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Title: Modern Magic - A Practical Treatise on the Art of Conjuring
Author: Hoffmann, Professor
Language: English
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[Illustration: (cover)]

[Illustration]



  MODERN MAGIC.

  _A PRACTICAL TREATISE_

  ON

  THE ART OF CONJURING.

  BY
  PROFESSOR HOFFMANN.

  _With 318 Illustrations._

  WITH AN APPENDIX CONTAINING EXPLANATIONS OF SOME OF THE BEST
  KNOWN SPECIALTIES OF MESSRS. MASKELYNE AND COOKE.

  Populus vult decipi: decipiatur.

  _AMERICAN EDITION._

  GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS

  LONDON: BROADWAY, LUDGATE HILL
  NEW YORK: 9 LAFAYETTE PLACE



By PROFESSOR HOFFMANN.


  PARLOR AMUSEMENTS and Evening Party Entertainments. 516 pages,
    107 Illustrations. 12mo, cloth, $1.50.

  MODERN MAGIC. A Practical Treatise on the Art of Conjuring. With
    an Appendix containing explanations of some of the best known
    specialties of Messrs. MASKELYNE and COOKE. 578 pages, 318
    Illustrations. Square 12mo, cloth, $1.50.

  TRICKS WITH CARDS. (_Condensed from_ “Modern Magic.”) 142 pages,
    50 Illustrations. Fancy boards, 12mo, 50 cents.

_For Sale by Booksellers, or will be sent, postpaid, on receipt of
price by the publishers_,

            GEORGE ROUTLEDGE & SONS,
            9 LAFAYETTE PLACE, NEW YORK.



CONTENTS.


  CHAPTER I.

  INTRODUCTION.

                                                                    PAGE

  Introductory Observations                                            1

  The Magic Wand                                                       4

  The Magician’s Table                                                 5

  The Magician’s Dress                                                 8

      _Profondes_                                                      9

      _Pochettes_                                                      9

      “Loading” Pockets                                                9


  CHAPTER II.

  GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF SLEIGHT-OF-HAND APPLICABLE TO CARD TRICKS.

  The Cards                                                           11

  To “Make the Pass”                                                  12

  To “Force” a Card                                                   21

  To Make a “False Shuffle”                                           23

  To “Palm” a Card                                                    27

  To “Ruffle” the Cards                                               27

  To “Change” a Card                                                  28

  To Get Sight of a Drawn Card                                        34

  To “Slip” a Card                                                    35

  To “Draw Back” a Card                                               36

  To “Turn Over” the Pack                                             37

  To Spring the Cards from one Hand to the Other                      37

  To Throw a Card                                                     38

  The “Bridge”                                                        39


  CHAPTER III.

  CARD TRICKS WITH ORDINARY CARDS, AND NOT REQUIRING SLEIGHT-OF-HAND.

  Simple Modes of Discovering a Given Card                            42

  Various Modes of Disclosing a Discovered Card                       44

  To Make a Card Vanish from the Pack, and be found in a
      Person’s Pocket                                                 46

  To place the Four Kings in different parts of the Pack, and to
      bring them together by a simple Cut                             47

  The Four Kings being placed under the Hand of one Person, and
      the Four Sevens under the Hand of Another, to make them
      Change Places at Command                                        48

  Four Packets of Cards having been formed face downwards on the
      Table, to discover the Total Value of the Undermost Cards       49

  To Name all the Cards of the Pack in Succession                     50

  The Cards being Cut, to tell whether the Number Cut is Odd or
      Even                                                            51

  The Whist Trick. To deal yourself all the Trumps (_see also
      page 119_)                                                      51

  To allow a Person to think of a Card, and to make that Card
      appear at such Number in the Pack as another Person shall
      Name                                                            52

  The Cards revealed by the Looking-glass                             53

  To Guess Four Cards thought of by Different Persons                 53

  The Pairs Re-paired                                                 54

  The Magic Triplets                                                  55

  Another Mode of Discovering a Card thought of                       55

  To Guess, by the aid of a Passage of Poetry or Prose, such one
      of Sixteen Cards as, in your Absence, has been Touched or
      Selected by the Company                                         56

  To Detect, without Confederacy, which of Four Cards has been
      Turned Round in your Absence                                    57

  To Arrange Twelve Cards in Rows in such a manner that they
      will Count Four in every Direction                              58

  To Place the Aces and Court Cards in Four Rows, in such a
      manner that neither Horizontally nor Perpendicularly shall
      there be in either Row two Cards alike, either in Suit or
      Value                                                           58

  The Congress of Court Cards                                         59


  CHAPTER IV.

  TRICKS INVOLVING SLEIGHT-OF-HAND, OR THE USE OF SPECIALLY
      PREPARED CARDS.

  The “Long Card”                                                     60

  _Biseauté_ or Tapering Cards                                        60

  Tricks Performed by the Aid of a Long Card, or _biseauté_ Pack--

      A Card having been Chosen and Returned, and the Pack
          Shuffled, to produce the Chosen Card instantly in various
          ways                                                        62

      To Cut at the Chosen Card                                       62

      To Let all the Cards fall, save the One Chosen                  62

      To Pick out the Card, the Pack being placed in a Person’s
          Pocket                                                      62

      To Fling the Pack in the Air, and Catch the Chosen Card         63

      To Change a Card drawn hap-hazard to the Chosen Card            63

      To Divide the Pack into several Packets on the Table, allowing
          the Company to stop you at any Moment, and to cause the Top
          Card of the Heap last made to Change into the Chosen Card   65

  To Teach the Company a Trick which they Learn without
      Difficulty; then to allow them to Succeed or cause them to
      Fail at your Pleasure                                           65

  To Distinguish the Court Cards by Touch                             69

  To Name any Number of Cards in Succession without Seeing Them       70

  To Make Four Cards change from Eights to Twos, from Black to
      Red, etc.                                                       71

  A Card having been Drawn and Returned, and the Pack Shuffled,
      to make it Appear at such Number as the Company choose          73

  The same Trick with several Cards, and by a Different Method        75

  The “Three Card” Trick                                              76

  To Nail a Chosen Card to the Wall                                   77

  The Inseparable Sevens                                              77

  The Inseparable Aces                                                79

  Having placed the Four Aces in different positions in the Pack,
      to make the two Black change places with the two Red ones,
      and finally to bring all Four together in the Middle of the
      Pack                                                            80

  A Card having been thought of, to make such Card Vanish from
      the Pack, and be Discovered wherever the Performer pleases      83

  To cause a Number of Cards to Multiply invisibly in a Person’s
      keeping                                                         84

  The Pack being divided into two Portions, placed in the
      keeping of two different Persons, to make Three Cards pass
      invisibly from the One to the Other                             86

  To allow several Persons each to draw a Card, and the Pack
      having been Shuffled, to make another Card drawn haphazard
      change successively into each of those first chosen             87

  To make Four Aces change to Four Kings, and Four Kings to Four
      Aces                                                            90

  Having made Four Packets of Cards with an Ace at the bottom
      of each, to bring all Four Aces into whichever Packet the
      Company may choose                                              91

  To Change the Four Aces, held tightly by a Person, into Four
      Indifferent Cards                                               93

  The Shower of Aces                                                  97

  Several Persons having each drawn Two Cards, which have been
      Returned and Shuffled, to make each Couple appear in
      Succession, one at the top and the other at the bottom of
      the Pack                                                        99

  To make Two Cards, each firmly held by a different Person,
      change places                                                  101

  To change Four Cards, drawn haphazard, and placed on the
      Table, into Cards of the same Value as a Single Card
      subsequently chosen by one of the Spectators                   102

  Two Heaps of Cards, unequal in Number, being placed upon the
      Table, to predict beforehand which of the two the Company
      will choose                                                    103

  A Row of Cards being placed Face Downwards on the Table, to
      indicate, by turning up one of them, how many of such Cards
      have during your absence been transferred from one end of
      the Row to the other                                           104

  Several Cards having been freely chosen by the Company,
      Returned and Shuffled, and the Pack placed in a Person’s
      Pocket, to make such Person draw out one by one the chosen
      Cards                                                          106

  The Cards having been freely Shuffled, and cut into three or
      four Heaps, to name the top Card of each Heap                  108

  To allow a Person secretly to think of a Card, and, dividing
      the Pack into three Heaps, to cause the Card thought of to
      appear in whichever Heap the Company may choose                108

  To allow a Person secretly to think of a Card, and, even
      before such Card is named, to select it from the Pack, and
      place it singly upon the Table                                 110

  A Card having been secretly thought of by one of the
      Audience, to place two Indifferent Cards upon the Table,
      and to change such one of them as the Audience may select
      into the Card thought of                                       111

  A Card having been Drawn and Returned, and the Pack shuffled,
      to divide the Pack into several Heaps on the Table, and to
      cause the Drawn Card to appear in such Heap as the Company
      may choose                                                     114

  To change a Drawn Card into the Portraits of several of the
      Company in succession                                          115

  A Card having been Drawn and Returned, and the Pack shuffled,
      to place on the Table six Rows of six Cards each, and to
      discover the chosen Card by a throw of the Dice                116

  A Card having been withdrawn and replaced, to call it from
      the Pack, and to make it come to you of its own accord         117

  Mode of Preparing specially adhesive Wax for Conjuring Purposes    118

  The Whist Trick. (Improved Method.) To deal yourself all the
      Trumps, the three other Players holding the usual mixed
      Hands                                                          119


  CHAPTER V.

  CARD TRICKS REQUIRING SPECIAL APPARATUS.

  The Magic Sword. A Card being drawn and replaced, and the Pack
      flung in the Air, to catch the chosen Card on the point of
      the Sword                                                      121

  The Rising Cards.--Several Cards having been drawn, returned,
      and shuffled, to make them rise spontaneously from the Pack    125

  The Jumping Cards.--Two or three Cards having been drawn,
      returned, and shuffled, to make them jump out of the Pack      130

  To make a Card stand upright by itself on the Table                132

  “Changing” Card-boxes, and Tricks performed with them              134

  The Mechanical Card-box                                            137

  The “Card and Bird Box”                                            138

  The Card Tripod                                                    139

  The “Torn Card”                                                    139

  Mechanical Changing Cards                                          142


  CHAPTER VI.

  PRINCIPLES OF SLEIGHT-OF-HAND MORE ESPECIALLY APPLICABLE TO
      COIN TRICKS.

  Palming                                                            146

  Passes                                                             147

  Changes                                                            157


  CHAPTER VII.

  TRICKS WITH COIN WITHOUT APPARATUS.

  A Florin being spun upon the Table, to tell blindfold whether
      it falls head or tail upwards                                  159

  Odd or Even, or the Mysterious Addition                            160

  To change a Florin into a Penny, back again, and then to pass
      the same invisibly into the Pocket of the Owner                161

  To make a marked Florin and Penny, wrapped in separate
      Handkerchiefs, change places at Command                        163

  To make two marked Coins, wrapped in separate Handkerchiefs,
      come together in one of them                                   164

  To pull Four Florins or Half-crowns through a Handkerchief         168

  To pass a marked Florin (or Half-crown) into the Centre of two
      Oranges in succession                                          170

  The Flying Money.--To make a Coin pass invisibly from the one
      Hand to the other, and finally through the Table               172

  To rub One Sixpence into Three                                     175

  The Multiplication of Money                                        176

  To Make a Marked Sixpence vanish from a Handkerchief, and
      be found in the Centre of an Apple or Orange previously
      examined                                                       178

  The Travelling Counters                                            180

  The Wandering Sixpence                                             181


  CHAPTER VIII.

  TRICKS WITH COIN REQUIRING SPECIAL APPARATUS.

  The Heads and Tails Trick                                          182

  The Magic Cover and Vanishing Halfpence                            183

  The Animated Coin, which answers Questions, etc.                   185

  Appliances for Vanishing Money--

      The Vanishing Halfpenny Box                                    187

      The Rattle Box                                                 189

      The Pepper-box                                                 190

      The Brass Money-box                                            191

      The Brass Box, known as the “Plug-box”                         192

      The Handkerchief for Vanishing Money                           194

      The Demon Handkerchief                                         195

      The Davenport Cabinet                                          195

  Appliances for Re-producing Vanished Money--

      The Nest of Boxes                                              197

      The Ball of Berlin Wool                                        198

      The Glass Goblet and Cover                                     199

      The Glass without Cover                                        200

  The Miraculous Casket                                              202

  The Half-Crown or Florin Wand                                      203

  The Shower of Money                                                205

  The Vanishing Plate, or Salver                                     208

  The “Changing” Plate                                               210

  The Tray of Proteus                                                211


  CHAPTER IX.

  TRICKS WITH WATCHES.

  To indicate on the Dial of a Watch the Hour secretly thought
      of by any of the Company                                       213

  To Bend a Borrowed Watch Backwards and Forwards                    214

  The Watch-mortar and the Magic Pistol                              215

  The “Snuff-box Vase”                                               217

  The “Watch Box”                                                    219

  The “Watch Target”                                                 220

  The Mesmerised Watch. (To Make any Watch a Repeater)               222


  CHAPTER X.

  TRICKS WITH RINGS.

  The Flying Ring                                                    225

  To Pass a Ring from the one Hand to either Finger of the other
      Hand                                                           227

  To Pass a Ring through a Pocket-handkerchief                       228

  To Pass a Ring through the Table                                   228

  To Pass a Ring invisibly upon the Middle of a Wooden Wand, the
      Ends being held by two of the Spectators                       230

  The Magic Ball and Rings                                           231

  To Pass a Borrowed Ring into an Egg                                233

  The Magic Rose                                                     234


  CHAPTER XI.

  TRICKS WITH HANDKERCHIEFS.

  Introductory Remarks                                               236

  The Handkerchief that cannot be Tied in a Knot                     237

  The Handkerchief that will not Burn                                237

  The Vanishing Knots                                                238

  To Exchange a borrowed Handkerchief for a Substitute               240

  The Locked and Corded Box, and the Washerwoman’s Bottle            241

  The Reversible Canister                                            245

  The Burning Globe                                                  246

  The Transformed Handkerchief                                       246

  The Handkerchief cut up, burnt, and finally found in a Candle      249

  The Shower of Sweets                                               251

  The Feathers from an Empty Handkerchief                            254

  The Flying Plume                                                   256

  The Magic Laundry                                                  258

  The Egg and the Handkerchief                                       260

  The “Hand-Box,” for Vanishing a Handkerchief                       263


  CHAPTER XII.

  TRICKS WITH DOMINOES AND DICE.

  To Arrange a Row of Dominoes face downwards on the Table, and
      on returning to the Room to turn up a Domino whose points
      shall indicate how many have been moved in your absence        265

  To Allow any Person in your absence to arrange the Dominoes
      in a Row, face downwards, and on your return to name
      blindfold, or without entering the Room, the end numbers of
      the Row                                                        267

  To Change, invisibly, the Numbers shown on either Face of a
      Pair of Dice                                                   268

  To Name, without seeing them, the Points of a Pair of Dice         269


  CHAPTER XIII.

  THE CUPS AND BALLS.

  Introductory Remarks                                               271

  Principles of Sleight-of-hand applicable to Ball Tricks--

      To Palm the Ball                                               273

      To Reproduce the Palmed Ball at the End of the Fingers         274

      To Secretly Introduce the Palmed Ball under the Cup            275

      To Simulate the Action of Placing a Ball under a Cup           276

      To Produce a Ball from the Wand                                276

      To Return a Ball into the Wand                                 277

      To Pass one Cup through Another                                277

  Burlesque Address to the Spectators                                278

  Pass I. Having Placed a Ball under each Cup, to draw it out
      again without Lifting the Cup                                  279

  Pass II. To make a Ball Travel invisibly from Cup to Cup           281

  Pass III. Having placed a Ball under each of the end Cups, to
      make them pass successively under the Middle Cup               282

  Pass IV. Having placed two Balls under the Middle Cup, to make
      them pass under the two Outer Ones                             283

  Pass V. To pass three Balls in succession under One Cup            283

  Pass VI. To place three Balls one after the other upon the top
      of one of the Cups, and to make them fall through the Cup
      on to the Table                                                284

  Pass VII. To pass three Balls in succession upwards through the
      Table into one of the Cups                                     285

  Pass VIII. To pass two Balls in succession from one Cup to
      another without touching them                                  286

  Pass IX. To make three Balls in succession pass under the
      Middle Cup                                                     286

  Pass X. The “Multiplication” Pass                                  287

  Pass XI. To Transform the Small Balls to Larger Ones               288

  Pass XII. To again Transform the Balls to still Larger Ones        289


  CHAPTER XIV.

  BALL TRICKS REQUIRING SPECIAL APPARATUS.

  Further principles of Sleight-of-hand applicable to Ball Tricks--

      To Palm a large Ball                                           293

      To Vanish a Large Ball with the aid of the Table               294

  The Ball Box                                                       295

  The Red-and-Black-Ball Vases                                       296

  Morison’s Pill-box                                                 298

  The Ball which changes to a Rose                                   300

  The Obedient Ball                                                  301


  CHAPTER XV.

  HAT TRICKS.

  The Cannon-balls in the Hat                                        304

  Multiplying Balls                                                  307

  The “Hundred Goblets” from a Hat                                   308

  A Dozen Babies from a Hat                                          309

  The Magic Reticules                                                309

  The Drums from the Hat                                             310

  The Birdcages from the Hat                                         311

  The Cake (or Pudding) in the Hat                                   312

  The Welsh Rabbit                                                   313


  CHAPTER XVI.

  MISCELLANEOUS TRICKS.

  The Cut String Restored                                            317

  My Grandmother’s Necklace                                          320

  The “Bonus Genius,” or Vanishing Doll                              321

  The Dancing Sailor                                                 323

  The Bottle Imps                                                    324

  The Vanishing Gloves                                               325

  The Egg Bag                                                        326

  To Produce Eggs from a Person’s Mouth                              329

  The Pillars of Solomon, and the Magic Bradawl                      330

  The Magic Coffers                                                  333

  The Bran and Orange Trick                                          335

  The Rice and Orange Trick                                          337

  The Magic Whistle                                                  341

  The Magic Mill                                                     342

  Pieces of Apparatus of General Utility--

      The Drawer-Box                                                 343

      The Dissecting Drawer-Box                                      346

      The Changing Card-Drawer                                       347

      Changing Caddies                                               348

      The Magic Vase and Caddy                                       351

      The Cover, to pick up and replace any Article                  355

      The Changing Cover                                             356

      The Changing Ladle                                             358

  The Cone, or Skittle                                               360

  The Cone and Bouquet                                               364

  The Flying Glass of Water                                          367

  The Bowls of Water and Bowls of Fire produced from a Shawl         371

  The Bowl of Ink changed to clear Water, with Gold Fish swimming
      in it                                                          372

  The Inexhaustible Bottle                                           373

  The Bottle and Ribbons                                             376

  The New Pyramids of Egypt, or Wine and Wafer Trick                 377

  The Mysterious Funnel                                              379

  The Box of Bran transformed to a Bottle of Wine                    380

  The Bran Bottle                                                    382

  The Bran Glass                                                     383

  To Fire Borrowed Rings from a Pistol, and make them Pass into
      a Goblet filled with Bran and covered with a Handkerchief,
      the Bran disappearing, and being found elsewhere               384

  The Domino-Box (sometimes called the Glove-Box)                    386

  The Coffee Trick                                                   388

  The Inexhaustible Box                                              391

  The Japanese Inexhaustible Boxes                                   393

  The Feast of Lanterns                                              395

  The Butterfly Trick                                                397

  The Wizard’s Omelet                                                398

  The Rose in the Glass Vase                                         400

  The Chinese Rings                                                  401

  The Charmed Bullet                                                 409

  The Birth of Flowers                                               411

  The Mysterious Salver                                              416

  The Vanishing Die                                                  419

  The Die Dissolving in a Pocket Handkerchief                        420

  The Die and Orange                                                 423

  The Vanishing Canary Bird and Cage                                 424

  The Crystal Balls                                                  426

  The Flags of all Nations                                           432

  The Umbrella Trick                                                 433

  The “Passe-Passe” Trick                                            435


  CHAPTER XVII.

  STAGE TRICKS.

  The Tables in use in Stage Tricks                                  437

  The “Plain” Trap                                                   437

  The “Wrist” or “Pressure” Trap                                     438

  The “Rabbit” or “Dove” Trap                                        441

  “Changing” Traps                                                   442

  The “Money” Trap                                                   445

  “Pistons” (for working mechanical apparatus)                       447

  “Bellows” Tables                                                   449

  The Rabbit Trick                                                   452

  The Fairy Star                                                     454

  The Card Bouquet                                                   457

  The Demon’s Head                                                   458

  The Magic Picture Frame                                            463

  The Flying Watches and the Broken Plate                            465

  The Magic Picture and the Chosen Cards                             467

  The Magic Portfolio                                                468

  The Glove Column                                                   469

  The Vanishing Pocket-handkerchief, found in a Candle               470

  The Sphinx                                                         471

  The Cabinet of Proteus                                             475

  The Indian Basket Trick                                            477

  Electrical Tricks                                                  480

      The Light and Heavy Chest                                      482

      Spirit-Rapping                                                 485

      The Magic Bell                                                 486

      The Crystal Cash Box                                           487

      The Magic Drum                                                 492

  The Aërial Suspension                                              495


  CHAPTER XVIII.

  CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS.

  Hints as to Working up Tricks                                      502

  Arrangement of Programme                                           505

  Stage Arrangements                                                 508

  Parting Counsels                                                   510


  APPENDIX.


  CHAPTER I.

  Introductory                                                       515


  CHAPTER II.

  KEMPELEN.

  Kempelen’s Speaking Figure                                         522

  Its Construction                                                   523

  Houdin                                                             524

  His Talking Figure                                                 524

  The Magic Harlequin and its Construction                           524

  The Magic Clock                                                    526

  The Performing Clown                                               526

  The Cook of the Palais Royal                                       526

  The Orange and Rose Trees                                          527

  Electric Bell and Drum                                             528

  Suspension in the Air                                              528


  CHAPTER III.

  THEODIN.

  Theodin                                                            530

  Robin and Anderson                                                 530

  The Magic Windmill                                                 530

  Anderson’s Old Man                                                 531

  Col. Stodare’s Living Head                                         531

  Pepper and Tobin                                                   532

  Proteus; or, We’re Here and Not Here                               532

  Fatima                                                             534


  CHAPTER IV.

  AUTOMATA: PSYCHO.

  Automaton of Messrs. Maskelyne and Cooke                           536

  Psycho and its Imitators                                           536

  Zoe                                                                539

  Fanfare                                                            540


  CHAPTER V.

  MARIONETTES.

  Taking a Man to Pieces                                             542

  The Living Marionettes                                             543


  CHAPTER VI.

  CLAIRVOYANCE.

  Clairvoyance, or Second Sight                                      545

  The Clairvoyance of the Superstitious Ages and the Clairvoyance
      of the Day                                                     546

  Questions and Answers                                              547

  The Reading of Concealed Writing                                   549

  The Addition of Unseen Figures                                     550


  CHAPTER VII.

  SPIRITUALISM.

  Spiritualism                                                       551

  Mediums and their Pretences                                        552

  Their Tests                                                        552

  Various Tying Tests                                                552

  The Sealed Accordion                                               553

  Floating in the Air                                                554

  Floating Tambourines, Guitars, etc.                                555

  The Spiritual Musical Box                                          555

  Writing on the Ceiling                                             556

  Invisible Writing                                                  556

  The Floating Table, etc.                                           557


  CHAPTER VIII.

  PARLOR MAGIC.

  Parlor Magic                                                       558

  A Surprise                                                         559

  Indian Sand Trick                                                  559

  The “Q” Trick                                                      560

  The Bleeding Thumb                                                 560

  The Marked Florin in Oranges                                       560

  The Chinese Pictures                                               561

  Bautier’s Great Ink-and-Water Trick                                562

  Carrying Fire in the Hands                                         563

[Illustration]



[Illustration]



MODERN MAGIC.



CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTION.


Considering the great antiquity and the unfading popularity of the
magic art, it seems at first sight a matter of wonder that its
literature should be so extremely scanty. In England, in particular,
is this the case. Until within the last few years it would have been
difficult to name a single book worth reading upon this subject, the
whole literature of the art consisting of single chapters in books
written for the amusement of youth (which were chiefly remarkable for
the unanimity with which each copied, without acknowledgment, from its
predecessors), and handbooks sold at the entertainments of various
public performers, who took care not to reveal therein any trick
which they deemed worthy of performance by themselves. Upon a little
consideration, however, the scarcity of treatises on “White Magic” is
easily accounted for. The more important secrets of the art have been
known but to few, and those few have jealously guarded them, knowing
that the more closely they concealed the clue to their mysteries, the
more would those mysteries be valued. Indeed, the more noted conjurors
of fifty years ago strove to keep the secret of their best tricks
not only from the outside world, but from their _confrères_. At the
present day the secrets of the art are not so well kept; and there
is hardly a trick performed upon the stage which the amateur may not,
at a sufficient expenditure of shillings or guineas, procure at the
conjuring depôts. There being, therefore, no longer the same strict
secresy, the literature of magic has improved a little, though it still
leaves much to be desired. The general ambition of compilers seems
to be to produce books containing nominally some fabulous number of
tricks. In order to do this, they occupy two-thirds of their space with
chemical and arithmetical recreations, and, as a necessary result, the
portion devoted to conjuring tricks, properly so called, is treated so
briefly and scantily as to be practically useless.

There is a vast difference between telling how a trick is done and
teaching how to do it. The existing treatises, with few exceptions,
do the former only. The intention of the present work is to do the
latter also; to teach sleight-of-hand generally, as well as particular
tricks; and to conduct the neophyte from the very A B C of the magic
art gradually up to those marvels which are exhibited on the public
stage. The student may rest assured that, if he will diligently follow
the instructions here given, he will be able in due time, not merely
to astonish his friends _extempore_ with a borrowed coin or pack of
cards, but to roll two rabbits into one, compel chosen cards to rise
spontaneously from the pack, produce lighted lanterns from empty
hats, and bowls of gold-fish from empty pocket-handkerchiefs; in a
word, to execute all those wonders which he has hitherto deemed the
exclusive property of the public performer. There are, of course,
different degrees of natural aptitude. “_Non cuivis hominum contingit
adire Corinthum._” It is not every one that can be a Robert-Houdin or
a Buatier, but, given the usual number of fingers and thumbs, fair
intelligence, and a sufficiency of perseverance, any one who will
may become at least a tolerable conjuror. Be it remembered, that we
especially stipulate for _perseverance_. A wizard is not to be made in
a day, and he who would attain excellence must be content to proceed
as he would with music, drawing, or any other accomplishment--viz.,
begin at the beginning, and practise diligently until he attains the
coveted dexterity. The student need not, however, wait the termination
of the somewhat formidable course of study we have indicated, before he
begins to astonish his friends; on the contrary, there are numerous
tricks requiring very little manual dexterity, which are yet, if neatly
performed, brilliant in effect. These simpler tricks, for which we
shall give full instructions, will supply the beginner, even at the
outset, with a fair programme, which he may from time to time enlarge
as he feels able to undertake more elaborate illusions.

The first rule to be borne in mind by the aspirant is this: “_Never
tell your audience beforehand what you are going to do._” If you do
so, you at once give their vigilance the direction which it is most
necessary to avoid, and increase tenfold the chances of detection. We
will give an illustration. There is a very good trick (which will be
described at length hereafter) in which the performer, after borrowing
a handkerchief, gives it to some one to hold. When it is returned, it
proves to be torn into small pieces. It is again handed to the holder,
who is instructed, in order to restore it, to rub it in a particular
manner; but when again unfolded, it is found in a long strip. These
effects are produced by successive adroit substitutions, and the whole
magic of the trick consists in the concealment of the particular moment
at which each substitution is effected. Now, if you were to announce to
the audience beforehand that you were about to cause the handkerchief
to appear in several pieces, or in a long strip, they would at once
conjecture that the trick depended on an exchange, and their whole
vigilance being directed to discover the moment of that exchange,
you would find it all but impossible to perform the trick without
detection. If, on the other hand, you merely roll up the handkerchief,
and ask some one to hold it, the audience, not knowing what you are
about to do, have no reason to suspect that you have handed him a
substitute; and when the transformation is exhibited, the opportunity
of detection will have already passed away.

It follows, as a practical consequence of this first rule, that _you
should never perform the same trick twice on the same evening_. The
best trick loses half its effect on repetition, but besides this, the
audience know precisely what is coming, and have all their faculties
directed to find out at what point you cheated their eyes on the first
occasion. It is sometimes hard to resist an _encore_, but a little tact
will get you out of the difficulty, especially if you have studied, as
every conjuror should do, the variation and combination of tricks.
There are a score of different ways of vanishing a given article, and
as many of reproducing it; and either one of the first may be used
in conjunction with either of the second. Thus, by varying either
the beginning or the end, you make the trick to some extent a new
one. The power of doing this readily is very useful, and among other
advantages will enable you to meet an _encore_ by performing some other
trick having some element of similarity to that which you have just
completed, but terminating in a different and therefore unexpected
manner.

The student must cultivate from the outset the art of “talking,” and
especially the power of using his eyes and his tongue independently of
the movement of his hands. To do this, it will be necessary to prepare
beforehand not only what he intends to _do_, but what he intends to
_say_, and to rehearse frequently and carefully even the simplest
trick before attempting it in public. It is surprising how many little
difficulties are discovered on first attempting to carry into effect
even the clearest written directions; and nothing but practice will
overcome these difficulties. The novice may be encouraged by assuming,
as he safely may, that the most finished of popular performers was once
as awkward as himself, and were he to attempt any unfamiliar feat,
would probably be as awkward still.

Before proceeding to the practice of the magic art, it will be well to
give a short description of two or three appliances, which are of such
constant use that they may be said to form the primary stock-in-trade
of every conjuror. These are--a short wand, a specially adapted
table, and certain secret pockets in the magician’s dress. There are
numerous other appliances of very general use, which will be explained
in due course, but those we have named are so indispensable that we
could hardly complete the description of half-a-dozen tricks of any
pretension without a reference to one or other of them. First in order
comes


THE MAGIC WAND.

This is a light rod of twelve to fifteen inches in length, and about
three-quarters of an inch in diameter. It may be of any material, and
decorated in any manner which the fancy of the owner may dictate. To
the uninitiated its use may appear a mere affectation, but such is by
no means the case. Apart from the prestige derived from the traditional
properties of the wand, and its use by the wizards of all ages, it
affords a plausible pretext for many necessary movements, which would
otherwise appear awkward and unnatural, and would thereby arouse the
vigilance of the audience at possibly the most critical period of the
trick. Thus, if the performer desires to hold anything concealed in his
hand, by holding the wand in the same hand he is able to keep it closed
without exciting suspicion. If it is necessary, as frequently happens,
to turn his back upon the audience for an instant, the momentary turn
to the table, in order to take up or lay down the wand, affords the
required opportunity. We most strongly advise the would-be magician to
cultivate from the outset the habitual use of the wand. Even where its
employment is not absolutely necessary for the purpose of the trick,
its use is in strict accordance with the character he professes to
fill, and the dainty touch of the wand, for the supposed purpose of
operating a magical transformation, assists materially in leading the
audience to believe that such transformation did actually take place at
that particular moment, instead of having been (as is really the case)
secretly effected at an earlier period.

The next appliance to which we must draw the student’s attention is


THE MAGICIAN’S TABLE.

There are plenty of good minor tricks which may be performed anywhere,
and with little or no previous preparation, but as soon as the student
has outgrown these humbler feats, and aspires to amuse his friends
or the public with a pre-arranged _séance_, his first necessity will
be a proper table. We do not now refer to the elaborate combination
of traps, pistons, etc., which is used for stage performances. This
will be duly described in its proper place. The table necessary for an
average drawing-room exhibition differs from an ordinary table in two
points only--its height, which should be six or eight inches greater
than that of an ordinary table--and the addition of a hidden shelf or
ledge at the back. Its form and dimensions are very much a matter
of fancy and convenience. For most purposes nothing is better than a
plain oblong deal table. It should have turned legs of some harder
wood, stained and polished, and these, if it is desired to make the
table portable, should be _screwed_ into the four corners, so as to
be readily taken off and put on again as may be required. In length
the table may be three to four feet, and in breadth eighteen inches
to two feet. Three feet by twenty inches is a very convenient size.
At the back should be placed, about six inches below the level of the
top of the table, a projecting shelf, six to eight inches in width,
and extending nearly from end to end. This shelf, which is technically
known as the _servante_, should be covered with thick woollen cloth, in
order to deaden the sound of any object falling on it.

Some performers have a rim about half an inch high running along the
outer edge of this shelf; while others, in place of the shelf, use
a wooden tray, fixed in the same position, and one to two inches in
depth. The manner of fixing the shelf is optional. In some tables it
is made to slide in and out like a drawer; in others to fold up on
hinges against the back of the table, or itself to form the back. This
latter is the most convenient mode, as the opening made by the flap
when let down gives access to the interior of the table, which forms a
convenient receptacle for necessary articles. In this case, the upper
part of the table is made box fashion; _i.e._, is bottomed throughout
with wood on a level with the hinges of the _servante_, giving an
enclosed space under the whole extent of the table. Over the table
should be thrown an ordinary cloth table-cover, of such a size as to
hang down about ten or fifteen inches at the front and sides, but not
more than an inch or so on the side away from the audience. To prevent
its slipping, the cloth may be fastened on this side with a couple of
drawing pins. Where traps are used, and the cloth has therefore to be
cut, the hanging cloth is dispensed with, and the table is covered with
cloth glued on the top, with a margin round it, after the fashion of a
card-table, and this may be done, if preferred, even where the table is
without mechanism. The adoption of this plan allows of the introduction
of gold mouldings, or other ornamentation, on the front and sides. In
our own opinion, unless there is some special reason to the contrary
in the mechanical arrangements of the table, the plain hanging cover
is preferable, as being least suggestive of apparatus or preparation.
The precise height of the table is best determined by the stature of
the performer. The _servante_, or hidden shelf, should be just so high
from the ground as to be level with the knuckles of the performer as
his arm hangs by his side; and the top of the table should, as already
stated, be about six inches higher than this. It will be found that
this height will enable the performer secretly to take up or lay down
any article thereon without stooping or bending the arm, either of
which movements would suggest to the spectators that his hand was
occupied in some manner behind the table. One of the first tasks of the
novice should be to acquire the power of readily picking up or laying
down any article on the _servante_, without making any corresponding
movement of the body, and especially without looking down at his hands.
If the performer is uncertain as to the precise whereabouts of a given
article, he must ascertain it by a quick glance as he approaches his
table, and not after he has placed himself behind it. From this moment
he must not again look down, as if once the audience suspect that he
has a secret receptacle behind his table, half the magic of his tricks
is thenceforth destroyed.

An oblong box, twelve or fourteen inches in length by three in depth,
well padded with wadding, and placed on the _servante_, will be found
very useful in getting rid of small articles, such as coin, oranges,
etc., as such articles may be dropped into the box without causing any
sound, and therefore without attracting attention.

In default of a table regularly made for the purpose, the amateur may
with little difficulty adapt an ordinary table for use as a makeshift.
A common library or kitchen table having a drawer on one side, and
raised on four bricks or blocks of wood to the requisite height will
answer the purpose very fairly. The table must be covered with a cloth;
and should have the drawer pulled out about six inches (the drawer
side being, of course, away from the audience) to form the _servante_.
A still better extempore conjuring table may be manufactured in a few
minutes with the aid of a good-sized folding bagatelle board. Place
the shut-up board on a card or writing table (which should be six
or eight inches shorter than the board), in such manner that there
may be left behind it (on the side which is intended to be farthest
from the audience), a strip of table six or seven inches in width.
This will form the _servante_. Throw an ordinary cloth table-cover
over the bagatelle board, letting it hang down a foot or eighteen
inches in front, and tucking its opposite edge under the hinder edge
of the board, whose weight will prevent it slipping. If the cloth is
too large, it must be folded accordingly before placing it on the
table. The table thus extemporized will be of a convenient height, and
will answer very fairly for the purposes of an ordinary drawing-room
performance.

The conjuror, however, may be called upon to give a sample of his art
when neither regular nor extemporized table is available; and even
where he is sufficiently provided in this respect, he will frequently
have occasion to produce or get rid of a given article without retiring
behind his table to do so. The wizards of a century ago met this
necessity by wearing openly in front of them a sort of bag or apron,
called in the parlance of the French conjurors, a _gibecière_, from its
supposed resemblance to a game-bag. This was used not only to carry the
cups and balls, and other minor paraphernalia of the art, but for the
purpose of procuring, exchanging, or getting rid of any small article
at the pleasure of the performer. In fact, this bag supplied the place
of the _servante_, which was not then known. It is hardly necessary
to observe that the _gibecière_ has been long since disused, and a
performer who should now appear in a pocketed apron would run much risk
of being taken for a hairdresser. Although, however, the _gibecière_
is not now, as of old, worn openly, the conjuror of the present day
is provided with certain secret substitutes, to explain which it is
necessary to say a few words as to


THE MAGICIAN’S DRESS.

It is not very many years since the orthodox dress of the conjuror was
a long and flowing robe, embroidered more or less with hieroglyphic
characters, and giving ample space for the concealment of any
reasonable sized article--say from a warming-pan downwards. The very
last specimen of such a garment, to the best of our belief, is, or
was, worn by the magician attached to the Crystal Palace. We do not
know whether he is compelled by the regulations of the establishment
to wear such a robe; but if so, it ought to be liberally considered in
his salary. The costume _de rigueur_ of the magician of the present
day is ordinary “evening dress.” The effect of the feats performed
is greatly heightened by the close fit and comparative scantiness of
such a costume, which appears to allow no space for secret pockets
or other place of concealment. In reality, however, the magician is
provided with two special pockets, known as _profondes_, placed in
the tails of his dress-coat. Each is from four to six inches in depth
and seven in width, and the opening, which is across the inside of
the coat-tail, slanting slightly downwards from the centre to the
side, is, like the _servante_, so placed as to be just level with the
knuckles of the performer, as his hand hangs by his side. He can thus,
by the mere action of dropping either hand to his side, let fall any
article instantly into the _profonde_ on that side, or take anything
from thence in like manner. The action is so natural, that it may
be used under the very eyes of the audience, at very small risk of
their observing it; and if the performer at the same moment slightly
turns his other side to the spectators, he may be perfectly secure
from detection. Some performers have also a couple of _pochettes_
(small pockets) made in the trousers, one behind each thigh. These are
generally used for purposes of production only, the _profondes_ being
still employed for getting rid of any article, which, indeed, is their
primary purpose, for they were originally made too deep (‘_profonde_,’
whence their name) to get articles easily out of them. Many professors,
in addition to the pockets above mentioned, have also a spacious
pocket, opening perpendicularly, inside the breast of the coat, under
each arm, for the purpose of what is called “loading,” _i.e._, bringing
a rabbit, or other article, into a hat, etc. Other pockets may be
added, as the fancy or invention of the performer may dictate; but the
above are those generally used.

It will also be found a great convenience to have an elastic band,
about an inch in width, stitched around the lower edge of the waistcoat
on the inside. When the waistcoat is in wear, the band makes it press
tightly round the waist, and any object of moderate size--a card, or
pack of cards, a handkerchief, etc.--may be slipped under it without
the least risk of falling. Used in conjunction with the pockets before
described, this elastic waistband affords a means of instantaneously
effecting “changes” of articles too large to be palmed with safety;
one hand dropping the genuine article into the _profonde_ on that side,
while the other draws the prepared substitute from under the waistband,
a very slight turn of the body, towards the table or otherwise,
sufficing to cover the movement.

With these few preliminary observations, we proceed to the practice of
the art, commencing with the ever-popular class of illusions performed
by the aid of playing cards.

[Illustration]



CHAPTER II.

GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF SLEIGHT-OF-HAND APPLICABLE TO CARD TRICKS.


Among the various branches of the conjuror’s art, none will better
repay the labour of the student, whether artist or amateur, than the
magic of cards. It has the especial advantage of being, in a great
measure, independent of time and place. The materials for half its
mysteries are procurable at five minutes’ notice in every home circle;
and, even in the case of those tricks for which specially prepared
cards, etc., are requisite, the necessary appliances cost little, and
are easily portable--two virtues not too common in magical apparatus.
Further, the majority of card tricks are dependent mainly on personal
address and dexterity, and, as such, will always be highly esteemed
by connoisseurs in the art. Before very large audiences, indeed, the
spectators being at a distance from the performer, much of the effect
of a card trick is lost; which is probably the reason that, of late
years, tricks of this class (with a few exceptions) have been rather
neglected by professors; and that many feats which in the times of
Conus and Comte were numbered among the sensations of the day, are now
almost entirely forgotten. We shall endeavour in the following pages,
after explaining the principles of sleight-of-hand applicable to cards,
and giving instructions for some of the best of the more commonplace
feats, to revive the recollection--and, we hope, the practice--of some
of these brilliant performances.


_The Cards._--The adept in sleight-of-hand should accustom himself
to the use of every description of cards, as frequently none but the
ordinary full-sized playing cards may be available. Where, however,
the choice is open to him, he should use in the actual performance of
tricks, cards of a smaller and thinner make. The common French cards
answer the purpose very well. Among cards of English make, some of
the best for the purpose are the small cards of the French pattern
made by De La Rue & Co. for use in France, and those known as the
“Tankerville” cards, both imported by Peck & Snyder, 124 Nassau Street,
New York City, which are thin, well made, and of small size, but of
the English pattern. In any case, it is well to use only the piquet
pack of thirty-two cards (the twos, threes, fours, fives, and sixes
being removed), the complete whist pack being inconveniently bulky for
sleight-of-hand purposes.


[Illustration: FIG. 1.]

TO MAKE THE PASS. (_Sauter la coupe_).--The effect of this sleight,
which is the very backbone of card-conjuring, is to reverse the
respective positions of the top and bottom halves of the pack, _i.e._,
to make those cards which at first formed the lower half of the pack,
come uppermost, when those cards which at first formed the upper half
will of course be undermost. It is used by card-sharpers, immediately
after the cards have been cut, to replace them in the position which
they occupied before the cut, and from this circumstance derives its
French name. There are various methods of producing this effect, some
requiring the use of both hands, some of one hand only. These we shall
describe in due order.

[Illustration: FIG. 2.]

[Illustration: FIG. 3.]

_First Method._ (With both hands).--Hold the pack in the left hand,
lengthways, with the face downwards, as if about to deal at any game.
In this position the thumb will naturally be on the left side of the
pack, and the four fingers on the other. Insert the top joint of the
little finger immediately above those cards which are to be brought
to the top of the pack (and which are now undermost), and let the
remaining three fingers close naturally on the remaining cards, which
are now uppermost. (_See_ Fig. 1.) In this position you will find that
the uppermost part of the pack is held between the little finger,
which is underneath, and the remaining fingers, which are upon it. Now
advance the right hand, and cover the pack with it. Grasp the lower
portion of the pack lengthways between the second finger at the upper
and the thumb at the lower end, the left thumb lying, slightly bent,
across the pack. Press the inner edge of the lower packet into the
fork of the left thumb, so that the two packets will be as shown in
Fig. 2. Next draw away the upper packet, by slightly extending the
fingers of the left hand, at the same time lifting up the _outer_ edge
of the lower packet, till the edges of the two packets just clear each
other (_see_ Fig. 3), when by the mere act of closing the left hand
they will be brought together as at first, save that they will have
changed places. Do this at first very slowly, aiming only at neatness
and noiselessness of execution. At the outset the task will be found
somewhat difficult, but gradually the hands will be found to acquire
a sort of sympathetic action; the different movements which we have
above described will melt, as it were, into one, and the two packets
will change places with such lightness and rapidity that they will seem
to actually pass through each other. A slight momentary depression and
elevation of the hands (apparently a mere careless gesture) in the
act of making the pass will completely cover the transposition of the
cards, which in the hands of an adept is invisible, even to the most
watchful spectator.

The above is the most orthodox and the most perfect method of making
the pass, and if the student be proficient in this, he need trouble
himself very little about the remaining methods, which are inserted
chiefly for the sake of completeness, being very inferior in all
respects. Wherever in the course of this book the student is directed
to make the pass, this first method will be considered to be referred
to, unless otherwise specially expressed.

Before quitting the subject of this method, we should mention that it
is sometimes necessary to cause the two halves of the pack to ‘kiss,’
_i.e._, to bring them face to face. This is effected by turning
the original upper packet face upwards in the act of bringing the
transposed packets together. When the pass in the ordinary form is
fairly mastered, this slight variation will occasion no additional
difficulty.

In this, as in all other branches of prestidigitation, the student
will find it of the greatest possible advantage to practise before a
looking-glass. By this means, better than any other, he will be enabled
to judge how far his movements succeed in deceiving the eyes of a
spectator. One caution may here be given with advantage: the student
of legerdemain must learn to perform all necessary movements _without
looking at his hands_, unless for some special reason he desires the
spectators to look at them also. In every case, wherever the performer
desires his audience to look, his own eyes must take that particular
direction; and wherever he desires his audience not to look, he himself
must carefully abstain from looking. Let us suppose, for instance,
that a person has drawn a card, and has replaced it in the middle of
the pack. The performer desires to bring it to the top, for which
purpose it is necessary to introduce the little finger above the card
in question, and to make the pass, as above described. When the card
is replaced in the pack, the eyes of the drawer are naturally directed
towards it; and if the performer were himself to look downward at the
cards, it would multiply tenfold the chances of detection. He should
pause for a moment, and, looking full at the person who drew the card,
ask, “You are certain that you will know that card again?” or make any
similar observation. As he speaks, a natural impulse will draw the eyes
of the audience to his own face, and he may then make the pass without
the slight necessary movement attracting the least attention. It is
hard to believe, until tested by actual experience, what apparently
obvious movements may be executed under the very noses of an audience,
if only their attention is diverted at the right moment by a dexterous
use of the eye and voice of the operator.

[Illustration: FIG. 4.]

_Second Method._--(With both hands).--Holding the pack in the left
hand, as directed for the first method, grasp as before the lower
portion of the pack lengthways between the second finger at the upper
end and the thumb at the lower end; move the left thumb, which now
takes no part in the operation, a little below the pack to be out
of the way. Then slide the lower half of the pack a little to the
left, and the upper half to the right till they just clear each other
(_see_ Fig. 4), when you will be enabled to place what was originally
the upper half undermost, and _vice versâ_. This is the theory of
the process, but in practice the necessary motions are not nearly so
distinct. As you grow more and more expert, the necessary movement from
right to left should become gradually smaller and smaller, until at
last it is almost imperceptible. You must study to reduce this movement
to the very minimum; and in order to do this, endeavour, after you
have once seen clearly what it is you have to do, to keep the hands
_together_ as much as possible. Let the edge of the palm of the right
hand rest gently, but firmly, on the first three fingers of the left
hand, and let the contact thus made form a kind of hinge or fulcrum for
the movement of the hands. When you become expert, you will find that
the mere outward movement of the two hands upon this imaginary hinge
(the cards being held lightly, and allowed to accommodate themselves to
the movement) is sufficient to produce the effect.

[Illustration: FIG. 5.]

We have above recommended you to keep the hands _together_ as much
as possible; but there are circumstances under which an ostentatious
_separation_ of the hands is equally effective. Thus, holding the
cards as above directed, you may make the pass by (apparently) merely
cutting the cards, lifting, in truth, the under instead of the upper
half, the latter making way (by a slight and momentary extension of the
left hand) to allow it to pass. You may also, when holding the cards
as just cut (_i.e._, half the pack in each hand), make the pass in the
act of bringing them together. To do this you should hold the right
hand packet in such manner that the thumb and second finger may project
a full inch beyond the face of the cards. At the moment of bringing
the two packets together (which should be done with a sidelong motion
of the right hand from right to left) this thumb and finger grip the
other packet, and slide it out towards the left shoulder, leaving what
was originally the right hand packet in the left hand. If this is done
neatly, the movement is so subtle that the keenest eye cannot detect
that the two packets have changed hands. Having effected the change,
you may take your own time as to placing the now uppermost packet on
the other. The circumstances of each trick will indicate the cases in
which it may be desirable to adopt either of these variations.

[Illustration: FIG. 6.]

_Third Method._ (With both hands.)--This is very similar to the first
method, but much less neat. Take the cards, as in the former case, face
downwards in the left hand, but instead of the little finger, insert
the second and third fingers immediately above those cards which are
to be brought to the top of the pack, and draw the first and fourth
fingers below the pack. (_See_ Fig. 5.) In this position, the lower
half of the pack is held as in a forceps between the second and third
and the first and fourth fingers. Now cover the pack with the right
hand as directed for making the pass by the first method, but in this
instance grasp therewith (between the first and second fingers at top
and the thumb at bottom) the _upper_ half of the pack. Raise this
upper half slightly, to allow room for the movement of the lower half,
and at the same moment slightly extend the fingers of the left hand.
(_See_ Fig. 6.) This will make the lower packet describe a quarter of
a circle. As soon as it is clear of the upper packet, by reversing the
motion (_i.e._, closing the fingers of the left hand, and at the same
time lowering the right hand), the two halves of the pack will be again
brought together, but that half which was originally undermost will
now be uppermost. The movement will be understood more clearly on an
inspection of the diagrams _a_ and _b_ (Fig. 6), _a_ representing an
end view of the two portions of the pack in their original position,
and _b_ of the same in their transposed position, the original lower
portion being in each case indicated by the darker shade.

_Fourth Method._ (With the left hand.)--This is almost the same as
the method last described, save that the left hand only is used. The
upper packet, instead of being held in the right hand, is in this case
clipped between the ball of the left thumb and the point where the
thumb joins the hand. In other respects the movement is the same.

[Illustration: FIG. 7.]

_Fifth Method._ (With the left hand.)--Take the cards in the left hand
as before. Insert the _third_ finger above the cards which are to be
brought to the top (and which now form the lower half of the pack), and
close the remaining three fingers on the top of the pack. (_See_ Fig.
1, but suppose the third finger inserted in place of the fourth.) Now
extend the fingers, which will make the upper part of the pack describe
a semicircle (_see_ Fig. 7), and at the same moment press downward with
the thumb the left top corner of the lower packet. This will tilt up
the opposite end of the lower packet, and give room, as you again close
the fingers, for the upper packet to pass into the lower place. (_See_
Fig. 8.) To bring the original upper packet (_i.e._, the one with the
six of hearts at the bottom) from the position indicated in Fig. 7 to
that which it occupies in Fig. 8, it is pressed slightly forward with
the middle finger, and is thereby made to perform a semi-revolution,
the third finger acting as pivot. The packet is by this means turned
over endways, _i.e._, that end of the packet which was originally
nearest to the performer is now farthest from him, and _vice versâ_.
The movement is by no means easy to describe, but if followed step by
step _with the cards_, will be readily understood.

[Illustration: FIG. 8.]

This method of making the pass has a peculiarity which renders it
specially useful in certain cases. When the upper half of the pack
describes a semicircle, as above mentioned, the bottom card of such
half is in full view of the performer, though the spectators see only
the backs of the cards. The performer thus becomes acquainted, unknown
to his audience, with that card which, after the pass, becomes the
bottom card of the pack; which knowledge may occasionally be very
useful. The movement of the cards in this mode of making the pass is
very noticeable; but the circular sweep taken by the upper packet so
confuses the eye, that the audience must be extremely keen-sighted
to detect the _effect_ of the movement, which, if neatly executed,
has the appearance of a mere flourish. A quick sweep of the arm from
left to right as the pass is made will greatly assist in covering the
transposition of the cards.

Some perform the pass last described without causing the upper packet
to make the semi-revolution above mentioned. The first finger in this
case does not participate in the operation, but is left extended beyond
the upper end of the pack.

[Illustration: FIG. 9.]

[Illustration: FIG. 10.]

_Sixth Method._ (With either hand.)--Take the pack in either hand, as
if you were about to stand it on end on the table, the backs of the
cards being next to the palm. Insert the third finger between the two
halves of the pack, and draw the second and fourth fingers behind the
pack. In this position, the uppermost half of the pack is held between
the third finger and the second and fourth fingers. Clip the lower or
front half of the pack at its two top corners between the thumb and the
first finger. (_See_ Fig. 9.) Now extend the second, third, and fourth
fingers, which will carry with them the upper half of the pack. As soon
as it is clear of the lower half, again close the fingers, thereby
bringing the upper packet to the bottom. (_See_ Fig. 10.) This mode of
making the pass may be employed as you place the pack on the table, the
movement for that purpose serving to cover that by which the cards are
transposed. If no table is at hand a quick movement of the hand and arm
from right to left, at the moment when the pass is made, will be found
to answer equally well.

[Illustration: FIG. 11.]

_Seventh Method._ (With the right hand.)--This is a mere makeshift for
the pass proper, though its effect is the same. It is performed in
picking up the cards from the table after they have been cut, and left,
as is usual, in two heaps. The performer picks up, as in the ordinary
course, the bottom half of the pack (which should properly be placed
uppermost after the cut); but, instead of picking them up in the usual
way, he picks them up with the second, third, and fourth fingers under,
and the first finger above the cards. In placing them apparently upon
the upper heap, he tilts up the right hand edge of that heap with the
tip of the first finger, and with the remaining fingers slides the heap
he already holds underneath it (_see_ Fig. 11), so that the cards are
again precisely as they were before the cut. This sham mode of making
the pass is rarely used by conjurors, but is said to be frequently
employed by card-sharpers.


TO “FORCE” A CARD.--By this phrase is signified the compelling a person
to draw such card as you desire, though he is apparently allowed
absolute freedom of choice. Your first step is to get sight of the
bottom card, or, if you want to force a predetermined card, to get that
card to the bottom. Having done this, take the pack in the left hand,
and insert the little finger half-way down, in readiness to make the
pass. Make the pass by the first method, but, before uniting the two
halves of the pack in their new position, again slip the little finger
of the left hand between them. (The two halves will now be united at
the end which is towards the spectators, but divided by the little
finger at the end nearest to yourself; and the original bottom card,
which is the one you desire to force, is now the bottom of the top
heap, resting on the little finger.) Using both hands, with the thumbs
above and the fingers below the pack, spread out the cards fanwise from
left to right, at the same time offering them to the person who is to
draw, and requesting him to select a card. Keep the little finger of
the left hand still on the face of the card to be chosen, or you may
now use, if more convenient, the same finger of the right hand, both
being underneath the cards. As the person advances his hand to draw,
move the cards onward with the thumb, so that the particular card shall
reach his fingers just at the moment when he closes them in order to
draw; and, if you have followed these directions properly, it is ten to
one that he will draw the card you wish. It may possibly be imagined
that forcing is a very difficult matter, and requires an extraordinary
degree of dexterity; but this is by no means the case. The principal
thing against which a beginner must guard, is a tendency to offer
the particular card a little _too soon_. When the cards are first
presented to the drawer, the pack should be barely spread at all, and
the card in question should be ten or fifteen cards off. The momentary
hesitation of the drawer in making his choice will give time, by
moving the cards quicker or slower, as may be necessary, to bring that
card opposite his fingers at the right moment. Should the performer,
however, miscalculate his time, and the card pass the drawer’s fingers
before the choice is made, he need not be embarrassed. Still keeping
the little finger on the card, he should sharply close the cards, and
making some remark as to the drawer being “difficult to please,” or the
like, again spread them as before, and offer them for the choice.

A moderate degree of practice will make the student so proficient
that even a person acquainted with the secret of forcing will have to
be very wide-awake in order not to take the desired card. You will,
however, sometimes find a person, suspecting your design and wishing to
embarrass you, suddenly jerk his hand away from the card which he was
apparently about to take, and draw another from a different part of the
pack. In the great majority of tricks this is of little consequence,
inasmuch as there are numerous ways (which will be hereafter explained)
of ascertaining what the drawn card was; but there are some illusions
which depend upon the drawer taking a card similar in suit and number
to one already prepared elsewhere for the purpose of the trick. In this
case it is, of course, absolutely necessary that the card drawn should
be the right one; and as even the most accomplished performer cannot
always be certain of forcing a single card, another expedient must be
used in order to ensure success. This is made absolutely certain by
the use of what is called a “forcing pack”--_i.e._, a pack in which all
the cards are alike. Thus, if the knave of hearts is the card to be
drawn, the whole pack will consist of knaves of hearts, and the drawer
may therefore do his utmost to exercise a free choice, but the card
which he draws will certainly be the knave of hearts, and no other.
Where more than one card is to be drawn, as, for instance, in the
well-known trick of the “rising cards,” the pack may consist, instead
of similar cards throughout, of groups of two or more particular cards.
Thus, one third may be knaves of hearts, one third aces of diamonds,
and the remaining third sevens of clubs--the cards of each kind being
together. With the aid of such a pack, it will require very little
skill to ensure one of each sort being drawn.


TO MAKE A “FALSE SHUFFLE.”--False shuffles are of two kinds, according
to the object with which they are made. Those of the first kind are
designed simply to keep in view a particular card or cards, the
remainder of the pack being really shuffled. The second kind are
designed to keep the pack in a pre-arranged order, and are shuffles in
appearance only, all the cards being brought back to the same relative
positions which they occupied before the shuffle.

_First Method._ (To keep a particular card or cards in view.)--Take the
pack in the left hand. If the card to be kept in view is not already
on the top of the pack, insert the little finger of the left hand
immediately above that card, and make the pass in order to bring it to
the top. Transfer this card to the right hand, and slide the remaining
cards upon it, by little successive parcels of six or eight cards,
one above the other. The known card will now be at the bottom. Return
the pack to the left hand. Slide off three or four of the top cards
into the right hand, and place the remaining cards, by parcels of six
or eight as before, alternately above and below these top cards, till
you come to the last card, which is the special one, and which you
will place above or below as occasion may require. If there are three
or four cards to be kept in view, it makes no difference in the mode
of operation, save that you must treat those cards throughout as the
single card, and keep them together accordingly.

[Illustration: FIG. 12.]

_Second Method._ (To keep a particular card in view.)--Bring the card
in question, as before directed, to the top of the pack. Take the pack
in the left hand, holding it upright on its side, the edges of the
cards resting on the palm, the four fingers (which should be slightly
moistened) being at the back or top, and the thumb on the face of the
pack. Now, with the thumb and middle finger of the right hand (_see_
Fig. 12) lift out edgeways that portion of the cards which now forms
the middle of the pack, and drop them by packets of five or six at a
time upon _the face_ of the cards remaining in the left hand, moving
aside the left thumb to allow of their passage. The pressure of the
fingers will always keep the top card in its place, however many of
the remaining cards you lift out with the right hand; and as you only
shuffle on to the face of the pack, however often you repeat the
process, this card will still remain at the top.

_Third Method._--(To retain the whole pack in a pre-arranged
order.)--Take the pack in the left hand, slide off with the left
thumb five or six of the top cards into the right hand, and place
the remaining cards by parcels of five or six at a time (apparently)
alternately above and below these first cards, as in the ordinary mode
of shuffling. We say _apparently_, for in reality, although you go
through the motion of placing every alternate packet _above_ the cards
in the right hand, you do not leave it there, but draw it back again
with the thumb on to the top of the cards in the left hand, and then
place it, by your next movement, _under_ the cards in the right hand.
The result is, that the cards in the left hand, instead of being placed
alternately above and below the cards in the right hand, are really all
placed below, and in precisely the same order which they occupied at
first.

Some persons are in the habit of making the genuine shuffle, of which
the above is an imitation, from the right hand to the left instead of
from the left hand to the right, as above described. It may be stated,
once for all, that wherever it is found more easy by the student to do
with the right hand that which he is here instructed to do with the
left, and _vice versâ_, there is not the least objection to his doing
so, though the mode here indicated is that which, it is believed, will
be found most convenient by the generality of persons.

[Illustration: FIG. 13.]

_Fourth Method._ (To retain the whole pack in a pre-arranged
order.)--Take the upper half of the pack in the right hand and the
lower half in the left, the thumb in each case being above and the
fingers below the cards. Place the two portions edge to edge, and work
in the edges of the cards in the right hand half an inch or so between
the edges of those in the left, spreading the cards in the meanwhile to
facilitate the introduction; but let the right hand cards project about
an inch above the top edges of those in the left hand. (_See_ Fig.
13.[A]) If you were to close up the cards in the relative positions
they now occupy, they would be really shuffled. To prevent their being
so in fact, as well as in appearance, you clip lengthways between the
thumb and second finger of the right hand the cards of the packet on
that side, and bend them sharply downwards and outwards. This again
disengages them from the other packet, on the top of which you quickly
slide them, and press the whole square.

    [A] The cards of the right-hand packet are darkened in the
        figure for the better distinguishing of the two packets,
        though there would, of course, be no such difference of
        shade in the original.

[Illustration: FIG. 14.]

_Fifth Method._ (To retain the whole pack in a pre-arranged
order.)--Make the pass so as to bring the lower half of the pack
uppermost. Take the pack in the right hand, keeping the two portions of
the pack separated by the little finger of that hand. Hold the cards
face downwards a few inches from the table, and let fall, by five or
six at a time, those cards which now form the lower half of the pack.
You should so arrange that these cards form four little heaps, falling
in the order indicated by the accompanying figure (Fig. 14). Thus the
bottom cards must fall at 1, the next lowest at 2, the next (comprising
all that remain of the lower packet) at 3, and the remaining cards
(being the whole of the upper part) at 4. Now (with the left hand)
quickly place packet 1 on packet 4, and (with the right hand) packet 2
on packet 1, and finally (with the left hand) packet 3 on the top of
all, when the cards will occupy precisely the same relative positions
as at first. The use of the two hands alternately, coupled with the
rapidity of the performer, gives to his motions an appearance of
carelessness which effectually baffles the spectators, and prevents
their suspecting that the heaps are re-arranged in any determinate
order.

_Sixth Method._--This also retains the cards in their pre-arranged
order, with this qualification, that an indefinite number are
transferred from the top to the bottom of the pack, the effect being
as if the cards had been cut without being shuffled. Holding the
cards as directed for the last method, you drop them in four heaps as
before, but beginning from the left, and proceeding straight onwards
in regular succession. Now place the first heap on the fourth or right
hand heap, and the second heap on the first heap, finally placing
the third heap either above or below the pile thus made. Where it is
necessary, after using this shuffle, to bring back the cards to the
precise condition in which they were at first, this object may be
effected by the use of the “bridge,” hereafter described.


[Illustration: FIG. 15.]

TO “PALM” A CARD.--Bring the card which you desire to palm (by the pass
or otherwise) to the top of the pack. Hold the pack face downwards in
the left hand, covering it lengthways with the right. With the left
thumb push the top card till it projects about an inch beyond the edge
of the pack. With the third finger of the left hand, which is now
immediately below the card, press it upwards into the right hand, which
should half close over it. You must not mind about bending the card,
which will lie curled up against the inside of the hand. You may either
let the hand drop negligently to your side, or, still better, take the
pack between the fingers and thumb of the same hand (_see_ Fig. 15)
and offer it to be shuffled. This will give you the opportunity, often
very valuable, of seeing what the card in question is. When it becomes
necessary to return the card to the pack, the mere motion of taking the
pack in the right hand, whether from the left hand or from the table,
will effect that object in the most natural manner. If the card retains
a curve from its bent position in the hand, you may readily straighten
it by ruffling the cards, as described in the next paragraph. If the
performer is fortunate enough to have a large hand, a complete pack of
cards may be palmed in this manner without difficulty.


TO “RUFFLE” THE CARDS.--Hold the pack tightly by its lower end between
the fingers and thumb of the left hand, the thumb being above and the
fingers below the cards. Cover the pack lengthways with the right hand,
and clip the cards between the fingers and thumb as if you were about
to make the pass by the first method. Keep the thumb unmoved, but draw
the fingers smartly upwards, so as to bend the cards slightly. The
springing of the cards as they escape one by one from the pressure of
the fingers, and again straighten themselves, causes a peculiar sharp
sound.

The ruffle may also be executed with one hand only. Take the pack
between the middle finger at top and the thumb at bottom, the first
finger resting in a bent position on the back of the cards. Press
strongly with the thumb, so as to bend the two ends of the cards
smartly outwards, allowing them one by one to escape from the middle
finger, and simultaneously straighten the first finger, so as to clip
the lower end of the cards between that finger and the thumb.

The ruffle is a mere flourish, but it is by no means without its
value. We have indicated in the last paragraph one of its uses, viz.,
to straighten a card which has been palmed. Apart from this, there
are many tricks in which it is desirable to mislead the spectator as
to the particular movement by which, or the point of time at which, a
particular effect was produced. This may be effected by a judicious
use of the ruffle. Suppose, for instance, that the trick consists in
magically bringing a given card to a particular position in the pack,
and that the performer has already, without the knowledge of his
audience, placed the card in the required position. If, before showing
that it is so placed, he ostentatiously ruffles the cards, nine out of
ten of the audience will be persuaded that this noisy movement is in
some way the cause of the transposition, and will be proportionately
the less likely to discover the true explanation of the feat.


TO “CHANGE” A CARD. (_Filer la Carte._)--Some of the most brilliant
effects in card-conjuring are produced by the aid of this sleight,
by means of which a card, fairly exhibited, is forthwith apparently
transformed to a different one. There are several modes of producing
this effect.

[Illustration: FIG. 16.]

_First Method._--Hold the pack in the left hand, as though about to
deal the cards. Hold the card to be changed in the right hand, between
the first and second fingers. (_See_ Fig. 16.) The card into which
it is to be changed should have been previously placed (secretly, of
course) on the top of the pack. Push this card a little forward with
the left thumb, so as to make it project about three-quarters of an
inch beyond the remaining cards. Bring the hands close together for
an instant, and in that instant place the card held in the right hand
_under_ the pack, (the second, third, and fourth fingers of the left
hand opening to receive it, and the remaining finger making way for it
as soon as it reaches the pack). Simultaneously with this movement,
the thumb and first finger of the right hand must close upon the card
projecting from the top of the pack, and, as the hands separate, carry
with them that card in place of the one which the right hand originally
held. A half turn of the body to the left or right, a quick downward
sweep of the right hand, or any other rapid gesture, will assist in
covering the momentary bringing together of the hands. In some cases it
is better that the right hand alone should move, the left hand being
held stationary; in other cases the left hand (the one holding the
pack) should make the movement, the hand holding the single card being
motionless. It will be well to practise both these modes of making the
change. The direction in which the performer turns, in order to place
the card on his table, or the like, will indicate which is the best
mode to use in any given case.

[Illustration: FIG. 17.]

_Second Method._--This is a very inferior mode of performing the
change, but may be useful as a makeshift while the student is acquiring
the greater dexterity required for the former method. Hold the pack
upright towards the audience, with the card to be changed at the bottom
(and therefore in full view), and the card for which it is to be
changed at the top. The pack should be supported by both hands, and the
two cards named should project about half an inch to the right beyond
the remainder of the pack, the front or bottom card being between the
first and second fingers, and the back or top card between the thumb
and first finger of the right hand. (_See_ Fig. 17.) Call attention to
the bottom card; make a downward sweep with the pack so as to turn the
faces of the cards towards the ground, and at the same moment draw off
with the right hand the top card, which the audience will imagine to be
the one they have just seen at the bottom.

[Illustration: FIG. 18.]

_Third Method._--Hold the card to be changed face downwards between
the thumb and first and second fingers of the right hand, the thumb
being above and the two fingers below the card. Hold the pack in the
left hand, as if about to deal the cards, the card for which that first
mentioned is to be changed being on the top. Bring the hands rapidly
together, pushing the top card with the left thumb about an inch beyond
the rest of the pack, and at the same moment place the card held in the
right hand with a sliding motion upon the top of the pack. (_See_ Fig.
18.) Both this card and the original top card (which is now second)
will now be between the two fingers and thumb of the right hand. Press
lightly on the top card with the left thumb to keep it back, and
quickly draw away the right hand, pressing gently upwards with the two
fingers on the face of the second card, which you will thereby draw
away in place of the top card. If neatly done, the keenest eyesight
cannot detect the substitution of the second card. Your only difficulty
will be to find a colourable pretext for placing the card you hold on
the top of the pack. This achieved, the rest is easy. The nature of the
trick you are performing will frequently suggest a plausible excuse. A
very successful plan is to boldly request the company to observe that
you do _not_ do that which you at the same moment actually do. “You
will observe, ladies and gentlemen,” you remark, “that I do not, even
for one moment, replace the card in the pack, but simply,” etc., etc.
At the words “replace the card in the pack,” the hands are brought
together, and make the change. The action, suiting the words, is taken
by the audience as an indicative gesture only, and thus the change is
effected under their very eyes without exciting the least suspicion.
In this mode of making the change, you should aim at being easy and
natural, rather than very rapid. The main movement (that which brings
the hands together) is undisguised, but attributed to a fictitious
motive; and the subsidiary movement of the fingers, which actually
effects the change, is so slight as to be practically imperceptible.

_Fourth Method._ (With one hand only.)--Take the pack, face downwards,
in the left hand, as if about to deal. Place the card to be changed
on the top, and the card for which it is to be changed next below it.
With the left thumb push forward the top card to the extent of half
its width, letting it rest on the tips of the fingers. This will leave
one-half of the second card exposed. By a reverse movement of the
thumb, draw back this second card till its outer edge is just clear of
the inner edge of the top card. Now press the second card downwards
with the thumb so as to bring its opposite edge just above the level
of the top card; then push it back into its place, but this time above
instead of below the top card.

[Illustration: FIG. 19.]

[Illustration: FIG. 20.]

_Fifth Method._ (To change a given card without the aid of the
pack.)--A card having been chosen and returned to the pack, make the
pass to bring it to the top, and palm it. Give the pack to be shuffled,
and when it is returned pick out hap-hazard any card you please, and
holding it up between the first finger and thumb of the right hand
(in which is the palmed card), announce boldly that that was the card
chosen. You will, of course, be contradicted, whereupon you pretend to
be disconcerted, and ask if the person is quite certain that that is
not the card he drew, and so on. Meanwhile, you take the card, face
downwards, between the first finger and thumb of the left hand, whence
you immediately take it again in the right hand (_see_ Fig. 19), taking
it so as to bring the palmed card immediately over it, when the two
will at a little distance appear to be only one card. You then say,
“Well, if you seriously assure me that it is not the right card, I
must endeavour to change it to the right one. May I ask what your card
was?” When you are told, you continue, “It is a very simple process. I
have merely to lay the card upon my hand, _so_, or if you prefer it, I
will change it in your own hands. Oblige me by holding the card face
downwards. I think you said your card was”--(say) “the ace of spades?
Change!” As you say the words, “lay the card upon my hand,” you place
the two cards for an instant on the palm of the left hand (_see_ Fig.
20), and draw off rapidly the top card, which is the right one, leaving
the other palmed in the left hand, which then drops to your side. The
audience do not suspect that the change is already effected, or that
you have had more than one card in your hand throughout, and if you
have performed the trick neatly, will be utterly nonplussed when the
transformation is revealed. You may, if you please, conclude by asking
what card the audience imagine that they first saw, and, when told,
remarking that they must have been mistaken in their impression, as
that card has been in Mr. So-and-so’s tail-pocket all the evening, as
you prove by plunging your left hand (in which the card remains palmed)
into the pocket, and producing it accordingly.

[Illustration: FIG. 21.]

_Sixth Method._ (To change several cards at once.)--This sleight is
extremely useful in cases where you desire, without the knowledge of
the audience, to gain possession of a given number of selected cards.
Palm in the left hand, face downwards, a number of cards equal to that
which you desire to abstract. Take the cards which you desire to gain
possession of between the second finger and thumb of the left hand
(after the manner of the single card in Fig. 19). Cover these cards
lengthways with the right hand, and palm them in that hand (_see_ Fig.
21), at the same moment seizing crossways, with the fingers and thumb
of the same hand, the cards already palmed in the left hand (which to
the eyes of the spectators will be the same they have just seen), and
throw them face downwards on the table.[B]

    [B] The last two very useful and effective sleights are
        inserted by special permission of the inventor, Professor
        Hellis, of No. 13, Silver Street, Kensington, one of the
        cleverest and most genial drawing-room performers of the
        day.


TO GET SIGHT OF A DRAWN CARD.--The power of doing this is a _sine quâ
non_ for the conjuror. As already mentioned, even the most expert
operator cannot be absolutely _certain_ of “forcing” the card which
he desires, and a novice is very likely indeed to find a wrong card
occasionally drawn. It is therefore necessary to be provided with a
remedy for such a _contretemps_. One mode of meeting the difficulty is
to allow the card to be returned to the pack, make the pass to bring it
to the top, and palm it, immediately giving the pack to be shuffled,
and in so doing to get sight of the card, which remains in your own
hand, and can in due time be reproduced in any way you please. (_See_
Fig. 15.) For the present purpose, we assume that you do not desire to
retain possession of the card, but merely wish to know its suit and
value. These may be ascertained as follows:--

[Illustration: FIG. 22.]

_First Method._--Ask the drawer to return his card to the pack, which
you offer for that purpose in the left hand, spreading the pack
fanwise, in order that he may insert the card where he pleases. As he
replaces the card, slip the little finger of the left hand _below_ it,
and close the fan. You now have the pack held in the palm of the left
hand, but divided just below the chosen card by the little finger,
the three remaining fingers being on the top. Offer the cards to be
shuffled, or make any gesture you like with the pack, at the same
moment slightly straightening the fingers. The effect of this movement
will be to lift the upper packet, and thus open the pack bookwise, the
opening being towards yourself, and the lowest card of the top heap,
which is the card you desire to ascertain, being for the moment in full
view. (_See_ Fig. 22.)

_Second Method._--Proceed as above, but instead of opening the pack to
get sight of the card, bring it secretly to the bottom by the pass, and
offer the cards to be shuffled, holding them at the upper end between
the thumb and first and second finger of the right hand, and slanting
from you at an angle of 45°, as in Fig. 15. As the faces are towards
you, you have a full view of the card. Even if it should suggest itself
to the audience that you are able to see the bottom card, as they
are not aware that the chosen card is now in that position, there is
nothing to excite their suspicion.

You may, by way of variety, instead of offering the cards to be
shuffled, hold them in the right hand, and make the single-handed
“ruffle” above described, at the same time turning their faces slightly
towards yourself. You may effect the same object, even more simply,
by the mere act of passing the pack from the one hand to the other,
keeping the bottom card turned inwards as above.


[Illustration: FIG. 23.]

TO “SLIP” A CARD.--Hold the pack in the left hand having first slightly
moistened the fingers, which should rest upon the back of the cards.
Open the pack bookwise, at an angle of about 45°, holding the upper
packet lengthways between the thumb and second finger of the right
hand. Draw this upper packet smartly upwards to a distance of two or
three inches from the lower packet. (_See_ Fig. 23.) The top card of
the upper packet, being held back by the pressure of the fingers upon
it, will not move upwards with the rest of the packet; but immediately
the remaining cards are clear, will fold itself down on the top of the
lower packet. If the top card of the lower packet be examined before
and after the slip, the card will appear to have changed, the fact
being that the original top card becomes the second after the slip, the
slipped card covering it.


[Illustration: FIG. 24. FIG. 25.]

TO DRAW BACK A CARD. (_Glisser la carte._)--The performer shows the
bottom card, then dropping the pack into a horizontal position, face
downwards, he draws out, with the thumb and second finger of the other
hand, apparently that card, but really the next above it. This is
effected as follows:--Hold the pack upright in the left hand between
the first finger and thumb, the back of the cards towards the palm,
and the thumb and finger about the middle of each side of the pack.
Let the third finger, which should be previously moistened, rest on
the face of the cards. (_See_ Fig. 24.) You will find that in this
position, by moving the third finger, you can draw back the bottom card
about an inch below the remaining cards, and thereby leave exposed a
corresponding portion of the next card. (_See_ Fig. 25.) This is the
whole mechanism of the operation. You must, of course, take care, after
showing the bottom card, to turn the pack downward before you slide
back that card in order to draw the next card in its place.


[Illustration: FIG. 26.]

