curtain to draw up with some impatience, for the first item on
the programme was thus designated: "The Celestial Mystery; or, the
Winged Fairies of the Emperor Foo-Chow." This was the butterfly trick.
However, although greatly disappointed, I kept up my courage, for item
No. 2 was "The Sorcerer's Secret; or the Sheik's Visit to the Great
Mogul." The egg bag! I collapsed, and took no further interest in the
"Arabian Necromantic Divinations," "Scandinavian Second Sight; or,
the Finnish Seer," &c., for they were all tricks of the most ordinary
class. Let the performer, by all means, embellish his programme with
well-chosen titles; but let him, at the same time, steer clear of
the other extreme. Experience teaches one that there is more in a
programme well got up than at first meets the eye.

Although there is rather more of mechanism, and less of sleight of
hand, in it than I usually adopt, still this is such a very pretty
trick that it would be a pity not to mention it. The performer comes
on with a bottle, from which he pours a quantity of wine, beer, or
other liquid, and then, either still holding it in his hand, or
placing it upon a table or chair, he draws from it a ribbon of any
colour that may be asked for by the audience. More liquid is poured
out, and more ribbons produced.

The secret lies in the manufacture of the bottle. In most cases, an
imitation one of blackened tin is used, but, as the difference between
a metal bottle and a glass one is easily discernible, this is a bad
principle. The best method is to procure a tapering bottle, quart
size, and opaque, and get the bottom neatly cut out by a lapidary. If
the glass be semi-transparent it is easily rendered opaque by being
painted with Brunswick black on the inside. Into the bottom fit a
block of wood nearly an inch thick, the upper half of which has been
turned away half an inch, so as to form a step. To this step have
fitted a long tin funnel of such a length that, when the block of wood
is fitted into the bottle, the small end will be within the third of
an inch of the mouth. This funnel is much smaller than the interior
of the bottle, so that when it is in position there is space for a
considerable quantity of liquid between it and the glass sides. The
small end is closed up with a piece of metal, which is provided with
a number of slits, each large enough to admit of a ribbon passing
through it.

On the block of wood arrange as many tiny reels as it will take. It
will be necessary to do this in tiers. There is no reason why they
should be like the ordinary reel, for the smaller they are the better.
Each of these reels carries a differently coloured ribbon, which has
been previously passed through one of the slits at the closed end of
the funnel. It will be discovered that it is not possible to wind them
up quite tightly, but an inch or two hanging loose will not signify
if care be taken not to cross the ribbons in any way. That end of
the ribbon which appears outside the slit must have a piece of wire
sewn in it, to prevent its going quite through. With the block thus
prepared, and the funnel fitted firmly upon it, put the whole into
the bottle, and then pour the liquid carefully down the sides of the
funnel, taking care not to let any get in through the slits.

Having poured out a little of the liquid, for the benefit of the
company, say that you are now going to ask the bottle to give you a
colour, and request the audience to say which particular one it shall
be. Of course, some half-dozen, at least, will be given by as many
persons, which is all in your favour, as you may then choose which you
please, or, more properly speaking, not notice any extraordinary one
with which you may not be provided. Some clever person is sure to
rack his brains for some impossible colour, but, as you will take no
notice whatever of him, it will not matter much. Each time a colour is
asked for, turn to some object of that particular hue, and pretend to
convey some of it on the end of the wand to the mouth of the bottle.
There is nothing in this, perhaps, but it gives an air of finish to
the trick. Snatch up the bottle every now and then, and pour out some
liquid from it, and also call attention in an indirect manner to the
fact that the ribbons are perfectly dry. Also tap the bottle once or
twice with the wand, for the unexpressed purpose of showing that it is
glass, and handle it generally in a careless manner, swinging it about
by the neck, taking care, however, not to expose the bottom. This
makes a very effective stage trick.

A second method, which the reader is not at all likely to have seen
performed, seeing that I invented it myself, enables the conjuror
to employ an ordinary glass bottle, having no preparation whatever
about it. It should be a dark bottle, so as to be quite opaque at a
distance. The bottle is shown for examination, and placed upon a low
table or chair, and the performer extracts coloured ribbons, just as
they are called for. As the bottle has been examined, no necessity
exists for occasionally pouring out liquid from it, which is a dumb
way of saying that the bottle is an ordinary one. Secreted beneath the
vest band, the performer has his rolls of ribbon arranged. They may be
either upon bent pins, stuck in the vest itself, or the performer may
have a band, fitted with wire hooks, which may be buttoned on in a few
moments. As the ends of the hooks or pins are towards the performer's
body, the ribbons cannot fall off; but the ends of the fingers,
curled slightly underneath, obtain them at once. The colours must be
arranged in a certain order, which the performer will, of course, have
to remember, and he must depend entirely upon his sense of touch.
Directly the colour is named, the performer commences to seek for
some article of furniture or dress containing it; and whilst the wand
is extended towards the object, for the purpose of magically bearing
away some of its colour, the other hand is getting down the ribbon,
that side of the body upon which it is secreted being turned from the
audience. Proceeding to the bottle, the wand affects to place the
colour magically obtained into the bottle, and, as soon as the other
hand has secured the loose end of the ribbon, it is brought to the
mouth, and the ribbon allowed to unroll. A tiny piece of lead, sewn
in the end, will assist this greatly; but the ribbons should always
be kept flat, except when in actual use, otherwise they will assume
a curl, which will betray the fact that they have been rolled up. If
symptoms of curling manifest themselves, the wand should be held at
the mouth of the bottle and pressed against the ribbon as it comes
out, and it should be then taken in both hands and held stretched
until placed upon the table.

By adopting this method, the performer is enabled to produce a very
great number of colours; and it is advisable to have two or three of
them twice over. However well the trick may be performed with the
prepared bottle, the company instinctively feel that a certain number
of ribbons are concealed somewhere or other, and that when they are
once produced no more can come. By producing the same colours twice,
the notion of an inexhaustible productive power is conveyed.

There is a third method, which can only be employed on a regular
stage. The bottle is a specially constructed glass one, that part
which is known as the "kick" extending upwards to the neck, and having
a hole in the top. Thus there is still space left in the bottle for
plenty of liquor, whilst there is an open passage up the middle of it.
This bottle is placed over a hole in a table having a hollow leg (a
small, single-legged round table is invariably used), and the ribbons
are passed up on the end of a rod by an assistant below. By this
method, an endless supply can be taken from the bottle, but few of my
readers will, I fancy, be able to adopt this method, although it could
be done over a draped table under which a small boy was secreted for
the time being. When the performer advances to the bottle he gives out
the name of the colour very loudly, and places his fingers over the
mouth, at the same time pressing hard, to prevent the bottle being
shifted by the action of the ascending rod. The assistant below has
his ribbons arranged in order, and, as soon as he hears the colour
given, attaches the proper one to the pin at the end of the rod. When
the performer is quite ready he strikes the bottle with the wand,
upon hearing which, but not before, the assistant pushes up the rod.
He must be in no hurry to withdraw it, but give the performer plenty
of time to clear the ribbon. A suitable bottle may be manufactured by
knocking the bottom out of an opaque glass bottle, and then fitting a
tin lining to it, inside, which can be fixed and rendered watertight
by means of putty, afterwards blackened, if white putty be used. The
bottle is occasionally taken up, and liquor poured from it, as in the
first method.

_The Accommodating Bottle._--This is a bottle from which the
performer pours any kind of wine or spirits that may be asked for.
The secret, as in the foregoing trick, lies in the bottle, and it
is only introduced here on account of its remarkable effectiveness
in clever hands. The interior of the body is divided into a number
of compartments, usually five. Each compartment has a tiny tube
running from it half way up the neck of the bottle, and has also an
aperture, just capable of admitting an ordinary pin, at the side
of the bottle. Four of these apertures should be arranged an inch
apart in a slightly curved line, so that one finger can be placed
upon each when the bottle is grasped in the hand. The fifth aperture
should be situated underneath the thumb. It is possible, but very
difficult (owing to the absolute necessity for having the partitions
hermetically closed, except at the tubes and the apertures), to have
an ordinary quart bottle, with the bottom knocked out, fitted with a
tin lining, properly prepared. When this can be done, it is decidedly
advantageous; but, in the ordinary way, one has to be contented with a
tin article, japanned.

By means of a specially fine funnel, each compartment is filled with
a different wine, and great care must be taken in remembering which
contains the port, which the sherry, and so on. So long as the fingers
and thumb are kept firmly pressed upon the apertures, no liquid
will escape, even when the bottle is inverted, as it will be by the
performer, previous to commencing, to show that it is empty. Some
bottles have an extra compartment, into which water is poured, in full
view of the audience, and the bottle apparently washed out, the water
being poured out again. The adoption of this addition is a matter of
taste. A dozen or so of liqueur glasses upon a tray, and carried by
an attendant, will be required, and, after calling attention to the
fact that the bottle is quite empty, and that he has no pipes running
up his sleeve, the performer asks a lady what particular wine she
would like. It is as well to use the words "port, sherry, or what?"
by way of suggesting something which you have in your bottle to start
with. You will, of course, have champagne, claret, and hock, which,
with the sherry and port, will make about as good a quintet as could
be selected. On any particular wine being called for, all you have to
do is to raise the finger covering the hole corresponding with the
compartment containing the required beverage, and it will flow out;
on replacing the finger the flow will cease. By using small glasses,
one appears to supply so much more than would be the case with larger
ones. Never more than half fill a glass, and always pass as rapidly as
possible from one person to another. Of course, you will be frequently
asked for a wine with which you are not provided. This, in nine times
out of ten, you can manufacture out of your stock. For marsala,
for instance, give a little sherry and hock mixed. For sparkling
burgundy mix champagne and port, or champagne and claret. When you
make a mistake, pretend to be in a great hurry to attend to another
applicant, and accidentally (!) drop the glass on the floor. Never
mind if the glass does break; your trick is not spoilt.

It is wonderful how much success is attained by management in this
trick. In one person's hands, it falls so flat as to be almost a
failure; whilst, in another's, it will probably be the success of
the evening. It is especially successful in the hands of a brisk and
lively performer, before, or rather amongst, a large audience of a
free and easy nature. It is not a good trick to introduce before a
select and stiff company. Should any particularly fastidious person
be met with, he can generally be settled by the administration of a
mixture of the whole five wines. If he is still dissatisfied, ask him,
if the beverage is not the one for which he asked, to say what it is.
It will puzzle him to answer, and you will then be able to retaliate
upon him by supposing that he does not know the taste of the wine for
which he was so anxious.

Some first-rate continental conjurors, who, as a rule, take infinite
trouble with their tricks, perform this trick with an ordinary
bottle, which, after being examined, is filled with sweetened water
(ostensibly plain water), and then any liqueur is given from it. The
secret in this case lies in the glasses, which are coloured, and
contain each an extract of a certain liqueur. The sweetened water
answers for all. By this means, it is possible to be provided with an
immense number of flavours, but the trouble in preparation is such as
only a professed conjuror could undertake.

_The Mesmeric Suspension Wand._--The Fakir of Oolu (he is known in
private circles by a far less sounding and much more cockneyfied name
than that) was the first to introduce this trick to the British public.

The performer is provided with an ordinary conjuring wand, blackened
all over. He passes it through one hand, to show that it is not
attached to any suspending medium, and then performs a series of feats
with it, which apparently entirely upset the laws of gravitation.
For instance, when placed horizontally against the under side of the
outstretched hand, it does not, as one would expect, fall at once
to the ground, but remains in the unnatural position. When placed
perpendicularly against a finger or thumb, the result is the same;
and it can be just as easily suspended from the tip of the finger by
its extreme end. There are three methods in general use for producing
these phenomena. One is to have the rod provided with several black
pins, which stand out a little from the wand, and are then bent at
right angles. The heads are taken off, and the exposed ends left
rough. If two of these pins be placed about five inches apart, with
the points of each turned towards the other, a hand placed flatly
between them will be enabled to sustain the rod in any position by
merely opening out the fingers, thereby causing a pressure on the
two pins. This is the whole secret of the first method. The conjuror
can arrange his pins according to fancy. I find five ample viz., two
about two and a half inches apart at each end, and one small one at
the actual tip. There is no necessity for more; and the space of two
and a half inches admits of the introduction of two fingers, which
possess quite sufficient power to sustain the rod. The advantage of
using two fingers only is that, by employing the middle ones, those
on the outside are left free to be moved about, as they should be, to
assist in abolishing the idea of any connection existing. When the
wand is drawn through one hand, the action must be quickly executed,
and no notice given of the intention to perform it, otherwise the
attention of the audience will be sufficiently attracted to the wand
to cause it to be noticed that the hand does not actually touch it,
although it appears to do so. A serious pantomime of mesmerising the
wand by means of a few passes may be indulged in with advantage,
according to the ability of the performer in this direction; but he
must treat it seriously. If it is at all well done, one half of the
audience will remain almost convinced that some influence has been
exercised over the rod. The wand should then be taken in one hand, and
struck smartly on the palm of the other, to show that it is solid,
or it can be done previous to the mesmerism. This is very necessary,
as a universal idea exists, amongst those who do not know the trick,
that the wand is made of pith, and that the performer has some "sticky
stuff" on his fingers. It should next be held horizontally at the end
by one hand, and the other passed slowly along it once or twice, the
motion becoming slower and slower until it ceases altogether. The
fingers will then be between two pins, and, on the rod being released
by the other hand, it will apparently cling to the under surface of
the one above it. To cause it to attach itself to a finger or thumb
perpendicularly, it is only necessary to hang it by one pin on the
outstretched member, and the prodigy is accomplished. The pin at the
tip is for the purpose of suspending the rod from the end of a finger.
This is accomplished by pushing the pin under the nail. No trick could
be simpler; therefore the performer must do all he can to make the
audience believe in its extreme difficulty. Once or twice, at least,
the mesmeric power should fail, and fresh passes resorted to in order
to restore it. An effective action to introduce is that of placing
both hands above the wand whilst it is in a horizontal position, and
then appearing to move them backwards and forwards along it. This is
accomplished by fixing the fingers of one hand only in the pins. The
hands are then parted, and joined twice with considerably rapidity.
The disengaged hand must not alone be moved, but the other as well,
otherwise it will be seen that the wand is affixed to one hand, and
the other merely moved along it. The care taken by the conjuror will
make this trick the more or less successful.

The second method is to have a ring upon the finger provided with a
clamp, which receives the wand in its embrace. The only thing to be
said in favour of this device is that it enables the wand to be shown
round. In all else it is vastly inferior to the bent pin arrangement.
The number of positions in which it is possible to suspend the rod
are exceedingly limited, and the probability of the ring being
accidentally exposed is by no means remote.

As it is decidedly advantageous to give the rod round for examination,
it is always well for the performer to devise a method for handing
round one rod, free from any preparation whatever, and then exchanging
it for a prepared one. This is, perhaps, best managed by concealing
the prepared one up the coat sleeve. The one that is shown round is
dropped into the tail pocket, which can be specially arranged for such
a use without much difficulty. The change behind the table is weak,
and a large majority of the audience invariably see through it, in
which case all the performer's subsequent actions with the article are
looked upon as farcical. When a dummy article is to be exchanged for
a prepared one, the change must be perfect, or left alone altogether.
If the performer have any doubt about it, let him rather dispense
with the examination and consequent exchange, for then the audience
can only suspect; but, if any covert action is detected, then the
suspicion resolves itself into a tolerable certainty.

The wand for this trick is very easily made, any ordinary wood being
suitable, and a packet of black pins, a pair of pliers, and a file
will do the rest. It is best as a stage trick, private audiences in
small rooms being somewhat too close for safety.

There is, however, a third method, which I think the reader will,
after giving it a trial, find commend itself highly, as it enables
him to use his ordinary wand, and so avoid the suspicion naturally
engendered by the employment of a fresh article expressly for a
special trick. Our old friend, the silken thread, is once more the
means employed, and it may be either passed round the performer's
neck, in the form of a large loop, or be affixed to a waistcoat
button. Experiment will at once determine the proper length, which
will naturally vary with the physical proportions of each performer.
The wand is, of course, given round for examination, and may be passed
through the loop whilst the performer is facing the audience, although
it is, perhaps, the safer way to do this whilst retreating to the
stage. It will be found that when the thread is stretched outwards
from the body by means of the wand, acted upon by the hands, it
supports the wand by drawing it hard against the fingers. At first the
wand is taken in the two hands, one near each end, and held out very
gingerly. When the thread is felt to be tightly stretched, the fingers
are opened, and it is as well to at once give a swinging motion to
the hands. The hands should then be drawn together and parted again
two or three times, both slowly and fast, a slight swinging being
still kept up, and then two or three, or single fingers can be
employed, as may the sides and backs of the hands. These movements
will necessitate some little practice, in order to ensure facility of
execution. When enough has been done by two hands, one hand should
be placed in the centre of the wand, the thread passing between the
fingers, when the wand will be just as securely supported. The hands
should be changed, the one hand taking the wand from the other, from
beneath. The _finale_ to this method of doing the trick is the most
startling of all, the wand being suspended by one end from the tip of
a finger, and from thence given to the company. To bring this about
neatly, grasp one end of the wand with the right hand and place the
tip of a finger of the left hand against the other end. Let the wand
assume a perpendicular position, the right hand undermost, and, at the
same time, cause the thread to slide along until within a bare inch
of the finger at the other end. If the wand be fitted with ferrules,
as directed, the thread is certain to rest at their terminations.
The pressure of the finger against the resistance of the thread,
delicately dispensed, will cause the wand to be supported, and with it
in this position the performer advances to the company, and, with the
right hand, places it in their hands, a very slight under sweep, quite
compatible with a graceful presentation of the article, sufficing to
free it of the slight tenure the thread holds over it. As the Fakir's
wand has been on sale for very many years, there will probably be
amongst the spectators some who know its secret. With these the method
now described will be most successful in creating astonishment, for it
will be quite beyond them.

[Illustration: FIG. 53.]

A little additional sleight may be practised, which gives finish to
the trick. This is to cause the wand to apparently attach itself to
the tips of the outstretched fingers of one hand. To the spectators,
it appears as if the fingers were merely outstretched, and the wand
placed against them, when it adheres. It is quite true that only the
tips of the fingers touch the wand, but they must be so disposed that
the first and fourth are on the inside, and the second and third on
the outside. The theory of the grip is the same as though the wand
were held between the four fingers, an inch or more down them. What
the conjuror has to study is to bring sufficient pressure to bear
by means of the tips only, the nails of the first and third fingers
resting against the wand. The hold is really of the most fragile
description, only one longitudinal half (the inside one) of the wand
being operated upon. A strong and rather fleshy finger will succeed
best, but, in any case, the first and fourth fingers must be stretched
out as wide as they can be made to do, and the whole operation will be
very materially assisted by using a wand that is neither heavy, thick,
nor slippery. An unvarnished wand would be the best, and it should be
as much less than half an inch in thickness as can be made convenient.
Weight will then be comparatively immaterial. The performer will find
the effect of his trick wonderfully enhanced if, in handing the wand
from one member of the company to another, he does so by means of the
apparently magnetic tips of his fingers. The sleight is illustrated at
Fig. 53.