TO “TURN OVER” THE PACK.--There are certain tricks (as, for instance,
where you have undertaken to produce a given card at a particular
number in the pack) for which it is necessary to deal a certain number
of cards from the top, and then (without the spectator’s knowledge) to
continue the deal from the opposite end of the pack. As a necessary
preliminary, you must “face” the cards--_i.e._, bring the upper and
lower portions face to face. This you have already been taught to
do by means of the pass. Whichever way the pack is turned, it will
now, of course, show backs only. Take the pack flat in the left hand,
the fingers clipping it rather tightly, but without the aid of the
thumb. Pass the thumb underneath, and with the ball of the thumb press
the pack smartly upwards (_see_ Fig. 26), when it will describe a
semi-revolution on its longer axis, the lower face of the pack being
thereby brought uppermost. If performed with the hand at rest, the
movement is very perceptible; but if you at the same time make a
semi-circular sweep of the hand and arm from left to right, the smaller
movement of the pack in the hand is much less likely to attract notice.


TO SPRING THE CARDS FROM ONE HAND TO THE OTHER.--This is a mere
flourish, and belongs rather to the art of the juggler than to that
of the magician; but it is so frequently exhibited by conjurors that
a work on magic would hardly be complete without some notice of it.
The cards are held in the right hand, between the tips of the second
and third finger at the top, and the thumb at the bottom. If the thumb
and fingers are now brought slowly nearer together, so as to bend the
cards slightly, they will one by one, in quick succession (beginning
with the bottom card) spring away from the pack; and if the pressure
be continued, the whole of the cards will spring away one after the
other in this manner. If the left hand be held at ten or twelve inches
distance from the right, with the fingers slightly bent, the released
cards will be shot into the left hand, which, as the last cards reach
it, should be rapidly brought palm to palm with the right, and square
up the pack to repeat the process. By giving the body a quick half turn
to the right as the cards are sprung from one hand to the other, you
may make the hands (and with them the moving cards) describe an arc of
about two feet, and so deceive the eye of the spectator into the belief
that the hands are that distance apart, though in reality, as they
both move together in the same direction, they retain throughout their
original relative distance of ten or twelve inches.


TO THROW A CARD.--This sleight also belongs rather to the ornamental
than to the practical part of conjuring, but it is by no means to be
despised. It is a decided addition to a card trick for the performer to
be able to say, “You observe, ladies and gentlemen, that the cards I
use are all of a perfectly ordinary character,” and by way of offering
them for examination, to send half-a-dozen in succession flying into
the remotest corners of the hall or theatre.

[Illustration: FIG. 27.]

The card should be held lightly between the first and second fingers,
in the position shown in Fig. 27. The hand should be curved inward
toward the wrist, and then straightened with a sudden jerk, the arm
being at the same time shot sharply forward. The effect of this
movement is that the card, as it leaves the hand, revolves in the plane
of its surface in the direction indicated by the dotted line, and
during the rest of its course maintains such revolution. This spinning
motion gives the flight of the card a strength and directness which it
would seem impossible to impart to so small and light an object.

A skilled performer will propel cards in this way to a distance of
sixty or eighty feet, each card travelling with the precision, and
well-nigh the speed, of an arrow shot from a bow. The movement, though
perfectly simple in theory, is by no means easy to acquire in practice.
Indeed, we know no sleight which, as a rule, gives more trouble at the
outset; but, after a certain amount of labour with little or no result,
the student suddenly acquires the desired knack, and thenceforward
finds no difficulty in the matter.


THE BRIDGE.--The object of the bridge is to enable the performer, with
ease and certainty, to cut or otherwise divide the pack at a given
card. It is made as follows: Holding the cards in the left hand, with
the thumb across the pack, the performer covers them for an instant
with his right hand, as if about to make the pass. Grasping the pack
between the thumb and second finger of this hand, he bends the whole
of the cards slightly inwards over the first finger of the left hand,
immediately afterwards bending the upper or outward portion of the pack
backwards in the opposite direction. The effect of the double movement
is that the two halves of the pack are bent in a double concave form,
_thus_ )(, though in a much less degree. If the cards be now cut,
the concave portions, instead of being, as at first, back to back,
will be face to face, _thus_ (), leaving in the centre of the pack an
elliptical opening, of a maximum width of about an eighth of an inch.
This slight hiatus in the middle will generally cause a person who is
invited to cut to do so at that particular point, and will in any case
enable the performer either to cut or to make the pass at that point
with the greatest ease. The cases in which the bridge may be employed
with advantage will be more particularly indicated when we come to
practically apply the processes already described, but it has a special
use which may be at once mentioned. It will be remembered that some
of the false shuffles already described leave the cards as if cut,
though they in other respects retain their pre-arranged order; and it
therefore becomes necessary to again cut them at a particular point,
in order to bring them back to their original condition. This point is
ascertained by the use of the bridge. The cards are first bent in the
manner above described; the false shuffle is then made, leaving the
cards in effect cut; but by again cutting or making the pass at the
bridge, they are once more precisely as at first.

We have endeavoured to be as explicit as possible in the foregoing
description of the different sleight-of-hand processes, so that the
reader may, by following our instructions closely, be able to teach
himself, unassisted, to perform the various movements described. We
have done our best to make our descriptions intelligible, and trust
that we have fairly succeeded. We should, however, strongly advise
any student who desires to make rapid progress to take, if possible,
a few preliminary lessons under the personal guidance of a competent
performer, professional or amateur. It is an old saying that an ounce
of example is worth a pound of precept, and a reader who has once or
twice seen the processes we have described practically illustrated by
skilful hands, will not only avoid the difficulties which are sure
to be at first found in even the clearest written instructions, but
will escape the formation of bad habits, which it may take much time
and trouble to eradicate. Should the novice seek such assistance, he
must not expect to find that any one performer uses indifferently
all the processes we have described. Every Professor has his own
favourite methods of procedure, and, generally speaking, pours scorn
and contumely upon all others; or, in the words of Byron (a little
altered)--

    “Compounds for _sleights_ he has a mind to,
     By damning those he’s not inclined to.”

The student who commences his labours without such assistance must
make his own selection. In the “pass” we should recommend him to stick
to the first method, the remaining passes being rather curious than
useful. Among the false shuffles, the first, third, fifth, and sixth
will be found the most effective. For the remaining processes he may be
guided by his own taste, and the greater or less facility with which
his fingers adapt themselves to one or the other of them.

The various sleights above described will cost the student some time
and perseverance before they are fairly mastered, and until they are
so it is hopeless to attempt any of the more brilliant feats. For
his amusement in the meantime, we subjoin a few tricks for which
sleight-of-hand is not necessary, but which, if performed with neatness
and tact, will cause considerable astonishment to the uninitiated.

[Illustration]



CHAPTER III.

CARD TRICKS WITH ORDINARY CARDS, AND NOT REQUIRING SLEIGHT-OF-HAND.


There is a large class of tricks which may be described as consisting
of two elements--the discovery of a chosen card by the performer, and
the revelation of his knowledge in a more or less striking manner.
We propose to give, in the first place, three or four methods of
discovering a given card, and then a similar variety of methods of
concluding the trick. It must be remembered that for our present
purpose we exclude all tricks for which any special dexterity is
requisite. There will be little that is absolutely novel in this
chapter, but it will be for the student to supply the want of freshness
in his materials by the ingenuity of his combinations.


[Illustration: FIG. 28.]

SIMPLE MODES OF DISCOVERING A GIVEN CARD. _First Method._--Hold the
pack face downwards in the left hand, having previously noticed the
bottom card. Secretly draw down this card about three-quarters of an
inch, and hold the part so drawn down between the thumb and fourth
finger of the right hand, the palm of the right hand being above the
cards. (_See_ Fig. 28.) Now, with the tip of the first or second finger
of the right hand, draw down the cards one by one about half an inch
(beginning with the top card, and so on), inviting your audience to
stop you at any card they may choose. When they do so, draw down all
the cards, as far as you have gone, completely away from the remaining
cards; but with them draw down at the same time the bottom card. This
card, coalescing with the upper portion, will be, to the eyes of the
spectators, that at which you were directed to stop. Holding the cards
with their backs towards you, request them to observe what the card is.
The pack may now be shuffled to any extent, but, being acquainted with
the card, you can find or name it at pleasure.

The above may be employed as a means of “forcing,” where it is
essential to force a given card, and you are not sufficiently
proficient to feel certain of effecting that object by the regular
method. Thus, suppose that the card which you desire to force is the
seven of diamonds, you place that card at the bottom of the pack, and
proceed as above directed. When the audience desire you to stop, you
draw off the upper packet, and with it the seven of diamonds, which
will thereby become the bottom card of that packet. You request them to
note the card, and at once hand the pack to be shuffled. This is a very
simple and easy mode of forcing, but it is very generally known, and it
would not, therefore, be safe to use it before a large or very acute
audience.

_Second Method._--Deal the cards into three packs, face upwards, and
request a spectator to note a card, and remember in which heap it is.
When you have dealt twenty-one cards, throw the rest aside, these not
being employed in the trick. Ask in which heap the chosen card is, and
place that heap between the other two, and deal again as before. Again
ask the question, place the heap indicated in the middle, and deal
again a third time. Note particularly the fourth or middle card of each
heap, as one or other of those three cards will be the card thought of.
Ask, for the last time, in which heap the chosen card now is, when you
may be certain that it was the card which you noted as being the middle
card of that heap.

This same effect will be produced with any number of cards, so long as
such number is odd, and a multiple of three. The process and result
will be the same, save that if fifteen cards are used each heap will
consist of five cards, and the _third_ card of each will be the middle
one; if twenty-seven cards, each heap will consist of nine cards, and
the _fifth_ will be the selected one, and so on.

_Third Method._--Take any number of the cards, and deal them face
upwards upon the table, noting in your own mind the _first_ card dealt.
Ask any number of persons each to note a card, and to remember at what
number it falls. When you have dealt all the cards you first took in
your hand, take them up again, without disturbing their order, and turn
them face downwards. In order to show that the trick is not performed
by any arithmetical calculation (you should lay great stress upon this,
the fact being precisely the reverse), invite the company to take any
number they choose of the remaining cards (such number being unknown
to you), and place them either above or below the cards you have
dealt. Allow the cards to be cut (not shuffled) as many times as the
audience please. You now, for the first time, ask each person what was
the number of his card, and, on being informed, again deal the cards,
turning them face upwards. When the original _first_ card appears,
count on (silently) from this as number one to the number mentioned, at
which number the noted card will again appear. Should the whole of the
cards be dealt out without reaching the required number, turn the cards
over again, and continue from the top of the pack until that number is
reached.

Having indicated how a card may be discovered, we proceed to describe
various modes of disclosing the card thus ascertained.

_First Method._--Get the card to the top of the pack. Give the pack
to some person to hold. The cards should be face upwards, so that the
chosen card will be undermost, with the thumb of the holder above and
the fingers below the pack. The fingers should extend under the pack
for about an inch, but the thumb above not more than half an inch.
Request the person to nip the cards tightly, and as he does so give
them a smart downward rap with your forefinger, which will knock all
the cards out of his hand with the exception of the lowest card, which
will be retained by the greater friction of the fingers, and will
remain staring him in the face. This is a very old and simple finish,
but it appears marvellous to those who witness it for the first time.

You may, if you prefer it, hold the cards yourself as above directed,
and allow another person to strike them downwards. It is well to
moisten the fingers (not the thumb) slightly, as you thereby increase
the hold on the chosen card.

[Illustration: FIG. 29.]

_Second Method._--Get the card to the top of the pack, and hold the
pack lightly between the thumb and fingers of the right hand, the thumb
being on the face, and the fingers (which should be previously slightly
moistened) on the back of the cards. (_See_ Fig. 29.) Give a sharp
downward jerk of the hand and arm, when, as in the last case, all the
cards will fall save the top card, which is retained by the greater
friction of the moistened fingers.

_Third Method._--Get the chosen card to the top, and hold the pack in
the right hand, lengthways and face downwards, about two feet above the
floor or table. Push the top card a little off the pack sideways, so
as to make it project throughout its whole length about an inch beyond
the rest of the cards. Now let fall the pack, when the resistance of
the air will cause the top card to turn over in its fall, and to appear
face upwards, all the other cards remaining face downwards.

_Fourth Method._--Place the card in question and seven other
indifferent cards in two rows, face downwards, on the table. Keep in
your own mind which is the chosen card, but do not let the audience
see the face of either of the cards. Ask the drawer if he is sure that
he will know his card again. He will, of course, answer “yes.” Now ask
either the same or another person to touch four of the eight cards upon
the table. Necessarily, the four which he touches will either include
or not include the chosen card. In either case you take up (whether
he touches them or not) the four which do _not_ include the chosen
card, remarking, “I will return these to the pack.” Invite the same
person to touch two out of the four which remain. Again take up the
two (whether touched or not touched) which do not include the chosen
card, saying, “I return these also to the pack.” You have now only two
cards left on the table, one of which is the chosen card. Invite one
of the spectators to touch one of these cards. As before, whichever
he touches, you pick up and return to the pack the non-chosen card,
remarking, “We have now only one card left. You have all seen that I
dealt out eight cards on the table, and that I have withdrawn seven,
you yourselves choosing which I should withdraw. Now, sir, be kind
enough to name the card you drew.” The card having been named, you turn
over the card left on the table, and show that it is the right one.

This trick is based upon a kind of _double entendre_, which, though
apparently obvious, is rarely seen through by the audience if performed
in a quick and lively manner. The secret lies in the performer
interpreting the touching of the cards in two different senses,
as may best suit his purpose. If the chosen card is not among the
cards touched, he interprets the touching as meaning that the cards
touched are rejected, and to be returned to the pack. If the card
is among those touched, he interprets the touching in the opposite
sense,--namely, that the cards touched are to be retained, and the
others rejected. If he is lucky in the cards touched, it may happen
that he is able to interpret the touching in the same sense throughout
the trick, in which case there will be no clue whatever to the secret;
but even in the opposite case, where he is compelled to put aside
first the cards touched and then the cards not touched, the difference
generally passes unnoticed by the spectators, or, if noticed, is put
down as a slip on the part of the performer, rather than as being, as
it really is, the key to the trick.

Where the performer is proficient in sleight-of-hand, the above may be
worked up into a really brilliant trick. Any indifferent card being
drawn and returned, is brought to the top by the pass, palmed, and the
pack shuffled. Eight cards are laid out, and the drawn card revealed as
above.

Having described these few commencements and terminations, we will next
proceed to the discussion of some complete tricks.


[Illustration: FIG. 30.]

TO MAKE A CARD VANISH FROM THE PACK, AND BE FOUND IN A PERSON’S
POCKET.--Slightly moisten the back of your left hand. Offer the pack to
be shuffled. Place it face downwards on the table, and request one of
the company to look at the top card. Request him to place the back of
his left hand upon the cards, and press heavily upon it with his right.
In order that he may the better comprehend your meaning, place your own
hands as described (_see_ Fig. 30), and request him to imitate you.
When you remove your left hand, the back being moistened, the card will
stick to it. Put your hands carelessly behind you, and with the right
hand remove the card. All will crowd round to see the trick. Pretend
to be very particular that the person who places his hand on the
card shall do so in precisely the right position. This will not only
give you time, but draw all eyes to his hands. Meanwhile, watch your
opportunity and slip the card into the tail pocket of one or other of
the spectators. Now announce that you are about to order the top card,
which all have seen, and which Mr. A. is holding down so exceedingly
tight, to fly away from the pack and into the pocket of Mr. B., making
the choice apparently hap-hazard. On examination your commands will be
found to have been fulfilled. It has a good effect, when practicable,
to slip the card into the pocket of the same person who is pressing
upon the pack.


TO PLACE THE FOUR KINGS IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE PACK, AND TO BRING
THEM TOGETHER BY A SIMPLE CUT.--Take the four kings (or any other
four cards at pleasure), and exhibit them fanwise (_see_ Fig. 31),
but secretly place behind the second one (the king of diamonds in
the figure) two other court cards of any description, which, being
thus hidden behind the king, will not be visible. The audience being
satisfied that the four cards are really the four kings, and none
other, fold them together, and place them at the top of the pack. Draw
attention to the fact that you are about to distribute these four kings
in different parts of the pack. Take up the top card, which, being
really a king, you may exhibit without apparent intention, and place
it at the bottom. Take the next card, which the spectators suppose to
be also a king, and place it about half way down the pack, and the
next, in like manner, a little higher. Take the fourth card, which,
being actually a king, you may show carelessly, and replace it on the
top of the pack. You have now really three kings at the top and one
at the bottom, though the audience imagine that they have seen them
distributed in different parts of the pack, and are proportionately
surprised, when the cards are cut, to find that all the kings are again
together.

[Illustration: FIG. 31.]

It is best to use knaves or queens for the two extra cards, as being
less distinguishable from the kings, should a spectator catch a chance
glimpse of their faces.

There are other and better modes of bringing together four apparently
separated cards by the aid of sleight-of-hand, which will be explained
in due course; but we have thought it well to give also this simpler
method, as it is always an advantage to possess two different modes of
performing the same feat.


THE FOUR KINGS BEING PLACED UNDER THE HAND OF ONE PERSON, AND THE
FOUR SEVENS UNDER THE HAND OF ANOTHER, TO MAKE THEM CHANGE PLACES AT
COMMAND.--Exhibit, fanwise, in one hand the four kings, and in the
other the four eights. Behind the hindmost of the kings, and so as
not to be noticeable by the audience, secretly place beforehand the
four sevens. Hold the four eights in the other hand in such manner
that the lower of the two centre pips of the foremost is concealed by
the first and second fingers. The same pip on each of the other cards
will be concealed by the card immediately before it, so that the four
cards will to the spectators appear equally like the sevens. Place
the pack face downwards on the table. Draw attention to the fact that
you hold in one hand the four kings, and in the other the four sevens
(really the disguised eights). Fold up the supposed sevens, and place
them on the pack. Fold up the kings, and place them on the top of the
supposed sevens. As the real sevens were behind the last of the kings,
they are now on the top, with the kings next, though the audience are
persuaded that the kings are uppermost, and the sevens next following.
Deal off, slowly and carefully, the four top cards, saying, “I take
off these four kings,” and lay them on the table, requesting one of
the spectators to place his hand firmly upon them. Do the same with
the next four cards (which are really the kings). Ask if the persons
in charge of the cards are quite sure that they are still under their
hands, and, upon receiving their assurance to that effect, command the
cards they hold to change places, which they will be found to have done.


FOUR PACKETS OF CARDS HAVING BEEN FORMED FACE DOWNWARDS ON THE TABLE,
TO DISCOVER THE TOTAL VALUE OF THE UNDERMOST CARDS.--This trick must
be performed with the piquet pack of thirty-two cards. Invite one of
the spectators to privately select any four cards, and to place them,
separately and face downwards, on the table; then, counting an ace
as eleven, a court card as ten, and any other card according to the
number of its pips, to place upon each of these four so many cards
as, added to its value thus estimated, shall make fifteen. (It must
be remembered that _value_ is only to be taken into consideration as to
the original four cards, those placed on them counting as one each,
whatever they may happen to be.) You meanwhile retire. When the four
heaps are complete, advance to the table, and observe how many cards
are left over and above the four heaps. To this number mentally add
thirty-two. The total will give you the aggregate value of the four
lowest cards, calculated as above mentioned.

You should not let your audience perceive that you count the remaining
cards, or they will readily conjecture that the trick depends on some
arithmetical principle. You may say, “You will observe that I do not
look even at one single card:” and, so saying, throw down the surplus
cards with apparent carelessness upon the table, when they are sure
to fall sufficiently scattered to enable you to count them without
attracting observation.


TO NAME ALL THE CARDS IN THE PACK IN SUCCESSION.--This is an old trick,
but a very good one. To perform it, you must arrange the cards of a
whist pack beforehand, according to a given formula, which forms a sort
of _memoria technica_. There are several used, but all are similar in
effect. The following is one of the simplest:--

    “Eight kings threatened to save
     Ninety-five ladies for one sick knave.”

These words suggest, as you will readily see, eight, king, three, ten,
two, seven, nine, five, queen, four, ace, six, knave. You must also
have a determinate order for the suits, which should be red and black
alternately, say, diamonds, clubs, hearts, spades. Sort the pack for
convenience into the four suits, and then arrange the cards as follows:
Take in your left hand, _face upwards_, the eight of diamonds, on
this place the king of clubs, on this the three of hearts, then the
ten of spades, then the two of diamonds, and so on, till the whole
of the cards are exhausted. This arrangement must be made privately
beforehand, and you must either make this the first of your series of
tricks, or (which is better, as it negatives the idea of arrangement)
have two packs of the same pattern, and secretly exchange the prepared
pack, at a suitable opportunity, for that with which you have already
been performing. Spread the cards (which may previously be cut any
number of times), and offer them to a person to draw one. While he is
looking at the card, glance quickly at the card next above that which
he has drawn, which we will suppose is the five of diamonds. You will
remember that in your _memoria technica_ “five” is followed by “ladies”
(queen). You know then that the next card, the one drawn, was a queen.
You know also that clubs follow diamonds: _ergo_, the card drawn is the
queen of clubs. Name it, and request the drawer to replace it. Ask
some one again to cut the cards, and repeat the trick in the same form
with another person, but this time pass all the cards which were above
the card drawn, below the remainder of the pack. This is equivalent to
cutting the pack at that particular card. After naming the card drawn,
ask if the company would like to know any more. Name the cards next
following the card already drawn, taking them one by one from the pack
and laying them face upwards on the table, to show that you have named
them correctly. After a little practice, it will cost you but a very
slight effort of memory to name in succession all the cards in the pack.


THE CARDS BEING CUT, TO TELL WHETHER THE NUMBER CUT IS ODD OR
EVEN.--This is another trick performed by the aid of the prepared pack
last described, and has the advantage of being little known, even to
those who are acquainted with other uses of the arranged pack. Notice
whether the bottom card for the time being is red or black. Place the
pack on the table, and invite any person to cut, announcing that you
will tell by the weight of the cards cut whether the number is odd or
even. Take the cut cards (_i.e._, the cards which before the cut were
at the top of the pack), and poising them carefully in your hand, as
though testing their weight, glance slily at the bottom card. If it is
of the same colour as the bottom card of the other or lowest portion,
the cards cut are an even number; if of a different colour, they are
odd.


THE WHIST TRICK.--TO DEAL YOURSELF ALL THE TRUMPS.--The cards being
arranged as above mentioned, you may challenge any of the company to
play a hand at whist with you. The cards are cut in the ordinary way
(not shuffled). You yourself deal, when, of course, the turn-up card
falls to you. On taking up the cards, it will be found that each person
has all the cards of one suit, but your own suit being that of the
turn-up card, is, of course, trumps; and having the whole thirteen, you
must necessarily win every trick.

The weak point of the feat is, that the cards being regularly sorted
into the four suits, the audience can hardly help suspecting that the
pack was pre-arranged beforehand. There is another and better mode of
performing the trick, by which you still hold all the trumps, but the
three remaining players have the ordinary mixed hands. This method,
however, involves sleight-of-hand, and would therefore be out of place
in the present chapter.


TO ALLOW A PERSON TO THINK OF A CARD, AND TO MAKE THAT CARD APPEAR AT
SUCH NUMBER IN THE PACK AS ANOTHER PERSON SHALL NAME.--Allow the pack
to be shuffled and cut as freely as the company please. When they are
fully satisfied that the cards are well mixed, offer the pack to any
of the spectators, and request him to look over the cards, and think
of any one, and to remember the number at which it stands in the pack,
reckoning from the bottom card upwards. You then remark, “Ladies and
gentlemen, you will take particular notice that I have not asked a
single question, and yet I already know the card; and if anyone will
kindly indicate the place in the pack at which you desire it to appear,
I will at once cause it to take that position. I must only ask that,
by arrangement between yourselves, you will make the number at which
the card is to appear higher than that which it originally held.” We
will suppose that the audience decide that the card shall appear at
number 22. Carelessly remark, “It is not even necessary for me to see
the cards.” So saying, hold the pack under the table, and rapidly count
off twenty-two cards from the bottom of the pack, and place them on
the top.[C] You then continue, “Having already placed the card thought
of in the desired position, I may now, without suspicion, ask for the
original number of the card, as I shall commence my counting with that
number.” We will suppose you are told the card was originally number
10. You begin to count from the top of the pack, calling the first card
10, the next 11, and so on. When you come to 22, the number appointed,
you say, “If I have kept my promise, this should be the card you
thought of. To avoid the suspicion of confederacy, will you please
say, before I turn it over, what your card was.” The card being named,
you turn it up, and show that it is the right one.

    [C] When the number named is more than half the total number of
        the pack, _i.e._, more than 16 in a piquet pack, or more
        than 26 in a whist pack, it is quicker, and has precisely
        the same effect, to count off the difference between that
        and the total number from the top, and place them at the
        bottom. Thus, in a piquet pack, if the number called be 12,
        you would count off 12 from the bottom, and place them on
        the top; but if the number called were 24 you would achieve
        the same object by counting 8 from the top, and passing
        them to the bottom.

In all tricks which depend on the naming of a card drawn or thought of,
it adds greatly to the effect to have the card named before you turn it
up.

This trick, unlike most, will bear repetition; but it is well on a
second performance to vary it a little. Thus you may on the second
occasion say, when the card has been thought of, “I will choose for
myself this time; your card will appear at number 30.” It is desirable
to name a number very near the total number of the pack (which we are
now supposing to be a piquet pack), as the difference between that and
the total number being very small, it is easy to see at a glance the
number of cards representing such difference, and pass them to the
bottom of the pack. You take in this instance two cards only, that
being the difference between 30 and 32, and pass them to the bottom,
when the card will, as you have announced, be the thirtieth.

If you are able to make the pass, you will, of course, avail yourself
of it to transfer the requisite number of cards to the top or bottom of
the pack.


THE CARDS REVEALED BY THE LOOKING-GLASS.--This is rather a joke than a
feat of magic, but it will create some fun, and may often be kept up
for some time without being discovered. Take up your position on one
side of the room, facing a good-sized mirror or chimney-glass. Make
your audience stand or sit facing you, when they will, of course, have
their backs to the glass. Offer the cards to be shuffled and cut. Take
the top card and hold it high up, with its back to you and its face to
the audience. As it will be reflected in the mirror opposite you, you
will have no difficulty in naming it, or any other card in like manner,
till your audience either find you out, or have had enough of the trick.


TO GUESS FOUR CARDS THOUGHT OF BY DIFFERENT PERSONS.--Offer the pack
to be shuffled. Place it on the table, and taking off the four top
cards with the right hand, offer them to any person, and ask him to
notice one of them, shuffle them, and return them to you. When they are
returned, place them, face downwards, in your left hand. Take the next
four cards, and offer them to another person in like manner. Proceed in
like manner with a third and fourth group of four. When all the sixteen
cards are returned, deal them out in four heaps, face upwards. Ask each
person in which heap his card now is. That of the first person will
be the uppermost of his heap, that of the second person second in his
heap, and so on. It will sometimes occur that two of the cards chosen
are in the same heap, but the rule will still apply. Should there be
three persons only to choose, you should give them three cards each;
and deal in three heaps.


THE PAIRS RE-PAIRED.--After performing the last trick, you may
continue, “As you have not yet found me out, I will repeat the
experiment, but in a slightly altered form. This time I will invite you
to think of two cards each, and all present may join if they please.”
After giving the pack to be shuffled, you deal out twenty cards, face
upwards, but placing them in couples. Invite as many of the company as
please to note any particular couple they think fit, and to remember
those two cards. When they have done so, gather up the cards, picking
them up here and there in any order you please, taking care, however,
that none of the pairs are separated. You now deal them out again, face
upwards, in rows of five, according to the following formula: _Mutus
dedit nomen Cocis_, which, being interpreted, signifies, “Mutus gave
a name to the Coci,” a people as yet undiscovered. On examining the
sentence closely, you will observe that it consists of ten letters
only, m, u, t, s, d, e, i, n, o, c, each twice repeated. This gives you
the clue to the arrangement of the cards, which will be as follows:

  M      U      T      U      S
  1      2      3      2      4

  D      E      D      I      T
  5      6      5      7      3

  N      O      M      E      N
  8      9      1      6      8

  C      O      C      I      S
  10     9     10      7      4

You must imagine the four words printed as above upon your table. You
must deal your first card upon the imaginary M in MUTUS, and the second
on the imaginary M in NOMEN, the two next cards on the two imaginary
U’s, the two next on the two T’s, and so on. You have now only to ask
each person in which row his two cards now appear, and you will at once
know which they are. Thus, if a person says his two cards are now in
the second and fourth rows, you will know that they must be the two
cards representing the two I’s, that being the only letter common to
those two rows. If a person indicates the first and fourth rows, you
will know that his cards are those representing the two S’s, and so on.


THE MAGIC TRIPLETS.--This trick is precisely similar in principle to
the last, but twenty-four (instead of twenty) cards are used, and they
are dealt in triplets, instead of pairs. After the spectators have made
their selection, you take up the cards as directed for the last trick,
taking care to keep the respective triplets together. You then deal
them in rows of six, the formula in this case being:

  L      I      V      I      N      I
  L      A      N      A      T      A
  L      E      V      E      T      E
  N      O      V      O      T      O


ANOTHER MODE OF DISCOVERING A CARD THOUGHT OF.--Have the pack well
shuffled. Then deal twenty-five cards, in five rows of five cards each,
face upwards. Invite a person to think of a card, and to tell you in
which row it is. Note in your own mind the first or left-hand card of
that row. Now pick up the cards in vertical rows, _i.e._, beginning at
the last card of the last row, placing that card face upwards on the
last of the next row, those two on the last of the next row, and so on.
When you have picked up all the cards in this manner, deal them out
again in the same way as at first. You will observe that those cards
which at first formed the first cards of each row, now themselves form
the first row. Ask the person in which row his card now is. When he
has told you, look to the top row for the first card of the original
row, when the card thought of will be found in a direct line below it.
As you have just been told in which lateral row it is, you will not
have the least difficulty in discovering it, and by a slight effort of
memory you may even allow several persons each to think of a card, and
name it. A comparison of the subjoined tables, showing the original and
subsequent order of the cards, will explain the principle of the trick.


_First Order._

   1      2      3      4      5

   6      7      8      9     10

  11     12     13     14     15

  16     17     18     19     20

  21     22     23     24     25


_Second Order._

  1      6      11     16     21

  2      7      12     17     22

  3      8      13     18     23

  4      9      14     19     24

  5     10      15     20     25

Thus we will suppose you are told that the card thought of is
originally in the third line. Remember the first or key-card of that
line, designated in the table as 11. If the card is in the fourth line
after the second deal, you look to the top line for the key-card, and
on finding it you have only to observe which card in the fourth row is
immediately beneath it, to be sure that that card (in this instance
designated by the number 14) is the card thought of.

You may perform the trick with either sixteen, twenty-five, thirty-six,
or forty-nine cards, either of those being a square number, and thus
making the number of cards in a row equal to the number of rows, which
is essential to the success of the trick.


TO GUESS, BY THE AID OF A PASSAGE OF POETRY OR PROSE, SUCH ONE OF
SIXTEEN CARDS AS, IN THE PERFORMER’S ABSENCE, HAS BEEN TOUCHED OR
SELECTED BY THE COMPANY.--This feat is performed by confederacy, the
assistance of the confederate being open and avowed, but the mode in
which the clue is given constituting the mystery. You allow the pack
to be shuffled, and then deal sixteen cards, the first that come to
hand, either face upwards or face downwards, in four rows on the table.
The sole preparation on the part of yourself and your confederate is to
commit to memory the following simple formula--_animal_, _vegetable_,
_mineral_, _verb_, signifying respectively one, two, three and four.
You retire from the room while the card is chosen, your confederate
remaining. Upon your return your confederate selects and hands for
your perusal a passage in any book which the audience may select,
only taking care that the first word in such passage which comes
within either of the four categories above mentioned, shall be such
as to represent the number of the row in which the card is, and that
the second word which comes within either of those categories shall
represent the number at which the card stands in that row. We will
suppose, for instance, that the passage handed to the performer is that
portion of Hamlet’s soliloquy commencing, “Oh, that this too too solid
_flesh_ would _melt_.” Here the first word which comes within either
of the four categories is “flesh,” which, being clearly animal (1),
indicates that the chosen card is in the first row. The second word
coming within either of the categories is “melt,” which, being a verb
(4), indicates that the chosen card is the _fourth_ of its row. Had the
passage been “_To be_, or not _to be_, that is the question,” the two
verbs would have indicated that the card was the fourth of the fourth
row. “How _doth_ the little busy _bee_,” etc., would have indicated the
first of the fourth row, and so on. With a little tact and ingenuity on
the part of the operators, this may be made an admirable trick, and,
unlike most others, will bear being repeated, the mystery becoming
deeper as passages of varying character and different length are
employed.


TO DETECT, WITHOUT CONFEDERACY, WHICH OF FOUR CARDS HAS BEEN TURNED
ROUND IN YOUR ABSENCE.--It will be found upon examining a pack of
cards, that the white margin round the court cards almost invariably
differs in width at the opposite ends. The difference is frequently
very trifling, but is still sufficiently noticeable when pointed out,
and may be made available for a trick which, though absurdly simple,
has puzzled many. You place four court cards of the same rank, say four
queens, in a row, face upwards, taking care that the wider margins
of the cards are all one way. You then leave the room, and invite the
company to turn round lengthways during your absence any one or more of
the four cards. On your return you can readily distinguish which card
has been so turned, as the wider margin of such card will now be where
the narrower margin was originally, and _vice versâ_.

There is so little chance of the trick being discovered, that you may,
contrary to the general rule, repeat it if desired. Should you do so,
it is better not to replace the cards already turned, as this might
give a clue to the secret, but carefully note in your own mind their
present position, by remembering which you can discover any card turned
just as easily as at first.


TO ARRANGE TWELVE CARDS IN ROWS, IN SUCH A MANNER THAT THEY WILL COUNT
FOUR IN EVERY DIRECTION.--This is rather a puzzle than a conjuring
trick, but may sometimes serve as an interlude to occupy the minds of
your audience while you are preparing for some other feat. The secret
is to place nine of the twelve cards in three rows, so as to form a
square; then place the remaining three cards as follows: the first on
the first card of the first row, the second on the second card of the
second row, and the last on the third card of the last row.


[Illustration: FIG. 32.]

TO PLACE THE ACES AND COURT CARDS IN FOUR ROWS, IN SUCH A MANNER THAT
NEITHER HORIZONTALLY NOR PERPENDICULARLY SHALL THERE BE IN EITHER ROW
TWO CARDS ALIKE EITHER IN SUIT OR VALUE.--This also is a puzzle, and
a very good one. The key to it is to begin by placing four cards of
like value (say four kings) in a diagonal line from corner to corner of
the intended square, then four other cards of like value (say the four
aces) to form the opposite diagonal. It must be borne in mind, that of
whatever suit the two centre kings are, the two aces must be of the
opposite suits. Thus, if the two centre kings are those of diamonds and
hearts, the two centre aces must be those of clubs and spades; and in
adding the two end aces, you must be careful not to place at either end
of the line an ace of the same suit as the king at the corresponding
end of the opposite diagonal. Having got so far, you will find it a
very easy matter to fill in the remaining cards in accordance with the
conditions of the puzzle. The sixteen cards when complete will be as in
Fig. 32, subject, of course, to variation according to the particular
cards with which you commence your task.


THE CONGRESS OF COURT CARDS.--Take the kings, queens, and knaves from
the pack, and place them face upwards on the table in three rows of
four each, avoiding as much as possible the appearance of arrangement,
but really taking care to place them in the following order: In the
first row you have only to remember not to have two of the same suit.
Begin the second row with a card of the same suit with which you ended
the first, let the second card be of the same suit as the first of
the first row, the third of the same suit as the second of the first
row, and so on. The third row will begin with the suit with which the
second left off, the second card will be of the same suit as the first
of the second row, and so on. Now pick up the cards in vertical rows,
beginning with the last card of the bottom row. The cards may now be
cut (not shuffled) any number of times, but, if dealt in four heaps,
the king, queen, and knave of each suit will come together.



CHAPTER IV.

TRICKS INVOLVING SLEIGHT-OF-HAND OR THE USE OF SPECIALLY PREPARED CARDS.


We have already explained the nature and use of the “forcing” pack of
cards. It may be well, before we go further, to give a short account of
one or two other species of prepared cards.


THE LONG CARD.--This is the technical name for a card longer or wider,
by about the thickness of a sixpence, than the rest of the pack. This
card will naturally project to that extent beyond the general length
or width of the other cards, and the performer is thereby enabled to
cut the pack at that particular card whenever he chooses to do so. With
the aid of such a card, and a tolerable proficiency in “forcing” and
“making the pass,” many excellent tricks can be performed. Packs with
a long card can be obtained at any of the conjuring depôts. The best
plan, however, is to purchase two ordinary packs, precisely alike, and
to have the edges of one of them shaved down by a bookbinder to the
requisite extent, when you can insert any card of the other pack at
pleasure to form your long card, and thus avoid the suspicion which
would naturally arise from the performance of several tricks with the
same card. A still greater improvement upon the ordinary long-card pack
is the _biseauté_ or tapering pack, in which, though only one pack is
used, any card may in turn become the long card. A _biseauté_ pack
consists of cards all of which are a shade wider (say the thickness
of a shilling) at one end than the other. (_See_ Fig. 33, in which,
however, the actual difference of width is exaggerated, in order to
make the shape of the card clear to the eye.)

[Illustration: FIG. 33. FIG. 34.]

[Illustration: FIG. 35.]

When two cards shaped as above are placed one upon another, but in
opposite directions, the effect is as in Fig. 34. If the whole pack
is at the outset placed with all the cards alike (_i.e._, their ends
tapering in the same direction), by reversing any card and returning
it to the pack, its wide end is made to correspond with the narrow ends
of the remaining cards, thereby making it for the time being a “long”
card. By offering the pack for a person to draw a card, and turning the
pack round before the card is replaced, the position of that card will
thus be reversed, and you will be able to find it again in an instant,
however thoroughly the cards may be shuffled. By pre-arranging the pack
beforehand, with the narrow ends of all the red cards in one direction,
and those of the black cards in the other direction, you may, by
grasping the pack between the finger and thumb at each end (_see_ Fig.
35), and, drawing the hands apart, separate the black cards from the
red at a single stroke, or, by preparing the pack accordingly, you may
divide the court cards from the plain cards in like manner. Many other
recreations may be performed with a pack of this kind, which will be
noticed in due course. The long card and the _biseauté_ pack have each
their special advantages and disadvantages. The long card is the more
reliable, as it can always be distinguished with certainty from the
rest of the pack; but it is very generally known, and after having
made use of it for one trick, it is clear that you cannot immediately
venture upon another with the same card. It is further comparatively
useless unless you are proficient in “forcing.” The _biseauté_ pack
may be used without any knowledge of “forcing,” and has the advantage
that any card may in turn become the key card, but it is treacherous.
The necessary turning of the pack is likely to attract observation,
and any little mistake, such as allowing the card to be replaced in
its original direction, or a few of the cards getting turned round in
shuffling, will cause a breakdown. Notwithstanding these disadvantages,
both the long card and the _biseauté_ pack will be found very useful to
the amateur; but it should be borne in mind that both these appliances
are in reality only makeshifts or substitutes for sleight-of-hand.
Professionals of the highest class discard them altogether, and rely
wholly on the more subtle magic of their own fingers.

We subjoin a few of the best of the feats which specially depend upon
the use of a long card or the _biseauté_ pack.


A CARD HAVING BEEN CHOSEN AND RETURNED, AND THE PACK SHUFFLED, TO
PRODUCE THE CHOSEN CARD INSTANTLY IN VARIOUS WAYS.--Request some person
to draw a card, spreading them before him for that purpose. If you
use a long-card pack you must force the long card; if you are using a
_biseauté_ pack any card may be drawn, the pack being reversed before
the card is replaced. The card being returned, the pack may be shuffled
to any extent, but you will always be able to cut by feel at the card
chosen.

You may vary the trick by taking the cards upright between the second
finger and thumb of the right hand, and requesting some one to say,
“One, two, three!” at the word “three” drop all the cards save the card
chosen, which its projecting edge will enable you to retain when you
relax the pressure upon the other cards.

Another mode of finishing the trick is to request any one present
to put the pack (previously well shuffled) in his pocket, when you
proceed, with his permission, to pick his pocket of the chosen
card. This is an effective trick, and, if you are proficient in
sleight-of-hand, may be also performed with an unprepared pack of
cards. In the latter case, when the chosen card is returned to
the pack, you make the pass to bring it to the top, palm it, and
immediately offer the cards to be shuffled. (_See_ Fig. 15.) The pack
being returned, you replace the chosen card on the top, and when the
pack is placed in the pocket you have only to draw out the top card.
The feat of cutting at the chosen card may also by similar means be
performed with an ordinary pack. For this purpose you must follow the
directions last above given up to the time when, the pack having
been shuffled, you replace the palmed card on the top. Then transfer
the pack to the left hand, and apparently cut with the right. We say
_apparently_, for though to the eye of the spectator you merely cut the
cards, you really make the pass by sliding the lower half of the pack
to the left, the fingers of the left hand at the same moment opening
a little to lift the upper packet, and so give room for the upward
passage of the lower packet. The cards remaining after the pass in the
left hand, which the spectators take to be the bottom half of the pack,
are in reality the original upper half; and on the uppermost of such
cards being turned up, it is found to be the one which was chosen.

Another good mode of finishing the trick is to fling the pack in the
air, and catch the chosen card. For this purpose, after forcing the
long card, and after giving the pack to be shuffled, you cut the pack
at the long card as before, but without showing it, and place the
original lower half of the pack on the top. The chosen card will now be
at the bottom. Take the pack face downwards upon the right hand, and
quickly transfer it to the left, at the same time palming (with the
right hand) the bottom card. Spread the cards a little, and fling them
into the air, clutching at them with the right hand as they descend,
and at the same moment bring the chosen card to the tips of the
fingers. The effect to the spectators will be as if you actually caught
it among the falling cards.

This feat also may be performed without the aid of a long card, and
without the necessity of forcing a card. In this case, as in the
pocket-picking trick, you make the pass as soon as the card is returned
to the pack, in order to bring it to the top, and palm it; then offer
the pack to be shuffled. When the cards are handed back, place the
chosen card for a moment on the top of the pack, and endeavour to call
attention--indirectly, if possible--to the fact that you have no card
concealed in your hand. Then again palming the card, you may either
yourself fling up the cards or request some other person to do so, and
terminate the trick as before.

A still more effective form of this trick, in which the chosen card is
caught upon the point of a sword, will be found among the card tricks
performed by the aid of special apparatus.

The following is a good long-card trick, but demands considerable
proficiency in sleight-of-hand. You “force” the long card, allowing
it to be returned to any part of the pack, and the whole to be well
shuffled. You then say, “You must be by this time pretty certain that,
even if I knew your card in the first instance, I must have quite lost
sight of it now. If you do not feel quite certain, please shuffle the
cards once more.” Every one being fully satisfied that the card is
completely lost in the pack, you continue, “Let me assure you that I
do not know, any more than yourselves, whereabouts in the pack your
card is at this moment. You can all see that I have no duplicate card
concealed in my hands. I will now take the top card, whatever it may
be, or, if you prefer it, any one may draw a card from any part of the
pack, and I will at once change it to the card originally chosen.” The
audience will probably prefer to draw a card, which, when they have
done, you continue, “I presume the card you have just drawn is not the
one originally chosen. Will the gentleman who drew the first card look
at it and see if it is his card?” The reply is pretty certain to be
in the negative. During the discussion you have taken the opportunity
to slip the little finger of the left hand immediately _above_ the
long card (which, it will be remembered, was that first drawn), and
to make the pass, thereby bringing it to the top, and enabling you to
palm it. You now ask the person holding the second card to place it
on the top of the pack, which you immediately transfer to the right
hand, thus bringing the palmed card upon it. You then say, “To show
you that this trick is not performed by sleight-of-hand, or by any
manipulation of the cards, I will not even touch them, but will place
them here on the table in sight of all. Will the gentleman who drew the
first card please to say what his card was?” The card being named, you
slowly and deliberately turn over the top card, which will be found to
be transformed into that first chosen. The other card is now the next
card on the top of the pack, and, as somebody may suspect this, and by
examining the pack gain a partial clue to the trick, it will be well to
take an early opportunity of removing this card, either by shuffling,
or by making the pass to bring it to the centre of the pack.

If you make use of a _biseauté_ pack, there is, of course, no necessity
for forcing the card in the first instance.

You may also reveal a chosen card with very good effect in the
following manner: A card having been freely drawn, open the pack in
such manner that it may be placed, when returned, immediately under
the long card, which, by the way, should in this instance really be a
_wide_ card, though the term “long card” applies, as already mentioned,
to both kinds of card. The pack may be moderately shuffled, with very
little risk of the two cards being separated, the greater width of the
long card tending to shelter the card beneath it, and making it very
unlikely that that card will be displaced. If after the shuffle the
long card does not happen to be tolerably high up in the pack, you
should cut the cards in such manner as to make it so. Holding the cards
in a horizontal position, face downwards, above the table, the thumb
being on one side and the fingers on the other side of the pack, you
say, “Ladies and gentlemen, I am now about to drop the cards, a few at
a time, in a number of little heaps upon the table, stopping when you
tell me to do so. It will be equally open to you to stop me when I have
made one or two heaps only, or not until I have made seven or eight,
but, whenever it is, the card at the top of the heap last made will
be the identical card which was just now drawn, and which has since,
as you have seen, been thoroughly shuffled in the pack.” You now drop
the cards, four or five at a time, on various parts of the table. When
the word “stop” is pronounced you let go all the remaining cards below
the long card, which, from its greater width, a very slight pressure
suffices to retain. The card chosen having been next below the long
card, is now at the top of the last heap. You ask the person who drew
to name his card, and, touching the back of the top card with your
wand, turn it over to show that it is the right one.

If you are tolerably expert in sleight-of-hand you may repeat the trick
in a yet more striking manner. Proceed as before up to the moment when
the word “stop” is pronounced. Having let fall as before all the cards
below the long card, lay down the remainder of the pack, and take in
the left hand the heap which you last dealt. Cover it with the right
hand for an instant, and, sliding away the hand gently to the right,
palm the top card, and immediately take by one corner the next card,
holding it face downwards until the drawer has named his card, which
was, we will suppose, the queen of hearts. As soon as the card is
named, you turn towards the audience the face of the card you hold,
saying, “Here is the card, as before.” Do not look at it yourself, but
at once replace it on the pack, and, covering the pack with the right
hand, leave the palmed card upon it. You are by this time made aware
by a murmur, if not by a more decided manifestation on the part of the
audience, that something is wrong. You ask what is the matter, and
are told that, so far from showing the queen of hearts, the card you
produced was a totally different one, say, the seven of spades. You
pretend to look embarrassed, and ask if they are quite sure. “It is
very strange,” you remark, “I never failed in this trick before. Will
you allow me to try again?” Then, appearing to recollect yourself, “Oh,
of course!” you exclaim, “I forgot to touch the card with the magic
wand.” You do so. “Will some one be kind enough to look at the card
now?” The card is examined, and proves to be, as it ought to have been
originally, the queen of hearts.


TO TEACH THE COMPANY A TRICK WHICH THEY LEARN WITHOUT DIFFICULTY;
THEN TO ALLOW THEM TO SUCCEED OR TO CAUSE THEM TO FAIL AT YOUR
PLEASURE.--This surprising trick is performed with the piquet pack
of thirty-two cards, from which you must beforehand take away, and
secretly pocket, one card of each suit, the spectators, however,
believing that you use the whole thirty-two cards.

You announce to the company that you will teach them a trick. You deal
the cards face upwards in rows of four, according to the rules set
forth in the trick already described under the title of “The Congress
of Court Cards,” _i.e._, you place a card of each suit in the top row;
you commence each row with a card of the suit with which the row above
ended; you make the second of each row the same suit as the first of
the row above, and the third the same suit as the second of the row
above, and so on. Thus, if your top row be club, diamond, heart, spade,
your second will be spade, club, diamond, heart; your third, heart,
spade, club, diamond; your fourth, diamond, heart, spade, club; your
fifth, club, diamond, heart, spade; your sixth, spade, club, diamond,
heart; and your seventh, heart, spade, club, diamond. You now gather
up the cards as directed in the trick already mentioned, _i.e._, in
vertical rows, from the bottom upwards, commencing at the right-hand
bottom corner. The pack thus arranged may be cut any number of times,
but, if dealt in four heaps, all the cards of each suit will be found
to be together.

So far, the trick is ingenious rather than astonishing, although, the
arrangement of the cards having reference only to the suits, and not
to individual cards, the cards do not at first sight appear to be
specially arranged; and if you are rapid and apparently careless in
placing them, the spectators will in all probability believe that they
are placed hap-hazard. If you can induce this belief, you will greatly
heighten their surprise at finding the different suits regularly sorted
after the deal. But the trick is not yet finished. You again place the
cards as before, remarking that the trick is simplicity itself when
once the principle is known, and on this occasion you draw special
attention to the necessary arrangement of the cards. Having completed
the trick for the second time, you invite some of the audience to
try their hands, which they do, and of course succeed, there being
really no difficulty in the matter. When one or two have tried and
succeeded, they will probably disparage the trick, as being absurdly
easy. “Pardon me,” you say, “you have succeeded so far, because it was
my will and pleasure that you should do so. You seem incredulous, but
I am perfectly serious. To prove that I am so, I give you warning that
the next person who attempts the trick will fail. Come, who accepts
the challenge?” Some one is sure to respond, and in all probability to
offer you a bet that he will succeed. “Sir,” you reply, “I never bet
on certainties, or your money would be already lost. I have said that
you shall fail, and you cannot, therefore, possibly succeed.” You have,
meanwhile, secretly palmed the four cards which you pocketed before
beginning the trick, and have watched your opportunity to replace them
on the table with the rest of the pack.

Your opponent may now try as much as he pleases, but he cannot possibly
succeed, the fact being that the process above described produces
the desired effect with twenty-eight cards, but will not do so with
thirty-two. The first thought of your audience is sure to be that you
have abstracted some of the cards in order to make the trick fail, but
on counting they find the number correct. Not one in a hundred will
suspect that the reverse is the case, and that when you performed the
trick the pack was incomplete.

By the time three or four of the company have tried and failed, you
will probably have found an opportunity of again pocketing a card
of each suit; and you may then announce that, having sufficiently
proved your power, you will now graciously condescend to remove the
prohibition, and allow the next person who tries to succeed. This, of
course, he will do; and the trick may very well end here, with the
satisfaction on your part that you have kept your secret, and that,
even when removed from the sphere of your adverse influence, your
pupils will fail in performing the trick, making the attempt, as they
naturally will, with the full piquet pack. But it is just possible that
a _contretemps_ may arise, for which it will be well to be prepared.
Some one of the audience, more acute than the generality, may suggest
again counting the cards, to see if all are there when the trick
succeeds. Even in this case you need not be discomfitted. At once offer
yourself to count the cards, and, gathering them up for that purpose,
add to them the four which you removed, which you should again have
palmed in readiness. Count them deliberately on to the table, and, when
every one is satisfied that the pack is complete, announce that you
will once more perform the trick, in order to let every one see that
you actually use no more and no less than thirty-two cards. Place the
cards as before, counting aloud as you do so, till the whole thirty-two
cards are placed. So far you have not varied your method of proceeding,
but to succeed with the whole thirty-two cards you must secretly make
a slight variation in the manner of picking up. You will remember that
the cards were picked up _face upwards_, beginning from the bottom of
the right hand row, placing the cards of that row on those of the next
row, and so on. Now, to perform the trick with thirty-two cards, the
bottom cards of each row must be gathered up all together, and placed
on the face of the pack. Thus, if the bottom card of the first or
left hand row be the knave of spades, that of the second row the ten
of diamonds, that of the third row the ace of hearts, and that of the
fourth row the seven of clubs, those four cards must be picked up as
follows: The knave of spades must be placed (face upwards) on the ten
of diamonds, the ten of diamonds on the ace of hearts, and the ace of
hearts on the seven of clubs, which will occupy its own place on the
face of the cards of the last or right-hand row. For convenience of
picking up, it will be well to place the four rows very near together,
slightly converging at the bottom, when it will be tolerably easy, by
a bold, quick sweep of the left hand from left to right, to slide the
three other cards in due order, on to the bottom card of the last row;
while the performer, looking not at the cards but at his audience,
diverts their attention by any observations which may occur to him. The
trick in this form requires considerable address, and the performer
should not, therefore, venture upon it until, by frequent practice, he
can be certain of placing the four cards neatly with his left hand, and
without looking at his hands, which would infallibly draw the eyes of
the audience in the same direction, and thereby spoil the trick.


TO DISTINGUISH THE COURT CARDS BY TOUCH.--This trick is performed by
means of a preliminary preparation of the court cards, to be made as
follows: Take each court card separately, edge upwards, and draw a
tolerably sharp knife, the blade held sloping backwards at an angle of
about 45°, once or twice along the edge from left to right. This will
be found to turn the edge of the card, so to speak, and to leave on
each side a minute ridge, not noticeable by the eye, but immediately
perceptible, if sought for, to the touch. Prepare the opposite edge of
the card in the same way, and again mix the court cards with the pack,
which is now ready for use.

Offer the prepared pack to be shuffled. When the pack is returned to
you, you may either hold it above your head, and, showing the cards in
succession, call “court card” or “plain card,” as the case may be, or
you may offer to deal the cards into two heaps, consisting of court
cards in one heap and plain cards in the other, every now and then
offering the cards to be again shuffled. You can, of course, perform
the trick blindfold with equal facility.

You should endeavour to conceal, as much as possible, the fact that
you distinguish the court cards by the sense of touch, and rather seek
to make your audience believe that the trick is performed by means of
some mathematical principle, or by any other means remote from the
true explanation. This advice, indeed, applies more or less to all
tricks. Thus your knowledge of a forced card depends, of course, on
sleight-of-hand; but you should by no means let this be suspected, but
rather claim credit for some clairvoyant faculty; and _vice versâ_,
when you perform a trick depending on a mathematical combination,
endeavour to lead your audience to believe that it is performed by
means of some impossible piece of sleight-of-hand. Further, endeavour
to vary your _modus operandi_. If you have just performed a trick
depending purely on sleight-of-hand, do not let the next be of the same
character, but rather one based on a mathematical principle, or on the
use of special apparatus.


TO NAME ANY NUMBER OF CARDS IN SUCCESSION WITHOUT SEEING THEM.--_First
Method._--This trick, in its original form, is so well known that
it is really not worth performing; but we describe it for the sake
of completeness, and for the better comprehension of the improved
method. The performer takes the pack, and secretly notices the bottom
card. He then announces that he will name all the cards of the pack
in succession without seeing them. Holding the pack behind him for an
instant, he turns the top card face outwards on the top of the pack;
then holding the pack with the bottom card towards the audience, he
names that card. From the position in which he holds the pack, the
top card, which he has turned, is towards him, and in full view.
Again placing his hands behind him, he transfers the last named to
the bottom, and turns the next, and so on in like manner. Even in an
audience of half-a-dozen only, it is very likely that there will be
some one acquainted with this form of the trick, who will proclaim
aloud his knowledge of “how it is done.” We will suppose that you
have performed the trick with this result. Passing your hands again
behind you, but this time merely passing the top card to the bottom,
without turning any other card, you reply that you doubt his pretended
knowledge, and name the card as before. He will naturally justify his
assertion by explaining the mode of performing the trick. You reply,
“According to your theory, there should be an exposed card at each end
of the pack. Pray observe that there is nothing of the kind in this
case” (here you show the opposite side of the pack), “but, to give a
still more conclusive proof, I will for the future keep the whole of
the pack behind me, and name each card _before_ I bring it forward.
Perhaps, to preclude any idea of arrangement of the cards, some one
will kindly shuffle them.” When the cards are returned, you give them
a slight additional shuffle yourself, and remarking, “They are pretty
well shuffled now, I think,” continue the trick by the

_Second Method._--Glance, as before, at the bottom card. Place the
cards behind you, and name the card you have just seen. Passing the
right hand behind you, palm the top card, and then taking hold of the
bottom card (the one you have just named) face outwards, with the two
first fingers and thumb of the same hand, bring it forward and throw it
on the table. Pause for a moment before you throw it down, as if asking
the company to verify the correctness of your assertion, and glance
secretly at the card which is curled up in your palm. Again place your
hands behind you, call the name of the card you last palmed, and palm
another. You can, of course, continue the trick as long as you please,
each time naming the card which you palmed at the last call. You should
take care to have a tolerably wide space between yourself and your
audience, in which case, with a very little management on your part,
there is little fear of their discovering the secret of the palmed card.

You should not be in too great a hurry to name the card you have just
seen, or the audience may suspect that you gained your knowledge in
the act of bringing forward the card you last named. To negative this
idea, you should take care first to bring forward again the right hand,
manifestly empty, and do your best to simulate thought and mental
exertion before naming the next card.


TO MAKE FOUR CARDS CHANGE FROM EIGHTS TO TWOS, FROM BLACK TO RED,
ETC.--For this trick you require three specially prepared cards. The
backs should be similar to those of the pack which you have in ordinary
use, the faces being as depicted in Fig. 36. They may be purchased at
any of the conjuring depôts.

[Illustration: FIG. 36.]

[Illustration: FIG. 37.]

[Illustration: FIG. 38.]

[Illustration: FIG. 39.]

You place these three cards privately at the bottom of the pack. You
begin by remarking that you will show the company a good trick with
the four eights and the two of diamonds. (If you use a piquet pack,
you must provide yourself with a special two of diamonds, of similar
pattern to the rest of the pack.) You take the pack, and picking out
the four genuine eights, hand them for examination. While they are
being inspected, you insert the little finger of your left hand between
the three bottom cards (the prepared cards) and the rest of the pack.
When the eights are returned, you place them with apparent carelessness
on the top of the pack (taking care, however, to have the eight of
clubs uppermost), and hand the two of diamonds for examination. While
this card is being examined, you make the pass to bring the three
prepared cards on the top. The two of diamonds being returned, you lay
it on the table, and taking off the four top cards, which are now the
three prepared cards and the eight of clubs, you spread them fanwise,
when they will appear to be the four eights, as in Fig. 37. The eight
of clubs is alone completely visible, one half of each of the other
cards being covered by the card next preceding it. The spectators
naturally take the four cards to be the four ordinary eights which
they have just examined. Insert the two of diamonds behind the eight
of clubs, and lay that card in turn on the table. Close the cards and
again spread them, but this time with the opposite ends outward, when
they will appear to be the four twos, as in Fig. 38. Again take in
the eight of clubs in place of the two of diamonds, and _turn round_
the supposed two of hearts. This you may do easily and naturally by
remarking, “I must now touch something black; my coat-sleeve will do.
I gently pass either card along it, thus, and replace it as before.
The cards are now all black cards,” which they actually appear to be.
(_See_ Fig. 39.) Again substitute the two of diamonds for the eight of
clubs, touch any red object, and again turn and spread out the cards,
when they will appear to be all red cards, as in Fig. 40. Once more
take in the eight of clubs in place of the two of diamonds, and replace
the four cards on the pack, again making the pass in order to bring the
three prepared cards to the bottom, and to leave the genuine eights on
the top.

[Illustration: FIG. 40.]

There is a more elaborate form of this trick procurable at the
conjuring depôts, in which several groups of cards are used in
succession, and the changes are proportionately multiplied, various
colours and patterns being produced in the place of the ordinary
figures on the cards. In our own opinion, the trick loses rather than
gains by this greater elaboration, as the more fanciful changes have
the disadvantage of showing clearly (which the simpler form of the
trick does not) that the cards used are not ordinary cards; and this
being once understood, the magic of the trick is destroyed.

We have had occasion more than once to direct you to turn round the
cards, and it will be well for you to know how to do this neatly and
without exciting suspicion. Hold the four cards fanwise in the left
hand, the fingers behind and the thumb in front of the cards. Having
exhibited them, turn their faces towards yourself, and with the thumb
and finger of the right hand close the fan, and taking them by their
upper ends lay them face downwards on the table. Their lower ends
will now be away from you, and when you desire again to exhibit the
cards (in a transformed condition), you have only to turn them over
_sideways_, and pick them up by the ends which are now directed towards
you. This little artifice (which is simplicity itself in practice,
though a little difficult to describe) must be carefully studied, as
upon neat manipulation in this respect the illusion of the trick mainly
depends.


A CARD HAVING BEEN DRAWN AND RETURNED, AND THE PACK SHUFFLED, TO MAKE
IT APPEAR AT SUCH NUMBER AS THE COMPANY CHOOSE.[D]--Invite a person to
draw a card. Spread out the pack that he may replace it, and slip your
little finger above it. Make the pass in order to bring the chosen card
to the top; palm it, and offer the pack to be shuffled. When the pack
is returned to you, replace the chosen card on the top, and make the
first of the false shuffles above described, but commence by sliding
off into the right hand the two top cards (instead of the top card
only), so that the chosen card may, after the shuffle, be last but one
from the bottom. Take the pack face downwards in the left hand, and
carelessly move about the pack so that the bottom card may be full in
view of the audience. Inquire at what number the company would like the
card to appear; and when they have made their decision, hold the pack
face downwards, and with the first and second fingers of the right hand
draw away the cards from the bottom one by one, throwing each on the
table face upwards, and counting aloud “one,” “two,” “three,” and so
on. The first card which you draw is naturally the bottom one, and the
chosen card, which is second, would in the ordinary course come next;
but you “draw back” this card with the third finger of the left hand
(_see_ page 36) and take the next instead, continuing in like manner
until you have reached one short of the number at which the card is
to appear. You now pause, and say, “The next card should be the card
you drew. To avoid any mistake, will you kindly say beforehand what it
was?” at the same time placing the card face downwards on the table.
When the card is named, you request the drawer or some other person to
turn it up, when it is found to be the right one.

    [D] Another form of this trick, in which sleight-of-hand is not
        needed, has been given at page 52.

_Another Method._--The card having been drawn and replaced, bring it to
the top by the pass, palm it, have the pack shuffled, and replace it on
the top. Invite the audience to choose at what number it shall appear.
They choose, we will suppose, fifth. “Very good,” you reply; “permit
me, in the first place, to show you that it is not there already.” Deal
out the first five cards, face downwards, and show that the fifth is
not the chosen card. Replace the five cards, in their present order on
the pack, when the card will be at the number named.


SEVERAL PERSONS HAVING EACH DRAWN AND RETURNED A CARD, TO MAKE EACH
CARD APPEAR AT SUCH NUMBER IN THE PACK AS THE DRAWER CHOOSES.--Allow
three or four persons each to draw a card. When all have drawn, make
the pass in such manner as to bring the two halves of the pack face
to face. The pack should not, however, be equally divided. The upper
portion should only consist of about half-a-dozen cards, and therefore
in making the pass you should insert the finger only at that number of
cards from the bottom. Receive back the drawn cards on the top of the
pack, “ruffling” the cards (_see_ page 27), and saying “Pass!” as each
card is replaced. You may casually remark, “Your card has vanished;
did you see it go?” When all are returned, you quickly “turn over” the
pack (_see_ page 37), and, taking off the top card, say, addressing
yourself to the person who last returned a card, “You see your card
has vanished, as I told you. At what number in the pack, say from the
first to the tenth, would you like it to re-appear?” We will suppose
the answer to be “the sixth.” You deal five cards from the end of the
pack that is now uppermost, then pretending a momentary hesitation,
say, “I fancy I dealt two cards for one; allow me to count them again.”
This draws the general attention to the cards on the table, and gives
you the opportunity to again turn over the pack. You continue, after
counting, “We have five, this makes six; then this should be your card.
Will you say what the card was?” You place the card on the table,
face downwards, and do not turn it till it is named, this giving you
the opportunity to again turn over the pack, to be ready to repeat
the operation with the next card. You must be careful to invite the
different persons to call for their cards in the reverse order to that
in which they are replaced in the pack. Thus, you first address the
person who last returned his card, and then the last but one, and so
on. You must tax your ingenuity for devices to take off the attention
of the spectators from the pack at the moment when it is necessary
to turn it over; and as each repetition of the process increases the
chance of detection, it is well not to allow more than three or four
cards to be drawn.

If you have reason to fear that the cards left undealt will run short,
you may always replace any number of those already dealt upon the
reverse end of the pack to that at which the chosen cards are.


THE “THREE CARD” TRICK.--This well-known trick has long been banished
from the _répertoire_ of the conjuror, and is now used only by the
itinerant sharpers who infest race-courses and country fairs. We
insert the explanation of it in this place as exemplifying one form of
sleight-of-hand, and also as a useful warning to the unwary.

In its primary form, the trick is only an illustration of the
well-known fact that the hand can move quicker than the eye can follow.
It is performed with three cards--a court card and two plain cards.
The operator holds them, face downwards, one between the second finger
and thumb of the left hand, and the other two (of which the court card
is one) one between the first finger and thumb, and the other between
the second finger and thumb of the right hand, the latter being the
outermost. Bringing the hands quickly together and then quickly apart,
he drops the three cards in succession, and challenges the bystanders
to say which is the court card. If the movement is quickly made,
it is almost impossible, even for the keenest eye, to decide with
certainty whether the upper or lower card falls first from the hand,
and consequently which of the three cards, as they lie, is the court
card. This is the whole of the trick, if fairly performed, and so far
it would be a fair subject for betting, though the chances would be
much against the person guessing; but another element is introduced
by the swindling fraternity, which ensures the discomfiture of the
unwary speculator. The operator is aided by three or four confederates,
or “bonnets,” whose business it is to start the betting, and who,
of course, are allowed to win. After this has gone on for a little
time, and a sufficient ring of spectators has been got together, the
operator makes use of some plausible pretext to look aside from the
cards for a moment. While he does so one of the confederates, with a
wink at the bystanders, slily bends up one corner of the court card,
ostensibly as a means of recognition. The performer takes up the cards
without apparently noticing the trick that has been played upon him,
but secretly (that corner of the card being concealed by the third and
fourth fingers of the right hand) straightens the bent corner, and at
the same moment bends in like manner the corresponding corner of the
other card in the same hand. He then throws down the cards as before.
The bent corner is plainly visible, and the spectators, who do not
suspect the change that has just been made, are fully persuaded that
the card so bent, and no other, is the court card. Speculating, as they
imagine, on a certainty, they are easily induced to bet that they will
discover the court card, and they naturally name the one with the bent
corner. When the card is turned, they find, to their disgust, that they
have been duped, and that the dishonest advantage which they imagined
they had obtained over the dealer was in reality a device for their
confusion.


TO NAIL A CHOSEN CARD TO THE WALL.--Procure a sharp drawing pin, and
place it point upwards on the table, mantelpiece, or any other place
where it will not attract the notice of the spectators, and yet be so
close to you that you can cover it with your hand without exciting
suspicion. Ask any person to draw a card. When he returns it to the
pack, make the pass to bring it to the top, palm it, and immediately
offer the pack to be shuffled. While this is being done, place your
right hand carelessly over the pin, so as to bring the centre of the
card as near as possible over it, and then press gently on the card, so
as to make the point of the pin just penetrate it.

When the pack is returned, place the palmed card upon the top, and
thus press home the pin, which will project about a quarter of an inch
through the back of the card. Request the audience to indicate any
point upon the woodwork of the apartment at which they would like the
chosen card to appear; and when the spot is selected, stand at two
or three feet distance, and fling the cards, backs foremost, heavily
against it, doing your best to make them strike as flat as possible,
when the other cards will fall to the ground, but the selected one
will remain firmly pinned to the woodwork. Some little practice will
be necessary before you can make certain of throwing the pack so as
to strike in the right position. Until you can be quite sure of doing
this, it is better to be content with merely _striking_ the pack
against the selected spot. The result is the same, though the effect is
less surprising than when the cards are actually thrown from the hand.


THE INSEPARABLE SEVENS.--Place secretly beforehand three of the four
eights at the bottom of the pack, the fourth eight, which is not
wanted for the trick, being left in whatever position it may happen
to occupy. (The suit of this fourth eight must be borne in mind, for
a reason which will presently appear.) Now select openly the four
sevens from the pack, and spread them on the table. While the company
are examining them, privately slip the little finger of the left
hand immediately above the three eights at the bottom, so as to be
in readiness to make the pass. Gather up the four sevens, and place
them on the top of the pack, taking care that the seven _of the same
suit as the fourth eight_ is uppermost. Make a few remarks as to the
affectionate disposition of the four sevens, which, however far apart
they are placed in the pack, will always come together; and watch
your opportunity to make the pass, so as to bring the three eights,
originally at the bottom, to the top. If you are sufficiently expert,
you may make the pass at the very instant that you place the four
sevens on the top of the pack; but, unless you are very adroit, it
is better to bide your time and make it an instant later, when the
attention of the audience is less attracted to your hands. You then
continue, “I shall now take these sevens (you can see for yourselves
that I have not removed them), and place them in different parts of the
pack.” At the words, “You can see for yourselves,” etc., you take off
the four top cards, and show them fanwise. In reality, three of them
are eights, but the fourth and foremost card being actually a seven,
and the eighth pip of each of the other cards being concealed by the
card before it, and the audience having, as they imagine, already seen
the same cards spread out fairly upon the table, there is nothing to
suggest a doubt that they are actually the sevens. (You will now see
the reason why it is necessary to place uppermost the seven of the
same suit as the absent _eight_. If you had not done so the seven in
question would have been of the same suit as one or other of the three
sham sevens, and the audience, knowing that there could not be two
sevens of the same suit, would at once see through the trick.) Again
folding up the four cards you insert the top one a little above the
bottom of the pack, the second a little higher, the third a little
higher still, and the fourth (which is a genuine seven) upon the top
of the pack. The four sevens, which are apparently so well distributed
throughout the pack, are really together on the top, and you have only
to make the pass, or, if you prefer it, simply cut the cards, to cause
them to be found together in the centre of the pack.


THE INSEPARABLE ACES.--This is really only another form of the last
trick, though it differs a good deal in effect. You first pick out and
exhibit on the table the four aces, and request some one to replace
them on the pack, when you place three other cards secretly upon them.
This you may either do by bringing three cards from the bottom by
the pass, or you may, while the company’s attention is occupied in
examining the aces, palm three cards from the top in the right hand,
and, after the aces are replaced on the top, simply cover them with
that hand, thereby bringing the three palmed cards upon them. You now
say, “I am about to distribute these aces in different parts of the
pack; pray observe that I do so fairly.” As you say this, you take
off and hold up to the audience the four top cards, being the three
indifferent cards with an ace at the bottom. You cannot, of course,
exhibit them fanwise, as in the last trick, or the deception would be
at once detected; but the spectators, seeing an ace at the bottom, and
having no particular reason for suspecting otherwise, naturally believe
that the cards you hold are really the four aces. Laying the four cards
on the table, you distribute them, as in the last trick, in different
parts of the pack; taking care, however, that the last card (which is
the genuine ace), is placed among the three already at the top.

You now invite some one to cut. When he has done so, you take up the
two halves, in their transposed position, in the left hand, at the
same time slipping the little finger of that hand between them. The
four aces are now, of course, upon the top of the lower packet. You
then announce, “I am now about to order the four aces, which you have
seen so well divided, to come together again. Would you like them
to appear on the top, at the bottom, or in the middle of the pack?
I should tell you that I know perfectly well beforehand which you
will choose, and indeed I have already placed them at that particular
spot.” If the answer is, “In the middle,” you have only to withdraw
the little finger, and invite the company to examine the pack to see
that they are already so placed. If the answer is, “On the top,” you
make the pass to bring them there. To produce them at the bottom is
rather more difficult, and unless you are pretty confident as to your
neatness of manipulation, it will be well to limit the choice to “top”
or “middle.” In order to be able to bring the four aces to the bottom,
you must, in picking up the cards after the cut, push forward a little
with the left thumb the four top cards of the lower packet, and slip
the little finger below and the third finger above them, so as to be
able to make the pass above or below those four cards as occasion may
require. If you are required to bring those four cards to the top, you
must withdraw the little finger (thereby joining those cards to the
upper cards of the lower packet) and make the pass with the aid of the
third finger instead of the fourth. If, on the contrary, you desire
to produce the four aces at the bottom, you simply withdraw the third
finger, thereby leaving the aces at the bottom of the upper packet,
when the pass will bring them to the bottom of the pack.

We have described the trick as performed with the aces, but the effect
will, of course, be the same with four kings, four queens, or any other
four similar cards.


HAVING PLACED THE FOUR ACES IN DIFFERENT POSITIONS IN THE PACK, TO
MAKE THE TWO BLACK CHANGE PLACES WITH THE TWO RED ONES, AND FINALLY
TO BRING ALL FOUR TOGETHER IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK.--This trick may
immediately follow that last described. Again selecting the four aces
(or such other four cards as you used for the last trick), and placing
them on the table, take the two red ones, and opening the pack bookwise
in the left hand, ostentatiously place them in the middle, at the
same time secretly slipping your little finger between them. Ask the
audience to particularly notice which of the aces are placed in the
middle, and which at top and bottom. Next place one of the black aces
on the top, and then turning over the pack by extending your left hand,
place the remaining black ace at the bottom. As you again turn over the
pack to its former position, make the pass, which the movement of the
pack in turning over in the hand will be found to facilitate. The two
halves of the pack having now changed places, the aces will, naturally,
have changed their positions also, the two black ones now being in the
middle, and the two red ones at top and bottom; but it would be very
indiscreet to allow the audience to know that this is already the case.
As has been already mentioned, when a given change has taken or is
about to take place, you should always seek to mislead the spectators
as to the _time_ of the change, as they are thereby the less likely
to detect the mode in which it is effected. In accordance with this
principle, you should endeavour in the present case to impress firmly
upon the minds of your audience that the cards are as they have seen
you place them; and for that purpose it is well to ask some one to say
over again, for the general satisfaction, in what parts of the pack the
four aces are.

At this point a _contretemps_ may arise, for which it is well to be
prepared. The person interrogated may possibly forget the relative
position of the two colours, and may, therefore, ask to see again how
the cards are placed; or some person may have seen or suspected that
you have already displaced them, and may make a similar request for
the purpose of embarrassing you. In order to be prepared for such
a contingency, it is desirable, after you make the pass as above
mentioned, not to allow the two halves of the pack to immediately
coalesce, but to keep them still separated by the little finger. If you
have done this, and for any reason it becomes necessary to show the
cards a second time in their original condition, you have only to again
make the pass, in order to bring them back to the same position which
they occupied at first, making it a third time in order to effect the
change.

We will suppose that the audience are at length fully satisfied that
the two red aces are in the middle, and the two black ones at the
opposite ends of the pack. You then say, “Ladies and gentlemen, I am
about to command these aces to change places. Pray observe by what a
very simple movement the transposition is effected.” Making a quick
upward movement with the right hand, you ruffle the cards, at the same
moment saying, “Pass!” Turning the faces of the card to the audience,
you show them that the red aces are now at top and bottom, and the
black ones in the middle. While exhibiting them, take an opportunity to
slip the little finger between these latter, and in closing the cards
(while they are still face upwards), again make the pass, and place the
pack face downwards on the table. You then say, “I have now, as you
see, made the aces change places. I don’t know whether you saw how
I did it. Perhaps I was a little too quick for you. This time I will
do it as slowly as you please, or, if you prefer it, I will not even
touch the cards with my hands, but merely place my wand upon the pack,
so. Pass! Will you please to examine the pack for yourselves, when you
will find that the aces have again changed places, and have returned to
their original positions.” This is found to be the case. You continue,
“You have not found me out yet? Well, to reward your attention, as
this really is a very good trick, I will show you how to do it for
yourselves.” Pick out the four aces, and hand the two red ones to one
person, and the two black ones to another person. Then, taking the pack
in your left hand, and addressing yourself first to the person on your
right, request him to place the two aces which he holds respectively
at the top and bottom of the pack. Then, turning to the other person,
request him to place the two other aces in the middle of the pack,
which you (apparently) open midway with the right hand for the purpose.
In reality, instead of merely lifting up, as you appear to do, the top
half of the pack, you make the pass by sliding out the bottom half
of the pack to the left. This movement is completely lost in your
quick half turn to the left as you address the second person, which
so covers the smaller movement of the cards as to make it absolutely
imperceptible; and it is in order to create the excuse for this useful
half turn, that we have recommended you to place the aces in the
hands of two different persons, and to begin with the person on your
right. When the second pair of aces are thus replaced in the middle
of the pack they are in reality placed between the two others, which
the audience believe to be still at top and bottom. You now hand the
pack to a person to hold, placing it face downwards in his palm, and
requesting him to hold it very tightly, thus preventing any premature
discovery of the top or bottom card. You then say, “I have promised to
show you how to perform this trick. To make it still more striking,
we will have this time a little variation. Instead of merely changing
places, we will make all the four aces come together.” Then, addressing
the person who holds the cards, you continue, “The manner of performing
this trick is simplicity itself, though it looks so surprising. Will
you take my wand in your right hand? Hold the cards very tightly, and
touch the back with this end of the wand. Quite right. Now say ‘Pass!’
It is very simple, you see. Let us see whether you have succeeded. Look
over the pack for yourself. Yes, there are the aces all together, as
well as I could have done it myself. You can try it again by yourself
at your leisure, but please don’t tell any one else the secret, or you
will ruin my business.”