_The Magi's Brazen Rod._--This is a solid brazen rod, one quarter of
an inch in thickness. At each end is a brass ball, free (whether solid
or not) from any preparation whatever. One ball is firmly fixed, and
the other screws off and on. Some ladies' rings are borrowed, and a
solid wooden ball, which is subjected to examination, is then passed
on the brazen rod, and the movable brass ball screwed on. The ball
ends are then held firmly by two of the audience, and a handkerchief
spread over the wooden ball. The performer introduces his hands,
containing the rings, beneath the handkerchief, and, in a moment,
the ball drops from the wand, upon which, on the withdrawal of the
handkerchief, the rings are seen.

There are many variations in the details of the trick; but the one
great secret in connection with it is that, besides the solid wooden
ball which is shown round, the performer has one behind the scenes
that is hollow, and is divided into two equal parts, which fit firmly
together, like a box and lid. In the box portion is fitted a piece
of cork, in which are three slits. Ostensibly to fetch the solid
ball, the performer retires behind, and there rapidly places the
three borrowed rings, for the possession of which at this stage I
shall presently account, lightly into the slits, closes the ball up,
and palms it. Returning to the stage, with the solid ball openly in
the hand, he gives it to be examined. On receiving it back, he has
to exchange it for the prepared one (a feat neither too difficult
nor too easy), which is passed on the rod instead, the solid ball
being vested. The sequel follows as a matter of course. The solid
ball is re-palmed, and secretly introduced under the handkerchief at
the same time as the rings (_i.e._, their substitutes); the hollow
ball is opened, thus leaving the rings alone on the wand, re-closed
and palmed, the solid ball at the same moment being dropped on the
floor. The performer must be careful not to have the wooden balls
larger than is absolutely necessary, or he will find some difficulty
in exchanging and concealing them neatly when occasion requires. They
must be turned with circular grooves, in one of which the opening
of the prepared ball is made, so as to escape detection from casual
glances. The method of obtaining the rings varies considerably. Some
performers put them into boxes with secret openings, and thus obtain
possession of them. The simplest plan, if one has a stage assistant,
is that described under the heading "Sleights for General Use." The
assistant remains on the stage, holding the wand until the rings are
required again. The performer then puts them in a piece of paper,
ostensibly to "take better care of them," but really to make it easier
for him to get rid of them, and they are palmed, along with the dummy
ball, when that is taken off the wand. I have seen it attempted to
place the dummy rings inside the ball before re-closing it, but the
operation took too long by far in execution. If too much paper be
not used, and the rings are small and tightly folded together, it is
possible to pop the little parcel inside the lid of the ball. The
rings could be of such a size as to allow of this. The method for
managing the exchange of the rings depends much upon circumstances.
The one I have given will be found generally applicable, especially as
the trick is essentially a stage one. The handkerchief that is thrown
over the rod should be drawn off smartly, so as to cause the rings to
spin round, by the hand containing the ball just removed from the rod,
which it will assist to conceal. On the completion of the trick, hand
back the borrowed rings on the rod itself, and also show round the
ball again.

There is no reason why this should be an expensive trick. A brazier
could make the rod and knob ends for a very few shillings, and the two
wooden balls should cost about 1s. 6d.

_The Shower of Plumes._--This is a trick requiring a great display
of dexterity, combined with considerable boldness. The performer
produces, from a large handkerchief, enough plumes, each nearly 2ft.
in length, to cover the floor of an ordinary room. The plumes are
rather expensive articles to purchase, but, when once obtained, form
an excellent stock-in-trade. The method for producing them is to
take off the coat, and then, grasping a large quantity by the lower
ends in each hand, replace the coat. The compressible nature of the
feathers enables a dozen or more plumes to be concealed up each
sleeve. Care should be taken that they lie along the back of the arm.
The performer, thus padded, comes on with a large silk handkerchief
in his hands, but contents himself with remaining well at the back of
the stage, and also refrains from turning his back to the audience.
He waves the handkerchief to and fro, to show that it is empty, and
then says that he will try and find something in it. To do this, he
spreads it over one hand, and, with the other, seizes the end of one
plume through it. At the same moment, with a sharp swift movement,
the handkerchief and plume are withdrawn, the underneath hand falling
to the side, assisting thereby in the withdrawal of the plume, and
also keeping the ends of the remaining ones out of sight. The hand
holding the handkerchief is inverted, and the plume will be revealed.
Under pretence of removing this plume, the disengaged hand seizes
another plume through the handkerchief, and withdraws it with the same
movement which casts the one exhibited on the floor. The second one
is then shown, and the process of drawing out another repeated from
each arm alternately, the production of the plumes being made as rapid
as possible, the motive being to bewilder the audience, who, if the
performer does not make any blunder, will never imagine that they are
concealed up the sleeves. It is as well to draw out a couple at one
time once or twice, for the sake of extra effect, and, with the same
object in view, have the plumes of several colours. Some should be
all white, some all red, and others all blue, whilst another variety
can be of two or even three colours. Never attempt to produce a plume
until the handkerchief has fallen well over the arm from which it is
to be drawn, and let the whole trick be executed with great dash.
Sometimes larger plumes are placed round the body and drawn out
from the vest, the handkerchief being spread over the chest for the
purpose. The attendant who picks up the plumes should make the best
show he can with them. Some performers place the plumes in fan-shaped
vases or other receptacles, but the operation hampers the performance
of the trick too much, and also leads to too many undesirable
movements to be recommended. An excellent ruse is to conceal one plume
beneath the carpet, with the end just through a hole or slit in the
seam. The handkerchief is spread on the floor, and the plume produced.
It is undoubtedly a very difficult trick to perform well, but it
produces a great effect.

The trick may be performed, in a small way, by means of ostrich
feathers laid inside the shirt sleeve, the coat sleeve being turned

_The Fairy Flower._--From a large cut-glass vase, having a cover,
cut out a large portion--say, a piece 3in. wide, and extending from
the top almost to the bottom, or foot. Along the back edge of the top
of the table affix a spiral spring of several close coils, the free
end of which should be of sufficient length, and of such shape as to
enable it to extend well over the top of the table. To the extreme
end of it affix a cut rose, camellia, or other showy flower, and then
bend it down until it is out of sight behind the table. A sliding pin,
working in a couple of staples, and having a loop at one end, must be
brought on at the side of the spiral spring, and when the end with
the flower on it is bent back, this pin is pushed across it, and so
prevents it returning to an upright position. A thread attached to the
loop, and passed out at the side, will enable the assistant to release
the spring when desired. The vase is brought on, and the best side
shown to the audience, besides being rung with the fingers or wand
to show that it is sound, and it is then placed in position exactly
against the spot where the spring is affixed, and the cover put on.
The performer then says that he will cause the fairies to place a
flower inside the vase, and commands them to do so. He can either
spread a handkerchief momentarily over the vase, or dispense with
the operation altogether. The attendant pulls the thread, the pin is
drawn aside, and the spring with the flower on it flies into the vase.
The cover is then removed, and the flower taken out from the top, a
strong nip of the nails being necessary to remove it. The assistant,
in removing the vase, bends back the wire and pushes the pin over it.
This trick is usually performed with the aid of a box-shaped pedestal,
on which the vase is stood. Within this pedestal the spring and wire
arrangement, with flower attached, is concealed, the working being
practically the same as that just described; but the reader will,
doubtless, agree with me, that the introduction of a large box is
likely to bring suspicion along with it.

_The Perambulating Bottle and Tumbler._--This is a trick in which
absolute sleight of hand does not appear; but it calls for a certain
amount of finish in execution, and, like _A Bottle of Ginger
Beer_, makes an agreeable change in a programme, both to company
and performer. The performer has a bottle of beer, a tumbler, and
two cardboard covers, which are, in fact, mere cardboard tubes,
open at each end. Beer is poured from the bottle into the tumbler,
and both articles are then placed upon the side tables, and covered
with a cover. After the performance of the usual magical passes,
the covers are removed, when the glass and bottle are found to have
changed places. The following is the ingenious method by which the
impossibility is apparently brought about: Have a tin bottle made,
exactly in imitation of a beer bottle, between nine and ten inches
high, and japanned so as to look like glass at a distance. The bottom
of this bottle is open, but four inches from the lower edge is a tin
partition, dividing the bottle laterally into two compartments. The
upper compartment is for the purpose of containing the beer. Passing
through its very centre, and reaching to within half an inch of the
top of the neck, is a tube about a third of an inch in diameter, or,
at any rate, large enough to take a small funnel. Thus communication
is established with the lower open compartment, by means of the tube.
Then have a second bottle made, also of tin, and japanned to match,
just large enough to pass over the first one. This bottle has no
interior whatever, and is, in fact, a mere shell. In height it need be
only the merest trifle taller than the other, and the tinman should
be enjoined to keep it as narrow as possible, compatible with an easy
fit over the smaller bottle. Each bottle should be decorated with a
flaring beer label, taken from genuine bottles. Needless to say, they
must be precisely similar, and if each has a piece accidentally (!)
torn out of it, sufficiently large to be noticed by the spectator,
so much the better. In the middle of the body of each bottle is cut
a circular hole, nearly an inch in diameter, and fully two inches
removed from the nearest edge of the label. Further will be required
the two pasteboard covers, which may be of any length between twelve
and fifteen inches. These must be made to fit very closely over the
bottles, without actually clinging to them, consequently one will be
larger than the other. Finally, two tumblers, precisely similar, will
be wanted. They must not exceed four inches in height, or they will
not go under the small bottle, on account of the partition there.
Behind the scenes the small bottle has its compartment filled with
beer, and is then placed over one of the tumblers, the large shell
bottle being finally placed over both. Placing the middle finger
through the holes in the bottles pressure is brought to bear upon the
tumbler, which in this way may be lifted with the bottles. The whole,
looking to the audience merely like a single bottle, is thus brought
on, and placed upon the centre table. The two covers are shown, the
performer explaining that they are merely made to cover the bottle.
Suiting the action to the word, he places the large cover over the
bottle, and at once withdraws it, nipping it near the bottom, so as to
bring away the outer shell inside. With the other hand, the smaller
cover is then placed over the smaller bottle, and at once withdrawn.
The company, knowing of only one bottle, will fancy they have seen
both covers placed over it. The large cover, having the shell within
it, must not be laid upon its side, but stood up alongside the empty
one. The performer now takes the smaller bottle in one hand--holding
the tumbler beneath it as well, by means of a finger through the
hole--and the visible tumbler in the other. Beer is poured out until
the tumbler is filled. The performer now says that he does not want
his glass too full, and, replacing bottle on table, places a small
funnel into its mouth, care being taken to insert it in the tube. Half
the beer--neither more nor less--must now be poured into the funnel,
and it of course finds its way into the tumbler beneath. The conjuror
will have to experiment beforehand, so as to discover how much liquid
he must leave in the visible tumbler, and how much he must pour away,
slight marks being made, with a diamond or file, for his guidance
whilst exhibiting. It is highly essential that each glass contains
precisely the same quantity. The visible tumbler is now placed upon
one side table and covered with the large cover, containing the shell.
The small bottle is placed upon the other side table, with the tumbler
still concealed under it, and covered with the small cover. By means
of his wand, an imaginary exchange of the articles is now made, and
the covers are lifted--that containing the shell lightly, so as to
leave the shell behind; whilst that containing the bottle is gripped
nearer the bottom, so as to lift that article with it, exposing the
second tumbler. The general method adopted in lifting the covers is
to take them by the extreme top when the article contained is to be
exhibited, and at the very bottom when it is to be carried away. These
are certainly very safe methods; but they are unnecessarily so, and
afford far too much clue to the spectators. The variation between
the positions of the hand need never exceed a couple of inches. The
height of the upper edge of the body of the bottles the performer may
have indicated upon the outside of the cover. Half an inch below that
line he has only to exert pressure to ensure the carrying away of the
bottle or shell. A little above it he is clear of them, and need not
fear carrying them away by mistake. A variation of two or three inches
is a natural one, and unnoticeable. Poor conjurors, too, always treat
a cover containing anything in a far too gingerly manner. An empty
cover they flourish about with extreme recklessness, exhibiting the
interior freely; but, a few moments later, they carry the same cover
about as gingerly as one would a very lofty and quivering tipsy cake
or jelly. Spectators cannot but notice this sudden change from extreme
freedom to plainly-depicted trepidation, and generally draw very
correct conclusions. The conjuror should practise to be as free and as
_nonchalant_ as possible with articles that are really mysterious, and
study carefully how far he may go without exposing any secrets. In the
present instance, the cover containing the shell should be flourished
about a good deal, and finally placed over the tumbler in a careless

The change made, the performer will of course offer to do it again,
"in order to give everyone a chance of noticing how it is done." He
may pretend to give his spectators some assistance by telling them,
in confidence, that the tumbler and bottle really came out at the
tops of the covers, his original statement, that the openings were
there to prevent suspicion, being untrue, their real purpose being
to afford easy exits and entrances for the articles. The articles
then make a return to their original positions, after the covers have
been replaced, the shell being carried away, and the bottle allowed
to remain. The feature of the trick, which completely mystifies the
company, is the transposition of the beer-containing tumbler. The fact
that the bottle has been nearly inverted, in the act of pouring out
the beer in the first instance, precludes the idea that it could ever
have been concealed in that. Although beer is here mentioned, claret
or claret and water may be used, or any other showy liquid at hand.

_The Magic Omelette._--This is a very favourite trick. The performer
borrows two or three rings, which are cast into an omelette pan.
Eggs are broken into the pan, and spirit added, and lighted. A cover
is momentarily placed over it, and, when removed, all traces of the
omelette have vanished, two doves taking its place. This would,
perhaps, not be so very extraordinary were it not for the fact that
around the birds' necks are pieces of ribbon, having upon them
the borrowed rings. Such a trick may well be admired. It is thus
performed: The pan, about 10in. in diameter, and between 2in. and 3in.
deep, is made of plain brass, copper, or nickel, and has a slight
turnover edge, turning outwards. The cover, which is a shallow one,
has a 2in. flange. This flange is for the reception of a secret lining
to the pan, containing the doves, and left behind when the cover is
raised, after being placed over the pan. It fits outside the cover
flange, loosely, but very tightly into the pan, for there must be no
danger of its being carried away when the cover is lifted. It also has
a turnover edge, precisely as has the pan, and by means of this edge
it is temporarily attached to the cover. The cover, on the under side,
at the extreme border, has two flat hooks, an inch or so in length.
These are placed on opposite sides. In the turnover edge of the lining
are two slits, admitting the flat hooks. To attach the lining to the
cover is therefore simple, the hooks being placed in the slits and a
twist given to the cover, which has only to be twisted the reverse way
to withdraw the hooks from the lining again.

Firstly, the performer sends his assistant forward to borrow the
rings, which the lenders place upon the little wand he carries. In
returning he changes them for dummies, as described at page 176,
and at once retires behind the scenes, where he has the cover and
lining already prepared with the birds inside, but not with the hooks
in position. The ribbons around the necks of the birds are left
outside, the insertion of a stick in the loops preventing their being
pulled inside by the movements of their wearers. This prearrangement
is necessary, as rapidity of action is essential. A ring is rapidly
attached by the ribbon loop being first passed through it, and then
opened out over it. When attached, the rings are popped inside,
the cover hooked to the lining, and a prearranged signal given the
performer that all is in readiness. The performer, in the meanwhile,
has been making his omelette, which he must not light until his
assistant signals that he is ready. Then he applies fire, and, rushing
forward, shows the spectators the rings frizzling in the midst of the
eggs. This is done rapidly; and it is certainly advisable to avoid,
if possible, the actual owners of the rings, or the absence of a lent
one may be noticed. The assistant seizes this opportunity for bringing
on the cover, which he does in a careless manner; and it is as well
to bring on the wand at the same time, as though both articles had
been carelessly forgotten. The majority of the spectators, if not all,
will, however, be engaged with the movements of the performer, who
rushes back to his table, claps on the cover, his assistant firing a
pistol to stir up the company to increased excitement, and takes it
off again, giving, at the moment, the disengaging twist, the lining
being thus left inside the pan, with the doves. The latter are brought
down to the company, with the rings on their necks, and the pan shown
empty, the contents being concealed between the bottom of the lining
and the bottom of the pan.

_To Pass a Borrowed Ring Inside an Egg._--A ring is borrowed, and
placed in a handkerchief, or elsewhere, and an ordinary full egg,
which may be examined, is placed in an egg-cup. The ring is "passed"
into the egg, which is broken by the spectators, who also find the
ring inside the egg by means of a little hook, with which they fish
for it. The secret of the trick lies in the egg-cup. This may be of
wood or metal--the latter for preference, wooden egg-cups being open
to suspicion, whereas plated ones are not. Inside the cup, at the
bottom, is cut a moderately deep slot; and when the performer has
obtained possession of the ring by one of the methods described in
this book, he secretly places it in the slot. The egg is now placed
in the egg-cup, but, before doing so, the performer accidentally (!)
breaks the shell at the small end, either by tapping the egg on the
table or striking it with his wand, whilst in the act of explaining
that the ring is to be found inside when the egg is placed into the
cup, with the cracked end downwards. A little pressure will cause
the ring to be forced into it. A small hook is now presented to a
spectator, who is desired to break the top of the egg, and fish for
the ring with the hook. Sooner or later, the ring will be brought to
light. Particulars to be observed in connection with this trick are
that the borrowed ring must not be too broad, or it may jam in the
slot, nor must it be of a nature likely to be injured by the contents
of the egg. The cup, with egg in it, should be brought forward on a
plate or small waiter, in case of an overflow, a napkin being also
necessary, for the same reason, and for the additional purpose of
wiping the ring. The performer should present several eggs to the
company, who select the one with which the trick is to be performed;
but he should previously ascertain that each of them fits well into
the cup, and does not jam at the sides. The safest plan is to have a
special egg-cup made sufficiently large to take any ordinary hen's
egg, as occasions may arise when the eggs will be provided by the
house, as would be the case in the country. An additional feature is
sometimes introduced of having a second egg-cup, without any slot
in it, this one being given for examination, and the prepared one
afterwards exchanged for it. The prepared one can very well be kept
under the vest, and exchanged in the act of turning round.

_The Flying Cage._--The performer comes forward with a square cage
in his hand, containing a live bird. Standing close in front of
the audience, he suddenly makes a movement as of throwing the cage
upwards, when that article disappears, bird and all. The secret lies
in the fact that, whilst the framework of the cage is actually of wood
or metal, and the wires of real wire, the whole is jointed together at
the corners with elastic, and the wires looped or hinged where affixed
to the framework, so that the whole may be shut up, cornerwise,
longitudinally, and made to disappear up the coat sleeve. The sleeve
must be pretty large for this purpose, and the shirt cuff must offer
no obstruction; in fact, a cuffless shirt should be worn. At one
corner of the cage is affixed a strong black cord, which passes up the
sleeve, round the back, and down the other sleeve, where it is tied to
the wrist. The length must be such that the performer is just able to
hold the cage, and have the cord tight. The bird is inserted through
the wires. When the performer desires to cause the cage to disappear,
he shuts up the cage obliquely, and, by simultaneously stretching
out his arms, it is made to fly up his sleeve. So instantaneously
is this accomplished, that even those acquainted with the means by
which the disappearance is arrived at cannot actually see the cage go,
although the performer faces the company during the entire execution
of the trick. It is advisable to purchase a cage ready made, in
preference to constructing it oneself. A black frame is preferable to
a brightly-burnished brass one.

_The Great Dictionary Trick._--Few tricks have caused more general
wonderment than this one. It is presented in various ways; but
the original form, to which the reader may make what variations
circumstances and ingenuity may suggest, is as follows: The performer
advances with several pieces of paper, all blank. These are folded
and thrown into a hat. One is selected by a spectator, and left in
custody of the company. Several dictionaries are now produced, and
handed round for subsequent reference. A paper-knife is placed in
the hands of a spectator, who is desired to thrust it at will into
the dictionary which the performer presents to him. The book is
opened at the place thus indicated, the performer announcing the
pages, to which the holders of the other dictionaries at once turn.
The audience select which page and which of the two columns upon
it shall be employed; and then, in order to ascertain which word
shall be selected, a bag containing numbered counters, shown to be
all different, is presented to another spectator, who draws one,
and is asked to announce it. The word corresponding to that number,
counting from the top of the page, is then read out, and on the paper
previously chosen being opened, the word is found written upon it.

The working of this trick is as follows: The dictionary which is
presented by the performer to the holder of the paper-knife is
composed of two pages only, repeated over and over again, throughout
the book. Thus, it makes no difference where the knife may be thrust.
Say that the thirteenth word on the right-hand column of the left-hand
page of the book is the one selected by the performer. He would
first ask someone which page he should take. If the right hand were
said, the performer immediately ejaculates, "_Your_ right hand;
thank you!" and immediately proceeds to have the right-hand column
selected by someone else, in the same one-sided manner. The selection
of the proper word is thus managed. The bag is a double one, and in
one side are numbers running in proper arithmetical progression.
These are shown and replaced. In the other side are a quantity of
counters, but each is numbered "thirteen," so the drawer is bound to
draw that number, the performer taking care to open that side for the
insertion of his hand. The corresponding word has been previously
written upon the paper. This may be forced upon the selector by being
placed upon the crown of a hat in a circle with other pieces, the hat
being adroitly turned at the proper moment, so that the desired piece
of paper comes to the hand of the chooser. This force must not be
insisted upon if the chooser be at all unwilling, and the performer
must resort to the alternate ruse (which many prefer entirely to the
force) of a change. For this, the prepared paper is held in the left
hand, and a plain paper apparently put into it by the right, it being,
of course, retained there, and the one in the left hand exhibited.
When performed many times before the same company, different
arrangements of pages will have to be adopted, or the recurrence of
the same page may easily lead to detection of the fraud.

_Magical Wine._--The performer comes forward with a glass of port wine
in his hand. He then explains the convenience of being a conjuror,
since one can always accommodate one's friends. For instance, here
is a glass of port wine. The friend to whom it is proffered does
not happen to care for port. In the ordinary way the wine would be
wasted; but not so with the conjuror. All he has to do is to borrow
the friend's handkerchief (here a handkerchief is borrowed), and,
waving it thus over the glass, see, the wine has changed to sherry!
But the friend does not like sherry either. What does he like, then?
A little spirit? Yes! Gin, perhaps? If you please. The handkerchief is
once more waved over the glass, and the sherry turns to gin, which the
company are welcome to prove by the ordeal of taste.

The secret of this trick lies in two pieces of coloured glass, shaped
thus: [Illustration] so as to fit perpendicularly into a wineglass.
One piece of glass is yellow, to represent sherry, and the other red.
The performer advances with the glass full of gin, and the two glasses
placed in it. The red and the yellow commingling produce the tawny
port colour. It need hardly be said that the edges of the glasses
must never be towards the company. The first time the handkerchief is
placed over the glass the red glass is abstracted, leaving the yellow,
which is removed on the second occasion. The glasses are most easily
palmed. Provided with his glasses, the performer will find this a
handy trick to perform extempore at the houses of friends, where water
might be used if gin were not handy, or else very pale whisky. It is
not of sufficient importance for the stage.

_The Sack Trick._--This trick is variously performed, but I shall only
give one method, as being the one best within reach of the amateur.
It requires the aid of an assistant, who comes forward undisguisedly
as such. A large sack is handed round to the company, along with a
piece of cord, for examination. As a matter of fact, there is nothing
to be discovered in connection with these articles. Into the sack the
performer or his assistant steps, and it is tied securely over his
head, the cord being finally sealed by one of the company. A screen is
placed in front of the individual in the sack, and, in a very short
space of time, he comes from behind it with the sack in his hand, and
minus a boot. The sack is given to the company for examination, when
the mouth is found to be firmly tied and the seal unbroken, whilst
the missing boot is clearly inside, it being thereby conclusively
demonstrated that it was actually the sack which contained the owner
of that piece of wearing apparel. The seal has to be broken before
the boot can be recovered.

The explanation is that there are two sacks, the second one being
concealed up the back of the person who is tied up. So soon as he
is put into the first sack he gets down the concealed one, and pops
his boot into it. He then folds the mouth of it neatly, and, as his
_confrère_ forms up that of the visible sack for tying, he thrusts it
up into his hand. The tyer, holding his hand so as to conceal the fact
of there being two mouths, ties up the inside one very securely--a
few folds of the cords just nipping the outside sack also, so that
the hand holding them may be presently removed without any exposure
resulting. The greatest care must, of course, be taken that the
sealing is done upon the inside sack only, the tyer superintending
this operation very closely. Everything depends upon the neatness
with which he performs his part. If it is a clumsy job, the sealing
must be dispensed with, or the sealer will notice the presence of
two sack mouths. The material of which the sacks are made should,
therefore, not be very thick, or the cord will not be able to conceal
the outside sack mouth. When the screen is placed in front, the man
inside carefully pulls away the outside mouth from under the cord, and
he is free. The first sack he merely hangs up behind the screen--which
is afterwards folded up and carried away with the sack inside it--and
comes forward with sack number two, which he has never been inside, in
his hand. It is a good stage trick.

_The Dancing Sailor._--This is a trick which may always be relied
upon not to fall flat, and should be introduced whenever the audience
has had a good dose of serious tricks administered. The feat consists
in taking the rude effigy of a sailor, cut out of a simple piece of
cardboard, which may be freely and minutely examined by the company,
and, standing it on the floor, to cause it to remain there, and to
dance according to the directions of the performer, without any
visible means of support becoming evident. The sailor can be very
easily manufactured in an hour or so, out of a piece of fairly thick
card. The trunk and head should be cut out of one piece, with the arm,
from the shoulder to the elbow protruding at a considerable angle.
The forearm is jointed on, as are also the legs, which must be in two
pieces. The joints may consist of thread, and should be very loose.
The design may be varied according to the fancy of the maker, but
he will be safe in giving to the cheeks and nose an extravagantly
rubicund hue, and the mouth a humorous turn. The hat should be on one
side, the trousers broad at the bottom, and the feet large, and turned
outwards, and slightly upwards. When the jointing has been done, it is
as well to cover the whole figure with thick paper, on both sides, in
order to obtain a smoothness of exterior. In pasting on this paper,
care must, of course, be taken that the joints are not touched by
the adhesive matter employed, or they will not work properly. The
whole figure, to look sufficiently imposing, should stand quite 15in.
high; but if it be intended to dance it upon the table, then 12in. is
sufficient. Effect is everything in conjuring, and a great deal may be
lost by having things just a size too small.

In performing the trick, the conjuror brings forward the sailor, whose
appearance, if properly designed, should at once create amusement. He
is given for examination, and the performer then retires to the stage,
bending, as he does so, the arms of the figure at the armpits slightly
backward from the body. He then proceeds to show the company that no
threads or wires are anywhere about. This he does by slashing about
in every direction, high, low, and on either side, with his wand. As
a matter of fact, no threads or wires are within his reach, so he
cannot do wrong; but a thread does exist in connection with the trick
all the same. It should be a fine silk thread. Invariably use silk
for everything, as it is both stronger, finer, and more durable and
pleasant than cotton. If two assistants are available, there should be
one on each side of the stage, holding the ends. When the performer
is doing his slashing around, the thread is simply held as high as
possible, the expedient of standing upon chairs being resorted to by
the assistants, if necessary. It is very often the case, however,
that the aid of only one assistant is possible or advisable. The
thread must then be fixed on one side of the stage, at the proper
height from the floor, a few inches of elastic being first tied on to
counteract the effect of any unpremeditated jerk, which might easily
prove disastrous to the trick. The elastic, being thick in substance,
must be out of sight. If the dancing is to be done upon the floor,
then the thread must be affixed about an inch higher than the armpits
of the figure (to allow for the drop in the centre of the thread),
and allowed to lie upon the floor, except when in actual use. If the
dancing be done upon the table, the assistant must do the best he
can, and the performer use judgment in the way he sweeps with his
wand. When the assistant receives his "cue" from the performer, which
may be done in a thousand different ways, he lowers the thread, and
holds it taut. The performer then places the figure directly over it,
allowing the thread to pass under the armpits. As these have been
pressed back, the thread will pass across the front of them, and
across the back of the figure. The assistant must watch the figure
narrowly, so that no motion whatever is given to it. A rehearsal or
two is all that is necessary to make it appear that the figure stands
of its own accord, and without aid, upon the floor. Any swaying motion
will tend to destroy this illusion. The rest of the trick follows as
a matter of course. If music be at hand, the performer has a lively
air, such as a hornpipe, played, or, in the absence of any instrument,
the performer must needs whistle. In any case, he keeps time with his
wand, and looks approvingly at the figure, talking to it occasionally.
The assistant need jerk but very slightly at the thread to cause the
figure to dance, and he can easily vary his motions to fast or slow.
The legs of themselves assume various steps, which many of the company
will think to have been brought about by design. Once or twice the
performer passes his wand over and before and behind the figure whilst
it is dancing, to show that there really is no connection. If it be
dancing upon the table, a borrowed hat may be held in front of it,
and the figure made to advance upon it and dance upon the crown.
This, besides being additionally diverting, indirectly does away with
any suspicion, which might excusably exist, as to the presence of
mechanism within the table. When the assistant and performer are well
together, all sorts of tricks may be indulged in. The figure may be
made to dance _inside_ a hat; and I have even seen a skilful performer
twirl an umbrella between it and the floor, the sailor continuing his
hornpipe merrily and unconcernedly all the while.

If the performer chooses to add to the humour of the situation, he
may, if the figure be dancing upon the table, take it by the head (it
should never be touched elsewhere) and lay it down, saying that there
has been dancing enough. He then turns to the company, and commences
to say something, as if about to explain a new trick, when the figure
suddenly starts up and commences dancing with great vigour. The
company laugh, and the performer goes to the figure to lay it down,
this time with the wand placed across it to keep it quiet. So soon
as he begins to speak to the company, however, up starts the figure
a second time, the wand rolling off on to the floor, the dance being
renewed with fresh energy.

When the trick is to be brought to a close, the assistant holds the
thread firmly, and the performer, seizing the sailor by the head,
lifts him off. Now, if I had not directed both sides of the figure
to be covered with paper, a very great risk would be run of the
projections at the joints catching in the thread. Properly covered on
both sides, everything is smooth, and so there is nothing to catch.
The figure should be instantly brought forward to the company for

In a small way, i.e., before children, the figure may be made to dance
between the legs, the thread being attached to the legs. (See _To
Cause a Stick or Poker to Stand on End_.) The slightest movement of
the legs in an outward direction will give motion to the figure, the
feet beating time with the air, whether played, hummed, or whistled,
so as to cover the action. The country public-house conjuror affects
this phase of the trick.

_The Anti-Gravitation Ball._--The performer produces a solid wooden
ball, having a thick cord passing through it, and this he allows the
company to examine. It is seen that the cord passes freely through
the hole. Placing one end of the cord under his foot, he holds the
other end at arm's length, so that the cord is perpendicular. With the
disengaged hand, the ball is raised up to the other, and, on being
released, of course falls to the ground; when, however, the performer
gives the word for it to remain at the top of the cord, instead of
descending, it obeys. He then points with the wand to a part of the
cord a foot or so down, and the ball at once descends so far, and
then stops dead. To any place on the cord that is indicated by the
performer or any of the company the ball will stop and remain.

The secret of this is, that the hole is not drilled straight through
the ball, but has an angle, or bend, in it. The result is, that when
the cord is pulled tight the ball is held, but when it is slackened
the ball falls, a sudden tightening being sufficient to arrest it in
its career.

A very good form of ball is that now generally sold. It has a very
large hole indeed, quite a dozen times larger than the cord passing
through it. This hole is slightly tapered, and the cord is passed
through a small plug fitting into the hole. This plug is concealed in
the performer's hand as he holds the cord, at one end of which is a
big knot, or tassel. The plug has a crooked hole drilled through it,
and when the ball is run down the cord, so as to get the plug inside
it, the two become one, and the ball behaves precisely as it would
were it itself prepared. As the spectators, however, fancy the ball
to be strung on a cord that is many times smaller than the opening,
the force which causes the object to remain wherever it is ordered, in
defiance of the laws of gravitation, is quite inexplicable. I once saw
a Chinaman with a doll which went both up and down a cord. This was
very ingenious and diverting, but was too obviously mechanical.

A neat way of performing this trick, and one which I recommend for
drawing-room use, is to take a ball of worsted and thread it with
cotton or thread, the threading not being done straight through the
ball, but crookedly. This ball will then be found quite amenable to
discipline, and, of course, not the least suspicion can attach to it,
the worsted being borrowed from the hostess's work-basket, and the
threading done before the company's eyes. In any form, this trick is
not sufficiently important for the stage, there being no variety or
change in it.

_To Cause a Stick or Poker to Stand on End._--For this feat the
performer must be provided with 2ft. or so of fine black cotton or
silk, with a black pin at each end, securely tied on. The pins may
be either bent or straight, and must be fixed in the trousers at the
calf, one in each leg, which will enable the operator to walk about
without any fear of the thread getting him into trouble. The performer
first takes a stick or poker (if a poker, it should be a light one),
and, after having had it examined, proceeds to mesmerise it, as he
will call it. This mesmerism should be conducted with the greatest
seriousness imaginable. When the magnetic influence has been properly
aroused by rubbing, &c., the performer should sit down and open his
legs, so causing the cotton or silk to become stretched. He then takes
the stick or poker, and stands it upon the floor in front of him. On
being left to itself, it, of course, falls to the ground, but after
three or four failures, the performer brings it against the thread,
and then, making several mesmeric passes with the hands, relinquishes
all hold. The stick or poker will, of course, be supported by the
thread, but during the whole time it is so sustained the hands must be
waved over and around it, as though exercising some influence over it.
Do not prolong this trick more than can possibly be avoided, but get
out of sight and remove the pins and thread with all despatch. (See
also _The Dancing Sailor_.)




One of the most taking of all the tricks performed by the many public
exhibitors is that in which a hat is borrowed from the audience, and
at once from its interior are produced a quantity of heterogeneous
articles, the nature and number of which cause, not only the greatest
merriment, but also the most unbounded astonishment that they
should ever have found lodgment in so unsuitable a receptacle as an
ordinary "chimney-pot" hat. The reader will hardly require to be told
that every article which is produced from the hat has first to be
introduced into it by the performer, and on the skill with which this
is done will the success of the trick depend. It must be understood
that there is no middle degree of perfection allowed in performing
this trick. No one must be able to say, "Yes; he got them in pretty
well that time--I hardly noticed him." The motion which accompanies
the introduction of any article or articles into a hat must be
absolutely unobserved by anyone of the audience. No extraordinary
degree of speed is required, for success will depend more upon the
completeness of the arrangements made by the performer for the
accomplishment of his designs than upon mere rapidity of movement,
which, as I have often explained, is by itself of no use whatever, it
being impossible for the human hand to make any movement openly so
rapidly that it cannot be followed by the human eye. The object of
the performer being to introduce certain articles into a hat without
detection, anything falling below this accomplishment is imperfect;
but, at the same time, anything which goes beyond this in a striving
to obtain an ideal perfection is useless, and results in a mere waste
of energy.

The essence of the trick being that it is (apparently, at least)
performed for the most part whilst surrounded by the audience, the
articles to be produced must be chiefly such as can be concealed
about the performer's person. Of such a nature, the reader will
doubtless be astonished to find, are, when properly constructed,
bird-cages containing live birds, quantities of ladies' reticules,
lighted Chinese lanterns, and many other articles entirely at variance
with any possibly preconceived notions of what might ordinarily be
contained in a hat. The beginner, however, will have to commence with
less startling productions than bird-cages, &c., and graduate in the
art, as it were.

_The Cannon-ball._--One of the commonest articles which it is still
the fashion to produce from a hat is a cannon-ball, or, rather, the
wooden semblance of one. This is introduced from the shelf, which
is provided with little hollows for the reception of such unstable
articles. It has a deep hole, just large enough to admit the middle
finger, and is so disposed that a hand placing a hat momentarily, brim
downwards, on the back edge of the table would be able to introduce
the finger without difficulty. The finger firmly inserted, the hat
is drawn off, and, naturally falling backwards, covers the ball,
which is furthermore curled into the hat by means of the finger.
If the ball were solid and made of any heavier material than wood,
this would not be possible of accomplishment. The usual method is
to have two cannon-balls, one a hollow one of zinc, blackened, with
a hole about two inches across made in it. This hole is covered by
means of a sliding lid, which lid has a smaller hole in it for the
introduction of the middle finger. The ball is filled with articles,
almost invariably purchases made at a baby linen warehouse, which
are produced, with all possible effect, one by one, before the ball
itself. Sometimes the ball is packed as tightly as possible with
feathers, in which case a very large quantity can be produced, a small
pinch from the ball sufficing to apparently fill the hat, which should
be exhibited, ostensibly full, to the audience every now and then. If
feathers are used, a large cloth should be spread upon the floor, or
there will be a sad litter.

The introduction of the cannon-ball must not, however, form the
commencement of the trick, but follow on something else in which a hat
has been required. It would never do to borrow a hat and straightway
march with it to the table, there to execute divers entirely
unnecessary movements. Under such circumstances, the audience would
be surprised if something were not produced from the hat. There are
many tricks mentioned in which a hat is used. Whilst the result of
one of such tricks is being exhibited with one hand, the other can
easily introduce the cannon-ball, without fear of detection, if the
performer's manner leads the attention elsewhere. The ball safely in
the hat, the performer steps briskly forward to return the borrowed
article, and, just as he is about to put it into the owner's hand,
he makes a slight start, saying, "I did not notice it before, sir,
but there is a little something just at the bottom of your hat.
What is it? Something belonging to your little girl, I presume--a
pair of socks," &c. The articles are then deposited on a chair or
side table, and a motion made of returning the hat when "a little
something else" is noticed. The ball being by this time worked round
in the hat so that the opening is concealed from view, the hat can
be exhibited with the ball sticking inside. After remarking that
it is a very extraordinary thing to carry in a hat, and surmising
therefrom that the infant to whom the clothes just discovered belong
must be a "Woolwich infant," great, but unavailing, efforts are made
to extract the ball. In order to make it appear to stick in the hat
(which sticking makes its presence there at all seem all the more
inexplicable), invert the hat, and introduce a forefinger from each
hand beneath the ball. The whole can be then well jerked two or three
times. It is at length got out by the assistance of your attendant,
who is directed to give it to the gentleman to put in his waistcoat
pocket. For the sake of effect he staggers towards the audience, but
the performer recalls him, saying that he will send on the articles by
parcels delivery. Whilst this is being done, the wooden ball is got
inside the hat, which is once more carried down towards the owner.
The discovery of more contents is made, as before, and the performer
remarks that had he known that the owner of the hat carried a complete
arsenal about with him he would have borrowed someone else's hat. The
hat is jerked as before, and at the third or fourth attempt the ball
is allowed to drop on the stage. This will confirm the idea in the
audience that the first ball was solid, should there, by chance, be
any wavering on the point.