The above delusive offer to show “how it’s done” can be equally well
adapted to many other tricks, and never fails to create amusement.


A CARD HAVING BEEN THOUGHT OF, TO MAKE SUCH CARD VANISH FROM THE PACK,
AND BE DISCOVERED WHEREVER THE PERFORMER PLEASES.--This trick should
be performed with twenty-seven cards only. You deal the cards, face
upwards, in three packs, requesting one of the company to note a card,
and to remember in which heap it is. When you have dealt the three
heaps, you inquire in which heap the chosen card is, and place the
other two heaps, face upwards as they lie, upon that heap, then turn
over the cards, and deal again in like manner. You again inquire which
heap the chosen card is now in, place that heap undermost as before,
and deal again for the third time, when the card thought of will be
the first card dealt of one or other of the three heaps. You have,
therefore, only to bear in mind the first card of each heap to know,
when the proper heap is pointed out, what the card is. You do not,
however, disclose your knowledge, but gather up the cards as before,
with the designated heap undermost; when the cards are turned over,
that heap naturally becomes uppermost, and the chosen card, being the
first card of that heap, is now the top card of the pack. You palm this
card, and hand the remaining cards to be shuffled. Having now gained
not only the knowledge, but the actual possession, of the chosen card,
you can finish the trick in a variety of ways. You may, when the pack
is returned replace the card on the top, and giving the pack, face
upwards, to a person to hold, strike out of his hand all but the chosen
card (_see_ page 44); or you may, if you prefer it, name the chosen
card, and announce that it will now leave the pack, and fly into a
person’s pocket, or any other place you choose to name, where, it being
already in your hand, you can very easily find it. A very effective
finish is produced by taking haphazard any card from the pack, and
announcing that to be the chosen card, and on being told that it is the
wrong card, apologizing for your mistake, and forthwith “changing” it
by the fifth method (_see_ page 32) to the right one.

Some fun may also be created as follows:--You name, in the first
instance, a wrong card--say the seven of hearts. On being told that
that was not the card thought of, you affect surprise, and inquire what
the card thought of was. You are told, let us say, the king of hearts.
“Ah,” you remark, “that settles it; I felt sure you were mistaken. You
could not possibly have seen the king of hearts, for you have been
sitting on that card all the evening. Will you oblige me by standing up
for a moment,” and, on the request being complied with, you apparently
take the card (which you have already palmed) from off the chair on
which the person has been sitting. The more shrewd of the company
may conjecture that you intentionally named a wrong card in order to
heighten the effect of the trick; but a fair proportion will always be
found to credit your assertion, and will believe that the victim had
really, by some glamour on your part, been induced to imagine he saw a
card which he was actually sitting on.

This trick is frequently performed with the whole thirty-two cards of
the piquet pack. The process and result are the same, save that the
card thought of must be one of the twenty-seven cards first dealt.
The chances are greatly against one of the last five cards being the
card thought of, but in such an event the trick would break down, as
it would in that case require four deals instead of three to bring the
chosen card to the top of the pack.

It is a good plan to deal the five surplus cards in a row by
themselves, and after each deal, turn up one of them, and gravely study
it, as if these cards were in some way connected with the trick.


TO CAUSE A NUMBER OF CARDS TO MULTIPLY INVISIBLY IN A PERSON’S
KEEPING.--Secretly count any number, say a dozen, of the top cards, and
slip the little finger of the left hand between those cards and the
rest of the pack. Invite a person to take as many cards as he pleases,
at the same time putting into his hands all, or nearly all, of the
separated cards. If he does not take all, you will be able to see at
a glance, by the number that remains above your little finger, how
many he has actually taken. Pretend to weigh in your hand the remaining
cards, and say (we assume that you are using a piquet pack), “I should
say by the weight that I have exactly twenty-two cards here, so you
must have taken ten. Will you see if I am right?” While he is counting
the cards he has taken, count off secretly from the pack, and palm in
the right hand, four more. When he has finished his counting, you say,
“Now will you please gather these cards together, and place your hand
firmly upon them?” As you say this, you push them towards him with your
right hand. This enables you to add to them, without attracting notice,
the four cards in that hand. Continue, “Now how many cards shall I add
to those in your hand? You must not be too extravagant, say three or
four.” The person addressed will probably select one or other of the
numbers named, but you must be prepared for the possibility of his
naming a smaller number. If he says “Four,” you have only to ruffle
the cards in your hand, or make any other gesture which may ostensibly
effect the transposition; and he will find on examination that the
cards under his hand are increased by four, according to his desire. If
he says “Three,” you say, “Please give me back one card, to show the
others the way.” This makes the number right. If “two” are asked for,
you may ask for _two_ cards to show the way; or you may say, “Two, very
good! Shall I send a couple more for anybody else?” when some one or
other is pretty sure to accept your offer. If one only is asked for,
you must get two or three persons to take one each, taking care always
by one or the other expedient to make the number correspond with the
number you have secretly added. While the attention of the company is
attracted by the counting of the cards, to see if you have performed
your undertaking, again palm the same number of cards as was last
selected (suppose three), and, after the cards are counted, gather them
up, and give them to some other person to hold, adding to them the
three just palmed; then taking that number of cards from the top of the
pack, and again replacing them, say, “I will now send these three cards
into your hands in the same manner.” Ruffle the cards, as before, and,
upon examination, the number of cards in the person’s hands will again
be found to be increased by three.


THE PACK BEING DIVIDED INTO TWO PORTIONS, PLACED IN THE KEEPING OF
TWO DIFFERENT PERSONS, TO MAKE THREE CARDS PASS INVISIBLY FROM THE
ONE TO THE OTHER.--This trick is identical in principle with the one
last described, but the _mise en scène_ is more elaborate, and several
circumstances concur to give it a surprising effect. It was a special
favourite with the late M. Robert-Houdin, and we shall proceed to
describe it as nearly as possible in the form in which it was presented
by him.

The performer brings forward a pack of cards, still in the official
envelope. These he hands to a spectator, with a request that he will
open and count them. He does so, and finds that they have the full
complement (of thirty-two or fifty-two, as the case may be). He is
next requested to cut the pack into two portions, pretty nearly equal,
and to choose one of the packets. Having made his selection, he is
further asked to count the cards in the packet chosen. The general
attention being, meanwhile, drawn away from the performer, he has
ample opportunity to get ready in his right hand, duly palmed, three
cards of another pack, but of similar pattern to those of the pack in
use. (These may previously be placed either on the _servante_ or in
the performer’s right-hand _pochette_; or he may, if he prefers it,
have them ready palmed in his right hand when he comes upon the stage
to commence the trick.) The spectator, having duly counted the chosen
pack, declares it to consist, say, of seventeen cards. “A capital
number for the trick,” remarks the performer. “Now, sir, will you be
kind enough to take these seventeen cards in your own hands” (here he
pushes them carelessly towards him, and joins the three palmed cards
to them), “and hold them well up above your head, that every one may
see them. Thank you. Now, as your packet contains seventeen cards, this
other” (we are supposing a piquet pack to be used) “should contain
fifteen. Let us see whether you have counted right.” The performer
himself audibly counts the remaining packet, card by card, on the
table: immediately afterwards taking the heap in his left hand, and
squaring the cards together, thus obtaining the opportunity to separate
and palm in his right hand the three top cards. He continues, “Fifteen
cards here--and--how many did you say, sir?--yes, seventeen, which
the gentleman holds, make thirty-two. Quite right. Now will some one
else oblige me by taking charge of these fifteen cards.” He hands the
cards with the left hand, and at the same moment drops the three palmed
cards into the _profonde_ on the right side, immediately bringing up
the hand, that it may be seen empty. “Now, ladies and gentlemen, I will
show you a very curious phenomenon, all the more astonishing because
you will bear me witness that, from the time the cards were counted,
they have not been even one moment in my possession, but have remained
in independent custody. Will you, sir” (addressing the person who
holds the second packet), “hold up the cards in such a manner that I
can touch them with my wand. I have but to strike the cards with my
wand once, twice, thrice, and at each touch a card will fly from the
packet which you are now holding, and go to join the seventeen cards in
the other packet. As this trick is performed by sheer force of will,
without the aid of apparatus or dexterity, I shall be glad if you will
all assist me by adding the force of your will to mine, which will
greatly lighten my labour. At each touch of the wand, then, please,
all present, mentally to command a card to pass in the manner I have
mentioned. Are you all ready! Then we will make the experiment. One,
two, THREE! Did you see the cards pass? I saw them distinctly, but
possibly my eyes are quicker than yours. Will each of the gentlemen who
hold the cards be good enough to count his packet?” This is done, and
it is found that the one holds twenty cards, and the other twelve only.

It is obvious that the two packets now collectively contain duplicates
of three cards, while three others are missing; but it is extremely
unlikely that any one will suspect this, or seek to verify the
constitution of the pack.


TO ALLOW SEVERAL PERSONS EACH TO DRAW A CARD, AND THE PACK HAVING BEEN
SHUFFLED, TO MAKE ANOTHER CARD DRAWN HAPHAZARD CHANGE SUCCESSIVELY
INTO EACH OF THOSE FIRST CHOSEN.--Invite a person to draw a card. This
first card need not be forced, as it is not essential for you to know
what card it is, so long as you afterward keep it in sight. When the
card is returned to the pack, insert the little finger under it, and
make the pass in order to bring it to the bottom. Make the first of
the false shuffles (_see_ page 23), and leave it at the bottom. Again
make the pass to bring it to the middle of the pack, and force the
same card on a second and again on a third person, each time making a
false shuffle, and leaving the chosen card, which we will call _a_,
ultimately in the hands of the last person who drew.[E] When you have
concluded the last shuffle, which (the card not now being in the pack)
may be a genuine one, you offer the pack to some person who has not yet
drawn, and allow him to draw any card he pleases, which second card we
will call _b_. You open the pack, and ask the persons holding the two
cards to replace them one on the other; that first chosen, _a_, being
placed last--_i.e._, uppermost. You make the pass to bring them to the
top, and palm them, and then immediately hand the pack to be shuffled
by one of the company. This being done, you replace them on the top of
the pack, and, spreading the cards, and appearing to reflect a moment,
pick out by the backs as many cards as there have been persons who
drew (_i.e._, four) including among them the two cards _a_ and _b_.
Exhibiting the four cards, you ask each drawer to say, without naming
his card, whether his card is among them. The reply is, of course, in
the affirmative. Each person who drew, seeing his own card among those
shown, naturally assumes that the remaining cards are those of the
other drawers; and the remainder of the audience, finding the drawers
satisfied, are fully convinced that the cards shown are the four which
were drawn. You now replace the cards in different parts of the pack,
placing the two actually drawn in the middle, and secretly make the
pass to bring them to the top. Then, spreading the cards, you invite
another person to draw, which you allow him to do wherever he chooses.
When he has done so, you request him to name aloud his card, which
we will call _c_. Holding the card aloft, you ask each of the former
drawers in succession, “Is this your card?” To which each answers,
“No.” After having received this answer for the last time, you “change”
the card by the first method (_see_ page 28) for the top card. You now
have the card _a_ (the one drawn several times) in your hand, while _b_
has become the top card, and _c_, which you have just exhibited, is at
the bottom. You continue, before showing _a_, “You are all agreed that
this is not your card; you had better not be too sure. I will ask you
one by one. You, sir,” addressing the first drawer, “are you quite sure
this is not your card?” He is obliged to own that it now is his card.
“Pardon me,” you say, breathing gently on the back of the card, “it may
have been so a moment ago, but now it is this lady’s,” exhibiting it to
the second drawer, who also acknowledges it as her card. To the third
person you say, “I think you drew a card, did you not? May I ask you to
blow upon the back of this card! It has changed again, you see, for now
it is your card.” The card having been again recognized, you continue,
“There was no one else, I think,” at the same moment again making the
change by the first method, so that _a_ is now at bottom and _b_ in
your hand. The person who drew _b_ will, no doubt, remind you that you
have not yet shown him his card. You profess to have quite forgotten
him, and, feigning to be a little embarrassed, ask what his card was.
He names it accordingly, upon which you ask him to blow upon the card
you hold, and, turning it over, show that it has now turned into
that card. Then again making the change, you remark, “Everybody has
certainly had his card now.” Then, yourself blowing upon the card you
hold, which is now an indifferent one, you show it, and remark, “You
observe that now it is nobody’s card.”

    [E] The different drawers should be persons tolerably far
        apart, as it is essential that they should not discover
        that they have all drawn the same card.

In this trick, as in every other which mainly depends upon forcing
a given card, there is always the possibility that some person may,
either by accident or from a malicious desire to embarrass you, insist
upon drawing some other card. This, however, must not discourage you.
In the first place, when you have once thoroughly acquired the knack
of forcing, the victim will, nine times out of ten, draw the card you
desire, even though doing his utmost to exercise, as he supposes, an
absolutely free choice; and the risk may be still further diminished
by offering the cards to persons whose physiognomy designates them as
likely to be good-naturedly easy in their selection. But if such a
_contretemps_ should occur in the trick we have just described, it is
very easily met. You will remember that the first card drawn is not
forced, but freely chosen. It is well to make the most of this fact,
and for that purpose, before beginning the trick, to offer the cards
to be shuffled by several persons in succession, and specially to draw
the attention of the audience to the fact that you cannot possibly
have any card in view. When the card is chosen, offer to allow the
drawer, if he has the slightest suspicion that you know what it is, to
return it, and take another. He may or may not accept the offer, but
your evident indifference as to the card chosen will make the audience
the less likely to suspect you afterwards of desiring to put forward
any particular card. If, notwithstanding, a wrong card is drawn the
second time, leave it in the hand of the drawer, and at once offer the
cards to another person, and again endeavour to force the proper card,
_a_, and let the wrong card take the place of _b_ in the foregoing
description. In the very unlikely event of a second wrong card being
drawn, leave that also for the moment in the hands of the drawer, and
let that card take the place of _c_ in the finish of the trick.


TO MAKE FOUR ACES CHANGE TO FOUR KINGS, AND FOUR KINGS TO FOUR
ACES.--This very effective trick is performed by the aid of four cards,
which are so prepared as to appear aces on the one side and kings on
the other. To make them, take four ordinary aces and four ordinary
kings, and peel off half the thickness of each card. This may be easily
done by splitting one corner of the card with a sharp penknife, when
the remainder can be pulled apart without difficulty. The cards being
thus reduced in thickness, paste back to back the king and ace of
each suit, placing them in a press or under a heavy weight, that they
may dry perfectly smooth and flat. Better still, entrust the process
to some person who is accustomed to mounting photographs, when, at a
trifling cost, you will have your double-faced cards thoroughly well
made.

Place these four cards beforehand in different parts of the pack, the
“ace” side downwards, _i.e._, in the same direction as the faces of the
other cards. Place the genuine aces face downwards on the top of the
pack, which being thus disposed, you are ready to begin the trick.

Take the pack in your hand, face uppermost. Remark, “For this trick
I want the aces and kings,” and pick out, one by one, the real kings
and the sham aces. Lay these cards on the table, the kings face
upwards, and the prepared cards with the “ace” side uppermost. Draw the
attention of the audience to these cards, and meanwhile make the pass
so as to bring the two halves of the pack face to face, when the four
genuine aces will (unknown to the audience) be at the lower end of the
pack. Place the four kings ostentatiously upon the opposite end of the
pack, _i.e._, that which is for the time being uppermost.

You now borrow a hat. Placing the pack for a moment on the table, and
taking the four false aces in one hand and the hat in the other, place
the aces on the table, and cover them with the hat, at the same moment
turning them over. Then taking the pack in your hand, once more show
the kings, and replacing them, say, “I shall now order these four kings
to pass under the hat, and the four aces to return to the pack. I have
only to touch the cards with my wand, and say, ‘Pass,’ and the change
is accomplished.” As you touch the cards with the wand, turn over the
pack (_see_ page 37), the bringing together of the hands and the gentle
tap with the wand effectually covering the slight movement of the hand.
If you do not use the wand, a semi-circular sweep of the hand which
holds the cards in the direction of the hat, as you say “Pass,” will
answer the same purpose.

Having shown that the cards have changed according to command, you may,
by repeating the process, cause the cards to return to their original
positions. It is better not to carry the trick further than this, or
some of the audience may possibly ask to be allowed to examine the
cards, which would be embarrassing.

After the trick is over, make the pass to bring the pack right again,
and then get the double-faced cards out of the way as soon as possible.
The best way to do this, without exciting suspicion, is to take them
up in the right hand, and apparently turn them over and leave them
on the top of the pack, but in reality palm them, and slip them into
your pocket, or elsewhere out of sight. After having done this, you
may safely leave the pack within reach of the audience, who, if they
examine it, finding none but ordinary cards, will be more than ever
puzzled as to your _modus operandi_.


HAVING MADE FOUR PACKETS OF CARDS WITH AN ACE AT THE BOTTOM OF EACH, TO
BRING ALL FOUR ACES INTO WHICHEVER PACKET THE COMPANY MAY CHOOSE.--Take
the four aces, or any other four cards of equal value, from the
pack, and throw them face upwards on the table. While the company’s
attention is being drawn to them, make the pass, as in the last trick,
so as to bring the two halves of the pack face to face. The company,
having satisfied themselves that the four cards shown are really the
four aces, and are without preparation, take them up, and replace
them face downwards upon the top of the pack, which you hold in the
left hand, remarking, “I am going to show you a trick with these four
aces. I shall first place them on the table, and put three indifferent
cards on each of them.” Meanwhile, get the thumb of the left hand in
position for the “turn over,” and the instant that you have drawn
off the top card with the right hand, turn over the pack, which the
movement of the hands in removing the top card will enable you to do
without attracting notice. This top card is really an ace, and you may
therefore show it, as if by accident, while placing it on the table.
Lay it face downwards, and then place three cards from the end you
have just brought uppermost (which the audience will believe to be the
other three aces), in a line with it on the table. Next place three
more cards, taken from the same end of the pack, upon each of the three
cards last dealt. When you come to that first dealt (the genuine ace),
before dealing the three cards upon it, you must again turn over the
pack, thereby bringing the three aces on the top. You thus have upon
the table four packets of four cards each, one packet consisting of
aces only, and the remaining three packets of indifferent cards; but
the audience imagine that the aces are divided, and that there is one
at the foot of each packet. You now ask any one to touch two out of the
four packets. The two packets which he touches may include, or may not
include, the one containing the four aces. Whichever be the case, take
up and put aside the two which do _not_ include the packet of aces,
and remark, “We will place these aside,” an observation which will be
equally appropriate whether those were the two touched or not. Next ask
the same or another person to touch one of the two remaining packets,
and in like manner add that one which does not contain the aces to
the two already set aside. Placing these three packets on the table,
request some one of the company to place his hand upon them, and hold
them tightly; then, taking the remaining packet yourself, observe.
“You have three aces, and I have only one; but by virtue of my magic
power I shall compel those three aces to leave your hand, and come to
mine, I just touch the back of your hand, so” (touching it with the
cards you hold), “and say, ‘Pass.’ The change is already accomplished.
Here are all four aces. Please to examine your own cards, when you
will find you have not a single ace left. Let me remind you that the
audience chose, and not I, which of the four packets you should take,
and which one I should retain.”[F]

    [F] It will be observed that this trick is terminated after
        the manner described at page 45, to which the reader is
        recommended to refer, as the above description will be more
        clearly intelligible by the aid of the further explanations
        there given.

There is another method of performing this trick, which dispenses
with the necessity of “turning over” the pack. In this case, as you
place the four aces on the top of the pack, you insert the little
finger of the left hand under the three uppermost, and make the pass
to bring these three to the bottom, still, however, keeping the finger
between them and the rest of the pack. You deal out the four top cards
(supposed to be the four aces), as above, and three others on each of
the three non-aces. You next ask some person to draw any three cards
(taking care not to let him draw one of the three at the bottom), and
place them at the top of the pack. The moment he has done so, you again
make the pass, thus bringing the three aces upon them. You then say,
taking off (without showing) the three top cards, “Now I will take
these three cards, freely drawn from the middle of the pack, and place
them here on this last ace.” From this point the course of the trick is
the same as already described.


TO CHANGE THE FOUR ACES, HELD TIGHTLY BY A PERSON, INTO FOUR
INDIFFERENT CARDS.--This is a most brilliant trick, and puzzles even
adepts in card-conjuring. In combination with the “Shower of Aces,”
which next follows, it was one of the principal feats of the Elder
Conus, and subsequently of the celebrated Comte.

The trick is performed as follows:--You begin by announcing that you
require the assistance of some gentleman who never believes anything
that he is told. The audience generally take this as a joke, but for
the purpose of this trick it is really rather an advantage to have
the assistance of a person who will take nothing for granted, and
will be satisfied with nothing short of ocular demonstration of any
fact which you desire him to concede. Some little fun may be made in
the selection, but a volunteer having at last been approved of, you
request him to step forward to your table. Selecting from the pack
the four aces, you ask him to say aloud what cards those are, at the
same time holding them up that all may see them. Then laying the aces
face upwards on the table, you hand him the remainder of the cards,
and ask him to ascertain and state to the company, whether there is
any peculiarity about the cards, and whether, in particular, there are
any other aces in the pack. His reply is in the negative. You then ask
whether any other person would like to examine the pack. All being
satisfied, you take the pack, face downwards, in your left hand, and
picking up the four aces with the right, place them on the top, at the
same moment slightly ruffling the cards. Then taking the aces one by
one (without showing them) you place them face downwards on the table.
Addressing the person assisting you, you say, “I place these four aces
on the table. You admit that they are the four aces.” Your victim, not
having seen the faces of the cards since they were replaced on the
pack, and having noticed the slight sound produced by your ruffling the
cards, will, in all probability, say that he does not admit anything
of the sort. “Why,” you reply, “you have only just seen them; but I’ll
show them to you again, if you like.” Turning them face upwards, you
show that the four cards really are the aces, and again replace them on
the pack, ruffle the cards, and deal out the four aces face downwards
as before. You again ask your assistant whether he is certain this
time that the four cards on the table are the aces. He may possibly
be still incredulous, but if he professes himself satisfied, you ask
him what he will bet that these cards are really the aces, and that
you have not conjured them away already. He will naturally be afraid
to bet, and you remark, “Ah, I could tell by the expression of your
countenance that you were not quite satisfied. I’m afraid you are sadly
wanting in faith, but as I can’t perform the trick, for the sake of my
own reputation, until you are thoroughly convinced, I will show you the
cards once more.” This you do, and again replace them on the pack, but
before doing so, slip the little finger of the left hand under the top
card of the pack. Again take off the aces with the finger and thumb
of the right hand, carrying with them at the same time this top card.
Then with a careless gesture of the right hand toward the audience,
so as to show them the face of the undermost card (the one you have
just added), you continue, “I really can’t imagine what makes you so
incredulous. Here are the aces” (you replace the five cards on the
pack)--“I take them one by one, so, and place them on the table. Surely
there is no possibility of sleight-of-hand here. Are you all satisfied
that these are really the aces _now_?” The audience having noted, as
you intended them to do, that the fifth or bottom card was not an ace,
naturally conclude that other cards have been by some means substituted
for the aces, and when you ask the question for the last time, you are
met by a general shout of “No!” You say, with an injured expression,
“Really, ladies and gentlemen, if you are all such unbelievers, I may
as well retire at once. I should hope that, at least, you will have
the grace to apologize for your unfounded suspicions.” Then, turning
to the person assisting you, you continue, “Sir, as every act of mine
appears to be an object of suspicion, perhaps _you_ will kindly show
the company that those are the aces, and replace them yourself on the
top of the pack.”

This he does. But during the course of the above little discussion, you
have taken the opportunity to count off, and palm in your right hand,
the five top cards of the pack. It is hardly necessary to observe that
while doing this, you must scrupulously refrain from looking at your
hands. The mode of counting is to push forward the cards one by one
with the thumb, and to check them with the third finger, of the left
hand. A very little practice will enable you to count off any number of
cards by feel, in this manner, with the greatest ease. When the aces
are replaced on the top of the pack, you transfer the pack from the
left to the right hand, thus bringing the palmed cards above them, then
placing the whole pack on the table, face downwards, inquire, “Will
you be good enough to tell me where the aces are _now_?” The answer
is generally very confident, “On the top of the pack.” Without taking
the pack in your hand, you take off, one by one, the four top cards,
and lay them face downwards on the table, as before; then taking up
the fifth card and exhibiting it to the company, observe, “You see
there are no more aces left, but if you like you can look through the
pack.” So saying, you take up the cards, and run them rapidly over with
their faces towards the spectators, taking care, however, not to expose
either of the five at the top, four of which are the genuine aces.
Then, addressing your assistant, you say, “The company being at last
satisfied, perhaps you will be good enough to place your hand on those
four cards, and hold them as tightly as possible.” Then, holding the
pack in the left hand, you take between the first finger and thumb of
the right hand the top card of the pack, being the only one left of the
five you palmed and placed over the aces, and say, “Now I am going to
take four indifferent cards one after the other, and exchange them for
the four aces in this gentleman’s hand. Observe the simplicity of the
process. I take the card that first comes to hand” (here you show the
face of the card that you hold, which we will suppose to be the seven
of diamonds), “I don’t return it to the pack, even for a moment, but
merely touch the hand with it, and it becomes the ace of (say) spades”
(which you show it to be). At the words “return it to the pack,” you
move the card with what is taken to be merely an indicative gesture,
towards the pack, and at the same instant “change” it by the third
method (_see_ page 30) for the top card of the pack, which is one of
the aces.

You now have the seven of diamonds at the top of the pack, with the
remaining three aces immediately following it. You must not show this
seven of diamonds a second time, and it is therefore necessary to get
it out of the way. The neatest way of doing this is as follows:--You
remark, “To show you that I take the cards just as they come, I will
give them a shuffle,” which you do as indicated for the _first_ of
the “false shuffles” (_see_ page 23), subject to the modification
following. Pass into the right hand first the top card (the seven of
diamonds) alone, and upon this card pass the next three, which are the
three aces, then the rest of the cards indifferently. When all the
cards are thus passed into the right hand, shuffle them again anyhow,
but take care to conclude by bringing the four lowest cards to the top;
you will now have the three aces uppermost, and the seven of diamonds
in the fourth place. Taking off the top card, and drawing it sharply
over the hand of the person assisting, you show that it also is an
ace, and in like manner with the next card, making, if you choose,
a false shuffle between. After the third ace has been shown, make a
false shuffle, and finally leave at the top the last ace, with one
card above it. This may be effected by bringing up from the bottom in
concluding the shuffle the two bottom cards, instead of the last (the
ace) only. Taking the top card between the thumb and first finger of
the right hand, and showing it with apparent carelessness, so as to
give the company the opportunity of remarking that it is not an ace,
you replace it on the pack for an instant, saying, “We have had three
aces, I think. Which is it that is wanting?” Here you glance down at
the aces on the table. “Oh! the ace of diamonds. Then the card that I
hold must change to the ace of diamonds.” You have meanwhile effected
the change, and turning up the card you hold, you show that it is the
ace of diamonds.

You may, if you please, use the first instead of the third method of
making the “change” in performing this trick, but the first method
demands a higher degree of dexterity to make it equally deceptive;
and the movement used in the third method has in this instance the
advantage of appearing to be the natural accompaniment of the words of
the performer.


THE SHOWER OF ACES.--This trick forms a very effective sequel to that
last described, or may with equal facility be made to follow many other
card tricks. To perform it, the first essential is the possession of a
pack of cards similar in size and pattern to that you have in general
use, but consisting of aces only. You can purchase such a pack at
most of the conjuring depôts, or you may, without much difficulty,
manufacture one for yourself. If you decide upon the latter course,
you must first procure thirty or forty blank cards backed with the
requisite pattern. These you can transform into aces in two ways. The
first is, to split three or four ordinary cards of each suit, and,
after peeling off, as thin as possible, the face of each, carefully cut
out the pips, and paste one in the centre of each of your blank cards.
This process, however, takes a considerable time; and, when the sham
aces are collected in a pack, the extra thickness of the paper in the
centre of each produces an objectionable bulge. The better plan is to
procure a stencil-plate representing the figures of a club, heart, and
diamond, which will enable you to produce any number of the aces of
those suits, using Indian ink for the clubs, and vermilion, mixed with
a little size, for the hearts and diamonds. The ace of spades you must
dispense with, but this is of little consequence to the effect of the
trick.

You must have these cards close at hand, in such a position as to
enable you to add them instantly, and without attracting observation,
to the pack you have been using. If you use the regular conjuror’s
table, before described, you may place your pack of aces on the
_servante_. If you do not use such a table, you may place them in one
of your _pochettes_. In either case, you will have little difficulty
in reaching them at the right moment, and placing them on the top of
the ordinary pack, holding the whole in your left hand, but keeping
the little finger between. Having done this, you say to the person who
has been assisting you (in continuation of the trick you have just
performed), “You appear to be fond of aces, sir. How many would you
like?” He is fully convinced, having previously examined the pack, that
you have only the ordinary four but, from a desire to put your powers
to an extreme test, he may possibly name a larger number--say, seven.
“Seven!” you reply; “that is rather unreasonable, seeing there are only
four in the pack. However, we will make some more. Do you know how
to make aces? No? Then I will show you. Like all these things, it’s
simplicity itself, when you once know it. Will you oblige me by blowing
upon the pack?” which you hold just under his nose for that purpose.
He does so, and you deliberately count off and give to him the seven
top cards, which all prove to be aces. You then say, “Perhaps you would
like some more. You have only to blow again. Come, how many will you
have?” He again blows on the pack, and you give him the number desired.
While he is examining them, you cover the pack for a moment with
your right hand, and palm a dozen or so of the remaining aces. Then
remarking, “You blew a little too strongly that time. You blew a lot
of aces into your waistcoat,” you thrust your hand into the breast of
his waistcoat, and bring out three or four of the palmed cards, leaving
the remainder inside; then pull out two or three more, dropping them on
the floor, so as to scatter them about and make them appear as numerous
as possible. You then say, “There seem to be a good many more there
yet. Perhaps you will take them out yourself.” While he is doing so,
you palm in the right hand all the remaining aces. When he professes
to have taken out all, you say, “Are you quite sure that you have no
more aces about you? You blew very hard, you know. I really think you
must have some more. Will you allow me?” Then, standing on his right,
you place your right hand just below his eyes, and spring the remaining
aces from it, in the manner indicated for springing the cards from hand
to hand (_see_ page 37), the effect being exactly as if a shower of
cards flew from his nose.


SEVERAL PERSONS HAVING EACH DRAWN TWO CARDS, WHICH HAVE BEEN RETURNED
AND SHUFFLED, TO MAKE EACH COUPLE APPEAR IN SUCCESSION, ONE AT THE TOP
AND THE OTHER AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PACK.--This capital trick was also a
great favourite with Comte, who christened it, for reasons best known
to himself, by the poetical name of “The Ladies’ Looking-glass.”

The cards having been freely shuffled, you invite a person to draw two
cards, allowing him free choice. Opening the pack in the middle, you
ask him to place his cards together in the opening. You bring them to
the top by the pass, make the first of the false shuffles, and conclude
by leaving them on the top. Offer the cards to a second person to draw
a couple, but in opening the cards for him to return them, make the
pass, so that they may be placed upon the pair already drawn, which are
thereby brought to the middle of the pack. Again make the pass, so as
to bring all four to the top. Make another false shuffle, leaving those
four on the top, and offer the cards to a third and fourth person, each
time repeating the process. Make the false shuffle for the last time,
so as to leave all the drawn cards in a body on the top of the pack,
with one indifferent card above them. The audience believe that they
are thoroughly dispersed, and your first care must be to strengthen
that impression. If you are expert in card-palming, you may palm the
nine cards, and give the pack to be shuffled by one of the spectators;
but this is not absolutely necessary, and there is some risk of the
company noticing the absence of part of the pack. You remark, “You have
all seen the drawn cards placed in different parts of the pack, and
the whole have been since thoroughly shuffled. The drawn cards are
therefore at this moment scattered in different parts of the pack. I
can assure you that I do not myself know what the cards are” (this is
the only item of _fact_ in the whole sentence); “but yet, by a very
slight, simple movement, I shall make them appear, in couples as they
were drawn, at top and bottom of the pack.” Then, showing the bottom
card, you ask, “Is this anybody’s card?” The reply is in the negative.
You next show the top card, and make the same inquiry. While you do so,
you slip the little finger under the next card, and as you replace the
card you have just shown, make the pass, thus bringing both cards to
the bottom of the pack. Meanwhile, you ask the _last_ person who drew
what his cards were. When he names them, you “ruffle” the cards, and
show him first the bottom and then the top card, which will be the two
he drew. While exhibiting the top card, take the opportunity to slip
the little finger of the left hand immediately under the card next
below it, and as you replace the top one make the pass at that point.
You now have the third couple placed top and bottom. Make the drawer
name them, ruffle the cards, and show them as before, again making the
pass to bring the card just shown at top, with that next following, to
the bottom of the pack, which will enable you to exhibit the second
couple in like manner. These directions sound a little complicated, but
if followed with the cards will be found simple enough.

You may, by way of variation, pretend to forget that a fourth person
drew two cards, and, after making the pass as before, appear to be
about to proceed to another trick. You will naturally be reminded that
So-and-so drew two cards. Apologizing for the oversight, you beg him
to say what his cards were. When he does so, you say, “To tell you the
truth I have quite lost sight of them; but it is of no consequence, I
can easily find them again.” Then nipping the upper end of the cards
between the thumb and second finger of the right hand, which should be
slightly moistened, you make the pack swing, pendulum fashion, a few
inches backwards and forwards, when the whole of the intermediate cards
will fall out, leaving the top and bottom card alone in your hand.
These you hand to the drawer, who is compelled to acknowledge them as
the cards he drew.


TO MAKE TWO CARDS, EACH FIRMLY HELD BY A DIFFERENT PERSON, CHANGE
PLACES.--For the purpose of this trick you must have a duplicate of
some one of the cards, say the knave of spades, and you must arrange
your pack beforehand as follows: The bottom card must be a knave of
spades; the next to it an indifferent card, say the nine of diamonds;
and next above that, the second knave of spades. You come forward
carelessly shuffling the cards (which you may do as freely as you
please as to all above the three mentioned), and finish by placing
the undermost knave of spades on the top. The bottom card will now be
the nine of diamonds, with a knave of spades next above it. Holding
up the pack in your left hand, in such a position as to be ready to
“draw back” the bottom card (_see_ page 36), you say, “Will you all be
kind enough to notice and remember the bottom card, which I will place
on the table here, so as to be in sight of everybody.” So saying, you
drop the pack to the horizontal position, and draw out with the middle
finger of the right hand apparently the bottom card, but really slide
back that card, and take the one next to it (the knave of spades),
which you lay face downwards on the table, and ask some one to cover
with his hand. You then (by the slip or pass) bring the remaining knave
of spades from the top to the bottom, and shuffle again as before,
taking care not to displace the two bottom cards. Again ask the company
to note the bottom card (which is now the knave of spades), and draw
out, as before, apparently that card, but really the nine of diamonds.
Place that also face downwards on the table, and request another person
to cover it with his hand. The company are persuaded that the first
card thus drawn was the nine of diamonds, and the second the knave of
spades. You now announce that you will compel the two cards to change
places, and after touching them with your wand, or performing any other
mystical ceremony which may serve to account for the transformation,
you request the person holding each to show his card, when they will be
found to have obeyed your commands. The attention of the audience being
naturally attracted to the two cards on the table, you will have little
difficulty in palming and pocketing the second knave of spades, which
is still at the bottom of the pack, and which, if discovered, would
spoil the effect of the trick.


TO CHANGE FOUR CARDS, DRAWN HAPHAZARD, AND PLACED ON THE TABLE, INTO
CARDS OF THE SAME VALUE AS A SINGLE CARD SUBSEQUENTLY CHOSEN BY ONE OF
THE SPECTATORS.--This trick is on the same principle as that last above
described, but is much more brilliant in effect. To perform it, it is
necessary, or at least desirable, to possess a forcing pack consisting
of one card several times repeated. We will suppose your forcing pack
to consist of queens of diamonds. Before commencing the trick, you must
secretly prepare your ordinary pack in the following manner:--Place
at the bottom any indifferent card, and on this a queen; then another
indifferent card, then another queen; another indifferent card, then
another queen; another indifferent card, and on it the fourth and
last queen. You thus have at the bottom the four queens, each with an
ordinary card next below it. Each indifferent card should be of the
same suit as the queen next above it, so that all of the four suits may
be represented. Shuffle the cards, taking care however, not to disturb
the eight cards above mentioned. Then say, “I am about to take four
cards from the bottom, and place them on the table. Will you please
to remember what they are?” Show the bottom card, then, dropping the
pack to the horizontal position, “draw back” that card, and take the
next, which is one of the queens, and, without showing it, lay it face
downwards on the table. You now want to get rid of the card you have
already shown, which is still at the bottom. To effect this without
arousing suspicion, the best and easiest plan is to shuffle each time
after drawing a card, not disturbing the arranged cards at the bottom,
but concluding the shuffle by placing the bottom card, which is the
one you desire to get rid of, on the top of the pack. Thus after each
shuffle you are enabled to show a fresh bottom card, which, however,
you slide back, and draw the next card (a queen) instead. Repeat this
four times, when you will have all four queens on the table, though
the audience imagine them to be the four cards they have just seen. In
order to impress this more fully upon them, ask some one to repeat the
names of the four cards. While the attention of the audience is thus
occupied, you secretly exchange the pack you have been using for your
forcing pack, and advancing to the audience say, “Now I shall ask some
one to draw a card; and whatever card is drawn, I will, without even
touching them, transform the four cards on the table to cards of the
same value. Thus, if you draw a king they shall all become kings; if
you draw a ten, they shall become tens, and so on. Now, choose your
card, as deliberately as you please.” You spread the cards before the
drawer, allowing him perfect freedom of choice, as, of course, whatever
card he draws must necessarily be a queen of diamonds. You ask him
to be good enough to say what the card he has drawn is, and on being
told that it is a queen, you say, “Then, by virtue of my magic power,
I order that the four cards now on the table change to queens. Pray
observe that I do not meddle with them in any way. I merely touch each
with my wand, so! Will some one kindly step forward, and bear witness
that the change has really taken place.”

If you do not possess a forcing pack, but rely upon your own skill
in forcing with an ordinary pack, it is well to prepare this second
beforehand by placing the four queens (supposing that you desire a
queen to be drawn) at the bottom. Making the pass as you advance to
the company, you bring these to the middle and present the pack. It is
comparatively easy to insure one or other of four cards placed together
being drawn.


TWO HEAPS OF CARDS, UNEQUAL IN NUMBER, BEING PLACED UPON THE TABLE, TO
PREDICT BEFOREHAND WHICH OF THE TWO THE COMPANY WILL CHOOSE.--There
is an old schoolboy trick, which consists in placing on the table two
heaps of cards, one consisting of seven indifferent cards, and the
other of the four sevens. The performer announces that he will predict
beforehand (either verbally or in writing) which of the two heaps the
company will choose; and fulfils his undertaking by declaring that they
will choose “the seven heap.” This description will suit either heap,
being in the one case understood to apply to the number of cards in the
heap, in the other case to denote the value of the individual cards.

The trick in this form would not be worth noticing, save as a prelude
to a newer and really good method of performing the same feat. You
place on the table two heaps of cards, each containing the same number,
say six cards, which may be the first that come to hand, the value of
the cards being in this case of no consequence. You announce that,
of the two heaps, one contains an odd and the other an even number.
This is, of course, untrue; but it is one of the postulates of a
conjuror’s performance that he may tell professionally as many fibs as
he likes, and that his most solemn asseverations are only to be taken
in a Pickwickian sense. You continue, “I do not tell you which heap
is odd and which is even, but I will predict to you, as many times as
you like, which heap you will choose. Observe, I do not influence your
choice in any way. I may tell you that you will this time choose the
heap containing the odd number.” While delivering this harangue, you
take the opportunity of palming in your right hand a single card from
the top of the pack, and place the remainder of the cards apart on the
table. When the audience have made their choice, you pick up the chosen
heap with the right hand, thereby adding the palmed card to that heap,
and, coming forward, ask some one to verify your prediction. The number
is, naturally, found to be odd. You then bring forward the second
heap, which is found to be even. Join the two heaps together, and
again separate them, palming the top card of the odd heap, replace the
two heaps on the table, and this time predict that the audience will
choose the heap containing the even number. When they have made their
selection, you have only to pick up the non-chosen heap with the hand
containing the palmed card, and the chosen heap with the empty hand.

You may with truth assure the audience that you could go on all the
evening predicting their choice with equal certainty, but it is best
not to repeat the trick too often. You will do wisely to pass on at
once to the next trick, which will enable you to display your powers of
divination in a yet more surprising form.


A ROW OF CARDS BEING PLACED FACE DOWNWARDS ON THE TABLE, TO INDICATE,
BY TURNING UP ONE OF THEM, HOW MANY OF SUCH CARDS HAVE DURING YOUR
ABSENCE BEEN TRANSFERRED FROM ONE END OF THE ROW TO THE OTHER.--This
trick is somewhat out of place in this chapter, inasmuch as it involves
no sleight-of-hand, but we insert it here as forming an appropriate
sequel to that last described. It is thus performed:--You deal from the
top of the pack, face downwards on the table, a row of fifteen cards.
To all appearance, you are quite indifferent what cards you take, but,
in reality, you have pre-arranged the first ten cards in the following
manner:--First a ten, then a nine, then an eight, and so on down to
the ace inclusive. The suits are of no consequence. The eleventh card
should be a blank card, if you have one of the same pattern as the
pack; if not, a knave will do. This card, in the process which follows,
will stand for 0. When the fifteen cards are dealt, their arrangement
will therefore be as follows:--

  10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, *, *, *, *,--

the four asterisks representing any four indifferent cards. This
special arrangement is, of course, unknown to the audience. You now
offer to leave the room, and invite the audience, during your absence,
to remove any number of the cards (not exceeding ten) from the right
hand end of the row, and place them, in the same order, at the other
end of the row. On your return, you have only to turn up the eleventh
card, counting from the beginning or left hand end, which will
indicate by its points the number of cards removed. A few examples
will illustrate this fact. Thus, suppose that two cards only have been
removed from the right to the left hand end, the row thus altered will
be as follows:--

  *, *, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, [2], 1, 0, *, *.

The eleventh card from the left will be a two, being the number moved.
Suppose that seven cards have been removed, the new arrangement will
be--

  2, 1, 0, *, *, *, *, 10, 9, 8, [7], 6, 5, 4, 3,

and the card in the eleventh place will be a seven. Suppose the
audience avail themselves of your permission to the fullest extent, and
remove ten cards, the same result follows.

  5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, *, *, *, *, [10], 9, 8, 7, 6.

If no card is moved, the 0 will remain the eleventh card, as it was
at first. If you repeat the trick a second time, you must replace the
cards moved in their original positions. Do not, if you can possibly
help it, allow the audience to perceive that you count the cards.

You are not necessarily restricted to fifteen cards, but may increase
the number up to twenty if you please, making up the complement by
increasing the number of the indifferent cards at the right hand of the
original row.

The trick may be equally well performed with dominoes, or with numbered
pieces of paper, as with playing cards.


SEVERAL CARDS HAVING BEEN FREELY CHOSEN BY THE COMPANY, RETURNED AND
SHUFFLED, AND THE PACK PLACED IN A PERSON’S POCKET, TO MAKE SUCH PERSON
DRAW OUT ONE BY ONE THE CHOSEN CARDS.--This trick is an especial
favourite of the well-known Herrmann, in whose hands it never fails
to produce a brilliant effect. The performer hands the pack to one of
the company, who is requested to shuffle it well, and then to invite
any four persons each to draw a card. This having been done, the pack
is returned to the performer, who then requests the same person to
collect the chosen cards face downwards on his open palm. The cards so
collected are placed in the middle of the pack, which is then handed to
the person who collected them, with a request that he will shuffle them
thoroughly. After he has done so, the pack is placed by the performer
in the volunteer assistant’s breast-pocket. The performer now asks one
of the four persons who drew to name his card. He next requests the
person assisting him to touch the end of his wand, and then as quickly
as possible (that the mystic influence may not have time to evaporate)
to put his hand in his pocket, and draw out the card named. He takes
out one card accordingly, which proves to be the very one called for.
A second and third card are named and drawn in the same manner, to
the astonishment of all, and not least of the innocent assistant. The
fourth and last card, which is, say, the ten of spades, he is requested
to look for in the pack, but it proves to be missing, and the performer
thereupon offers to show him how to _make_ a ten of spades. To do so,
he requests him to blow into his pocket, where the missing card is
immediately found. But he has, unfortunately, blown too strongly, and
has made not only a ten of spades, but a host of other cards, which the
performer pulls out in quantities, not only from his pocket, but from
the inside of his waistcoat--ultimately producing a final shower from
his nose.

This trick, which appears marvellous in execution, is really very
simple, and depends for its effect, not so much on any extraordinary
degree of dexterity, as on the manner and address of the performer.
When the four cards are replaced in the middle of the pack, the
performer makes the pass to bring them to the top, and palms them.
He then hands the pack to be shuffled. When it is returned, he
replaces them on the top, and, placing the person assisting him on
his left hand, and facing the audience, places the pack in the left
breast-pocket of such person, taking care to place the top of the
pack (on which are the chosen cards) outwards. In asking the names of
the drawn cards, he puts the question first to the person who _last_
replaced his card (and whose card is therefore on the top), and so on.
He is particular in impressing upon the person assisting him that he
must draw out the card as quickly as possible, thus giving him no time
to select a card, but compelling him, so to speak, to take that which
is readiest to his hand, which will always be the outermost, or top
card.

Should he notwithstanding, by accident or finesse, draw out a card
from the middle of the pack, the performer at once says, “Oh, you were
not half quick enough! You must pull out the card as quick as thought,
or the magic influence will go off. Allow _me_!” then pulling out the
outer card himself, he shows that it is the right one. When three cards
have been thus produced, he himself plunges his hand into the pocket,
and takes out the whole pack, with the exception of the then top card,
which is the fourth of the cards drawn; then, pretending to recollect
himself, he says, “Stay; we had four cards drawn. Will you say what
your card was, madam?” We have supposed that it was the ten of spades.
He hands the pack to the person assisting him, saying, “Will you find
the ten of spades, and return it to the lady?” Being in his pocket, of
course it cannot be found in the pack, and on blowing into the pocket
it is naturally discovered there. The performer meanwhile has palmed
about a third of the pack, which he introduces into the pocket at the
same moment that he places his hand therein to take out the supposed
superfluous cards. From this stage to the close the trick is merely
a repetition of that already given under the title of the “Shower of
Aces” (_see_ page 97), to which the reader is referred.


THE CARDS HAVING BEEN FREELY SHUFFLED, AND CUT INTO THREE OR FOUR
HEAPS, TO NAME THE TOP CARD OF EACH HEAP.--Note the bottom card of the
pack, which we will suppose to be the nine of diamonds. Shuffle the
cards, so as to bring this card to the top, and palm it. Then remark,
“But perhaps you would rather shuffle for yourselves,” and hand the
pack to some one of the company for that purpose. When the pack is
returned, replace the card on the top, and continue, placing the pack
on the table, “You observe that I do not meddle with the cards in any
way. Now will some one be good enough to cut them into two, three,
or four parts, when I will at once name the top card of each.” To do
this you must take especial notice where the upper part of the pack is
placed, as you know that the top card of this particular heap is the
nine of diamonds. Placing your finger gravely, not on this, but on one
of the other heaps, you say, appearing to reflect, “This is the nine of
diamonds.” We will suppose that it is in reality the queen of spades.
You take it in your hand without allowing the audience to see it,
and, noticing what it is, at once touch the top card of another heap,
saying, “And this is the queen of spades.” Glancing in like manner at
this card, which is, say, the seven of clubs, you touch another card,
and say, “This is the seven of clubs.” We will suppose that this third
card is really the ace of hearts. You conclude, taking up the card you
have all along known (the real nine of diamonds), “And this last is the
ace of hearts.” Then, throwing all four on the table, show that you
have named them correctly.

This trick should be performed with considerable quickness and
vivacity, so as not to give the audience much time for thought as you
name the cards. It is further necessary that the spectators be well in
front of you, and so placed that they cannot see the faces of the cards
as you pick them up.


TO ALLOW A PERSON SECRETLY TO THINK OF A CARD, AND DIVIDING THE PACK
INTO THREE HEAPS, TO CAUSE THE CARD THOUGHT OF TO APPEAR IN WHICHEVER
HEAP THE COMPANY MAY CHOOSE.--Hand the pack to the company, with a
request that they will well shuffle it. When it is returned, cut the
pack into three heaps on the table, and invite some one to secretly
think of a card. When he has done so, say boldly, “The card you have
thought of is in _this_ heap,” touching one of them--say the middle
one. “Will you be kind enough to name it?” The person names, say, the
queen of spades. You continue, “Your card, as I have already told
you, is in this centre heap. To satisfy you that it is so, and that
I do not now place it there by means of any sleight-of-hand, I will,
in the first place, show you that it is not in either of the other
heaps.” Gathering together the two heaps in question, and turning them
face upwards, you come forward to the audience, rapidly spreading and
running over the cards the while in order to ascertain whether the
queen of spades is among them. If it is not, the trick has so far
succeeded without any trouble on your part; and, after showing that
the card is not among those you hold, you bring forward the remaining
packet, and show that you were correct in your assertion. You then say,
“I do not generally repeat a trick, but on this occasion, as you may
possibly imagine that my success was a mere result of accident, I will
perform the trick once more, and, if you please, you shall yourselves
name beforehand the packet in which the card thought of shall appear.”
The packet having been chosen, you join the other two in your left
hand, and invite some one to think of a card. When he has done so,
you come forward, as before, to show that it is not among the cards
you hold. Luck may again favour you; but if not, and you see the card
chosen among those you hold in your hand, you quickly draw it, by a
rapid movement of the second finger of the right hand, behind the rest
of the pack, and, continuing your examination, show the company, to all
appearance, that the card is not there. Having done this, you again
turn the pack over (when the card thought of will be on the top), and,
covering the pack for a moment with the right hand, palm that card.
Then, picking up with the same hand the heap remaining on the table,
you place the palmed card on the top, and, transferring the cards to
the left hand, you say, “You are welcome to watch me as closely as you
please. You will find that I shall cut these cards at the precise card
you thought of.” To all appearance you merely cut the cards, but really
at the same moment make the pass (by lifting away the lower instead of
the upper half of the packet). The upper part of the packet, with the
card on the top, remains in the left hand. You request some one to
look at the top card, which is found to be the card thought of.

Should the card in the first instance prove to be among the
_non_-designated cards, you will proceed as last directed; but do not
in this case repeat the trick.


TO ALLOW A PERSON SECRETLY TO THINK OF A CARD, AND, EVEN BEFORE SUCH
CARD IS NAMED, TO SELECT IT FROM THE PACK, AND PLACE IT SINGLY UPON
THE TABLE.--This trick is on the same principle, and performed in a
great measure by the same means, as that last described. You invite a
person to think of a card (without naming it). When he has done so, you
offer the pack to another person to shuffle, and finally to a third
person to cut. Then, selecting any one card from the pack, you walk to
your table, and, without showing what it is, place it face downwards
on the table, retaining the rest of the pack in your left hand. Then,
addressing the person who was requested to think of a card, you say,
“The card which I have just placed on the table is the one you thought
of. Will you be good enough to name it?” We will suppose that the card
thought of was the ace of spades. You say, as in the last trick, “Allow
me to show you, in the first place, that the ace of spades is no longer
in the pack.” Coming forward to the audience, and rapidly running over
the cards, you catch sight of the ace of spades, and slip it behind the
rest. Having shown that it is, apparently, not in the pack, you turn
the cards over (when the ace will, of course, be on the top), and palm
it. Leaving the pack with the audience, you advance to your table, and
pick up the card on the table with the same hand in which the ace of
spades is already palmed. Draw away the card towards the back of the
table, and, as it reaches the edge, drop it on the _servante_, and
produce the ace of spades as being the card just picked up. The trick
requires a little practice, but, if well executed, the illusion is
perfect.

The above directions are framed upon the assumption that you are
performing with a proper conjuror’s table, which, as already stated,
has a _servante_, or hidden shelf, at the back for the reception of
objects which the performer may require to pick up or lay down without
the knowledge of his audience. The trick may, however, be performed
without the aid of such a table, but will, in such case, require some
little variation.

If you are using an ordinary table, the most effective mode of
finishing the trick is as follows:--Walk boldly to the table, and
pick up with the right hand (in which the card actually thought of
is palmed) the card lying on the table, and, without looking at it
yourself, hold it towards your audience, remarking, “Here it is, you
see, the ace of spades.” The card being, in truth, a totally different
one (say the seven of diamonds), the audience naturally imagine that
the trick has broken down, and a derisive murmur apprises you of the
fact. You thereupon glance at the card, and affect some little surprise
and embarrassment on finding that it is a wrong one. However, after a
moment’s pause, you say, taking the card face downwards between the
thumb and second finger of the left hand, “Well, I really don’t know
how the mistake could have occurred. However, I can easily correct
it.” Change the card by the fifth method (_see_ page 32), and, after a
little byplay to heighten the effect of the transformation, again show
the card, which this time proves to be the right one. The audience will
readily conclude that the supposed mistake was really a feint, designed
to heighten the effect of the trick.


A CARD HAVING BEEN SECRETLY THOUGHT OF BY ONE OF THE AUDIENCE, TO
PLACE TWO INDIFFERENT CARDS UPON THE TABLE, AND TO CHANGE SUCH ONE OF
THEM AS THE AUDIENCE MAY SELECT INTO THE CARD THOUGHT OF.--Arrange
your pack beforehand in such manner that among the fifteen or sixteen
undermost cards there may be only one court card, and note at what
number from the bottom this card is. Advance to the company, offering
the cards face downwards in the ordinary way, and requesting some
person to draw a card. Then, as if upon a second thought, say, before
he has time to draw, “Or, if you prefer it, you need not even touch
the cards, but merely think of one as I spread them before you.” So
saying, spread the cards one by one, with their faces to the company,
beginning at the bottom. The single court card being conspicuous among
so many plain cards, and there being nothing apparently to create a
suspicion of design about the arrangement it is ten to one that the
person will note that particular card, which we will suppose to be
the knave of hearts. When you have run over twelve or fourteen cards
in this way, ask, still moving on the cards, “Have you thought of a
card?” On receiving an answer in the affirmative, you make the pass
two cards _below_ the court card (which you know by the number at
which it stands), and forthwith make a false shuffle, leaving the last
three cards undisturbed, so that the court card remains third from
the bottom. Turning to the audience, you remark, “I will now take the
two bottom cards, whatever they may happen to be, and lay them on the
table.” Then, holding up the pack in the left hand, with the bottom
card towards the audience, you inquire, “That is not your card, sir, I
suppose? nor that?” each time lowering the cards in order to draw away
with the moistened finger of the right hand, and place face downwards
on the table, the card just shown. The second time, however, you do
not really draw the card you have shown, but draw back that card and
take the one next to it--viz., the knave of hearts. You then, standing
behind your table and facing the audience, again repeat the question,
“You are quite sure, sir, that neither of these two cards is the card
you thought of? Which of them would you like me to transform into your
card, the right or the left?” Whichever the answer is, it may be taken
in two ways, and you interpret it as may best suit your purpose. Thus,
if you have placed the knave of hearts on your own right, and the
choice falls on the right-hand card, you interpret it to mean the one
on _your own_ right hand. If, on the contrary, the person chooses the
card on the left, you interpret him to mean the card on _his_ left, and
therefore on _your_ right; so that in either case you make the choice
fall on the knave of hearts.[G] Taking up the other card, and holding
it, without apparent design, so that the audience can see what it is,
you return it to the pack. Then say boldly, “This card upon the table
will forthwith change to the card you thought of. Will you be good
enough to name it?” If he names the knave of hearts, you have nothing
to do but to turn up, or request some other person to turn up, the card
on the table, and show that it is the right one.

    [G] The reader should specially note this expedient, as it is
        of constant use in conjuring.

It is, however, quite possible that the person, by accident or design,
may have thought, not of the knave of hearts, but of some other card,
say the nine of diamonds. Even in this case you need not be at a
loss, although the card on the table is a wrong one. When the card is
named, you say, “The nine of diamonds. Quite right! Let me show you,
in the first place, that it is not here in the pack.” Advancing to the
audience, and at the same time running over the cards, as in the last
trick, you draw the nine of diamonds behind the other cards, and show
that, apparently, it is not among them. On turning the pack over it
will be at the top. Taking the pack in the left hand, and, returning
to your table, pick up (with the right hand) the knave of hearts, and
without looking at it yourself, say, “Here it is, you see, the nine
of diamonds.” Then, with a careless gesture, and making a half turn
to the right or left to cover the movement, “change” the card by the
third method (_see_ page 30), taking care not to show the card after
the change. The audience will naturally exclaim that the card you have
just shown them is not the nine of diamonds. You affect great surprise,
and ask, “Indeed, what card was it then?” They reply, “The knave of
hearts.” “The knave of hearts; surely not!” you exclaim, again showing
the card in your hand, which is now found to be the nine of diamonds.
“Indeed,” you continue, “you could not possibly have seen the knave of
hearts, for that gentleman in the front row has had it in his pocket
all the evening.” The knave of hearts was, in truth, left after the
change on the top of the pack. As you advance to the audience, you palm
it, and are thereby enabled to find it without difficulty in the pocket
of a spectator, or in any other place which you may choose to designate.

It will be observed that the mode here indicated of changing a wrong
card into a right one differs from that described in the last trick.
Either method will be equally available, but it will be well to
practise both, as it is a great desideratum to be able to vary the
_dénouement_ of a trick.

The course of action above directed in the event of an unexpected card
being thought of, may be made available as a means of escape from a
break-down in many other cases. Thus, for instance, if you are using a
_biseauté_ pack, and a chosen card has been replaced without the pack
having been previously reversed, or if you have from any other cause
accidentally lost the means of discovering a card drawn, you may still
bring the trick to an effective termination as follows:--Give the pack
to some one to shuffle, and then, drawing a card haphazard, and placing
it face downwards on the table, announce boldly that the card drawn is
now upon the table. Ask the person to name his card, show apparently
that it is not in the pack, and finish the trick in one or other of the
modes above described.


A CARD HAVING BEEN DRAWN AND RETURNED, AND THE PACK SHUFFLED, TO DIVIDE
THE PACK INTO SEVERAL HEAPS ON THE TABLE, AND TO CAUSE THE DRAWN CARD
TO APPEAR IN SUCH HEAP AS THE COMPANY MAY CHOOSE.--Invite a person to
draw a card. When it is returned, make the pass to bring it to the top.
Make a false shuffle, and leave it still at the top. If any of the
audience requests to be allowed to shuffle, palm the card, and hand him
the pack. When it is returned, again place the card on the top.

Taking the cards in the right hand, face downwards, drop them, in
packets of four or five cards each, on the table, noting particularly
where you place the _last_ packet (on the top of which is the chosen
card). Ask the audience in which of the heaps they would like the
chosen card to appear, and when they have made their choice, pick up
all the other packets and place them in the left hand, placing the
packet on which is the chosen card at the top. Divide the chosen packet
into two, and bid the audience again choose between these, placing the
cards of the non-chosen packet below the pack in the left hand. If the
packet still remaining will admit of it, divide it into two again,
but endeavour so to arrange matters that the packet ultimately chosen
shall consist of two cards only, concealing however from the audience
the precise number of cards in the packet. When you have reached this
stage of the trick, palm the drawn card, which we will suppose to have
been the ace of diamonds, and picking up with the same hand the chosen
packet, secretly place that card on the top. Place the three cards face
downwards side by side, the ace of diamonds in the middle, and ask the
audience which of the three they desire to become the card originally
drawn. If they choose the middle card, the trick is already done, and
after asking the person to name his card, and showing that neither of
the two outside ones is the card in question, you turn up the ace of
diamonds.

If the choice falls on either of the outside cards, gather together all
three, without showing them (the ace still being in the middle) and ask
some one to blow on them. Then deal them out again in apparently the
same order as before, but really deal the second for the first, so as
to bring that card into the place of the card indicated. Then, after
showing the two other cards as above directed, finally turn up the ace
of diamonds, and show that it is the card originally chosen.


TO CHANGE A DRAWN CARD INTO THE PORTRAITS OF SEVERAL OF THE COMPANY
IN SUCCESSION.--For the purpose of this trick you will require a
forcing pack of similar pattern to your ordinary pack, but consisting
throughout of a single card, say the seven of clubs. You must also have
half-a-dozen or more sevens of clubs of the same pattern, on the faces
of which you must either draw or paste small caricature portraits,
after the manner of Twelfth Night characters; which should be of such
a kind as to excite laughter without causing offence. You arrange your
pack beforehand as follows:--On the top place a fancy portrait, say
of a young lady; then a seven of clubs, then a fancy portrait of a
gentleman, then a seven of clubs; another fancy portrait of a lady,
another seven of clubs, and so on; so that the first eight or ten cards
of the pack shall consist of alternate portraits and sevens of clubs
(the top card of all being a lady’s portrait), and the rest of the pack
of sevens of clubs only.

Secretly exchange the prepared pack for that which you have been using.
Invite a young lady to draw, taking care to offer that part of the pack
which consists of sevens of clubs only, so that the card she draws
will, of necessity, be a seven of clubs. You then say, when she has
looked at the card, “Will you now be kind enough to return that card to
the pack, when I will paint your portrait on it.” You open the cards
bookwise, about the middle of the pack, for her to return the card, and
when she has done so, request her to breathe on it. As she does so, you
“slip” (_see_ page 35) the top card of the pack on to that which she
has just replaced, and on examining that card (which she takes to be
the one she has just seen) she is surprised to find that it is still
a seven of clubs, but adorned with a more or less flattering likeness
of herself. You continue, after the portrait has been handed round and
replaced, “I would willingly give you this portrait to take home, but,
unfortunately, being only a magical picture, the likeness fades very
quickly. Will you oblige me by breathing on it once more, when you will
find that the likeness will vanish, and the card will again be as it
was at first.” On her doing so, you again slip the top card (which is
now an ordinary seven), on to the portrait, and on again examining, the
lady is compelled to admit that the card is again as she first drew it.
You then offer to paint on the same card a gentleman’s likeness, and
proceed as before, each time after taking a likeness changing it back
again to an ordinary seven, which adds greatly to the effect of the
trick.

You may, if you please, use allegorical instead of caricature
portraits; _e.g._, for a young lady, a rose-bud; for a conceited young
man, a poppy or dandelion, or a donkey’s head. It is hardly necessary
to observe that nothing short of very close intimacy would excuse the
use of any portrait of a disparaging or satirical nature.


A CARD HAVING BEEN DRAWN AND RETURNED, AND THE PACK SHUFFLED, TO PLACE
ON THE TABLE SIX ROWS OF SIX CARDS EACH, AND TO DISCOVER THE CHOSEN
CARD BY A THROW OF THE DICE.--The effect of this surprising trick is as
follows:--You invite a person to draw a card, allowing him the utmost
freedom of selection. You allow the drawer to replace his card in any
part of the pack he pleases, and you thoroughly shuffle the cards,
finally inviting him to “cut.” Then dealing out six rows of six cards
each, face downwards on the table, you offer the drawer a dice-box and
a pair of dice, and after he has thrown any number of times to satisfy
himself that the dice are fair and unprepared, you invite him to throw
each singly, the first to ascertain the row in which his card is, and
the second to discover at what number it stands in the row. He throws,
say, “six” first, and “three” afterwards, and on examination the card
he drew proves to be the third card of the sixth row.

The whole mystery consists in the use of a forcing pack, all the cards
of which are alike, and which must not consist of a less number than
thirty-six cards. The dice are perfectly fair, but as each card of
each row is the same, it is a matter of perfect indifference what
numbers are thrown. It is advisable to gather up all the other cards,
and to request the person to name his card, before allowing the one
designated by the dice to be turned up. This will draw the attention of
the company to the card on the table, and will give you the opportunity
to re-exchange the cards you have used for an ordinary pack (from
which, by the way, the card answering to the forced card should have
been withdrawn). This pack you may carelessly leave on the table; so
that in the event of suspicion attaching to the cards, it will be at
once negatived by an examination of the pack.

The trick may be varied by using a teetotum, numbered from one to six,
instead of the dice; or you may, if you prefer it, make the trick an
illustration of second sight, by pretending to mesmerize some person in
the company, and ordering him to write down beforehand, while under the
supposed mesmeric influence, the row and number at which the drawn card
shall be found. The mode of conducting the trick will be in either case
the same.


A CARD HAVING BEEN WITHDRAWN AND REPLACED, TO CALL IT FROM THE PACK,
AND TO MAKE IT COME TO YOU OF ITS OWN ACCORD.--This is a very simple
trick, but, if neatly executed, will create a good deal of wonderment.
It is performed as follows:--You must procure beforehand a long hair
from a lady’s head. One end of this must be fastened by means of a
bent pin, or in any other way you find most convenient, to the front
of your waistcoat, which should be a dark one. At the other end of the
hair fix a little round ball (about half the size of a pepper-corn) of
bees’-wax. Press this little ball lightly against the lowest button of
your waistcoat, to which it will adhere. You will thus always be able
to find it at a moment’s notice, without groping or looking down for
it, which would be likely to draw the eyes of the spectator in the same
direction.

Request the audience to examine the cards, that they may be sure that
there is no preparation about them, and as a further proof get two
or three persons to shuffle them in succession. When the cards are
returned to you, invite some person to draw one, and, while he is
examining it, drop your right hand carelessly to your waistband, and
remove the little ball of wax to the tip of your right thumb, to which
it will adhere without interfering with the movements of the hand. When
the card is returned, make the pass to bring it to the top of the pack,
and press the little ball of wax upon the back of the card, as near the
edge as possible. Then shuffle the cards. The shuffle may be a genuine
one, but you must take care to keep the lower edge of the chosen card
half an inch or so below the remaining cards, that the little ball of
wax may not be disturbed. The chosen card will, after the shuffle, be
in the middle of the pack, but attached to your waistcoat by the hair.
Spread the cards _face upwards_ on the table (by which means the wax,
being on the back of the card, will be out of sight), taking care not
to detach the hair. You then address your audience to the following or
some similar effect:--“In the old style of conjuring, I should merely
have picked out your card, and handed it to you; and there was a time
when people would have thought that a very good trick, but nowadays we
should regard that as a very lame conclusion. I can assure you that I
have not the smallest idea what your card was. How do you suppose I
intend to find out?” Various guesses are hazarded, but you shake your
head at each. “No,” you continue, “my process is much simpler than any
you have suggested. I shall merely order the card you chose to walk out
of the pack, and come to me.” Pronounce any magic formula you like,
at the same time beckoning to the cards, and gradually withdrawing
yourself away from the table, when the card must needs follow you. As
it reaches the edge of the table, receive it in the left hand, and
then take it in the right, drawing off with the first finger and thumb
of the left hand the wax at the back. Ask the person who drew whether
that was his card, and again hand the card and the rest of the pack for
examination. This little trick, though simple, will require a good deal
of practice to enable you to perform it neatly, but the effect produced
by it will well repay your trouble.

It may be well to mention, once for all, as bees’-wax is an article of
frequent use in magical operations, that if, as sometimes happens, the
pure wax is found too hard, or not sufficiently adhesive, the addition
of a small quantity (say an eighth part) of Venice turpentine, mixed
with it in a melted condition, will make it all that can be desired.


THE WHIST TRICK.[H] IMPROVED METHOD. TO DEAL YOURSELF ALL THE TRUMPS,
THE THREE OTHER PLAYERS HOLDING THE USUAL MIXED HANDS.--Having decided
which suit (suppose diamonds) is to be the trump suit, arrange the
pack in such manner that every fourth card shall be of that suit, the
intervening cards being taken haphazard. When about to perform the
trick, secretly exchange the pack you have hitherto been using for
the prepared pack. Make the bridge (_see_ page 39), and then a false
shuffle by the third method (_see_ page 24). Invite some one to cut,
and make the pass at the bridge, thus restoring the cards to their
original condition. Deal in the usual manner, when you will be found
to hold all the trumps, the remaining suits being distributed in the
ordinary way among the other three players.

    [H] For an inferior form of this trick, in which
        sleight-of-hand is not employed, see page 51.

Where in this or any other trick it is found necessary to change one
pack for another, the following will be found the neatest way of
effecting that object. Have the prepared pack in the _pochette_ on the
left side. Hold the ordinary pack in the right hand, and in moving from
the audience to your table, drop the left hand to the _pochette_, seize
the prepared pack, bring the hands together, and make the pass with
the two packs, when they will have changed hands. Drop the left hand,
and get rid of the ordinary pack into the _profonde_, the prepared
pack being left in the right hand. Any little clumsiness in making the
pass is of small consequence, the hands being covered by the body. If,
however, you find it impossible to make the pass with so large a bulk
of cards, the prepared pack may be placed under the waistband, held in
position by a strap of half-inch-wide elastic, stitched to the inside
of the vest; the right hand in this case, at the moment of the turn to
the table, transferring the ordinary pack to the left, and immediately
drawing down the prepared pack, while the left hand, as in the former
case, drops the ordinary pack into the _profonde_.



CHAPTER V.

CARD TRICKS REQUIRING SPECIAL APPARATUS.


We propose to describe in this chapter such card tricks as require
the aid of some mechanical appliance or apparatus, but are still
appropriate for a drawing-room performance. There are some few tricks
performed with cards (such as the Fairy Star, the Demon’s Head, and
the like) which necessitate the use of a mechanical table, or other
apparatus of an elaborate and costly character. These will not be here
noticed, but will be given, at the close of the work, in the portion
devoted to Stage Tricks.

We may here anticipate a not unlikely question on the part of the
student--viz., “How can I best obtain the necessary apparatus?” In some
instances, an amateur with a mechanical turn may be able to manufacture
his appliances for himself; and where this is the case, we would by
no means discourage his doing so, as he will thereby derive a double
amusement from his study of the magic art. But where the student has
not the ability or inclination to do this, we should strongly advise
him not to attempt to have his apparatus made to order by persons
unaccustomed to this class of work, but to go direct to one or other
of the regular depôts. Magical apparatus requires so much precision
in its details, and so much attention to apparent trifles, that the
first attempt of any workman, however skilful, is almost sure to be a
failure; and by the time the defects are rectified, the purchaser will
find that he has paid more for a clumsy makeshift than he would have
done for a thoroughly good article had he gone to the right quarter.
Experience will quickly prove that inferior apparatus is dear at any
price.

Peck & Snyder, 124 Nassau Street, New York City, are the largest
manufacturers, importers, and dealers in sports, pastimes, and trick
materials. They will forward illustrated catalogues on application,
giving details of an infinite variety of Optical, Chemical, Mechanical,
Magnetical, and Magical Experiments, and ingenious deceptions.
Supplementary sheets are issued from time to time, giving descriptions
of new novelties. One peculiarity of their business is that every
purchaser is taught, by the very explicit instructions that accompany
each article and by correspondence, to perform whatever Tricks he
may buy, so that he may exhibit them with ease and without fear of
detection, and no trouble is spared in order to make him perfect in
what he purchases. Prices are generally low: where a seemingly high
price occurs the professor or skilled amateur will readily realize
that it is occasioned by the elaborateness of the mechanism of the
particular apparatus desired, and the cost that such precision in
manipulative manufacture involves. The purchaser--we speak from
personal experience--can always depend on receiving uniform courtesy,
good value, and sound practical instruction.

The novice must be warned against imagining that, when he has got
into the region of apparatus, the necessity for personal address and
dexterity will be diminished. On the contrary, there is hardly a trick
among those we are about to describe which does not demand more or
less practical knowledge of sleight-of-hand. We shall assume, in the
following pages, that the reader has carefully followed and studied the
directions already given, in which case he will find little difficulty
in this portion of the work.


THE MAGIC SWORD. A CARD BEING DRAWN AND REPLACED, AND THE PACK FLUNG IN
THE AIR, TO CATCH THE CHOSEN CARD ON THE POINT OF THE SWORD.--We have
already described a trick somewhat similar in effect, in which, the
pack being flung in the air, the chosen card is caught in the hand of
the performer. The trick in this form makes a very good prelude to the
still more surprising one which we are about to describe.

[Illustration: FIG. 41. FIG. 42. FIG. 43.]

It will be remembered, that, in the trick above mentioned, an ordinary
pack is used, and the spectator is allowed to draw whatever card he
pleases. The card, when returned, is brought to the top by the pass,
and palmed: and, though supposed to be caught amid the falling shower,
in reality never leaves the hand of the performer. The audience may
possibly have a suspicion of this, and you may hear a faint murmur to
the effect that “he had the card in his hand!” and so on. When this
occurs, it serves as a very natural introduction to the trick with
the sword. You say, “Ah! you fancy I had the card in my hand? I will
repeat the trick, in order to show you that you are mistaken. Will some
one be kind enough to draw another card? Thank you. Don’t return the
card to me, but put it back in the pack yourself. Now be kind enough
to shuffle thoroughly. You cannot say I have the card in my hand this
time, at all events. Excuse me one instant, while I fetch my magic
sword.” You go behind your screen, and return, holding in your hand a
drawn sword. You place yourself in fencing attitude, and, addressing
the person who holds the cards, say, “I am going to give you the words,
one! two! three! At the word ‘three!’ will you please throw the cards
in the air, so as to fall lightly on the point of my sword, when I will
pick out with the point the identical card you drew. Spread the cards a
little in a fan shape before you throw them, so that I may get a fair
sight of them. Are you ready? One, two, THREE!” At the word three,
the cards are thrown, the performer makes a lunge among them, and a
card is instantly seen fluttering on the point of the sword, and, on
examination, is found to be the very card which was drawn.

The secret of this surprising feat lies mainly in the sword. This is an
ordinary small-sword (_see_ Fig. 41), with a three-sided rapier blade,
but altered in a particular way for the purpose of the trick. The tip
of the blade (_see_ Fig. 42) is cut off at about a third of an inch
distance from the extreme point, and across the concave side of this
tip, and also across the corresponding part of the shortened blade,
are soldered minute cross-pieces of brass, each bent outwards in the
middle, so as to form, with the concavity of the blade, a kind of eye
just large enough to admit freely a piece of thin black elastic cord,
the other end of which is passed through a similar small hole in the
guard of the hilt. The elastic thus lies along the hollow side of the
blade, passing through the two “eyes” already mentioned, and is kept in
position by a knot at each end. The tension of the elastic holds the
moveable tip in its natural position at the end of the blade. It may,
however, be drawn away from it in any direction as far as the elastic
will permit, but, when released, immediately flies back to its old
position. On the same side of the hilt--viz., the side farthest away
from the palm of the hand when grasping the sword (_see_ Fig. 43)--is
fixed a flat, oblong piece of tin, painted black, with its longer edges
folded over about half an inch on each side, in such manner as to form
a receptacle for a card.