The only objection to this really very effective phase of the trick
is, that it has been done so often; the consequence is that so many,
anticipating correctly that which is about to come, are better able to
divine the means by which it is accomplished. The best way to guard
against this is to introduce the features at unusual moments, taking
advantage of any favourable circumstance or opportunity that may
casually transpire.

A cabbage or cauliflower is often introduced into a hat in place of
the solid ball, and is very effective. A hole for the finger can be
made in the stalk, but it is advisable to push a tin tube into the
hole, or bind the outside of it with cord, as the stalk will sometimes
give way, and a disaster, in the shape of a vegetable falling
down heavily from behind the table, occur. In using a cabbage or
cauliflower, be careful to clean and dry it well on the outside, or a
hat lining may be spoiled.

_The Distribution._--The gratuitous distribution of bonbons,
flowers, &c., from a hat is, owing to the expense entailed, hardly
such a favourite variation of this trick with professionals as with
amateurs--that is, with those very few amateurs who are able to
execute it with any degree of success. It requires an unusual amount
of _sang froid_ and boldness, combined with a perfect dexterity.
When I can obtain nothing else, I use bonbons, but they are not the
best article to employ, on account of their bulk. The sweets known
as "kisses"--pieces of toffee wrapped in gold and silver paper--and
gelatine bags of sweets are far more showy, as so many more can be
introduced at a "load." The performer must have either some black silk
bags or else some pieces of black silk, in which the articles are
packed and tied with the thinnest cotton or silk, which need only be
just strong enough to keep all together. Three or four little parcels
should be made up and stowed away inside the vest and in the breast
pockets of the coat, where they can be reached without difficulty. The
performer then advances, with an orange or similar article concealed
in the hand, and borrows a hat. The hat is quickly taken in the hand
containing the orange, and shaken, with the remark, "Why, you have
left something inside, sir." The shaking is to prevent the article
falling on the crown of the hat with a thud, which would too plainly
reveal the moment of its introduction into the hat, which is then
inverted, thereby causing whatever may be inside to fall out upon
the floor. All eyes, including more particularly your own, will be
turned towards it, and you seize the opportunity to introduce one
of your packages into the hat. The action of stooping to see what
it is that has fallen will naturally cause the hat in the hand to
come against the breast. The other hand is then introduced beneath
it, and the bundle slipped noiselessly in. The instant this is done,
obtain possession of the orange, and be as funny as you can about it
with the owner of the hat. You then discover other things in the hat,
and just before one bundle is exhausted introduce another. The most
extraordinary expedients will at times have to be resorted to for
accomplishing this, varying according to the position in which the
performer is placed. One movement that should always be tried is a
rapid three-quarter turn on the heel, during which a bag is whipped
in. Another ruse is to allow the wand or some of the contents of the
hat to fall, and so obtain a momentary diversion whilst stooping for
them. Any approach to hesitation will be fatal. When a fresh supply
has been obtained, turn the hat upside down, supporting the contents
with the fingers, and, shake it, thus appearing to show it empty. A
splendid ruse to adopt at such a moment, in order to intimate that the
hat is still empty, is to apparently read out the name of the maker
(which you have previously noted), and say that you will go to him in
future for your hats. Should there be no name, say you are sorry, as
you wanted to know where such curious hats are to be bought.

The introduction of flowers from the performer's person is not
advisable, it being impossible to keep them from being crushed.
They are best introduced from the shelf, and for this purpose the
following little arrangement will be found useful: Procure a tin or
zinc cylinder, about two inches in diameter, and two inches long.
Around the outside of this have affixed a number of small cylinders,
each capable of admitting the stalk of a flower. Such an article will
hold some thirty flowers at least, or even tiny "button holes" can be
employed. Round the cylinder pass some wire, a portion of which form
into a loop. The whole arrangement can then be suspended at the back
edge of the table, or behind a suitable chair. By having some packs
of cards introduced into the hat in the first instance, an excuse
for going to the table or chair is obtained. Packs of cards make a
great show when the hat is tossed vigorously about, so that some of
the contents fly in the air and out on the floor. The last few can
be taken out by the hand and thrown in the air in such a manner as
to flutter as much as possible between the audience and the hat,
which is, at the same time, brought into the position favourable for
getting the flowers into it. The wire loop is easily found by the
fingers, and, on the hat being brought backwards, when the table is
used (forwards, with the chair), the bouquet is easily introduced. The
cylinder arrangement is often made much larger than two inches each
way, but no very increased effect is thereby obtained--certainly not
sufficient to compensate for the augmented difficulty in getting rid
of the article after it is done with. When made of the size I have
given, it is simply concealed in the hand, as are the bags or pieces
of silk in which the cards, &c., have been wrapped.

_The Shower of Cups._--Amongst other things, a favourite production
from hats is an enormous quantity of tin cups, very similar to those
used in the cup and ball trick described in "Drawing-room Magic,"
but much larger. These cups, being all of the same taper, fit well one
into the other, and, being also very thin, a large number can be well
put together without forming a very formidable pile. Fifty is a very
common number to introduce into a hat at one "load." The upper rim is
turned over outwards, to give the cup a look of great solidity, and
the bottoms are fairly thick, for strength. They should be wrapped in
silk, and the inside cup filled tightly with ribbons or cut paper,
or anything else that will make a great show when distributed. The
performer then walks about the stage tossing the cups out of the hat
with great rapidity on to the floor, occasionally placing a few on the
table upside down. A dozen or so on a table make a good show, and they
are also useful for concealing the bags and silk used previously for
containing other articles. Spread out a few in the hat now and again
and show it thus filled. Very few will suffice to fill a hat to the
brim. These cups are, perhaps, best purchased at conjuring apparatus
houses, their manufacture not being universally understood.

_Multiplying Balls._--These, which are by some persons considered
even more effective than the cups, can be made, for the most part, at
home, with a little expenditure of ingenuity and trouble. They consist
of an ordinary cloth ball covering, with an extraordinary interior,
consisting, as it does, of a tapering spiral spring. Although I have
succeeded in producing springs of the required shape by twisting wire
round a peg top, I cannot conscientiously recommend anyone else to
adopt a similar method of proceeding. A professed wire-worker would
do the thing much more satisfactorily in every way. The covering is
a very easy matter, and any one of the weaker sex may be confidently
entrusted with it. Six of these balls, when pressed tightly together
and tied with cotton, take up only a very little more than the space
that would be occupied by a single ordinary ball. Eighteen, or more,
in batches of six, can be introduced at one time if tied up in silk.
The cotton of one batch being broken, the hat will be entirely filled,
and the process can be repeated, the hat being each time shown to the
audience in a replete condition. A tray should be at hand on which to
place the balls, great care being necessary to prevent any of them
falling to the floor, which would at once reveal their unreal nature.
When the balls are used, as is not unusual, in conjunction with the
cups--that is to say, either immediately preceding or following
them--it is advisable to have an ordinary stuffed cloth ball, exactly
resembling the multipliers, inside the inner cup. This ball is allowed
to fall and roll towards the audience (accidentally, of course!),
who will require no admonition to examine it. The balls can also be
made to multiply in the hands. For this purpose, take one bundle and
spin it high in the air (be sure to spin it well), and, catching it
as it descends, give it a sharp twist, to break the cotton. As the
balls will all suddenly expand, the hands must be held very hollow
and kept close to the breast, against which they should be sustained.
Another method is to break the cotton, but prevent their bursting out,
and, holding up the hand containing them, with the back towards the
audience, roll the balls into view, one by one, by means of the other
hand. These effects are both good, but must be done with dash.

Both the cups and balls are best got into the hat from the shelf. The
safest way to get them is, in the first instance, to introduce the
cards into the hat, which, after shaking about, empty on the table
with a bang. A favourable opportunity for introducing anything is thus
made. Some conjurors have an arm protruding at the back of the table,
on which bundles of cups, balls, &c., are suspended, and got into the
hat by means of a sweep of that article. This is an excellent method,
when the performer does not make a bad shot, and sweep the whole on
the floor instead of into the hat. Bringing the hat round the end of
the table, and, tipping things into it from the corner of the shelf,
is a method in use, but it is a bad one.

_Bundle of Firewood._--Immediately after the taking out of a dozen
or two of balls or tin cups, the performer may, if his previous
arrangements tend thereto, proceed to extract from the hat a common
bundle of firewood, which, the company may see, entirely fills the
interior of the hat by itself. As, subsequent to the extraction of the
balls, the performer has not even retreated to the stage, the company
cannot but be at an utter loss to account for the presence of so
ponderous a body. The bundle of wood is, however, far from being what
it seems. That portion of it, the exterior, which is visible to the
company, is genuine enough, being firewood, but this is only an outer
layer glued upon a cylindrical shape of thick pasteboard, bound round,
so as to look real, with a piece of string taken from a genuine bundle
of wood. The bundle has only one end, made, of course, of pasteboard
also, and covered with half-inch lengths of wood, which will present
a perfectly real appearance. Into the open end are crammed the cups,
balls, or other articles, which, being produced, enable the performer
to subsequently extract the supposed bundle of wood without having
refilled the hat. Some bundles are made with both ends covered, one
end having a trap opening in it. This is to prevent the possibility of
the unreal nature of the article becoming known; but I really do not
see why both ends should ever be exposed; and, with the end perfectly
open, the extraction of articles is very much facilitated. The bundle
must, of course, be introduced into the hat from the shelf, it being
too decidedly bulky to carry about the person.

_Reticules._--A quantity of these articles are sometimes produced from
a hat. They are, as may be imagined, far from being the substantial
objects they represent. The ends fall inwards and lie flat on the
bottom, to which they are hinged by means of calico, and the tops,
sides, and bottom are hinged together also by means of calico, and
so double up. A piece of cord, tape, or thin leather strap runs
through two holes, about an inch apart, in the top, the ends being
affixed to the ends of the reticule, inside. A pull at the centre of
this cord, &c., raises the ends, which force the other portions into
position. The outside is covered with cloth, and otherwise decorated
to represent a small reticule. I have seen them made of playing cards
without any outer covering whatever. The result was, that the audience
saw through the whole thing at once, as was but natural. A dozen or
more of these reticules can be introduced at once, and they make a
good show. They can be easily made from playing cards, and afterwards

_Dolls._--Calico dolls, with spiral springs inside, can also be
effectively employed. A tolerably large one, introduced into the
cannon ball with the baby's clothes, is effective when produced last
of all. In any case they should not be less than 6in. in height. The
face and greater portion of the dress must be painted on, a few little
bows, artfully disposed, serving to make the doll look as substantial
as possible.

_Bird-cages._--This is a trick which ranks almost as high in public
estimation--the only gauge, by-the-bye, by which conjuring tricks can
be measured--as the gold-fish trick. The same principal feature--the
production of a substantial article, containing living things, from
such unsuspected regions as the interior of a hat, or the folds of a
handkerchief--is in both, and the audience is, in each instance, in
the same dilemma in endeavouring to explain where the article comes
from, and how the living creatures get into it. It may sound like
exaggeration to assert that two substantial cages, 6in. high, each
containing two live canaries or other birds, can be produced from a
hat from one "load," but such can be done, nevertheless. The cages
are of wire at the top and on the sides, the bottom being solid and
heavy. The sides are hinged to the top, under which they fold, when
the bottom, which slides up and down the sides, is pushed up. The top
being domed, the birds are safe therein, not as comfortable, perhaps,
as they might be, but still unhurt. The bottom pushed up and the sides
doubled under, the whole is scarcely 2in. in depth; and two cages,
placed bottom to bottom, and kept together by means of an elastic band
or by a thread, can be got into the hat from the coat breast-pocket
in the prescribed manner. To produce them, it is only necessary to
raise the upper portion, by means of the ring there affixed, and the
bottom will run down into its place, causing the sides to go into
their positions. These cages are also produced from handkerchiefs, in
which case it is usual to have them of very large dimensions. Herrmann
produced one at times which had to be concealed up his back, so large
was it. This was produced, without detection, in the very centre of
the audience.

[Illustration: FIG. 54.]

[Illustration: FIG. 55.]

[Illustration: FIG. 56.]

_Chinese Lanterns._--The production of six or more of these articles,
all ablaze, from a borrowed hat, causes an effect not far from
astonishing. The well-known collapsible nature of the articles would
render the production of a number of them from a hat a matter of no
great marvel were they unprovided with a light. What cannot be readily
explained is the feature of so many lanterns being alight in the hat
at one time without burning either the hat or one another, or, indeed,
how they can all be alight at one time at all. The secret lies in the
construction of the bottoms of these lanterns, and the positions of
the candle or wick holders. The bottoms are made of tin, and on one
only of each series of lanterns is the candle holder placed in the
centre. This lantern I will call No. 1 (see Fig. 54). No. 2 has the
holder a little on one side, and a hole through its centre to admit
of the candle or wick of No. 1 passing through it (see Fig. 55).
No. 3 has two holes, corresponding exactly with the candle holders
of Nos. 1 and 2, which pass through its bottom, and its holder is at
the side of the hole through which the holder of No. 2 passes. No. 4
has three holes, No. 5 four holes, and so on all through the series,
which generally consists of seven or eight, that number being about
as many as can well be managed at one time (see Fig. 56). As the
holder of No. 1 has to pass through the bottoms of the remaining seven
lanterns, it must, of course, be very long. The holder of No. 2 will
be a little shorter, and the next shorter still, that of No. 8 being
of the ordinary length. By this means all the wicks will be on the
same level when the lanterns are packed together. The tin bottoms do
away with any danger of a flare up, and also, from their weight, cause
the lamps to open easily, which is of great assistance towards the
success of the trick. The upper rims are also of tin, for strength and
security. A few sulphur matches, which strike noiselessly, should be
affixed to the upper rims of the topmost lantern, whereon should also
be some sandpaper, on which to strike the matches. The whole should be
tied together with string, and concealed in the breast pocket, from
whence they can be introduced into a hat in the midst of the audience.
The match struck, the wicks are all lighted almost simultaneously;
and, the flames burning the string, the performer is enabled to take
out the lanterns in rapid succession by means of a bent piece of wire
affixed to the rim of each. An attendant should be at hand with a
pole or broomstick, on which to hang the lanterns. A deep round hat
is better than a "chimney-pot," the extreme depth of which sometimes
causes the performer to burn his fingers.

This trick is well worthy the attention of amateurs, as it is but
little worked, the majority of performers being frightened at it, but
without any reasonable cause. Any tinman will make the plates and rims
cheaply, and the paper sides can be taken from the ordinary lanterns
and transferred, so that the trick need not be an expensive one, by
any means. An excellent title for it is "A Chinese Feast of Lanterns."
Always remember to hold the hat as high as possible when it contains
anything: premature disclosures of the contents mar the effect

_Climax to the Hat of Plenty._--When the performer has a stage
attendant of average ability, he can conclude this or any other
trick with a hat in a very startling manner. The hat is given to the
assistant to return to its owner, and, just as he is leaving the
stage, he stumbles, falling heavily upon the hat, and flattening
it completely. The performer is of course in despair, and after a
slight scene the hat is eventually restored, it being found under the
owner's chair, or elsewhere. This exceedingly impressive and amusing
trick makes a very appropriate conclusion to a performance, and is
managed in two ways: Either the hat used in the preliminary trick is
actually the property of a stranger in the audience, and is exchanged
for the one to be destroyed, or a confederate brings it in with him,
and takes his seat on a chair or sofa, beneath which his own hat
has been previously concealed. In the first instance, the exchange
must be adroitly managed. The excuse of going off to brush it, and
returning immediately with the brush, is as good as any, although it
will always be subsequently apparent to thinkers when the hat was
exchanged, by whatever method the substitution is accomplished. I
may say at once that this method is not so good as the second; but
confederates are not always to be obtained when they are wanted.
Sometimes the performer borrows two hats, and whilst he is producing
something startling from one, his attendant quietly removes the other
and substitutes for it a duplicate.

By whatever means arrived at, suppose the exchange effected, or, what
is the same thing, the conjuror's own hat borrowed, and the assistant
lying prone upon the floor. He must then rise slowly, with a rueful
look upon his countenance, and, if any object, such as a tin cup, be
lying upon the floor, he must abuse it as the cause of the disaster.
The performer does not at first notice what has happened; when he
does so, he is, of course, greatly enraged with the assistant, and
assumes a very despondent look. He expresses his regrets to the owner
of the hat, and asks if he would like the hat done up in a small
parcel for convenience in carrying. Without waiting for a reply, he
and the assistant tear the hat up to little pieces, some newspapers
being produced and spread upon the table. On the shelf is a newspaper
parcel containing a crinoline, a large doll, or anything else that
is ludicrous in appearance. The shreds of what was recently a hat
are wrapped in a piece of the newspaper, with the exception of one
solitary piece, which is purposely allowed to fall upon the floor,
on that side of the table opposite to where the conjuror is standing.
When the parcel is made up, the performer notices this piece, and,
leaning well over the table, points to it, at the same time, under
cover of his body, effecting an exchange of parcels. The shred is
rolled up, and a pretence made of putting it in the parcel (it is, of
course, palmed), which is then given to one of the audience to hold
over his head. A pistol is fired, and, if the hat be borrowed from a
confederate, he is bidden to look under his chair, where, naturally,
his own hat will be discovered. If, on the other hand, the borrowed
hat be genuinely the property of one of the audience, it will be
seen to fly across the stage and attach itself to the top of the
proscenium, from whence it falls at the command of the performer,
and is caught by him. This additional effect is managed by passing a
black cord through a hole in the proscenium, and attaching it to the
hatband by means of a very large loop. The end to which the hat is
affixed must, of course, be removed from sight beforehand, the usual
place being behind the proscenium. The construction of the place of
performance will naturally have a good deal to do with this particular
matter, and the performer must study what arrangements will be best.
Wherever the hat is concealed, it must be thrown into the air when
the pistol is fired, and the cord at once gathered in as rapidly as
it is possible to do so. On the command for the hat to descend being
given, the large loop is cut through, and the hat falls. If the cord
were simply tied by a knot to the hatband, a piece of it would remain
attached after being cut away, and this would give a clue to the
mystery. After the hat is safely restored, open the parcel and exhibit
its contents.




_Tricks with Watches._--The reader has doubtless been on the look-out
for the chapter which shall initiate him in the art of pounding up
a friend's gold chronometer before his very eyes, and immediately
afterwards restoring it whole. I have purposely introduced the subject
so late in the day, because watches are very awkward things to perform
with, and the performer should be tolerably expert before he touches

On borrowing a watch, it is always as well to do, or pretend to do,
something with it that shall cause the greatest anxiety to the owner
as to its safety, and consequent amusement to the unsympathising
remainder of the audience. To expect this of a conjuror seems to
be a fairly-established custom. One way of acquiescing with this
unexpressed desire is to apparently incapacitate the watch for further
use by bending it several times nearly double. This feat is managed by
holding the watch with its back to the audience between the fingers
and thumbs of the two hands, the hands being on opposite sides of
the watch. If both hands and watch are worked rapidly backwards and
forwards (_i.e._, inwards and outwards) three or four times, the
varying light and shade upon the shining back of the watch will
cause it to appear to be really bent each time a movement is made.
The illusion is very perfect, the effect being always the same, to
initiated, as well as uninitiated, eyes. The remark, "Ah! yours is one
of the new putty watches, I see, sir," will assist in carrying out
this effective prelude. Precisely the same effect may be produced with
a bright florin or half-crown.

Another effective introduction is to have palmed a watch-glass
that has been either well cracked previously, or cut deeply with a
glazier's diamond. Bring this glass over the one on the watch, but not
touching it, and then, addressing the owner of the watch as to the
strength of the glass, strike it carelessly with the wand, but not so
carelessly as to break both glasses. When the breakage takes place,
of course, great consternation will be exhibited on the face of the
performer, who makes profuse apologies to the owner of the watch. The
pieces of the broken watch-glass are allowed to lie on the perfect
one, and the whole shown round, it being impossible to detect the
presence of the perfect glass beneath the pieces. The pieces are then
put in a piece of paper, for convenience in vanishing, and the trick
can proceed.

The ordinary method for destroying a borrowed watch is to have a
mortar (usually of wood) into which fits an inner lining. Over the
whole fits a pasteboard cover, with a fairly large round hole in the
top, in which the lining is concealed at the commencement of the
trick. The mortar is shown round and the watch put in. The cover is
then put on--for the purpose of preventing the pieces of the watch
flying out, it is explained--and the false lining thus introduced.
This should be done quickly, and without any show of care, which would
only excite suspicion. A pestle is then introduced through the hole in
the cover, and a terrific amount of pounding goes on. Some old watch
works and bits of plated gold, which have been in the false lining
from the commencement, are then exhibited by removing the cover only.
Another description of mortar is one with the bottom revolving on a
pivot. When the watch is put in, this bottom is pushed up a little
on one side from underneath, and the watch falls through into the
hand. The pestle used in conjunction with this is a very thick one,
especially at the end, in which are concealed some watch works. The
action of a piston, similar to that used in the one for _The Hatched
Card_, will propel these pieces into the mortar.

A far bolder method is to be provided with a dummy toy watch, and
exchange it for the borrowed one, and then actually pound it up in
an ordinary metal mortar. This method will succeed best in public
audiences, where an individual watch is not likely to be known by many
persons in the audience. In showing round the watch, in its demolished
state, in the mortar, there is no necessity for allowing a lengthened
view, much less a minute examination, to be taken by anyone; and it is
as well not to allow the owner of the watch to see the wreck at all.

Instead of a mortar, a long bag, made of alpaca or any other strong
stuff, and about three inches broad and two feet in length, is
sometimes used. This has sewn in one end of it some solid body,
fairly resembling a watch in shape and weight, and the other end is
open. About four inches from the mouth a seam is stitched across.
The watch, on being put into the bag, stops at the seam, whilst the
performer takes up the other end, to which the watch has presumably
descended, and exhibits the contour of the article or articles (a
quantity of small broken pebbles is frequently used) there concealed,
with one hand, the other hand holding securely the end containing
the watch. The dummy end is then struck upon a table, or against the
wall, several times, for the purpose of making it "go better," or of
converting it into a "stop" watch. To take the watch out of the bag,
hold the end containing the dummy with one hand, and invert the whole.
The watch will slide into the other hand, having apparently come from
the far end of the bag. An addition to this bag is to have the mouth
portion divided into two pockets, each one having a flap and a button.
In one are concealed some broken watch works and bits of metal. The
borrowed watch is put into the empty side, and, after the process of
banging about has been gone through, that containing the pieces is

The manner of reproducing the watch depends greatly upon the ingenuity
and resources of the performer. Every conjuror differs somewhat from
his rivals. A very favourite plan is to discover the watch in a loaf
or roll of bread. Another is to cause it to appear on the centre of a
target, or in the midst of a bouquet of flowers. It will be readily
understood that when the supposed process of destruction has been gone
through, and whilst the performer is amongst the audience with the
pieces and engaging their attention, the assistant unostentatiously
removes the mortar or bag containing the borrowed watch, and arranges
the sequel of the trick behind the scenes. If the watch is to appear
in a roll, then it is put into one by the assistant through a slit,
and the roll is brought on with some others. The performer takes three
of these, including the one containing the watch, and puts one on each
of the front corners of the table and one between them in the centre,
this centre roll being the prepared one. He then asks the audience to
select one of the three rolls. Of course, all three will be named,
but the performer affects to perceive a majority in favour of the
centre one. A great show should always be made of deferring to the
wish of the audience, this being very effective, and also the best
way to secure the desired end. The pieces of broken watch works can
then be put into the conjuring pistol, having been previously wrapped
in paper, and then fired at the roll, which, on being cut or broken
open, will, of course, be found to contain the watch. Should any
decided predilection be shown for one of the outside rolls, a change
of tactics must be made. Remove the one selected and say, without
exhibiting the slightest appearance of embarrassment, "That leaves
two; which one shall I now take?" If the one containing the watch be
chosen, say, "Are you quite sure, now, that you would not like the
other one?" This will cause a firmer adherence to the choice, for it
will appear that the other roll would be preferable to the performer.
Knock the other roll off the table, and fire at the remaining one. If
the watch has been neatly inserted in the roll, it can be given into
the hands of a spectator to hold whilst being fired at. When a bouquet
is used, the watch is merely concealed among the flowers. It should be
given to a lady to hold, in which case the pistol must be directed in
the air, and not at the bouquet.

The use of a target is very effective, and the target itself is not
of very difficult construction. It can be either of wood or tin,
and the face should be circular, about 12in. across, and affixed to
a pillar rising from a square foot. The centre, or bull's eye, is
pierced out and revolves on a pivot, an arrangement of watch spring
or elastic causing it to keep in its place. It should be black both
at the back and front, the front having a hook on which to hang the
watch. The assistant, on obtaining possession of the watch, hangs it
upon the hook and reverses the centre, a little bolt serving to keep
it temporarily in that position. To this bolt is attached a piece of
black thread, the disengaged end of which is behind, in the hands of
the assistant. On the pistol being fired, this bolt is removed by the
thread being pulled smartly, and the centre flies back to its normal
position, exhibiting the watch to the audience. The revolution is so
rapid that it cannot be detected, the watch appearing to actually
attach itself to the face of the target. A good effect is produced
by having the revolving centre of looking-glass, the corresponding
glass on the other side, with a hook through the centre, being badly
starred. It will appear as though the arrival of the watch had smashed
the mirror.

Another target is one with the centre in the shape of a recess, over
which a little spring blind is drawn after the watch has been hung
upon a hook within it. The blind has merely to be released and will
fly up, revealing the watch. This principle is carried out on a much
larger scale, two or more watches and chains and a broken plate
being used. The chief apparatus employed is a large picture-frame,
the centre having no picture, but being made in the form of a
recess. In the top is concealed a spring blind, of the same colour
as the back of the recess, which should be black. The articles to be
magically exhibited on the frame are hung upon convenient hooks by
the assistant, who then pulls down the blind and brings the frame
upon the stage. The blind has along its lower edge a piece of wire
or wood, from the centre of which projects, horizontally, a small
pin. In the centre of the lower portion of the frame, and inside the
recess, is a small catch, working perpendicularly on a pivot. The
upper portion of this catches the projecting pin of the blind, and the
lower portion passes out at the bottom, where a communicating cord
is attached to it. The action of pulling the cord releases the pin,
and the blind flies up, leaving the articles on the back of the frame
exposed to view. The means for getting the watches or other articles
into the hands of the assistant are various, the most effective, in my
opinion, being the following: The performer borrows two watches, with
or without the chains attached, and proceeds to wrap them in a piece
of paper which he holds in his hands. Underneath this piece of paper
is another, in which some dummy watches have been previously folded.
In wrapping up the borrowed ones, it is very easy, whilst turning the
parcels round and round in the hands, to bring the dummy one to the
top, and, getting away the real watches, to conceal them under the
vest or elsewhere. Passing subsequently behind the table, they are
left upon the shelf, from whence they are removed by the assistant.
The supposed borrowed watches, still in the paper, are then put upon
a plate and given to the assistant to place upon the table. Before
reaching the table, the assistant stumbles, and plate and watches fly
all over the floor, the plate naturally in many pieces. The usual
fuss is made about the assistant's carelessness, and he is despatched
to fetch the frame. The performer, in the meanwhile, gathers up the
pieces of the plate (less one piece purposely allowed to remain on
the floor) and the watches, and puts them into the conjuring pistol,
putting in some paper to keep them in position. During this time,
the frame is brought on and placed in position, the pistol is fired,
and, the blind flying up, the plate is seen in the centre, and the
watches on either side of it. The plate is, however, not complete,
one piece being missing. The piece upon the floor is then discovered
by the performer, who "passes" it towards the plate, to which it is
seen to affix itself. The plate and watches are then brought to the
audience, who are unable to discover any trace of joining in the plate
or damage to the watches. The remarkable effect of the restoration
of the missing portion of the plate is managed by having a ragged
triangular piece of black cloth put upon the plate, and, attached
to it, a thread. When the "pass" is made, the assistant pulls the
thread, and the piece of cloth falls down inside the frame. The frame
can, of course, be used for the reproduction of any class of borrowed
articles. Anyone with a very light turn only for carpentering should
be able to make one for himself. The pedestals or feet of both target
and frame should be heavy, so as to remain firm in case the assistant
pulls with unpremeditatedly extra strength.

An amusing and neat little trick with a borrowed watch is to cause
it to appear on the back of a volunteer assistant from the audience.
The performer is provided with a sharp-pointed hook, the blunt end
of which is turned back in the shape of a smaller hook. This he has
concealed about him. A watch is borrowed and immediately exchanged
for one belonging to the performer, which is given to be held by one
of the audience, as far removed from the owner as possible. A member
of the audience is then desired to step up on the stage, where he is
accommodated with a seat in the centre, and facing the audience. The
performer has, meanwhile, hooked the loop of the watch on the smaller
hook, and, taking the head of the assistant in the hands--the one
containing the watch being behind--for the purpose of directing him as
to the position in which it should be held, he affixes the larger hook
to the back of his coat. He then directs the volunteer to open his
mouth very wide, and pretends to pass the supposed borrowed watch into
it. On finding that it has not reached its destination, the performer
must surmise that he threw it a little too hard, and request the
assistant to see if it be behind him. On his turning round for this
purpose, the watch on his back will be revealed. An extra effect can
be introduced by trying the extent of the assistant's throat capacity
with the wand. The wand is taken by one end with the left hand, which
is placed against the assistant's mouth. The other end is introduced
secretly up the performer's right sleeve, and the right hand worked
vigorously up and down the wand. The illusion is that the wand is
thrust repeatedly down the assistant's throat to its full length.
This should be done quickly, and only about three thrusts should be
made. If the wand used for this particular effect be a special one,
having an extra loose ferrule, the illusion may be rendered still
more perfect if the performer keeps the loose ferrule in the hand,
and slides it up and down the wand. This is a very important little
addition to the trick.

A piece of apparatus that is very much used in connection with watches
is what is universally known as the watch box. It is a box, the
rough dimensions of which are: length, 3-1/2in.; breadth, 2-3/4in.;
and depth, 2-1/4in. The sides, ends, and top are very substantially
made, and the bottom is, to all appearances, equally so; but as a
matter of fact, it is made of two thin veneers, which have little
blocks of wood glued between them, so as to leave an intervening
space of one-sixth of an inch. The sides and ends come down flush
with the bottom, and so conceal the deception. One of the ends works
on pivots, the pivots being placed one-third of an inch from its
upper edge; and near the lower edge on the inside is a little brass
plate, with the centre keyed out. The ends, it must be understood,
are fitted inside the sides. In the hollow of the bottom is concealed
a catch, which protrudes just sufficiently to enter the aperture in
the brass plate. No spring will be required to keep it in its place,
as is usually the case, for if it be glued to the lower veneer, that
will possess sufficient springiness for the purpose. The catch will
of course require very neat adjustment, which is merely a matter of
patience. It must be so arranged that the end is very easily closed,
and opened with equal facility, by the mere pressure of a finger on
the thin underside, providing the pressure is administered just under
the spot where the catch is affixed. For facility in opening the box,
it is usual to place two rounded pieces of watch spring on each side
of the catch, adjusted so as to always bear just sufficiently against
the end to cause it to fly open a quarter of an inch when the catch
is released. These pieces of spring are fixed in blocks of wood glued
into position for the purpose. I am not sure that the springs are
not superfluous. They cause the end to fly open, certainly, and so
expedite matters, but they are far from being noiseless. I have found
the action of the fingers quite sufficient for opening the end. For
the sake of strength, it is as well to fill in the end where there is
no spring with a large block of wood. The interior should be lined
with cloth or velvet, and a good lock and key added. The box is very
useful for obtaining possession of any description of article that is
fairly solid and that will go into the box. The following description
of a trick performed with a watch will suffice to show how it can be

Give the box and key into the hands of a lady, with the request to
have everything examined and the lock tried. Keep very near whilst
this is being done, in case of an accidental release of the catch.
If there are no springs used, then this will not matter, as the end
will not fly open with a "pop," as it otherwise would, which should
be sufficient argument in favour of their disuse. Borrow a watch that
has a light chain attached, and, winding the chain round the watch,
have both placed in the box. Allow it to be locked and the key to
remain in the lady's possession. Now take the box, and say, "Although
there is no doubt that the box is securely locked, you may reasonably
think that I have some secret means of opening the lock. To prevent
the possibility of my doing this, will some gentleman kindly tie
his handkerchief firmly round the box?" Hold the box in both hands
whilst this is being done, by the opening end, and make a deal of
fuss about the knot being tied securely. Open the end, and, tilting
the box, allow the watch and chain to fall into the hands, turning
round sharply to someone else at the same time. It is absolutely
necessary to make a turn at this point to cover the abstraction. Give
the box, at the same time closing it, into the hands of any one of
the audience, with the strict injunction not to shake it--for fear
of injuring the contents, you will say, but really to escape the
revelation of the fact that it is empty. The watch and chain will be
in the left hand by this time, covered by the wand. If there be any
music available, have a little of the gentle rippling order ("The
Brook" is a suitable air) played, and make passes in the air, as if
clutching something, with the right hand. Finally make one vigorous
clutch, and hold the hand closed for a few seconds, then open it,
showing, of course, nothing. Instantly take the wand in the right
hand and strike the sole or heel of the right foot, raised for the
purpose, and then apply the left hand to the spot struck, the watch
being allowed to drop down, a portion of the chain being held between
the fingers. The several actions must follow each other with "one,
two, three" briskness, when the effect will be really very fine.
Naturally, it must be done far back upon the stage. Do not forget to
have the knot untied by the person who tied it and the box unlocked
by the lady who put the watch in. Be careful not to borrow a heavy
chain. In my early days, I borrowed a huge watch with a chain only
a trifle smaller than a ship's cable, and with about a pound and a
half of charms attached. The result was the not unnatural one of a
stoppage and visible embarrassment on the part of the performer.
If there are no small chains about, rather borrow a watch without
any at all. The use of the watch box does not in any way interfere
with the introduction of the previously described watch-bending and
glass-breaking surprises. They can come in as preludes.

It will naturally occur to the conjuror that the watch box may be used
in connection with the watch target or loaf, the watch being merely
placed in the box instead of pounded in a mortar. It will occasion
the performer's leaving the stage on some pretext in order to get the
abstracted watch or other article behind to the assistant, unless the
method of placing it upon the shelf be adopted. I certainly object
to the performer's absence from the stage as much as anything. If
it must be done, then some suitable pretext (see _The Restored
Handkerchief_) should be worked up to give it a colouring.

The watch box is a handy article to use in conjunction with _The
Magi's Brazen Rod_, it being directly employed by having the rings
placed in it. The rings should in this case be tied loosely together
with a piece of ribbon, to ensure their simultaneous abstraction. The
ribbon should be of sufficient length to enable the rings to be placed
in the slits in the hollow ball side by side without the necessity
of untying or cutting it. But on no account must the conjuror permit
the convenient adaptability of the watch box to tempt him into using
it more than once during the same performance. This is a fixed maxim
which applies to all _visible_ apparatus, and is one which should be
always rigidly adhered to.

_Tricks with Rabbits._--The gentleness and docility of the rabbit
makes it, like the dove, a favourite with the conjuror, who does not
hesitate to produce it from a hat, and to cause it to disappear from,
and re-appear in, most unexpected places. The production of a couple
of rabbits from a hat is always very startling, and requires a deal of
doing. The animals are placed one in each of the large side pockets,
where, if undisturbed, they will lie as peacefully as could be
wished, and evidently perfectly contented with their lot. The success
attending the transfer of the rabbit from the pocket to the hat will
depend entirely upon the skill of the performer, and no middle course
can possibly be admitted. It must be done well or not at all. The
usual expedient of palming some article and introducing it into the
hat directly it is taken into the hand will have to be resorted to,
and the article should be of a startling nature. (A pack of cards
does very well.) Whatever is put in must be emptied out on the floor,
and, whilst stooping, or rather bowing slightly to see what it is,
the performer brings the hat against his body and quickly introduces
the rabbit into it. The animal must be helped in, as it were, by the
body, and not dragged into the hat by the ears. So soon as it is in
the hat, one hand should be placed under the crown, which, if not very
strong, might otherwise be forced out by the weight of the rabbit.
Produce the rabbit with all due affectation of surprise, and, whilst
showing it about, allow it to fall. By the time it is picked up again,
either by yourself or by a spectator, the second one is in the hat,
and you express yourself anxious to know if the owner of the hat keeps
a rabbit warren in it. So much for producing the rabbits.

A favourite and very effective method of conjuring with them further
is to apparently rub one into the other. This is managed by the
aid of the large centre trap. One rabbit is placed upon the table
immediately in front of the trap, and the other pushed through the
table behind it, a great show all the time being made of forcing one
rabbit into the other. The remaining rabbit should be held up by the
ears, with the rump resting on one hand, when, to the imagination of
the audience, it will appear to be actually stouter than it was a few
minutes before. The remaining rabbit you affect to wrap in a piece of
paper, it being also passed through the trap, and the paper rolled up
as though it really contained an animal, considerable agitation being
communicated to it by means of the hands. The performer affects to
lose patience with it because it will not remain quiet, and crushes
the paper either beneath his feet or between the hands.