Unless you are tolerably expert in forcing, you will also require
some forcing cards of the same pattern as the ordinary pack you have
in use. These, however, need not be a full pack, a dozen cards alike
being amply sufficient for your purpose. You commence your preparations
by taking one of the cards of the forcing pack, cut a small slit in
its centre with a penknife, and thrust completely through it the
moveable tip of the sword (taking care not to enlarge the hole more
than absolutely necessary), and place the sword thus prepared out of
sight of the audience, but so as to be easily got at when you want it.
Have your forcing cards in your pocket, or somewhere where you can lay
your hand on them without attracting observation, and your ordinary
pack on the table. You may begin by remarking, “Let me ask you to
take particular notice that I perform this trick with whatever card
you choose, not influencing your choice in any way. To show you that
I don’t compel you to take any particular card, I will just take a
handful of cards from the top of the pack” (as you say this you place
your forcing cards, which you have previously palmed, for an instant
on the top of the ordinary pack, immediately taking them off again,
as if they had formed part of it, and were the handful of cards you
referred to, and offer them to some one to draw). “Take whichever you
please--first card, last card, middle card, it is precisely the same to
me. Observe that I don’t attempt to press upon you any particular card,
but hold the cards perfectly motionless while you make your choice.” As
soon as a card is drawn, without waiting for it to be replaced, return
to your table, holding the remaining forcing cards in your left hand.
Pick up the pack with your right hand. Place it on the cards in your
left hand, at the same moment making the pass to bring these cards to
the top. Palm these (with the right hand), and, dropping them into
your _profonde_, or elsewhere out of sight, advance with the pack to
the person who drew, and request him to replace his card, and shuffle
thoroughly. While he does so, you retire to fetch your sword, as
before mentioned. Before returning to the audience, you prepare it as
follows:--Taking it in your right hand in the ordinary manner, you draw
down with the other hand the pierced card, and slide the card endways
into the receptacle on the hilt. The elastic, which is now stretched
to double its ordinary length, will pull at the card pretty tightly;
but you retain it in position by pressing on the face of the card with
the second and third fingers of the hand that grasps the hilt. Having
done this, you return to the audience, taking care so to stand that
the back of the hand that holds the sword shall be towards them. When
the cards are flung in the air, as already described, you make a lunge
among them, and at the same moment relax the pressure of the fingers
on the pierced card. The elastic, being thus released, flies rapidly
back to its original position, and carries the moveable tip, and with
it the card, to the end of the blade, by which the card appears to be
transfixed, as in Fig. 41. The movement of the sword in the lunge,
coupled with that of the falling cards, completely covers the rapid
flight of the pierced card from hilt to point. To get the card off the
sword, pull it down the blade, and tear it roughly off. When you have
taken off the card, drop the point of the sword, and hand the card at
once to the drawer for examination. This serves to divert attention,
not only from the sword itself, but also from the cards scattered on
the ground, among which the one actually drawn still remains.

This trick is sometimes performed with three cards instead of one. The
working of the trick is the same, save that you use a forcing pack
consisting of three cards repeated, and that in preparing the sword
the two first cards which are threaded on the elastic are perforated
with holes of such a size, as to allow them, when released, to slide
partially down the blade, the first nearly to the hilt, and the second
about half way.


[Illustration: FIG. 44.]

THE RISING CARDS (_La Houlette_).--SEVERAL CARDS HAVING BEEN DRAWN,
RETURNED, AND SHUFFLED, TO MAKE THEM RISE SPONTANEOUSLY FROM THE
PACK.--This is one of the best of card tricks. The performer advances,
pack in hand, to the company. He invites three persons each to draw
a card. The cards having been drawn, they are replaced in different
parts of the pack, which is thoroughly shuffled. The performer then
places the pack in a tin box or case, just large enough to hold it in
an upright position. This case is generally in the form of a lyre, open
in front and at the top, and supported on a shaft or pillar, twelve
or fifteen inches high (_see_ Fig. 44). He then asks each person in
succession to call for his card, which is forthwith seen to rise slowly
from the pack, without any visible assistance, the performer standing
quite apart.

The ingenuity of different professors has added little embellishments
of a humorous character. For instance, the performer may remark,
addressing one of the persons who drew, “I will not even ask the
name of your card, sir. You have only to say, ‘I command the card I
drew to appear,’ and you will be obeyed.” He does so, but no effect
is produced; the cards remain obstinately motionless. The command is
repeated, but with the same result. The performer feigns embarrassment,
and says, “I must really apologize for the disobedience of the cards.
I cannot tell how it is; they never behaved in this way before. I am
afraid I must ask you to name the card, after all, when I will try
my own authority.” The card proves to have been a queen, say the
queen of spades. “Oh,” the performer says, “that quite explains it.
Queens are not accustomed to be ordered about in such a peremptory
manner. If we try again in becoming language, I dare say we shall be
more successful. Let us try the experiment. Say, ‘Will your Majesty
oblige the company by appearing?’” Thus propitiated, the card rises
instantly. Occasionally a knave is one of the cards drawn, and, when
summoned, scandalizes the performer by appearing feet foremost. He is
appropriately rebuked, and thrust down again by the professor, upon
which he immediately reappears in a proper attitude. Sometimes a card,
after coming up half way, begins to retire again, but at the command of
the performer starts afresh, and rises completely out of the pack.

These apparently surprising effects are produced by very simple
means. In the first place, the cards which rise from the pack are not
those actually drawn, but duplicates of them, arranged beforehand.
The performer ensures the corresponding cards being drawn by using a
forcing pack, made up of repetitions of the three cards in question,
which we will suppose to be the queen of spades, the ten of hearts, and
the seven of diamonds, with some other single card at the bottom. The
tin case, in the original form of the trick, has two compartments--the
one to the front being large enough to hold a complete pack, but the
hinder one adapted to contain six or eight cards only. In this hinder
compartment are placed six cards, three of them being those which are
intended to rise, and the other three indifferent cards. A black silk
thread is fastened to the upper edge of the partition between the two
compartments, and is thence brought under the foremost card (which is,
say, the queen of spades), over the next (an indifferent card), under
the third (the ten of hearts), over the fourth (an indifferent card),
under the fifth (the seven of diamonds), over the sixth (an indifferent
card), finally passing out through a minute hole at the bottom of the
hinder compartment. If the thread be pulled, the three cards named
will rise in succession, beginning with the hindmost--viz., the seven
of diamonds. The three indifferent cards are put in as partitions, or
fulcrums, for the thread to run over. If these partitions were omitted,
the three chosen cards would rise all together.

The thread may be drawn in various ways. Sometimes this is done by the
performer himself, standing behind or beside the table. Another plan is
to have the thread attached to a small cylindrical weight within the
pillar, which is made hollow, and filled with sand. The weight rests on
the sand until the operator desires the cards to rise, when, by moving
a trigger at the foot of the pillar, he opens a valve, which allows the
sand to trickle slowly down into a cavity at the base; and the weight,
being thus deprived of its support, gradually sinks down, and pulls
the thread. (The pillar in this case is made about two feet high, as
the weight must necessarily travel six times the length of a card.)
Others, again, draw the thread by means of a clockwork arrangement in
the table, or in the pillar itself, answering the same purpose as the
sand and weights. The arrangement which we ourselves prefer, where
practicable, is to have the thread drawn by an assistant, who may
either be placed behind a screen, or may even stand in full view of
the audience, so long as he is at some little distance from the table.
The silk thread is quite invisible, if only you have a tolerably dark
background. The only portion as to which you need feel any anxiety
is that immediately connected with the cards. To conceal this it is
well, if you use a special table, to have a small hole bored in the
top, through which the thread may pass. The card-stand being placed
immediately in front of the hole, the thread will pass perpendicularly
downward for the first portion of its length, and will thus be
concealed behind the pillar. In default of a hole, a ring of bent
wire attached to the table will answer the same purpose. The great
advantage of having the thread pulled by a living person instead of a
mechanical power is, that you can take your own time in the performance
of the trick; whereas, if you use a weight or clockwork, there is
always a danger of a card beginning to rise before you have called for
it, or possibly not rising at all--either contingency being rather
embarrassing.

In the latest and best form of the trick, the second compartment of
the case is dispensed with, and the apparatus may be handed round
for examination both before and after it is used. In this case three
cards are forced and returned as already mentioned; but the performer,
as he reaches his table, adroitly exchanges the forcing pack for
another already prepared, and placed on the _servante_ if a regular
conjuring-table is used, or, if not, concealed behind some object on
the table. This pack is prepared as follows:--The last six cards are
arranged with the thread travelling in and out between them, just as
the six cards in the hinder compartment were in the older form of the
trick. A knot is made in the silk thread, which is hitched into a notch
an eighth of an inch deep, made in the lower edge of the _sixth_ card.
The knot prevents the thread from slipping, but does not interfere with
its being instantaneously detached when, the trick being over, you hand
the whole apparatus, cards and all, to be examined.

Some performers use no stand or pillar for the card-case, but fix it
by a short plug projecting for that purpose on its under side, in a
decanter of water on the table. Some, again, in order to exclude all
apparent possibility of mechanical aid, fasten it on the top of a
common broomstick, fixed in the floor of the stage, and broken over the
performer’s knee at the conclusion of the trick. To our own taste, the
trick is best performed without any special card-case whatever, the
pack being placed in an ordinary glass goblet with upright sides, first
handed round to the audience for inspection. It is here absolutely
self-evident that the glass can give no mechanical assistance; and as
the audience know nothing of the exchange of the packs, the immediate
rising of the cards at the word of command appears little short of
miraculous.

It only remains to explain the _modus operandi_ of the little
variations before alluded to. The offended dignity of the queen,
declining to appear when summoned in too cavalier a manner, is
accounted for by the fact that the performer or his assistant refrains
from pulling the thread until the offender has adopted a more
respectful tone. The phenomenon of the knave first appearing feet
foremost, and then invisibly turning himself right end uppermost, is
produced by the use of two knaves, the first (_i.e._, hindmost) being
placed upside down, and the second (with an indifferent card between)
in its proper position. When the performer pushes the first knave down
again, with a request that it will rise in a more becoming attitude,
he thrusts it down, not as he appears to do, in the same place which
it originally occupied, but among the loose cards forming the front
portion of the pack, thus getting it out of the way, and allowing the
thread to act on the second knave. It is hardly necessary to observe
that, for producing this particular effect, the cards must be of
the old-fashioned single-headed pattern. The alternate ascent and
descent of a given card is produced by using a card at whose lower
edge, between the back and front of the card, is inserted a slip of
lead-foil. The card, so weighted, sinks down of itself as soon as the
pull of the thread is relaxed, and may be thus made to rise and fall
alternately, as often as the operator chooses, and finally, by a quick,
sharp jerk, to jump right out of the pack.

Another very telling incident is the transformation of an eight to a
seven, or a seven to a six. A seven of spades, say, has been one of
the drawn cards, but when it is summoned an eight of spades appears.
The performer apologizes for the mistake, and, giving the card a
touch of his wand, shows it instantly transformed to a seven. This is
effected by sticking (with a little bees’-wax) a loose spade pip in
the appropriate position on an ordinary seven of spades. The performer
takes out the supposed eight with one hand, and thence transfers it to
the other. In so doing he draws off, with the hand which first held
the card, the loose pip, and, holding the card face downwards, touches
it with the wand, and shows that it has apparently changed to the card
drawn.

[Illustration: FIG. 45.]

There is a mode of performing the trick of the rising cards entirely
without apparatus, and without the necessity of forcing particular
cards. The performer in this case invites a person to draw a card,
and when it is returned makes the pass to bring it to the top of the
pack. He then makes a false shuffle, leaving it on the top, and offers
the pack to a second person to draw. When he has done so, and before
he replaces the card, the performer makes the pass to bring the card
first drawn to the middle, so that the second card is placed upon it,
and then again makes the pass to bring both together to the top. The
process may be repeated with a third card. The three cards are thus
left at the top of the pack, that last drawn being the outermost. The
performer now asks each person, beginning with the last who drew, to
name his card, and, holding the pack upright in his right hand, the
thumb on one side, and the third and fourth fingers on the other,
with the face of the pack to the audience (_see_ Fig. 45), he causes
the cards to rise one by one by pushing them up from the back by an
alternate movement of the first and second fingers (which should
previously be slightly moistened). If the face of the cards is held
fairly to the spectators, it will be impossible for them to discover
that the cards do not rise from the middle of the pack.

We have been more prolix than we could have desired in the description
of this trick, but minute details are the very soul of conjuring. The
experience of Horace, “_Brevis esse laboro, obscurus fio_,” applies
with peculiar force to the magic art; and if we occasionally irritate
the reader of quick apprehension by too great minuteness, he must
remember that we have, as far as we can, to anticipate every possible
question, and that a single point left unexplained may render useless
an otherwise careful description.


THE JUMPING CARDS.--TWO OR THREE CARDS HAVING BEEN DRAWN, RETURNED, AND
SHUFFLED TO MAKE THEM JUMP OUT OF THE PACK.--This trick is somewhat
similar in working to that of the rising cards as performed in the
hand, which we have just described. The course of the two tricks is
precisely the same up to the point when, the two or three cards having
been drawn and returned, you have got them all to the top of the
pack. Here, however, the resemblance ceases. In the present case you
drop the whole pack into an open-mouthed box, made for that purpose,
and announce that, although the chosen cards have been replaced in
different parts of the pack, and the whole have since been thoroughly
shuffled, you have only to blow upon them in order to separate them
visibly from the rest of the pack. You blow upon the box accordingly,
when the chosen cards instantly fly out of the pack, rising to a height
of three or four feet, and fall on the table.

[Illustration: FIG. 47. FIG. 46. FIG. 48.]

The secret of the trick, apart from the sleight-of-hand necessary to
bring the chosen cards together at the top of the pack, lies in the
box. It is in general appearance something like a miniature pedestal
for a statue, but hollow, and open at the top, the cavity being rather
more than large enough to hold a pack of cards. (_See_ Fig. 46.) It
is divided longitudinally into two compartments, the foremost being
large enough to hold a whole pack, the hindmost to hold only three or
four cards, the partition between the two coming about half way up the
box. The bottom of the larger compartment is level with the top of the
plinth, but the smaller is open to the whole depth, save that across
it is a steel spring about half an inch in width. Fig. 47 represents a
section of the apparatus, A being the upper part, of which _a_ is the
larger or front compartment, and _b_ the smaller compartment at the
back. B is the plinth. A is so constructed as to slide forwards on,
or rather in, B, to the extent of about an eighth of an inch, but is
prevented doing so, in the normal condition of the apparatus, by the
spring _c_, which is screwed to the bottom of A, its free end pressing
against the side of the plinth. If, however, the spring be pressed
down from above, so as to be below the level of the shoulder _d_ (for
which purpose a thin slip of wood is supplied with the apparatus), and
A be at the same time pushed towards _d_, it will slide forward to the
position indicated in Fig. 48, and the spring _c_ will be held down
beneath the shoulder _d_. This is the condition in which the apparatus
is first exhibited to the audience. After turning it over, to show
that there are no cards already concealed in it, the performer places
in it the pack, first, however, slipping his little finger between the
chosen cards (which are on the top) and the rest of the pack, so as
to enable him to drop the chosen cards into the smaller compartment
at the back, where they rest upon the bent spring. (_See_ Fig. 48.)
Standing behind the box, and placing his hands around the plinth, as
if to hold it steady, the fingers of each hand being in front, and the
thumb behind, he blows smartly upon the box, at the same moment pushing
A forward with the thumbs to the position which it occupies in Fig. 47.
The spring _c_, being drawn back with it beyond the shoulder _d_, is
released, and instantly flies up to its old position, shooting out of
the box the cards resting upon it.

This trick is sometimes, like that of the rising cards, worked with a
forcing pack, duplicates of the forced cards being placed beforehand in
the hinder compartment. This method, however, is very inferior to that
above described, and would hardly be adopted by any performer who had
acquired a competent mastery of sleight-of-hand.


TO MAKE A CARD STAND UPRIGHT BY ITSELF ON THE TABLE.--This is a little
trick of hardly sufficient importance to be performed by itself; but
as an incident introduced in the course of some more pretentious
illusion, produces a very good effect. A great deal of the sparkle of a
conjuring entertainment depends upon the performer’s readiness in what
may be called “by-play,” consisting of a number of minor tricks not
supposed to form part of the settled programme, but merely introduced
incidentally, and used, as it were, as a garnish to the more important
feats. Thus, when a coin, an egg, or other small article, is required
for the purpose of a trick, the performer may fetch it openly from
behind the scenes, or have it handed to him by his servant; but this is
a commonplace proceeding. The higher class of performers prefer in such
cases to produce the article from the hair, whiskers, or pocket of one
of the audience; and in like manner, when the article has served its
purpose, to make it vanish by some magical process, rather than by the
prosaic methods of every-day life. These little incidents serve to keep
the audience on the _qui vive_, and they further assist materially in
keeping up the _continuity_ of an entertainment. In a thoroughly good
performance the audience should have no time to think, but should be
led direct from one surprise to the contemplation of another.

The trick we are about to describe is of the class above alluded to.
In the course of one or other of your card tricks, you have or make
occasion to ask some person to go and place a given card on the table,
or to examine a card already placed there. He does so, and is about to
return to his place; but you check him. “No, sir, that won’t do. I want
everybody to see what card it is. Will you be good enough to stand it
up on end, with its face to the company, so that everybody can see it.”
He looks foolish, and finally says that he can’t do it. “Not do it?”
you reply. “My dear sir, it’s the simplest thing in the world. Allow
_me_!” and taking the card from him, you place it upright on the table,
and leave it standing without any visible support. Taking it up again,
you hand it round, to show that there is no preparation about it, and
on receiving it back, again stand it upright, but with the other end
upwards; or, if challenged, allow the audience themselves to choose a
card, which you cause to stand alone with equal facility.

[Illustration: FIG. 49.]

The secret lies in the use of a very small and simple piece of
apparatus, being, in fact, merely a strip of tin or sheet brass, an
inch and a half in length, and five-eighths of an inch in width, bent
at a shade less than a right angle--say 85°; its shorter arm being
one-third of its length. On the outer surface of the long arm is
spread a thin layer of bees’-wax (made more adhesive by the addition
of a small portion of Venice turpentine), and to the inner surface of
the shorter arm is soldered a small piece of lead, about an eighth of
an inch thick. When you desire to perform the trick, you have this
little appliance concealed in your right hand, the longer arm between
the first and second fingers, and the shorter arm pointing towards the
little finger. Picking up the card with the left hand, you transfer it
to the right, taking hold of it in such manner that the fingers shall
be behind and the thumb in front of the card. As you place the card on
the table (which, by the way, must be covered with a cloth), you press
against it (_see_ Fig. 49) the waxed side of the slip of tin, which
will slightly adhere to it, and thus form a prop or foot, the little
lump of lead acting as a counterpoise to the weight of the card. You
pick it up with the same hand, and as you transfer it to the other, you
will find no difficulty in removing and secreting between the fingers
the little prop.

If the wax is properly amalgamated, it should leave no mark on the card.


[Illustration: FIG. 50.]

CHANGING CARD-BOXES, AND TRICKS PERFORMED WITH THEM.--The changing
card-box in its simplest form is a small flat box in walnut or
mahogany. (_See_ Fig. 50.) Its outside measurement is four inches by
three, and not quite an inch deep. Inside it is just large enough to
admit an ordinary-sized playing card. The upper and lower portions of
the box, which are connected by hinges, are exactly alike in depth, and
each is polished externally, so that the box, which, when open, lies
flat like a book, may be closed either way up; and either portion will,
according as it is placed, become box or lid in turn. Thus, by using
a card which, unknown to the audience, has two faces--_e.g._, is an
ace of hearts on the one side, and an ace of spades on the other--and
placing such card in one side of the open box, you have only to close
the box with that side uppermost, or to turn over the box as you place
it on the table, to transform the card just shown into a different
one. There is nothing in the appearance of the box itself to indicate
that it has been turned, so to speak, wrong side up, and a very little
practice will enable you to turn it over, as you place it on the table,
without attracting observation.

There is a further appliance in connection with the box in question,
which, however, may be used with or without it, as may best suit the
trick in hand. This is a loose slab, _a_, of the same wood of which
the interior of the box is made, of the thickness of cardboard, and
of such a size as to fit closely, though not tightly, in either half
of the box. When so placed, it has the appearance of the inside top
or bottom of the box. When the box is closed in such manner that the
part in which this slab is placed is uppermost, the slab falls into the
lower portion, thus forming a false bottom on whichever side happens to
be undermost. If a card (say the ace of hearts) be secretly placed in
either side of the box, and this slab placed on it, the box will appear
empty. If now another card (say the knave of spades) be openly placed
in either side, and the box closed in such manner that the portion
containing the false bottom is undermost, no change will take place;
but if, either in closing the box or subsequently, it is so placed
that the side containing the false bottom becomes uppermost, the false
bottom will at once drop into the opposite division, and on re-opening
the box the ace of hearts will be revealed, and the knave of spades
will in its turn be concealed. The effect to the spectators is as if
the knave of spades had changed into the ace of hearts.

These card-boxes are frequently worked in pairs, as follows:--The
boxes are prepared by placing a different card secretly in each, say
an ace of hearts in the one, and a knave of spades in the other. The
performer brings them forward to the company, each hanging wide open,
and held by one corner only, with the first and second finger inside,
and the thumb outside the box, taking care, however, to hold each by
the side containing the false bottom, which is thus kept in position
by the pressure of the fingers. So held, the boxes appear absolutely
empty. Having drawn attention to the entire absence of any preparation,
the performer lays them open upon the table, and, taking up a pack of
cards, requests two of the company each to draw one. They, of course,
imagine that they are making a free choice, but in reality he forces
(either by sleight-of-hand, or by means of a forcing pack) the ace of
hearts and the knave of spades. Again bringing forward the two boxes,
he requests each person to place his card in one of them, taking care
so to arrange that the person who has drawn the ace of hearts shall
place it in the box already containing the concealed knave of spades,
and _vice versâ_. Closing each box with the portion containing the
false bottom uppermost, he now announces that at his command the cards
will change places, which, on re-opening the boxes, they appear to have
done. By again turning over the boxes, they may be made to return to
their original quarters.

Numerous other good tricks may be performed with the aid of these
boxes, which should form part of the collection of every conjuror. By
placing a given card beforehand beneath the false bottom and forcing
a like card, you may allow the card drawn to be torn into twenty
pieces, and yet, by placing the fragments in the box, or firing them
at it from a pistol, restore the card instantly, as at first. In like
manner, you may cause a given card to be found in the apparently empty
box, or may cause a card openly placed therein to vanish altogether.
The changing-box is also sometimes employed by those who are not
proficient in sleight-of-hand, as a substitute for forcing, in the
following manner:--The performer requests some person to draw a card,
and, without looking at it, to place it face downwards in the box for
supposed safe keeping. The box is presently opened by the same or some
other person, who is requested to note what the card is. He does so,
believing the card to be that which was drawn, and which he had just
before seen placed in the box; whereas the card he now examines is, in
reality, one concealed beforehand in the box by the performer to suit
his purpose, the card actually drawn being now hidden by the false
bottom.


[Illustration: FIG. 51. FIG. 52.]

THE MECHANICAL CARD-BOX.--This also is a piece of apparatus for
changing a chosen card to another. It is somewhat the same in principle
as the card-boxes last described, but differs from them a good deal
in detail. It is an oblong wooden box, in external measurement about
four and a half inches by three and a half, and four inches high.
Internally, the measurement is so arranged that, putting the lid out
of the question, the front of the box is of exactly equal area with
the bottom. Against this front (_see_ Fig. 51) lies a slab of tin or
zinc, working on a cloth hinge along its lower edge, thus rendering
it capable of either lying flat on the bottom of the box (which it
exactly covers), or of being folded up against the front, the upper
edge of which projects slightly inwards, so as to aid in concealing
it. This flap, like the whole inside of the box, is painted black. On
one point of its upper surface is a little stud, which, when the flap
is raised, fits into a hole prepared for it in the lock, across which
passes the hinder end or tail of the bolt. The box is prepared for use
as follows:--The key is turned, as if locking the box (which, however,
is held open), thus pushing forward the bolt of the lock, and the flap
is lifted up against the front, the stud passing into the little hole
before-mentioned. The key is then again turned as if unlocking the box,
when the tail of the bolt catches the stud, and secures the flap. The
box will in this condition bear any amount of examination, but as soon
as it is closed, and the key turned to lock it, the tail of the bolt,
being again shot forward, no longer retains the stud, and the flap
falls. When in actual use, a card (say the ace of spades) is placed
upon the flap, and folded up with it against the front of the box. The
card to be changed (suppose the nine of diamonds) is in due course
openly placed in the box, which is then handed to some one with a
request that he will himself lock it, that there may be no possibility
of deception. The trick proceeds, and when the box is again opened, the
card placed therein is found transformed to the ace of spades.

Some card-boxes are so made, that the flap, instead of falling actually
_upon_ the bottom of the box, falls parallel to it, but at a distance
of an inch or so above it, leaving a hollow space beneath capable of
containing a lady’s handkerchief, a canary, or any other small article,
which, being covered by the falling flap, is thus apparently changed
into a card. The box in this case is somewhat taller in proportion than
that above described.


THE “CARD AND BIRD” BOX.--This is, in form and general appearance,
similar to that form of the card-box last above described (that which
has an enclosed space beneath the flap), but its working is precisely
the converse--_i.e._, the normal condition of the flap in this case is
to lie folded against the back of the box, against which it is pressed
by the action of a spring. It may, however, be folded down so as to
lie parallel with the bottom, a little catch projecting from the inner
surface of the front, holding it in that position. (_See_ Fig. 52.) The
lock is in this case a mere sham, having neither key nor keyhole, but a
little stud projecting from the lower edge of the lid, and representing
the “staple” of the lock, presses, when the box is closed, upon an
upright pin passing through the thickness of the wood up the front
of the box, and thereby withdraws the catch, when the flap flies up,
concealing the card which has just been placed upon it, and revealing
the bird or other object which had previously been concealed beneath it.

The same principle is sometimes applied to the “card-box,” the flap
when “set” lying flat on the bottom of the box, leaving no hollow space
below.


THE CARD TRIPOD.--This is a miniature table, standing five or six
inches high. It has a round top of about the same diameter, supported
on a tripod foot. It is provided with an ornamental cover of tin or
pasteboard, shaped somewhat like the top of a coffee-pot, just large
enough to fit neatly over the top of the table, and about an inch deep.
The table has a false top, made of tin, but japanned to match the real
top, and of such a size as to fit tightly within the cover. If the
false top be laid upon the true one, and the cover placed over both,
the cover will, on being again removed, carry with it the false top,
and leave exposed the real one, which, however, the audience take to be
that which they have already seen.

The reader will already have perceived that the card-tripod is, in
effect, very similar to the changing card-box. Like the card-box, it
may be used either singly or in pairs, and the tricks performed by
its aid will be nearly the same. Thus two forced cards drawn by the
audience may be made to change places from one tripod to another, a
card drawn and destroyed may be reproduced from its own ashes, or a
card drawn and placed on the tripod may be made to vanish altogether,
the drawn card being in each case laid upon the false top, that to
which it is to be apparently transformed having been previously placed
under the false and upon the true top. A card once changed, however,
cannot be restored to its original condition, and the card-tripod is,
therefore, in this respect inferior to the card-box.


THE “TORN CARD.”--This is a very effective trick. The performer
requests some one of the company to draw a card, and, having done so,
to tear it up into any number of fragments. He does so, and hands them
to the operator, who returns one corner to him, with a request that he
will take particular care of it. The performer announces that out of
the torn fragments he will restore the card anew, for which purpose he
first burns the fragments on a plate or otherwise, carefully preserving
the ashes. He then brings forward one of the changing card-boxes
already described, and, after, showing that it is empty, closes it, and
places it on the table in view of all present. He next takes the ashes
of the torn card, and, loading a pistol with them, fires at the box.
(If he has not a pistol at hand, placing the ashes on the box, rubbing
them on the lid, or any other act which gets rid of them will answer
the same purpose.) When the box is opened, the card is found whole as
at first, with the exception of one corner, being (ostensibly) that
which was retained by the drawer. Taking this piece in his right hand,
and holding the card by one corner between the thumb and first finger
of his left hand (_see_ Fig. 53), the performer makes a motion as if
throwing the small piece towards it. The small piece instantly vanishes
from his hand, and at the same moment the card is seen to be completely
restored, the torn corner being in its proper place. Some performers,
instead of giving the drawer the torn corner to take charge of in the
first instance, burn ostensibly the whole of the pieces, and pretend
surprise on finding that there is a corner missing when the card is
restored. Directly afterwards, however, they pick up the missing
fragment from the floor, where they have just previously dropped it,
and the trick proceeds as already described.

[Illustration: FIG. 53. FIG. 54.]

The reader will, no doubt, already have conjectured that the card drawn
is a forced one, and that the supposed restored card was concealed
beforehand under the false bottom of the card-box. This pretended
restored card is, in reality, an ingenious though simple piece of
apparatus, constructed as follows:--A piece of tin is cut to the exact
size and shape of a card; out of this, at one of the corners, is cut
an oblong piece, measuring about one inch by five-eighths. This piece
is attached by a spring hinge, _a a_, on one side of it, to the larger
piece of tin, in such manner that it can be folded back (_see_ Fig.
54) flat against it; the action of the spring, however, bringing it
back again, when released, to its original position. To this piece of
tin is soldered lengthways a narrow tail-piece, of such a length as
to extend nearly to the opposite end of the larger piece of tin. This
tail-piece forms a kind of handle wherewith to bend back the smaller
piece of tin on its hinge, and at the same time acts as a check to
prevent the action of the spring pressing the smaller piece beyond
the plane of the larger one. A playing card is split in two in order
to reduce its thickness, and the face of the card thus reduced is
pasted on the front of the larger piece of tin. Previously, however,
a piece, somewhat smaller than the little moveable flap, is torn out
of one corner, and pasted on the flap in such a manner that, when the
latter is released, the torn piece will occupy its proper position with
respect to the remainder of the card, which will thus appear complete.
When, however, the moveable flap is folded back, and so held by the
pressure of the forefinger upon the tail-piece, the torn portion of the
card will be folded back with it, as in Fig. 54. When the mechanical
card is placed in the box, it should be thus folded back, and kept in
position by a little bit of thin wire, half an inch long, and bent
into a miniature staple or clip, which, slipped over the end of the
tail-piece and the adjoining edge of tin, will effectually hold the
flap back, and yet may be got rid of in an instant, when the forefinger
is ready to take its place. You must take care so to place the card in
the box as to be face uppermost when the box is opened, as the audience
must not, of course, see the back. When you desire to make the card
complete, you have only to slip aside the forefinger, and thus release
the moveable flap.

There are torn cards now made entirely of pasteboard, dispensing with
the tin plate at the back. This is a decided improvement.

As to the disappearance of the loose corner from your hand, you will
find little difficulty when you have learnt the art of coin-palming, to
be hereafter explained. Assuming that you have at present no knowledge
on this subject, you may proceed as follows:--Take the bit of card
between the forefinger and thumb of your right hand, and as you make
the motion of throwing it towards the mechanical card, push it with the
ball of the thumb between the first or second joints of the first and
middle fingers. This releases the thumb, and the inside of your hand
being turned away from your audience, you run little risk of discovery,
particularly as the same piece, apparently, is now seen in its proper
place as part of the restored card.

We must not omit to mention that there is a mode of performing the
“torn card” trick in which the use of the mechanical card is dispensed
with. In this case the performer secretly takes an ordinary card, say
the knave of spades, and tears off one corner, which he carefully
preserves. The card thus mutilated he places in a card-box, or other
similar piece of apparatus. Pack in hand, he advances to the company,
and “forces” the knave of spades, having, meanwhile, the little corner
piece of the concealed card hidden between the second and third fingers
of his right hand. The card having been drawn, he requests the drawer
to tear it up, and place the pieces on a plate, which he hands him for
that purpose. Having received the pieces, he says carelessly, “You
had better keep one piece for the purpose of identification;” and, so
saying, hands him apparently one of the fragments of the card just
torn, but really the concealed corner piece, which he drops from his
hand on the plate for that purpose in the very act of picking up. The
trick then proceeds as already described up to the finding of the card
partially restored, in which condition it is handed to the drawer, and
its identity proved by showing that the torn edge exactly corresponds
with the corner retained. The trick may either end here, or, by using a
second card-box, card-tripod, or the like, the card and corner may be
again changed for a complete card.


MECHANICAL CHANGING CARDS.--These are of two or three kinds, but all
have the same object--viz., the apparent transformation of the card
to a different one. In some cases the change is from a court card of
one suit to the same card of another suit--_e.g._, a king of spades
to a king of hearts, involving merely the alteration of the pip in
the corner. This is effected by having the card made double, that
portion of the front card on which the pip should be being cut out.
The hindmost card, which is pasted only round the extreme edge to the
front one, is a plain white card, but with the appropriate pip, say a
spade, neatly painted in the proper position, to allow of its showing
through the opening in the front card, which thus has the appearance of
an ordinary king of spades. Between the two cards is a moveable slip,
worked by a pin through a slip in the back, on which is painted a heart
pip. By moving this slip, the heart is in turn brought opposite the
opening, covering the spade pip, so that the card now appears to be the
king of hearts. The card as above described is of the old single-headed
pattern, but the same principle may be applied to double-headed cards.
In this case both of the “pip” portions of the front card are cut away
as in Fig. 55, while on the upper corresponding portion of the hinder
card is painted (say) a spade, and on the lower a heart, as in Fig. 56.
The moveable slip is of such a shape and size as to cover the one or
the other, according as it is drawn up or down; and on the upper part
of this (_see_ Fig. 57) is painted a heart, and on the lower a spade.
When, therefore, the slip is pushed _up_, the heart pip on the slip and
the heart pip on the hindmost card are shown, so that the card appears
to be a king of hearts. When, on the other hand, the slip is drawn
_down_, the spade pip of the hinder card is revealed, and at the same
time the slip covers over the heart pip of this latter, and exhibits
its own spade pip, giving the card the appearance of a king of spades.

[Illustration: FIG. 55. FIG. 56. FIG. 57.]

These mechanical cards are used in various ways. Such a card may be
introduced with good effect in the trick of the “rising cards,” before
described. The king of spades, we will suppose, is one of the cards
drawn. The changing card is made one of those which rise from the pack,
but is so arranged as to appear as the king of hearts. When the king
of spades is called for, this card rises. The performer feigns to be
taken by surprise, and asks the person who drew the card whether he is
sure he is not mistaken, and that the card he drew was not the king
of hearts. The drawer naturally maintains the correctness of his own
recollection, while the performer as stoutly insists that the cards
never deceive him, and that, if the king of spades had been drawn,
the king of spades would infallibly have risen when called. At last,
as if tired of the dispute, he says, “Well, I still maintain you were
mistaken; but as you insist that your card was the king of spades,
why, we will make this into a king of spades.” So saying, and holding
up the card between his middle finger and thumb, he touches its face
with his wand, and at the same moment with the first finger moves the
slide, when the card changes to the king of spades. The little dispute
as to the supposed mistake, which the audience have hitherto believed
to be genuine, gives to the transformation an impromptu air which is
very effective. The performer may go on to say, still holding up the
card, “You are quite satisfied now, I presume.” The drawer assents.
“Then if so, as it would spoil my pack to have _two_ kings of spades in
it, you will allow me, before proceeding further, to change the card
back again. Change!” Again he touches the card with his wand, and it is
seen to change back again to the king of hearts.

Another mode of using the mechanical card is in conjunction with the
changing card-boxes, above described. In this case the changing cards
are used in pairs. One of them, arranged as the king of spades, is
secretly placed in the one box, and the other, arranged as the king
of hearts, in the other. Two of the spectators are requested each to
draw a card, and two genuine kings of the same respective suits are
forced upon them. Taking the cards so drawn, and showing the card boxes
apparently empty, the performer places one of the cards in each, taking
care to place the king of hearts in the box containing the ostensible
king of spades, and _vice versâ_. He now commands the two cards to
change places, and, opening the boxes, shows that his commands are
obeyed. He then remarks, “Now, I dare say you all think that the trick
depends on the boxes. To show you that it is not so, I will again
order the cards to change; and this time I will not place them in the
boxes, but will merely take one in each hand, so. If your eyes are
quick enough, you will see the cards fly across from the one hand to
the other. Observe, the king of spades is in my right hand, and the
king of hearts in my left. One, two, three--Change!” (with a stamp and
a slight flourish of the cards). “Did you see them fly? Here is the
king of hearts in my right hand, and the king of spades has passed to
my left. I will put them in the boxes once more.” You put each in the
box which it before occupied, in doing so again making the change, but
without closing the boxes. You continue, “Please to notice which I put
in each box--the king of hearts in the right hand box, and the king
of spades in the left hand box. Is that right?” The audience reply in
the affirmative. “Excuse me,” you say, “I fear you are mistaken. You
did not notice, perhaps, that the cards had changed again.” You show
that this is so, and then close the boxes so as to bring the cards
originally drawn uppermost. Opening them once more, you show that the
cards have again changed, and then remark, “I have shown you that the
secret does not lie in the boxes, perhaps you would like to satisfy
yourselves that there is no preparation about the cards,” which you
accordingly hand for examination.

[Illustration: FIG. 58.]

Another form of changing card is known as a “flap card.” This is a card
across whose centre is fixed a moveable flap of exactly half its size.
When the flap is folded one way, it covers the upper half, and when
it is folded the other way the lower half of the card, in each case
revealing a different surface. (_See_ Fig. 58.) On one of such surfaces
is pasted, say, a queen of clubs (made thin by peeling off the back),
and on the other surface, say, a nine of diamonds, prepared in like
manner. Thus the card will appear, according as the flap is folded,
alternately a queen of clubs or nine of diamonds. An india-rubber
spring tends to draw the flap down, so that the normal condition of the
card is to appear as, say, the nine of diamonds. When exhibited to the
company, the flap is forced over in the opposite direction, so that the
card appears to be the queen of clubs. The thumb and finger hold the
flap down until the right moment, when they relax their pressure, and
the flap flying up, the card is instantly transformed to the nine of
diamonds.

[Illustration]



CHAPTER VI.

PRINCIPLES OF SLEIGHT-OF-HAND MORE ESPECIALLY APPLICABLE TO COIN TRICKS.


Before attempting tricks with coin, it will be necessary for the
student to practise certain sleights and passes which more especially
belong to this particular branch of the magic art, though the
sleight-of-hand used in “coin tricks” is more or less applicable to
most other small objects. The principles which we have given for card
tricks will not here be of any direct assistance to the student; but
the readiness of hand and eye which he will have acquired, if he has
diligently put in practice the instructions already given, will be of
great value to him as a preliminary training, and it may safely be
predicted that any person who is a first-rate performer with cards will
find little difficulty in any other branch of the art.

[Illustration: FIG. 59. FIG. 60.]

The first faculty which the novice must seek to acquire is that of
“palming”--_i.e._, secretly holding an object in the open hand by the
contraction of the palm. To acquire this power, take a half-crown,
florin, or penny (these being the most convenient in point of size),
and lay it on the palm of the open hand. (_See_ Fig. 59.) Now close
the hand very slightly, and if you have placed the coin on the right
spot (which a few trials will quickly indicate), the contraction of the
palm around its edges will hold it securely (_see_ Fig. 60), and you
may move the hand and arm in any direction without fear of dropping
it. You should next accustom yourself to use the hand and fingers
easily and naturally, while still holding the coin as described. A
very little practice will enable you to do this. You must bear in mind
while practising always to keep the inside of the palm either downwards
or towards your own body, as any reverse movement would expose the
concealed coin. When you are able to hold the coin comfortably in the
right hand, practise in like manner with the left, after which you may
substitute for the coin a watch, an egg, or a small lemon--all these
being articles of frequent use in conjuring.

Being thoroughly master of this first lesson, you may proceed to
the study of the various “passes.” All of the passes have the same
object--viz., the apparent transfer of an article from one hand to the
other, though such article really remains in the hand which it has
apparently just quitted. As the same movement frequently repeated would
cause suspicion, and possibly detection, it is desirable to acquire
different ways of effecting this object. For facility of subsequent
reference, we shall denote the different passes described by numbers.[I]

    [I] It should be here mentioned that the term “palming,” which
        we have so far used as meaning simply the act of _holding_
        any article, is also employed to signify the act of
        _placing_ any article in the palm by one or other of the
        various passes. The context will readily indicate in which
        of the two senses the term is used in any given passage.

        It is hardly necessary to remark that the diagrams, save
        where the letterpress indicates the contrary, represent the
        hands of the performer _as seen by himself_.

PASS 1.--Take the coin in the right hand, between the second and third
fingers and the thumb (_see_ Fig. 61), letting it, however, really be
supported by the fingers, and only steadied by the thumb. Now move the
thumb out of the way, and close the second and third fingers, with the
coin balanced on them, into the palm. (_See_ Fig. 62.) If the coin was
placed right in the first instance, you will find that this motion puts
it precisely in the position above described as the proper one for
palming; and on again extending the fingers, the coin is left palmed,
as in Fig. 60. When you can do this easily with the hand at rest, you
must practise doing the same thing with the right hand in motion toward
the left, which should meet it open, but should close the moment that
the fingers of the right hand touch its palm, as though upon the coin,
which you have by this movement feigned to transfer to it. The left
hand must thenceforward remain closed, as if holding the coin, and the
right hand hang loosely open, as if empty.

[Illustration: FIG. 61. FIG. 62.]

In the case of an article of larger size than a coin--as, for instance,
a watch or an egg--you need not take the article with the fingers,
but may let it simply lie on the palm of the right hand, slightly
closing that hand as you move it towards the left. The greater extent
of surface in this case will give you plenty of hold, without the
necessity of pressing the article into the palm. Remember that, in any
case, the two hands must work in harmony, as in the genuine act of
passing an article from the one hand to the other. The left hand must
therefore rise to meet the right, but should not begin its journey
until the right hand begins its own. Nothing looks more awkward or
unnatural than to see the left hand extended with open palm, before the
right hand has begun to move towards it.

[Illustration: FIG. 63. FIG. 64. FIG. 65.]

After the pass is made, a judicious use of the wand will materially
assist in concealing the fact that the object still remains in the
right hand. For this purpose the performer should, before commencing
the pass, carelessly place the wand under either arm, as though
merely to leave his hands free. Immediately that the pass is made the
right hand should, with a sort of back-handed movement, which under
the circumstances is perfectly natural, grasp the wand, draw it from
under the arm, and thenceforth retain it till an opportunity occurs
of disposing of the coin as may be necessary. The position of the
fingers in the act of holding the wand is such as to effectually mask
the concealed coin, while yet the hand appears perfectly easy and
natural. The same expedient may be employed with equal advantage in the
remaining passes.

PASS 2.--This is somewhat easier than Pass 1, and may sometimes be
usefully substituted for it. Take the coin edgeways between the first
and third fingers of the right hand, the sides of those fingers
pressing against the edges of the coin, and the middle finger steadying
it from behind. (_See_ Fig. 63.) Carry the right hand towards the
left, and at the same time move the thumb swiftly over the face of the
coin till the top joint just passes its outer edge (_see_ Fig. 64);
then bend the thumb, and the coin will be found to be securely nipped
between that joint and the junction of the thumb with the hand. (_See_
Fig. 65.) As in the last case, the left hand must be closed the moment
the right hand touches it; and the right must thenceforth be held with
the thumb bent slightly inwards towards the palm, so that the coin may
be shielded from the view of the spectators. This is an especially
quick mode of palming, and if properly executed the illusion is
perfect. It is said to be a special favourite of the elder Frikell.

PASS 3.--Hold the left hand palm upwards, with the coin in the position
indicated in Fig. 59. Move the right hand towards the left, and let
the fingers simulate the motion of picking up the coin, and instantly
close. At the same moment slightly close the left hand, so as to
contract the palm around the coin, as in Fig. 60, and drop the hand,
letting it hang loosely by your side.

[Illustration: FIG. 66.]

PASS 4. (_Le Tourniquet_).--This (sometimes known as the “French
drop”) is an easy and yet most effective pass. Hold the left hand palm
upwards, with the coin as shown in Fig. 66. Now move the right hand
towards the left, passing the thumb of the right hand under, and the
fingers over the coin, closing them just as they pass it. The effect
is the same to the eye of the spectator as if you seized the coin
with thumb and fingers, but, in reality, at the moment when the coin
is covered by the fingers of the right hand, you let it drop quietly
(_see_ Fig. 67) into the palm of the left.

[Illustration: FIG. 67.]

The right hand you should carry upwards and forwards after it leaves
the left hand, following it with your eyes, and thereby drawing away
the attention of the audience from the other hand. (_See_ Fig. 68.) Do
not be in too great a hurry to drop the left hand, but turn the palm
slightly towards you, with the fingers a little bent, and, after a
moment’s pause, let it fall gently to your side. The hollow made by the
bent fingers will be sufficient to hold the coin.

This pass is available even for a sixpence or threepenny piece, which
from their small size, cannot readily be palmed by the ordinary means.
It is also very useful for “ball” conjuring.

[Illustration: FIG. 68.]

PASS 5. (_La Pincette_).--This is a modification of the pass last
described. The coin is held as in Fig. 69, between the thumb and first
and second fingers of the left hand. You then make the movement of
taking it between the same fingers of the other hand, which for that
purpose makes a kind of “swoop” down upon it, the back of the hand
being kept towards the spectators. At the moment when the coin is
covered by the fingers of the right hand, it is allowed to slip gently
down into the palm of the left, and the right is instantly elevated as
if containing it.

[Illustration: FIG. 69.]

PASS 6.--This pass is best adapted for use with three or four coins,
as the chink of the coins against one another materially assists the
illusion. Having to get rid of, say, four pence or florins, you take
them in the right hand, as indicated in Fig. 70, viz., well back
towards the wrist. Move the right hand sharply towards the left, with
the fingers foremost, so that the finger-tips of the right hand may
come smartly, at about right angles, against the palm of the left, at
the same time slightly bending the fingers. The coins, instead of being
shot forward (as to the eye and ear of the spectators they appear to
be) into the left hand, are, in reality, retained in the hollow formed
by the fingers of the right, as in Fig. 71. They are turned completely
over as the hands come in contact, producing a loud chink. The left
hand is, of course, closed, and the thumb of the right is allowed to
sink gently on the coins, so that when the hand falls by your side,
they may not make a second chink, and so betray their presence in the
wrong hand.

[Illustration: FIG. 70. FIG. 71.]

PASS 7. (_La Coulée_).--This pass is best adapted for a coin of large
diameter, like the French five-franc piece, and is but little used by
English conjurors. If, however, the student has a very small hand (a
serious disadvantage in conjuring generally), he may find it convenient
to use the pass in question with a half-crown or penny. Take the coin
in the right hand between the first and second fingers and the thumb,
and in the act of apparently transferring it to the left hand, gently
slide it with the ball of the thumb into the position shown in Fig.
72, where it is held by the pressure of the first and fourth fingers
against its opposite edges, the hand remaining completely open.

[Illustration: FIG. 72.]

[Illustration: FIG. 73.]

PASS 8.--The peculiarity of this pass is, that it is made while holding
the wand in the hand, a case in which none of the other passes are
available. Holding the wand and coin in the right hand, as indicated
in Fig. 73, you strike the edge of the coin sharply against the palm
of the left hand, and instantly close that hand. The effect of the
movement is to drive back the coin (which should be held very lightly)
into the position shown in Fig. 74, in which, being behind the first
three fingers, it is completely hidden. You should lose no time in
relaxing the fingers of the right hand, and gently closing them around
the coin, as their straightened position, if continued, might arouse
suspicion. You must, however, be careful that, in doing so, you do not
allow the coin to chink against the wand, as the sound would naturally
draw attention to its whereabouts.

[Illustration: FIG. 74.]

It must not be imagined that all of the passes above given are in turn
used by every performer. Almost every conjuror has his favourite pass
or passes, either selected from those above described, or invented
by himself. Any mode by which a coin can be held in the hand without
indicating its presence may be worked up into a pass. Thus, some
performers will hold a coin by its edges between two of the fingers,
or between the thumb and the side of the hand. Others, again, hold the
coin flat against the first or second joint of the second or third
finger, retaining it by slightly bending the finger. The novice should
experiment till he ascertains which method best suits the conformation
of his own hand. We have specified the hand to and from which each
pass is generally used; but if the student desires to attain special
excellence, he should practise until he is able to use each from left
to right, as well as from right to left. In performing before a company
of spectators, and standing with the left side towards them, it is
well to use a pass which apparently transfers the coin from the right
hand to the left, and _vice versâ_. The coin is thus left in the hand
farthest away from the spectators, and the performer has the benefit of
the cover of the body in dropping it into the _pochette_, or otherwise
disposing of it.

The student will here, as in card conjuring, find great advantage in
practising before a looking-glass, before which he should, in the first
place, actually _do_ that which he afterwards pretends to do, and
carefully notice the positions and motions of his hands in the first
case, which he should then do his best to simulate, that there may be
as little difference as possible between the pretence and the reality.
He should further accustom himself _always to follow with his eyes
the hand in which the object is supposed to be_, this being the most
certain means of leading the eyes and the minds of his audience in the
same direction. When he is able to perform the passes neatly with a
single florin or penny, he should then practise with coins of smaller
size, with two coins at once, and afterwards with three or four.

A word of caution may here be desirable. These passes must by no means
be regarded as being themselves tricks, but only as processes to be
used in the performance of tricks. If the operator, after pretending
to pass the coin, say, from the right hand to the left, and showing
that it had vanished from the left hand, were to allow his audience to
discover that it had all along remained in his right hand, they might
admire the dexterity with which he had in this instance deceived their
eyes, but they would henceforth guess half the secret of any trick in
which palming was employed. If it is necessary immediately to reproduce
the coin, the performer should do so by appearing to find it in the
hair or whiskers of a spectator, or in any other place that may suit
his purpose, remembering always to indicate beforehand that it has
passed to such a place, thereby diverting the general attention from
himself. As the coin is already in his hand, he has only to drop it to
his finger-tips as the hand reaches the place he has named, in order,
to all appearance, to take it from thence.

[Illustration: FIG. 75.]

Having given this little piece of advice as to the hand in which the
coin actually is, we must add a few words more as to the hand in which
it is _not_. Whenever you have (apparently) placed any article either
in the closed hand, or in some piece of apparatus from which it is
afterwards to disappear, you should not, as a rule, show that the
article has departed from the spot where you have apparently placed
it, without interposing some magical process, however slight, which
may colourably account for its disappearance. A mere nothing will
suffice--a touch of the wand, the pronouncing of a magic formula, the
pressure of a finger; but in some form or other the ceremony should
never be omitted. Thus, to take a very simple example, we will suppose
that by means of Pass 1 you have apparently placed in the left hand a
coin, which really remains in the palm of the right. If you at once
open the left hand, and show that the coin is not there, the spectators
will naturally jump to the correct explanation, viz., that you did
not, in reality, put the coin there at all. If, however, you delay
opening the left hand for a minute or two, so as to let the audience
get accustomed to the idea that the coin is therein, and then, before
opening it, touch the hand mysteriously with your wand, or even simply,
as you slowly open the left hand, rub the ball of the wrist with the
second and third fingers of the hand which holds the coin (_see_ Fig.
75), you not only give that hand an occupation apparently inconsistent
with the fact of anything remaining concealed in it, but you suggest
to the audience that the gesture in question is the cause of the
disappearance of the coin. It is surprising what an effect even such a
trifle as this has in misleading the judgment of a spectator. He knows
perfectly well, in the abstract, that touching the closed hand with
the wand, or rubbing it with a finger of the opposite hand, is not an
adequate cause for the disappearance of the coin; but the fact being
indisputable that the coin _has_ disappeared, the mind unconsciously
accepts the explanation which is thus indirectly offered. The advice
here given becomes less important where, before the hand is opened,
you are able to get rid of the object from that in which it originally
appeared. Here the spectator is precluded from imagining that you
retained it in the hand in which he first saw it, as that hand also is
shown to be empty, and the absolute disappearance of the coin being a
self-evident fact, you may leave the spectator to account for it in his
own manner.

The various passes may be employed not only to cause the disappearance
of an article, as above described, but to secretly exchange it for a
substitute of similar appearance. These exchanges are of continual use
in conjuring; indeed, we may almost say that three parts of its marvels
depend on them. Such an exchange having been made, the substitute
is left in sight of the audience, while the performer, having thus
secretly gained possession of the original, disposes of it as may be
necessary for the purpose of the trick. We proceed to describe various
forms of changes, denoting them, as in the case of the passes, by
numbers.

CHANGE 1.--You desire, we will suppose, to exchange--or, in conjuror’s
parlance, to “ring”--a florin, marked by the audience, for another.
You have the latter, which we will call the “substitute,” ready palmed
in your left hand, of course taking care to keep the palm turned away
from the audience. Taking the marked florin in the right hand, you palm
it in that hand by Pass 1, but instead of closing the left hand as the
fingers of the right touch it, keep that hand loosely open, and show
lying on its palm the substitute, which the audience take to be the
original just placed there by your right hand.

CHANGE 2.--This is the same as Change 1, save that you use with the
right hand Pass 2 instead of Pass 1.

CHANGE 3.--Here also you use Pass 2, but you have the substitute palmed
in the right hand instead of the left. Taking up the marked florin with
the same hand, you make with it Pass 2, at the same instant dropping
the substitute from its palm into the left hand. This is a very neat
and effective change. Some performers are expert enough to make this
change by means of Pass 1 instead of Pass 2, the genuine coin taking
the place of the substitute in the palm; but this demands dexterity of
a more than average order.

CHANGE 4.--For this change you must have the substitute palmed in the
right hand, and take the marked coin between the thumb and second
finger of the left. Then by Pass 4 appear to take it in the right hand,
and at the proper moment exhibit the substitute, which you have already
in that hand.

CHANGE 5.--Have the substitute palmed in your right hand, and hold
the marked coin openly on the palm of the left. Pick up the genuine
coin with the right hand, at the same moment releasing the palmed
substitute, which will accordingly fall into the left hand, the fingers
of which should be held slightly hollowed, the better to conceal it.
Show the marked coin in the right hand, and say, “You have seen me
take up this coin visibly, I will make it return invisibly,” or make
some other appropriate observation. Close the left hand, make Pass 1
or 2 with the right hand, with a motion towards the left, but without
bringing the hands near together. The marked coin will, after the pass,
be concealed in your right palm. Immediately opening your left hand,
you show the substitute, which the audience believe to be the original
which they have just seen.

There are many other changes; indeed, they are almost too numerous
to describe. If you are able to palm and to make the various passes
neatly, you will readily invent methods of “ringing” for yourself; in
the meantime, you will find that the above will answer every necessary
purpose, so far as coin tricks are concerned.

[Illustration]



CHAPTER VII.

TRICKS WITH COIN WITHOUT APPARATUS.


There is an immense variety of tricks with coin--some with apparatus,
some without; some demanding a thorough mastery of sleight-of-hand;
some so simple as to be within the compass of the merest tyro. The only
classification which we shall attempt will be to divide them into such
as do and such as do not require special apparatus.


A FLORIN BEING SPUN UPON THE TABLE, TO TELL BLINDFOLD WHETHER IT FALLS
HEAD OR TAIL UPWARDS.--You borrow a florin, and spin it, or invite some
other person to spin it, on the table (which must be without a cloth).
You allow it to spin itself out, and immediately announce, without
seeing it, whether it has fallen head or tail upwards. This may be
repeated any number of times with the same result, though you may be
blindfolded, and placed at the further end of the apartment.

The secret lies in the use of a florin of your own, on one face of
which (say on the “tail” side) you have cut at the extreme edge a
little notch, thereby causing a minute point or tooth of metal to
project from that side of the coin. If a coin so prepared be spun on
the table, and should chance to go down with the notched side upwards,
it will run down like an ordinary coin, with a long continuous “whirr,”
the sound growing fainter and fainter till it finally ceases; but if
it should run down with the notched side downwards, the friction of
the point against the table will reduce this final whirr to half its
ordinary length, and the coin will finally go down with a sort of
“flop.” The difference of sound is not sufficiently marked to attract
the notice of the spectators, but is perfectly distinguishable by an
attentive ear. If, therefore, you have notched the coin on the “tail”
side, and it runs down slowly, you will cry “tail;” if quickly, “head.”

If you professedly use a borrowed florin, you must adroitly change it
for your own, under pretence of showing how to spin it, or the like.

You should not allow your audience to imagine that you are guided by
the sound of the coin, as, if once they have the clue, they will easily
learn to distinguish the two sounds. They are not, however, likely to
discover the secret of the notch, and if any one professes to have
found out the trick, you may, by again substituting an unprepared
florin, safely challenge him to perform it.


ODD OR EVEN, OR THE MYSTERIOUS ADDITION.--This is a trick of almost
childish simplicity, depending upon an elementary arithmetical
principle. We have, however, known it to occasion great perplexity,
even to more than ordinarily acute persons.

You take a handful of coins or counters, and invite another person to
do the same, and to ascertain privately whether the number he has taken
is odd or even. You request the company to observe that you have not
asked him a single question, but that you are able, notwithstanding, to
divine and counteract his most secret intentions, and that you will in
proof of this, yourself take a number of coins, and add them to those
he has taken, when, if his number was odd, the total shall be even; if
his number was even, the total shall be odd. Requesting him to drop the
coins he holds into a hat, held on high by one of the company, you drop
in a certain number on your own account. He is now asked whether his
number was odd or even; and, the coins being counted, the total number
proves to be, as you stated, exactly the reverse. The experiment is
tried again and again, with different numbers, but the result is the
same.

The secret lies in the simple arithmetical fact, that if you add an
odd number to an even number the result will be odd; if you add an odd
number to an odd number the result will be even. You have only to take
care, therefore, that the number you yourself add, whether large or
small, shall always be odd.


TO CHANGE A FLORIN INTO A PENNY, BACK AGAIN, AND THEN TO PASS THE
SAME INVISIBLY INTO THE POCKET OF THE OWNER.--This is a trick of
genuine sleight-of-hand, and will test your expertness in two or three
different passes. Having beforehand palmed a penny in your right hand,
you borrow from one of the company a florin (or half-crown), requesting
the owner to mark it in such manner that he may be able to identify it.
Make him stand up facing you, your own right side and his left being
towards the audience. Taking the marked florin between the fingers and
thumb of the right hand (the back of which, from your position, will be
toward the spectators), you ask him whether he is nervous, whether he
can hold fast, and so on. On receiving satisfactory replies, you state
that you are about to put him to the test, and request him to hold out
his right hand, telling him that you are about to count three, and that
at the word “three” you will drop the florin into his hand, which he
is to close tightly upon it. You accordingly count, “One! two! three!”
each time making a motion as of dropping the florin into his hand, and
at the word “three” actually do drop it, when he closes his hand upon
it, as directed; but you are not satisfied. “That won’t do, my dear
sir,” you exclaim; “you are not half quick enough--you allow all the
electric fluid to escape. We’ll try once more, and pray be a little
quicker in your movements. Oblige me with the coin again. Now, then,
are you ready?--One! _two_!! THREE!!!” giving the words with great
energy. As you say “three” you stamp your foot, and apparently again
drop the florin, but really drop the penny instead, by Change 3. He is
sure this time to close his hand very quickly, and, having no reason to
the contrary, naturally believes that it is the florin which he holds,
your previous feint, when you did actually drop the florin, being
specially designed to lead him to that conclusion. You next request
him to hold the closed hand high, that all may see it. This draws the
general attention to him, and away from yourself, and enables you to
place in your palm the florin, which was left, after the change, in the
bend of your right thumb. You continue, “You did better that time, sir.
Now, what will you bet me that I cannot take that two-shilling-piece
out of your hand without your knowing it?” Whether he admits or defies
your power, the course of the trick is the same. “Well,” you say at
last, “you seem so determined that I am almost afraid to take the whole
of the two-shilling piece away from you, I think I must be content with
one-and-elevenpence. Allow me to touch your hand with my wand.” You do
so, and on opening his hand he discovers that the two-shilling piece
has changed into a penny.

You thank him for his assistance, hand him the penny, and dismiss him
to his seat. Naturally enough, he objects to accept the penny in place
of his florin. You pretend at first not to understand him, but, as
if suddenly enlightened, you exclaim, “Oh, the florin, you want the
florin? My dear sir,” indicating the penny, “that _is_ the florin.
At present it is under an electric influence, but you have only to
wait till that goes off (it won’t take more than three weeks or so),
when it will resume its former appearance. You don’t believe me, I
see; but I can easily convince you by discharging the electric fluid,
when the change will take place at once. Observe!” You take the penny
between the thumb and second finger of the left hand (after the manner
indicated in Fig. 66), and make Change 4, making a gentle rubbing
movement with the fingers and thumb of the right hand before you open
that hand and disclose the restored florin, at the same time carelessly
dropping your left hand to your side, and letting fall the penny into
your _pochette_ on that side. Bring up the left hand again, showing,
but without apparent design, that it is empty; and still holding the
coin in the right hand, make Pass 1, as if you transferred it to the
left hand. Make a motion with the left hand, as if handing the coin,
and say to the owner, “Will you be good enough to examine the florin,
and see that it is the same you marked.” He naturally holds out his
hand for the coin, which he believes to be in your left hand, and which
you pretend to give him; but it has vanished. “Well,” you say, “is it
the same florin?” Looking, probably, rather foolish, he replies that
he has not got it. “Not got it!” you say; “why I have just given it to
you. I passed it into your pocket. Look for yourself.” He forthwith
begins to search his pockets. “You are trying the wrong one,” you say;
“this is the pocket.” As if desiring merely to assist his search, you
plunge into any pocket which he has not yet tried your right hand (in
the palm of which the coin was left after the pass), and letting the
coin drop to the finger ends, take it out as if it were already in the
pocket, as nine-tenths of the audience will believe it to have been.


TO MAKE A MARKED FLORIN AND PENNY, WRAPPED IN SEPARATE HANDKERCHIEFS,
CHANGE PLACES AT COMMAND.--Borrow a florin (or half-crown) and a penny,
requesting the owners to mark them, that they may be sure of knowing
them again. Also borrow two pocket handkerchiefs.

It may be well to mention, once for all, that it is generally desirable
to borrow from the audience, when you can, any indifferent article used
in a trick (_e.g._, a hat, a watch, or a handkerchief), as you thereby
seem to give a guarantee for the absence of preparation. Articles so
borrowed are taken upon trust, so to speak, and by making a secret
exchange you may still use a prepared substitute, which will escape the
close scrutiny to which any article confessedly provided by yourself
would be subjected.

While the articles above mentioned are being collected from the
audience, you secretly palm in your left hand a penny of your own.
Receiving the borrowed coins in your right hand, apparently transfer
them to the left, but really only transfer the florin, the marked
penny remaining in your right hand. This may be effected by making
Pass 2 with the marked penny, at the same time allowing the marked
florin to drop from the palm as directed in Change 3. Take the earliest
opportunity of transferring the marked penny to the palm of the right
hand, and showing the marked florin and the substitute penny (which
the spectators take to be the genuine one) on the open left hand,
place them on your table, begging the audience to observe that they
do not for one moment leave their sight. Then picking up with the
right hand the florin, on which you may casually show the mark, and
throwing one of the borrowed handkerchiefs over the hand, take hold
(through the handkerchief) of apparently the florin which you have
just shown, but really of the marked penny, and transfer the marked
florin to the palm. The shape of the coin, which the audience take to
be the florin, will be distinctly seen through the handkerchief, whose
folds will fall down around it. Give the handkerchief containing the
coin to some person, requesting him to hold it tightly just below the
coin, and well above his head, that all may see it.[J] Now take up
the substitute penny, and apparently wrap it, in like manner, in the
second handkerchief, really substituting as before the coin concealed
in your palm. The substitute penny, which remains in your right hand,
you must drop into your _pochette_ or _profonde_ at the first available
opportunity. Give the second handkerchief to another person to hold.
The first handkerchief now, to all appearance, contains the florin, and
the second the penny. Invite the two persons to stand face to face,
the hands holding the handkerchiefs just touching, and after gravely
cautioning them to hold very tight, etc., etc., give their hands a
gentle rap with your wand, saying, “Change!” Upon examination, the
coins are found to have obeyed your commands.

    [J] This takes it out of the range of his eyes, and prevents
        his indulging any desire for a premature examination of the
        contents.

Managed with neatness and address, this is an admirable drawing-room
trick; the previous marking of the coins apparently precluding any
possibility of using substitutes, and allowing the spectator no
alternative but to admit that by some mysterious means the identical
coins have changed places.

A similar trick may be performed without the use of the handkerchief.
As before, you borrow a marked florin and penny, exchanging the latter
for one of your own, and palm the genuine one. Taking up the marked
florin from the table, you hand it to some one to hold, substituting
for it as you do so the genuine penny by Change 3, as indicated in the
trick last described. The florin is thus left in your right hand. Palm
it, and take up the substitute penny between the second finger and
thumb of the left hand, and pretend by Pass 4 to transfer it to the
right, which you immediately close. Drop the penny into your _pochette_
on the left side, and announce that by your magic power you will compel
the penny which you hold to change places with the florin held by the
spectator. When the hands are opened, the supposed change is found to
be accomplished.


TO MAKE TWO MARKED COINS, WRAPPED IN SEPARATE HANDKERCHIEFS, COME
TOGETHER IN ONE OF THEM.--The coins and handkerchiefs borrowed for
the purpose of the last trick will again serve in this one. Palm in
your right hand a penny of your own, and throw over the same hand
one of the borrowed handkerchiefs. This will effectually conceal the
substitute penny, which you may now take between the finger and thumb.
Holding the handkerchief spread out upon the open hand, you take up
with the left hand the marked penny and place it on the handkerchief,
as if to wrap it therein, but at the same time with the third finger
push a fold of the handkerchief under the substitute penny in your
right hand. You now invert the handkerchief over your left hand for a
minute, allowing the marked penny to drop back into that hand, and at
the same time twist the fold already mentioned around the substitute.
The audience see the shape of a coin wrapped up in the handkerchief,
and naturally believe that it is that of the marked penny which you
have apparently placed inside it. In reality, it is that of your own
penny, wrapped merely in an outside fold. You now hand the handkerchief
to some one to hold, requesting him to grasp the coin, and hold tightly.

[Illustration: FIG. 76.]

The marked penny, it will be remembered, remains in your left hand,
and the marked florin on the table. As you go to take up the latter,
you transfer the penny to your right hand, and palm it; then pick up
the florin, holding it at the tips of the fingers. Spread the second
handkerchief on the open palm of the left hand. Bring the florin down
smartly upon it, and by the same movement let the penny fall from the
palm on to the handkerchief. The two coins will now be lying (covered
by the right hand) on the handkerchief, a couple of inches apart.
Close the left hand on both coins, and turn the hand over, so that the
edges of the handkerchief hang down. With the right hand grasp the
handkerchief five or six inches below the coins. Take one of these
through the handkerchief between the finger and thumb of the left
hand, letting the other fall loose inside the handkerchief, which
you then invite some one to hold in like manner, but in a horizontal
position. (_See_ Fig. 76.) This position is adopted in order that the
two coins may not, by any accidental chink, prematurely disclose the
fact that both are already in the handkerchief.

[Illustration: FIG. 77.]

You now announce that you are about to make both coins pass into one
handkerchief. Advancing to the person who holds the first handkerchief,
you request him, still maintaining his hold, to remove his hand four
or five inches below the coin, to give you room to operate. First
showing that your hand is empty, you gently rub the substitute penny
through the handkerchief between your finger and thumb, when, being
only wrapped within a fold, it quickly falls into your hand. No one
ever thinks of inquiring at this point whether it is the marked one
or not. Taking it in the left hand, in position for Pass 4, you say
to the person holding the second handkerchief “Having extracted this
penny from the one handkerchief, I will now pass it into the other.
I won’t even touch the handkerchief, but will simply take the coin
in my hand, and say, ‘Pass!’ Will you be good enough, at the word
‘pass,’ to let go of the coin you are holding, but still keep hold of
the handkerchief with the other hand.” Appearing, by Pass 4, to take
the penny in the right hand, you open that hand with a quick motion
towards the handkerchief, saying, “Pass!” The person holding the
handkerchief looses his hold, as directed, when the two coins are heard
to chink together, as though the second coin had just arrived in the
handkerchief, and on examination they are, of course, found to be those
marked.

We may here describe another and still neater mode (the invention, we
believe, of M. Robert-Houdin) of apparently wrapping a coin securely in
a handkerchief, though really only covered by an outer fold.

[Illustration: FIG. 78.]

Holding the coin upright between the fingers and thumb of the left
hand, throw the handkerchief fairly over it. Having shown that it is
fairly covered, remark, “But perhaps you may fancy I have changed the
coin. Allow me to show you that I have not.” With the right hand, palm
upwards, take the coin through the handkerchief, (as shown in Fig.
77), between the first and second fingers of that hand. For a moment
let go with the left hand (but without removing it from under the
handkerchief). Turn over the right hand towards yourself, and again
seize the coin with the left hand; but this time nip the opposite
edge of the coin to that which it first held, and through the double
thickness of the handkerchief. Remove the right hand from the coin, and
with it raise the outer edge of the handkerchief and show the coin, as
in Fig. 78. Then let the edges of the handkerchief fall. Apparently
the coin is underneath, and in the centre of the handkerchief; but in
reality it is outside, lying in a slight fold on the side away from the
spectators.

The above description sounds intricate, but, if carefully followed with
the coin and handkerchief will be found perfectly simple in practice.
It is worth while taking some pains to acquire this sleight, as it is
of great value in coin tricks.


TO PULL FOUR FLORINS OR HALF-CROWNS THROUGH A HANDKERCHIEF.--You begin
by borrowing four marked half-crowns, florins, or penny-pieces, and
a silk or cambric handkerchief. You then request the assistance of a
very strong man. This gives an opportunity for a little fun in the
selection. Having at last found a volunteer to your liking, you seat
him on a chair facing the company. Spreading the handkerchief on your
left palm, and placing the four coins upon it, you close your hand upon
them through the handkerchief, and hand them to him, requesting him to
hold them firmly. Then, as if suddenly recollecting yourself, you say,
“Pardon me, I have omitted one little detail which is rather important.
Oblige me with the handkerchief again for one moment, if you please. I
ought to have shown the company that there are no holes in it.” (The
last sentence should not be pronounced until you have gained possession
of the handkerchief, as the company might possibly declare themselves
satisfied of the fact without examination, which would not answer your
purpose.). The handkerchief being returned to you, you spread it out
to show that it is free from holes, coming among the audience to do
so, and appearing to lay great stress upon the fact. Again spreading
it over your left hand, you count the coins one by one upon it; then
giving a glance round at the company, you say, as you quickly return
to your platform, “You have all seen that the four coins are fairly
wrapped in the handkerchief,” or make any other remark in order to
draw the general attention, as a sharp, quick remark almost always
will, to your face and away from your hands. At the same moment you
move the left thumb over the face of the coins, thereby covering them
with a fold of the handkerchief, and seize them, through the fold thus
made, between the thumb and fingers of the right hand, as indicated in
Fig. 79, immediately withdrawing the left hand. The coins will now be
held in the right hand, the handkerchief hanging down loosely around
them. To any one who has not watched your movements with more than
ordinary vigilance, it will appear that the coins are within and under
the handkerchief, though they are, in reality, wrapped in an external
fold. Giving them a twist round in the handkerchief, you hand it to
the person assisting you, asking him to say whether the money is still
there, to which he naturally replies in the affirmative. You then tell
him to grasp the handkerchief with both hands three or four inches
below the coins, and to hold as tightly as he possibly can. Placing
your wand under your right arm, and taking hold of the coins (through
the handkerchief) with both hands, the right hand undermost, you begin
to pull against him, making a show of pulling with great force, and
remarking that you are very glad it is not _your_ handkerchief, that
you should not have thought he was so strong, etc. Meanwhile, and
while the company are enjoying the discomfiture of the owner of the
handkerchief, you untwist the latter, and secretly get the money out
of the fold into your right hand, and palm it therein. Give one last
pull with your left hand, and let go smartly, observing that you fear
you must give it up, and own yourself conquered. Take your wand in
your right hand; this will make it seem natural for you to keep that
hand closed, and will materially aid in concealing the fact that the
money is therein. Your antagonist, or the spectators for him, will by
this time have discovered that the money has vanished; but you pretend
to be unconscious of the fact, and request him to give it back, that
you may return it to the owners. He naturally declares that he has not
got it. With all the seriousness that you can command, you insist that
he has it, and that he must restore it. On his continued denial you
suggest that he should search his pockets, which you tap, one after
another, with your wand, each giving a metallic sound as if containing
money; but the coins are still not to be found. At last, after all his
pockets have been tried in vain, you, as if upon a sudden thought, tap
the leg of his trousers, the metallic chink still following every tap
of the wand till you have nearly reached his feet, when you exclaim,
“Yes, there it is. Will you have the kindness to put your foot on
that chair?” He does so, and quickly transferring your wand to the
left hand, with the fingers of the right you turn up the edge of the
trouser, giving at the same time a slight shake, when the four coins
are seen to fall out, to the great surprise of the victim.

[Illustration: FIG. 79.]

This effect is produced as follows: The coins being in your right hand,
you introduce them with the second, third, and fourth fingers under the
edge of the trouser; then, with the first finger and thumb which are
left outside, you nip them through the cloth, and hold them an instant
till you have withdrawn the remaining fingers, when with a slight shake
you let them fall.

The metallic chink on tapping the pockets may be produced in two
ways. One method is to use a hollow metal wand, japanned to match the
one you ordinarily use, and containing throughout its length a loose
piece of thick wire, which, striking against the sides of the tube,
exactly imitates the chink of money. The other mode is to use merely
the ordinary wand, allowing the end which you hold to chink against
the money held in the same hand. With a little practice the effect is
equally deceptive as with the special wand.


TO PASS A MARKED FLORIN (OR HALF-CROWN) INTO THE CENTRE OF TWO ORANGES
IN SUCCESSION.--For this excellent trick a little previous preparation
is necessary. A slit, an inch and a half deep, and just large enough to
admit a florin, is made in each of two oranges, and in one of them a
florin (which for distinction we will call No. 1) is placed. These must
be put in readiness behind the scenes, or so placed as to be out of
sight of the audience.

The performer palms in either hand a second florin (No. 2), and
advancing to his audience, borrows from one of them a florin, first
marked by the owner. (This last we will call No. 3). He invites special
attention to the fact that throughout the experiment he is about to
perform, the coin is never removed from their sight, and he accordingly
places it (really substituting, by one or other of the changes, florin
No. 2) in full view on his table. He then goes out to fetch an orange,
and takes the opportunity of slipping the marked florin (No. 3) into
the vacant one. He brings forward _this_ orange publicly, and places it
on his table at his _right_ hand. (The other orange he has meanwhile
placed in his secret pocket on the right side, ready for palming at a
moment’s notice.) He then says, “I think, by the way, it would be as
well to have _two_ oranges. Can any gentleman oblige me with one?” No
one responding, he looks about him, and presently stepping up to one of
his audience, pretends to take from his hair, hat, or handkerchief this
second orange (which contains, it will be remembered, florin No. 1),
and places it on the _left_ hand side of the table. He now (standing
behind his table) asks into which orange, the right or the left, he
shall pass the florin. As the right of the audience is his left, he is
at liberty to interpret the answer in whichever way he thinks proper,
and he does so in such manner as to designate the orange containing
the non-marked florin, No. 1. Thus, if the audience say “the left,” he
answers, “On my left? Very good!” If they choose “the right,” he says,
“On your right? Very good!” Not one person in a thousand will detect
the equivoque.