The reproduction of the rabbits (_i.e._, two duplicate ones)
necessitates the employment of a rather elaborate piece of apparatus,
unless the performer has a friend or two in the audience with rabbits
in their pockets, the production of which has a good effect, but is
seriously open to suspicion. The apparatus that is generally employed
is a large glass vase or goblet, some eighteen inches or two feet in
height, according to pleasure (or pocket). This has a zinc lining, in
two halves, fitting exactly inside it, the halves being hinged to a
slightly concave top, also of zinc. The hinges are on exactly opposite
sides of the top. The whole is covered with glue and then spread over
with bran. There is, besides, a large bell-shaped cover, usually of
thin brass, large enough to conceal the body of the vase completely.
In the centre of this, inside, is a catch, which is intended to pass
through a hole made in the centre of the concave top of the zinc
lining. The vase is prepared by having the zinc lining, previously
loaded with two rabbits, put into it. It will then have the appearance
of being full of bran, a quantity of which article is spread over the
concave top. A raised rim round the hole in the centre will prevent
the bran falling through. The vase is brought on by the assistant,
and the performer takes some of the bran from the top and throws it
off, and also thrusts a thin stick or wire through the hole to show
that it goes quite to the bottom. He then shows the interior of the
cover, that it may be seen to contain nothing, and places it over the
vase, pressing it well down. The original rabbits are next manipulated
at the table; and when that matter is settled the cover is raised,
gently and slowly at first, and perpendicularly, bringing away with
it the zinc lining, which opens as it ascends, and leaves the rabbits
in the vase. The bran can be made to transfer itself into the drawer
box, previously shown empty, if the same has not been before used
during the evening. A much more effective and in every way a more
preferable method is to cause it to make its appearance in a borrowed
hat. This is best managed by giving the hat from which the rabbits
were originally produced to the assistant to place upon the table.
The performer at once engages the attention of the audience with the
rabbits, saying that he will make the one eat the other, &c., and so
enables the assistant to slip into the hat, whilst retiring, a bag of
bran that is very loosely fastened at the top. This bag the assistant
has had concealed under the coat. The hat is placed carelessly upon a
side table, and the bran "passed" into it by the performer as if on an
afterthought, so as to avoid any appearance of premeditated effect.
The bran must be first emptied out, and the bag can be abstracted,
rolled up in the hand, which is inserted for the purpose of clearing
the lining of any stray flakes.

If the foregoing variations are all mingled in one trick the effect is
very good; but the combination requires a deal of practice, and will
prove trying at first.

[Illustration: FIG. 57.]

_A Novel Welsh "Rabbit."_--Employ a tinman to make a saucepan of tin,
the dimensions of which should be 7in. or 8in. in depth, and about
5-1/2in. in diameter at the widest part, which will be the top, from
whence it should taper slightly to the bottom. To this have fitted
an outer casing (A, Fig. 57), also of tin, that is 2in. less in
height than the saucepan itself. At the line where the upper rim of
the casing comes when the saucepan is fitted into it, have a beading
(B, Fig. 57), either put on or hammered out of the metal. This will
effectually conceal the fact that any outer casing exists, which
will be regarded as the body of the saucepan. Into the saucepan fits
loosely a secret pan, about 1-1/2in. only in depth, and into this
again fits a lid, which is ostensibly the lid of the saucepan. The
saucepan is provided with a handle, which must, of course, come from
that part which is above the outer casing. The saucepan is prepared
by having a rabbit placed in it, and the false pan put in, the lid
lying loosely on the top. Holding it with one hand, and sustaining
the casing, in which is a piece of cotton or cambric, by means of the
pressure of one or more fingers, it is brought on, and going with
it towards the audience, care being taken to hold it high, a hat is
borrowed. Observe, on receiving the hat, that you intend making a
stove of it, and then borrow a small handkerchief, which, you will
explain, when you have obtained possession of it, you purpose using
as fuel. As if indicating the meaning of your words, put the saucepan
into the hat, and, on withdrawing it, leave the outer casing behind.
Place the hat upon the table, with the saucepan beside it, and then,
removing the lid, break an egg or two into the secret pan--apparently
into the saucepan itself. Put in any ingredients you please, not
omitting candle drippings, and then place the lid firmly on. Place
the borrowed handkerchief into the hat, between its side and the
tin lining within it. Pour some spirits of wine upon the piece of
linen or cambric, and then set fire to it. Of course the audience,
on seeing the flames, will suppose that the borrowed handkerchief is
being burnt inside the hat, and mingled amusement and consternation
will be exhibited. Do not allow the burning to last long, or the tin
casing will become undesirably heated; but put the saucepan quickly
into the hat, after affecting to cook the contents, and perform the
double operation of putting out the flames and bringing away the
casing. If the casing be too hot, the action of the heat upon the
fingers will speedily make the fact known, so any further directions
upon this point will be unnecessary. Remove the lid, which, if it fits
as tightly as it should into the false pan, will bring that away as
well, and then take out the rabbit. Return the hat, previously taking
out the handkerchief, and point out that neither are injured; and
also show that the interior of the saucepan is quite guiltless of any
contents. If such a combination of apparent impossibilities as are
presented in this trick do not astonish, then nothing ever will. It is
a great trick for large mixed audiences. Doves or guinea pigs can be
used as successfully as rabbits. I have even seen a kitten employed,
but the difficulty was to get it into the saucepan.

_The Bird and Card._--A very pretty stage trick this. The performer
must procure what is known as a bird box, which is a pretty polished
box, having a secret metal flap inside, the latter, when turned down,
forming a retreat for a small bird, such as a canary. It is held down
by a small catch, released by pressing the key into the lock from the
outside, the double action being performed of setting free the bird
and concealing the card. It is useless having such a box constructed,
as it can be much more satisfactorily procured of the proper vendors.
Two small cages are also necessary. They may be round or square, but,
in either case, should be all wire, like a rat trap. This is merely
to give them an innocent appearance. One of these cages is concealed
on the shelf, behind the table. The performer borrows a hat, either
for this or a preceding trick (preferably the latter), and gets the
empty cage into it. This is best done by placing the hat upon the
table, the opening towards the rear, and leaving it there for a time.
Then, when carelessly shifting its position, the article required to
be got into it may be inserted with less suspicion. In the second cage
is a bird, precisely similar to the one concealed in the bird box.
Place this cage upon the table, and cover with a double cloth, having
inside a card-board shape. A card is forced on one of the company, and
placed in the bird box, in a little slit which will be found there,
just over the hinge of the secret flap. The inside of the box may
be carefully exhibited at a slight distance, the blackened interior
preventing anyone from noticing the presence of the turned down flap.
Whilst affecting to lock it, the key is pressed hard in and the flap
released. In flying back this covers the card. The performer commences
by extracting the card. This he can do by having a duplicate concealed
in a card-box (see page 127), and causing it to appear in that; but
it will look more artistic to have one palmed and affect to extract it
from the box. This done, the cloth is raised by the shape, the cage
being left upon the shelf. The cloth is then shaken out and laid flat
upon the floor. The box is then opened and the bird allowed to fly
out, if tame, or taken out in the hand, previously shown empty, if
wild. The performer will derive a great advantage from having a tame
canary, which returns to his shoulder. Finally, the hat is brought
forward and found to contain the missing cage.




_Clairvoyance._--This is one of the most mysterious agencies with
which the scientific world has ever had to deal. Doubted by the
majority, because of its seeming improbability, and because of the
difficulty of comprehending it, the faculty of clairvoyance or second
sight has, nevertheless, been possessed, and is possessed, by not a
few. Some marvellous manifestations of seeing without the eyes have
been shown, and in a manner sufficient to convince even the most
sceptical of its reality. This faculty has often been imitated by
conjurors, some of whom have fairly admitted that they were only
imitators, whilst others have assumed possession of the actual power
itself. At that now defunct institution, the Polytechnic, and other
places of amusement, cleverly arranged telegraphic communication has
been the means adopted for bringing a person on the stage _en rapport_
with another amongst the audience. I would not recommend the amateur
to take any serious trouble in the matter, but to merely make himself
master of a few tricks relating to it. A very simple one is performed
with the aid of a pack of cards. An assistant is blindfolded on the
stage, and placed with his back to the audience. Before proceeding
any farther, the performer explains that, beyond a certain point, he
will neither speak nor make any sound or movement, lest it should be
said that he conveyed information to the assistant. He then proceeds
to "force" three or more cards in an order previously agreed upon,
and the holders thereupon ask of the assistant, as the performer has
previously instructed them to do, what the names of the cards are. The
performer must mentally reserve to himself the right of pointing with
his wand to the person who is to speak next, so as to ensure the cards
being asked for in the proper order.

Instead of using cards, the performer can distribute slips of paper
amongst the audience, for the purpose of having short sentences
written upon them. He has a piece of paper of his own previously
prepared, with a sentence upon it that is known to the blindfolded
assistant. The papers written upon by the audience are folded up and
placed upon a tray, or the crown of a hat, each some distance from
the other. Whilst doing this, the performer contrives to effect an
exchange between his own paper and any one of the others, it does not
signify which. He then asks one of the audience to select one of the
papers, and, manipulating the hat or tray adroitly, "forces" his own.
Before it is opened, the assistant is requested to say what is written
upon it.

This trick is farther elaborated as follows: The performer hands
round a fair quantity of paper slips, and asks the audience to write
what they please upon them very plainly. As it is advisable that
whatever is written should be brief, it is best to ask to have the
names of celebrated deceased persons only written. The performer has
a piece of his own, previously written upon and folded, concealed in
his hand. Supposing this to be in the left hand, the right takes a
folded slip from one of the audience, and, under pretence of putting
it into the left, for the purpose of handing it to another person, an
exchange is effected, and the performer's own piece given instead.
The learner will know the proper "pass" for effecting this by this
time. The performer then says that he will go upon the stage and from
a distance read what is upon the paper. He does so, and seizes the
opportunity for rapidly opening the paper of which he has just become
possessed, and of reading the name upon it. If much were written upon
the paper, it would be impossible to read its contents in the limited
space of time at the performer's disposal. When he turns round there
is of course no trace visible of what he has been about, and he then
proceeds to read the name on the paper held by one of the audience.
This he does not do readily, but first names the sex of the person,
and then the capital letter of the name, as if it were only developing
itself by degrees and through some very mysterious medium. The first
paper duly read, a second one is taken, exchanged as before, and borne
off to the stage, to be read in transit. This process can be repeated
any number of times, although four will be found quite sufficient, as
it is a harassing trick to perform. An excellent finish is to "force"
a previously prepared paper, and then have it burnt, after it has been
read aloud by one of the audience. The ashes are collected and rubbed
upon the conjuror's bare arm, upon which the name then appears in
black. This is contrived by having the name written upon the arm in
glycerine. This will be invisible, but if the ashes be rubbed lightly
upon it they will adhere, and so show the name. There are chemical
preparations used for the same purpose, but the method described here
is by far the most simple and practicable. With this trick "Dr." Lynn
created a great sensation for several months, some years ago.

_Anti-Spiritualistic Tricks._--In the introduction to these papers I
had occasion, the reader may remember, to refer to the impositions
practised by the ancient priests and others on the minds of an
unenlightened people by means of what were merely conjuring tricks,
but which were made to appear before the ignorant in the guise of
supernatural manifestations. Few will require to be reminded of the
excitement that has of late years existed concerning spiritualism.
One would have thought that, in these days, people would have been
above believing that the spirits of the departed would be permitted
to return to the earth for the sole purpose of answering questions
and indulging in tomfoolery; but such is the simplicity of mankind,
that those who have had the boldness to declare themselves capable
of raising the dead, and to dress up themselves or others in muslin
or newspaper, have not lacked faithful followers. The malpractices
have been going on for years, and many shameless impositions have
come under my notice. The victims, it will not cause astonishment to
hear, were mostly weak-minded ladies, and the spirits have had the
remarkable discernment to visit only those who were well provided
with worldly comforts, backed by an amount of confiding simplicity
wonderful to contemplate. The exertions of several amateur, and some
professional, conjurors have succeeded in proving to all minds open to
the workings of common sense that all those professing spiritualism
as a means of gaining a livelihood are neither more nor less than
scoundrels. But of course there are still thousands who would be
as much imposed upon as ever by any white figure seen after dark,
and, in a private way, the spiritualists are still reaping a rich
harvest. Towards clearing away this darkness, conjurors, both amateur
and professional, can do a great deal, and there is a definite and
worthy task before them, which they can best perform by exhibiting
such phenomena as are produced by spiritualists at their exhibitions
by avowedly natural means. By this means ridicule, which nothing can
survive long, will be thrown upon the black art, which is merely
conjuring put to base uses. A performance consisting entirely of sham
spiritualistic manifestations I have found take exceedingly well,
especially with audiences who have seen something of conjuring, and
who are not averse to a change in the programme. I do not agree with
pretending to call spirits to one's aid, for it smacks of irreverence:
the performer should merely explain that what he is about to do or has
just done by simple dexterity is brought about by the spiritualists
with the asserted aid of familiar spirits. A simple trick which seems
well to commence with is--

_The Mesmerised Poker._--The performer seats himself with his legs
apart, and, taking a poker, stands it up on one end before him. On
removing the hand the poker falls, but, after two or three fruitless
attempts, it remains standing without the aid of any visible support.
This is very easily managed by having a fine piece of black cotton
attached to the calf of the trousers by means of a bent pin at each
end. It need not be so long as to drag on the floor, and the performer
can walk about with comfort and without fear of detection. The action
of opening the legs draws the thread out straight and tight, so that
the poker can rest against it when it is required to cause it to stand

_The Perambulating Walking-Stick._--This is a very amusing trick, in
which a walking-stick is made to walk across the stage by itself. The
invisible agency is again a fine black thread. On a stage provided
with "flies," it is managed from above, in which case the only
direction required is to affix one end of a thread round the head of
a walking-stick, and convey the other end above to an assistant. By
means of this thread the walking-stick is made to progress across
the stage by means of little jumps. But on the drawing-room stage
the matter is not quite so easy. Two threads will be required,
and they must lie across the floor when the curtain is drawn. If
possible, an assistant at each wing should hold the ends, but when
one assistant only can be obtained, he must do the best he can from
one side, the ends of the thread on the other being tied to the back
of a chair, about the height of a walking-stick from the ground. The
walking-stick should be provided with a substantial head, and the
performer must hand it round for minute examination. He then takes it
back to the stage, and flourishes it vigorously to show there are no
threads or wires anywhere about. The instant the flourishing portion
of the business is over, the assistants must raise the threads to
the proper level, and one of them, by crossing his hands, causes the
threads to cross each other at about the middle of the room. The
performer then places the stick, with apparent carelessness, upright
on the floor, but, as he takes care to place it between the threads
just where they are crossed, it does not fall on the one hand being
removed from it. The assistant who has crossed his hands now uncrosses
them, which action has the effect of holding the stick tolerably
firmly between the threads. On receiving commands from the performer
the stick is made to dance, fall down and jump up again, and walk
either to the right or to the left. If it is to go to the right, the
assistant on that side lowers his hands slightly, and the one on the
left administers a succession of jerks to the threads, which will
cause the stick to progress by means of a series of jumps. These
jumps can be made alternately long and short. As a final exhibition
of skill, it can be made to turn a complete somersault, by both the
assistants swinging their hands round in complete circles. For this
it will be necessary to have a good head to the stick. When the
performance is finished hand the stick round again for examination.
In my opinion the trick shows best in a room, where the audience know
there is no means of concealing anyone above.

_The Ascent_ can be performed by means of the same threads. Books,
pieces of music, &c., are laid upon the floor, and rise slowly or
quickly, and remain suspended in the air, where they can be made to
rock about. Of course, they are simply laid upon the threads, the ends
of which are then raised evenly and simultaneously. The best ascent is
a sudden one, as being the most startling.

_The Talking Glass._--Provide yourself with a tall, thin, and
well-sounding glass vase. At a pinch a thin soda water tumbler will
do. Across the room and above the table have a piece of thread or
fine wire. Show the tumbler or vase round, and then place it upon the
table, or on the top of an inverted tumbler, which will serve for the
purpose of showing that there is no deception beneath, and will also
act as a sounding medium. An assistant at the side draws the thread
close against the side of the glass, and it is stretched as tight as
is consistent with safety. The glass is now made to talk by means of
sharply emitted sounds in answer to questions, a small code of signals
being established. One sound means "yes," two "no," and so on. These
sounds are caused by the assistant catching at the thread sharply with
the nail, which will cause a distinct ring to come from the glass. The
principle is very simple, but I have never known anyone but myself
adopt it. The performer must endeavour to make his questions amusing,
and, as the powers of speech possessed by the glass are but limited,
they must not be too severely taxed.

If a tumbler be suspended from the wand by means of a thread tied
loosely round the wand and tightly round the glass, a sound will be
emitted on twisting the wand ever so slightly. With practice this
movement can be made almost imperceptible. If the onlookers begin to
look at the hand and wand too much the display must cease at once.

_The Spirit Bouquet._--One of the most usual, and at the same time
most shallow, of deceptions practised by the "spiritualist," is that
of the production of flowers. The gas is (of course) lowered, a few
irreverencies gone through, and, on the room being re-illuminated, lo
and behold, the table and floor have flowers lying upon them! As, of
course, the manifestors of these wonders could not by any possible
means have the flowers in their pockets on entering the room--even
if they thought of practising-such a deception!--the spectators are
struck with wonder. However, I shall teach the reader how to perform
an even greater marvel, by causing a bouquet to glide through the air
into his hand without the assistance of total or partial darkness. The
bouquet can be either real or artificial--a real one, certainly, for
choice. Take a piece of the finest iron wire procurable (jewellers'
"binding" wire is the proper article), about 6in. in length, and tie
it firmly round the stalks of the flowers, just below the buds. The
other end tie round the centre flower, which is always a little higher
than the others, and you will thus have a loop about 4in. in length.
If the centre flower be not higher than the rest, then re-arrange
the bouquet, and make it so. It is essential to have one end of the
wire tied on considerably higher than the other, in order that the
bouquet may hang properly. If both ends were tied round the main
body of the stalks, the bouquet would hang upside down, whereas it
should, when suspended by the loop, be almost upright, or, at least,
only slightly on one side. From the most convenient position behind
the scenes, which will depend entirely upon circumstances connected
with the arrangement of the stage, have another piece of fine wire
hanging, with a loop made in it at one end long enough to reach the
centre of the stage. The spot usually the best for attaching this
wire is at the side, as near the audience as possible. On a regular
stage the "flies" are most suitable, but in the drawing-room, where
there are usually folding doors and curtains (without them this trick
cannot well be managed), the side must be chosen. When the trick is
about to be performed, the bouquet must be put on the wire by means
of the loop, and an assistant in concealment mounts a pair of steps
with it and holds it in readiness. The end of the wire is so disposed
that the performer can without difficulty insert his little finger in
the loop thereon, under pretence, say, of shifting a chair. He then
retires towards the centre of the room until he feels that the wire
is drawn perfectly tight, and then proceeds to speak of the wonderful
productions by humbugs, done in the dark, and finally finishes up
by saying that he has only to extend his hand in the air to find
something in it. With the hand that is _not_ holding the wire he
makes a grasp in the air, and at the same moment opens the other
hand, taking care to pull the wire quite tight. The attention of the
audience is naturally momentarily attracted towards the hand making
the greatest movement, and at this very instant the assistant starts
the bouquet down the wire. The performer, when the bouquet has reached
his hand, which it will do with remarkable swiftness, exclaims, "Ah!
no; here it is, see, in this hand;" and, ridding his finger of the
wire, brings the bouquet forward, of course keeping the loop upon
it from view. When the performer's actions have been well contrived
and carried out, the bouquet is not seen until it is almost in the
performer's hands; but, under less fortuitous circumstances, which
are all I bargain for myself, the trick is wonderfully successful.
The fact of a small portion of the aerial journey of the bouquet
being observed is not by any means undesirable, the only thing to be
kept from the view of the spectator being the commencement of it. The
communicating wire must be fixed some distance behind, so that the
bouquet is descending at full speed by the time it comes into possible
view. The reader will see that the principle is so simple, as to be
almost commonplace, but he must not deride it on this account. The
most natural actions possible must be brought into play, and plenty
of rehearsals will be required. The reason for having the loop of the
wire upon the little finger is that the safe arrival of the bouquet
is better ensured thereby. The little finger must be kept undermost,
the hand being at an angle of forty-five degrees, with the wire lying
across the palm. A great deal lies in the neatness with which the
bouquet reaches the hand. There must be no bungling. Therefore I say,

_The Slate Trick._--Everyone will naturally wish to know how this
is done. "Dr." Slade, as Mr. Maskelyne correctly showed in open
court, produced his "spirit writings" on the slate by means of a
thimble-shaped instrument, to which were attached a piece of pencil
and a length of elastic. The elastic was fastened to the brace, or
elsewhere, and caused the disappearance of the thimble and pencil up
the performer's sleeve when they were no longer required. Under the
table was a little ledge which supported the slate whilst the hand,
which was supposed to be performing that action, was busily engaged
in scribbling upon the bottom of the slate, the thimble arrangement
enabling one of the fingers to execute certain letters in a very
poor and scarcely legible fashion. The bad writing was supposed to
look more mysterious; but Slade would have written more legibly had
circumstances permitted it. Anyone may try this method, but as a
conjuring trick it is poor. The trick as now sold is a slate with an
extra or false interior. The answer that is to be given is written
upon the genuine slate, and the false side then put on. The slate is
shown casually round without leaving the performer's hands, and a
question is then written upon one side of the slate, which is waved
about, and an opportunity seized for allowing the false side to drop
out behind the table, or at any other convenient place, and the answer
is then exhibited. If the inside of the false slate have blotting
paper pasted upon it, and a blotting pad be upon the table used whilst
the trick is being performed, it may be allowed to drop out upon the
table without any attempt at concealment.