Taking up florin No. 2 from the table, and holding it in his left
hand, he pretends by the _tourniquet_ to take it in his right, and
thence to pass it into the orange, meanwhile dropping it from his left
hand on to the _servante_, or into the _profonde_. Showing his hands
empty, he cuts open the orange, and exhibits the florin (No. 1) therein
contained. Before giving the audience time to examine it for the mark,
he hears, or pretends to hear, a murmur among them to the effect that
that was not the orange chosen. “Pardon me,” he says, “some of you seem
to think that I had a special reason for preferring this particular
orange. I gave you absolute liberty to choose which you liked, and
I understood you to say that you chose this one. However, in order
to satisfy everyone, I will repeat the trick with the other orange.”
Taking up the second orange, he thrusts the knife through it, in the
slit already made, and gives the knife thus loaded to some one to hold.
Then, standing at some distance from it, he takes up florin No. 1, and,
getting rid of it by one or other of the “passes” previously described,
he makes a motion as of throwing it towards the orange. He now requests
the person holding the orange himself to cut it open; when the genuine
florin, No. 3, is found therein, and duly identified.

The finding of the second orange in the possession of the company may,
if preferred, be omitted, and both oranges be brought forward openly in
the first instance.

Occasionally a refractory spectator may insist upon the wrong orange
(_i.e._, that containing the genuine coin) being cut open first. As you
have offered the audience the choice, you cannot well resist this; but
it makes very little difference. In accordance with the general desire,
you cut open the orange, and show the coin (No. 3), drawing particular
attention to the mark. Its identity being fully established, you offer,
for the general satisfaction, to pass the same coin into the second
orange. Being satisfied that it was the genuine coin in the first case,
the audience will the more readily believe that it is so in the second;
but in this case you should cut open the second orange yourself, as it
will be necessary to again substitute the genuine florin before you
hand the coin to be examined.


THE FLYING MONEY.--TO MAKE A COIN PASS INVISIBLY FROM THE ONE HAND TO
THE OTHER, AND FINALLY THROUGH THE TABLE.--Have ready beforehand a
florin or half-crown, with a little wax on one side of it, and take an
opportunity of secretly sticking it, by means of the wax, against the
under side of the table (any ordinary table) with which you intend to
perform the trick. Have also a similar coin of your own palmed in your
right hand. Borrow a marked florin from one of the company, and lay
it carelessly upon the table, but in so doing exchange it for the one
previously palmed. You now have the substitute on the table, and the
marked coin palmed in its place. Turn up your sleeves, to show that
they have nothing to do with the trick, and make a few introductory
remarks about the extraordinary power of the mesmeric influence as
applied to metallic substances; then, taking up the coin from the table
between the fingers and thumb of the left hand, which you hold with
the palm towards the company, so as to show incidentally that it is
otherwise empty, continue to the following effect:--“Here, ladies and
gentlemen, is an ordinary coin, a mere inert piece of silver. If you
take it in your hand, there it will remain till you lay it down. But
let a person possessing the mesmeric gift only breathe upon it” (you
suit the action to the word), “and it is at once endowed with hearing,
sense, and motion, and will fly from hand to hand at the mere word of
command, and that so rapidly, that its flight is absolutely invisible.
See, I take it _so_” (taking it in the right hand). “One, two, three!
Pass! and it flies back into my left hand again. In order to show that
there has been no substitution, perhaps the owner will kindly verify
the mark.” The coin is examined, and found to be the same.

This illusion is produced as follows:--When you breathe upon the
substitute coin, you naturally turn the left hand palm upwards. In the
act of taking that coin in the right hand, which you do with the hands
in the position depicted in Fig. 69, you drop the genuine coin, which
was previously palmed in the right hand, into the left, the position of
the hand concealing it from the audience. After a momentary pause, you
close the left hand, and hold it extended about level with your eyes.
At each of the words, “One, two, three,” you make a slight motion of
the right hand towards it, and at the word “Pass,” palm the coin by
means of Pass 1, at the same time making a half turn of your body to
the left, opening the left hand, and pointing with the index finger of
the right hand to the coin lying therein. While it is being examined
for the mark, you drop the substitute, which remains palmed in your
right hand, into the _pochette_ on that side, and bring up your hand
empty.

Having proceeded thus far, borrow a second florin, but without in
this case suggesting that it should be marked, breathe upon it, and
lay it with that first used upon the table. Now with your right hand
take up one of the coins, and by Pass 1 pretend to transfer it to the
left, really retaining it in the palm of the right hand. Then take up
the second coin between the fingers and thumb of the right hand, and
announce that you are about to make the coins, which you now hold in
each hand, come together. Holding your arms well apart, you make a
motion with the left hand as if throwing something towards the right,
at the same moment saying as before, “One, two, three! Pass!” and
making the two coins in the right hand come together with an audible
chink. You then open the hand, and show that the left is empty, and
that both of the coins are together in the right hand.

You continue, “You all think you know how that was done, I dare say.
You imagine, no doubt, that the money was merely thrown from one hand
to the other with extreme rapidity. ‘The quickness of the hand deceives
the eye,’ as Shakspeare (or somebody else) says. I will therefore show
you the same experiment in another form in which you will find that no
such solution is admissible. I will pass the money right through this
table, which is, as you see, pretty solid. The quickness of the hand
would not be of much use in this case. I take one of the coins in the
left hand, as before.”

Here, however, you introduce a feint. Taking up the coin in the right
hand, you transfer it to the left, but purposely do it with a pretended
awkwardness, and hold the right hand afterwards rather stiffly, so as
to lead the spectators to believe that you have really retained the
coin in the right hand. To do this cleverly will require considerable
practice, but it will by no means be labour lost, as feints of this
kind are of frequent use.

The spectators, delighted to have, as they imagine, caught you
tripping, are sure to exclaim that the coin is still in your right
hand. “Surely, ladies and gentlemen,” you say, with an injured air,
“you don’t think that I would avail myself of such a transparent
artifice. See for yourselves!” opening your hands. “I won’t ask you
to apologize, but pray give me a little more credit for the future.
Come; we will have no mistake about it this time.” Take the florin
between the finger and thumb of the left hand, and, by means of the
_tourniquet_ or _pincette_, appear to transfer it to the right. Pick
up the second coin with the left hand, and place that hand under the
table, holding the closed right hand above it. Say “Pass!”, open the
right hand, show it empty, and at the same moment chink the two florins
together in the left hand, and bring them up for inspection.

Looking around you, you continue, “I am afraid you are only half
convinced; some of you look incredulous still. Come, we will try the
experiment once more, and we will see whether you can find me out this
time. As before, I take one coin in each hand.” This time you actually
do so. You again pass your left hand under the table, detaching in its
passage the third florin, which you had previously stuck to the under
side of the table, but taking care that the two do not prematurely
jingle together. Then, holding the other florin with the fingers of
the right hand, which should be held palm downwards about a foot above
the table, make Pass 1 with that hand, thus bringing the coin into its
palm, and at the same time chink the other two coins in the left hand,
and bring them up for examination. One of them, in this instance, is
a substitute, and therefore, in the unlikely event of the audience
insisting that the trick should be performed with marked coins, this
last act must be omitted.

With a regular conjuring-table, the trick might be made even more
surprising, from the facilities which the _servante_ would afford for
getting rid of and regaining the coin. But even if you habitually
use such a table, it is better not to avail yourself of it for this
purpose. The trick is, in any shape, too minute for stage performance,
and in a drawing-room it is apt to draw special attention to the table,
which in the case of a trick-table is a little embarrassing.


TO RUB ONE SIXPENCE INTO THREE.--This is a simple little parlour trick,
but will sometimes occasion great wonderment. Procure three sixpences
of the same issue and privately stick two of them (as directed for
the florin in the last trick) with wax to the under side of a table,
at about half an inch from the edge, and eight or ten inches apart.
Announce to the company that you are about to teach them how to make
money. Turn up your sleeves, and take the third sixpence in your right
hand, drawing particular attention to its date and general appearance,
and indirectly to the fact that you have no other coin concealed in
your hands. Turning back the table-cover, rub the sixpence with the
ball of the thumb backwards and forwards on the edge of the table. In
this position your fingers will naturally be below the edge. After
rubbing for a few seconds, say, “It is nearly done, for the sixpence is
getting hot;” and, after rubbing a moment or two longer with increased
rapidity, draw the hand away sharply, carrying away with it one of the
concealed sixpences, which you exhibit as produced by the friction.
Pocketing the waxed sixpence, and again showing that you have but one
coin in your hands, repeat the operation with the remaining sixpence.


THE MULTIPLICATION OF MONEY.--This is an old and favourite trick.
It may be performed with shillings, pence, or florins, as may best
suit your convenience. Whichever you use (we will suppose florins),
you prepare for the trick by secretly palming in the right hand such
number (say three) as you intend to magically add. Advancing to the
audience, you beg the loan of ten or a dozen florins (the precise
number is immaterial), at the same time requesting some one of the
company to collect them, and bring them to you. He collects, we will
suppose, twelve. You request him to count them openly upon the table,
that all may be able to verify their number. This being done, you
invite a second person also to step forward and assist. Picking up
from the table the same number of coins as you have concealed in your
palm, you give them to one of the two persons (whom we will call _A_)
to hold. Then, taking up the remaining coins, you request the second
person (whom we will call _B_) to take charge of them. When he holds
out his hand to receive them, you let fall with them the palmed coins,
so that he really receives twelve, though he believes that he has only
nine. You make him close his hand, and hold it high above his head.
You then ask _A_ for the coins you entrusted to him. On his returning
them to you, you take them between the second finger and thumb of the
left hand, and pretend by the _tourniquet_ to transfer them to the
right, really getting rid of them at the earliest opportunity on the
_servante_, or into one of your _pochettes_. The audience believe that
the three coins are in your closed right hand. You announce that you
are about to pass them invisibly into the hand of _B_, and after the
necessary amount of magical gesture, you open your hand, and show that
they have vanished; and _B_, on examining his stock, finds that the
supposed nine have increased to twelve.

It is a very good plan, in performing this trick, for the performer
himself to collect the coins from the company in a plate, the coins to
be added being held in the same hand which carries the plate, when,
the thumb being naturally above and the fingers below, the coins
are effectually concealed. After the coins have been counted, the
performer, taking the plate in the other hand, pours them from it into
the hand which already holds the concealed coins, thus bringing them
together easily and naturally.

[Illustration: FIG. 80.]

A further improvement may be made in the trick by using, in place of
an ordinary plate, a special plate or salver, generally made of tin
japanned, but sometimes of crockery or china. The speciality of this
plate (which is known as the “money plate,” or “multiplying salver”)
consists in a flat space running along its bottom, between its upper
and under surface, just wide enough and deep enough to hold concealed a
row of coins (florins or shillings, as the case may be), and closed at
the one end, but open at the other, the opening being concealed by the
edge of the plate. (_See_ Fig. 80.) You prepare the plate beforehand by
placing in the concealed space three, four, or six coins, and place it
on your table. When you first take it up, you take hold of it _near the
opening_, when you may, of course, handle it as freely as you please,
as, the mouth of the passage being upwards, the coins cannot possibly
fall out. Letting the plate hang downwards in a perpendicular position,
and passing it carelessly from hand to hand, the audience cannot help
observing that you have nothing concealed in your hands. Then collect
(or count out, if already collected) the money in the plate, and, after
taking away and handing to _A_ a number equal to the coins concealed,
pour the remainder direct from the plate into the hands of _B_, first,
however, so reversing the position of the plate (which you may do by
merely transferring it from the one hand to the other) as to turn the
opening of the passage away from you. When you now slope the plate to
pour the remaining coins into his hands, the money in the concealed
passage will naturally pour out with them (_see_ Fig. 80), thus making
the required addition with hardly a possibility of detection.

It is a good plan to perform the trick first without, and then to
repeat it with, the aid of the money plate, making a great point in
the second instance of the fact that you do not even touch the money,
and accounting for the use of the plate as designed to preclude all
possibility of the use of sleight-of-hand, or any other mechanical mode
of deception. The spectators, having already seen you perform the trick
without the aid of the plate, are precluded from supposing that this
latter has any special connection with the secret; and seeing clearly
that you have in this instance no coins concealed in your hands,
naturally conclude that the same was the case on the former occasion.
Thus the repetition of the trick, instead of assisting them to a
solution, rather increases the mystery.

The trick may be varied at pleasure so far as regards the manner of the
disappearance of the coins which are supposed to be passed invisibly
into the hands of the person holding the larger number. One mode is to
ask one of the company to wrap them up in a piece of stiff paper, for
which you forthwith secretly substitute a piece of similar paper, in
which a like number of coins have been wrapped, but have been removed,
the paper, however, retaining the form of the coins. Taking this in the
left hand, you pretend to take from it, invisibly, with the finger and
thumb of the right hand, each coin in succession, and to pass it in the
same manner into the hand of the person holding the remaining coins,
finally tearing the paper in half to show that they have really passed
away from it. Or you may, if you prefer it, place the coins in question
on the “vanishing plate,” to be hereafter described, whence they
mysteriously disappear as you take them off one by one. This is a very
effective mode. Or you may place them in the “plug-box,” the “Davenport
cabinet,” or any other of the various appliances after-mentioned for
vanishing money.


TO MAKE A MARKED SIXPENCE VANISH FROM A HANDKERCHIEF, AND BE FOUND IN
THE CENTRE OF AN APPLE OR ORANGE PREVIOUSLY EXAMINED.--Have ready,
concealed in either hand, a sixpence of your own, with a little wax
smeared on one side of it. Roll another minute portion of wax into a
round ball half the size of a peppercorn, and press it lightly upon
the lowest button of your waistcoat, so that you may be able to find
it instantly when wanted. You must also have at hand an ordinary
full-sized table-knife and a plate of oranges.

[Illustration: FIG. 81.]

You begin by borrowing a sixpence (requesting the owner to mark it) and
a handkerchief. You spread the handkerchief flat on the table, with
its sides square with those of the table. Then standing behind your
table, you place ostensibly the borrowed sixpence, but really your own
(with the waxed side up), in the centre of the handkerchief, then fold
over the corners, one by one, beginning with one of those nearest to
yourself, in such manner that each shall overlap the sixpence by about
an inch, gently pressing each corner as you fold it down. Ask some one
to come forward, and ascertain by feeling the handkerchief, that the
sixpence is really there. Then offer the knife for inspection, and
after all are satisfied that it is without preparation, hand the plate
of oranges to be examined in like manner, requesting the audience to
choose one for the purpose of the trick. While they do so, your fingers
go in search of the little ball of wax, and press it against one side
of the marked sixpence, which still remains in your hand. Press the
sixpence against one side of the blade of the knife, at about the
middle of its length, and lay the knife on the table, the sixpence
adhering to its under side. Then taking hold of the handkerchief, as
represented in Fig. 81, and blowing on its centre, draw the hands
quickly apart. The two corners of the side next to you will thus be
brought one into each hand, and adhering to one of them (the one which
you first folded down), will be the substitute sixpence, which will
thus appear to have vanished. Hand the handkerchief for examination,
that it may be seen that the coin has really disappeared, and
meanwhile get rid of the substitute into your pocket or elsewhere. Turn
up your sleeves, and show that your hands are empty. Then take up the
knife (taking care to keep the side on which the sixpence is away from
the spectators), and cut open the orange. Cut about half way down with
the _point_, and then finish the cut by drawing the whole length of the
blade through the opening thus made. This will detach the sixpence,
which will fall between the two halves of the orange, as though it had
all along been contained therein. Wipe it with the handkerchief to
remove the juice of the orange from it, and at the same time rub off
any wax which may still adhere to it, and hand it for identification.

The coin may, if preferred, be found in an egg instead of the orange,
the audience being invited to choose which shall be used. This trick
is sometimes performed by the aid of a knife made for this special
purpose, with a small spring lever, after the manner of a flute key,
soldered against one side of the blade. The coin is held in position
by the short arm of the lever, which answers the same purpose as the
wax in the form of the trick above described. The disadvantage of using
this, which is known as the “fruit knife,” is, that you cannot hand the
knife for examination, and this, to our mind, spoils the trick.


THE TRAVELLING COUNTERS.--This is a very similar trick to that already
described under the title of the “Multiplication of Money.” It is
performed with twelve metal counters. The performer begins by counting
the twelve counters on the table; then, taking up four of them, he
hands them to a spectator to hold, and taking the remainder in his own
hand, commands them to change places. On examination, his commands are
found to be obeyed. The spectator has eight, while the performer has
only four. The spectator is now requested to take charge of the eight,
when the operator commands the four which he himself holds to rejoin
them. This, also, is found to be accomplished. The operator now hands
the twelve to a second spectator, requesting him to hold them tightly.
After a moment’s interval, he is requested again to count them, but
finds that he has grasped them too tightly, for they are now welded
together into a solid mass. The performer again takes them, and by
merely breathing on them, restores them to their original state.

The student, with the experience which he has by this time gained,
will naturally conjecture that the trick is in reality performed
with sixteen loose counters, and twelve soldered together; that
the performer commenced the trick with four counters palmed in his
right hand, which he secretly added to the four which he handed to
the spectator; that, taking up the remaining eight, and apparently
transferring them from his right hand to his left, he really
transferred four only, leaving the remainder in the right hand; and
that when he again handed the eight counters to the spectator, he added
these last to them. That in apparently transferring the remaining four
from hand to hand he palmed them, forthwith dropping them into one of
his _pochettes_, and taking from the same place, or from under his
waistband, the solid twelve, which he finally handed to the second
spectator in place of the twelve loose counters; again substituting
the loose ones, as before, when by breathing on them he professed to
restore them to their primitive state.

As the student has so successfully guessed all this, it would be an
impertinence on our part to further explain the trick.


THE WANDERING SIXPENCE.--Have ready two sixpences, each slightly
waxed on one side. Borrow a sixpence, and secretly exchange it for
one of the waxed ones, laying the latter, waxed side uppermost, on
the table. Let any one draw two cards from any ordinary pack. Take
them in the left hand, and, transferring them to the right, press the
second waxed sixpence against the centre of the undermost, to which
it will adhere. Lay this card (which we will call _a_) on the table,
about eighteen inches from the sixpence which is already there, and
cover that sixpence with the other card, _b_. Lift both cards a little
way from the table, to show that the sixpence is under card _a_, and
that there is apparently nothing under card _b_. As you replace them,
press lightly on the centre of card _a_. You may now make the sixpence
appear under whichever card you like, remembering that, if you wish the
sixpence _not_ to adhere, you must bend the card slightly upwards in
taking it from the table; if otherwise, take it up without bending.



CHAPTER VIII.

TRICKS WITH COIN REQUIRING SPECIAL APPARATUS.


THE “HEADS AND TAILS” TRICK.--This is a pretty little trick, of an
unpretending nature, but of very good effect, especially if introduced
in a casual and apparently _extempore_ manner. The performer borrows,
or produces from his own pocket, four penny-pieces. Placing them upon
the table, he requests some one to make a pile of them, all one way,
say “tail” upwards. He next requests the same or another person to
turn over the pile so made, without disturbing the relative position
of the coins, and announces with an air of supernatural knowledge
that they will now all be found “head” upwards. This appears so
ridiculously obvious, that the audience naturally observe (with more
or less straightforwardness of expression) that “any fool could tell
that.” “Pardon me,” says the performer, “it is not quite such a simple
matter as you think. I very much doubt whether any of you could do as
much. I will place the coins again; watch me as closely as you please.
I will place them as before--Tail, tail, tail, tail. Is that fairly
done? Now I will turn them over.” He does so, letting the tips of his
fingers rest upon them. “What are they now?” A general chorus replies,
“All heads, of course!” But on examination it is found that only three
are “heads,” and one a “tail.” Again he arranges them, placing them
this time alternately--head, tail, head, tail. He turns them over. The
natural order (beginning from below) would again be head, tail, head,
tail; but they are found to be head, tail, tail, tail. Again he places
them, tail, tail, tail, head. When turned over they should be tail,
head, head, head, but are found to be tail, head, alternately.

The secret lies in the use of a prepared penny, consisting of similar
halves (in the case above described two “tails”) soldered together,
so as to be “tail” on either side. This the performer palms in his
right hand. After first going through the operation with the genuine
coins, as above, he picks them up with his left hand; and apparently
transferring them to the right, really transfers three of them only.
He then performs the trick with these and the prepared coin, when the
apparently miraculous result above described becomes a matter of course.

It is best not to repeat the trick too often, and a little practice is
necessary in order to be able to return the three genuine coins neatly
to the left hand (in which the fourth borrowed coin must be retained
throughout the trick), at the same time secretly retaining your own.
It is a frequent occurrence for one or other of the company, imagining
that the seeming wonder is, in some unexplained way, a result of some
natural principle, to request to be allowed to try for himself. It is
obvious that, under such circumstances, it would not do to hand him
the prepared coin, and hence the necessity for some quick and natural
method of again getting the four genuine coins together.

The trick may be brought to an effective conclusion as follows: After
you have got rid of the double-faced penny, you may continue, “Perhaps
it is a little too complicated for you with four coins; suppose we
try it with one only, and I won’t even turn it over.” Placing one of
the genuine pence on the middle of the right palm, which you hold out
horizontally before you, you draw special attention to the fact that
the coin is (say) “tail” upwards. Quickly covering it with the other
hand, you say, “What is it now?” “Tail,” is the reply. “Wrong again!”
you say, and, lifting up the hand, show that the coin has this time
vanished altogether. This mysterious disappearance is effected as
follows: When you apparently cover the coin with the left hand, you
bring the hands together with a quick lateral motion as though sliding
the one across the other. This shoots the coin from the palm down the
opposite sleeve, the motion being so quick that the keenest eye cannot
detect it. This little sleight is by no means difficult, and is well
worthy of acquirement, as it may be introduced with equal effect in
many tricks.


THE MAGIC COVER AND VANISHING HALFPENCE.--This is a very old trick,
but is still very popular with a juvenile audience. The principal
apparatus consists of half-a-dozen halfpence, of which the centre
portion has been cut out, leaving each a mere rim of metal. Upon these
is placed a complete halfpenny, and the whole are connected together
by a rivet running through the whole thickness of the pile. When
placed upon the table, with the complete coin upwards, they have all
the appearance of a pile of ordinary halfpence, the slight lateral
play allowed by the rivet aiding the illusion. A little leather cap
(shaped something like a fez, with a little button on the top, and of
such a size as to fit loosely over the pile of halfpence), with an
ordinary die, such as backgammon is played with, complete the necessary
requirements.

You begin by drawing attention to your magic cap and die, late the
property of the king of the fairies. In order to exhibit their mystic
powers, you request the loan of half-a-dozen halfpence (the number
must, of course, correspond with that of your own pile), and, while
they are being collected, you take the opportunity to slip the little
cap over your prepared pile, which should be placed ready to hand
behind some small object on the table, so as to be unseen by the
spectators. Pressing the side of the cap, you lift the pile with it,
and place the whole together in full view, in close proximity to the
die. The required halfpence having been now collected, you beg all to
observe that you place the leather cap (which the spectators suppose
to be empty) fairly over the die. Taking the genuine coins in either
hand, you pretend, by one or other of the passes, to transfer them to
the other. Holding the hand which is now supposed to contain the coins
immediately above the cap, you announce that they will at your command
pass under the cap, from which the die will disappear to make room for
them. Saying, “One, two, three! Pass!” you open your hand, and show
that the coins have vanished. If you use a regular table, you may place
them on the _servante_, and show both hands empty; and then, lifting up
the cap by the button, you show the hollow pile, covering the die, and
appearing to be the genuine coins. Once more covering the pile with the
cap, you announce that you will again extract the coins, and replace
the die; and to make the trick still more extraordinary, you will this
time pass the coins right through the table. Placing the hand which
holds the genuine coins beneath the table, and once more saying, “One,
two, three! Pass!” you chink the coins, and, bringing them up, place
them on the table. Again picking up the cap, but this time pressing
its sides, you lift up the hollow pile with it, and disclose the die.
Quickly transfer the cap, without the pile, to the other hand, and
place it on the table, to bear the brunt of examination, while you get
rid of the prepared coins.

The trick may be varied in many ways, according to the ingenuity of
the performer, but it belongs at best to the “juvenile” school of
conjuring, and we have not thought it worth while to waste space in
elaborating it.


THE ANIMATED COIN, WHICH ANSWERS QUESTIONS, ETC.--This trick is
performed in a variety of different ways, some with apparatus, some
without. The effect produced is as follows:--The performer borrows a
coin, and, after making a few mesmeric passes over it, drops it into
a glass upon the table, where it immediately begins to jump about as
if alive. The performer then announces that the coin thus mesmerized
has the power of fortune-telling, naming chosen cards, predicting the
number that will be thrown by a pair of dice, etc. The coin answers
“Yes” by jumping three times, “No” by jumping once--according to the
approved spiritualistic code of signals. We shall not stay to discuss
the questions asked, which are of the same class as those which are
generally put to the Magic Bell or Drum, but proceed at once to explain
the various modes of producing the movement of the coin.

One plan is for the performer to have a coin of his own, to which is
attached a long black silk thread, the other end of which is in the
hand of an assistant behind the scenes, or elsewhere out of sight
of the audience. This coin is placed on the table in readiness, but
concealed from the spectators by some larger object in front of it.
When the performer advances to the table with the borrowed coin, he
secretly picks up the prepared one, and drops the latter into the glass
as being that which he has borrowed. A short, quick jerk of the thread
by the assistant will make the coin spring up and fall back again,
producing the required chink. It is only necessary to be careful not to
jerk the thread so violently as to make the coin fly out of the glass.
It is desirable, where practicable, to make the thread pass either
through a hole in the top of the table, or a ring fixed to its surface
and placed immediately behind the glass. This will keep that portion
of the thread nearest to the glass perpendicular behind it, in which
position it will be completely hidden by the glass, and so be invisible.

Some performers prefer to use the actual coin borrowed. The
arrangements in this case are the same as above described, save that
the silk thread, instead of having a substitute coin attached to it,
has merely a pellet of wax at its end. The performer having handed
round the glass for inspection, and standing in front of the table with
his left side turned towards the audience, picks up a pellet of wax
with his right hand at the same moment that, holding the borrowed coin
in his left hand, he begs the spectators to take especial notice that
he really uses the borrowed coin, and no other. Having said this, he
transfers the coin, by a perfectly natural movement, to his right hand,
and pressing against it the waxen pellet, drops it into the glass.

[Illustration: FIG. 82.]

The third and last mode of performing the trick is by means of a
special glass, with a hole drilled through its foot. This is placed on
a suitable pedestal (_see_ Fig. 82), in which works up and down a steel
needle, forming the upper portion of a kind of loose piston, _a_. The
top of the pedestal is covered with green baize, allowing free passage
to the needle, which when pushed upward strikes the coin from below,
with much the same effect as the thread pulling it from above. This
pedestal is only available with one of the mechanical tables which will
be described in connection with “stage tricks.” Such tables contain,
among other contrivances, what are called “pistons,” being small metal
rods, which, by pulling a string, are made to rise vertically an inch
or so above the surface of the table, sinking down again as soon as
the cord is released. The pedestal is placed immediately above one of
these, whose movement is in turn communicated to the loose piston in
the pedestal, and thence to the coin.

It only remains to be stated how the necessary knowledge for the
answers is communicated to the person who controls the movements of the
piece. With respect to chosen cards, the cards are either indicated
by the wording of the questions, or are agreed on beforehand, the
performer taking care to “force” the right ones. The assistant is
enabled to predict the throw of the dice by the simple expedient of
using a small boxwood vase, in which there are two compartments, in
one of which a pair of dice (apparently the same which have just been
dropped in haphazard from the top) have been arranged beforehand for
the purpose of the trick. The ordinary fortune-telling questions, as to
“Which young lady will be married first?” “Which spends most time at
her looking-glass?” “Which has most sweethearts?” and so on, are either
answered in accordance with previous arrangement, or according to the
fancy of the moment. Of course, where a question of this kind is asked,
the performer takes care to follow up the question by designating a
number of persons in succession, so that a mere “Yes” or “No” may be a
sufficient answer.

       *       *       *       *       *

We shall next proceed to describe three or four pieces of apparatus
designed to cause a piece of money to disappear, and therefore well
adapted for commencing a coin trick. There are other appliances, more
particularly adapted for re-producing a coin. Any of these will be
available for the conclusion; the particular combination being at the
option of the performer.


THE VANISHING HALFPENNY BOX. TO MAKE A HALFPENNY VANISH FROM THE BOX,
AND AGAIN RETURN TO IT.--This is a little round box, made of boxwood,
about an inch deep, and of such diameter that its internal measurement
exactly admits a halfpenny; in other words, that if a halfpenny be
placed in it, it exactly covers the bottom. The top and bottom of
the box are lined with some bright-coloured paper, and with it is
used a halfpenny, one side of which is covered with similar paper. If
therefore this halfpenny be placed in the box with the papered side
upwards, the halfpenny is naturally taken to be the bottom of the box,
which thus appears empty.

The performer begins by tendering the box for examination, keeping the
while the prepared halfpenny palmed in his right hand. When the box has
been sufficiently inspected, he borrows a halfpenny from the audience,
and secretly exchanges it for his own, taking care that the spectators
only see the unprepared side of the latter. He then announces that
this box, apparently so simple, has the singular faculty of causing
the disappearance of any money entrusted to its keeping, as they will
perceive when he places in it the halfpenny he has just borrowed. He
places the halfpenny in it accordingly, holding it with the uncovered
side towards the audience, but letting it so fall that it shall lie
in the box with the papered side upwards. He now puts the lid on, and
shakes the box _up and down_, to show by the rattling of the coin that
it is still there. He desires the audience to say when they would wish
the coin to leave the box, and on receiving their commands, touches
the lid with his wand, and again shakes the box. This time, however,
he shakes it laterally, and as in this direction the coin exactly fits
the box, it has no room to rattle, and is therefore silent. He boldly
asserts that the coin is gone, and opening the box, shows the inside to
the spectators, who seeing, as they suppose, the papered bottom, are
constrained to admit that it is empty. Once again he closes the box,
and touches it with the wand, announcing that he will compel the coin
to return. Shaking the box up and down, it is again heard to rattle.
Taking off the lid, he turns the box upside down, and drops the coin
into his hand. This brings it out with the papered side undermost,
and so hidden. Again handing the box to be examined, he exchanges the
prepared halfpenny for the one which was lent to him, and which he now
returns to the owner with thanks.

A variation may be introduced by causing the borrowed halfpenny to
re-appear in some other apparatus, after it has vanished from the box
in question. The borrowed coin may, if desired, be marked, in order to
heighten the effect of the trick.


THE RATTLE BOX. TO MAKE A COIN VANISH FROM THE BOX, THOUGH STILL
HEARD TO RATTLE WITHIN IT.--This is a useful and ingenious little
piece of apparatus. It is an oblong mahogany box, with a sliding lid.
Its dimensions are about three inches by two, and one inch in depth
externally; internally, it is only half that depth, and the end piece
of the lid is of such a depth as to be flush with the bottom. Thus,
if a coin be placed in the box, and the box held in such a position
as to slant downwards to the opening, the coin will of its own weight
fall into the hand that holds the box (_see_ Fig. 83), thus giving the
performer possession of it without the knowledge of the audience.

[Illustration: FIG. 83.]

Between the true and the false bottom of the box is placed a slip of
zinc, which, when the box is shaken laterally, moves from side to side,
exactly simulating the sound of a coin shaken in the box. In its normal
condition, however, this slip of zinc is held fast (and therefore kept
silent) by the action of a spring also placed between the two bottoms,
but is released for the time being by a pressure on a particular part
of the outer bottom (the part in contact with the fingers in Fig. 83).
A casual inspection of the box suggests nothing, save, perhaps, that
its internal space is somewhat shallow in proportion to its external
measurement.

The mode of using it is as follows: The performer invites any person
to mark a coin, and to place it in the box, which he holds for that
purpose as represented in the figure; and the coin is thus no sooner
placed in the box than it falls into his hand. Transferring the box
to the other hand, and pressing the spring, he shakes it to show by
the sound that the coin is still there; then, leaving the box on the
table, he prepares for the next phase of the trick by secretly placing
the coin, which the audience believe to be still in the box, in any
other apparatus in which he desires it to be found, or makes such other
disposition of it as may be necessary. Having done this, and having
indicated the direction in which he is about to command the coin to
pass, he once more shakes the box to show that it is still _in statu
quo_. Then, with the mystic word “Pass!” he opens the box, which is
found empty, and shows that his commands have been obeyed.


[Illustration: FIG. 84. FIG. 85.]

THE PEPPER-BOX, for vanishing money.--This is a small tin box, of the
pepper-box or flour-dredger shape, standing three to four inches high.
(_See_ Fig. 84.) The box portion (as distinguished from the lid), is
made double, consisting of two tin tubes sliding the one within the
other, the bottom being soldered to the inner one only. By pulling the
bottom downwards, therefore, you draw down with it the inner tube,
telescope fashion. By so doing you bring into view a slit or opening at
one side of the inner tube, level with the bottom, and of such a size
as to let a coin, say a two-shilling piece, pass through it easily.
(_See_ Fig. 85.) The lid is also specially prepared. It has an inner
or false top, and between the true and false top a loose bit of tin is
introduced, which rattles when the box is shaken, unless you at the
same time press a little point of wire projecting from one of the holes
at the top, and so render it, for the time being, silent.

The box is first exhibited with the inner tube pushed up into its
place, and the opening thereby concealed. A marked coin is borrowed,
but either before or after the coin is placed therein, as may best suit
his purpose, the performer secretly draws out the inner tube a quarter
of an inch or so, thus allowing the coin to slip through into his hand.
As he places the box on the table, a very slight pressure suffices
to force the tube up again into its original position, and close
the opening. Having made the necessary disposition of the coin, the
performer takes up the box, and shakes it, to show (apparently) that
the coin is still there, pressing on the little point above mentioned
when he desires it to appear that it has departed, and immediately
opening the box to show that it is empty. The pepper-box will not bear
minute inspection, and is in this particular inferior to the rattle-box.


[Illustration: FIG. 86. FIG. 87.]

THE BRASS MONEY-BOX, for the same purpose.--This is on a similar
principle to that of the pepper-box, but has no rattle movement, and is
not adapted for any coin of larger size than a shilling. Its shape will
be best understood from an examination of the diagrams. (_See_ Figs.
86, 87.) It has no moveable lid, but merely a slit in the top, just
large enough to admit the coin, which, when once dropped in, cannot be
got out again without a knowledge of the secret.

This, like the pepper-box, consists of two tubes one within the other;
but the inner tube is firmly soldered to the two end pieces, _a_ and
_b_, which are solid. The only moveable portion is the outer tube _c_,
which is so arranged as to slide upwards (within _a_) for about an
eighth of an inch, thereby disclosing the opening of the inner tube,
and allowing the coin to slip through. Fig. 87 represents the box with
the slit open, and Fig. 86 with it closed.

Some little practice is required to use the money-box with dexterity.
The performer should hold it tightly by the middle between the finger
and thumb of his right hand, taking care that the side on which the
secret opening is shall lie toward the inside of his hand. As he drops
the coin through the slit, he should press lightly on the top with the
fingers of the left hand, and at the same time push _c_ upwards with
the right hand. The coin will now slip through into his hand, while a
slight downward pressure as he replaces the box on the table will again
push down _c_, and make all close as before. If the performer prefers
to use one hand only, he should press downwards on the top with the
first finger, at the same time pressing upwards with the second finger
and thumb.

There are various ways of using this little apparatus. It may either
be used as above, as a means of surreptitiously gaining possession
of a coin, to be afterwards produced in some other apparatus, or it
may be used by itself singly, the coin being made apparently to fall
through the bottom at the will of the performer. It may also be used as
a puzzle, its secret being so well concealed that it will bear a very
minute examination without discovery.


[Illustration: FIG. 88.]

THE BRASS BOX FOR MONEY, KNOWN AS THE “PLUG-BOX.”--This is a piece of
apparatus so ingenious in construction, and capable of being used in
so many different ways, that we should recommend the student of magic
to make it one of his first investments. It is about three inches
in height, and one and a half in diameter, and is composed of four
separate parts. _See_ Fig. 88, in which _a_ represents the outside
or body of the box, being in reality a mere brass tube open at both
ends, with a moveable bottom, _b_, which fits tightly in the end of
_a_, appearing when in its place to be a fixture, and to form with a
one complete whole; _a_ has no lid, properly so called, but is closed
by inserting in it what appears to be a solid brass plug or piston.
This plug, however, though in appearance solid, also consists of two
parts--the plug proper, _c_, which is really solid, and a brass sheath,
_d_, exactly fitting it as to its diameter, but a quarter of an inch
longer, thus leaving, when _c_ is placed in _d_, and pushed home, a
hollow space at the bottom of _d_ capable of containing a florin or
half-crown. The sheath _d_ is of precisely the same length as _a_, and
is so made as to fit easily upon _c_, but tightly within _a_. When
the plug-box is exhibited to the audience, the bottom, _b_, is in its
proper place, and _c_, which is shown apart from _a_, is covered with
its sheath, _d_. There being nothing in its appearance to point to any
other conclusion, the spectators naturally believe that the apparatus
consists of those two parts only. If now the plug be placed within
the box, and pushed home, the moveable bottom, _b_, will be pressed
out, and fall into the hand of the performer. On again withdrawing the
plug, the sheath _d_, which, as already mentioned, fits more tightly
within _a_ than upon _c_, is left within _a_; the bottom of _d_, which
comes exactly flush with the lower edge of _a_, now appearing to be the
bottom of the latter. To the eyes of the audience, the box is exactly
as they saw it at first, and it may even be examined pretty freely,
with little risk of its secret being discovered by any one.

The plug-box may be used in a variety of different ways--to vanish,
reproduce, or exchange. For the first purpose, the coin to be got
rid of is dropped into _a_. When the plug is inserted, and pressed
home, the coin falls, with _b_, into the hand of the performer; and
on the plug being again withdrawn, nothing is seen but the interior
of _d_, which is of course empty. Where it is desired to use the box
for the purpose of reproducing a coin, such coin is placed beforehand
within _d_. The box is first shown empty, but has only to be closed
and re-opened, and the coin is found within it. For exchanges, the
substitute is placed in _d_, and the genuine coin in _a_. This latter
falls out with the bottom, and the substitute is in due course
discovered. A half-crown may thus be changed to a penny, or a sovereign
to a shilling.

But the chief use of the plug-box is as an auxiliary in those more
important tricks in which the coin, apparently remaining up to the last
moment in the spectator’s own possession, is suddenly made to appear
in some quarter to which (if it had really so remained) it could not
possibly have been transported by natural means. The performer in this
case places a similar coin beforehand in _d_. Dropping, or allowing
the owner to drop, the marked coin into _a_, he closes the box, which
he shakes to prove that the coin is really there. Giving the box to
some one to hold, he is then enabled, without exciting the smallest
suspicion, to retire, and make what disposition he pleases of the
marked coin, which he has thus got into his own possession. When he
has completed his arrangements, he again takes the box, and, opening
it, takes out the substitute, which the audience naturally believe
to be the genuine coin; and getting rid of this by sleight-of-hand
or otherwise, passes the coin (at that very moment, so far as the
audience can judge) to the place where it is ultimately destined to be
found.

A favourite mode of using the plug-box is as follows:--A coin (say a
florin) is wrapped in a small piece of paper, after which the coin is
taken out and the paper again folded in such a manner as to retain
the impression of the coin, and so to look, as far as possible, as if
still containing it. The paper thus folded is placed beforehand in _d_,
and the performer, borrowing a florin, requests the owner to wrap it
carefully in a piece of paper, which he hands him for the purpose, and
which is similar in size and general appearance to the folded piece.
The florin, thus wrapped up, is placed in _a_, and the box closed, the
performer thus gaining possession of paper and coin. The box is then
handed to the owner of the money, who is asked to open it and see for
himself that his money is still there. Seeing the folded paper, which
he takes to be the same in which his money was wrapped, he answers in
the affirmative. The box is again closed, the coin, meanwhile, being
disposed of according to the pleasure of the operator--the owner
finding on a closer examination that his money has departed from the
box, though the paper in which it was wrapped (as he imagines) still
remains.


THE HANDKERCHIEF FOR VANISHING MONEY.--This is another appliance for
vanishing a coin. It is an ordinary handkerchief of silk or cotton, in
one corner of which, in a little pocket, is sewn a coin, say a florin
or a penny, or any substitute which, felt through the substance of the
handkerchief, shall appear to be such a coin. The mode of using it is
very simple. Holding the handkerchief by the corner in which is the
coin, and letting it hang loosely down, the performer borrows a similar
coin, and, after carelessly shaking out the handkerchief, to show that
all is fair, he places, to all appearance, the borrowed coin in the
centre (underneath), and gives the handkerchief to some one to hold. In
reality, he has only wrapped up the corner containing the substitute
coin, and retains the genuine one for his own purposes. When it is
desirable to make it appear that the coin has left the handkerchief, he
simply takes it from the person holding it, and gives it a shake, at
the same moment rapidly running the edges of the handkerchief through
his hands, till the corner containing the coin comes into one or the
other of them.


THE DEMON HANDKERCHIEF (_Le Mouchoir du Diable_).--This is a recent
improvement on the above, and possesses a much wider range of utility,
inasmuch as it really does cause the disappearance of any article
placed under it, and is available to vanish not only coin, but a card,
an egg, a watch, or any other article of moderate size. It consists of
_two_ handkerchiefs, of the same pattern, stitched together all round
the edges, and with a slit of about four inches in length cut in the
middle of one of them. The whole space between the two handkerchiefs
thus forms a kind of pocket, of which the slit above mentioned is the
only opening. In shaking or otherwise manipulating the handkerchief,
the performer takes care always to keep the side with the slit away
from the spectators, to whom the handkerchief appears to be merely the
ordinary article of everyday use. When he desires by its means to cause
the disappearance of anything, he carelessly throws the handkerchief
over the article, at the same time secretly passing the latter through
the slit in the under side, and hands it thus covered to some one to
hold. Then, taking the handkerchief by one corner, he requests him
to let go, when the object is retained in the space between the two
handkerchiefs, appearing to have vanished into empty air.

This, like the plug-box, is an appliance which no conjuror should be
without. It may be purchased ready-made at any of the _depôts_ for
magical apparatus, or may be of home-manufacture, which in this case
(contrary to the general rule) is not unlikely to produce the better
article.


THE DAVENPORT CABINET.--This little cabinet must by no means be
confounded with the wardrobe in which the notorious Brothers performed
their mystic evolutions. The cabinet now in question is but four inches
high and two and a half square, and consists of two parts, an outer
case, or body, covered at the top, but otherwise open throughout, and a
drawer, occupying the upper portion of its interior space. (_See_ Fig.
89.) When the drawer is removed, the case, which has no bottom, may
be examined throughout, and will be found to be perfectly plain and
unsophisticated; save that a keen examiner might observe a little brass
pin, a quarter of an inch long, projecting from the back of the cabinet
on the inside, just on a level with the bottom of the drawer when
replaced in its proper position. The drawer may also be examined, and
will be found to be perfectly plain, with the bottom (which is so thin
as to preclude any suspicion of a concealed space), covered within and
without with black cloth. On turning the drawer round, and examining
the back, a minute hole may be discovered, corresponding in situation
with the brass pin already mentioned. If a pin be thrust into this
hole, the purpose of the two is immediately manifest; for the pressure
of the pin releases a tiny catch, and allows the bottom of the drawer,
which is in reality only supported by this catch at the back and a
cloth hinge in the front, to drop into the position indicated in Fig.
90. This is precisely what takes place when the drawer, being restored
to its proper position in the cabinet, is duly closed. The pressure
of the brass pin at the back releases the catch, and the bottom of
the drawer falls as just described, and allows any article which may
have been placed therein to drop into the hand of the person holding
the cabinet. (_See_ Fig. 91.) The act of pulling out the drawer again
presses the bottom up to its proper place, where it is secured by the
catch until once more released by the pressure of the pin. The strong
point of this ingenious little apparatus is that it is absolutely
self-acting, and its secret can only be detected by examining the
cabinet from below at the moment when the drawer is pushed home; and
this it is easy to prevent by the simple expedient of handing each
portion _separately_ for inspection.

[Illustration: FIG. 89. FIG. 90. FIG. 91.]

The performer begins by handing first the cabinet and then the drawer
for examination. Then, placing the cabinet on the palm of his hand,
he invites any one of the audience to deposit any small article, a
coin, a ring, a watch, etc., in the drawer, and to replace the drawer
in the cabinet. As soon as the drawer is closed, the article drops
through into his hand. Taking hold of the cabinet with the other hand
(lifting it by the top only, and with the very tips of his fingers, so
as to preclude all apparent possibility of deception), he places it on
the table or elsewhere, in full view. Having thus gained possession of
the borrowed article, he concludes the trick by reproducing it in any
manner he thinks proper.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have thus far discussed pieces of apparatus more especially designed
to cause the _disappearance_ of a coin, and thus adapted for use in the
first stage of a trick. We shall next consider such as are intended to
reproduce, under more or less surprising circumstances, the coin thus
got rid of, such reproduction forming the second stage, or _dénouement_.


THE NEST OF BOXES.--This consists of a number, generally six, but
sometimes more, of circular wooden boxes, one within the other, the
largest or outer box having much the appearance, but being nearly
double the size, of an ordinary tooth-powder box, and the smallest
being just large enough to contain a shilling. The series is so
accurately made, that by arranging the boxes in due order one within
the other, and the lids in like manner, you may, by simply putting on
all the lids together, close all the boxes at once, though they can
only be opened one by one.

These are placed, the boxes together and the lids together, anywhere
so as to be just out of sight of the audience. If on your table, they
may be hidden by any more bulky article. Having secretly obtained
possession, by either of the means before described, of a coin which
is ostensibly deposited in some other piece of apparatus, _e.g._, the
Davenport Cabinet, you seize your opportunity to drop it into the
innermost box, and to put on the united lids. You then bring forward
the nest of boxes (which the spectators naturally take to be one box
only), and announce that the shilling will at your command pass from
the place in which it has been deposited into the box which you hold
in your hand, and which you forthwith deliver to one of the audience
for safe keeping. Touching both articles with the mystic wand, you
invite inspection of the first to show that the money has departed, and
then of the box, wherein it is to be found. The holder opens the box,
and finds another, and then another, and in the innermost of all the
marked coin. Seeing how long the several boxes have taken to open, the
spectators naturally infer that they must take as long to close, and
(apart from the other mysteries of the trick), are utterly at a loss to
imagine how, with the mere moment of time at your command, you could
have managed to insert the coin, and close so many boxes.

If you desire to use the nest for a coin larger than a shilling, you
can make it available for that purpose by removing beforehand the
smallest box. Nests of square boxes, with hinged lids and self-closing
locks, are made, both in wood and in tin, on the same principle. These
are designed for larger articles, and greatly vary in size and price.


THE BALL OF BERLIN WOOL.--An easy and effective mode of terminating a
money trick is to pass the marked coin into the centre of a large ball
of Berlin wool or worsted, the whole of which has to be unwound before
the coin can be reached. The _modus operandi_, though perplexing to
the uninitiated, is absurdly simple when the secret is revealed. The
only apparatus necessary over and above the wool (of which you must
have enough for a good-sized ball), is a flat tin tube, three to four
inches in length, and just large enough to allow a florin or shilling
(whichever you intend to use for the trick) to slip through it easily.
You prepare for the trick by winding the wool on one end of the tube,
in such manner that when the whole is wound in a ball, an inch or
so of the tube may project from it. This you place in your pocket,
or anywhere out of sight of the audience. You commence the trick by
requesting some one to mark a coin, which you forthwith exchange,
by one or other of the means already described, for a substitute of
your own, and leave the latter in the possession or in view of the
spectators, while you retire to fetch your ball of wool, or simply
take it from your pocket. Before producing it, you drop the genuine
coin down the tube into the centre of the ball, and withdraw the tube,
giving the ball a squeeze to remove all trace of an opening. You then
bring it forward, and place it in a glass goblet or tumbler, which you
hand to a spectator to hold. Taking the substitute coin, you announce
that you will make it pass invisibly into the very centre of the ball
of wool, which you accordingly pretend to do, getting rid of it by
means of one or other of the Passes described in Chapter VI. You then
request a second spectator to take the loose end of the wool, and to
unwind the ball, which, when he has done, the coin falls out into the
goblet.

The only drawback to the trick is the tediousness of the process of
unwinding. To obviate this, some performers use a wheel made for the
purpose, which materially shortens the length of the operation.


THE GLASS GOBLET AND COVER.--This apparatus consists of an ordinary
glass goblet, of rather large size, with a japanned tin cover, in
shape not unlike the lid of a coffee-pot, but of sufficient height to
contain, in an upright position, a couple of florins or half-crowns.
These are placed side by side in a flat tube, just large enough to
admit them, fixed in a slightly sloping position in the upper part of
the cover, and divided in two by a tin partition. Across the lower end
of this tube is a tin slide, which, in its normal condition, is kept
closed by the action of a spring, but is drawn back whenever a knob on
the top of the cover is pressed down. If a slight pressure be applied,
one coin only is released; but if the knob be still further pressed
down, the second also falls. The mechanism of the cover is concealed by
a flat plate or lining, also of tin, soldered just within it, with an
oblong opening just large enough to admit of the passage of the coins.
The inside of the cover is japanned black, the outside according to the
taste of the maker.

You take care not to bring on the goblet and cover until you have, by
substitution, gained possession of the two marked coins which you have
borrowed for the purpose of the trick. Retiring to fetch the glass and
cover, you prepare the latter by inserting the marked coins. This you
do by holding the cover upside down, pressing the knob (thus drawing
back the spring slide), and dropping the coins into their receptacle.
On removing the pressure on the knob, the slide returns to its normal
position. You then bring forward the goblet and cover, and place
them on the table. Holding the goblet upside down, to show that it is
empty, you place the cover over it, ostensibly to prevent anything
being secretly passed into it, and, for still greater security,
throw a handkerchief, borrowed for that purpose, over the whole. You
now announce that, notwithstanding the difficulties which you have
voluntarily placed in the way, you will pass the two marked coins
through the handkerchief, and through the metal cover into the glass.
Taking in your right hand one of the substitutes, which have all along
remained in sight, and which the audience take to be the genuine coins,
you pretend by Pass 1 to transfer it to your left, and pressing gently
on the knob with the last-mentioned hand, cause one of the marked coins
to drop from the cover, at the same moment opening the hand to show
that the coin has left it. The audience hear, though they do not see,
the fall of the coin. With the second coin it is well to introduce an
element of variety, and you may therefore offer to dispense with the
handkerchief, that all may see as well as hear the coin arrive. As a
further variation, you may use your wand as the conducting medium.
Taking the substitute coin in the left hand, you apparently, by Pass
4, transfer it to your right. Then taking the wand in the left hand,
you hold it perpendicularly, with its lower end resting upon the knob
of the cover. Holding it with the thumb and second finger of the right
hand, one on each side of it, you draw them smartly downwards, at the
same time pressing with the wand on the knob, when the second coin will
be seen and heard to fall into the glass. Taking off the cover, and
leaving it on the table, you bring forward the glass, and allow the
owners to take out and identify the coins.

It is a great addition to have a second cover, similar in appearance
to the first, but hollow throughout, and without any mechanism. You
are thus enabled to hand both goblet and cover for examination before
performing the trick. As you return to your table, your back being
towards the spectators, you have ample opportunity for substituting the
mechanical cover, the plain one being dropped either into one of your
_profondes_, or on to the _servante_ of your table.


THE GLASS WITHOUT COVER, FOR MONEY.--This is of tumbler shape, without
foot, and of green or other dark-coloured glass, so that it is
semi-opaque. In this instance no cover is used, and the borrowed coins
are not seen, but merely heard, to drop into the glass, where they are
found in due course.

The secret of the glass lies in a false bottom of tin, working on a
hinge, and held down by a catch worked by a pin through the bottom of
the glass, and flying up with a spring when released. The performer,
having gained possession of three or four borrowed coins by either of
the means before mentioned, retires to fetch the glass, and takes the
opportunity to place the coins beneath the false bottom. He then comes
forward, glass in hand. He does not offer the glass for examination,
but turns it upside down, and rattles his wand inside it, showing,
ostensibly, that it is empty. Having done this, he places it on his
table, as near the back of the stage as possible, at the same time
moving the catch, and so releasing the false bottom, which naturally
flies up, and uncovers the concealed coins. Standing at a considerable
distance from the glass, he takes one by one the substitutes, which
to the eyes of the audience represent the genuine coins, and gets rid
of them by one or other of the various passes, saying as each one
apparently vanishes from his hand, “One, two, three--Pass!” At the same
moment the sound of a falling coin is heard, proceeding apparently from
the glass, but really from behind the scenes, or any other available
spot out of sight, where an assistant, placed as near to the glass as
circumstances will admit, drops _another_ coin into _another_ glass.
If the position of the assistant, with reference to the audience, is
pretty nearly in a straight line with the glass which they see, the
illusion will be perfect. When all the coins are supposed to have
passed in this manner, the performer, advancing to the glass, pours
out, either upon a tray or upon his open palm, the borrowed coins,
and leaving the glass upon the table, comes forward, and requests the
owners to identify them.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have thus far described eight different contrivances for vanishing
money, and (including the “plug-box,” which may be used in both ways)
five for reproducing it. It is obvious that either of the first may be
used in combination with either of the second, producing some fifty
different effects. By the use of sleight-of-hand in place of apparatus
at either stage of the trick, still more numerous variations may be
produced, and these may be still further multiplied by the use of other
appliances to be hereafter described, which, though of less general
utility, may be occasionally introduced with excellent effect. The
apparatus which we shall next describe is one which is very frequently
used in combination with that last mentioned. It is known as


THE MIRACULOUS CASKET.--This is a neat leather- or velvet-covered
box, about three inches by two, and two and a half high. When opened,
it is seen to be filled with a velvet cushion or stuffing, after the
manner of a ring-case, with four slits, each just large enough to admit
a half-crown or florin. (_See_ Fig. 92.) By an ingenious mechanical
arrangement in the interior, which it would take too much space to
describe at length, each time the box is closed one of the coins is
made to drop down into the lower part, and on the box being reopened is
found to have vanished.

[Illustration: FIG. 92.]

The casket may be used in many tricks with good effect. In combination
with the magic glass, last above described, it is employed as
follows:--The four coins which have been substituted for the genuine
ones are placed, in sight of all, in the magic casket, which is then
closed, and handed to one of the audience to hold. The performer then
states that he is about to order the four coins now in the casket to
pass one by one into the glass upon the table. “One!” he exclaims. A
coin is heard to fall into the glass. The person who holds the casket
is requested to open it; three coins only are left. It is again closed,
and the performer says, “Two!” Again the chink of the falling coin is
heard, and another coin is found to have disappeared from the casket.
The operation is repeated till all have vanished, and the operator
pours forth from the glass four coins, which, on examination, are found
to be the same which were originally borrowed, and which the audience
believe that they saw placed in the casket.

The casket may also be used with capital effect in conjunction with


THE HALF-CROWN (OR FLORIN) WAND.--This is a wand, apparently of ebony,
but really of brass, japanned black. It is about twelve inches in
length, and five-eighths of an inch in diameter. On one side of it, and
so placed as to be just under the ball of the thumb when the wand is
held in the hand, is a little stud, which moves backwards and forwards
for a short distance (about an inch and a quarter), like the sliding
ring of a pencil-case. When this stud is pressed forward, a half-crown
or florin, as the case may be, appears on the opposite end of the wand
(_see_ Fig. 93), retiring within it when the stud is again drawn back.
The half-crown is a genuine one, but is cut into three portions, as
indicated in Fig. 94, which represents a transverse section of it at
right angles to the actual cuts. Each of the three segments is attached
to a piece of watch-spring, and from the direction of the cuts it is
obvious that, when these pieces of watch-spring are pressed together
(as they naturally are when drawn back into the wand), _c_ will be
drawn behind, and _a_ in front of _b_. (_See_ Fig. 95.)

[Illustration: FIG. 93. FIG. 94. FIG. 95.

The wand is used as follows:--The performer palms in his left hand as
many half-crowns as he intends to produce. Then, taking the wand in the
right hand, and lightly touching with it the spot whence he desires
to (apparently) produce a half-crown, he pushes forward the stud, and
the split coin appears on the opposite end of the wand. He now draws
the upper part of the wand through the left hand, at the same moment
pressing back the stud, and causing the split coin to retire within the
wand, immediately handing for examination with the left hand one of the
half-crowns already placed there, and which by this gesture he appears
to have just taken from the top of the wand. This is again repeated,
and another half-crown exhibited, till the stock in the left hand is
exhausted.

It is desirable, on each occasion of pressing forward or withdrawing
the stud, to place the opposite end of the wand in such a situation
as to be a little shielded from the eyes of the spectators, so that
they may not see the actual appearance or disappearance of the coin.
A very slight “cover” will be sufficient. The end of the wand may be
placed within a person’s open mouth (and withdrawn with the half-crown
thereon), within a pocket, or the like. Where no such cover is
available, a quick semi-circular sweep should be made with the wand as
the coin is protruded or withdrawn.

With the aid of this wand the passage of the four half-crowns from the
casket to the glass, just described, becomes still more effective.
The four substitute half-crowns having been placed in the casket, and
the latter closed, the performer announces that he will withdraw them
visibly, one by one, and will then invisibly pass them into the glass.
Further, to prove that the trick is not performed by any mechanical
or physical means, he will not even take the casket in his hand, but
will withdraw the coins one by one with his wand, and thence pass them
direct into the glass. Touching the casket with the wand, he presses
the stud, and shows the half-crown on the end. Apparently taking off
the coin with his left hand, as before described (the hand, however,
being in this case empty), he makes the motion of throwing the coin
from the hand to the glass, saying, “Pass!” The sound of a falling coin
is heard (as already explained), and he shows that his hand is empty,
the same process being repeated as to the remaining coins.

The wand may also be effectively introduced in the trick of the Shower
of Money, which next follows. After having caught in the ordinary
manner such number of coins as he thinks fit, the performer perceives,
or pretends to perceive, that the audience suspect that the coins are
in some manner concealed in his right hand. To show that this is not
the case, he offers to catch a few coins on the top of his wand instead
of in his hand, and finishes the trick by producing two or three on the
wand accordingly. Wherever you can, as in this instance, produce the
same result by two wholly different methods the effect on the audience
is most bewildering. Their conjectures as to the explanation of the
first method being inadmissible as to the second, and _vice versâ_, the
more they puzzle over the matter, the further are they likely to be
from a correct solution.


THE SHOWER OF MONEY.--The magical phenomenon known under this name
surpasses the philosopher’s stone, in the pursuit of which so many of
the wise men of old expended their lives and fortunes. The alchemist’s
secret aimed only at producing the raw material, but the magician’s
quick eye and ready hand gather from space money ready coined.
Unfortunately, the experiment is subject to the same drawback as the
more ancient process--viz., that each twenty shillings produced cost
precisely twenty shillings, leaving hardly sufficient profit to make
this form of money-making remunerative as a commercial undertaking.

The effect of the trick is as follows:--The performer borrows a hat,
which he holds in his left hand. Turning up his sleeves, he announces
that he requires a certain number, say ten, of florins or half-crowns.
The spectators put their hands in their pockets with the idea of
contributing to the supposed loan; but the professor, anticipating
their intention, says, “No, thank you; I won’t trouble you this time.
There seems to be a good deal of money about tonight; I think I will
help myself. See, here is a half-crown hanging to the gaselier. Here
is another climbing up the wall. Here is another just settling on
this lady’s hair. Excuse me, sir, but you have a half-crown in your
whiskers. Permit me, madam; you have just placed your foot on another,”
and so on. At each supposed new discovery the performer takes with his
right hand, from some place where there clearly was nothing an instant
before, a half-crown, which he drops into the hat held in his left
hand, finally turning over the hat, and pouring the coins from it, to
show that there has been “no deception.”

The explanation is very simple, the trick being merely a practical
application of the art of “palming,” though its effect depends on the
manner and address of the operator even more than on his skill in
sleight-of-hand. The performer provides himself beforehand with ten
half-crowns. Of these he palms two in his right hand, and the remainder
in his left. When he takes the hat, he holds it in the left hand,
with the fingers inside and the thumb outside, in which position it is
comparatively easy to drop the coins one by one from the hand into the
hat. When he pretends to see the first half-crown floating in the air,
he lets one of the coins in his right hand drop to his finger-tips,
and, making a clutch at the air, produces it as if just caught. This
first coin he really does drop into the hat, taking care that all shall
see clearly that he does so. He then goes through a similar process
with the second; but when the time comes to drop it into the hat, he
merely pretends to do so, palming the coin quickly in the right hand,
and at the same moment letting fall into the hat one of the coins
concealed in his left hand. The audience, hearing the sound, naturally
believe it to be occasioned by the fall of the coin they have just
seen. The process is repeated until the coins in the left hand are
exhausted. Once more the performer appears to clutch a coin from space,
and showing for the last time that which has all along been in his
right hand, tosses it into the air, and catches it visibly in the hat.
Pouring out the coins on a tray, or into the lap of one of the company,
he requests that they may be counted, when they are found to correspond
with the number which he has apparently collected from the surrounding
atmosphere.

Some performers, by way of bringing the trick to a smart conclusion,
after they have dropped in all the coins, remark, “The hat begins to
get heavy,” or make some similar observation, at the same time dipping
the right hand into the hat, as if to gauge the quantity obtained; and,
giving the money a shake, bring up the hand with four or five of the
coins clipped breadthwise against the lowest joints of the second and
third fingers. Then pretend to catch in quick succession that number
of coins, each time sliding one of the coins with the thumb to the
finger-tips, and tossing it into the hat.

It is by no means uncommon to see a performer, after having apparently
dropped two or three coins into the hat in the ordinary way, pretend
to pass in one or more through the side or crown. This produces a
momentary effect, but it is an effect purchased at the cost of enabling
an acute spectator to infer, with logical certainty, that the coin seen
in the right hand was not the same that was, the moment afterwards,
heard to chink within the hat; and this furnishes a distinct clue to
the secret of the trick.

It is obvious that, in the above form of the trick (which so far
should be classed among “tricks without apparatus”), the performer
cannot show the inside of his hands; and it is not uncommon to find
an acute observer (particularly where the performer is guilty of the
indiscretion we have just noted) so far hit upon the true explanation,
as to express audibly a conjecture that the money which the performer
catches is really the same coin over and over again. There is, however,
a mechanical appliance known as the “money-slide,” which is designed to
meet this difficulty, and to enable the performer still to catch the
coin, though he has but a moment before shown that his hand is empty.

[Illustration: FIGS. 96, 97.]

The money-slide is a flat tin tube, about eight inches in length, an
inch and a quarter in width, and of just such depth as to allow a
half-crown or florin (whichever coin may be used) to slip through it
freely, edgeways. It is open at the top, but is closed at the lower
end by a lever, acting like the lever of a shot-pouch. (_See_ Fig. 96,
which shows the external appearance of the tube, and Fig. 97, which
represents, on a somewhat larger scale, a section of its essential
portion.) The normal position of the lever (which works on a pivot,
_a_) is as shown in Fig. 97, being maintained in that position by a
small spring. Under such circumstances, the passage of the tube is
barred by the pin _d_ (which works through a small hole in the face
of the tube); but if _ac_, the longer arm of the lever, be pressed
down, the pin _d_ is withdrawn, but the extreme lower end of the tube
is for the moment barred by the bent end of _ac_. The pressure being
withdrawn, the lever returns to its former condition. When required
for use, four or five half-crowns are dropped into the tube from the
upper end, and the tube is fastened, by a hook affixed to it for that
purpose, inside the waistcoat of the performer, so that its lower
end hangs just above the waistband, the lever side of the tube being
next the body. If the tube be lightly pressed through the waistcoat,
the longer arm of the lever is thereby pressed down. The pin _d_ is
lifted, and the row of half-crowns slide down to the bottom of the
tube, where, however, they are arrested by the bent end of _ac_. As
soon as the pressure is removed, the lever returns to its position.
The mouth of the tube is left open, and the first of the half-crowns
drops out, and would be followed by the others, but the pin, _d_, which
at the same moment returns to its position across the tube, stops
their further progress. Thus each time the lever is pressed and again
released, one half-crown, and one only, drops out at the mouth of the
tube.

The use of this appliance in the trick we have just described will be
obvious. The performer, having turned up his sleeves to prove that they
have no part in the matter, shows that his right hand is absolutely
empty. Continuing his observations, his hand rests for a moment with
a careless gesture against his waistcoat, the ball of the wrist being
above and the fingers below the waistband. A momentary pressure causes
a half-crown to fall into his hand. This he palms, and in due course
proceeds to catch, as already described.

As the capacity of the slide is limited, and the same gestures
frequently repeated would be likely to excite suspicion, it is best
to begin the trick in the ordinary manner, and after having produced
three or four coins in this way, to overhear, or pretend to overhear, a
suggestion that the coin is all the while in your hand. Ostentatiously
throwing the coin with which you have so far worked, into the hat, you
draw special attention (not in words, but by gesture) to your empty
hand (the left hand is never suspected), and then have recourse to
the slide. You throw the coin thus obtained into the hat, and again
show your hand empty. You produce another coin from the slide, and
make this serve you for the next two or three catches, and so on, as
circumstances may dictate.

The money magically caught as above may be used for the trick of the
Multiplication of Money, described at page 176, the two forming a
natural and effective sequence.


THE VANISHING PLATE, OR SALVER.--This is a most useful and ingenious
piece of apparatus. In appearance it is an ordinary japanned tin tray,
of about ten inches in diameter; but it has the faculty of causing
money placed upon it to disappear in a most surprising manner. A
number of coins, collected from the company, are placed upon the
salver. The performer, standing but a few feet from the spectators,
openly takes them off one by one, but each, as his fingers grasp it,
vanishes utterly. His sleeves (which in conjuring come in for a vast
amount of undeserved suspicion) may be rigorously examined; but even
though, as a concession to popular prejudice, he should bare his arm to
the shoulder, the result would still be the same.

[Illustration: FIG. 98.]

A closer inspection of the salver (which the performer takes good
care not to permit) would reveal the fact, that though apparently
consisting, like any other, of only one thickness of metal, it is
in reality made double, allowing sufficient space between its upper
and under surface for the concealment of any number of coins laid
singly. The centre portion of the upper surface, though apparently of
a piece with the rest, is in reality moveable, though pressed upwards
and kept in its place by the action of four small springs. When the
performer apparently picks up a coin (which he takes care shall be on
this centre portion), he presses smartly upon it, at the same moment
drawing it sharply towards the outer rim. The moveable portion of the
salver yielding to the pressure, the effect is as shown in the figure
(Fig. 98), and the coin is shot under the outer rim, between the upper
and under surface of the salver, the moveable portion rising again
to its place as soon as the momentary pressure is removed. The tray
is japanned in such manner that the circular lines of the pattern
correspond with the outline of the moveable portion, and will bear any
amount of mere ocular inspection, so long as it is not permitted to be
handled.

The vanishing salver may be introduced with good effect in many
tricks, as, for instance, that of the Multiplication of Money, above
referred to, the coins to be magically added being placed upon the
salver, whence they are taken off one by one, and commanded to pass
into the hands of the person who holds the money. It may also be
advantageously used in conjunction with the glass described at page
201, each coin, as it vanishes from the salver, being heard to drop
into the glass.


THE “CHANGING” PLATE.--The student has already been made acquainted
with various methods of exchanging a marked coin, etc., for a
substitute. There are still one or two appliances for this purpose
remaining to be described, all taking the form of metal plates or
trays, but greatly varying in their construction.

The first, which we only mention for the sake of completeness, as it
is now superseded by later and better inventions, consists of a small
circular tin tray, with a round hole or well in the centre, of about
an inch and a half in diameter and a quarter of an inch in depth. The
lines of the pattern are so arranged as to make this cavity as little
noticeable as possible. The well is moveable, forming, in fact, a
portion of a sliding piece below the tray, in which sliding piece _two_
such wells are excavated, the one or the other in turn corresponding
to the opening in the tray, according as the sliding piece is pushed
backwards or forwards. When the tray is required for use, the
substitute coin is placed beforehand in one of the two wells, which is
then pushed out of sight, and the other brought below the opening. The
borrowed coin is received on the plate, and allowed to drop into the
empty well. As soon as this is done, the operator, with his forefinger,
which is naturally beneath the plate, draws back the slide, and brings
the other coin in sight, while the genuine one drops into his hand. The
construction of the plate, though simple enough in itself, is a little
difficult to explain; but as we only allude to it in order to counsel
the student to avoid it, any obscurity in our description is of little
importance.

The instrument now used for the same purpose is known as the French
changing-plate, and may be described as a combination of the vanishing
salver (page 209) and the multiplying money-plate (page 177). It
is round, and has beneath it a flat tube similar to that of the
multiplying plate; and it is in this tube that the substitute coins are
placed. The upper surface of the plate is similar in appearance to that
of the vanishing plate; but in this case the centre portion is divided
across the middle, and one half only is moveable, sinking downwards to
the depth of a quarter of an inch all along the dividing line, whenever
pressure is applied to a particular portion of the under surface of the
plate. The coins to be changed are received by the operator on this
moveable portion, and immediately handed to some person to hold, the
performer sloping the plate, and (apparently) pouring the coins into
the hands or hat held out to receive them. In reality, in the act of
sloping the plate, he depresses the moveable portion of the surface,
and, as a natural consequence, the coins, instead of sliding, as they
appear to do, right off the plate, slip between the upper and under
surface, while the substitutes fall from the tube below into the hands
of the person who is to take charge of them. The whole movement is
so rapid, and the fall of the substituted coins coincides so exactly
with the disappearance of the genuine ones, that the eye is completely
deceived. The tray, having apparently served its purpose, is carried
off by the magician or his servant, with ample opportunity to make any
necessary disposition of the genuine coins.

A still later improvement is that which is known as


THE TRAY OF PROTEUS.--The tray to which the inventors (Messrs. Hiam &
Lane) have given the above high-sounding title, is the latest, and not
the least ingenious, of the series of magical trays.

[Illustration: FIG. 99. FIG. 100.]

The tray in question will not only change, but add, subtract, or
vanish coins, under the very eyes of the spectators. In form it is
an oblong octagon, measuring eight inches by six, and standing about
three-quarters of an inch high. (_See_ Fig. 99.) It is divided across
the centre, and one half of the centre portion is moveable in the
same manner as in the case of the tray last described, save that
in this instance the depth between the upper and under surface of
the tray being greater, this moveable portion is depressible to a
proportionately greater depth. The opposite or fixed side of the tray
is divided horizontally (_see_ Fig. 100, representing a longitudinal
section) into two levels or platforms, _a_ and _b_, the lower, _b_,
having a raised edge. Where the tray is to be used for the purpose of
“changing,” the coins to be substituted are placed in a row on the
upper platform, _a_. The genuine coins are placed by the performer,
holding the tray as indicated in Fig. 99, on the moveable flap, _c_.
Slightly lowering the opposite end of the tray, he presses the button
_d_, thus sloping the flap _c_, and the coins naturally slide into
_b_. Still keeping the flap open, he now tilts up the opposite end of
the tray. The genuine coins cannot return, by reason of the raised
edge of _b_; but the substitute coins in their turn slide out upon
_c_, which is then allowed to return to its original position. The
necessary movement, though comparatively tedious in description, is
in skilful hands so rapid in execution that, where coins of the same
kind are substituted--_e.g._, half-crowns for half-crowns--the most
acute spectator cannot detect that any change has taken place. A most
startling effect is produced by substituting coins of a different
kind, as pence for half-crowns, the coins appearing to be transformed
by a mere shake into a different metal. The change involving a double
process--viz., the disappearance of certain coins and the appearance
of others--it is obvious that the tray will be equally available for
either process singly. Thus coins placed upon the tray may be made to
instantly vanish, or, by reversing the process, coins may be made to
appear where there was nothing a moment previously. In like manner, a
given number of coins may be increased to a larger, or decreased (in
this case really _changed_) to a smaller number.

This tray has not, like that last described, any additional flat tube
beneath the tray, but one end of _a_ and _b_ is closed by a little
slide, hidden beneath the edge of the tray, to allow of the money
therein being extracted when necessary.



CHAPTER IX.

TRICKS WITH WATCHES.


TO INDICATE ON THE DIAL OF A WATCH THE HOUR SECRETLY THOUGHT OF BY ANY
OF THE COMPANY.--The performer, taking a watch in the one hand, and
a pencil in the other, proposes to give a specimen of his powers of
divination. For this purpose he requests any one present to write down,
or, if preferred, merely to think of, any hour he pleases. This having
been done, the performer, without asking any questions, proceeds to tap
with the pencil different hours on the dial of the watch, requesting
the person who has thought of the hour to mentally count the taps,
_beginning from the number of the hour he thought of_. (Thus, if the
hour he thought of were “nine,” he must count the first tap as “ten,”
the second as “eleven,” and so on.) When, according to this mode of
counting, he reaches the number “twenty,” he is to say “Stop,” when the
pencil of the performer will be found resting precisely upon that hour
of the dial which he thought of.

This capital little trick depends upon a simple arithmetical principle;
but the secret is so well disguised that it is very rarely discovered.
All that the performer has to do is to count in his own mind the
taps he gives, calling the first “one,” the second “two,” and so
on. The first seven taps may be given upon any figures of the dial
indifferently; indeed, they might equally well be given on the back of
the watch, or anywhere else, without prejudice to the ultimate result.
But the eighth tap must be given invariably on the figure “twelve”
of the dial, and thenceforward the pencil must travel through the
figures _seriatim_, but in reverse order, “eleven,” “ten,” “nine,” and
so on. By following this process it will be found that at the tap
which, counting from the number the spectator thought of, will make
twenty, the pencil will have travelled back to that very number. A few
illustrations will make this clear. Let us suppose, for instance, that
the hour the spectator thought of was twelve. In this case he will
count the first tap of the pencil as thirteen, the second as fourteen,
and so on. The eighth tap in this case will complete the twenty, and
the reader will remember that, according to the directions we have
given, he is at the eighth tap always to let his pencil fall on the
number twelve; so that when the spectator, having mentally reached
the number twenty, cries, “Stop,” the pencil will be pointing to that
number. Suppose, again, the number thought of was “eleven.” Here
the first tap will be counted as “twelve,” and the ninth (at which,
according to the rule, the pencil will be resting on eleven) will make
the twenty. Taking again the smallest number that can be thought of,
“one,” here the first tap will be counted by the spectator as “two,”
and the eighth, at which the pencil reaches twelve, will count as
“nine.” Henceforth the pencil will travel regularly backward round the
dial, and at the nineteenth tap (completing the twenty, as counted by
the spectator) will have just reached the figure “one.”

The arithmetical reason for this curious result, though simple enough
in itself, is somewhat difficult to explain on paper, and we shall
therefore leave it as an exercise for the ingenuity of our readers.


[Illustration: FIG. 101.]

TO BEND A BORROWED WATCH BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS.--This little deception
is hardly to be called a conjuring trick, but it may be introduced
with good effect in the course of any trick for which a watch has
been borrowed. Looking intently at the watch, as though you noticed
something peculiar about it, you remark to the owner, “This is a very
curious watch, sir; it is quite soft.” Then taking it (as shown in
Fig. 101), with the dial inwards towards your own body, and holding
it between two fingers of each hand on the back, and the thumb of
each hand on the face, you bend the hands outwards, at the same time
bringing the points of the fingers nearer together, immediately
bringing them back to their former position. The motion may be repeated
any number of times. By a curious optical illusion, which we are
not able to explain, but which we assume to be produced in some way
by the varying shadow of the fingers on the polished surface of the
metal, the watch appears, to a spectator at a little distance, to be
bent nearly double by each outward movement of the hands. The illusion
is so perfect, that great amusement is occasionally produced by the
consternation of the owner, who fancies that irreparable injury is
being done to his favourite “Waltham.” If, however, his faith in your
supernatural powers is so great as to resist this ordeal, you may test
it even more severely by means of


THE WATCH-MORTAR AND THE MAGIC PISTOL.--The watch-mortar is an
apparatus in the form of an ordinary mortar, with a pestle to match.
Suggesting to the owner of the borrowed timekeeper that it wants
regulating, you offer to undertake that duty for him. He probably
declines, but you take no notice of his remonstrances, and, placing his
watch in the mortar, bring down the pestle with a heavy thump upon it.
A smash, as of broken glass, is heard, and, after sufficient pounding,
you empty the fragments of the watch into your hand, to the horror of
the owner. You offer to return the fragments, but he naturally objects
to receive them, and insists that you restore the watch in the same
condition as when it was handed to you. After a little discussion, you
agree to do so, premising that you can only effect the object through
the agency of fire. Fetching a loaf of bread, you place it on the table
in view of the company. Then wrapping the fragments of the watch in
paper, you place them in a pistol, and, aiming at the loaf, request the
owner of the watch to give the signal to fire. The word is given, “One,
two, three--Bang!” Stepping up to the loaf, you bring it forward to the
spectators, and tearing it asunder, exhibit in its very centre the
borrowed watch, completely restored, and bright as when it first left
the maker’s hands.