_Fiery Hands, Writings, &c._--With the aid of phosphorus a very
innocent dark séance can be given. The principal thing is to have
the gas under control. This lowered, or turned completely out, for
preference, the rest is easy enough. Bunches of cotton wool, or tow
steeped in phosphorescent spirits, obtainable at any chemist's, placed
upon the ends of fishing rods, create a good effect when protruded
over the heads of the audience, and there waved about in circles.
A washleather glove, stuffed with cotton wool, tied to the end of
a rod, and wetted, is diverting, not to say alarming, when dabbed
suddenly in the face of one of the audience. Imagination will fancy
it the clammy hand of death. Care must be taken to withdraw it very
suddenly. The best way is to have it swinging from the end of the rod,
when it retires out of reach of a possible "grab" by virtue of its
own impetus. The glove must not be phosphorescent. Japanese fishing
rods, with the joints sliding one within the other, will be found very
useful. A good effect is produced by the performer allowing himself to
be tied to a chair, to which his arms are firmly bound, and the knots
sealed by the audience. His assistants, having first removed their
boots, can come on and manage everything, and, as a final effect,
one of them has some words or characters written upon his arms and
hands, or simply has them smeared with the phosphorescent preparation
in use. He then kneels behind the performer's chair, which he must
approach either backwards or with his coat on, and then extends his
arms from the performer's shoulders. The form of the hands and arms
will be seen, and it will appear as if the performer had loosened his
arms and was exhibiting them in a fiery condition. So soon as the
assistant is again out of sight the gas should be turned up, leaving
the audience in a state of bewilderment. The most childishly simple
things can be perpetrated in the dark, when the mind is by nature more
easily imposed upon than it is at any other time. The simple expedient
of someone coming on the stage in his stockings, after the room has
been darkened, and, by turning back the sleeve, exhibit some words
written upon the arm, is a very good illustration: it is impossible
for an ordinary mind to divine how the sudden appearance of the
writing in mid-air is managed. The arm must be extended horizontally
before the sleeve is drawn back, and it must be kept so extended
until the writing is again obscured. This is essential. The slightest
expenditure of ingenuity and thought will produce other effects, which
will vary according to circumstances and situations; whilst careful
preparation will meet with its usual and deserved reward.

_The Electric Touch._--The performer may, if he pleases, either
commence or conclude those portions of his entertainments which have
to do with mesmerism with a bogus explanation of the forces latent
within him, the result of a natural gift. He must purposely make his
elucidation a little far-fetched, in order to raise a smile, or even
a remark, of incredulity. This gives him the desired opportunity for
offering to practically prove the truth of what he states. Advancing
to the company, he asks one of the spectators to extend his hands
in front of him, palms downward. Standing immediately opposite this
gentleman, the performer rubs the back of one of his own hands
with the fingers of the other, and reverses the operation. This he
continues for a quarter of a minute or so, and then suddenly extends
his hands over the backs of those held out before him, an inch or two
removed. The spectator feels no shock, so the performer continues his
rubbing, and, at the third or fourth trial, the spectator jerks one of
his hands away, a slight electric shock having been communicated to
him. The experiment may be repeated as often as the performer pleases.
A little pin is the cause of this marvellous manifestation. This the
performer has about him (stuck under the vest is the best place), and
often, in gesticulating, indirectly showing the hands to be empty,
it is got down, with the head between the first joints of the first
and second fingers, where it can be held firmly, of course pointing
downwards. The nibbing of the fingers of each hand alternately upon
the back of the other indirectly points to the absence of anything
of the protruding nature of a pin being held in them, so the assumed
excitation of electricity by friction is not the only reason for the

It adds to the effect when the production of the shock on the
first experimenter comes only at the third or fourth attempt. With
others, it may safely come at the first or second, if the performer
be careful to explain that, the electric power once worked up,
very little is necessary to keep it going. The rubbing is kept up
throughout. The shock is, of course, produced by bringing the hand
holding the pin nearer and nearer to the one beneath it, until the
pin's point touches it. The touch must be as delicate as possible,
as then an after feeling is experienced which necessitates rubbing.
If the point enters the skin, the presence of the pin is at once
detected. It being so absolutely necessary to the success of the trick
that the touch should be very delicate, the use of fine entomological
pins is recommended, but they must not be too long. The performer
will do well to fail to produce shocks on some of those experimented
upon at first, a return to them being necessary when the electric
power has accumulated. Any particularly healthy and rubicund person
may as well prove quite impervious, the performer explaining that the
strength of mind present is too great. The company will judge by the
person's healthy exterior, forgetting that, notwithstanding, the mind
within may be nothing very great. As the performer is standing and the
company sitting, he must slant his hands downwards, or the pin will
be seen. The hands experimented upon must, for the same reason, be
kept low. Should anyone suggest a pin, that article must be at once
dropped, the performer being, of course, provided with reserve ones.
This part of the trick is very seriously carried out, the performer
congratulating himself and the company upon a state of atmosphere
which enables him to exhibit such satisfactory results.

_The Animated Skull._--The performer places two ordinary chairs, which
may be examined, back to back, and a yard or so apart. Across the
backs he lays a piece of plate glass, previously examined, a perfectly
transparent table being thus formed, and one, as the performer will
explain, impervious to electricity. Upon this table the performer
places either a real human skull or else a pasteboard imitation of
one. The imitation is recommended, the performer explaining that the
reason for its use is that the feelings of some might be shocked,
which really might be the case. The skull is examined previous to
being placed upon the table, the company being safely depended upon
for not noticing anything suspicious in the fact that the underside is
very much rounded. The skull now answers questions, giving one nod for
"Yes" and two nods for "No." What questions are asked must depend upon
the wit of the performer, and the nature of the company assembled.
Arithmetical problems should be solved, as the skull can give any
number by means of nods. As a finale, the skull is asked if it would
like to continue the performance, to which a couple of slow shakes are

Our old friend, the black silk thread, is at work again here. A piece
is stretched across the stage, tied up out of harm's way when not
in use. As soon as the skull is placed upon the glass the thread is
brought down to the level of the mouth, and made to enter there. The
imitation article has a deep indentation at this place. In other
cases the thread is brought under the projecting nasal bone. A slight
movement of the hand causes the skull to nod, so long as the thread
is in position, and the performer may pick it off the glass at any
moment, to show that no connection exists. The slow shake is done
by manipulating the thread sideways. It cannot be prolonged, as it
tends to work the skull off the glass. The rounded underside is to
render the rocking movement easy. In some cases a tiny bead of wax is
fastened upon the thread, and this affixed to the skull, at the back.



Having at length brought the beginner to that point where he will
first have to shift for himself in real earnest, I wish to leave him
in a position to do credit to my tuition, and, with this object,
impart a few hints for his guidance.

On the subject of practice, I would not say any more if I could.
By this time, it must have become so evident to everyone that
nothing can be brought to any degree at all approaching perfection
without assiduous attention to detail, that any repetition of my
often-expressed injunctions to practice would become nauseating. But
I ought to say something regarding the best method for learning new
tricks or sleights from the foregoing text. It is a bad plan to read
the description through, and then immediately try to produce the
result right away. The whole trick should certainly be read carefully
through first, so that the mind fully grasps what is required to be
done; but, after that, the hands should be made to follow, step by
step, the instructions given, and no progression made until it is
certain that all is correct up to each point. It will be readily
understood that my instructions have not been written without a large
amount of care, or without making a due allowance for the great
difference between teaching by word of mouth and by book. In many
instances, a single word explains a great deal; so, if the reader
scans the page carelessly, it is very possible that he may miss the
point altogether, and perhaps conclude, in his own mind, that I am a
charlatan and an impostor. With cards, this careful following of the
text with the hands is especially essential, and attention to it will
save much time, trouble, and annoyance at the outset, when everything
new will naturally appear difficult, if not absurd. Thus much for the
beginner. When he arrives at the dignity of an actual performer, let
him be careful to prepare, and learn by heart, a little set speech to
commence with, and also the accompanying talk for each trick. When he
has exhibited for a year or two, he will perhaps be able to dispense
with such preparation; but, at the commencement, few, if any, can
do without it. The first appearance before an audience is in itself
sufficiently unnerving, without any additional embarrassment in the
shape of a consciousness that you do not know what you are going to
say. Notwithstanding the most careful preparation, something is sure
to go wrong at first, and unexpected difficulties will crop up on all
sides, and to meet these successfully will require all the energies
of the performer. It does not signify how superior the individual's
natural aptitude or oratory may be--the task is too great for anyone
at starting.

For the first few "shows," it is as well to perform such tricks as do
not require the assistance of an attendant, for the performer must
be entirely master of the situation, and dictate to his assistant at
pleasure. This he could not do with freedom if he were uncertain about
his own powers. Let it also be borne in mind that assistants are like
money, which, when good, is a valuable acquisition, but, when bad,
only gets one into trouble. Have no assistant at all rather than a
bungler, or, what is, if possible, worse, one who endeavours to attach
to himself some degree of consequence in the minds of the audience.
Except when it is to assist the trick, he should never open his
mouth, and all his work should be done as silently and unobtrusively
as possible, without absolutely scurrying away. His presence on
the stage should be as brief as possible, and his appearance must
always be excused by the performance of some very insignificant and
subordinate task. The best assistant to have is one who looks so
stupid that the combined efforts of fifty conjurors could not drum
into him the method for making the "pass." The worst is the one who
conveys by his appearance and actions that he "knows all about it."
The spectators at once attribute the greater portion of the results to
his agency--not incorrectly, perhaps; but it is unnecessary that they
should have any cause to do so. On no account should the attendant
attempt to perform any impromptu act, however clever he may be, for he
is sure to confuse the performer by so doing, and so lead to awkward

On many occasions, it is inconvenient, or, at any rate, highly
inadvisable, to take the conjuring table. At the houses of friends
it is exceedingly difficult to keep everything secret without being
absolutely rude. The host (possibly followed by a friend or two--"men
who understand things of this sort, you know, so you needn't be
afraid") is nearly certain to take the fullest advantage of his
position, and to penetrate into the performer's sanctum with all
possible alacrity, and there worm from him valuable secrets. Of
course, he wouldn't dream of telling anyone, not he; yet, somehow, if
the tricks are exhibited on another occasion, the juveniles display an
inexplicable and annoying knowledge of the why and the wherefore of
them. It is of no use to say, "Oh! but no one would take the liberty,"
and such like; my experience teaches me (and I do not think that I, in
particular, have fallen among thieves) that they do, so there is an
end of it. Such articles as multiplying balls, cups, reticules, &c.,
are easily put out of sight; but an unwieldy table is quite another
thing. Of course, immediately the trap in it is discovered, away goes
your reputation for miraculous sleight of hand; and, when you really
do exhibit a genuine specimen of it, you will not get credit for it.
No, no risks must be run on this head--that is, if the performer
cares anything for his reputation.

As an excellent substitute for the table, I have an oblong box, the
rough dimensions of which are 18in. × 8in. × 6in. It has a removable
sliding lid, and is covered with a dark cloth. In this I carry such
of my belongings as will go into it; so, when it is seen during the
performance, it is only regarded in the light of an ordinary deal
box. One of the 8in. sides, however, has a trap cut in it, with a
little bag inside the box for catching articles passed through. The
box, _minus_ the lid, and _plus_ such articles as would be ordinarily
placed upon the shelf, is brought boldly on, along with some of the
articles which the performer will first require, as a "blind." It is
placed carelessly down within three or four inches of the back of
the table, with the open side, naturally, at the back, and the trap
uppermost. The table itself plays the part of the shelf, and articles
are now and then placed upon the box, as they would be, in the usual
way, upon a table.

Another way, much more deceptive, is to have a trap made in the top
of an ordinary high hat. The crown lining should form the bottom of
a collapsible bag, so that the inside of the hat can be first shown,
but, so soon as it is placed upon the table brim downwards, the bag
falls down. The brim should be tolerably flat, as the hat should not
rock about. The crown itself will require some strengthening material,
such as very thick pasteboard, glued to it before the trap is cut out,
or the latter will curl up in an unseemly way. This trap hat serves
for vanishing articles only. Its presence is very opportune at times.
The presence of the shelf is by no means indispensable; indeed, I
may safely say that I do not require it myself, except in important
performances. If it be inconvenient to take the table, a programme
can easily be arranged so as to dispense with the shelf entirely,
but, if it can be used, then, by all means, make the most of it.
Young conjurors must avoid the error of adapting their tricks to the
shelf, instead of the shelf to the tricks. Experience will show what
an astonishing quantity of things can be concealed in the large breast
and tail pockets for hat "loading" purposes. The tail pockets will
carry a bundle of fifty cups with ease, and without fear of detection;
and when these can be introduced, and produced without once leaving
the audience, I need hardly say that the effect is considerably
enhanced. When you are using a table, be careful never to go behind
it without some good reason, and let your stay there be as brief as
possible. Stand at the sides as often and as long as you like.

The arrangement of the stage and the seating of the audience are
matters of vital importance, and due regard must be paid to angles
of vision. One of the greatest bug-bears a performer meets with in
private audiences is he (no lady ever sins in this way) who, under
pretence of being at hand in case of need, or by means of some even
more transparent excuse, plants himself, in close proximity to the
stage, between it and the body of the audience. It is all very well
for the reader to say, "Oh, but I would never allow that under
any circumstances!" If he be young, he will find that people will
patronise him, do what he may, or be as clever as he will; and it is
in the interest of the young beginner that I am making these remarks.
There will generally be somebody who thinks himself a privileged
person, and who will put himself just where he is not wanted. We know
what mean things people will do for money: to find out the secret of a
conjuring trick they will descend almost as low. I am not romancing,
but stating plain truths, such as have forced themselves upon me time
after time. Under these circumstances, the table should be placed as
far back as is possible or convenient, and, if little tables are used,
they should be well on one side and not too far forward. But more
important than this even is the placing of some large object, such
as a vase with flowers on a pedestal, a statue, or such like at each
corner, as it is from thence that the best view of the conjuror's
secrets can be obtained. A person stationed at a corner can see
half of what the performer does in the vesting line, and he has an
unfair advantage, which must not be permitted, when avoidable. If a
pianoforte be in use, by all means put it close to one of the corners.
Curtains are not of much use, as they are easily pulled aside. If he
have the opportunity, let the performer arrange the seats himself, and
also take the bearings of his table from the corners. Be careful that
no looking-glasses are in a position to reflect back to the audience
those things which are not meant for them to see, and have the light
as evenly distributed as possible; but do not have any candles or lamp
on the table. I object even to an upright candelabrum being placed at
each front corner. They are in the way.

Programmes are a decided addition, and they should be made as
interesting as possible without foreshadowing what is about to follow.
The cheapest way is to have a quantity printed, with the performer's
complete catalogue upon them, numbered, and then the numbers of the
tricks to be performed can be announced in any convenient way. This
will only do for private audiences. In performing in public the case
is entirely altered.

By all means call in the assistance of a pianoforte; but see that
the player of the instrument is one who will not be likely to
egotistically launch out into any brilliant fantasia. Waltzes,
and such pieces as can be stopped suddenly, should be chosen. The
performer must be as quick as he can between tricks; but to a waiting
audience one minute seems ten, so it is quite necessary to have a
little music when it is obtainable. The player should finish off
directly the performer comes on the stage, without waiting for any
word or sign. In such a trick as the _Rising Cards_ a little "magic
music"--of the gentle trickling order--will be found very effective.
The cards would ascend to the music.

The performer should always provide himself with a private programme,
to be hung or pasted up behind his screen, or wherever his retiring
place may be. On this programme should be detailed every property
of each trick, down to the veriest trifle, for on trifles, be it
remembered, often depends the whole success of a trick. It is also
well to have written down beforehand what articles should be upon
the shelf at the commencement of each part, and any preconceived
pieces of appropriate wit should be put against the particular trick
to which they belong. These precautions will save the performer--the
beginner more especially--a world of trouble and anxiety. As a trick
once written out is done for ever, it is as well to have each one on a
separate card. In this case the writing out of an elaborate programme
before each performance would be avoided, besides which the cards are
more portable. Have the properties of each trick complete. If a knife
be required in three tricks, have three knives, and not one, and let
this principle be observed throughout. It is as easy to take three
knives as one, and there is, besides, the comforting assurance that
one will be at hand when wanted.

Do not perform longer than forty-five or fifty minutes at a stretch.
Both performer and audience are the better for a short rest at the
end of that period, and an interval of ten minutes or so should be
allowed. This will enable the performer to re-arrange his shelf, which
should always be kept as clear as possible, and to remove articles
from the trap bags, &c.

Above all things, keep the hands warm, and for this purpose be
provided with a pair of woollen gloves, which wear indoors as well as
out, previous to a performance. No one can palm with a hand like ice.

I do not know that I can say anything more without repeating what has
already appeared in connection with such tricks as seemed to me to
afford the most appropriate opportunities; so my work is done.

To use the words of Byron, "I have nothing further to add, save a
general note of thanksgiving to readers, purchasers, and publishers,"
and to wish the learner all success--but only according to his
deserts--with as much true enjoyment as has been experienced by me in
the pursuit of SLEIGHT OF HAND.