The seeming mystery is easily explained. The mortar has a moveable
bottom, which allows the watch at the performer’s pleasure to fall
through into his hand. There is a hollow space in the thick end of the
pestle, closed by a round piece of wood lightly screwed in, which,
fitting tightly in the bottom part of the mortar, is easily unscrewed
by the performer, or rather unscrews itself, as he apparently grinds
away at the ill-fated chronometer. In the cavity are placed beforehand
the fragments of a watch, which, thus released, fall into the mortar,
and are poured out by the performer into his hand, in order to show
that there has been “no deception.” When the performer goes to fetch
the loaf, he has already obtained possession of the watch, which, after
giving it a rub upon his coat-sleeve or a bit of leather to increase
its brightness, he pushes into a slit already made in the side of the
loaf. When the loaf is torn asunder (which the performer takes care to
do from the side opposite to that in which the opening has been made),
the watch is naturally found imbedded therein.

If a regular conjuring-table is used, the loaf may be placed in
readiness on the _servante_. The performer in this case, having got
possession of the watch, and holding it secretly palmed, borrows a hat.
Walking carelessly behind his table, he asks, as if in doubt, “Who lent
me this hat?” holding it up with one hand, that the spectators may see
that it is empty. While all eyes are thus drawn to the hat, he with the
other hand forces the watch into the loaf, and then, in bringing the
hat down on the table, introduces the loaf into it, after the manner
of the well-known “cannon-ball” trick, to be described hereafter. The
hat is then placed on the table as if empty, and the pistol fired at
the hat. This little addition heightens the effect of the trick, but
demands somewhat greater address on the part of the performer.

The pistol employed, being of constant use in magical performances,
will demand a special explanation. It consists of two parts, viz., an
ordinary pocket-pistol, and a conical tin funnel, measuring about five
inches across its widest diameter, and tapering down to a tube of such
a size as to fit easily over the barrel of the pistol. This tube is
continued inside the cone, and affords a free passage for the charge,
which consists of powder only. Any object which is apparently to be
fired from the pistol is pressed down between the outside of this tube
and the inside of the tin cone, where it remains wholly unaffected by
the explosion. The outside of the cone is japanned according to taste,
the tube and the rest of the interior being always black.

There are numerous other ways of finishing the trick, with or without
the use of the pistol. The watch-mortar has discharged its duty when it
has apparently reduced the borrowed watch to fragments, and has placed
it in reality in the hands of the performer. The sequel of the trick,
with which the mortar has nothing to do, will depend on the ingenuity
of the performer and his command of other apparatus.

There is another form of watch-mortar, which is frequently used,
though to our own taste it is very inferior to that above described.
It consists of a cylindrical tin box or case, about four inches high
and three in diameter, open at the top, standing on a broad flat foot.
Within this fits loosely another similar cylinder, of about an inch
less in depth. The upper edge of this latter is turned over all round,
giving the two the appearance of being both of a piece. The whole is
closed by an ornamental cardboard cover, also cylindrical. If this
cover be lifted lightly--_i.e._, without pressure--it will come off
alone; but if its sides are pressed, they will clip the turned-over
edge of the upper or moveable compartment, and lift this with it. In
this form of the trick the borrowed watch is placed in a little bag,
and the two together deposited in the upper compartment. In the mortar
proper--_i.e._, the space between the two compartments--is placed
beforehand a similar little bag, containing the broken fragments of a
watch. The cover being under some pretext put on, the upper compartment
is lifted off with it, and the pounding consequently falls on the
prepared fragments.


[Illustration: FIG. 102.]

THE SNUFF-BOX VASE.--This is an apparatus of frequent use in Watch
Tricks, and it may be also made available with many other articles. It
is made of various sizes, from five to eight inches in height, and
of the shape shown in Fig. 102. It consists of three parts, the cover
_a_, the vase proper _c_, and a moveable portion _b_, the latter being
made with double sides, so that it fits at once in and upon _c_. If _a_
is raised without pressing its sides, it comes off alone; but if its
sides are pressed in removing it, it lifts off _b_ with it. In this
compartment _b_ is placed a small round box of tin or cardboard (from
which the vase derives its name), and another box, exactly similar
in appearance, is placed underneath _b_, inside the vase proper _c_.
Whether, therefore, the cover is removed with or without _b_, the
audience see apparently the same box within. The only circumstance that
could possibly excite suspicion would be the greater depth of _c_ as
compared with _b_; and this is obviated by making the bottom of _c_
moveable, resting on a spiral spring passing through the foot of the
apparatus. When _b_ is in the vase, the bottom of _c_ sinks down to
make way for it, but again rises by the pressure of the spring as soon
as _b_ is removed. To the eye of the spectator, therefore, the interior
of the vase appears always of the same depth.

Some vases are made with a “clip” action in the lid, so that by
slightly turning round the knob on the top three projecting teeth
of metal are made to tighten upon _b_, and thus attach it to _a_,
a reverse movement of the knob again releasing it. In this form of
the apparatus the cover may be lifted by the knob only, without the
necessity of pressing on the sides--a very decided improvement.

The snuff-box vase may be used to cause the appearance, disappearance,
or transformation of any article small enough to be contained in
one of the boxes within. Thus, in the case of the last trick, the
performer, having secretly obtained possession of the borrowed watch,
may, instead of using the loaf, conclude the trick with good effect as
follows:--Retiring for an instant in order to fetch the vase, he places
the watch in the small box contained in _c_. Returning, he removes the
cover only, thus exposing the interior of _b_, and requests one of the
audience to examine and replace the small box therein contained. The
box is seen by all to be empty, and, being replaced, the vase is again
covered. The operator now fires at the vase. Having done so, he again
brings it forward, but this time removes _b_ along with the cover. The
other box, which the audience take to be the same, is now exposed, and,
on being examined, is found to contain the restored watch.

If you do not happen to possess the watch-mortar or the magic pistol,
you may make the trick equally effective without them, by using in
their place the “Demon Handkerchief,” described at page 195. Having
borrowed the watch, you place a substitute (which you must have ready
palmed) under the handkerchief, and give it to some one to hold. Then
fetching the snuff-box vase (and concealing the watch in _c_), you
exhibit and replace the empty box in _b_, as above, and place the
vase on the table. Taking a corner of the handkerchief, you request
the person holding it to drop it when you count “three.” Then saying,
“One, two, three. Pass!” you wave the handkerchief, which appears to be
empty, and advancing to the table and uncovering the vase, show that
the watch is now in the box.

It is obvious that the snuff-box vase may equally well be used to
produce the opposite effect--_i.e._, after having openly placed a watch
or other article in either of the boxes, you may, by exposing in turn
the other box, cause it to apparently disappear, or in like manner make
it apparently change to any article previously placed in the second box.


THE WATCH BOX.--This is an oblong mahogany box--size, four inches by
three, and two and a half deep. To the eye of the uninitiated, it is
a simple wooden box, with lock and key, and padded within at top and
bottom. In reality, however, one of its sides is moveable, working on
a pivot. (_See_ Figs. 103, 104.) In its normal position, the side in
question is held fast by a catch projecting from the corresponding
edge of the bottom of the box. To release it, pressure in two places
is required--a pressure on the bottom of the box so as to lift the
catch, and a simultaneous pressure on the upper part of the moveable
side of the box, thus forcing the lower part outwards, and allowing the
watch or other article placed in the box, to fall into the hand of the
performer. For this purpose the box is held as shown in Fig. 103.

[Illustration: FIG. 103. FIG. 104.]

The manner of using the box is as follows: A borrowed watch is placed
in it, the owner being requested, in order to ensure its safe keeping,
himself to lock it up and keep the key. The performer places the box on
his table, in full view, but avails himself of the moment during which
his back is turned to the audience to extract the watch, as shown in
Fig. 103, and to again close the secret opening. Having thus gained
possession of the watch, he can conclude the trick by causing it to
re-appear in the snuff-box vase, or in any other way that he thinks
proper.

There is an improved watch box, the invention of the late M.
Robert-Houdin, which contains, concealed in the lid, a mechanical
arrangement producing a ticking sound, which may be set in motion and
again stopped at the pleasure of the performer. By using this box, the
watch may be heard apparently ticking inside until the very moment when
it is commanded by the operator to pass to some other apparatus.


THE WATCH TARGET.--This is in appearance an ordinary-looking round
target, of about twelve inches in diameter, and supported on an upright
pillar. It is painted in concentric circles, and on the bull’s-eye
is fixed a little hook. Its use is as follows: A watch having been
borrowed, and smashed to pieces or made to disappear altogether, as
before explained, the performer brings forward the target, which is
either held by the assistant or placed upon the magician’s table.
Producing the magic pistol, the performer proceeds to load it (visibly
or invisibly, according to the circumstances of the trick) with the
borrowed watch or the fragments thereof. Then, taking careful aim, he
fires at the target, when the borrowed watch is seen to alight on the
little hook already mentioned, whence it is removed and handed to the
owner.

A closer inspection of the target, which is sometimes of wood, but more
often of tin, japanned, would disclose the fact that the bull’s-eye is
moveable, revolving perpendicularly on its own axis. It is coloured
alike on both sides, and each side is provided with such a hook as
already mentioned, so that whichever side of the bull’s-eye is for
the time being level with the face of the target, no difference is
perceptible to the spectator. There is a little projecting pin, or
stop, at one point of the diameter of the bull’s-eye, which prevents
its making more than a half revolution, and a little spiral spring,
attached to one of the two pivots on which it moves, compels it to
turn, when at liberty, always in one particular direction until stopped
by the pin, so that its normal condition is to have one particular
side, which we will call, for greater clearness, side _a_, always
turned towards the face of the target. The bull’s-eye may, however, be
turned round, so that the opposite side, _b_, is towards the face of
the target, and there is a little catch which retains it as so turned;
but the instant the catch is withdrawn, the action of the spring makes
it fly round again to its old position. The catch is released by
means of a stiff wire passing through the pillar on which the target
rests, and terminating in a round disc of metal in the foot. The mode
of connection between the wire and the catch varies according to the
fancy of the maker; but, whatever this may be, the catch is invariably
released by an _upward_ pressure of the disc from below. If the target
is held in the hand of the assistant, this is effected by the direct
pressure of the fingers; but in stage performances, where the target
is placed on a table, this, as indeed almost every other mechanical
piece, is set in motion by the upward movement of a wire rod (known as
a piston), made, by the pulling of a string, to rise through the upper
surface of the table.

When the target is required for use, the bull’s-eye is twisted round,
so that the side _a_ is turned towards the back, and in this position
it is fixed by the catch. The borrowed watch is then hooked on the
same side of the bull’s eye. The assistant, in bringing forward the
target, takes care to keep the face turned towards the spectators, so
that the watch, being behind, is unseen. At the moment of firing the
pistol the disc is pressed upwards, and the catch being thus withdrawn,
the bull’s-eye instantly spins round, and the side _a_, on which is
the watch, takes the place of side _b_ on the face of the target. The
movement is so instantaneous that the quickest eye cannot follow it,
and the explosion of the pistol at the same moment aids still further
to baffle the vigilance of the spectators, to whom it appears as if the
borrowed watch had really passed from the pistol to the face of the
target.

This forms an effective conclusion to the Watch-Mortar Trick, the
fragments (supposed to be those of the borrowed watch) being placed in
the pistol, and remaining there. Where the watch-box, above described,
is used, you merely go through the motion of taking the watch out,
invisibly, through the top of the box, and in like manner placing it in
the pistol.


THE MESMERISED WATCH. TO MAKE ANY WATCH A REPEATER.--This is a trick
which may be incidentally introduced with advantage in the course of
any illusion in which a borrowed watch is employed. The performer,
addressing the owner, asks carelessly, “Is this watch a repeater?” The
answer is in the negative, and the performer resumes, “Would you like
it to become a repeater? I have only to mesmerise it a little.” So
saying, he makes pretended mesmeric passes over the watch, every now
and then holding it to his ear. At last he says, “I think it will do
now. Let us try.” Taking the chain between his finger and thumb, he
lets the watch hang down at full length in front of him. “Come, watch,
oblige me by telling us the hour that last struck.” (We will suppose
that the time is twenty minutes to nine.) To the astonishment of all,
the watch chimes eight successive strokes, with a clear bell-like tone.
“Now the last quarter.” The watch chimes “two” and stops. “You see,
sir, that under the mesmeric influence your watch becomes a capital
repeater. Let us test its intelligence still further. Here is a pack
of cards; will you oblige me by drawing one. Now, watch, tell me what
card this gentleman has taken; and answer in the proper spiritualistic
fashion, by three strokes for ‘yes,’ and one for ‘no.’ Do you know the
card?” The watch chimes thrice. “Very good. Is it a club?” The watch
chimes once. “Is it a spade?” The watch again strikes once. “Is it a
heart?” The watch chimes three times. “The card is a heart, is it?
Now, will you tell us what heart?” The watch chimes seven, and stops.
“The watch declares that your card was the seven of hearts, sir. Is
that so?” The card is turned, and shown to have been correctly named.
Another card (say the queen of hearts) is now drawn. The watch names
the suit as before, but when ordered to name the particular card,
remains silent, and the performer therefore puts further questions.
“Is the card a plain card?” Answer, “No.” “It is a court card, is it?
Well, is it the knave?” Answer, “No.” “Is it the queen?” “Yes.” Other
questions may in like manner be put, _e.g._, as to the number thrown
by a pair of dice. The watch is at any moment handed for inspection,
and if any suggestion of special mechanism be made, a second watch is
borrowed, and mesmerised with the like result.

[Illustration: FIG. 105.]

The secret lies in the use of an ingenious little piece of apparatus,
which is placed in the waistcoat pocket of the performer, and from
which the sound proceeds. This apparatus, which is represented in Fig.
105, consists of a short brass cylinder (about an inch and a quarter in
depth, and two inches in diameter), containing a small clock-bell, with
the necessary striking mechanism, which is wound up beforehand with
a key, after the manner of a watch. This mechanism is set in motion
by pressure on the button _a_, the hammer continuing to strike as long
as the pressure is continued, but ceasing as soon as the pressure is
removed. The cylinder, which is perforated all round, in order to give
free passage to the sound, is placed upright in the left pocket of the
performer’s waistcoat, which should be just so tight around the ribs
that the mere expansion of the chest shall cause the necessary pressure
against the button _a_, the pressure ceasing when the chest is again
contracted. (The placing of a playing-card in the pocket for _a_ to
rest against will be found to facilitate the arrangement.) This is the
whole of the secret. In working the trick the performer has only to
take care to hold the watch in a tolerably straight line between the
pocket and the audience, when, the line in which the sound travels
being the same as if it actually came from the watch, it will be almost
impossible to detect the deception.

Some performers, instead of placing the apparatus in the pocket, as
above described, hold it in the right hand (the wand being held in the
same hand) and cause it to strike by the pressure of the fingers. This
is in one sense less effective, inasmuch as you cannot show the hands
empty, but it is a very much more easy and certain method, so far as
the striking is concerned.

The striking apparatus is generally made to give from fifty to sixty
strokes. The performer must be careful not to prolong the trick until
the whole are expended, or the unexpected silence of the watch may
place him in an embarrassing position.

It is hardly necessary to remark that the drawn cards are forced. Where
the watch is made to disclose the numbers thrown by a pair of dice,
the dice are either loaded, and thus bound to indicate certain given
numbers, or a box is used in which a pair of previously-arranged dice
take the place, to the eyes of the audience, of the pair just thrown.

[Illustration]



CHAPTER X.

TRICKS WITH RINGS.


THE FLYING RING.--The majority of ring tricks depend upon the
substitution at some period of the trick of a dummy ring for a borrowed
one, which must be so nearly alike as not to be distinguishable
by the eye of the spectator. This desideratum is secured by using
wedding-rings, which, being always made plain, are all sufficiently
alike for this purpose. You may account for your preference of
wedding-rings by remarking that they are found to be imbued with a
mesmeric virtue which renders them peculiarly suitable for magical
experiments; or give any other reason, however absurd, so long as it is
sufficiently remote from the true one. As, however, many ladies have a
sort of superstitious objection to remove their wedding-rings, even for
a temporary purpose, it will be well to provide yourself with an extra
one of your own, so as to meet a possible failure in borrowing.

There is a little appliance, exceedingly simple in its character,
which may be used with advantage in many ring tricks. It consists
of a plain gold or gilt ring, attached to a short piece of white or
grey sewing-silk. This again is attached to a piece of cord elastic,
fastened to the inside of the coat-sleeve of the performer, in such
manner that, when the arm is allowed to hang down, the ring falls about
a couple of inches short of the edge of the cuff. Some, in place of the
elastic, use a watch barrel, attached in like manner; but the cheaper
apparatus, if properly arranged, is equally effective. It is obvious
that if a ring so prepared be taken in the fingers of the hand to whose
sleeve it is attached, it will, on being released, instantly fly up
the sleeve. This renders it a useful auxiliary in any trick in which
the sudden disappearance of such a ring is an element, and a little
ingenuity will discover numerous modes of making it so available.

One of the simplest modes of using it is as follows: Producing a small
piece of paper, to which you direct particular attention, you state
that a wedding-ring wrapped up therein cannot be again extracted
without your permission. A wedding-ring is borrowed in order to test
your assertion, and you meanwhile get in readiness the flying ring,
which is attached, we will suppose, to your left sleeve. Receiving the
borrowed ring in your right hand, you apparently transfer it to the
other hand (really palming it between the second and third fingers,
and at the same moment exhibiting your own ring), and immediately
afterwards drop the borrowed ring into the _pochette_ on that side.
You must take care so to stand that the back of your left hand may be
towards the spectators, that the thread, lying along the inside of your
hand, may not be seen. Spreading the paper on the table, and placing
the ring upon it, you fold the paper over it, beginning with the side
away from you, and pressing it so as to show the shape of the ring
through it. As you fold down a second angle of the paper you release
the ring, which forthwith flies up your sleeve. You continue to fold
the paper, and repeating your assertion that no one can take the ring
out without your permission, hand it to a spectator, in order that he
may make the attempt. On opening the paper he finds that you were very
safe in asserting that he could not take the ring out of it, inasmuch
as the ring is no longer in it.

Having gained possession of the borrowed ring, you may reproduce
it in a variety of different ways, according to your own fancy and
invention. For instance, you may, retiring for a moment, bring forward
the “snuff-box vase” described at page 217, meanwhile wrapping the
ring in a piece of paper similar to that you have already used, and
placing it in one of the boxes contained in the vase. Bringing the vase
forward to the audience, you open it in such manner as to exhibit the
other box, in which, after it has been duly examined, you request one
of the audience to place the empty paper. Closing the vase, and placing
it on the table, you fire your pistol at it, or merely touch it with
your wand, and order the ring to return to the paper. You now open the
vase at the compartment containing the first box. Drawing particular
attention to the fact that you have not even touched the box, you
again offer it for inspection. The folded paper, which the audience
take to be the same, is duly found therein, and, on being opened, is
shown to contain the borrowed ring.

A similar effect, on a smaller scale, may be produced by privately
placing the paper containing the ring in the inner compartment of the
“plug-box” (described at page 192), and requesting one of the audience
to place the original folded paper in the outer compartment.


TO PASS A RING FROM THE ONE HAND TO EITHER FINGER OF THE OTHER
HAND.--This is a very old and simple trick, but it has puzzled many,
and comes in appropriately in this place, as affording another
illustration of the use of the “flying ring.” The only additional
preparation consists of a little hook, such as is used to fasten
ladies’ dresses, sewn to the trouser of the performer just level with
the fingers of his right hand when hanging by his side, but a little
behind the thigh, so as to be covered by the coat-tail. Borrowing a
wedding-ring, the performer receives it in his right hand, immediately
transferring it in appearance (as in the last trick) to his left hand.
Showing in place of it the flying ring, which is already in his left
hand, he drops the right hand to his side, and slips the borrowed ring
on the little hook. Then remarking, “You all see this ring, which I
have just borrowed. I will make it invisibly pass to my right hand, and
on to whichever finger of that hand you may please to select.” Here
he waves his right hand with an indicative gesture, thus indirectly
showing that he has nothing therein, and again lets the hand fall
carelessly by his side. As soon as the finger is chosen, he slips the
borrowed ring upon the end of that particular finger, immediately
closing the hand so as to conceal it, and holds out the hand at arm’s
length in front of him. Then saying, “One, two, three! Pass!” he
releases the flying ring, and, opening both hands, shows that the left
is empty, and that the borrowed ring has passed to the selected finger
of the right hand.

The hook may, if preferred, be dispensed with, the ring being simply
dropped into the _pochette_ on the right side, and again taken from
thence when required.


TO PASS A RING THROUGH A POCKET-HANDKERCHIEF.--This is but a juvenile
trick, but we insert it for the sake of completeness. It is performed
by the aid of a piece of wire, sharpened to a point at each end, and
bent into the form of a ring. The performer, having this palmed in
his right hand, borrows a wedding-ring and a handkerchief (silk for
preference). Holding the borrowed ring between the fingers of his
right hand, he throws the handkerchief over it, and immediately seizes
with the left hand, through the handkerchief, apparently the borrowed
ring, but really the sham ring, which he adroitly substitutes. He now
requests one of the spectators to take hold of the ring in like manner,
taking care to make him hold it in such a way that he may not be able
to feel the opening between the points, which would betray the secret.
The ring being thus held, and the handkerchief hanging down around it,
a second spectator is requested, for greater security, to tie a piece
of tape or string tightly round the handkerchief an inch or two below
the ring. The performer then takes the handkerchief into his own hand,
and, throwing the loose part of the handkerchief over his right hand,
so as to conceal his mode of operation, slightly straightens the sham
ring, and works one of the points through the handkerchief, so getting
it out, and rubbing the handkerchief with his finger and thumb in order
to obliterate the hole made by the wire in its passage. He now palms
the sham ring, and produces the real one, which has all along remained
in his right hand, requesting the person who tied the knot to ascertain
for himself that it has not been tampered with.


TO PASS A RING THROUGH THE TABLE.--This also is a juvenile trick,
but a very good one. The necessary apparatus consists of an ordinary
glass tumbler, and a handkerchief to the middle of which is attached,
by means of a piece of sewing-silk about four inches in length, a
substitute ring of your own. Borrowing a ring from one of the company,
you announce that it will at your command pass through the table; but
as the process, being magical, is necessarily invisible, you must first
cover it over. Holding the handkerchief by two of the corners, you
carelessly shake it out (taking care to keep the side on which is the
suspended ring towards yourself), and wrapping in it apparently the
borrowed, but really the suspended ring, you hand it to one of the
company, requesting him to grasp the ring through the handkerchief, and
to hold it securely.

A word of caution may here be given, which will be found more or less
applicable to all magical performances. Have the room in which you
perform as brilliantly lighted as you please, but take care so to
arrange the lights, or so to place yourself, that all the lights may be
in front of you, and none behind you. The trick we are now describing
affords a practical illustration of the necessity for this. If you have
any light behind you, the handkerchief, as you shake it to show that
it is not prepared, will appear semi-transparent, and the spectators
will be able to see the suspended ring dangling behind it. For a
similar reason, you should always endeavour to have a dark background
for your performances, as any thread, or the like, which you may have
occasion to secretly use will then be invisible at a short distance,
while against a light background--_e.g._, a muslin curtain or white
wall-paper--it would be instantly noticeable.

But to return to our trick: we left one of the spectators tightly
holding the suspended ring, covered by the folds of the handkerchief.
Your next step is to request the audience to choose at what particular
spot in the table the ring shall pass through it. When they have made
the selection, you place the tumbler upon the spot chosen, and request
the person having charge of the ring to hold his hand immediately
over the glass, around which you drape the folds of the handkerchief.
“Now,” you say, “will you be kind enough, sir, to drop the ring in the
glass.” He lets go, and the ring falls with an audible “ting” into the
glass. “Are you all satisfied,” you ask, “that the ring is now in the
glass?” The reply will generally be in the affirmative; but, if any one
is sceptical, you invite him to shake the glass, still covered by the
handkerchief, when the ring is heard to rattle within it.

Your next step is to borrow a hat, which you take in the hand which
still retains the genuine ring, holding it in such manner that the
tips of the fingers are just inside the hat, the ring being concealed
beneath them. In this condition you can freely exhibit the inside of
the hat, which is seen to be perfectly empty. You now place the hat
under the table, mouth upwards, relaxing as you do so the pressure of
the fingers, and allowing the ring to slide gently down into the crown.
Leaving the hat under the table, which should be so placed that the
spectators cannot, as they stand or sit, see quite into the crown, you
take hold of the extreme edge of the handkerchief, and saying, “One,
two, three! Pass!” jerk it away, and request some one to pick up the
hat, and return the borrowed ring to the owner.

We have given the trick in its simplest form, but it is obvious that
it is capable of any amount of variation as regards the circumstances
under which the vanished ring is again found. The “plug-box” (page
192) or the “nest of boxes” (page 197) may be here made available, the
performer placing the ring where it is to be afterwards found, during
his momentary absence in search of the necessary apparatus.


TO PASS A RING INVISIBLY UPON THE MIDDLE OF A WOODEN WAND, THE ENDS
BEING HELD BY TWO OF THE SPECTATORS.--In this trick, the handkerchief
prepared (with the ring attached) for the purpose of the last illusion
may be again employed, though some use for the present purpose a
handkerchief with a ring stitched in one corner. In our own opinion,
the suspended ring is preferable, and we shall describe the trick
accordingly. The only other requisite will be the magic wand, or any
short stick or rod of such diameter that a finger-ring may slip easily
upon it. Having borrowed a ring, you proceed to wrap it (in reality
the substitute) in the handkerchief, and hand it to some one to hold.
The borrowed ring, of course, remains in your hand. Picking up with
your other hand your wand, you transfer it to the hand containing
the ring. Taking hold of it by the extreme end, you pass the ring
over it, which a very little practice will enable you to do without
the smallest difficulty. You then say, “I am about to order the ring
which Mr. So-and-so is holding, to leave the handkerchief, and pass on
to this wand. For greater security, I will ask two of the gentlemen
present to hold the ends. Will some one volunteer for the purpose?” Two
candidates having come forward, you place yourself facing the person
who is holding the ring in the handkerchief, at the same time sliding
your hand with the ring to the centre of the wand, and holding the
latter in a horizontal position across your body. You now invite the
two volunteers each to take hold of one end, pretending to be very
particular that the wand should be perfectly horizontal, this giving
you an excuse for keeping your hand upon it, sliding it backwards and
forwards, and raising now one end, now the other, till the level is
such as to satisfy your correct eye. When at last you are satisfied,
you ask the person in charge of the ring to step forward, so as to
bring it immediately above the wand, over which you immediately spread
the pocket-handkerchief, letting the edges fall on either side of the
wand. As soon as the wand is covered, you can of course remove your
hand. Then, taking hold of one corner of the handkerchief, you request
the holder of the ring to let go at the word “Three,” and saying, “One,
two, three--Pass!” draw away the handkerchief sharply, which, brushing
against the genuine ring, will set it revolving rapidly, as though it
had just passed on to the wand.

Some professors introduce the “flying ring” in the performance of this
trick, thus dispensing altogether with the handkerchief. The slight
variations in working thereby rendered necessary will readily suggest
themselves without further explanation.


THE MAGIC BALL AND RINGS.--This is a recent improvement on the trick
last described. The performer borrows three rings, which in this
instance, as the trick does not depend upon a substitution, may be of
any pattern. They should not, however, be too large, for which reason
ladies’ rings are preferable. These he places, or requests the owners
to place, in the “Davenport cabinet” (_see_ page 195), the “watch-box”
(_see_ page 219), or any other apparatus which will enable him secretly
to get possession of them. He then brings in and hands for inspection
an ebony ball, an inch and a half to two inches in diameter (through
which is bored a hole of three-eighths of an inch in diameter), and a
brass rod about two feet in length, with a knob at each end, and of
such a thickness as to pass freely through the ball. Both are closely
scrutinized, and admitted to be fair and solid. In sight of all he
unscrews one of the knobs, and places the ball upon the rod, throwing
a handkerchief over it, and requesting two of the audience to hold
the ends. Passing his hand under the handkerchief, he orders the ball
to drop into his hand, when his command is instantly obeyed. He next
orders the rings to pass from the cabinet, and to take the place of the
ball on the brass rod. On removing the handkerchief, the rings are seen
on the rod, and the cabinet, on examination, is found empty.

[Illustration: FIG. 106.]

The secret consists in the use of _two_ balls, one of which (that
handed round for inspection) has no speciality. The other is divided
into two parts, the section being vertically through the bore. (_See_
Fig. 106.) These two parts fit closely together, and being (as is also
the solid ball) carved in concentric circles parallel to the opening,
the division is not readily noticeable. The two halves, _a_ and _b_,
are hollowed out to contain the rings, each having three slots or
mortices cut at right angles to the direction of the hole through the
ball. When the performer retires to fetch the ball and rod, he places
the borrowed rings in these slots. When the two halves of the ball
are brought together, the rings will encircle the hole through the
centre, and the rod, when passed through the ball, will pass through
the rings also. The performer places the trick ball, thus prepared,
under his waistband, or in one of his _pochettes_, and, returning,
hands for inspection the brass rod and the solid ball. While these are
being examined, he palms the trick ball, and in passing over the rod
apparently the ball which has just been examined, adroitly substitutes
that which contains the rings. After having thrown the handkerchief
over the rod, he passes under it his hand, still containing the solid
ball. It is an easy matter to pull asunder the hollow ball, and this in
turn is palmed, and the solid ball passed to the end of the fingers,
before the performer, again uncovering his hand, which he brings out
palm downward, carelessly throws down the solid ball, as being that
which he has just taken off the rod. This is the only part of the trick
which requires any special dexterity, and any difficulty which may be
at first found will quickly disappear with a little practice. When the
ball comes apart, the rings are, of course, left on the rod.

A further improvement may be made in the trick by using a sword with
a rapier blade in place of the brass rod. The trick is not only more
effective in appearance, as the sword appears to cut through the ball,
but the tapering shape of the blade makes the trick much easier to
perform, as you have only to draw the ball down towards the hilt,
when the swell of the blade will force the two halves of the ball
apart, leaving them naturally in your hand. It is best in this case
simultaneously to let the solid ball drop from your palm to the floor.
This draws all eyes downwards, and gives you ample opportunity to drop
the halves of the trick ball into your secret pocket. In this form
of the trick you, of course, hold the sword yourself in the ordinary
manner, and you may, if you prefer it, dispense with the handkerchief,
using your hand only to mask the operation, at once stepping forward,
as the ball drops to the ground, and saying, “Will the owners be kind
enough to identify their rings?”


TO PASS A BORROWED RING INTO AN EGG.--This is an effective conclusion
to a ring trick. The necessary apparatus consists of two wooden
egg-cups, inside one of which, at the bottom, is cut a mortice or slot
just large enough to receive one-half the circumference of a lady’s
ring, and to hold it in an upright position. The second egg-cup has no
speciality, being, in fact, merely a dummy, designed to be handed to
the audience for inspection. An ordinary button-hook, or a piece of
wire bent into the shape of a button-hook, completes the preparations.

We will assume that the performer has, in the course of one or other
of the tricks already described, secretly obtained possession of a
borrowed ring, which the audience believe still to remain in some
place or apparatus in which they have seen it deposited. The operator,
retiring for an instant, returns with a plate of eggs in one hand,
and the dummy egg-cup in the other. The special egg-cup, with the
ring already in the mortice, is meanwhile placed either under his
waistband, or in one or other of his _pochettes_, so as to be instantly
get-at-able when required. Placing the eggs on the table, he hands
round the egg-cup for inspection, that all may observe that it is
wholly without preparation, and in turning to place the egg-cup on the
table, he substitutes for it the one which contains the ring, but which
the audience naturally believe to be that which they have just examined.

Bringing forward the plate of eggs, the performer requests the company
to choose whichever they please. While they are making their selection,
he carefully turns back his sleeves, showing indirectly that his hands
are empty. Taking the chosen egg with the tips of his fingers, and
showing it on all sides, to prove that there is no preparation about
it, he says, “Now, ladies and gentlemen, you have seen me place the
ring which this lady has kindly lent me in ‘so-and-so’” (according to
the place where it is supposed to be). “You have selected, of your own
free choice, this particular egg among half-a-dozen others. I am about
to command the ring to leave the place where it now is, and to pass
into the very centre of this egg. If you think the egg is prepared in
any way, it is open to you even now to choose another. You are all
satisfied that the egg has not been tampered with? Well, then, just
observe still that I have nothing in my hands. I have merely to say,
‘One, two, three! Pass!’ The ring is now in the egg.” At the word,
“Pass,” the performer taps one end of the egg with his wand, just hard
enough to crack it slightly. “Dear me,” he says; “I did not intend
to hit quite so hard; but it is of no consequence.” Stepping to the
table, he places the egg, _with the cracked end downwards_, in the
prepared egg-cup, using just sufficient pressure to force the egg well
down upon the ring, the projecting portion of which is thereby forced
into the egg. The egg being already cracked, a very slight pressure
is sufficient. Bringing forward the egg in the cup, the hook already
mentioned, and a table-napkin, he taps the top of the egg smartly with
his wand, so as to crack it, and, offering the hook to the owner of the
ring, requests her to see whether her property is not in the egg. The
ring is immediately fished out, and being wiped upon the napkin, is
recognized as that which was borrowed. The apparatus in which it was
originally placed is, on being examined, found empty.


THE MAGIC ROSE.--This little apparatus affords the means for a graceful
termination of a ring trick. A ring having been made to disappear in
any of the modes before described, the operator, retiring for a moment,
returns with a rose-bud in his hand. Advancing to the owner of the
ring, he requests her to breathe on the flower. As she does so, the bud
is seen slowly to open, and in the centre of the new-blown flower is
found the missing article.

The idea of the flower, warmed into bloom under a fair lady’s breath,
is so poetical that it seems quite a pity to be obliged to confess
that the rose is an artificial one, made chiefly of tin, and that its
petals, normally held open by the action of a spring, are, when the
flower is first brought on, kept closed by a sliding ring or collar
upon the stalk, again re-opening as this collar is drawn back by the
magician’s fingers.

[Illustration]



CHAPTER XI.

TRICKS WITH HANDKERCHIEFS.


We have already discussed a good many tricks in which handkerchiefs are
employed in one way or another. The present chapter will be devoted
to those feats in which the handkerchief forms the sole or principal
object of the illusion. Where practicable, the handkerchief used should
always be a borrowed one (so as to exclude the idea of preparation);
and in borrowing it will occasionally be necessary to use a little
tact in order to make certain of getting the right article for your
purpose, without admitting, by asking specially for any particular kind
of handkerchief, the limited extent of your powers. Thus, whenever the
trick depends upon the substitution of a handkerchief of your own, it
is necessary that the borrowed handkerchief should be of a plain white,
so as not to have too marked an individuality, and of a small size, so
as to be easily palmed or otherwise concealed. These desiderata you
may secure, without disclosing that they are desiderata, by asking if
a _lady_ will oblige you with a handkerchief, ladies’ handkerchiefs
being invariably white, and of small size. If a lace handkerchief
(which would be inconveniently distinguishable from your substitute) is
offered, you may pretend to fear the risk of injuring the lace, and on
that account to prefer a less valuable article. In “knot” tricks, on
the contrary, you should, if possible, use a silk handkerchief, which,
from its softer nature, will be found more tractable than cambric.

We will begin by describing a couple of little “flourishes,” which may
be incidentally introduced in the performance of more ambitious tricks,
and which will sometimes be found useful in occupying the attention of
the audience for a moment or two while some necessary arrangement is
being made behind the scenes for the purpose of the principal illusion.
The first we will call--


[Illustration: FIG. 107.]

THE HANDKERCHIEF THAT CANNOT BE TIED IN A KNOT.--The performer,
having borrowed a handkerchief, pulls it this way and that, as if to
ascertain its fitness for the purpose of the trick. Finally twisting
the handkerchief into a sort of loose rope, he throws the two ends one
over the other, as in the ordinary mode of tying, and pulls smartly;
but instead of a knot appearing, as would naturally be expected, in
the middle of the handkerchief, it is pulled out quite straight. “This
is a very curious handkerchief,” he remarks; “I can’t make a knot in
it.” The process is again and again repeated, but always with the same
result.

The secret is as follows:--The performer, before pulling the knot
tight, slips his left thumb, as shown in Fig. 107, beneath such portion
of the “tie” as is a continuation of the end held in the same hand. The
necessary arrangement of the hands and handkerchief, though difficult
to explain in writing, will be found quite clear upon a careful
examination of the figure.


THE HANDKERCHIEF THAT WILL NOT BURN.--This may be used either
separately or in conjunction with the foregoing. The performer, taking
the handkerchief, asks if it will burn. The owner naturally answers
that she has no doubt it will. “Suppose we try,” says the performer;
and taking the handkerchief by two of its corners, he draws it three
or four times obliquely upwards across the flame of a lighted candle,
without its receiving the slightest injury.

There is really no mystery whatever about this, although, to those who
have never tried it, it appears very surprising, and the spectators
are generally persuaded that you have somehow substituted another
handkerchief, made incombustible by chemical means. The performer has
only to take care not to allow the handkerchief to rest motionless
while in contact with the flame. In the act of drawing the handkerchief
over the candle, the contact of any given part with the flame is so
momentary, that it is barely warmed in its passage. You must, however,
take care not to attempt this trick with a handkerchief which has been
scented, as any remains of spirit about it would cause it to ignite
instantly, and place you in a rather awkward position.

Where a substitute handkerchief has to be burnt in the course of a
trick, it is by no means a bad plan to exhibit with the substitute
(which the audience take to be the original) this phenomenon of
supposed incombustibility, and appearing to grow careless from repeated
success, at last to allow the handkerchief to catch fire. If you can
by such means induce the audience to believe, for the time being, that
the burning was an accident, you will the more astonish them by the
subsequent restoration.


THE VANISHING KNOTS.--For this trick you must use a silk handkerchief.
Twisting it rope-fashion, and grasping it by the middle with both
hands, you request one of the spectators to tie the two ends together.
He does so, but you tell him that he has not tied them half tight
enough, and you yourself pull them still tighter. A second and a third
knot are made in the same way, the handkerchief being drawn tighter by
yourself after each knot is made. Finally, taking the handkerchief,
and covering the knots with the loose part, you hand it to some one to
hold. Breathing on it, you request him to shake out the handkerchief,
when all the knots are found to have disappeared.

When the performer apparently tightens the knot, he in reality only
strains one end of the handkerchief, grasping it above and below the
knot. This pulls that end of the handkerchief out of its twisted
condition in the knot into a straight line, round which the other end
of the handkerchief remains twisted; in other words, converts the knot
into a slip-knot. After each successive knot he still straightens this
same end of the handkerchief. This end, being thus made straight,
would naturally be left longer than the other which is twisted round
and round it. This tendency the performer counteracts by drawing it
partially back through the slip-knot at each pretended tightening. When
he finally covers over the knots, which he does with the left hand,
he holds the straightened portion of the handkerchief, immediately
behind the knots, between the first finger and thumb of the right
hand, and therewith, in the act of covering over the knots, draws this
straightened portion completely out of the slip-knot.

Some performers (among whom we may mention Herrmann) make this feat
still more effective by borrowing half-a-dozen handkerchiefs, and
allowing them all to be tied end to end by the spectators. After each
knot the professor pretends to examine it, asking, “What kind of a
knot do you call this, sir?” and meanwhile pulls it into the required
condition. The joined handkerchiefs are then placed one upon the other
on a chair or in a hat, and are immediately afterwards shown to be
separate.

The student must be on his guard against one particular kind of knot,
which cannot be pulled into the condition above-named. We allude to the
very common mode of tying, in which the two ends to be tied are placed
side by side, and tied simultaneously in a single knot. The employment
of this kind of knot may generally be avoided by holding the two ends
to be tied at a tolerably wide angle, so that they cannot very well be
drawn parallel. If, however, a spectator appears determined to tie this
particular knot, it is better to allow him to do so, and then remark,
“As the knots are tied by yourselves, ladies and gentlemen, you can
have little doubt that they are all fair. However, for the greater
satisfaction of all present, I will ask some gentleman to be good
enough to untie one of them, which will give a fair criterion of the
time it would take, in a natural way, to get rid of the remainder.” So
saying, you hand the knot in question to be untied, and in subsequently
giving the ends to be again joined, select a more accommodating person
to tie them.

As the tricks which follow mainly depend upon the substitution of a
second handkerchief, we shall in the first place describe two or three
modes of effecting the necessary exchange, with and without the aid of
apparatus.


TO EXCHANGE A BORROWED HANDKERCHIEF FOR A SUBSTITUTE.--Have the
substitute handkerchief tucked under your waistcoat, at the left side,
so as to be out of sight, but within easy reach of your hand. Receive
the borrowed handkerchief in your right hand, and as you ‘left wheel’
to your table to place it thereon, tuck it under your waistband on
the right side, and at the same moment pull out with the other hand
the substitute, and throw the latter on the table. The substitute
handkerchief (which the audience take to be the real one) being thus
left in full view, you may, without exciting any suspicion, retire with
the genuine one, and dispose of it as may be necessary for the purpose
of your trick.

You may, however, sometimes desire merely to gain possession of a
borrowed handkerchief, or to place it within reach of your assistant,
without yourself leaving the apartment. In this case the substitute may
be placed as before, but on your _right_ side. Receiving the borrowed
handkerchief in your right hand, you hold it loosely hanging down
between the second and third, or third and fourth fingers. This leaves
the thumb and first finger free, and with these you quickly pull down,
as you turn to go to your table, the substitute. You thus have both
handkerchiefs held openly in the same hand; but both being of like
appearance, the audience take them to be one only. Passing behind your
table, you let fall the borrowed handkerchief upon the _servante_, and
throw the substitute upon the table.

A very audacious and generally successful mode of effecting the
change is as follows: Taking the handkerchief, and pressing it into a
moderately small compass, the performer says, “Now I am going to make
this handkerchief disappear. There are plenty of ways of doing it.
I’ll show you one or two. This is Professor De Jones’s method. He just
turns round, _so_, to put the handkerchief on the table” (performer
turns accordingly), “but meanwhile the handkerchief is gone. Ah, you
were too sharp for me! You saw me poke it up my sleeve? Quite right,
here it is. I see Professor De Jones’s method wouldn’t have any
chance with _you_. This is Professor De Smith’s method.” He turns as
before. “The handkerchief is gone again. Not far, though, for here it
is” (turning back breast of coat and showing handkerchief). “Professor
De Robinson does it like this.” (He turns away for an instant, and
tucks handkerchief under waistband.) “Here it is, you see, under the
waistcoat.” (Pulls it out again.) “Now, you may very well imagine
that, if I had intended to have used any of these methods myself, I
shouldn’t have explained them. You will find that my plan is quite a
different one. When I want to get rid of a handkerchief, I just take it
to the candle, and set it on fire, so” (holds handkerchief over candle,
and sets light to it); or, “I place it in such and such a piece of
apparatus,” etc., etc.

On the first two occasions of showing where the handkerchief is placed,
the performer really does exhibit the genuine article; but at the third
pretended feint, though he really does tuck it under his waistband, he
pulls out again, not the same handkerchief, but a substitute, placed
there beforehand. The action is so natural, and so much in harmony with
his previous acts, that not one in a hundred will suspect that he has
thereby really changed the handkerchief.

The mode of exchange last described, ingenious as it is, has one
serious drawback--viz., that it gives the audience a clue which it
is better that they should not have, and suggests suspicions and
conjectures which, but for such a clue, they would never have thought
of. To an acute mind, even such a slight hint as this will suggest
enough to destroy half the effect of any subsequent trick in which a
similar process of disappearance or exchange is employed, and even in
the case of less intelligent spectators it will tend to diminish the
_prestige_ of the performer, by showing by what shallow artifices an
illusion may be produced.

There are two or three pieces of apparatus for effecting the exchange
of a handkerchief by mechanical means. A very good one is that known as
“The Washerwoman’s Bottle,” in conjunction with which we will take the
opportunity of describing the very effective trick known as


THE LOCKED AND CORDED BOX.--The “Washerwoman’s Bottle” is a simple and
inexpensive piece of apparatus, of frequent use in handkerchief tricks.
In appearance it is an ordinary black bottle, save that it has a rather
shorter neck and wider mouth than the generality of such vessels. In
reality it is made of tin, japanned black, and is divided by a vertical
partition, commencing just below the mouth, into two compartments. One
of these has a bottom, but the other has none, forming, in fact, a mere
passage _through_ the bottle. In the bottomed compartment is placed
beforehand a piece of cambric, or dummy handkerchief, also about a
glassful of port wine, or some other liquor of similar colour.

The performer borrows a lady’s handkerchief. Pretending that he is
obliged to fetch some other article for the purpose of the trick, he
says, as if struck by a sudden thought, “But I mustn’t run away with
the handkerchief, or you might fancy that I had tampered with it in
some way. Where shall I put it? Ah! the very thing. Here’s a bottle
belonging to my washerwoman, which she left behind her the last time
she came. It’s sure to be clean, for she is a most particular old lady.
We often hear of a lady carrying a bottle in her handkerchief, why not
a handkerchief in a bottle? First, madam, please see that I have not
exchanged the handkerchief. Right, is it? Well, then, here goes for the
bottle.” Standing behind his table, in full view of the spectators,
he stuffs the borrowed handkerchief into the bottle, ramming it down
with his wand. In so doing, he grasps the bottle with his left hand
around its base, which he rests on the edge of the table nearest to
himself, in such manner that about half the bottom projects over the
edge. When he places the handkerchief in the bottle, he places it in
the open compartment, and pushes it with his wand right through the
bottle into his left hand, if he desires to obtain personal possession
of it, or lets it fall on the _servante_, if it is to be carried off
by his assistant. We will assume, for our present purpose, that he
simply pushes it into his left hand, whence it is easy to get rid of
it into the _pochette_ on the same side. He now places the bottle in
the centre of the table, but in doing so hears, or pretends to hear,
a sound of liquid therein. “I hope the bottle was empty,” he remarks,
“I never thought about that.” He shakes the bottle, and the liquid
therein is distinctly audible. “Good gracious!” he exclaims, “I’m
afraid I have ruined the handkerchief.” He now pours the liquid into
a glass, and then, putting his fingers inside the bottle, he pulls out
the prepared piece of cambric, which, of course, is wet and stained.
Leaving it hanging from the neck of the bottle, he advances to the
owner, and expresses his regret at the accident; but the audience, who
begin to suspect that the pretended mistake is really a part of the
trick, insist that the handkerchief shall be restored in its original
condition. The performer feigns embarrassment, but at last says,
“Well, ladies and gentlemen, I cannot dispute the justice of your
observations. The handkerchief certainly ought to be returned clean as
at first, and as my washerwoman has been the cause of the mischief,
she is the proper person to repair it. Will you excuse my stopping the
entertainment for an hour or two, while I go to fetch her? You object
to the delay? Well, then, I will bring her here by spiritualistic
means, _à la_ Mrs. Guppy. Pardon me one moment.” He retires, and
returns with a square box and the magic pistol. Placing the box on
the table, and making a few mysterious passes over it with his wand,
he says, in his deepest tones, “Spirit of Mrs. Tubbs, I command you
to pass into this box, there to remain until you have repaired the
damage which your carelessness has caused.” Then taking the saturated
cambric from the bottle, he crams it into the pistol, and, retiring
to the farthest portion of the stage, fires at the box. Laying down
the pistol, and taking up the box, he advances to the owner of the
handkerchief, and, offering her the key, begs her to unlock it. She
does so, expecting to find her handkerchief, but finds instead a second
box. This, and four or five others in succession, are opened, and in
the innermost is found the handkerchief, folded and ironed, as if newly
returned from the wash.

With the reader’s present knowledge, it would be almost superfluous to
tell him that the operator avails himself of his momentary absence to
damp and fold the handkerchief, and to press it with a cold iron. (If a
hot one can be obtained, so much the better, but there is no absolute
necessity for it.) Having done this, he places it in the square nest of
boxes (_see_ page 197), and closing them returns to the audience. The
magic pistol has already been described (page 216). Where an assistant
is employed, the performer merely pushes the handkerchief through the
bottle on to the _servante_, as already mentioned, and the assistant,
passing behind the table on some pretext or other, carries it off, and
places it in the nest of boxes, while the audience are occupied by
the pretended discovery of wine in the bottle. The trick in this form
appears even more surprising, inasmuch as the performer does not leave
the stage at all, and the box is brought in and placed on the table by
a person who, to all appearance, has never had the handkerchief, even
for a moment, in his possession.

In order still further to heighten the effect of the trick, the
handkerchief is sometimes caused to reappear in the innermost of a nest
of boxes which has throughout the entertainment been hung up in full
view of the audience, and the outermost of which is carefully corded
and sealed. The performer in this case, after firing at the supposed
box (for the audience are, of course, ignorant that there are more than
one), directs his assistant to take it down from its elevated position,
and to place it on the table. Cutting the cords, and opening the box,
he produces from it another, corded like the first. From this second
box, he produces another smaller box, of an ornamental character (the
square nest of boxes above mentioned). This he hands to the owner of
the handkerchief, with a request that she will open it, and the result
is as already described.

The trick in this form is one of the very best exhibited on the
stage, and yet, as indeed are most of the best feats, it is performed
by the simplest possible means. The outer box is an ordinary deal
box, _bonâ fide_ sealed and corded, but the second, though equally
genuine in appearance, has no bottom, and the cord, though apparently
quite complete, does not cross beneath the box, which is, in fact,
nothing more than a wooden shell, or cover, with a lid to it. When the
performer takes out this second box and places it on the table, he
tilts it forward for a moment, and in that moment slips the nest of
boxes (which is placed in readiness on the _servante_), underneath it,
immediately afterwards raising the lid, and taking out the nest, as if
it had all along been contained therein.

It only remains to explain the mode by which the nest of boxes,
with the handkerchief therein, is placed upon the _servante_. Some
performers employ the rather too transparent expedient of making the
assistant bring in, then and there, a small round table, behind which,
on a _servante_ of its own, is placed the closed nest of boxes. A
better plan, where the size of the nest permits, is to have it placed
open, before the performance commences, on the _servante_ of the centre
table. It is then an easy matter for the performer or his assistant
(as the case may be) to slip in the folded handkerchief, and close the
boxes, the remainder of the trick proceeding as already described.

Some performers use for the purpose of this trick a special mechanical
table, which, by means of a lifting apparatus, itself introduces the
nest of boxes through a trap into the bottomless box, without the
necessity of tilting the latter.


[Illustration: FIG. 108.]

THE REVERSIBLE CANISTER.--This is another piece of apparatus more
particularly designed for changing a handkerchief, though equally
available for many other exchanges. In appearance it is an ordinary
cylindrical canister, closed with a cap, and similar in shape to
those in which tea is kept, but of smaller size, being only five to
six inches in height. In reality, however, that which appears to be
the body of the canister is a mere tube, within which slides up and
down an inner canister, which is made double-headed, _i.e._, like
two shallow canisters placed bottom to bottom. (_See_ Fig. 108.) The
pattern of the outer tube is alike at top and bottom, so that whether
the combined canister is as shown in the figure, with compartment
_a_ uppermost, or turned upside down, with compartment _b_ pushed
into view, the appearance to the eye of the spectator is the same.
The canister is prepared by placing beforehand in one or other of
the compartments, say _b_, a piece of cambric, as much like a lady’s
handkerchief as possible. Compartment _a_ is then pushed upwards, as
shown in the figure. Borrowing a handkerchief, the performer requests
the owner to place it for safe keeping in the canister, which he brings
forward for that purpose. As he turns to replace it on the table, he
takes advantage of the moment during which his back is towards the
spectators to push down _a_ (thus pushing out _b_ at the opposite end
of the tube), and at the same time to turn over the canister, which,
when placed on the table, will still look as shown in the figure, but
will have, in reality, _b_ uppermost. Presently taking out the prepared
cambric, which the spectators take to be the handkerchief, he burns or
otherwise disposes of it, to be subsequently reproduced by the simple
process of again reversing the canister.

This is a simple and inexpensive piece of apparatus, but it will not
bear examination, and the process of reversing is a little awkward. For
these reasons it is rarely employed by professional performers, who for
the same purpose more generally use what is known as


THE BURNING GLOBE.--This is a hollow brass globe of four to six inches
in diameter, mounted on a foot of about the same height, and surmounted
by a cap or lid, so that it forms, in fact, a spherical canister.
A raised band, also of brass, passes horizontally round the globe;
and this, which is apparently a mere ornament, is really designed
to conceal the fact that the globe is divided into two separate
hemispheres, revolving one upon the other. Within this external globe
is an inner one, divided into two compartments, each having a separate
opening, and so contrived that each of these openings in turn is made
to correspond with the opening of the external globe, according as
the upper hemisphere of the latter is moved round from right to left,
or _vice versâ_. The globe is, like the canister, prepared by placing
a substitute handkerchief, or piece of cambric, in one or other of
the inner compartments, and then bringing the other compartment into
correspondence with the external opening. A borrowed handkerchief
being openly placed in the empty compartment, the performer, by merely
giving a half turn to the foot of the apparatus, brings the compartment
containing the substitute uppermost, the action being so little
noticeable that it may be used with impunity before the very eyes of
the audience.


THE TRANSFORMED HANDKERCHIEF.--This is one of Herrmann’s favourite
tricks, and affords a very good example of his style of working. The
performer comes forward, requesting the loan of a lady’s handkerchief.
While it is being procured, he produces from the hair or whiskers
of one of the spectators a lemon, which he carelessly thrusts under
somebody’s nose in order to prove its genuineness. (This lemon, which,
of course, was palmed, is a prepared one, from which the pulp has been
scooped out, and which contains a substitute handkerchief, so cannot
be handed for examination.) Turning for an instant towards the stage,
he tosses the lemon to his assistant, who catches it, and places it on
the table. The momentary turn from the audience enables him to get from
under his waistband, and to palm, a little bundle of pieces of cambric,
each about four inches square. Taking the borrowed handkerchief, he
rolls it into a ball between his hands, and hands it (apparently) to
some one to hold, in reality substituting the torn pieces of cambric.
He then turns, and takes a few paces towards his table, meanwhile
tucking the handkerchief under his waistcoat, and taking therefrom in
place of it a strip of cambric, about four or five feet long and four
inches wide, rolled up into a small compass. This he palms. Suddenly
turning back, he exclaims, “My dear sir, what _are_ you doing with
that handkerchief? I never told you to do that!” The innocent holder
looks up in astonishment, but the performer continues, “Will you have
the kindness to open the handkerchief?” He does so, and finds it in
pieces. After a little chaff about making him pay for the damage, the
performer says, “Well, I suppose I must show you how to restore it.”
Here he again takes the pieces, and folds them together, saying, “See,
you must take them as I do, and rub them very gently with the left
hand.” Substituting the prepared slip, he hands it to him; but, when he
begins to rub, exclaims again, “Dear me, dear me! what are you doing
now? I told you the _left_ hand. You are making matters worse than
ever.” The handkerchief is now found in a long strip. The performer
endeavours to induce the owner to accept it in this shape, which he
assures her is the newest style; but she naturally objects, and begs
that it may be restored to its original condition. For that purpose,
the performer, rolling the slip into a ball, places it in his magic
pistol (_see_ page 215), and rams it down with his wand. Appearing to
reflect for a moment, he says, “Where shall I fire it? Ah! suppose
I aim at that lemon on the table?” “Bang!” goes the pistol, and the
performer, taking a knife, cuts the lemon all round (flinging the rind
carelessly on the stage), and produces the substitute handkerchief
(professedly the original). He comes forward to the audience with it,
and, after thanking the owner, makes a gesture of returning it; but,
as if struck by a sudden thought, checks himself, and says, “I’m afraid
it smells rather strong of the lemon. Will you allow me to scent it
for you? I have some capital Eau de Cologne here.” Going back to his
table, he places the handkerchief on a plate, and pours scent on it,
turning as he does so to the owner, and saying, “Please tell me when
you think there is enough.” While his back is turned, the attendant,
who has been standing by holding a lighted candle, with a mischievous
wink at the company, tilts the candle, and sets the handkerchief on
fire. The performer apologizes for his assistant’s stupidity, but
appeals to the company to bear witness that it was no fault of his,
and bringing forward the plate, with the handkerchief still blazing,
offers it to the owner. She, of course, declines to take it, and the
performer, remarking, “You don’t like it in this condition; well,
then, suppose I put it in paper for you,” places the plate on the
floor, telling the assistant to put it on the table, and runs off to
get the paper. The attendant tries to lift off the plate, but finds
that it burns his fingers. However, after several attempts, getting
the plate a little nearer to the table at each, he manages to place it
on the table. This little by-play amuses the audience, and gives the
performer the few moments which he requires for his preparations behind
the scenes. Coming forward with a sheet of clean white paper, he wraps
therein the still blazing handkerchief, crushing it together so as to
extinguish the flames. He offers the packet so made to the lady, who,
believing that it contains nothing but ashes, declines to receive it,
when the professor, tearing the paper apart, pulls out the handkerchief
perfectly restored, while the burnt fragments have vanished.

The effect last mentioned is produced by the use of a double paper,
pasted together round three of its sides, and thus forming a kind of
bag in the centre. In this bag the performer, during his momentary
absence from the stage, places the genuine handkerchief, folded so as
to occupy as little space as possible. The handkerchief, therefore,
lies between the two thicknesses of the paper, and when the rolled up
packet is torn open from outside, may be removed without disturbing the
burnt fragments, which still remain inside the paper.

Where it is necessary, as for the purpose of this trick, to introduce
some article into a lemon, the necessary preparation should be made
as follows:--A lemon with a thick hard rind should be selected, and
a plug-shaped piece, about an inch and a half in diameter, should be
scooped with a sharp knife out of one end. The pulp may now be removed,
leaving the rind a mere shell, while the piece originally cut out will
form a kind of stopper, which may be secured in its place by thrusting
a hair-pin or piece of wire through the fruit and plug from side to
side, and nipping off the ends flush with the outer surface. When
the performer exhibits the lemon, he takes care to have the cut end
inwards towards his palm; so that the circular mark is concealed by the
fingers, and when he desires to produce the handkerchief he cuts the
opposite end.


THE HANDKERCHIEF CUT UP, BURNT, AND FINALLY FOUND IN A CANDLE.--We
have already described one or two modes in which a handkerchief, after
being apparently cut up, or burnt, may be reproduced in its original
condition. This is another and very effective form of the same trick.

Having borrowed a white handkerchief, you exchange it, by one or other
of the means already described, for a substitute of similar appearance,
and place the latter on the table. You then remember that, as you are
about to burn the handkerchief, you will want a candle. You call to
your attendant, but he, previously instructed, does not answer, and
after a momentary pause you determine to fetch it yourself. You have,
however, no sooner left the stage, than you meet the defaulter, and
angrily remarking, in a stage whisper, so that the audience may hear,
that he is never at hand when you want him, or making some similar
observation, you order him to bring a lighted candle. Your absence
is only momentary, but it has enabled you to throw him the real
handkerchief, which he forthwith rolls up, and places inside a candle
made hollow for the purpose; which he then places in a candlestick,
lights, and brings on the stage. You have meanwhile taken up the
substitute handkerchief, and advanced to the audience, getting ready
the while in your palm a small piece of cambric, about six inches in
diameter. Taking the handkerchief by the centre, in the same hand, you
pull out between the first finger and thumb a portion of the piece of
cambric, which is naturally taken to be a part of the handkerchief.
Handing to one of the spectators a pair of scissors, you request him
to cut off a small portion of the handkerchief. He cuts off a piece
of the cambric. Holding this piece in the one hand, and taking the
remainder, with the substitute handkerchief hanging down below it, in
the other, you offer to teach the company your patent method of mending
handkerchiefs, requiring neither thimble, needle, nor thread. Applying
the cut edges to the candle, you set them on fire, rubbing them
together. Finally, blowing out the flame, and throwing the handkerchief
over the hand that holds the pieces, you palm them, and immediately
afterwards show the handkerchief (_i.e._, the substitute) completely
restored.

The mode of procedure so far is pretty well known, and it is highly
probable that one or more of the audience will be acquainted with
it. Accordingly, you may safely expect to perceive in some quarter
or other, knowing glances, or confidential communications as to “how
it’s done.” Noticing, or pretending to notice this, you say, “Ah, I
see there is a gentleman there who thinks he has found me out. You
fancy, no doubt, sir, that I have performed this trick in the old
fashion, by cutting a piece of cambric which does not form part of
the handkerchief. Why, my dear sir, the trick in that form is as old
as--your grandmother. But it is my own fault; I quite forgot to show
you that the handkerchief was really cut. It is my rule never to
perform the same trick twice over, but I feel so hurt at your unkind
suspicion that I must break my rule for once, and this time you shall
cut the handkerchief yourself.” You offer him the scissors, and holding
up the handkerchief (which the audience naturally believe to be the
genuine one) by the middle, you allow him to cut a piece fairly out of
it, immediately afterwards spreading it out, and showing that a large
hole is made in the centre. Again, you hold the edges to the candle,
but this time, as if by accident, you let the flames fairly catch hold
of the handkerchief, which you are compelled to drop upon a plate or
tray, and to let it burn itself out. For a moment, you feign to be
embarrassed, and the audience are half inclined to believe that you
have made a mistake, and your trick has failed; but you quickly recover
your confidence, and remark, “This is not precisely what I intended,
ladies and gentlemen. I am afraid I have made a little mistake, but
fortunately it is easily remedied. The fact is, I forgot to pronounce
the magic word at the right moment, and the handkerchief has in
consequence stopped short at the first stage of transmigration. To make
it pass into the second stage, that of renewed existence, I must again
employ the agency of fire. See, I place the ashes in my magic pistol,
and ram them down with the mystic wand. Now what shall I aim at? Ah!
the candle on the table! A capital mark, and as it has been before
you throughout the trick, you know that it cannot have undergone any
preparation.” (You fire, aiming at the candle.) “Did you see it pass?
No. It has done so, nevertheless; but I must have put in a little too
much powder, for it has gone right into the candle.” (You bring the
candle forward.) “Will some one oblige me by seeing if it is really
in the candle.” The candle is broken in half, and the handkerchief is
found embedded therein.

The candle used for the purpose of the above trick is sometimes a
genuine wax or composite candle, but more often a mere pasteboard tube,
previously cut half asunder in the middle (so as to break without
difficulty), and then covered with glazed white paper, in imitation
of a candle, a genuine candle-end being inserted at the top. If a
candle of this latter description is used, the performer must himself
break it, as a spectator doing so would at once discover that it was a
prepared article.

Before quitting the subject of handkerchiefs burnt and restored, we
may mention a little appliance called the “handkerchief table,” which
is designed for this purpose. It is precisely the same in make and
operation as the table or tripod, described at page 139, for burning
and restoring a card, but a little larger. To those acquainted with
the card tripod, the use and effect of the handkerchief table will be
sufficiently obvious, without any special explanation.


THE SHOWER OF SWEETS.--This is a trick which is sure to be well
received by a juvenile audience. The performer comes forward with an
ordinary plate or salver, which he hands for examination, and then
places on the table. He next borrows a handkerchief. Laying it flat
over the plate, he lifts it up by nipping the middle with his finger
and thumb, letting the four corners hang down. He then strokes down the
handkerchief with the other hand, under the pretence of mesmerising it,
when a shower of burnt almonds, chocolate creams, acidulated drops,
etc., pours down upon the plate. Again he strokes the handkerchief, and
again the shower pours down; and the plate, being by this time full, is
handed round to the company to prove that in the quality of the sweets,
at any rate, there is “no deception.”

The secret lies in the use of a small bag, of cambric or fine calico,
shaped like an inverted letter V. The edges are turned in at the mouth,
and through each hem is passed a straight piece of watch-spring or
whalebone, one a little longer than the other. The natural tendency of
these is to lie side by side, keeping the mouth of the bag closed; but
if pressure be simultaneously applied to both ends of the springs, the
longer one assumes the shape of a semicircle, thereby opening the bag.
Through the opposite end of the bag is passed a pointed wire hook. The
bag is beforehand filled with nuts or bonbons, and hung by the hook to
the edge of the table on the side away from the spectators. Though the
bag is mouth downwards, the action of the spring keeps it closed, and
nothing can fall out. When the operator, standing behind the table,
draws the handkerchief over the plate, he allows a portion of the
hinder edge to hang over the edge of the table nearest to himself. When
he picks up the handkerchief, which he does with his finger and thumb,
he takes hold, through the handkerchief, of the upper part of the bag.
The bag is thus lifted up within the handkerchief, but is concealed by
the folds of the latter hanging down around it. The movement of the
hand in stroking down the handkerchief presses the springs, and the bag
opens, again closing as soon as the pressure is relaxed. When all the
contents have fallen, the performer drops the handkerchief, bag and
all, on the table, while he advances to the audience with the results
of the trick, and, on again picking up the handkerchief, lets fall the
empty bag upon the _servante_, or slips it into his pocket.

[Illustration: FIG. 109. FIG. 110.]

It will be observed that, in the form of the trick above described, the
use of both hands is necessary--one to hold the handkerchief, while
the other, stroking it down, presses the springs, and causes the bag
to open. There is an improved form of the bag, used, and, we believe,
invented by Robert-Houdin, which enables the performer, holding the
handkerchief at arm’s length, to perform the trick by mere word of
command, without using the left hand at all. The bag is in this case
of the form shown in Fig. 109. No springs are used, but the bag, when
filled, is closed by folding down the flap, and hooking the little
ring over the hook, the bag thereby assuming the appearance shown in
Fig. 110. It is picked up within the handkerchief as described in the
case of the spring bag; but when it is desired to produce the sweets,
a slight inclination of the hook to the left (effected by a barely
perceptible movement of the thumb and finger) causes the ring to slip
off and the flap to fall down, as in Fig. 109, releasing the whole
contents of the bag.

The trick may be still further improved by having two similar bags
stitched back to back, each with its own ring and hook. In this case an
inclination to the left releases one hook, and an inclination to the
right the other. The two bags may be filled with bonbons of different
colours or descriptions, or the one may be filled with bonbons and
the other with grey peas. In this case you may introduce the trick by
some observations upon the singular effects of the human breath, and
how greatly such effects vary in different persons. A handkerchief is
borrowed, and a lady and gentleman are requested each to hold a plate.
The lady is requested to breathe on the handkerchief, and a shower of
bonbons falls on her plate. The gentleman breathes in his turn, and
retires, amid derisive applause, with a plate of peas.

[Illustration: FIG. 111.]

While upon the subject of the mysterious production of sweets, we may
incidentally mention another piece of apparatus designed for this
purpose. This is a wand, made to correspond in general appearance with
that habitually used by the performer. Internally, it is a hollow
tube, with a stiff wire running throughout its whole length. One end of
this wire is fixed to a moveable cap, which covers the upper end of the
wand, while the other terminates in a sort of little wooden plug, which
closes the opening at the other end. A spiral spring within the upper
end of the wand tends to force the cap upwards, and so to keep the
opposite end closed; but if pressure be applied to the cap, the plug is
forced outwards, and the tube thereby opened. _See_ Fig. 111, in which
_a_ represents the wand in its normal condition (_i.e._, closed), while
_b_ represents it with the cap pressed downwards, and the opposite end
consequently open.

To prepare the wand for use, the cap is pressed and the valve opened.
The wand is then filled with very minute sweetmeats, of the description
known among juveniles as “hundreds and thousands;” after which the
pressure on the cap is removed, and the plug allowed to retire into its
place. The wand, thus prepared, is at the proper moment brought forward
in place of the ordinary wand, which in its present condition it
exactly resembles. The performer then declares his intention of passing
a shower of sweets into the pocket of a spectator, and, having first
shown it empty, touches the inside with the wand, at the same moment
pressing the cap, when the sweets within escape into the pocket.


THE FEATHERS FROM AN EMPTY HANDKERCHIEF.--This is a very simple
illusion, but has nevertheless been a favourite with many noted
_prestidigitateurs_. Its effect is as follows:--The performer comes
forward with a large handkerchief, or small shawl, which he shakes
about in all directions, to show that it is empty. Throwing it over
the left hand, he with the other grasps it by the middle, and removing
the hand over which it was thrown, lets it hang perpendicularly down.
To all appearance it is still empty; but on being shaken it is seen to
contain some solid object. With a twist of the wrist, the performer
turns the handkerchief and its contents upwards. The handkerchief
naturally falls down over the coat-sleeve, leaving exposed a handsome
military plume. The performer grasps, with the left hand, the stem of
this plume and the centre of the handkerchief, immediately drawing
away the right arm from beneath it. Again the handkerchief on being
waved about is seen to contain something, which being held upright, the
handkerchief falls down as before, and a second plume is revealed. The
operation is again and again repeated with a like result, till fifteen
or twenty plumes have been produced; the handkerchief being at any
moment handed for examination.

The explanation lies in the fact that the plumes, which may be
compressed into a very small compass, are laid beforehand along the
arms of the performer, who puts on his coat over them. The stems of the
plumes are nearest to the hands. When the handkerchief is thrown over
either hand, the other hand catches hold through it of the stem of one
of the feathers. This hand now remains stationary, while the other arm
is drawn from under the handkerchief. The fact that the plumes come
out of the sleeves is thus much less patent than if the opposite hand
made the motion and drew the feather out. The plumes on being drawn out
expand considerably; so much so, indeed, that it is hard to believe
that the quantity with which the stage is strewn could possibly have
been concealed about the person of the performer.

Some performers have in addition a bundle of plumes fastened together
by a thread, and laid along the inside of the trousers and waistcoat,
in such manner that the stems are just within the breast of the
latter. After having exhausted his sleeves, the operator, holding the
handkerchief (by two of its corners) across his chest, to show that it
is quite empty, catches hold, with the second and third fingers, of the
stem of the bundle within the waistcoat, and moving the handkerchief
with a quick sidelong motion from left to right, or _vice versâ_, draws
out the feathers behind it, and immediately breaking the thread, shakes
them out in a shower on the stage.

There is another form of the same trick, in which the handkerchief
plays only a secondary part, but, from its near relation to that last
described, we insert it in this place. It is generally called


THE FLYING PLUME.--For this trick you require two plumes, as nearly as
possible alike in appearance. To the stem of each should be attached a
loop of string or ribbon, two or three inches in length. You must also
have a japanned tin tube, of about twenty inches long, and three in
diameter. On either end is fitted a cap, of about two inches in depth.
One of these caps is perfectly plain, but within the other is an inner
cap, made after the fashion of the middle compartment of the snuff-box
vase (_see_ page 217). The relative tightness of the inner and outer
caps is such that, if in removing the outer one with the finger and
thumb some slight degree of lateral pressure is exerted, it nips the
inner cap, which comes off with it; but if the outer cap is removed
without pressure, the inner cap remains on the tube, forming a false
top to it. Within this inner cap, which is internally about an inch
and a half deep, is glued a short end of a third plume, similar in
colour and appearance to the two others. The interior of the tube is
divided into two parts by a longitudinal division, also of tin, running
diagonally nearly from end to end. The tube is thus divided into two
wedge-shaped compartments, the cap at one end giving access to the one,
and the cap at the other end to the other; each being large enough to
contain a plume. (_See_ Fig. 112, representing a section of the entire
tube, and Fig. 113, giving a slightly enlarged view of the ends.) The
tube is prepared beforehand by filling the compartment which is closed
by the double cap with bonbons of various kinds; the other compartment
being left empty. One of the plumes is concealed in the left sleeve of
the performer, as in the last trick.

[Illustration: FIG. 112. FIG. 113.]

These preparations having been duly made beforehand, you come forward
with a small shawl, or large handkerchief, the tube, and the second
plume. Laying the tube and plume upon the table, you request the
audience to satisfy themselves that the shawl contains nothing. You
then ask some one to step forward and take care of the shawl, which
you meanwhile carelessly throw over your left hand, immediately after
taking hold of its centre with your right, as before described, and
drawing the left arm away. It is needless to remark, to those who have
followed the explanation of the last trick, that the hidden plume is
thereby brought under the shawl, though, being held by the loop of
ribbon, there is nothing to betray its presence. You hand the shawl in
this condition to the person who has volunteered to hold it, requesting
him to keep it at arm’s length, still hanging down. Next taking up the
tube, you open it at the plain or unprepared end, and holding it mouth
downwards, show that it is (apparently) empty; then ostentatiously
place the plume therein, and put the cap on.

In returning to your table you take the opportunity to reverse the
tube, and to lay it down in such a manner that the opposite end
(_i.e._, that with the false top) may be turned towards the audience.
Some performers do this by letting the tube fall, as if by accident,
but this is, in our opinion, a clumsy and inartistic proceeding. By
gesticulating a little with the tube, in announcing what you are about
to do, so that the audience may, little by little, become less certain
as to which end you have just opened, and by carelessly transferring
the tube from the one hand to the other just as you lay it on the
table, you may make the change with scarcely a chance of detection,
even by the keenest observer. You then say, “I shall now, ladies and
gentlemen, make the plume which you have just seen me place in this
tube travel into the shawl which that gentleman is holding, while
the tube will be completely filled with objects of interest for the
juvenile spectators.” Here you may possibly hear, or if not, you
pretend to hear, a murmur to the effect that the feather has already
left the tube. “Pardon me,” you say, “the plume has not yet left the
tube, neither will it do so until I give the command,” and so saying,
you take off the cap, leaving on the false top. The audience see
the little bit of feather within, which they naturally take to be
the end of the genuine plume. Again you replace the cap; and after
going through some appropriate magical ceremony, again remove it, but
this time carrying off the false top with it. (It should have been
mentioned that the tube is japanned in such manner that the eye cannot
detect any difference whether the false top is on or off.) Placing the
cap, with the false top within it, on the table, you come forward and
pour the sweets from the tube, while the shawl is on examination found
to contain the plume.

Some performers, for the purpose of this trick, use a tube with a false
top, as above described, but open from end to end, without the diagonal
partition above mentioned. Before placing the plume in the tube, which
they do standing behind the table, they secretly remove the cap at the
lower end, and allow the plume to fall through on the _servante_, where
it remains. In this case, there is no production of sweets, but the
plume having been produced from the shawl, the performer removes both
caps, and hands the empty tube for examination.


THE MAGIC LAUNDRY.--There is very little brilliancy, either of
invention or of manipulation, in this trick, but it is nevertheless
generally very well received.

The performer requests the loan of half-a-dozen handkerchiefs, taking
care to accept white handkerchiefs only. These he collects in a wooden
box, having somewhat the appearance of a good-sized tea caddy. Having
got the required number, he places the box upon his table, and invites
the attention of the audience to an ordinary tin or wooden pail. This
he fills with water, and placing it in front of the stage, takes the
handkerchiefs out of the box, and drops them in, stirring them about
with his wand; and making as much fun as he can by his pretended
anxiety that they shall be thoroughly washed. Having kept this up as
long as the audience appear to be amused thereby, he wrings out the
handkerchiefs one by one, and throws them into a little shallow metal
tub or pan (japanned, and about four inches in depth), which his
assistant at this moment brings forward for that purpose, together with
a cover after the manner of a saucepan-lid, and a pistol, both of which
he places carelessly on the table. Having placed the handkerchiefs in
this little tub, the performer announces that having washed them, he
will now proceed to dry them, for which purpose he pours over them a
little spirits of wine, to which he sets fire. After letting them blaze
for a moment or two he claps on the cover. “Your handkerchiefs are
now dried, ladies and gentlemen,” he says, “but I have still to fold
and iron them. It does not take very long, as you will see.” Taking up
the pistol, he fires at the tub, and immediately removing the cover,
comes forward to the audience, and requests them to identify their
handkerchiefs, which are seen neatly folded, and apparently just washed
and ironed, within it.

The intelligent reader will have already guessed that the trick depends
upon a substitution of handkerchiefs. The box in which the genuine
handkerchiefs are received has within it a moveable flap, between
which and the back of the box the substitutes are placed. When the
required number has been collected, this flap is let fall, releasing
the substitute handkerchiefs, and at the same time covering the genuine
ones. The substitutes having been dropped into the pail of water, the
assistant carries off the box, and behind the scenes damps and folds
the borrowed handkerchiefs, pressing them flat with a hot iron, if
available; if not, with a cold one. The tub or pan which is used for
the conclusion of the trick has an inner lining of such a size as to
fit tightly within it, but about an inch less in depth. The lid again
fits within this after the manner of a saucepan lid, but not quite so
tightly as the lining itself fits within the outer pan. The folded
handkerchiefs are placed within this lining, and the lid placed on, or
rather in it--the two together as brought forward having the appearance
of a lid only. When the performer claps the lid on the pan, the lining
is thereby introduced, but when he again removes it, the lining is left
in, exposing the folded handkerchiefs, while the substitutes remain
concealed between the true and false bottoms of the pan.

The performer, of necessity, accepts white handkerchiefs only, as a
coloured one would betray the secret, from the absence of its “double”
among the substitutes. Some performers, in order to obviate the
suspicion which might be suggested by an evident preference of white
handkerchiefs, arrange that a coloured one, of which they possess a
duplicate, shall be offered by a confederate among the audience. This
certainly heightens the effect of the trick, as it seems to negative
the idea of substitution, and though in general we deprecate, as
belonging to a low class of art, the employment of confederates, this
is just the case in which the use of such an expedient may for once be
deemed admissible.


THE EGG AND THE HANDKERCHIEF.--For this capital feat, which is
generally identified with the name of Colonel Stodare, the following
are the requirements:--A glass goblet, two small handkerchiefs
(generally of plain crimson silk, and about sixteen inches square), a
larger silk handkerchief--to which is attached, by a silk thread of
about four inches in length, a blown egg-shell--and a hollow metal egg
made of zinc, enamelled white, with an oval opening on one side of it
measuring about an inch and a half by one inch, or a little more.

[Illustration: FIG. 114.]

The performer comes forward, having in his right hand the goblet and
one of the red silk handkerchiefs. The larger silk handkerchief is
thrown with apparent carelessness over the other hand, and upon it
rests the blown egg, so placed that the thread may be out of sight,
while beneath the egg, concealed in a fold of the handkerchief, lies
the second red handkerchief, rolled up into as small a compass as
possible. The metal egg is, meanwhile, placed in the left-hand secret
pocket of the performer, who introduces the trick as follows: “I
have here, ladies and gentlemen, a drinking-glass, a couple of silk
handkerchiefs, and an egg, all, as you will perceive, of the most
ordinary description.” He passes quickly in front of the audience, as
though tendering the articles for examination (taking care, however, to
keep his right arm advanced towards the spectators, so that the glass
and small silk handkerchief may bear the brunt of inspection), and
finally places the glass and small handkerchief on a table or chair in
full view. “Pray observe,” he continues, “that not one of the articles
is removed from your sight, even for one moment. Now, please follow me
closely. I will place the egg in the glass, and cover it over with this
handkerchief.” This he does by one movement, for as the egg is already
lying on the handkerchief, a mere turn of the wrist places the egg in
the glass, and at the same time lets fall the handkerchief over it;
and at the same time the smaller handkerchief, which was concealed in
the larger, is released, and falls into the glass with the egg. “You
have all seen me place the egg in the glass” (at the same time shaking
the glass, to show by the sound that the egg is still there), “which
I will not again touch. I shall now take this small handkerchief”
(the one which has remained on the table), “and standing as far as
possible away, I shall command the handkerchief to dissolve and pass
into the glass, and the egg which is now in the glass to come into my
hands.” So saying, he holds up the handkerchief, in such manner as to
show indirectly that he has nothing else in his hands. Taking a few
steps, as though merely to get further from the glass, and holding the
handkerchief hanging down between the finger and thumb of the right
hand, he drops the other hand to his side, and secretly takes from his
pocket the hollow egg, which he palms, keeping the opening outwards.
He then, standing with his left side towards the spectators, joins his
open hands, as in Fig. 114, the handkerchief hanging down between them.
Requesting the audience to watch him narrowly, that they may be quite
sure that there is no deception, he begins to wave his joined hands
slowly up and down, the second and third fingers of the right hand
(which, it will be remembered, is away from the audience) meanwhile
gradually working the handkerchief into the hollow of the egg. He
every now and then pauses to show that the handkerchief is gradually
diminishing, and at last when it is wholly worked into the egg, opens
his hands, and shows the egg lying in his palm, taking care, of course,
that the opening is undermost. To all appearance, the handkerchief has
changed into an egg. “Here is the egg,” he remarks; “let us see if
the handkerchief also has obeyed my bidding.” So saying, he lays the
egg, still with the opening downwards, upon the table, and taking hold
with the finger and thumb of the handkerchief which covers the glass,
lifts it daintily up, carrying with it, concealed in its folds, the
egg-shell attached thereto, and leaving the duplicate red handkerchief
lying in the glass.

It may sometimes, though not very often, occur that one or other of the
spectators, suspecting some peculiarity about the egg, may ask to be
permitted to examine it. This, of course, you cannot permit, while to
refuse would destroy half the prestige of the illusion. Fortunately,
there is a way out of the difficulty which absolutely enhances the
effect of the trick. “You would like to see the egg,” you reply;
“by all means. It is a special feature of my entertainment that all
articles used therein will bear the strictest examination. Here is the
egg.” During these few words, you have taken up the sham egg with the
fingers of your right hand, taking care, of course, to keep the opening
away from the audience, and have thence apparently transferred it to
your left, with which hand you offer it to the too curious spectator.
It is hardly necessary to remark, that in the apparent transfer of the
egg to the left hand, you have really palmed it in your right; and as
you extend the left hand to the spectator, you quietly drop it from
the right into the _pochette_ on that side. The inquirer holds out his
hand to receive it. “Pray examine it closely,” you say, opening your
empty hand over his own. “What! you have not got it? Ah, that is _your_
fault; you were not quick enough. I always find that this experiment
makes the egg excessively volatile.” This unexpected _dénouement_
never fails to raise a laugh against the individual who has sought to
embarrass you, while the impromptu disappearance of the egg will be
regarded by many as the most marvellous portion of the trick. The same
expedient will be equally available to prevent the examination, at an
awkward moment, of other small articles.

There is another method, in which the trick is performed with
handkerchiefs borrowed from the audience. In this case, _two_ metal
eggs, like that above described, are used, the blown egg being
dispensed with. The performer commences the trick by borrowing two
handkerchiefs, a lady’s handkerchief, and a larger one, preferably of
silk. These he places on his table, secretly exchanging the smaller
one for a substitute of his own, and retires for a moment to fetch
a glass. He takes advantage of his momentary absence to insert the
handkerchief of which he has gained possession into one of the hollow
eggs, and returns with this egg lying (the opening downwards) on
his left palm, the other hand holding the glass, while the second
hollow egg is concealed in his left _pochette_. Coming forward to the
audience, he picks up, in passing, the larger handkerchief from the
table, and handing the glass, as forming the principal portion of the
apparatus, for examination, throws the handkerchief over the hand
which holds the egg, showing by its outline beneath the silk that it
has not been removed, and meanwhile drawing out with the finger and
thumb of the concealed hand the handkerchief hidden therein; which is
thus ready to be placed in the glass along with the egg, under cover
of the larger handkerchief. The rest of the trick proceeds as already
described, save that in this instance, the egg not being attached to
the outer handkerchief, it is necessary to clip it with the fingers
through the handkerchief when the latter is removed. To do this easily
and effectually, it is well, in placing the egg in the glass, to place
it with the opening upwards, the edges of the opening giving a readier
hold than the unbroken surface of the opposite side.


[Illustration: FIG. 115.]

THE HAND BOX, FOR VANISHING A HANDKERCHIEF.--While discussing the
subject of handkerchief tricks, we must not omit to mention the “hand
box,” a clever little contrivance for causing the disappearance of a
handkerchief. It consists of a little tin box, of the size and shape
of the heel of a gentleman’s boot, closed on all sides, save that
which answers to the front portion of the heel, which is left open.
(_See_ Fig. 115.) To one of its sides is riveted or soldered a steel
spring, about an inch in length. The free end of this spring forms
with the side of the box a sort of clip, by means of which the box
can be attached (as shown in the Figure) to the fleshy part of the
hand, the opening being towards the fingers. Being within the hand,
it is of course unseen by the audience. The manner of its use is much
the same as that of the hollow egg described in the last trick, save
that the hand box is never exhibited. As soon as the handkerchief is
fairly worked in, the left hand is closed, as if containing it; the
effect being to the audience as if the handkerchief was merely rolled
up and placed in the left hand. On opening the hand, the handkerchief
is found to have disappeared, the performer having meanwhile plenty of
opportunity to drop the concealed handkerchief, box and all, into the
_pochette_ on his right-hand side.

The hand box may be made available in a variety of ways, as follows:
The performer having borrowed a handkerchief, secretly changes it for a
substitute, which he leaves in full view on the table. Having made what
disposition he pleases of the original, he returns, meanwhile placing
the hand box in position, and causing by its means the disappearance of
the substitute, orders the borrowed article to be found in such place
as he may think proper.

[Illustration]



CHAPTER XII.

TRICKS WITH DOMINOES AND DICE.


TO ARRANGE A ROW OF DOMINOES FACE DOWNWARDS ON THE TABLE, AND
ON RETURNING TO THE ROOM TO TURN UP A DOMINO WHOSE POINTS SHALL
INDICATE HOW MANY HAVE BEEN MOVED IN YOUR ABSENCE.--This is a capital
drawing-room feat. You place a row of twenty dominoes face downwards
upon the table, avoiding as far as possible the appearance of any
special arrangement, but nevertheless taking care that the points of
the first domino (commencing from the left) shall amount to twelve,
the points of the second to eleven, and so on, each decreasing by one
point till you reach the thirteenth, which will be the double-blank.
The points of the remaining seven are a matter of indifference. You now
propose to give the company a specimen of your powers of clairvoyance,
and for that purpose leave the room, first requesting the company
to remove during your absence any number of dominoes (not exceeding
twelve) from the right to the left hand of the row, in other respects
retaining their order. On your return you advance to the table, and
address the company to the following effect: “Ladies and gentlemen,
as I have already told you, I have the privilege of possessing the
clairvoyant faculty, and I am about to give you a specimen of my
powers. Now it would seem at first sight sufficiently surprising that
I should be able merely to tell you the number of dominoes which
have been moved in my absence, but that might be easily effected by
confederacy, or many other very simple expedients. I propose to do
much more than this, and to show you not only that I know the number
that you have just displaced, but that I can read the dominoes before
you as readily in their present position as though they were lying
face upwards. For instance, this domino” (touching one of the row with
your finger or wand) “represents the number which have been moved in
my absence. Will some one please to say what that number was?” The
answer is, we will suppose, “Seven.” “Seven,” you repeat, turning over
the domino you have touched. “You see that I was right. Would you
like me to name some more? They are all equally easy. This, let me
see--yes, this is a two; this is a nine; this is a double-six; this is
a double-blank;” turning over each domino to show that you have named
it right.

This feat, which appears perfectly miraculous to the uninitiated, is
performed by the simplest possible means. All that you have to do is to
count secretly the row of dominoes as far as the thirteenth from the
left-hand end, or (which is the same thing) the eighth from the right
hand end, the points of which will invariably be the same as the number
moved from the right to the left of the row. You do not know, until the
domino is turned up, what that number actually was, but you must by no
means let the audience suspect this. You must boldly assume to know
the number, and from that knowledge, aided by some clairvoyant faculty,
to have selected a domino whose points shall represent that number.
Thus, having selected the proper domino, you call upon the audience
to state the number moved, after which the turning up of the selected
domino is regarded by the audience merely as a proof that you were
correct in the previous knowledge for which they, without the smallest
foundation, give you credit. After this domino has been turned up, it
is easy, knowing the original order of the thirteen of which it forms
one, to name two or three on either side of it. In most instances you
will only know the total figure of a given domino, as two or three
different combination of points will give the same total. (Thus a total
of seven may be represented by either six and one, five and two, or
four and three.) But there are two or three dominoes of which, if you
know the total, you know the points also. Thus a total “twelve” must be
always “double-six,” a “blank” always “double-blank,” a “one” always
“blank one.” By naming one or two of these, as if hap-hazard, you will
prevent the audience suspecting, as they otherwise might, that your
knowledge is limited to the _total_ of each domino.

It is obvious that this is a trick which cannot be repeated, as
the necessary rearrangement of the dominoes would at once attract
attention. You may, however, volunteer to repeat it in a still more
surprising form, really performing in its place the trick next
following, one of the best, though also one of the simplest, in the
whole range of the magic art.


TO ALLOW ANY PERSON IN YOUR ABSENCE TO ARRANGE THE DOMINOES IN A ROW,
FACE DOWNWARDS, AND ON YOUR RETURN TO NAME BLINDFOLD, OR WITHOUT
ENTERING THE ROOM, THE END NUMBERS OF THE ROW.--You invite the audience
to select any one of their number to arrange the whole of the dominoes
face downwards upon the table. This he may do in any manner he pleases,
the only restriction being that he is to arrange them after the fashion
of the _game_ of dominoes--viz., so that a six shall be coupled with
a six, and a four with a four, and so on. While he does this, you
leave the room, and, on being recalled, you at once pronounce, either
blindfold, or (if the audience prefer it) without even entering the
room, that the extreme end numbers of the row are six and five, five
and two, etc., as the case may be.

This seeming marvel depends upon a very simple principle. It will be
found by experiment that a complete set of dominoes, arranged in a
row according to domino rules (_i.e._, like numbers together), will
invariably have the same number at each end. Thus if the final number
at one end of the row be five, that at the opposite end will be five
also, and so on; so that the twenty-eight dominoes, arranged as above,
form numerically an endless chain, or circle. If this circle be broken
by the removal of any domino, the numbers on either side of the gap
thus made will be the same as those of the missing domino. Thus, if
you take away a “five-three,” the chain thus broken will terminate at
one end with a five, and at the other with a three. This is the whole
secret of the trick: the performer secretly abstracts one domino, say
the “five-three;” this renders it a matter of certainty that the row to
be formed with the remaining dominoes will terminate with a five at the
one end and a three at the other, and so on with any other domino of
two unequal numbers.

The domino abstracted must not be a “double,” or the trick will fail.
A little consideration will show why this is the case. The removal of
a double from the endless chain we have mentioned produces no break
in the chain, as the numbers on each side of the gap, being alike,
will coalesce; and a row formed with the remaining dominoes under such
conditions may be made to terminate in any number, such number being,
however, alike at either end. A domino of two different numbers, on the
other hand, being removed, “forces,” so to speak, the series made with
the remainder to terminate with those particular numbers.


[Illustration: FIG. 116.]

TO CHANGE, INVISIBLY, THE NUMBERS SHOWN ON EITHER FACE OF A PAIR OF
DICE.--Take a pair of ordinary dice, and so place them between the
first finger and thumb of the right hand (_see_ Fig. 116), that the
uppermost shall show the “one,” and the lowermost the “three” point,
while the “one” point of the latter and the “three” point of the former
are at right angles to those first named, and concealed by the ball
of the thumb. (The enlargement at _a_ in the figure shows clearly the
proper position.) Ask someone to name aloud the points which are in
sight, and to state particularly, for the information of the company,
which point is uppermost. This having been satisfactorily ascertained,
you announce that you are able, by simply passing a finger over the
faces of the dice, to make the points change places. So saying, gently
rub the exposed faces of the dice with the forefinger of the left hand,
and, on again removing the finger, the points are found to have changed
places, the “three” being now uppermost, and the “one” undermost. This
effect is produced by a slight movement of the thumb and finger of the
right hand in the act of bringing the hands together, the thumb being
moved slightly forward, and the finger slightly back. This causes the
two dice to make a quarter-turn vertically on their own axis, bringing
into view the side which has hitherto been concealed by the ball of
the thumb, while the side previously in sight is in turn hidden by the
middle finger. A reverse movement, of course, replaces the dice in
their original position. The action of bringing the hands together, for
the supposed purpose of rubbing the dice with the opposite forefinger,
completely covers the smaller movement of the thumb and finger.

[Illustration: FIG. 117.]

After having exhibited the trick in this form once or twice, you
may vary your mode of operation. For this purpose take the dice
(still retaining their relative position) horizontally between the
thumb and second finger, in the manner depicted in Fig. 117, showing
“three-one” on their upper face; the corresponding “three-one,” or
rather “one-three,” being now covered by the forefinger. As the points
on the opposite faces of a die invariably together amount to seven, it
is obvious that the points on the under side will now be “four-six,”
while the points next to the ball of the thumb will be “six-four.” You
show, alternately raising and lowering the hand, that the points above
are “three-one,” and those below “six-four.” Again going through the
motion of rubbing the dice with the opposite forefinger, you slightly
raise the thumb and depress the middle finger, which will bring the
“six-four” uppermost, and the “three-one” or “one-three” undermost.
This maybe repeated any number of times; or you may, by moving the
thumb and finger accordingly, produce either “three-one” or “six-four”
apparently both above and below the dice.

The trick may, of course, be varied as regards the particular points,
but the dice must, in any case, be so placed as to have similar points
on two adjoining faces.


TO NAME, WITHOUT SEEING THEM, THE POINTS OF A PAIR OF DICE.--This is
a mere arithmetical recreation, but it is so good that we cannot
forbear to notice it. You ask the person who threw the dice to choose
which of them he likes, multiply its points by two, add five to the
product, multiply the sum so obtained by five, and add the points of
the remaining die. On his telling you the result, you mentally subtract
twenty-five from it, when the remainder will be a number of two
figures, each representing the points of one of the dice.

Thus, suppose the throws to be five, two. Five multiplied by two are
ten; add five, fifteen, which, multiplied by five, is seventy-five,
to which two (the points of the remaining die) being added, the total
is seventy-seven. If from this you mentally deduct twenty-five, the
remainder is fifty-two, giving the points of the two dice--five and
two. But, you will say, suppose the person who threw had reversed
the arithmetical process, and had taken the points of the second die
(two) as his multiplicand, the result must have been different. Let us
try the experiment. Twice two are four, five added make nine, which,
multiplied by five, is forty-five, and five (the points of the other
die) being added to it, bring the total up to fifty. From this subtract
twenty-five as before. The remainder, twenty-five, again gives the
points of the two dice, but in the reverse order; and the same result
will follow, whatever the throws may be.

[Illustration]



CHAPTER XIII.

THE CUPS AND BALLS.


The subject of the present chapter may be said to be the groundwork of
all legerdemain, being, we believe, the very earliest form in which
sleight-of-hand was exhibited. At the present day it is not very often
seen, save in the bastard form known as “thimble-rig,” and used as a
means of fleecing the unwary upon race-courses and at country fairs.
It is, however, well worthy the attention of the student of modern
magic, not only as affording an excellent course of training in digital
dexterity, but as being, in the hands of an adept, most striking in
effect. It is by no means uncommon to find spectators who have received
more elaborate feats with comparative indifference, become interested,
and even enthusiastic, over a brilliant manipulation of the cups and
balls.

The prestige of the illusion is heightened by the simplicity of the
appliances used, consisting merely of three tin cups about three inches
high, each in the form of a truncated cone, with a rim or shoulder
round the base (_see_ Fig. 118), the ordinary wand, four little cork
balls, three-quarters of an inch or a little less in diameter, and
blackened in the flame of a candle, three larger balls of about an inch
and a quarter in diameter, and four more of such a size as to just fill
the goblet. These last are generally stuffed with hair, and covered
with cloth. The number of balls may vary according to the particular
“passes” which the performer desires to exhibit, but the above will be
found sufficient for most purposes. The performers of the olden time
were accustomed to use the _gibecière_, or apron with pockets, already
mentioned, and to perform at a table having no speciality, save that
it was a little higher than those in ordinary use; but at the present
day the _gibecière_ is entirely discarded, the _servante_ of the table
answering the same purpose. The arrangement of the table and apparatus
is shown in Fig. 118.

The whole art of cup-and-ball conjuring resolves itself into two
elements--(1), the exhibition of a ball under a cup where a moment
previously there was nothing; and (2) the disappearance of a ball
from beneath a cup under which the audience have just seen it (or
believe that they have seen it) placed. The routine is as follows:--A
cup is lifted, to show that there is nothing beneath it, and again
replaced, mouth downwards, on the table. A ball is taken in the right
hand, transferred to the left, and thence ordered to pass under the
cup. The hand is opened, the ball has vanished, and, on the cup being
lifted, is found beneath it. Again, the ball, first exhibited in the
right hand, is thence openly transferred, either directly under the
cup, or first to the left hand, and thence to the cup. All having
seen it placed beneath the cup, it is now commanded to depart, and on
again lifting the cup, it is found to have vanished. It will hardly be
believed, until proved by experiment, of what numerous and surprising
combinations these simple elements are capable.

[Illustration: FIG. 118.]

The sleight-of-hand requisite for the cups and balls is technically
divisible into four different acts or movements, viz.--1. To “palm” the
ball. 2. To reproduce the palmed ball at the end of the fingers. 3. To
secretly introduce the palmed ball under the cup. 4. To simulate the
action of placing the ball under the cup. The modes of effecting these
objects will be discussed in due order.


[Illustration: FIG. 119.]

[Illustration: FIG. 120.]

[Illustration: FIG. 121.]

1. TO PALM THE BALL. _First Method._--We use the generic term “palm”
for the sake of convenience, though in this first method, which is
that most generally used, the ball is really concealed between the
second and third fingers, and not in the palm. Take the ball between
the first finger and thumb of the right hand; slightly bend the fingers
(_see_ Fig. 119), and at the same moment roll the ball with the thumb
across the first and second fingers, till it rests between the second
and third fingers (_see_ Fig. 120), which should slightly separate to
receive it, again closing as soon as it is safely lodged. The ball
will now be as shown in Fig. 121, and it will be found that the hand
can be opened or closed with perfect freedom, and, indeed, be used in
any manner, without being in the least hampered by its presence. The
student should practise palming the ball in this manner both in the act
of (apparently) transferring the ball to the left hand, and in that of
(apparently) placing it under a cup lifted by the left hand for that
purpose.

_Second Method._--The second method is to actually “palm” the ball, in
the same manner as a coin. For this purpose the ball is, as before,
taken between the first finger and thumb of the right hand, but is
thence made by the thumb to roll between the tips of the third and
fourth fingers, which immediately close into the palm, and, again
opening, leave the ball behind them. With a little practice, two balls
in succession may be palmed in this way, and then a third by the first
method.

[Illustration: FIG. 122.]

_Third Method._--The third method is that which was adopted by the
celebrated Bosco, a most accomplished performer with the cup and
balls. Being accustomed to use balls of a larger size than those above
described, and therefore too bulky to palm by the first method, he used
to hold them by means of a slight contraction of the little finger.
(_See_ Fig. 122.) The necessary movement of the fingers to place the
ball in position is nearly the same as by the first method.


[Illustration: FIG. 123.]

2. TO REPRODUCE THE PALMED BALL AT THE END OF THE FINGERS.--The mode
of doing this will vary according to the method by which the ball is
palmed. If according to the first or third method, the ball is simply
rolled back to the finger-tips with the ball of the thumb, exactly
reversing the process by which it was palmed. But if the ball was
palmed by the second method, it is, for the time being, not get-at-able
by the ball of the thumb. In this case the first step is to close the
third and fourth fingers upon the ball (_see_ Fig. 123), and therewith
roll it to the position shown in Fig. 122, when the thumb is enabled
to reach it, and to roll it to the finger-tips in the manner just
described.


[Illustration: FIG. 124.]

3. TO SECRETLY INTRODUCE THE PALMED BALL UNDER THE CUP.--This is
always done in the act of raising the cup (with the right hand), for
the ostensible purpose of showing that there is nothing underneath
it. The chief thing to be attended to is the position of the right
hand (in which we are supposing a ball to be palmed by one or other of
the methods above mentioned) in raising the cup. This should be done
with the hand spread almost flat upon the table, and grasping the cup
as low down as possible, between the thumb and the lowest joint of
the forefinger. In the act of raising the cup, the fingers naturally
assume the position shown in Fig. 124, whereby the ball is brought in
close proximity to, and slightly under, the edge of the cup. If the
ball be palmed by the first method, all that is necessary in order to
release it is a slight backward movement of the second, and a forward
movement of the third finger, made just before the cup again touches
the table. This will be found to drop the ball immediately under the
cup. If the ball be palmed by the third method, its introduction under
the cup is a still easier matter, as by the act of raising the cup it
is brought directly underneath it, and is released by the mere act of
straightening the third and fourth fingers. If the ball is palmed by
the second method, it becomes necessary, before taking hold of the cup,
to close the third and fourth fingers slightly (_see_ Fig. 123), and
bring the ball to the position shown in Fig. 122. From this point the
operation is the same as if the ball had been originally palmed by the
third method.

[Illustration: FIG. 125.]

It is sometimes necessary to introduce a ball between two cups. It will
be remembered that each cup is made with a cylindrical rim or shoulder.
The purpose of this shoulder is that, when two cups are placed one
upon the other (_see_ Fig. 125), there may be a space between them
sufficient to receive a ball or balls. To further facilitate the
introduction of the ball, the top of each cup is made, not flat, but
concave. When it is desired to introduce a ball between two cups, that
object is effected as follows:--Having the ball ready palmed in the
right hand, the performer takes up a cup in the same hand, and with it
covers the second cup, at the same moment introducing the ball beneath
it in the ordinary manner, but with the addition of a little upward
jerk, rather difficult to describe, but easily acquired with a little
practice. The ball is thereby thrown to the top of the uppermost cup,
and, in again falling, is received by the concave top of the lowermost
cup.


4. TO SIMULATE THE ACTION OF PLACING A BALL UNDER A CUP.--This may be
done in two ways. The first is to raise the cup with the left hand,
apparently placing the ball underneath it with the right, but really
palming it. Care must be taken that the edge of the cup shall touch
the table at the very moment that the fingers of the right hand are
removed. The second and more common method is to apparently transfer
the ball to the left hand, palming it in the transit, and then bringing
the closed left hand close to the cup on the table, raise the cup with
the other hand, and immediately replace it with a sort of scraping
movement across the fingers of the now opening left hand.

When the student has thoroughly mastered the various operations above
described, he will have little to learn save the combination of the
various Passes, a matter of memory only. There are, however, one or
two subordinate sleights with which he should make himself acquainted
before proceeding publicly to exhibit his dexterity.


[Illustration: FIG. 126.]

TO PRODUCE A BALL FROM THE WAND.--The wand is supposed to be the
reservoir whence the magician produces his store of balls, and into
which they vanish when no longer needed. The mode of production is
as follows:--The performer, holding the wand in his left hand, and
drawing attention to it by some remark as to its mysterious power of
production and absorption, secretly takes with his right hand, from the
_servante_ or elsewhere, a ball, which he immediately palms (preferably
by the first method). Daintily holding the wand by either end with
the left hand, in such manner as to show that the hand is otherwise
empty, he slides the thumb and fingers of the right hand (the back of
which is naturally towards the audience) lightly to the opposite end,
at the same moment rolling the ball with the thumb to the ends of the
fingers, as already described. (_See_ Fig. 126.) The ball thus comes in
sight just as the hand leaves the wand, the effect to the eyes of the
spectators being that the ball is, by some mysterious process, squeezed
out of the wand.


TO RETURN A BALL INTO THE WAND.--This is the converse of the process
last described. Taking the wand in the left hand, as before, and the
ball between the thumb and second joint of the forefinger of the
opposite hand, the performer lays the end of the wand across the tips
of the fingers, and draws the hand gently downwards along it, at the
same time palming the ball by the first method.


TO PASS ONE CUP THROUGH ANOTHER.--This is an effective sleight, and
by no means difficult of acquirement. Taking one of the cups, mouth
upwards, in the left hand, and holding another in a similar position
in the right hand, about a foot above it, the performer drops the
right hand cup smartly into that in the left hand (which latter should
be held very lightly). If this is neatly done, the lower cup will be
knocked out of the hand by the concussion, while the upper one will be
caught and held in its place; the effect to the eye of the spectator
being as if the upper cup had passed through the other. The lower cup
may either be allowed to fall on the ground or table, or may be caught
by the right hand in its fall.

The successive appearances and disappearances of the balls underneath
the cups are known by the name of “Passes;” the particular combination
of such passes being governed by the taste and invention of the
performer. The series most generally in use is derived from a work
dating from the last century, the _Récréations Mathématiques et
Physiques_ of Guyot; and Guyot, we believe, borrowed it from a German
source. The series given below, which will be found very effective, is
derived mainly from that of Guyot, as improved by Ponsin, a later and
very ingenious writer on the art of prestidigitation.

The cups and balls require, even more than conjuring generally,
a running accompaniment of _talk_. Each Pass should have its own
“_boniment_,” or “patter,” carefully prepared and frequently rehearsed.
It would be impossible to give, within any reasonable limits,
appropriate patter for each of the Passes. This each performer must
arrange for himself, so as to suit the style and character in which he
performs; as it is obvious that the low comedy style of a mountebank
at a country fair would be utterly unsuitable in an aristocratic
drawing-room, and _vice versâ_. We shall, however, give a specimen or
two in the course of the various Passes. The burlesque introduction
next following is a paraphrase of a similar address quoted by
Robert-Houdin:--

_Introductory Address._--“Ladies and Gentlemen,--In an age so
enlightened as our own, it is really surprising to see how many popular
fallacies spring up from day to day, and are accepted by the public
mind as unchangeable laws of nature.

“Among these fallacies there is one which I propose at once to point
out to you, and which I flatter myself I shall very easily dispose of.
Many people have asserted, and, among others, the celebrated Erasmus of
Rotterdam, that a material object can only be in one place at one time.
Now I maintain, on the contrary, that any object may be in several
places at the same moment, and that it is equally possible that it may
be nowhere at all.

“I must beg you to observe, in the first place, that I have nothing
in my hands--except my fingers; and that between my fingers there is
nothing save a few atoms of the mysterious fluid which we call the
atmosphere, and through which our jolly old Earth spins so merrily
along. But we must leave the common-place regions of astronomy, and
return to the mysteries of hermetic science.

“I have before me, as you will have noticed, three little cups or
goblets. The metal of which these are composed is an amalgam of
costly minerals, unknown even to the most profound philosophers. This
mysterious composition, which resembles silver in its solidity, its
colour, and the clearness of its ring, has over silver this great
advantage, that it will at pleasure become impalpable as air, so
that solid bodies pass through these goblets as easily as they would
through empty space. I will give you a curious illustration of this by
making one goblet pass through another.” (This the performer does in
the manner already described, and after a moment’s pause, continues,
taking up his wand in his left hand, and secretly palming a ball in
his right.) “This little wand, you are possibly aware, ladies and
gentlemen, goes by the name of Jacob’s Rod. Why it is so called I
really don’t know; I only know that this simple-looking wand has the
faculty of producing various articles at pleasure. For instance, I
require for the purpose of my experiment a little ball. My wand at once
supplies me.” (He produces a ball from the wand, and lays it on the
table.)

With this or some similar introduction, the performer proceeds to
exhibit


PASS I. HAVING PLACED A BALL UNDER EACH CUP, TO DRAW IT OUT AGAIN
WITHOUT LIFTING THE CUP.--Having produced a ball from the wand
as last described, and having laid it on the table, the operator
continues,--“Allow me to show you once more that all the cups are
empty” (he raises them one by one, and replaces them), “and that I
have nothing in either of my hands. I take this little ball” (he picks
it up with the right hand, and apparently transfers it to the left,
really palming it in the right), “and place it under one of the cups.”
Here he raises the cup with the right hand, and simulates the action
of placing the ball under it with the left. “I draw another ball from
my wand” (this is really the same ball, which remained palmed in the
right hand), “and place it in like manner under the second cup.”
He goes through the motion of transferring it to the left hand and
thence to the cup, as before, but this time actually does what on the
former occasion he only pretended to do, and leaves the ball under the
middle cup. “I produce another ball”--(he half draws the wand through
his fingers, but checks himself half-way). “I think I heard some one
assert that I have a ball already in my hand. Pray satisfy yourselves”
(showing the palms of his hands, the fingers carelessly apart) “that
such is not the case. A lady suggested just now, by the way--it was
only said in a whisper, but I heard it--that I didn’t really put the
balls under the cup. It was rather sharp on the part of the lady, but
you see she was wrong. Here are the balls.”[K] So saying, the performer
lifts up the middle cup with his left hand, and picking up the ball
with his right, holds it up that all may see, immediately replacing
it under the same cup. The last movement is simulated only, the ball
being in reality palmed in the supposed act of placing it under the
cup. “We have now a ball under each of these two cups. We only want one
more, and--here it is”--apparently producing a third ball (really the
same again) from the wand. “We will place it under this last cup.” He
actually does so. “Now, ladies and gentlemen, we have three cups and
three balls, one under each cup. So far, I admit that I have not shown
you anything very surprising, but now comes the puzzle, to take the
balls from under the cups. Perhaps some of you sharp gentlemen will
say there isn’t much difficulty in that. Lift the cup, and pick up the
ball!” He suits the action to the word, lifting up the third goblet
with the left hand, and picking up the ball with the right. “A very
good solution, but it doesn’t happen to be the right one. The problem
is to draw out the balls without lifting the cups.” Here he replaces
the cup, apparently placing the ball beneath it, but really palming it,
as already described in the case of the middle cup, and then returns
to the first or furthest cup; touching the top of the goblet, he lets
the palmed ball drop to his finger-tips, and immediately exhibits it,
saying--“This is the way _I_ take the balls out of the cups. The ball
being no longer needed, I return it into the wand.” This he does as
described at page 277, immediately afterwards, if desired, handing the
wand for examination. “In like manner I draw out the second ball” (he
repeats the same process with the middle goblet), “and pass that also
into my wand. I need not even handle the goblets. See, I merely touch
this third goblet with my wand, and the ball instantly appears on the
top.” The company, of course, cannot see any ball on the end of the
wand, but a ball is nevertheless taken thence by the process already
described, of letting the palmed ball drop to the tips of the fingers,
as they come in contact with the wand. “I pass this also into my wand.
Stay, though, on second thoughts, I shall want a ball for my next
experiment, so I will leave it here on the table.”

    [K] The reader will understand that nobody has in fact made
        any such observation, but the overhearing of an imaginary
        objection is often of great use, as enabling the performer
        to do some necessary act, which he could not well have
        done without such pretext. Thus in this instance, the
        performer wants a plausible excuse--first, for altering his
        apparent intention of immediately producing a second ball
        from the wand; and, secondly, for lifting the middle cup,
        and so regaining possession of the ball. A conjuror thus
        addressing an imaginary objector is said in French “_parler
        à la cantonade_,” but the phrase has no precise equivalent
        among English performers.

We have given a somewhat elaborate description of this first Pass, in
order to give the reader some idea of the various feints and artifices
employed in relation to the cups and balls. It would be impossible,
from considerations of space, to do this as to each of the Passes, and
the reader must therefore remember that the descriptions following give
merely the essential outlines, which must be worked up to dramatic
effectiveness by the ingenuity of the individual performer. Where
practicable, we shall allow the few words put into the mouth of the
performer to indicate the actions accompanying them, only giving
special “stage directions” in cases where the performer does _not_
suit the action to the words. For the sake of distinctness, we shall
indicate the goblets (reckoning from the left hand of the performer) as
A, B, and C. (_See_ Fig. 118.)


PASS II. TO MAKE A BALL TRAVEL INVISIBLY FROM CUP TO CUP.--“Now, ladies
and gentlemen, if you watch very closely, you will be able to see the
ball travel from one cup to another. I take the ball” (transfers it
apparently to left hand) “and place it under this cup (C). You all see
that there is nothing under this one” (B). In raising B with the right
hand he introduces under it the palmed ball. “I shall now command the
ball which I have just placed under the first cup (C) to travel under
this one (B). Attention! and you will see it pass.” He makes a motion
of the wand from the one cup to the other. “There it goes! This cup
(C), as you see, is empty, and under this one (B) is the ball. I will
replace it under this same cup” (B). He in reality palms it. “There is
nothing under this cup” (A). He secretly introduces the ball under A.
“Now observe again. Pass! Did you see it? No? well, I don’t much wonder
at it, for I can’t always see it myself. Here it is, however” (lifts
A), “and this cup (B) is empty.” He replaces the cups on the table, and
lays the ball beside them.


PASS III. HAVING PLACED A BALL UNDER EACH OF THE END CUPS, TO MAKE THEM
PASS SUCCESSIVELY UNDER THE MIDDLE CUP.--Before commencing this Pass,
the performer, while placing the goblets in line, or otherwise engaging
the attention of the audience with his left hand, takes from the
_servante_ with his right, and palms, a second ball. He continues, “For
my next experiment, ladies and gentlemen, I shall require two balls. I
need hardly remark that I could instantly supply myself from the wand;
but there is a curious faculty about the balls themselves; they have
a constant tendency to increase and multiply. For instance, without
having recourse to the wand, I can instantly make this one ball into
two” (he takes up the ball on the table in his left hand, taking care
so to hold it that all may see that there is nothing else in his hand),
“and the most curious part of the matter is, that though mathematicians
insist that the whole is always greater than its part, in this case
each of the parts will be found precisely equal to the whole.” As he
speaks, he takes the ball from the left hand with the fingers of the
right, at the same time dropping the palmed ball into the left hand,
and now taking care to so hold his _right_ hand as to show that it
contains the one ball only. He then again replaces this ball in the
palm of the left hand, where it lies side by side with the second ball.
Rubbing the left palm with the second and third fingers of the right,
with a circular motion, he gradually lifts the fingers, and shows the
single ball apparently transformed into two, both of which he places on
the table.

“You will observe that there is nothing under this cup (C). I will
place under it this ball” (he really palms it); “neither is there
anything under either of these two cups” (B and A). He lifts the cups
one with each hand, and secretly introduces the palmed ball under B.
“I take this second ball, and place it under this cup” (A). He really
palms it. “We now have a ball under each of these two cups” (A and C).
“I draw the ball out of this one” (C). He touches the top of the cup,
and produces the ball last palmed at his finger-tips. “I order it to
pass under this middle cup” (B). He apparently transfers it to the left
hand, really palming it, and then makes a motion with the left hand, as
if passing it into B. “It has passed, you see!” He raises B with his
right hand, showing the ball under it, and in replacing it secretly
introduces the second palmed ball. “Now I order the ball in this cup
(A) to pass in like manner.” He waves his wand from A to B, and then
lifts B. “Here it is, and these two outer cups” (turning them over with
the wand) “are perfectly empty.”


PASS IV. HAVING PLACED TWO BALLS UNDER THE MIDDLE CUP, TO MAKE THEM
PASS UNDER THE TWO OUTER ONES.--“You have just seen these two balls
pass under the middle cup; now, by way of variety, we will make them
pass out of it. I will take the two balls, and place them under the
middle cup.” He really so places one only, palming the other. “You
observe that there is nothing either under this (A), nor under this
(C).” Here he secretly introduces the palmed ball beneath C. “Now I
order one of the balls under the middle cup to pass under one of the
outer cups. Let us see if it has done so” (lifts middle cup with left
hand). “Yes, here is only one left.” He takes it up and shows it with
right hand, then makes the gesture of replacing, but really palms it.
“Let us see where it has gone to” (lifts A with right hand, and in
replacing it secretly introduces the palmed ball under it). “It is not
under this one. Then it must be under this.” He lifts C. “Yes, here it
is. Now I command the other ball in like manner to leave the middle
cup, and pass under the other (A). Pass! Here it is, you see, and this
one (B) is entirely empty.”


PASS V. TO PASS THREE BALLS IN SUCCESSION UNDER ONE CUP.--“So far,
ladies and gentlemen, what I have shown you has been mere child’s
play.” He drops the right hand carelessly to the _servante_, and picks
up two more balls, one of which he holds between the fingers, and the
other in the palm. “The real difficulty only begins when we begin to
work with three balls. Now which of these two balls” (taking up the
two balls from the table) “is the largest? This one, I fancy, has the
advantage, so I will pinch a little piece off to make a third ball.” He
goes through the motion of pinching the ball with the fingers of both
hands, at the same moment letting fall the ball in the palm to the tips
of the fingers of the right hand. “Yes, this will do. It isn’t quite
round, but that is easily rectified.” He rolls it between the fingers.
“That is better. Now watch me closely, ladies and gentlemen.” He places
the balls upon the table, with the exception of the fourth, which
remains concealed between the fingers. “You see that there is nothing
under either of the cups.” He raises all three, and introduces the
fourth ball under the middle one (B). He then picks up one of the balls
on the table, and apparently transfers it to his left hand, really
palming it. “I command this ball to pass into the middle cup. It has
passed, you see” (raising the cup with the right hand, and in replacing
it, introducing the ball now palmed). The operation is repeated in like
manner, until three balls have been shown under the cup, the fourth
finally remaining palmed in the right hand.


PASS VI. TO PLACE THREE BALLS ONE AFTER THE OTHER UPON THE TOP OF ONE
OF THE CUPS, AND TO MAKE THEM FALL THROUGH THE CUP ON TO THE TABLE.--At
the conclusion of the last Pass the performer had brought three balls
under the centre cup B, a fourth remaining concealed in his hand. In
lifting B to exhibit the three balls, and in replacing it beside them,
he takes the opportunity of introducing beneath it this fourth ball.
He next takes one of the three balls thus exposed, and placing it on
the top of this same goblet (B), covering it with a second goblet (A).
Making any appropriate gesture he pleases, he commands the ball to fall
through the lower goblet on to the table. He then overturns (without
separating) the two goblets, their mouths being towards the spectators,
when the ball which he had secretly introduced will be discovered, and
will appear to be that which the spectators have just seen placed on
the top of the goblet (and which really still remains between the two
goblets), and picks up the two goblets together, mouth upwards, with
the left hand, and with the right hand takes out that which is now
uppermost (B). He turns both the goblets down upon the table, placing
A over the ball which he has just shown. If this is neatly done, the
other ball, which has remained in A, will not be discovered, but will
as it falls be covered by A, which will now have beneath it two balls.
The performer now places one of the remaining balls on the top of A,
covering it with either of the other goblets, and again goes through
the same process till he has shown first two, and then three balls
under the cup, the fourth remaining, at the close of the Pass, between
the two cups last used.


PASS VII. TO PASS THREE BALLS IN SUCCESSION UPWARDS THROUGH THE TABLE
INTO ONE OF THE CUPS.--You concluded the last Pass (we will suppose the
reader to represent for the time being the performer) by lifting two
cups together to show three balls beneath the undermost. Holding two
cups in the left hand, you turn them over, mouth upwards. Taking with
the right hand that which is now uppermost, you place it on the table
in the ordinary position, still retaining the other, in which, unknown
to the spectators, a fourth ball still remains. You continue, “Ladies
and gentlemen, you may possibly imagine that there is some trick or
sleight-of-hand in what I have shown you, but I am now about to perform
an experiment in which that solution is clearly inadmissible. I propose
to pass these three balls, one after the other, through the solid
table into this empty goblet. Pray watch me carefully. I take away
one of the balls” (you take in the right hand one of the three on the
table), “and hold it beneath the table, thus. My left hand, as you will
observe, is perfectly empty. I have only to say, ‘Pass!’” (You palm the
ball in the right hand, at the same time giving a gentle tap with one
finger against the under surface of the table, and immediately bring up
the hand, taking care, of course, to keep its outer side towards the
spectators; then gently shake the cup which you hold in the left hand,
and turn the ball out upon the table.) “Here it is, you see. Now I will
put it back in the cup” (you pick up the ball with the right hand, and
drop it into the cup, secretly letting fall with it the palmed ball),
“and take another ball.” You repeat the process, and show two balls in
the cup; then again (each time dropping in the palmed ball), and show
three, retaining the fourth ball, still palmed, in your right hand.


PASS VIII. TO PASS TWO BALLS IN SUCCESSION FROM ONE CUP TO ANOTHER
WITHOUT TOUCHING THEM.--You again place the three cups in a row on
the table, secretly introducing under the right hand cup (C) the ball
which remained in your right hand at the close of the last Pass, and
then openly place the three other balls on the tops of the three cups.
You then proceed, “I will take this ball” (that which is on B), “and
place it under this same cup” (B). You really palm it. “I take this
other ball” (that which is upon A), “and place it under this cup” (A).
You secretly introduce with it the ball which you have just palmed. “I
take this last” (that upon C), “and place it under this goblet (A);
or, stay, I will pass it invisibly to this one” (C)--really palming
it. “It has passed, you see.” You lift C, and show the ball which
is already there; and in again covering the ball with the cup, you
secretly introduce that which you last palmed. You now have in reality
two balls under each of the end cups, and none under the centre one;
but the spectators are persuaded that there is one ball under each cup.
“We now have one ball under each cup. Now I shall command the ball
that is under the centre cup to pass into either of the end ones at
your pleasure. Which shall it be?” Whichever is chosen, suppose C, you
raise and show the two balls under it. You then ostensibly replace the
two balls under C, but really replace the one only, palming the other.
You then raise the middle cup (B), to show that it is empty, and, in
replacing it, introduce the ball you have just palmed under it. “Now I
shall next order one of the two balls you have just seen under this cup
(C) to go and join the one which is already under this other (A). Pass!
Here it is, you observe.” You raise A to show that there are two balls
under it. You also raise C to show that it now only contains one ball,
and leave all three balls exposed on the table.


PASS IX. TO MAKE THREE BALLS IN SUCCESSION PASS UNDER THE MIDDLE
CUP.--At the conclusion of the last Pass, three balls were left in
view, while a fourth, unknown to the audience, was hidden under the
middle cup. You proceed, picking up a ball with the right hand, “I
take this ball, and place it under this cup” (C); (in reality palming
it). “I now order it to pass under the middle cup. Presto! Here it is,
you see.” You raise the middle cup to show that the ball has obeyed
your command, and, in again covering the ball, secretly introduce
with it that which you have just palmed. “I take this one” (you pick
up another), “and place it under this cup” (A)--here you palm it as
before--“and order it also to pass under the middle cup.” You raise the
middle cup, and show that there are now two balls under it, and, in
again covering them, introduce the ball which you last palmed. “I take
this last ball, and place it under this cup” (C)--palming it--“whence
I shall command it to again depart, and join its companions under the
middle cup. This time it shall make the journey visibly.” You take your
wand in the left hand, and with it touch the cup C. “Here it is, you
see, on the end of my wand. You don’t see it? Why, surely it is visible
enough. Look.” You pretend to produce the palmed ball from the wand,
and exhibit it to the company. “You can all see it _now_.” You lay down
the wand, and go through the motion of transferring the ball to the
left hand, really palming it in its passage. “Now, then, pray watch me
closely, and you will see it pass under the cup. One, two, three!” You
make the gesture of throwing it through the middle cup, and open the
hand to show it empty, immediately turning over the goblets to show
that there are three balls under the middle and none under the outer
ones.


PASS X. THE “MULTIPLICATION” PASS.--For the purpose of this Pass it is
necessary to borrow a hat, which you hold in the left hand. You then
place the three balls in a row upon the table, and cover each with one
of the cups. It will be remembered that a fourth ball remains palmed in
your right hand. You now lift up the right hand goblet (C), and place
it on the table close beside the ball which it lately covered, and as
you do so, secretly introduce beneath it the palmed ball. You pick up
with the right hand the ball which you have thus uncovered, and go
through the motion of dropping it into the hat, really palming it in
the moment during which the hand is concealed inside the hat, and at
the same moment simulating, by gentle tap against the inside, the sound
which the ball would make if actually dropped into the hat. You next
lift B in like manner, introducing the ball just palmed beneath it, and
go through the motion of placing the second ball, which is thereby left
exposed, in the hat. You do the same with the third cup, then return
to the first (which the spectators believe to be now empty, and from
which they are astonished to see you produce another ball), continuing
till you have raised each cup in succession eight or ten times, and, on
each occasion of lifting a cup to uncover a ball, introducing beneath
it the ball which you had just previously palmed. To the eyes of the
spectators, who believe that the balls are really dropped into the
hat, the effect will be exactly as if new balls, by some mysterious
process of reproduction, came under the cups at each time of raising
them. When you think your audience are sufficiently astonished, you
remark, “I think we have about enough now; the hat is getting rather
heavy. Will some one hold a handkerchief to receive the balls?” When
the handkerchief is spread out, you carefully turn over the hat, and
the general astonishment will be intensified at discovering that it
contains nothing.

There is, of course, a ball left under each of the cups, and a fourth
palmed in your right hand. This latter will not again be wanted, and
you should therefore, while attention is drawn to the hat, drop it upon
the _servante_, or into one of your _pochettes_.


PASS XI. TO TRANSFORM THE SMALL BALLS TO LARGER ONES.--While the
attention of the spectators is still occupied by the unexpected
_dénouement_ of the last Pass, you should prepare for this one by
secretly taking with your right hand from the _servante_, and palming
(by either the second or third method, the first being only available
for the small balls) one of the larger balls. You then address the
spectators to the following effect:--“Ladies and gentlemen, you see
that I have little difficulty in increasing the number of the balls
to an unlimited extent. I will now repeat the experiment in another
form, and show you that it is equally easy to make them increase in
size. You will observe that, notwithstanding the number of balls which
I have just produced from the cups, there are still plenty more to
come.” Here you raise C, and show that there is a ball still under it.
You replace it on the table at a few inches’ distance, and as you do
so, secretly introduce under it the larger ball which you have just
palmed. Taking up the small ball in your right hand, you say, “To make
the experiment still more surprising, I will pass the ball upwards
through the table into the cup.” So saying, you place the right hand
under the table, dropping as you do so the little ball which you hold
on the _servante_, and taking in its place another of the larger balls.
“Pass!” you exclaim, at the same time giving a gentle rap on the under
surface of the table. You bring the hand up again as if empty. You do
not touch the first cup, but repeat the operation with the second, B,
and again with A; on each occasion of passing the hand under the table
exchanging a small ball for a larger one, and immediately afterwards
introducing the latter under the cup next in order. The last time,
however, you merely drop the small ball on the _servante_, without
bringing up any other in exchange. You now have, unknown to the
audience, one of the larger, or medium-sized balls under each of the
cups; and if you were about to end with this Pass, you would merely
lift the cups and show the balls, thus apparently increased in size,
underneath. We will assume, however, that you propose to exhibit the
Pass next following (one of the most effective), in which case the
necessary preparation must be made in the act of raising the cups;
and we shall therefore proceed at once, while the balls still remain
covered, to describe


PASS XII. TO AGAIN TRANSFORM THE BALLS TO STILL LARGER ONES.--The last
Pass having reached the stage we have just described, _i.e._, a large
ball being under each cup, but not yet exhibited to the audience, you
secretly take in your _left_ hand from the _servante_ one of the still
larger balls. These balls should be soft and elastic, and of such a
size that, if pressed lightly into the cup, they shall require a slight
tap of the cup on the table to dislodge them.

Having taken the ball in the left hand, you hold it at the ends of the
fingers behind the table, as near the top as possible consistently with
its being out of sight of the spectators. Then saying, “Now, ladies and
gentlemen, I must ask for your very closest attention,” you raise C
with the right hand, and with the same movement lower it for a moment
behind the table, and over the ball in the left hand, which remains in
the cup of its own accord. All eyes go instinctively to the ball on
the table, whose increased size is a new phenomenon, and not one in a
hundred will, in this first moment of surprise, think of watching the
cup, which is naturally supposed to have, for the moment, concluded
its share of the trick. You replace the cup on the table lightly, so
as not to loosen the ball, meanwhile getting ready another ball in
the left hand, and repeat the operation with B. With A you make a
slight variation in your mode of procedure. Taking a third ball in
your left hand, you hold it as before, but, as if through carelessness
or clumsiness, allow it to be seen for a moment above the edge of the
table. When you raise the third cup, you move it behind the table as
before, and make a feint of introducing the ball which the spectators
have just seen, but really let it drop on the _servante_, and replace
the cup empty. A murmur from the audience will quickly apprise you
that they have, as they imagine, found you out. Looking as innocent
as you can, you inquire what is the matter, and are informed that you
were seen to introduce a ball into the cup. “I beg your pardon,” you
reply, lifting up, however, not A, which you have just replaced, but
C, which is the farthest remote from it. There is really a ball in
this cup, but having been pressed in, and fitting tightly, it does not
fall. The audience, seeing you raise the wrong cup, are more and more
confirmed in their suspicion. “Not that one, the other,” they exclaim.
You next raise B, the ball in which also does not fall, for the reason
already stated. “No, no,” the audience shout, “the other cup, the end
one.” “You are really very obstinate, gentlemen,” you reply, “but pray
satisfy yourselves,” turning over A as you speak, and showing the
inside, which is manifestly empty, and your critics rapidly subside.
Meanwhile, you drop your left hand to the _servante_, and secretly take
from it _two_ similar balls. Then, addressing the audience, you say,
“Surely, gentlemen, you don’t imagine that, if I wanted to place a
ball under a cup, I should set about it after such a clumsy fashion as
this!” As you say this, you place your left hand in your left pocket,
as if taking a ball from thence (as it obviously would not do to give
the audience cause to suspect the existence of a secret receptacle
behind the table), and bring out again the two balls, but allow one
only to be seen, keeping the other concealed in the palm. Bringing the
cup over the hand, you squeeze in _both_ balls as far as you can, when
the innermost will remain, but the outermost, not having sufficient
space, will drop out again on the table. The audience, not knowing that
there are _two_ balls, believe the cup, which you now replace on the
table, to be empty. You continue, “No, gentlemen; when I pass a ball
under a cup, you may be sure that I don’t let anybody see me do so.”
As you speak, you take the ball on the table in your right hand, and
make the movement of transferring it to your left, really palming it
by the second method, and holding the left hand closed and high, as if
containing it, and keeping your eyes fixed thereon, you carelessly drop
your right hand till the finger-tips rest on the table, when you are
able to let fall the ball upon the _servante_. You continue, “I will
now pass this ball under either of the cups which you like to name.
Indeed, I will do more; I will cause this ball invisibly to multiply
itself into three, one of which shall pass under each of the cups.
First, however, let me show you that there is nothing under the cups
at present.” You raise each in turn--“Nothing here, nothing here, and
nothing here!” The balls still adhere to the sides of the cups, which,
therefore, appear to be empty, but you replace each with a slight rap
on the table, and thereby loosen the ball within it. “Now, then!” You
bring the two hands together, and gently rub them over each cup in
turn; finally parting them and showing that both are empty, and then
lifting the cups, show the three large balls underneath.

Some performers, in lifting each cup with the right hand, introduce a
fresh ball, held in the left hand, as already explained. The effect
is the same as in the “Multiplication” Pass, already described, with
this difference, that on each occasion of uncovering a ball, the ball
remains on the table, which thus becomes gradually covered with an
ever-increasing number of balls. Some, again, conclude by apparently
producing from the cups objects much larger than they could naturally
contain, _e.g._, large apples, Spanish onions, etc. This is effected in
the same manner as the introduction of the large balls just described,
save that in this case the object, which cannot really go into the cup,
is merely held against its mouth with the third finger of the right
hand, and dropped with a slight shake, as if there was a difficulty in
getting it out.

There are many other cup-and-ball Passes, but the series above given
will be found as effective as any. If any reader desires to follow the
subject further, we would refer him to the _Récréations Mathématiques
et Physiques_ of Guyot, already quoted, or another old work, under the
same title, by Ozanam, in which this branch of prestidigitation is
treated at considerable length.

[Illustration]



CHAPTER XIV.

BALL TRICKS REQUIRING SPECIAL APPARATUS.


Before proceeding to the description of the tricks which form the
subject of this Chapter, it may be well to mention one or two
principles of sleight-of-hand, not yet noticed, which have a special
application to ball tricks, and are also useful with regard to oranges,
apples, eggs, etc. The Pass called the _tourniquet_, or “French drop,”
described already in relation to coin, will be found equally applicable
to balls up to a couple of inches in diameter, but is not available for
objects of larger size. Balls of larger diameter are best palmed by one
or other of the methods following.

_First Method._--Taking the ball in either hand, the performer tosses
the ball from palm to palm (at a few inches’ distance) four or five
times, finally making the motion of tossing it from the right hand to
the left, but really retaining it in the right by a slight contraction
of the palm, and at the same time closing and elevating the left hand,
and following it with the eyes, as though it contained the ball. It is
obvious that a ball of the size now under consideration (say of two to
three inches in diameter) would not admit of the hand containing it
being perfectly closed; and this must be borne in mind in the position
of the left hand, the fingers of which must not be tightly closed,
as they would if apparently containing a coin or other very small
article, but merely curved inward, the palm, of course, being turned
toward the performer’s own body, so as not to disclose the secret of
its emptiness. Where the hand of the performer is small, or the ball is
of such a size as not to be readily retained in the right hand by the
contraction of the palm, the thumb may be used to assist in supporting
it.

_Second Method._--Taking the ball between his open hands, the performer
rolls it round and round between his palms, as though it were a lump
of clay which he was moulding into a spherical form; and in so doing
gradually turns his hands till the back of his right hand is undermost,
when, with an inward movement of that hand towards himself, he palms
the ball therein, at the same time closing and elevating the left hand,
as described for the last method.


TO VANISH A LARGE BALL WITH THE AID OF THE TABLE.--_First Method._
Standing behind his table, the ball being some six or eight inches from
its hinder edge, the performer places both hands round it, apparently
picking it up and bringing it forward between his two hands, from
which, however, the ball is, on examination, found to have vanished.
Its disappearance is effected as follows:--At the moment when the
performer encircles the ball with his hands, he gives, with the little
finger of the hand which is innermost--and therefore unseen by the
audience--a quick jerk to the ball, which is thereby made to roll
towards the hinder edge of the table, and drop upon the _servante_, on
which there should be a padded box or basket to receive it. The action
is wholly concealed from the spectators by the hands, which, with the
exception of the finger which does the work, should remain motionless.

_Second Method._--Standing behind his table, as in the last case, the
performer tosses up the ball, and catches it again three or four times,
keeping the hands low, so as to be near the edge of the table. The
hands naturally sink in the act of catching the ball; and after having
caught it once or twice, the performer, as he lowers them, drops it
on the _servante_, immediately raising them again with the action of
throwing up the ball, taking care to follow it with the eyes in its
imaginary flight. If this is done neatly, the eyes of the spectators
will instinctively travel in the same direction, and the effect to them
will be as if the ball vanished at the highest point of its upward
flight, instead of disappearing, as it really does, at the moment of
reaching the hands in its fall. This method may also be employed for
objects other than of spherical shape.

_Third Method._--The performer, standing behind his table as before,
and placing the ball thereon, covers it with the right hand, and rolls
it round and round in circles, each time bringing it nearer and nearer
to the hinder edge of the table, till it finally rolls over, and drops
upon the _servante_. He continues the motion of the hand for two or
three turns, as though the ball was still under it, gradually working
back towards the centre of the table, the effect to the spectator being
as if the ball melted away under the operator’s fingers.

_Fourth Method._--This is generally employed to apparently pass one
object into another--say a small ball into a large one. The performer,
standing a little behind his table, with his right side slightly turned
to the spectators, takes in his right hand the small ball, and in his
left the large one. The latter he holds about shoulder high, keeping
his eyes fixed upon it, and remarking, “I shall now pass this small
ball into this large one,” he draws back and lowers the right arm,
as though to give it impetus, as one naturally does in the act of
throwing. This brings the right hand just over the padded box or basket
on the _servante_, and allows him to drop the small ball therein.
Without any pause, he brings the right hand smartly up to the left,
describing a tolerably wide arc in its transit, and then, separating
his hands, shows that the smaller ball has vanished, having apparently
passed into the large one. This sleight is not confined to objects of
spherical form, but may be used with any article of convenient size.

With this introduction, we shall now proceed to describe a few of the
most popular “ball tricks.”


[Illustration: FIG. 127.]

THE BALL BOX.--The leading idea of most of the tricks which we are
about to describe is the magical appearance or disappearance of a
ball. So far, they resemble the cup-and-ball tricks described in the
last Chapter, but with this difference, that, in the case of the
present series, the main effect is produced by mechanical means, any
sleight-of-hand employed being rather an accessory than the leading
feature. The oldest and simplest of the mechanical appliances for this
purpose is that known as the “ball-box,” consisting of a box two to
six inches in height, of the shape shown in Fig. 127, and containing a
ball which just fills it. The box consists of three portions--the lower
portion, or box proper _a_, the lid _c_, and an intermediate portion
_b_, being a hollow hemisphere coloured externally in imitation of the
ball, and so fitted with reference to the box and lid, that it may be
either lifted off with the lid, leaving the box apparently empty, or
may be left upon the box when the lid is removed, the effect to the eye
being as if the ball had returned to the box. The ball-box is generally
of turned boxwood, and is scored with concentric circles, which serve
to disguise its double opening. Simply stated, its effect is as
follows:--The solid ball is first shown in the box, and then openly
taken from it, and the box covered with the lid. The ball is then got
rid of in one or other of the modes before described, and a pretence is
made of passing it invisibly into the box. The lid is removed without
the intermediate portion _b_, and the ball appears to have returned to
the box. Again the lid is replaced, and again removed; but this time
_b_ is removed with it, and the box again appears empty. The trick in
this form is to be found in every toy-shop, and is so well known as to
produce scarcely any illusion, but its transparency may be considerably
diminished by previously palming (in the right hand) the moveable
shell _b_, the convex side being inwards, and then handing round the
remaining portions and the solid ball for inspection. When they are
returned, the performer apparently places the ball in the box, but
really makes a secret exchange, and places _b_ in the box instead. Upon
again removing the lid, and with it _b_, the ball has disappeared; and
as the audience have, as they believe, inspected the whole apparatus,
the mode of its disappearance is not quite so obvious as in the first
case. At best, however, the ball-box, in this its pristine form, is a
clumsy and inartistic contrivance, and has long been relegated to the
juvenile and country-fair school of conjuring. There is, however, an
improved apparatus for producing a similar effect, which is generally
worked in couples, under the name of


[Illustration: FIG. 128.]

THE RED-AND-BLACK-BALL VASES.--The receptacle for the ball is in
this case made in the form of a neat vase, and without any of those
tell-tale grooves which disfigure the older ball-box. (_See_ Fig. 128.)
Like its prototype, it is in three parts, which we will distinguish as
before by the letters _a_, _b_, and _c_. The portion _b_, however, in
this case goes completely within the lid _c_, within which it fits just
tightly enough to be lifted off with it. When, however, the performer
desires to leave _b_ upon _a_, he presses down, in the act of lifting
off the cover, a moveable button or stud at the top. This pushes out
the shell _b_ from the cover, and, when the latter is lifted, leaves
it upon _a_. When used in pairs, the ball-vases are usually made with
one red and one black ball, the shells _b_ of each vase being also one
black and one red. The balls are first offered for examination, after
which the red ball is placed in the vase containing the black shell,
and the black ball in that which contains the red shell. The vases are
then covered, and on the covers being again removed, leaving the hollow
shells upon the vases, the red ball being covered by the black shell,
and the black ball by the red shell, the effect to the spectator is as
if the two balls had changed places. By leaving alternately the one
or the other shell over its respective vase, the ball in the opposite
vase being left uncovered, the vases may be made to appear as if both
containing red balls or both black balls, the genuine balls being
finally again exhibited as at first.

[Illustration: FIG. 129.]

There is yet another form of ball-box, also frequently worked in pairs,
and designed to simulate the apparent passage of a ball from the one
box to the other. The vase in this case consists of two parts only, the
vase proper _a_, and the cover _b_, but the latter is of such a height
as to completely contain the ball, and of such a size internally,
that, if the ball be jerked up into the cover, it will not again fall,
unless a slight shake be used to displace it. (_See_ Fig. 129.) Each
vase has its own ball, and the mode of use is as follows:--One of the
vases is prepared beforehand by jerking up the ball into the cover,
which may then be removed, showing the vase apparently empty; or both
may be first shown empty, and the ball then introduced secretly under
the cover, after the manner of the cups and balls. The remaining vase
and ball are offered for inspection, and when they are returned, the
ball is placed within and covered over, after which the closed vase is
placed upon the table; but in the act of doing this the performer gives
the apparatus a slight upward jerk, thereby causing the ball therein
to rise into the cover, where it remains. The second vase is once more
shown empty; but in replacing it on the table, the performer puts it
down sharply, thereby causing the ball to drop from the cover into the
cup. He now orders the ball, which the company have seen placed in the
first vase, to pass invisibly into the second; and on again opening
the two, this transposition will appear to have taken place, and by a
repetition of the process the ball may be made to travel backwards and
forwards from one vase to the other.


MORISON’S PILL-BOX.--In this trick (called by French conjurors _La
Pilule du Diable_) the device of the “shell” is carried still further.
The box in this case is spherical, standing upon a thin stem (_see_
Fig. 130), and each part (box proper and lid) contains a half shell,
the edge of one having a rebate or shoulder, so as to fit into the
other, the conjoined having the appearance of a solid ball. The genuine
ball is of such a size as just to fill the hollow shells when thus
joined. The lower shell fits loosely in the box, the upper one a little
more tightly, so as not to fall out unless pressed down by the button
on the top of the lid, which not only loosens it from the lid, but
presses it into union with the lower shell.

[Illustration: FIG. 130.]

The mode of using the apparatus is as follows:--It is first brought
forward with the one half shell in the box, and the other in the lid,
the true ball, which is of the same colour as the shell (generally
black) being placed within the lower shell. The ball is ostentatiously
removed, and the box closed. The ball is then either placed in some
piece of apparatus adapted to cause its disappearance, or is made
to vanish by sleight-of-hand in one or other of the modes already
described. The ball is now ordered to return to the box, which, for
greater certainty, is once more shown empty. The performer again closes
it, pressing as he does so the button on the top of the lid, thus
compelling the two half shells to coalesce; and on again re-opening
the box, the ball has, to all appearance, returned as commanded. The
ball-box now under consideration has this great advantage over the
single-shell vases, that the sham ball can be completely removed from
the box, and shown on all sides, thus (apparently) negativing the
possibility of its being a shell only.

The trick may be also worked very effectively by using a genuine ball
of a different colour to the shell, with the addition of a duplicate of
each. Thus, if the shell be black, you must be provided with a solid
ball of the same colour, and two red balls. One of the latter, as also
the solid black ball, should be of such a size as to go inside the
shell, the remaining red ball being of the same size as the shell in
its complete condition. The half shells being in their place in the
box, the performer brings it forward, together with the smaller red
and black ball, keeping the remaining red ball concealed in his palm.
Borrowing a handkerchief, he wraps (apparently) the black ball therein,
and gives it to some one to hold (really substituting the palmed red
ball, and getting rid of the black ball as soon as he can into one of
his secret pockets). He then places the remaining red ball in the box,
and having covered it over, commands the black ball in the handkerchief
to change places with the red one in the box. Upon examination, the
change has apparently taken place, the red ball in the box being now
enclosed within the hollow shell, and thus having all the appearance of
the solid black ball.


THE BALL WHICH CHANGES TO A ROSE.--This is little more than an enlarged
edition of the apparatus just described, the ball in Morison’s pill-box
being generally of about an inch and a half in diameter, while in the
present case the ball is nearly double that size. (_See_ Fig. 131.)
The only other difference is the addition of a short pin, about a
sixteenth of an inch in length, projecting from the bottom of the cup,
and fitting into a corresponding hole in the lower shell. The addition
of this pin enables the performer, after having pressed the stud at
top, and thus caused the ball to appear in the previously empty box, to
again cause its disappearance. This is effected by opening the box with
a slight lateral pressure, when the pin acts as a stop or check to hold
back the lower shell; and the shells which are in this instance made to
fit rather more loosely together, are thus forced to separate again,
the lower being left in the cup and the upper in the lid, as before.

[Illustration: FIG. 131.]

This apparatus is generally used with a solid black ball and a couple
of artificial rose-buds, as nearly alike as possible. The apparatus
is brought forward empty, and with the solid ball and one of the
rose-buds, is handed to the audience for inspection. The two half
shells, joined together so as to form a hollow ball, with the second
rose-bud within, are placed ready to hand in one of the _pochettes_ of
the performer. The audience having duly examined the apparatus, the
performer returns to his table, secretly exchanging as he does so the
solid for the hollow ball. This latter he places openly in the cup,
taking care that the hole in the lower shell duly corresponds with the
pin at bottom, and puts on the cover. He now announces that the ball
which he has just placed in the cup will at command fly away, and that
the rose-bud which he holds shall take its place. The disappearance of
the visible rose-bud is effected in any way that the invention or the
appliances at command of the performer may suggest; and on the box
being opened, so as to part the two shells, the ball has apparently
disappeared, and the rose has taken its place. By again closing the
box, and this time pressing the stud on the top, the flower may again
be made to vanish, and the ball to reappear in its original position.

The popular trick of the “flower in the button-hole,” which will be
described under the head of Miscellaneous Tricks, may be used in
conjunction with this apparatus, the ball being found in the place of
the flower, while the latter is made to appear in the button-hole.

A similar apparatus to the above is sometimes made in metal, and
of a size sufficient to enclose a cannon-ball, which being made to
disappear, its place is supplied by a variety of articles which have
been otherwise disposed of at an earlier period.


THE OBEDIENT BALL.--This trick is of Japanese origin, and from that
circumstance is sometimes known as the Japanese Ball. It is performed
with a large black wooden ball, about five inches in diameter, with a
hole bored through it from side to side. A piece of stout rope, four or
five feet in length, with a knot at one end, completes the apparatus.
The performer commences by passing the rope through the ball, and hands
both for examination. The ball is found to run loosely upon the rope,
and both are manifestly quite free from mechanism or preparation. The
articles being returned, the performer places his foot upon the knotted
end of the rope, and taking the other end in his right hand, holds it
in a perpendicular position. The ball is raised as far as the length
of the rope will admit, and, on being again released, immediately runs
down again, as would naturally be expected. The performer now announces
that, in obedience to his will, the laws of gravity will be in this
particular instance suspended. Accordingly, on his again raising the
ball to any portion of the rope, it remains stationary at that height
until released by his command, when it instantly runs down. Other
persons are invited to come forward, and to place the ball at any
height they please, the ball again remaining stationary until released
by the word of the operator, when it slowly descends, stopping,
however, in its course, and remaining fixed whenever commanded by the
performer to do so.

The secret lies in the fact that the hole in the ball is not made
straight from end to end, but curved, with an angle or break in the
middle. (_See_ Fig. 132.) So long as the rope is slack, it runs through
easily enough, but as soon as it is drawn taut, and thus forced into
a straight line, it is clipped by the opposite angles _a_, _b_, and
_c_, creating an amount of friction which would support a much greater
weight than that of the ball. The performer has, therefore, only to
draw the rope taut when he desires the ball to remain stationary, and
to slacken when he desires it to run down.

[Illustration: FIG. 132. FIG. 133.]

There is another form of the Obedient Ball, designed for drawing-room
use. The ball in this case is about two and a half inches in diameter,
and the bore is straight, but tapering from a quarter of an inch at
the one opening to about half an inch at the other. The cord used is
a thin piece of whipcord, and the ball therefore runs quite loosely
upon it. There is, however, in this case an additional element in the
apparatus, consisting of a little black wooden plug, about an inch
in length, and tapering so as to fit midway in the bore of the ball.
(_See_ Fig. 133, in which _a_ represents a nearly full-sized view
of the plug in question.) The plug is bored after the manner of the
large ball, the hole being of such a size as to just allow the cord to
run through it. This plug is secretly threaded upon the cord before
commencing the trick; the cord, which in this case has a tassel instead
of a knot at one end, being passed through it from the larger end. This
plug is kept concealed in the hand of the performer, the string being
allowed to dangle down on each side of it. The ball is handed round for
examination, and, when returned, the cord is passed through it from the
side which has the larger opening. The ball is then allowed to drop
quickly to the full extent of the cord. As it runs down, it encounters
the plug, which is thereby placed in position within the ball, and both
run down together until stopped by the tassel. From this point the
working of the trick is the same as with the larger ball.

[Illustration]



CHAPTER XV.

HAT TRICKS.


The present Chapter will be devoted to those tricks in which a hat
plays a special or prominent part. Borrowed hats have been used in the
course of many of the tricks already described, but the part played by
the hat has been of an incidental and subordinate character. In the
tricks next following the hat is the principal article employed.

The majority of hat tricks are different modifications of the same
broad idea, viz., the production from a borrowed and apparently empty
hat of various articles, in size and number much exceeding what any hat
could in the natural way contain. One of the best is that of


THE CANNON-BALLS IN THE HAT.--The earliest and simplest form of this
trick is limited to the production of a solid wooden globe, blacked to
resemble a cannon-ball. The introduction of the ball into the hat is
effected as follows:--The ball, which has a hole of about two inches
in depth by one in diameter bored in it towards its centre, is placed
on the _servante_ of the performer’s table in such manner that the
hole above-mentioned shall slant upwards and outwards, at an angle of
about 45°. To keep the ball steady, and to prevent its rolling off,
some performers have a slight circular hollow scooped in the surface of
the _servante_ itself. A more convenient plan, however, is to use an
india-rubber ring (such as is given to infants teething). This may be
placed on any part of the _servante_, and makes a capital rest or bed
for the ball. A bit of half-inch rope, with the ends joined so as to
form a ring, will answer the same purpose.

[Illustration: FIG. 134.]

[Illustration: FIG. 135.]

When the performer desires to introduce the ball into the hat, which
we will suppose to have been borrowed for the purpose of some previous
trick just completed, he takes the hat with his thumb outside and his
fingers inside the brim, and holds it up with its mouth towards the
spectators, so as to show indirectly that it is empty (_see_ Fig. 134).
Carelessly lowering his hand, he brings the hat mouth downwards on the
table, and, drawing it towards him, slips the second finger into the
hole in the ball (_see_ Fig. 135), when the mere action of crooking the
finger brings the ball into the hat. He then, still holding the ball
supported by the finger, walks away from the table towards the owner
of the hat, with the apparent intention of returning it. Just before
reaching him, however, he pretends to notice that it is somewhat heavy,
and looking into it, says, “Dear me, sir, there is something rather
peculiar about this hat. Are you aware that there is something in it?”
The owner naturally professes ignorance of the fact; and the performer,
after keeping the audience in suspense for a moment or two, turns the
hat over, and lets the ball fall out upon the stage.

[Illustration: FIG. 136.]

The performer may in some degree heighten the effect of the trick by
making it appear that the ball is wedged very tightly in the hat,
as the difficulty of introducing it becomes thereby presumably the
greater. This is managed by holding the hat with both hands, as shown
in Fig. 136, when the extended finger-tips will prevent the ball from
falling as long as may be desired, however much the hat may be shaken.

[Illustration: FIGS. 137, 138.]

The trick, as above described, is of very short duration. In order
to lengthen, and at the same time to diversify it, a second ball
is sometimes employed, of similar appearance, but of different
construction. This second ball (_see_ Figs. 137, 138, the latter
representing a section of the ball) is a strongly made hollow sphere of
tin or zinc, with a circular opening of about three and a half inches
across, closed by a sort of sliding door, _a_, also circular, working
on two curved arms, _b b_, which move on two pivots, _c c_, at opposite
sides of the ball on the inside. In this door is a hole an inch in
diameter, answering the same purpose as the hole bored in the solid
ball.