Accommodating bottle, 316

Aces, congenial, 102

Action with rapidity, &c., 39

Addressing audience, style of, 60, 153, 161, 393

Animated skull, 390

Anti-gravitation ball, 343

Anti-spiritualistic tricks, 380

Apparatus, its uses and abuses, 258

Apples and ring, 50
  And small eggs, palming, 168
  In cups, 58

Arm, cutting, with a knife, 83

Arrangement of stage, 398

Article, changing an, 171

Ascending cards, 192

Ascent of articles in spiritualistic tricks, 383

Assembly, 136

Assistant, choosing an, 176, 393

Attached card, 101

Audience, seating the, 396
  Style of addressing, 60, 153, 161, 393


Bacchus' dovecot, 306
  Maypole, 311

Bag, the egg, 274
  Watch, 363

Ball and bottle, 308

Balls and cups, tricks with, 54
  And plates, 80
  Anti-gravitation, 343

Balls, concealing, 55
  From a hat, multiplying, 353
  Passing and vanishing, 55
  Vanishing, 170
  Vesting, 170
  Wine-drinking, crystal, 308
  Worsted, and coin, 256

Banker, the, 237

Bending watches, 362

Bird and card, 376
  Cages produced from a hat, 356

Birds, vanishing small, 173

Blindfold feats, 378

Borrowed rings, exchanging, for dummies, 175

Borrowing handkerchiefs, 17, 63
  Watches, 361

Bottle, accommodating, 316
  And ball, 308
  And dove, 306
  And penknife, 44
  And ribbons, 311
  And tumbler, perambulating, 328
  Magic wine, 316
  Of ginger beer, 287

Bouquet, spirit, 384

Bowls of fish, 262

Boxes, card, 127
  Drawer, 300
  For watch, 364
  Passing coin into, 21
  Watch, 368
  With trap, 395

Boxing coins, 21

Brazen rod, magi's, 324, 371

Breaking watches, 362

Broad and long cards, 131

Bundle of firewood produced from hat, 354

Burning a handkerchief, 62

Butterfly trick, Japanese, 74


Cabbage and hat, 349

Cage, flying, 335

Cages, bird, produced from hat, 356

Candle, money-producing, 252
  Passing handkerchief over flame of, without burning, 178

Cannon ball and hat, 346

Card and bird, 376
  Tricks, value of, 88

Cards, ascending, 192
  Assembly, 136
  Attached, 101
  Boxes, 127
  Catching two, in the air, 102
  Causing one to appear in any position in the pack,
     counting from top or bottom, 123
  Causing one to show itself on the top of the pack, 101
  Chameleon, 132
  Changing, 132
  Changing two, 108
  Clairvoyance, 379
  Congenial aces, 102
  Conjurors', 89
  Cut packs, 130
  Diagonal, 96
  Egyptian pocket, 187
  False shuffle, 99
  Forcing, 117
  Hatched, 205
  La carte générale, 119
  Lady's own trick, 105
  Lightning change, 146
  Long and broad, 131
  Marking, 177
  Missing link, 190
  Napoleon, a game at, 143
  Obliging bouquet, 202
  Palming, 112
  Passes with, 90, 106
  Permeating, 122
  Prepared, 130, 179
  Pricked, 131
  Reversed, 104
  Revolution, the, 129
  Royal marriages, 115
  Salamander, 197
  Sliding, 116
  Sympathetic, 120
  Thought-reading, 140
  Throwing, 129
  Travelling, 135
  Tricks with, 88, 186
  Universal, 119
  Vanishing a pack, 186

Catching coins in the air, 14
  Two cards in the air, 102

Causing a card to appear in any position in the pack,
     counting from top or bottom, 123
  A card to show itself on the top of the pack, 101
  A stick or poker to stand on end, 344

Challenges, how to answer, 35

Chameleon card, 132

Changing articles, 171
  Cards, 132, 146
  Coins, 11, 32
  Dice, 81
  Two cards, 108

Chinese fire eating, 72
  Lanterns produced from a hat, 356
  Marbles, 70
  Methods of conjuring, 70, 75
  Rings, 296
  Tricks, 70

Choosing an assistant, 176, 393

Clairvoyance, 378

Climax to the hat of plenty, 358

Coat, cutting person's arm through, 83

Coin and worsted ball, 256
  Handkerchief, 183

Coins, banker, the, 237
  Best kind for use, 38
  Boxing, 21
  Catching in the air, 14
  Changing, 11, 32
  Concealing, 12
  Copper superior to silver, 34
  Crystal plateau, 250
  Dancing, 20
  Extracting, from a glass of water, 24
  Flight of, 255
  Folding penny, 27
  Hold them tight!, 242
  Invisible transit, 232
  Marking, 38
  Minor tricks with, 9
  Money changer, 247
  Money-producing candle, 252
  Palm practice with, 9
  Passing into a hat, 13, 23
  Passing many, 16
  Passing or vanishing, 10
  Passing through table, 12
  Selecting, when blindfolded, 23
  Shower of gold, 273
  Showing hands empty while still containing, 177
  Sleeving, 35
  Substituting, 22
  Tricks with, 9, 232
  Vanishing, from a handkerchief, 17

Coin-vanishing tumbler, 184

Collecting eggs, 278

Common objects, tricks with, 39

Common palm, 5

Company, producing articles from the persons of the, 166

Concealing a ball, 55
  Coins, 12

Cone and drawer-box, 304

Congenial aces, 102

Conjuring table, substitute for, 394

Conjuror's shelf, 156, 395

Cooking and making a pudding in a hat, 293
  A "Welsh rabbit", 374

Copper coins superior to silver, 34

Cork, false, 30

Corks, Houdin's dessert of, 84

Corks, tricks with, 84

Cornucopian hat, 346

Cotton, cutting up piece of, 46

Crystal ball, wine-drinking, 308
  Plateau, 250

Cup, passing one through another, 61

Cups and balls, tricks with, 54
  And oranges, apples, &c., 58
  From a hat, shower of, 352

Cut packs of cards, 130

Cutting a person's arm with a knife, 83
  Up piece of cotton, 46


Dancing coins, 20
  Sailor, 339

Decanted handkerchief, 224

Deception and rapidity of action, 39

Dessert of corks, Houdin's, 84

Destroying a watch, 362

Devil's handkerchief, 182

Diagonal pass with cards, 96

Dice, changing, 81

Dictionary trick, great, 336

Die trick, Houdin's, with additional effects, 259

Distribution from a hat, 350

Dolls produced from a hat, 355

Dove and bottle, 306
  Mesmerising a, 175

Dovecot, Bacchus', 306

Doves, vanishing, 173

Drawer-box, 300
  And cone, 304

Drawing-room magic, 4

Dress for a conjuror, 160


Eating fire, 72

Egg bag, the, 274

Orange, &c., produced from wand, 164

Eggs and small apples, palming, 168
  Collecting, 278
  Magician's, 183
  Productive, 184

Egyptian pocket card trick, 187

Electric touch, 389

England, flags of Old, 295

Exchanging borrowed rings for dummies, 175

Extracting a coin from a glass of water, 24


Fairy flower, 327

False shuffle with cards, 99

Feast of lanterns, Chinese, 356

Fiery hands, writings, &c., 387

Filter tumblers, 79

Final instructions, 392

Finding sweetmeats in a handkerchief, 65

Finger palm, 6

Fire eating, Chinese, 72

Firewood, bundle of, produced from hat, 354

Fish and bowl, 262
  And ink, 265

Flags of Old England, 295

Flight of coins, 255

Flower, fairy, 327
  Ring in, 183

Flowers produced from hat, 351

Flying cage, 335
  Plume and seed, 291

Folding penny, 27

Forcing cards, 117

Fork or spoon through a tumbler, passing, 79

Fowl, resuscitated, 280


Game at Napoleon, 143

Gant de Paris, 228

General instruction and management in stage conjuring, 149
  Remarks, 149, 392

Ginger beer, bottle of, 287

Glass of sherry, vanishing, 77
  Of water, extracting a coin from, 24
  Of water, to invert, 271
  Of water, ubiquitous, 267

Glass, talking, 384

Glove, gant de Paris, 228

Gloves suitable for conjurors, 398

Gold-fish and ink, 265
  Trick, 262

Gold, shower of, 273

Grand, or stage magic, 149


Half-crown wand, 237

Handkerchief, coin, 183
  Decanted, 224
  Devil's, 182
  Finding sweetmeats in, 65
  For egg collecting, 278
  Lengthening a, 66
  Passing through flame of candle without burning, 178
  Restored, 210
  Ring and wand, 49
  Through the leg, pulling a, 64
  Twisting, 69
  Tying knot instantaneously, 68
  Tying knot on wrist, 69
  Untying knot in, by word of command, 65
  Vanishing coins from, 17

Handkerchiefs, borrowing, 17, 63
  Burning, 62
  Knots, 218
  Melting, 226
  Sun and moon, 215
  Tricks with, 62, 210
  Vanishing and reproducing, 171

Hands, fiery, 387
  To show, empty, while still containing coins, 177

Harmless shot, 282

Hat and cabbage, 349
  And cannon-ball, 346
  Bird cages produced from, 356
  Bundle of firewood produced from, 354
  Chinese lanterns produced from, 356
  Cornucopian, 346
  Distribution of presents from, 350
  Dolls produced from, 355
  Flowers produced from, 351
  Making and cooking a pudding in, 293
  Multiplying balls produced from, 353
  Of plenty, 346
  Of plenty, climax to, 358
  Passing coins into, 13, 23
  Rabbits produced from, 372
  Reticules produced from, 355
  Shower of cups from, 352
  With trap, 395

Hatched card, 205

Hold them tight!, 242

Houdin's dessert of corks, 84
  Die trick, with additional effects, 259


Incubation by magic, 276

Ink and gold-fish, 265

Instruction and general management in stage conjuring, 149

Instructions, final, 392

Intervals during performances, 398

Introduction, 1
  Of music in performances, 397

Introductory stage tricks, 161

Inverting glass of water, 271

Invisible transit of coins, 232


Japanese butterfly trick, 74


Kling-klang, 281

Knife and squares of paper, 42
  Cutting a person's arm with, 83
  Swallowing, 85

Knot on the wrist, tying a, 69
  That will not draw tight, tying a, 67
  Tying instantaneously, 68
  Untying at word of command, 65

Knots in handkerchief, 218


La carte générale, 119

Lady's own trick with cards, 105

Lanterns, Chinese, produced from a hat, 356

Large objects from the hand, vanishing, 167

Leg, pulling a handkerchief through the, 64

Length of time for performance, 398

Lengthening a handkerchief, 66

Live stock and watches, tricks with, 361

Long and broad cards, 131


Magical wine, 337

Magician's eggs, 183

Magic, incubation by, 276
  Omelette, 332
  Plateau, 185
  Wine bottle, 316

Magi's brazen rod, 324, 371

Making and cooking a pudding in a hat, 293

Management and instruction in stage conjuring, general, 149

Manner when performing, 249

Marbles, Chinese, 70

Marking coins, 38

Maypole, Bacchus's, 311

Meddlers, punishment of, 151

Mesmeric suspension wand, 318

Mesmerised poker, 344, 382

Mesmerising a dove, 175

Mesmerism, sham, 378

Misdirection, 40

Missing link, 190

Money changer, 247
  Tube, 239

Money-producing candle, 252

Mortar and pestle for watches, 362

Mouth, producing yards of paper from the, 73

Multiplying balls obtained from a hat, 353

Music, introduction of, in performance, 397


Napoleon, a game at, 143

Nest of boxes, 21

Novel "Welsh rabbit", 374


Obliging bouquet card trick, 202

Omelette, magic, 332

Oranges, apples, &c., in cups, 58
  Produced from wand, 164
  Vanishing, 170
  Vesting, 170


Palm practice with coins, 9

Palming cards, 112
  Coins, 5
  Common, 5
  Finger, 6
  Proper, 5
  Quick, practising, 17
  Reverse, 7
  Small eggs, apples, &c., 168
  Sugar, 40
  Thumb, 6
  Use of the wand in, 12
  With both hands, 22

Paper and knife, 42
  From the mouth, producing yards of, 73

Passes with cards, 90, 106

Passing and vanishing a ball, 55
  Articles through traps, 158
  Coins, 9
  Coins into a hat, 13, 23
  Coins through a table, 12
  Fork or spoon through tumbler, 79
  Many coins, 16
  Penny into soda-water bottle, 27
  Ring into an egg, 334

"Patter", 154

Penknife and bottle, 44

Penny, folding, 27
  passing, into soda-water bottle, 27

Perambulating bottle and tumbler, 328
  Walking stick, 382

Performance, length of time for, 398
  Introduction of music in, 397

Performer's private programme, 397

Performing, manner when, 249
  Preparations before, 149
  Skill in, 346

Permeable plates, 80

Permeating card, 122

Pestle and mortar for watches, 362

Plateau, magic, 185

Plate, vanishing a, 78

Plates and balls, 80
  Permeable, 80

Plenty, hat of, 346

Plume and seed, flying, 291

Plumes, shower of, 326

Pocket, Egyptian, card trick, 187

Poker, mesmerised, 344, 382
  Or stick to stand on end, causing, 344, 382

Preparations before performing, 149, 392

Prepared cards, 130, 179

Presents distributed from a hat, 350

Pricked cards, 131

Private programme, performer's, 397

Producing articles from the persons of the company, 166
  Yards of paper from the mouth, 73

Productive eggs, 184

Programmes, 397
  Performer's private, 397

Properties and sleights for general use, 163

Pudding cooking and making in a hat, 293

Pulling a handkerchief through the leg, 64

Punishment of meddlers, 151

Putty watches, 362


"Rabbit," cooking a, 374
  Novel "Welsh", 374

Rabbits produced from hat, 372
  Reproducing, 373
  Tricks with, 372

Rapidity and deception of action, 39

Remarks, general, 149

Repetition of tricks, 152

Restored handkerchief, 210

Resuscitated fowl, 280

Reticules produced from a hat, 355

Reversed card, 104

Reverse palm, 7

Revolution of cards, 129

Ribbons and bottle, 311

Ring, flying, 183

Rings and apple, 50
  And wand, 51
  Chinese, 296
  Exchanging borrowed for dummies, 175
  Handkerchief, and wand, 49
  Inside an egg, 335
  Palming, 49
  Tricks with, 49, 334

Rod, Magi's brazen, 324, 371

Roll, watch in, 178

Royal marriages with cards, 115


Sack trick, 338

Sailor dancing, 339

Salamander card, 197

Seating the audience, 396

Second sight, imitation, 378

Seed and flying plume, 291

Selecting a coin whilst blindfolded, 23

Sham mesmerism, 378

Shelf, the conjuror's, 156, 395

Sherry, vanishing a glass of, 77

Shot, harmless, 282

Shower of cups from a hat, 352
  Of gold, 273
  Plumes, 326

Shuffling, false, with cards, 99, 179

Skill in performing, 346

Skull, animated, 390

Slate trick, 386

Sleeving coins, 35

Sleights and properties for general use, 163

Sliding cards, 116

Small birds, vanishing, 173

Soda-water bottle, passing penny into, 27

Spirit bouquet, 384

Spiritualistic animated skull, 390
  Ascent of articles, 383
  Electric touch, 389
  Fiery hands, writings, &c., 387
  Mesmerised poker, 344, 382
  Perambulating walking stick, 382
  Slate trick, 386
  Spirit bouquet, 384
  Talking glass, 384
  Tricks, 380
  Writings, &c., 387

Spoon or fork passing through a tumbler, 79

Stage, arrangement of, 398
  Conjuring, dress for, 160
  General instruction and management, 149
  Or grand magic, 149
  Tables for, 155
  Traps for, 156

Stick and poker to stand on end, causing, 344, 382

Style of addressing audience, 60, 153, 161, 393

Substitute for a conjuring table, 394

Substituting coins, 22

Sugar, palming, 40

Sun and moon, 215

Suspension wand, mesmeric, 318

Swallowing a knife, 85
  A watch, 368

Sweetmeats, finding in a handkerchief, 65

Sympathetic cards, 120


Table and dress, 156
  Tricks at, 72

Tables, passing coins through, 12
  Position of, 396
  Selecting, 155
  substitute for conjuring, 394

Talking glass, 384

Targets for watches, 365

Thought-reading with cards, 141

Throwing a card, 129

Thumb palm, 6

Time for performance, length of, 398

Touch, electric, 389

Transit of coins, invisible, 232

Trap box, 395

Traps for stage conjuring, 156
  In high hat, 395
  Passing articles through, 158

Travelling cards, 135

Tying a knot instantaneously, 68
  A knot on the wrist, 69
  A knot that will not draw tight, 67

Tumbler, coin-vanishing, 184
  Filter, 79
  Passing a fork or spoon through, 79
  Perambulating bottle and, 328


Ubiquitous glass of water, 267

Universal card, 119

Untying a knot at word of command, 65


Vanishing and passing a ball, 55
  Articles through traps, 158
  Coins, 10
  Coins from a handkerchief, 17
  Doves, 173
  Glass of sherry, 77
  Handkerchiefs, 171
  Large objects from the hands, 167
  Oranges, &c., 170
  Pack of cards, 186
  Plates, 78
  Small birds, 173

Vesting, 160, 170


Walking stick, perambulating, 382

Wand and ring, 51
  Half-crown, 237
  Finding articles in, 305
  Mesmeric suspension, 318
  Passing down throat, 368
  Purchasing, 3
  Ring and handkerchief, 49
  Use of, in palming, 12

Warm hands, necessity for, 398

Watches, bag for, 363
  Bending, 362
  Box for, 368
  Borrowing, 361
  Breaking, 362
  Causing to appear on assistant's back, 367
  Putty, 362
  Reproducing, 364
  Swallowing, 368
  Targets for, 365
  Tricks with, 360

Water, inverting glass of, 271
  Ubiquitous glass of, 267

"Welsh rabbit," novel, 374

Wine bottle, magic, 316
  Magical, 337

Wine-drinking crystal ball, 308

Worsted ball and coin, 256

Wrist, tying a knot on the, 69

Writings, fiery, 387

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes

Minor punctuation errors have been silently corrected. Some
illustrations have been relocated. Part I and Part II have been
added to the Table of Contents.

Page 26: Changed "Alway" to "Always."
  (Orig: Alway obtain possession of the wineglass)

Page 78: Changed "immmediately" to "immediately."
  (Orig: between the legs, and immmediately covered with the napkin.)

Page 106: Removed duplicate "in."
  (Orig: it is not in in general use, but forms almost a separate)

Page 164: "description" is probably a typo for "descriptions."
  (Orig: one of the most wonder-inspiring description.)

Page 187: Changed "maufacture" to "manufacture."
  (Orig: he was told to maufacture the card,)

Page 197: Possibly missing "be" before "burnt."
  (Orig: half of the card which is to burnt doubled up and placed)

Page 220: Changed "hankerchief" to "handkerchief."
  (Orig: and the body of the same hankerchief on the other side)

Page 264: Changed "that" to "than."
  (Orig: trick even more wonderful that it is in its ordinary form.)

Page 314: Changed "fron" to "from."
  (Orig: and pour out some liquid fron it,)

Page 314: Changed "unexpresed" to "unexpressed."
  (Orig: for the unexpresed purpose of showing that it is glass,)

Page 349: Changed "unvailing" to "unavailing."
  (Orig: great, but unvailing, efforts are made to extract the ball.)

Page 353: Changed "neccessary" to "necessary."
  (Orig: great care being neccessary to prevent any of them falling)

Page 370: Changed "when" to "then."
  (Orig: for a few seconds, when open it, showing, of course, nothing)

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