The ball is filled beforehand with bonbons, small toys, or any other
articles suitable for production. Thus “loaded,” it is placed upon
the _servante_, and introduced into the hat as above described. The
performer goes through the ceremony of pretending to discover something
in the hat, but does not, as in the last case, at once produce the
ball. Slipping back the sliding door, he brings out, one by one, the
articles contained in the ball, not hurriedly, but with deliberation,
as he thereby produces the effect of greater quantity. Having emptied
the ball, he again closes the circular slide, remarking that the hat
is now quite empty. As a proof that it is so, he turns the hat mouth
downwards as above directed, preventing the ball from falling with
the tips of his fingers. Again he moves towards the owner, as if to
return the hat, and again pretends to find something in it. This time,
however, he does not allow the ball to fall on the ground, as, being
hollow, it will not bear rough usage, but lifts it out with his left
hand, taking care that the “door” side shall be downwards, next his
palm. Observing that he will have the ball packed up for the owner of
the hat to take home with him, he returns to his table, and places it
thereon. As the ball was in his left hand, the right is still holding
the hat, and this gives him the opportunity to introduce the second
(_i.e._, the solid) cannon-ball, which should be placed in readiness
at the opposite corner of the _servante_. This also is produced in due
course, and, being manifestly solid, naturally leads the audience to
infer that the other was so also.

[Illustration: FIG. 139.]

What are known as “multiplying balls” are frequently used in
conjunction with the cannon-balls. These are cloth-covered balls of
about two and a half inches in diameter. In appearance they are solid,
but in reality are mere outer coverings of cloth, kept distended by
spiral skeletons of wire (_see_ Fig. 139), and may be pressed quite
flat, in which condition they occupy an exceedingly small space, though
they immediately regain their shape on being released. A large number
of these may be packed in the hollow cannon-ball, and when taken
out, produce a pile extending far above the mouth of the hat, the
cannon-ball lying hidden beneath them.

The hollow ball may also be filled with soft feathers, of which what
will seem an incredible quantity when spread out may be compressed
into a very small space. Feathers are, however, objectionable in a
drawing-room, from the difficulty of collecting them from the carpet.


THE “HUNDRED GOBLETS” FROM A HAT.--The goblets used for this purpose
are of polished tin, about four inches in depth, and made without
ornament or projection of any kind. Being all of the same size, and
slightly tapering, a large number of them may be fitted one within
the other, and yet occupy little more space than a single one. The
goblets thus packed are placed in a bag of black alpaca, just large
enough to receive them, and concealed on the _servante_, or in one
of the _profondes_ of the performer. When it is desired to introduce
them into the hat, they are grasped in either hand, the back of the
hand being turned towards the audience, and thus covering them. The
hand is now carelessly placed in the hat, as though to take something
out. Once introduced, the goblets are produced one by one, and placed
mouth downward on the table, their number giving an appearance of
bulk which seems to exclude the possibility of their having been all
contained within so small a space. Two or three parcels of goblets may
be introduced successively, and brought out one by one, with little
difficulty.

We may here mention a little expedient which will be found of great
assistance where the performer desires to introduce into a hat a bundle
of goblets (or any similar article) from either of his secret pockets.
We will suppose that the article in question is in the right-hand
_profonde_. Taking the empty hat in the opposite hand (the left), he
stoops a little, and holding it down near the floor, with its mouth
toward the company, gently moves it round and round in circles, gazing
at it intently, as though anticipating some important result. This
draws all eyes to the hat, and enables him to drop his right hand to
the _profonde_, and bring out, under cover of the hand and wrist,
the article to be introduced. Continuing the motion, he gradually
brings the mouth of the hat upwards, so that the company can no longer
see into it, and suddenly plunges his right hand into it, as though
merely to take out the article or articles which he, in fact, thereby
introduces. This may be repeated from the _profonde_ on the opposite
side; and thus two successive packets of articles may be produced
without even going near the table.


[Illustration: FIG. 140.]

A DOZEN BABIES FROM A HAT.--Among the various objects available for
production, may be enumerated dolls, of which a dozen, each eight or
nine inches in height, may be produced from a borrowed hat. The dolls
for this purpose are of coloured muslin, stretched over a framework or
skeleton of spiral wire, after the fashion of the multiplying balls
(_see_ Fig. 140), and may be compressed vertically to a thickness of
about three-quarters of an inch. A dozen of them may be packed within
the hollow cannon-ball, described above, resuming their shape as soon
as they are released.


[Illustration: FIG. 141.]

THE MAGIC RETICULES.--This is one of the most modern hat tricks. The
reticules, which are of cardboard covered with leather, are, when
expanded, as shown in Fig. 141. They are, however, constructed so as to
fold into a very small compass, in manner following. The ends, _a a_,
are only attached to the reticule at their lower edges (which form a
kind of leather hinge), and may be folded inwards flat upon the bottom
of the reticule. (_See_ Fig. 142.) The ends of the ribbon _b_, which
forms the sling or handle of the reticule, run freely through two
holes _c c_ in the upper side of the reticule, and are attached to the
ends _a a_ at the points _d d_. The ends being folded down, as in Fig.
142, the reticule becomes a hollow oblong, open from end to end, as in
Fig. 143. The angles, being made of soft leather, are flexible, and
by pressing the sides in the direction indicated by the dotted lines
(_see_ Fig. 143), the reticule is brought into the condition shown in
Fig. 144, and, on being again folded, into that shown in Fig. 145, in
which condition it is little larger than a pocket-book. Half-a-dozen
reticules thus folded, and packed in a bag of black alpaca, or held
together by an india-rubber ring, form a small and compact parcel,
and are easily introduced into the hat. The performer having got them
out of the bag, has only to unfold each, so as to bring it into the
condition shown in Fig. 144, when the mere act of lifting the reticule
out of the bag by the ribbon _b_ raises the sides and ends, and
restores it to the shape shown in Fig. 141.

[Illustration: FIG. 142. FIG. 143.]

[Illustration: FIG. 144. FIG. 145.]


THE DRUMS FROM THE HAT.--In this trick the performer generally begins
by producing from the hat a number of the multiplying balls described
at page 307. He next produces a miniature drum, prettily ornamented,
then another, then a third and a fourth, each being a shade larger
than its predecessor, and the last of such a size as barely to be
containable within the hat.

With the reader’s present knowledge, he will readily conjecture that
the drums are so constructed as to fit one within the other, the
multiplying balls being packed within the smallest of the four. One end
of each drum is loose, and falls inwards upon the opposite end, upon
which it lies flat, thus giving space for the introduction of another
drum, a size smaller. Across the loose end, and parallel to it, is
fixed a wire, forming a handle whereby the performer may lift the drum
out of the hat, the act of doing so raising the end into its proper
position, and a wire rim round the inside of each drum preventing the
loose end being drawn out altogether. Each drum is taken out with the
loose end upwards; but the performer, in placing it on the table, turns
it over, thus bringing the solid end up. In default of this precaution,
the loose end would fall back again to its old position, and so betray
the secret. The drums are usually made oval, rather than round, as they
are thus better suited to the shape of a hat.


THE BIRDCAGES FROM THE HAT.--Not content with cannon-balls, drums,
and ladies’ reticules, the public of the present day requires that
birdcages and living birds should be produced from an empty hat.

[Illustration: FIG. 146. FIG. 147.]

[Illustration: FIG. 148.]

The birdcages used vary in their construction. Some are made to fit
one within the other, after the fashion of the drums just described,
save that the birdcages, unlike the drums, are lifted out by the solid
and not the loose ends, which fall down of their own accord. Those in
most general use, however, are of the shape shown in Fig. 146, and are
alike in size, measuring about six inches in height, by five in breadth
and depth. The bottom is made to slide upwards on the upright wires
which form the sides. When it is desired to prepare the cage for use,
a canary is first placed therein, and the bottom is then pushed up as
far as it will go (_see_ Fig. 147), the sides, which work on hinges at
_a a a a_, being folded one by one upon the bottom, the cage finally
assuming the shape shown in Fig. 148. It is in this condition that the
cages, generally three in number, are introduced into the hat, either
from the _servante_ or from inside the vest of the performer; and in
the act of lifting out (which is done by the wire loop at top), the
sides and bottom falling down, the cage again becomes as in Fig. 146.


[Illustration: FIG. 149.]

THE CAKE (OR PUDDING) IN THE HAT.--This is an old and favourite hat
trick. The necessary apparatus consists of two parts--first, a round
tin pan _a_ (_see_ Fig. 149), four inches in depth, and tapering from
five inches at its greatest to four and a half inches at its smallest
diameter. It is open at each end, but is divided into two parts by
a horizontal partition at about two-thirds of its depth. Second, a
larger tin _b_, japanned to taste, five and a half inches in depth,
and so shaped as to fit somewhat tightly over the smaller tin. In the
larger end of the latter is placed a hot cake or pudding, and in this
condition it is placed on the _servante_ of the table, projecting a
little over the edge. The performer borrows a hat, and in passing
behind his table, tips cake and tin together into it. The chances are
that the tin will fall small end upwards (the opposite end being the
heaviest); but if not, the performer turns the tin, so as to bring
it into that position. Placing the hat mouth upwards upon the table,
he announces his intention of making a cake in it; for which purpose
he takes, one by one, and mixes in the tin _b_, a quantity of flour,
raisins, eggs, sugar, and the other ingredients for a cake, adding
water enough to make the mixture into a thick batter. This he pours
into the hat, holding the tin with both hands, at first high above it,
but gradually bringing it lower and lower, till at last, as if draining
the last drop of the mixture, he lowers the mouth of the tin right
into the hat, and brings it well down over the smaller tin. On being
again raised, it brings away within it the smaller tin and its liquid
contents, the cake being left in the hat. He next proceeds to bake the
cake, by moving the hat backwards and forwards at a short distance
over the flame of a candle, and, after a sufficient interval, exhibits
the result, which is cut up and handed round to the company for their
approval.

As the batter round the sides of _b_ is apt to cause _a_ to stick
pretty tightly into it, a folding ring is generally fixed inside _a_,
in order to facilitate its removal after the close of the trick.


THE WELSH RABBIT.--This is a trick of a comic character, and in the
hands of a spirited performer is sure to be received with applause,
particularly by the younger members of the audience. Its effect is as
follows:--The performer brings in in one hand a saucepan, fancifully
decorated, and in the other a plate, with bread, cheese, pepper, etc.
With these ingredients he proposes to make a Welsh Rabbit, and to give
the audience, without extra charge, a lesson in cookery. Chopping the
bread and cheese together in a burlesque fashion, and seasoning with
pepper and salt to a degree which no palate short of a salamander’s
could possibly stand, he shovels all into the saucepan, and claps the
lid on. For a moment he is at a loss for a fire, but this difficulty
is quickly conquered. Borrowing a gentleman’s hat, and a lady’s
pocket-handkerchief, he requests permission to use them for the purpose
of the experiment. This is readily accorded, but the respective owners
look on with consternation when the performer proceeds to set fire to
the handkerchief, and, dropping it still blazing into the hat, to cook
the Welsh Rabbit by moving the saucepan to and fro over the flames.
Having done this for a minute or two, he extinguishes the flames by
lowering the saucepan for a moment into the hat. Then again removing
it, and taking off the lid, he brings it forward to the company, and
exhibits, not the expected Welsh Rabbit, or “rare-bit,” but a genuine
live rabbit, every vestige of the cheese and other ingredients having
disappeared.

[Illustration: FIG. 150.]

The secret of this ingenious trick lies mainly in the construction of
the saucepan, which consists of four parts, designated in the diagram
(Fig. 150) by the letters _a_, _b_, _c_, and _d_; _a_ is the lid, which
has no speciality, save that the rim round it is rather deeper than
usual; _b_ is a shallow tray or lining, of the same depth as the lid,
fitting easily within the top of the saucepan; _a_, on the contrary,
fits tightly within _b_; _c_ is the body of the saucepan, and has no
speciality; _d_ is an outer sheet or covering, loosely fitting the
lower part of the saucepan, and, like it, is japanned plain black, the
upper part and lid being generally of an ornamental pattern. (For our
own part, we much prefer either plain black or polished tin throughout,
as savouring less of mechanism or preparation.) The presence or absence
of _d_ does not alter the general appearance of the saucepan, and
cannot, therefore, be detected by the eye. It should be mentioned that
_d_ is so made, that between its bottom and the bottom of the saucepan
is a space of about half an inch in depth, and in this space, before
the apparatus is brought forward, is placed a substitute handkerchief,
sprinkled with a few drops of spirits of wine or eau de Cologne, to
render it more inflammable; within the saucepan is placed a small live
rabbit, after which _b_ is put in its place, and pressed down.

[Illustration: FIG. 151.]

The performer is now ready to begin the trick. He brings forward the
saucepan, holding it as in Fig. 151, in which position the pressure
of the first and second fingers on _d_ prevents it falling off, as,
being loose, it would otherwise do. Placing it on the table, he mixes
the bread, cheese, etc., on the plate, and then pours all into the
saucepan, where, of course, they fall into _b_. As _b_ is comparatively
shallow, it is well to place the saucepan in some tolerably elevated
situation, so that the audience may not be able to see into it, or
they may perceive that the bread, etc., do not fall to the bottom.
The lid is next placed on the saucepan. The hat and handkerchief are
borrowed, the latter, which is to serve as fuel, being dropped into the
hat. The performer, as if bethinking himself of a possible difficulty,
carelessly remarks, “We mustn’t have the stove too small for the
saucepan;” and so saying, lifts the latter, as shown in Fig. 151, and
lowers it for a moment into the hat, as though testing their relative
sizes. In that moment, however, he relaxes the pressure of his fingers
on _d_, and so leaves it within the hat, placing the saucepan on the
table beside it. When he again takes out the (supposed) handkerchief,
and sets light to it, it is, of course, the substitute that is actually
burnt, the genuine handkerchief meanwhile remaining hidden beneath
_d_ in the crown. The effect of the flames rising from the hat, in
which the audience cannot suppose any preparation, is very startling,
and yet, unless the substitute handkerchief is unusually large, or
the spirit has been applied with a too liberal hand, there is no real
danger of injuring the hat. The performer moves about the saucepan
above the blaze at such a distance as not to inconvenience the animal
within, and, after a moment or two, brings the saucepan sharply down
into the hat, for the ostensible purpose of extinguishing the flames,
but in again lifting it out he brings with it _d_, and places all
together on the table. Nothing is now left in the hat but the borrowed
handkerchief, which may be restored in any manner which the performer’s
fancy may suggest. When the lid of the saucepan is removed, as it fits
more tightly within _b_ than the latter fits within the saucepan, it
naturally carries _b_ with it, thus causing the disappearance of the
bread, cheese, etc., and revealing in its place the live rabbit.

Some fun may be created by selecting beforehand an assistant from
the juvenile portion of the audience, and dressing him up with a
pocket-handkerchief round his head, and another by way of apron, to act
as assistant cook.

A guinea-pig or small kitten may be substituted for the rabbit, the
performer accounting for the wrong animal being produced by supposing
that he must have made some mistake in mixing the ingredients.

[Illustration]



CHAPTER XVI.

MISCELLANEOUS TRICKS.


Under this head we propose to describe such tricks as do not come
within either of the preceding categories. We shall make no attempt at
classifying them, save that we shall, as far as practicable, describe
the best known and simplest feats first, and thence proceed to the more
complicated. Stage tricks, _i.e._, tricks adapted to the stage only,
will be treated in the Chapter next following. We will begin with


THE CUT STRING RESTORED.--This is a trick of such venerable antiquity,
that we should not have ventured to allude to it, were it not that
the mode of working which we are about to describe, though old in
principle, is new in detail, and much superior in neatness to the
generally known methods.

[Illustration: FIG. 152.]

After having offered the string, which should be about four feet
in length, for examination, the performer takes the ends (pointing
upwards) between the first and second finger and thumb of the left
hand, and the first finger and thumb of the right hand, letting the
remainder of the string hang down in a loop between them. Now bringing
the right hand close to the left, he draws that portion of the string
which is held in the right hand towards himself between the first and
second fingers of the left hand (thus crossing at right angles that end
of the cord which is held in the left hand), continuing to pull until
half the length of the string has passed the left hand, and at the
same time slipping the third finger of the left hand between the two
parts of the string, which will thus be as shown in Fig. 152, in which,
for convenience of reference, the three lines in which the string
now hangs are marked _a_, _b_, and _c_, and one-half of the string is
shown black, and the other half white, though of course there would be
no such difference of colour in the original.[L] The first finger and
thumb of the right hand, still retaining the end which they already
hold, seize the portion _b_ at the point marked with that letter, the
third finger of the left hand at the same time drawing back the portion
_a_ towards the palm of the hand. The string will thus be brought into
the position shown in Figs. 153 and 154, (in the latter of which, for
the sake of clearness, the thumbs are made transparent), the part now
held horizontally between the two hands, which appears to be the middle
of the string, really being only the immediate continuation of the end
held in the left hand. The whole operation of arranging the string
in proper position, though tedious to describe, does not take half a
second in practice.

    [L] It should be mentioned that, in order to economize space
        in the diagrams, the actual length of the string is
        represented as much shortened.

[Illustration: FIG. 153.]

The performer next requests some person to cut the string, thus
arranged, in half, and this being (apparently) done, he transfers the
string altogether to the right hand, keeping the point of junction of
the crossed pieces hidden between the finger and thumb. (_See_ Fig.
155.) He now gives either end to some one to hold, and, placing his
open left hand near to the end thus held, winds the string rapidly
round it, sliding off as he does so the short piece, which, as soon as
it is clear of the longer portion, he presses with his thumb between
the second and third fingers of the same hand. On again unwinding the
string from the left hand, it is found apparently whole as at first.

[Illustration: FIG. 154. FIG. 155. FIG. 156.]

The principle of the trick being very generally known, you will
frequently find some one of the audience proclaim his acquaintance with
it, and declare that you have merely cut a short piece off the end
of the string. “Pardon me,” you reply, “my dear sir; that method of
performing the trick has long since been exploded. I will at once show
you that I do not make use of any such shabby expedient. Of course,
if a piece was, as you suggest, cut off the end, the string would be
that much shorter after the operation. Will some one be kind enough to
measure it?” While this is being done, you secretly double in a loop
the little piece which was cut off on the former occasion, and which
has still remained in your right hand. When the string is returned
to you, you double it in half, and allow it to hang down between the
first finger and thumb of the right hand, drawing up immediately above
it the little loop you have just formed. (_See_ Fig. 156.) You now
ask some one again to cut the string, which he apparently does, in
reality merely dividing the little loop. You go through any magical
gesticulations you please, and ultimately again conceal the cut ends
between the fingers, and produce the string once more restored. On
being measured, it is found to have lost nothing of its length.

The trick in this second form being performed by wholly different
means, the repetition will puzzle even those who knew, or believed they
knew, the _modus operandi_ in the first case.


[Illustration: FIG. 157.]

MY GRANDMOTHER’S NECKLACE.--The trick which bears this title is also
a very old one, but is little known in the improved form we are
about to describe. In its older shape it is performed with three
perforated wooden balls or beads, threaded on a couple of tapes, whose
ends are held securely by two of the spectators. The problem is to
detach the beads without breaking the tapes, and this is effected as
follows:--The tapes, which should be from four to six feet in length,
are beforehand doubled in the middle, and slightly joined at the bend
of each with fine cotton or silk of the same colour. The tapes are
thus really middle to middle, though to a casual observer they appear
to be merely laid side by side. The performer comes forward with the
tapes, thus prepared, thrown over his left arm (taking care that the
point of junction shall be on the side towards his body, and therefore
concealed), and with the beads in his hands. These latter, which are
mere wooden balls, from one to two inches in diameter, perforated so
as to freely admit the tapes, he hands for examination. When they are
returned, he threads them one after another upon the tapes, holding the
latter in a loop, so that the balls may sink down to the middle, and
so cover the point of junction. He next requests two of the company to
come forward and hold the tapes, and hands two ends to the one and two
to the other. Each person believes that he holds one end of each tape,
though, in reality, each has both ends of the same tape. The performer
now takes from each one of the ends which he holds, and crossing the
tapes in the manner shown in Fig. 157, gives to each the end which the
other previously held. Holding a hat below the balls, he requests each
person to pull smartly at the word “three.” The word of command is
given, “One, two, Three!” and the thread breaking, the balls fall into
the hat, though the ends of the tapes still remain in the hands of the
holders.

The improvement to which we have alluded consists in the use of _six_
balls, three red and three black. The red balls having been first
threaded on the tapes, and the two ends having been crossed and
returned to the holders in manner already described, the black balls
are in turn threaded on the tapes at either end, and the performer,
holding the hat beneath, and addressing one of the persons who hold the
tapes, says, “Which will you have, sir, the red balls or the black?”
Whichever the answer, the result is the same, for the red balls only
can come off the tapes, the black remaining still upon them; but in
either case the performer is able to satisfy the choice which has been
made. If the red balls have been chosen, he says on their falling,
“You chose the red, I think. You see that your commands are at once
obeyed.” If, on the other hand, the black are chosen, the performer
says, “You prefer the black? Then _I_ will take the red,” which he does
accordingly. The audience, having heard the choice freely offered, and
not being aware of the subterfuge by which the implied undertaking is
fulfilled, naturally believe that the performer was able to take off or
leave on the tape whichever group of balls he pleased.


THE “BONUS GENIUS,” OR VANISHING DOLL.--While upon the subject of
old-fashioned tricks, we may briefly notice that known under the
name of the Bonus Genius, which has puzzled many generations of
our forefathers, and, though now rarely exhibited by professional
performers, is still a great favourite with juvenile audiences. The
Bonus Genius is a little wooden figure of a man, four to six inches
in height, and more or less grotesque in colour and design. A little
cloak, made small above and full below, like the skirt of a doll’s
dress, and with no opening save where the head of the figure passes
through, completes the apparatus. There are, however, two points about
the doll and his cloak which are unknown to the spectators. First,
the head of the doll is moveable, a wooden peg forming the neck, and
fitting, somewhat tightly, into a corresponding hole in the body;
secondly, there is stitched on the inside of the cloak, just below the
opening for the neck, a little pocket, of the description known among
tailors as a “patch” pocket, and of such a size as to contain the head
easily. The performer, holding up the figure, and introducing it to the
company as his flying messenger, warranted to outstrip the electric
telegraph, covers it with the cloak, so that nothing but the head is
seen. Grasping the figure under the cloak with his right hand, the
performer holds a burlesque conversation with him, finally entrusting
him with a message to be immediately delivered to the President of
the United States, the Shah, or any other individual at a distance.
The figure does not move. “Well, sir, are you not going?” asks the
performer. The figure shakes his head from side to side, an effect
easily produced by turning the body backwards and forwards under the
cloak. “You won’t, eh? Why not, I should like to know? Oh! I see what
you mean. I haven’t given you your travelling expenses.” As he says
the last words, he grasps the figure and cloak from the outside round
the neck with the left hand, and draws away the right from beneath the
cloak, secretly carrying with it the body, and putting his hand in his
pocket, as though in search of money. He leaves the body of the figure
in his pocket, and brings out the hand again empty, but in the position
of holding a coin between the finger and thumb. “There, sir,” he says,
“there is a shilling for you,” making the gesture of giving it. “You
don’t see the coin, ladies and gentlemen; but the fact is, what I have
just given him is fairy money; the weight of the ordinary coinage would
interfere with the rapidity of his flight. Now, sir, make haste; you
have nothing to wait for now.”

The performer has, meanwhile, again put the right hand under the cloak,
and with two fingers holds the little pocket open for the reception of
the head. As he says the last words, he gives the head a sharp downward
rap with the fingers of the left hand, and lets it fall into the little
pocket, the effect being as if the figure had suddenly vanished. The
performer shakes the cloak, and turns it inside out to show that it
is empty, taking care always to grasp it by that part which contains
the head, when all other portions of the cloak may be shown freely;
and as the audience are not aware that the figure is divisible, and
supposing it to be indivisible, it would be clearly much too large
to be concealed in the closed hand, there is nothing to lead them to
guess the secret. If it is desired to make the doll reappear, the head
is pushed up again through the opening of the cloak, the hand beneath
supporting it by the peg which forms the neck, and it may thus be made
to vanish and return any number of times.

With tolerable skill in “palming,” the little pocket may be dispensed
with, the head being simply held in the hand. This mode of working is,
in our own opinion, to be preferred, as the cloak may then be handed
for examination without giving even the infinitesimal clue which the
pocket might suggest. Some performers, to still further hoodwink the
spectators, make use of two figures--the first, which is handed round
for inspection, being solid, and being afterwards secretly changed
for its counterpart with the moveable head. Others again use only one
figure, which is solid throughout, but are provided with a separate
head (whose existence is, of course, not suspected by the spectators),
and having handed round the solid figure for examination, conceal this,
and work the trick with the head only.


THE DANCING SAILOR.--The Dancing Sailor is a figure cut out of
cardboard, eight or nine inches in height, and with its arms and legs
cut out separately, and attached to the trunk with thread in such a
manner as to hang perfectly free. The mode of exhibiting it is as
follows:--The performer, taking a seat facing the company, with his
legs slightly apart, places the figure on the ground between them. As
might be expected, it falls flat and lifeless, but after a few mesmeric
passes it is induced to stand upright, though without visible support,
and on a lively piece of music being played, dances to it, keeping
time, and ceasing as soon as the music ceases.

[Illustration: FIG. 158.]

The secret lies in the fact that, from leg to leg of the performer, at
about the height of the figure from the ground, is fixed (generally by
means of a couple of bent pins), a fine black silk thread, of eighteen
or twenty inches in length. This allows him to move about without any
hindrance. On each side of the head of the figure is a little slanting
cut, tending in a perpendicular direction, and about half an inch in
length. The divided portions of the cardboard are bent back a little,
thus forming two “hooks,” so to speak, at the sides of the head. When
the performer takes his seat as before mentioned, the separation of his
legs draws the silk comparatively taut, though, against a moderately
dark background, it remains wholly invisible. When he first places
the figure on the ground, he does so simply, and the figure naturally
falls. He makes a few sham mesmeric passes over it, but still it
falls. At the third or fourth attempt, however, he places it so that
the little hooks already mentioned just catch the thread (_see_ Fig.
158, showing the arrangement of the head), and the figure is thus kept
upright. When the music commences, the smallest motion, or pretence of
keeping time with the feet, is enough to start the sailor in a vigorous
hornpipe.


THE BOTTLE IMPS.--These are miniature black bottles, about two inches
in height, with rounded bottoms, and so weighted that, like “tumbler”
dolls, they rise of their own accord to the perpendicular, and will not
rest in any other position. The proprietor, however, has a charm by
which he is able to conquer their obstinate uprightness. For him, and
for him only, they will consent to be laid down, and even to stand at
an angle of 45°, though they again rebel if any other person attempts
to make them do the same.

The little bottles are made of _papier maché_, or some other very light
material, varnished black, the bottom of each being a half bullet,
spherical side downwards. The centre of gravity is therefore at the
bottom of the bottle, which is thus compelled always to stand upright.
The performer, however, is provided with one or two little pieces of
iron wire, of such a size and length as just to slip easily into the
bottle. One of these being held concealed between the finger and thumb,
it is a very easy matter, in picking up the bottle, to slip it in,
and this slight additional weight neutralizing the effect of the half
bullet at the foot, causes the bottle to lie still in any position.
Having shown that the bottle is obedient to the word of command, the
performer again picks it up with the neck between the first and second
fingers and thumb, carelessly turning it bottom upwards, and thus
allowing the bit of wire to slip out again into the palm of his hand,
when he is able to again tender the bottle for experiment. Partaking
of the nature of a puzzle as well as a conjuring trick, this little
toy has amused thousands, and if neatly manipulated, may be repeatedly
exhibited, even before the same spectators, with little fear of
detection.


THE VANISHING GLOVES.--This is a capital trick with which to commence
an entertainment; when coming, as it should do, unannounced, and before
the performance proper has commenced, it has an air of improvisation
which greatly enhances its effect, and at once awakens the attention of
the audience.

The performer comes forward in full evening dress. While saying a few
words by way of introduction to his entertainment, he begins to take
off his gloves, commencing with that on his right hand. As soon as
it is fairly off, he takes it in the right hand, waves the hand with
a careless gesture, and the glove is gone. He begins to take off the
other, walking as he does so behind his table, whereon his wand is
laid. The left hand glove being removed, is rolled up into a ball,
and transferred from the right hand to the left, which is immediately
closed. The right hand picks up the wand, and with it touches the left,
which being slowly opened, the second glove is found to have also
disappeared.

The disappearance of the first glove is effected by means of a piece of
cord elastic, attached to the back of the waistcoat, and thence passing
down the sleeve. This should be of such a length as to allow the glove
to be drawn down and put on the hand, and yet to pull it smartly up
the sleeve and out of sight when released. It is desirable to have a
hem round the wrist of the glove, and to pass the elastic through this
like the cord of a bag, as it thereby draws the wrist portion of the
glove together, and causes it to offer less hindrance to its passage
up the sleeve. Upon taking off the glove, the performer retains it
in his hand, and lets it go when he pleases. He must, however, take
care to straighten his arm before letting it slip, as otherwise the
elastic will remain comparatively slack, and the glove will, instead of
disappearing with a flash, dangle ignominiously from the coat-cuff.

The left hand glove is got rid of by palming. The performer, standing
behind his table as already mentioned, rolling the glove between his
hands, and quickly twisting the fingers inside, so as to bring it
into more manageable form, pretends to place it in his left hand, but
really palms it in his right. He now lowers the right hand to pick up
his wand, and as the hand reaches the table, drops the glove on the
_servante_. He now touches the left hand with the wand, in due course
opening the hand and showing that the glove has departed.

Some performers vanish both gloves by means of elastic, one up the
right sleeve, the other up the left, but in doing so they offend
against one of the cardinal precepts of the art, viz., never to
perform the same trick twice in succession by the same means. The
audience having seen the manner of the first disappearance, are all on
the alert, and are not unlikely on the second occasion to guess the
means employed. If, on the other hand, the performer adopts the plan
indicated above, the two modes of producing the effect being different,
each renders it more difficult to discover the secret of the other.


THE EGG-BAG.--This is a very old-fashioned trick, but, if performed
with address, is by no means ineffective. It was exhibited in a
modified form by the Japanese jugglers who visited London a few years
ago. We shall first describe it in the simple form adopted by them, and
shall then proceed to explain the older and more elaborate version.

The Japanese egg-bag is about eight inches in depth and six in breadth,
and made of alpaca, tammy, or some similar opaque material. Its only
peculiarity is that one of its sides is double, the stuff being folded
down inwards from the mouth of the bag to about two-thirds of its
depth, and stitched at the sides, but left open at its lower edge.
The effect of this arrangement is to make a sort of pocket, mouth
downwards, inside the bag. If any small article, such as an egg, be
placed within the bag, and the bag be turned upside down, the article
will not fall out, but will fall into the pocket, which, in the
reversed position of the bag, will be mouth upwards. This will enable
you to conceal the presence of any article in the bag, as you may turn
it upside down, and even inside out, without any fear of the article
falling; and so long as you take care to keep the “pocket” side of the
bag towards yourself, the spectators have not the least reason for
suspecting that the bag is otherwise than empty. The uses to which this
little bag may be put are various. Amongst others, it is available
either to produce or cause the disappearance of an egg, and may thus,
in combination with other apparatus, be made useful for many tricks. We
shall content ourselves with describing one only of the modes of using
it.

The performer comes forward, having in his hand the bag, in which is
beforehand placed a small egg. He turns the bag upside down and inside
out, thus proving, to all appearance, that it is perfectly empty.
Holding the bag for a moment with his teeth, he pulls back his coat
cuffs, to prove that he has nothing concealed in that quarter, taking
care as he does so to show clearly that his hands are empty. Taking
the bag in his left hand, and imitating (if he can) the clucking of a
hen, he dips his right hand into it, and produces an egg (or rather
_the_ egg). This he places in his mouth, letting all see that he does
so, then making a gesture of swallowing, he again dips his hand in the
bag, and produces a second egg, of which he disposes in the same way,
repeating the operation until a dozen or more have been apparently
produced and swallowed. With the reader’s present knowledge, it is
hardly necessary to suggest to him that the egg, though fairly placed
in the mouth, is, under cover of the hand, instantly pushed out again
with the tongue, and palmed, rendering it a very simple matter to
produce (apparently) another egg from the bag. Although so absurdly
simple, the trick is effective, and if neatly performed, produces a
complete illusion.

The bag which is more generally known as the “egg-bag” is a much larger
affair, measuring eighteen to twenty inches in width, by fourteen or
fifteen in depth. In its most approved form, one side of the bag is
made double, the double side being stitched all round, save for about
four inches at one corner of the bottom of the bag. The little opening
thus left affords therefore the sole access to the space between the
double sides. Between these double sides, and immediately below their
upper edge, is stitched a broad band, with a row of a dozen or more
little pockets, each capable of holding an egg, end upwards. Each
pocket covers about two-thirds of the egg, which is prevented from
falling out spontaneously by a little piece of elastic round the edge
of the pocket, though it will slip out and fall into the space between
the double sides on the slightest pressure being applied to it.

The bag is prepared for use by placing an egg in each of the little
pockets we have mentioned. The eggs used are either blown shells or
imitation eggs of wood or tin, with one real one for the performer to
break as a specimen, and so lead the audience to the belief that all
are equally genuine. The bag being brought forward is turned upside
down--of course nothing falling from it. The performer then, thrusting
his arms down to the bottom, and seizing the bag by the corners inside,
turns it inside out, taking care, however, to keep the double side
towards himself. Having thus conclusively proved its emptiness, he
again brings back the bag to its normal condition, and in the act of
doing so, squeezes with his finger and thumb (through the stuff) the
genuine egg out of its pocket. It falls into the space between the
double sides, and by gently sloping the bag downwards in the direction
of the opening at the corner, he brings the egg into the outer bag,
whence he produces it, and breaks it to show its genuineness, as
already mentioned. Again he turns the bag inside out, shaking and
twisting it, and again produces an egg from it as before, repeating
the operation until the supply of eggs is exhausted. Sometimes he
varies his proceedings by trampling or jumping on the bag, which he
lays for that purpose on the floor, with its lower edge towards the
audience. The eggs are thus on the side remote from the spectators, and
in trampling on the bag it is very easy for the performer to avoid the
particular line in which he knows them to be.

It was formerly the fashion, after bringing out a number of eggs as
above described, to finish by producing the hen which is supposed to
have laid them. This was done by an adroit exchange of the bag just
used for another containing a hen, hung in readiness behind a chair, or
some other convenient cover. This latter bag having no double side, or
other preparation, might safely be abandoned to the inspection of the
most curious spectator. Where it is not intended to produce the bird,
it will still be well to have the second bag, so as to be able to make
an exchange, and to hand the bag for inspection.

It is a great improvement to the egg-bag to have the lower portion,
say the last three inches of its depth, made of network, so that the
spectators can at once see each egg as it falls to the bottom of the
bag. It is hardly necessary to observe that in this case the inner
lining of the double side must terminate where the network commences.


TO PRODUCE EGGS FROM A PERSON’S MOUTH.--While upon the subject of
eggs, we may notice this, though it has always appeared to us a rather
disagreeable trick. It is rarely exhibited as a separate feat, but
generally as a prelude to some other illusion, for the performance of
which three or four eggs are necessary.

The performer, requiring eggs, sends his assistant to fetch a plate. On
his return, he places him, holding the plate with both hands in front
of him, facing the company. The performer standing beside him, and
gently patting him on the head, an egg is seen to appear between his
lips. This is taken from him, and placed on the plate. The performer,
passing behind him, now stands on his other side, and again patting his
head, another egg is produced in like manner. This is repeated until
the requisite number of eggs is procured, the assistant, as each fresh
one is produced, simulating increasing difficulty, as though the eggs
were forced up from the stomach by a powerful muscular effort.

This effect is produced as follows: We will suppose that five eggs
are to be produced. One is placed beforehand in the mouth of the
assistant, and four more are placed in the _pochettes_, or tucked
under the waistband of the performer, two on each side. Having placed
his assistant in position, the performer secretly takes one of these
latter into his right hand, and palms it. Patting the assistant on the
head with his left hand, he waits until the egg appears between the
teeth, and immediately on its appearance, raises his right hand as if
to receive it, thus bringing up the palmed egg opposite the mouth,
while the egg that is already in the mouth slips back, under cover of
the hand, out of sight. The palmed egg is laid on the plate, and the
performer, in the act of passing behind his assistant, palms a second
egg in his left hand. The same pantomime is again gone through, save
that in this case the right hand pats the head, and the left hand
is held to the mouth to receive the egg. After four eggs have been
produced in this manner, the fifth, which has been all along in the
mouth, is produced apparently in like manner, but the performer takes
care that in this instance it shall be seen beyond a doubt that the egg
really does come from the mouth; which being manifestly the case in
this instance, the audience are pretty sure to jump to the conclusion
that all were produced in an equally _bonâ fide_ manner.


[Illustration: FIG. 159. FIG. 160.]

THE PILLARS OF SOLOMON, AND THE MAGIC BRADAWL.--There is a very
old-fashioned apparatus, sometimes called the Pillars of Solomon, for
apparently uniting a piece of cut string. It consists of two slips
of wood, each about four inches in length by five-eighths of an inch
square, laid side by side. At about an inch from one end of each, a
transverse hole is bored, and through this, passing through both slips,
a string is passed, and may be drawn backwards and forwards from side
to side. (_See_ Fig. 159.) The apparatus having been shown in this
condition, the performer passes a knife between the two slips, thus
apparently dividing the string; but the string is notwithstanding still
drawn backward and forwards through the holes, as sound as ever.

The secret lies in the fact that the string does not, in reality, go
straight through the two slips of wood from side to side. A glance at
Fig. 160 will enlighten the reader as to its real course. Instead of
passing straight through from _a_ to _d_, as it appears to do when
the two pillars are laid side by side (which is the condition in
which they are first exhibited to the spectators), it passes down the
length of the first pillar from _a_ to _b_, out at _b_, and into the
second pillar at _c_, whence it passes upwards, and emerges at _d_.
The passing of the knife between the two points _a_ and _d_ does not
therefore affect the string in the least.

[Illustration: FIG. 161. FIG. 162.]

It is obvious that in this form of the apparatus the two pillars,
being joined by the cords at the points _b c_, cannot be completely
separated, and the fact of their always being kept close together at
the lower end is quite sufficient to betray to an acute observer the
principle of the trick. There is, however, an improved form of the same
apparatus, in which, after the apparent cutting of the cord, the two
pillars are held wide apart, one in each hand of the performer, and
yet, when they are again placed side by side, the string runs backwards
and forwards merrily as ever. The pillars are, in this instance, of
the form shown in Fig. 161. They are about six inches in length, of
light and elegant shape, having at each end a ball or knob of about an
inch and a quarter in diameter, flattened on one face to allow of the
pillars being laid closely side by side. The cord, as in the former
case, passes down the first pillar from _a_ to _b_, but instead of
passing out at _b_, it is rolled round a little pulley working in the
lower knob of that pillar. (_See_ Fig. 162, which gives a sectional
view of the lower portion of each pillar.) A similar cord is passed
down from _d_ in the second pillar to _c_, and is there rolled round a
second pulley, but in the opposite direction to that of the first cord;
so that, if both pulleys move in the same direction, the cord on the
one will be wound, and the cord on the other unwound. Each pulley is of
one piece with its axis, the axis of the one terminating in a little
square tenon or nut, and that of the other in a corresponding mortice
or hollow, so that when the two pillars are placed side by side, their
axes fit the one into the other, and whichever of the two pulleys is
set in motion, the like movement is communicated to the other. The
effect of this is as follows: If the cord at _a_ be pulled, it unwinds
that portion of the cord which is wound on the pulley at _b_, and by
the same movement winds up the cord on the other pulley; and _vice
versâ_. We have omitted to mention that there is glued into a little
hole on the flat side of each of the upper knobs, exactly opposite the
points _a_ and _b_, a very minute piece, say an eighth of an inch in
length, of similar cord; these greatly heightening the appearance of
reality upon the apparent cutting of the cord.

The pillars are brought forward side by side, the nut of the one pulley
fitting strictly into the hollow of the other. The performer shows, by
drawing the cord backwards and forwards, that it fairly traverses the
two pillars from side to side. Taking a knife, he passes it between the
two pillars, and to all appearance cuts the cord, immediately taking
the pillars one in each hand, and showing the cut ends (really the
short bits on the inside) to prove that it is fairly cut through. Again
bringing the pillars together, taking care that the mortice and the nut
correspond as before, he commands the cord to be restored, and again
pulls it backwards and forwards as at first.

Some little fun may be created by placing the upper knobs of the
pillars pincer-fashion, one on each side of a person’s nose, the
cord being thus apparently made to run right through the nose. An
air of greater probability may be given to this curious effect by
first piercing the nose with the magic bradawl. This is in appearance
an ordinary bradawl, but the blade is so arranged as to recede into
the handle on the slightest pressure, again reappearing (being, in
fact, forced forward by a spiral spring in the handle) as soon as the
pressure is removed. A duplicate bradawl of ordinary make is first
handed round for examination, and the trick bradawl being adroitly
substituted, the performer proceeds therewith to bore a hole through
the nose of any juvenile volunteer who will submit to the operation.
Holding a piece of cork on one side of the nose, he apparently
thrusts the awl through the nose, the sinking of the blade into
the handle exactly simulating the effect of a genuine perforation.
(Some performers make use of a sponge moistened with some liquid
resembling blood, which by a little pressure is made to trickle down
from the imaginary wound; but this is a piece of realism which we
think is better omitted.) The nose being thus apparently pierced, the
imagination of the spectators is in a measure prepared to accept the
phenomenon of the restored cord running through it as already described.


[Illustration: FIG. 163.]

THE MAGIC COFFERS.--These are round tin boxes, japanned to taste,
and made generally about five inches in depth by three in diameter,
though they are sometimes larger. (_See_ Fig. 163.) The only speciality
about them is a moveable portion _a_, which may either be removed with
the lid or left upon the box, according as the lid is lifted with or
without lateral pressure. This moveable portion is bottomed with a
grating of parallel wires, an eighth of an inch apart. The coffers
are generally worked in pairs, the effect produced by them being the
apparent transmission of the contents of the one to the other, and
_vice versâ_. They may be worked with various articles.
For our present purpose we will suppose that the performer desires to
change white haricot beans to coffee-berries, both of which suit the
apparatus very well. He beforehand fills the one coffer with beans,
and the moveable compartment belonging to it with coffee-berries,
doing exactly the reverse as to the second coffer. The coffers are
now brought forward, and the performer, removing the lids (_with_ the
moveable compartments), allows the spectators to satisfy themselves
that each coffer is full to the bottom, and that the contents
are nothing more or less than what they appear to be. This being
established, he returns to his table, and again puts the lids on the
coffers, taking care that that which contains the beans shall be placed
on the coffer containing the coffee-berries, and _vice versâ_. He now
requests two of the younger spectators to step forward, and assist
him with the trick. A couple of volunteers having been procured, they
are made to salute the audience, and are then seated upon chairs at
each side of the stage, each being entrusted with one of the coffers,
which, that all may see, they are requested to hold with both hands
above their heads. The performer, standing between them, says, “Now,
young gentlemen, I must caution you to hold tight, or the electrical
forces which are rapidly generating in these magic coffers will carry
them clean away, and possibly you along with them. Now, first please
tell me, just to start fair, which coffer is it that you have got,
sir, the one with the beans, or the one with the coffee-berries?” The
chances are ten to one against the _extempore_ assistants remembering
which was which, and the majority of the audience will be equally
uncertain. The professor pretends surprise and disappointment. “Ladies
and gentlemen, you cannot possibly appreciate the beauty of these
philosophical experiments unless you follow them carefully from the
commencement. I will open the coffers once more.” So saying, he opens
first the one coffer and then the other, taking care, however, to lift
the lids only, so that the one which really contains the coffee-berries
shows the layer of beans, and that which contains the beans the layer
of coffee-berries. In each case he takes up a handful, and lets them
flow back from his hand into the coffer, the better to impress upon
the audience the contents of each, finally placing a bean in the hands
of the youth who holds the supposed coffer of beans, and a berry in
the hands of the holder of the supposed coffee-berries. Again closing
the lids, he requests the person holding the bean to throw it into
the closed coffer held by the other. The juvenile, looking foolish,
replies that it can’t be done; and a similar reply is received from the
youth holding the other coffer. The performer, addressing the company,
asks some one else to make the attempt, but equally without success.
He continues, “Gentlemen, among this large and brilliant audience not
one person can be found who will undertake to throw this little bean
into one of those coffers. Imagine, then, the difficulty of passing
the whole of the beans which this coffer contains into the other, not
dropping even one on the way, and at the same moment transferring the
whole of the berries in this coffer into that which, a moment before,
was full to the brim with the beans. But it must be done. Young
gentlemen, will you be kind enough to repeat with me, One, two, three!
At the word ‘three,’ by the way, you had better close your eyes, or
they might possibly be injured by the shower of beans and berries. Are
you ready, Mr. Beans? Are you ready, Mr. Berries? Now, then, One! two!
_three!!!_ Did you feel them pass? I hope they did not hurt you. Now
let us once more open the coffers. I have kept my word, you see--Mr.
Beans has the coffee-berries, and Mr. Berries has the beans. Will you
please step forward, and show the company that the coffers are, as at
first, full to the very bottom.” The lids, containing the moveable
compartments, he meanwhile places carelessly upon his table.

Some performers make the change more than once, and it is obvious that
the contents of the coffers may be made to apparently change places
any number of times. If this is done, however, the secret of the false
tops is apt to be suspected; whereas, in the method above described,
the audience have, as they believe, proved the coffers full to the
bottom, both before and after the trick; and this greatly increases the
difficulty of accounting for the transposition.

The object of having the false tops bottomed with open wirework,
instead of with tin, is to be prepared for the expression of a
suspicion on the part of the audience as to the existence of a false
top. In such case the performer, borrowing a penknife, passes it well
down through the upper layer of beans, etc., and through the wirework,
thus proving (apparently) that the coffer is open to the bottom. In the
trick as above described, however, the expression of such a suspicion
is a very remote contingency.

The trick is sometimes performed with sweetmeats in one or both of the
coffers, and in this form has an added charm for a juvenile audience,
who complete the trick by swallowing that portion of the apparatus.


THE BRAN AND ORANGE TRICK.--This trick is performed with a single
coffer, in appearance very similar to those used in the last trick,
but slightly different in construction. The false top is, in this
case, bottomed with plain tin. The bottom of the coffer is moveable,
being soldered to a circular rim or shoulder of tin about a quarter of
an inch in depth, over which the coffer fits pretty tightly, though
the projecting edge of the bottom enables the performer to remove
it without difficulty. The performer must also be provided with an
ordinary oblong wooden box. Its precise dimensions are unimportant,
save that it should be a good deal larger than the coffer, but about
an inch or so less in height. This box is filled with bran, as also
is the false top of the coffer. A couple of oranges, as much alike as
possible, must also be provided. One only of these is produced to the
audience, the other being beforehand placed on the _servante_ of the
table.

The performer begins by placing upon the table the coffer and the box
of bran. Removing the lid (with the false top), he brings forward the
coffer, and shows that it is perfectly empty. In returning to his
table, he loosens (though without removing) the moveable bottom, and
replaces the coffer on the table. He next brings forward the box of
bran, showing that there is no preparation about it, and in replacing
it on the table, places it in front of the coffer, which, however,
being the taller, remains visible behind it. He next introduces the
orange, either palming it (from one of his _pochettes_), and magically
producing it from some person’s nose or whiskers, or by the more
prosaic method of having it brought in by his assistant. He now returns
to his table, and, standing behind it, proceeds to fill the coffer with
bran. This he does by placing the coffer upright in the box, holding it
with one hand and ostentatiously pouring in bran with the other until
it is full. In placing the coffer in the box, however, he takes it up
quite _without_ the bottom, so that he is, in reality, only filling an
open tube. Meanwhile, he secretly picks up, with his disengaged hand,
the second orange from the _servante_, and places it upon the bottom,
which remains behind the box. Having filled the coffer, and remarking,
“Pray observe that it is quite full,” he (before removing it from the
box) covers it with the lid, and then lifting it out, again places it
behind the box in such manner as to go neatly over the bottom and the
orange upon it. (Of course, in the act of lifting the coffer, all the
contents run back again into the box.) Having now got the second orange
within the coffer, and having, by a gentle pressure, again settled the
bottom in its place, the performer places the coffer on a second table
or a chair close in front of the audience. He then says, “I am about
to order the bran with which this coffer is filled” (here he raises
the lid without the false top, and the coffer therefore appears full
of bran) “to pass back again into the box from which it was taken,
and this orange” (here he passes behind his table, and holding up the
orange, replaces it six or eight inches from the hinder edge) “to pass
into the coffer in place of it. Now, first for the bran. One, two,
three! Pass! Did you see it fly from the coffer into the box? You
didn’t? Well, at any rate, you shall see the orange pass. I take it
up _so_” (here he places his two hands round it, and rolls it on to
the _servante_ in manner described at page 294, coming forward with
the hands together, as though still containing it, and holding them
over the coffer at a few inches’ distance), “and squeeze it smaller and
smaller, in this manner, till it becomes small enough to pass right
into the coffer, as you see.” Here he separates his hands, showing them
empty, and immediately taking off the cover _with_ the false top, rolls
out the orange, and shows that the coffer is otherwise empty.

The trick as above described is susceptible of a good many variations.
If the performer uses a trap-table, the orange may be made to pass
through a trap instead of being rolled off at the back of the table,
though the latter method, if neatly executed, can hardly be surpassed
in illusive effect. A more substantial improvement may be made by
causing the bran, instead of simply disappearing as above mentioned,
to reappear in some other quarter. There are many pieces of apparatus
which may be used for this purpose, perhaps as good as any being the
improved sweet-bag (_see_ page 248). This should be previously filled
with bran, and hooked to the back of the table. The performer in this
case borrows a handkerchief, which he carelessly spreads on the table,
and a gentleman’s hat, which he places mouth upwards beside it. Instead
of announcing that the bran will return from the coffer to the box from
whence it was taken, he states that it will, at command, pass into
the handkerchief which he holds, and which as he speaks he picks up,
with the bag beneath it, holding it, without apparent intention, just
above the hat. At the word “Pass!” he slightly turns his wrist, thereby
releasing the flap of the bag, and a shower of bran is instantly seen
to pour down into the hat. This little addition greatly enhances the
effect of the trick.


THE RICE AND ORANGE TRICK.--In this feat rice and an orange are made
to change places, but by wholly different means from those last above
described.

[Illustration: FIG. 164.]

[Illustration: FIG. 165.]

The apparatus in this case consists of three japanned tin cones, about
ten inches in height by five at the base, and each having a brass knob
at the top--and an ornamental vase of tin or zinc, standing about the
same height as the cones, and having a simple metal cover, or top.
Of the cones (all of which are open at the bottom), two are hollow
throughout, but the third has a flap or moveable partition halfway
down, inclosing the upper half of the internal space. This flap works
on a hinge, and is kept shut by a little catch, which is withdrawn by
pressure on a little button outside the cone, when the flap drops down,
and lets fall whatever has been placed in the enclosed space. (_See_
Fig. 164.) The cone is prepared for the trick by filling this space
with rice, and closing the flap; and the three cones are then placed in
a row on the performer’s table, the prepared one being in the middle.
The vase (_see_ Fig. 165) is constructed as follows:--Its depth inside
is less by about an inch than its depth outside, leaving, therefore,
between its true and false bottoms, an empty space, _a_. A circular
hole is cut in the inner or false bottom, but this hole, in the normal
condition of the vase, is kept closed by a circular disc of metal, _b_,
exactly fitting it. This disc is soldered upon an upright wire rod,
passing through the foot of the apparatus, and terminating in another
disc, _c_, somewhat smaller in size. Round this rod is a spiral spring,
whose action tends to press it down, and thereby to keep the disc or
valve normally closed, though it rises, and thereby opens the valve
(as shown by the dotted lines in the figure), whenever upward pressure
is applied to _c_. The face of the upper disc, _b_, is slightly
concave, corresponding with the rest of the interior of the vase. The
vase is prepared for the trick by placing an orange in it, and in
this condition it is brought forward and placed on the table by the
performer or his assistant. A small paper bag full of rice is brought
in at the same time, and completes the preparations.

With this introduction, we proceed to describe the trick as worked by
Herrmann.

The performer begins by borrowing two hats, and places them one on
the other, the mouths together, on a chair or table. He then (by
palming) produces an orange from the hair or whiskers of a spectator,
and places this on another table. He next brings forward and exhibits
the vase, filling it as he advances with rice from the paper bag,
and thus concealing the orange which is already placed therein. He
calls attention to the genuineness of the rice and the simplicity of
the cover, and finally putting on the latter, places the vase on the
ground, or elsewhere, in view of the audience. He pretends a momentary
hesitation as to where to place it, and in the slight interval during
which he is making up his mind he presses up the button within the
foot. This opens the valve, allowing the rice to escape into the space
_a_, and leaving the orange again uncovered. The audience is, of
course, unaware that such a change has taken place.

Leaving the vase for the moment, he requests the audience to choose
one or other of the three cones on the table. The choice almost always
falls on the middle one (which, it will be remembered, contains the
concealed rice). This he places on the top of the upper hat. He next
asks the audience to select one or other of the remaining cones, and
places this over the orange upon the table, showing by rattling his
wand within it that it is hollow throughout, and, if desired, handing
round the remaining one for inspection.

At this point we hasten to anticipate an objection which will probably
occur to the reader. We have said that the audience, when called upon
to choose one of the three cones, _almost_ always select the middle
one, and we have proceeded on the assumption that they do so. “But
suppose,” says the acute reader, “that they _don’t_ choose the middle
one, but select one of the end ones; the trick is spoilt, as neither
of the others will produce the rice.” By no means, O acute reader! If
we had requested the audience to choose which of the cones should be
placed upon the hat, there might have been a little difficulty, no
doubt; but we did nothing of the kind. We merely asked them to choose
one of the cones. If their first choice falls on one of the end ones,
we hand it round for examination, and finally place it _over the
orange_. Then, standing behind the table, we ask the audience to make
their choice between the two remaining cones, right or left. Whichever
is chosen, we are safe; for as we have already had occasion to explain
in connection with the trick of the half-crown in the orange (_see_
page 171), the right of the audience is our left, and _vice versâ_,
so that by taking their reply in the sense which suits our purpose
we are certain to be right. We therefore, in any case, take the cone
containing the rice as being the one designated, and place this on the
hat, sending round the other for inspection. As the audience have,
to all appearance, been allowed perfect freedom of choice, and have
actually examined two out of the three cones, they are very unlikely to
suspect any preparation about the remaining one.

The trick is now all but complete. Once more the performer raises the
cone placed on the hat, to show that there is nothing underneath it;
and as he replaces it presses the button, thereby letting the flap
fall, and the rice pour out upon the hat, though it remains still
concealed by the cone. He next lifts up the cone under which is the
orange, and holding the latter up, replaces it, but in again covering
it with the cone, makes a feint of removing and slipping it into his
pocket. Then noticing, or pretending to notice, a murmur on the part
of the company, he says, “Oh, you think I took away the orange, but I
assure you I did not.” The company being still incredulous, he again
lifts the cone and shows the orange. “Here it is, you see, but as you
are so suspicious, I won’t use the cover at all, but leave the orange
here in full view on the table.” He again lays the orange on the
table, but this time on what is called a “wrist trap.” Leaving it for
the moment, he advances to the vase, and holding his hands together
cup-fashion over it, but without touching it, he says, “I take out the
rice, so, and pass it under this cover” (walking towards the cone on
the hat, and making a motion of passing something into it). “Let us
see whether it has passed.” He raises the cover, and the rice is seen.
“Perhaps you think, as you did not see it, that I did not actually
pass the rice from the vase to the cover. At any rate, you will not be
able to say the same about the orange. I take it up, before your eyes,
so!” He places his hands round it on the table, and at the same moment
presses the lever of the trap, which opens, and lets it fall through
into the table, closing again instantly. Keeping his hands together, as
though containing the orange, he advances to the vase, and holding his
hands over it, says, “Here is the orange which has not left your sight
even for a single moment. I gently press it, so” (bringing the hands
closer and closer together) “and make it smaller and smaller, till it
is reduced to an invisible powder, in which state it passes into the
vase.” He separates his hands, and shows them empty, and then opening
the vase, rolls out the orange, and shows the vase empty, all the rice
having disappeared.

The mechanism of the Wrist Trap will be explained in the next Chapter.
If the performer does not possess a trap table, he can cause the orange
to disappear in the manner referred to at page 337.


[Illustration: FIG. 166.]

THE MAGIC WHISTLE.--The student will not have proceeded far in his
magical experience before he meets with an often-recurring nuisance, in
the person of some individual, old or young, who knows, or pretends to
know, the secret of all his tricks, and whose greatest delight it is,
by some _mal-à-propos_ question or suggestion, to cause the performer
embarrassment. The magic whistle is specially designed to punish, and,
if possible, to silence, an individual of this kind. It is of turned
boxwood, and of the shape shown in Fig. 166, and yields a shrill and
piercing note. The performer, bringing it forward and blowing through
it, announces that this little whistle, so simple in appearance, has
the singular faculty of obeying his will, and of sounding or not
sounding at his command alone. The loquacious gentleman is pretty sure
to question the fact, or is on some pretence selected to make trial of
its truth. The performer places him directly facing the audience, and
after himself once more sounding the whistle, hands it to him in order
to try his skill. He blows vigorously, but in vain; not a sound can he
produce, but his mouth and lips gradually become obscured with a white
or black dust. He finally retires to his seat amid the laughter of the
audience, and generally much less disposed to make himself prominent
during the remainder of the evening.

The secret lies in the fact that there are two whistles--one is a
perfectly ordinary instrument, but the other, though similar in
appearance, does not sound, but is perforated round the inner side
of the head (_see_ the Figure) with a number of small holes. The
head unscrews, and is beforehand filled with finely powdered chalk
or charcoal, which, when the whistle is blown, is forced through the
holes, and settles round the mouth of the victim.

With the present knowledge of the reader, the necessary exchange of the
two whistles will not be regarded as offering any difficulty.

There is a larger appliance for the same purpose in the shape of a
flageolet. Another apparatus of like effect, though differing a little
in detail, is called


[Illustration: FIG. 167. FIG. 168.]

THE MAGIC MILL.--This is a little Mill of the form shown in Fig. 167,
and five or six inches in height. It is made of zinc or tin, and
consists of two portions--the upper part A, and the base B (_see_ Fig.
168), the former sliding over the latter (as shown by the dotted lines
in Fig. 167), and fitting easily upon it. A is hollow throughout; _a_
and _b b_ are hollow tubes open at each end, a third little tube _c_
springing at right angles from _a_. The base, B, is a hollow chamber,
closed on all sides save at the openings _d_ and _e e_. This chamber
is beforehand fitted with powdered chalk or charcoal; after which A is
placed in position over it. If, under these circumstances, any person
blows smartly through the tube _a_, the effect will vary according to
the position of B within A. If B be so turned that the three holes
_d_ and _e e_ correspond with the tubes _a_ and _b b_, the breath
entering at _d_ will force out the contents of B through the tubes
_b b_, and powder the lips of the person blowing, as in the case of
the magic whistle. But if, on the contrary, B be turned ever so little
to the right or left, the three openings in B no longer corresponding
with the tubes, the latter will be closed, and the breath having no
other outlet, will be forced upwards through the upright tube _c_,
thereby setting the little vane _f_ in rapid motion. The latter is the
condition in which the apparatus is brought forward by the performer.
Blowing through _a_, he sets the mill in motion, and invites others to
do likewise, in which, of course, they succeed without difficulty; but
when the turn of the intended victim arrives, the performer gives A a
slight twist round, in such manner as to bring the openings of B in
correspondence with the three tubes, with the result already explained.
We have omitted to mention that there is on the under surface of B a
little raised point, corresponding in position with the opening _d_, so
that the performer is able to tell instantly by feel whether B is or is
not in the required position.

As a matter of convenience, we shall, before proceeding further with
the explanation of individual tricks, describe two or three pieces of
apparatus of general utility, to one or other of which we shall have
frequent occasion to subsequently refer.


THE DRAWER-BOX.--This is a piece of apparatus of very frequent use in
the magic art. In appearance it is an ordinary drawer, with an outer
box or case of walnut or mahogany (_see_ Fig. 169), and is made of
various dimensions, according to the size of the articles with which it
is intended to be used, and which may range from a pack of cards to a
live rabbit. Its use is to produce or to cause the disappearance of a
given article; the drawer having the faculty of appearing full or empty
at pleasure.

[Illustration: FIG. 169. FIG. 170.]

[Illustration: FIG. 171.]

The first step towards the comprehension of the apparatus will be to
completely take out the drawer, which, however, even when removed, does
not at first sight indicate any speciality. On a closer examination, it
will be found that the drawer is in reality double (_see_ Fig. 170),
consisting of two parts, _a_ and _b_, the latter sliding backwards and
forwards freely within the former, which is, in fact, a mere case or
shell, open at one end. If any object, suppose an orange, be placed
in _b_, and _a_ and _b_ together be placed in the outer case, it is
obvious that, upon drawing out _a_, _b_ will come with it, and the
orange will be seen; but if _b_ be held back, _a_ will be drawn out
alone, and the apparatus will be apparently empty. For the means of
retaining _a_ at pleasure, it will be necessary to examine the outer
case, which will be found to have a groove or mortice cut in its under
surface (_see_ Fig. 171), along which lies a spring or tongue of wood,
fixed by a screw at one end, the other, or free end, being provided
with a catch or stud _c_, which, upon pressure, is forced through
an opening in the bottom of the outer case, and made to sink into a
little hole or notch in the bottom of _b_, being again withdrawn by the
action of the spring as soon as the pressure is removed. The bottom
of the outer case is covered with velvet, ostensibly as a finish, but
really to conceal the wooden tongue. When it is desired to draw out _a_
without _b_, the apparatus is held as shown in Fig. 171, and a gentle
pressure applied by the finger through the velvet upon the free end
of the wooden tongue, thus forcing the catch upwards, and keeping _b_
back. If _a_ be drawn out without this pressure, _b_ will come with
it. The upper edge of _a_ is turned over all round, so that a casual
observer is not likely to detect any difference in the thickness of the
sides of the drawer, whether it is drawn out with or without its inner
casing.

[Illustration: FIG. 172. FIG. 173.]

Some drawer-boxes have a different arrangement for holding back the
inner drawer, consisting of a little wire bolt lying loosely in a
cylindrical cavity in the hinder end of _b_, corresponding with a
similar cavity in the side of the outer case. As long as the drawer-box
is kept in its normal position, this pin offers no obstacle to the
withdrawal of _b_ with _a_; but if the box be turned over on the side
in which is the bolt, the latter drops partially into the hole in
the outer case, thus bolting _b_ to it, until, by again turning over
the apparatus, the bolt is made to drop back again into its original
position. The arrangement is rather difficult to explain in writing,
but will become quite clear upon an examination of Figs. 172 and 173,
both representing a section of the hinder end of the drawer-box,
the one in its upright and the one in its turned-over position. The
necessary turning over of the box is plausibly accounted for by the
performer’s desire that the audience shall, for greater fairness, have
a full view of the top of the apparatus.

[Illustration: FIG. 174. FIG. 175.]

There is an ingenious addition sometimes found in drawer-boxes of
French make, whereby _b_ may be at pleasure bolted to _a_, and the two
may thus be handed for examination, with little chance of their secret
being detected. The bolting and unbolting is effected by a slight
movement up or down of the knob in front, thereby raising or depressing
a kind of hook of bent tin, working in the thickness of the front of
_a_. Fig. 174 shows this hook in its raised or unhooked, and Fig. 175
in its depressed or hooked condition.

The drawer-box, as above described, is available to produce or
disappear, but not to change articles. With a slight modification,
however, it may be made available for changing also. The inner drawer
_b_ is in this case made only half the depth of _a_, or even less;
and thus, when closed, there is left between the bottom of _b_ and
that of _a_ a considerable space, so that _a_ and _b_ may in this case
each be made to hold a given object, and an apparent transformation
be effected. Thus, for instance, _b_ may be filled with bran, and any
small article, such as a borrowed pocket-handkerchief, be placed in
_a_. The drawer is first pulled out with _b_, and shown filled to the
brim with bran; but on being closed and again opened (without _b_), the
bran is apparently transformed into the handkerchief.

Another modification of the drawer-box is known as


[Illustration: FIG. 176.]

THE DISSECTING DRAWER-BOX.--This is, in general appearance, not unlike
the ordinary drawer-box already described, but with this difference,
that the outer case has a raised top, somewhat of a sarcophagus shape.
(_See_ Fig. 176). The drawer is partially drawn out to show that it is
empty, is again closed, and on being once more drawn out, proves to
be full to the brim with flowers. These having been distributed, the
performer, to prove the perfect emptiness of the apparatus, not only
takes the drawer completely out, but takes the outer case (which is
constructed accordingly, the sides, top, and bottom being hinged to the
back) apart, as shown in Fig. 177. Notwithstanding this, upon again
reconstructing the case, and replacing and reopening the drawer, it is
once more found filled with flowers.

[Illustration: FIG. 177.]

The reader, being acquainted with the ordinary drawer-box, will have
no difficulty in accounting for the first harvest of flowers, but the
second may possibly puzzle him a little. The secret lies in the top
of the outer case, which, as we have already mentioned, is slightly
pyramidal in form, allowing a considerable space between its inner
and outer surface, and in this space is packed the second supply of
flowers. This space is closed on its under side by a flat wooden slab
_a_, of the same area as the inside of the drawer, held in position by
a thin wooden slip or bead at either end. The hindmost of these beads,
_b_, is so arranged as to yield to pressure, and, when the drawer is
pushed slightly in, gives way just enough to release the slab before
mentioned, which thereupon falls flat upon the bottom of the drawer,
and upon it the hitherto concealed flowers, which, spreading as they
fall, completely fill the drawer.


THE CHANGING CARD-DRAWER.--This is a smaller variety of the drawer-box,
designed specially for use in card tricks. The inner drawer is just
large enough to contain a pack of cards, which may thus be produced or
vanished by its means. Between the bottoms of the true and false or
outer drawer, is a space of about an eighth of an inch. This makes the
apparatus available not only to produce or vanish as above mentioned,
but to transform one card into another. The card to be changed is for
this purpose placed in the outer drawer, which, when closed, carries it
under the bottom of the inner drawer, and in this latter is placed the
card for which it is to be changed, or _vice versâ_.

There is an improved form of the card-drawer, with a double change,
effected on the principle of the dissecting drawer-box. This is just
as above described, with the addition that when the two drawers are
pressed smartly home, the action releases a thin slab of wood forming
apparently part of the inner surface of the case, and exactly equal
in area to the bottom of the inner drawer, into which it falls. When
required for use, a card is placed above this slab, which, falling when
required, covers the card already in the box, and exhibits instead
that which had been concealed above it, as in the case of the changing
card-boxes, described in the chapter devoted to card tricks. The uses
of such an apparatus will be obvious; but we will describe, by way of
illustration, one very good trick which may be performed with it.

The apparatus is prepared beforehand by placing a given card (say the
knave of spades) above the moveable slab, and another (say the eight
of diamonds) in the outer drawer. The performer invites two persons
to each draw a card, and “forces” upon them the knave of spades and
eight of diamonds. The cards being replaced in the pack, he, if he
has used an ordinary pack, brings them to the top by the “pass,” and
palms them, or if he has used a forcing pack, exchanges that pack for
an ordinary one from which those two cards have been removed. Leaving
the pack on the table, he exhibits the card-drawer, taking out both
drawers together, and showing, apparently, that case and drawer are
absolutely empty. Closing the drawer, he announces that he will make
the drawn cards leave the pack, and pass into the drawer. One of the
cards (the eight of diamonds) is named, and pulling out this time the
outer drawer only, he shows that it contains that card, which is taken
out, and handed to the person who drew it. Again the drawer is closed,
being this time pushed sharply home. The second card, the knave, being
now named, the drawer is again opened, and this card shown; the drawer
being again taken wholly out, and the drawer and case turned in all
directions for inspection, as before, the operator only taking care to
hold the drawer with one finger inside, that the moveable slab may not,
by falling out, betray its presence.


[Illustration: FIG. 178.]

CHANGING CADDIES.--These are of various kinds. We will begin with the
simplest, thence proceeding to the more complicated. The conjurors
caddy, in its most elementary form, is an oblong box, about six inches
in length by five in height and four in width. (_See_ Fig. 178.)
One-half of its interior, which is divided into two compartments by
a transverse bar across the top, is occupied by a drawer, or moveable
compartment, so arranged as to slide freely backwards and forwards
from end to end, according as the caddy is allowed to slope in the one
direction or the other. (_See_ Figs. 179 and 180.) Each compartment has
its own lid, the caddy sometimes, but not always, having an outer lid
in addition.

[Illustration: FIG. 179. FIG. 180.]

We will suppose that it is desired to produce any article from
the caddy, first shown empty. The article in question (say an
egg, hard-boiled for safety) is beforehand placed in the moveable
compartment, which we will suppose to occupy for the time being the
space under lid _a_, as shown in Fig. 179. The performer takes off the
opposite lid _b_, and shows the space beneath empty. Before removing
the second lid, he slopes the caddy in the opposite direction, so as to
bring the moveable compartment under lid _b_ (_see_ Fig. 180), and thus
is enabled to show the space under _a_ also empty. He then proceeds
with the trick, and at the right moment produces the article from the
caddy.

[Illustration: FIG. 181.]

It is obvious that the caddy above described is only available for
appearances and disappearances, and not for transformations. To
obviate this defect, the majority of caddies are now made with _three_
compartments (_see_ Fig. 181), with a sliding drawer occupying two of
them. The caddy in this form may be used to “change” objects in manner
following:--The sliding drawer being as shown in Fig. 181, the article
to be ultimately produced (say an orange) is placed in _b_. The three
compartments are now shown empty, beginning with _c_, and allowing the
sliding drawer to assume the position shown in Fig. 182, before in turn
uncovering _a_ and _b_. The article to be changed (say a watch) is now
placed openly in compartment _b_. The performer closes the lid, and,
after a moment’s interval, reopens it, but in that interval slopes
the caddy so as to again bring the sliding drawer into the position
shown in Fig. 181, when the orange is again brought under _b_, and,
on removing the lid, is disclosed. To show that the watch has really
disappeared, the caddy may again be shown (apparently) empty, in the
same manner as at first.

[Illustration: FIG. 182.]

There are a good many varieties of caddies made. One is known as the
“skeleton” caddy, from the fact that the bottom is made to take out, so
that the company can look through all three compartments. The sliding
drawer in this case is bottomless, and is so arranged as only to slide
when the performer releases it by pressing upon a particular spot in
the ornamental moulding round the bottom of the caddy. This pressure
withdraws a little pin, which normally rests in a little hole in the
side of the sliding drawer, and thus renders it for the time being a
fixture. In some caddies, again, the sliding drawer does not run up and
down by its own weight, but is moved backwards and forwards from below
by means of a projecting pin passing through a slit in the bottom of
the caddy. The caddy in this case does not require to be inclined one
way or the other, and is on this account preferred by many to the other
make.

The trick next described will introduce to the reader a changing caddy
of another and special construction.


[Illustration: FIG. 183.]

THE MAGIC VASE AND CADDY. (To make peas change places with a
handkerchief.)--For this trick two special pieces of apparatus are
necessary. The first is a tin vase, of the shape shown in Fig. 183, and
generally of about ten inches in height. It consists of three parts,
the vase proper _a_, the cover _b_, and a moveable compartment or well,
_c_, which is constructed upon a principle which we have had frequent
occasion to notice, the cylindrical portion of _a_ passing between
the inner and outer wall of this moveable compartment. It is coloured
exactly similar to that portion of _a_ which it covers, which therefore
looks exactly the same to the ordinary spectator, whether _c_ be in
its place or removed. The internal depth, however, of _c_ is little
more than half as deep as that of the actual vase, _a_. The cover _b_
exactly fits over _c_, and by means of a little appliance called a
“bayonet-catch,” will either lift _c_ with it when removed, or release
_c_ and leave it upon _a_.

[Illustration: FIG. 184.]

As this “bayonet-catch” is of constant use in magical apparatus, it
will be desirable to describe it somewhat minutely. A rectangular cut
or slit (_see_ the enlarged view in Fig. 184) is made in the lower edge
of the cover _b_. Its perpendicular arm is about a quarter of an inch
in length, and its width about an eighth of an inch. A small pin or
stud, about an eighth of an inch in length, projects perpendicularly
from the lower edge of _c_, at such a height that when _b_ is placed
over _c_, the upper or horizontal arm of the slit shall be just level
with it. If the upright arm of the slit be brought immediately over
this pin, the latter will, as the cover sinks down, travel upward along
the opening as far as the junction with the transverse portion of the
slit. If the cover be now again lifted, the pin will, of course, offer
no obstruction to its removal; but if the cover be first slightly
turned to the right, the pin will become engaged in the transverse
portion of the slit, and upon then lifting the cover, it will carry
with it the pin, and all connected with it. When it is desired to lift
off the cover _alone_, it will only be necessary to turn the cover
a little to the left, thus bringing the pin again over the upright
portion of the slit.

[Illustration: FIG. 185.]

The second piece of apparatus is a caddy (Fig. 185), in appearance not
unlike an ordinary tea caddy, with three equal-sized compartments,
each having its own lid. Upon close inspection it will be discovered
that the internal depth of these compartments is somewhat shallow in
comparison with the external measurement of the caddy, leaving a space
about an inch deep between the inner and outer bottoms. A sliding
drawer, working from end to end of the caddy, as already explained,
occupies the space of two compartments. Supposing this for the moment
removed, it would be found that the external caddy, in the space
occupied by the two end compartments, _a_ and _c_, has a false bottom
covering the hollow space we have already mentioned, but that the space
occupied by the middle compartment _b_ has none. Of the two moveable
compartments, which together constitute the sliding tray already
mentioned (_see_ Fig. 186), the one _d_ has a bottom, the other _e_ has
not.

[Illustration: FIG. 186.]

When the sliding drawer is in its proper position in the caddy, and
is pushed as far as it will go towards the one or the other end, the
result is as follows:--If it is pushed to the right, the bottomless
compartment _e_ occupies the space at that end, under lid _c_, while
the opening in the false bottom of the caddy is, for the time being,
closed by the bottom of _d_, which now occupies the middle space.
If the sliding tray is pushed to the opposite end (_i.e._, to the
left), _d_ will occupy the space _a_ at that end, while the bottomless
compartment _e_, being over the opening, gives access to the space
beneath.

The caddy is prepared for the purpose of the trick by placing in the
space between the true and false bottoms a white handkerchief, and the
sliding tray is then pushed to the right, so as to bring compartment
_d_ to the middle, and thus close the opening. The vase is prepared by
filling both divisions with peas. The two pieces of apparatus having
been placed on the table by the assistant, the performer opens the
caddy, and taking off the lids of the three divisions, and holding it
with his fingers inside the right hand end (thereby preventing any
possibility of the tray shifting), brings it forward to the audience,
and passing rapidly in front of them, begs to introduce to their
notice an old tea caddy, in which he has accidentally discovered some
curious magical properties. In the present condition of the caddy all
three compartments appear exactly alike, and of equal depth; and the
interior being of a dead black, the spectators are not likely to notice
that they are somewhat shallow. Again closing the lids, and replacing
the caddy on the table, he next draws attention to the vase. Taking
off the cover without the moveable compartment, and holding it upside
down, he pours the peas contained in the upper compartment (which
should not be _quite_ full) into the cover, and back again two or three
times, finally offering a handful for inspection. He then borrows a
lady’s handkerchief, which should as nearly as possible resemble the
substitute hidden in the caddy. He asks permission to place it, for the
purpose of the trick, in the vase. This is, of course, readily granted,
but the peas are in the way. After a moment’s pretended hesitation,
he says, “Well, I will put them in the caddy. Pray observe that I
really do so.” So saying, he pours them into _d_ (which, it will be
remembered, is for the time being the centre compartment), leaving that
compartment uncovered, so that they may remain visible to all. He then
places the handkerchief in the apparently empty vase, which he closes
and places on the table. He continues, “You have all seen me place
the handkerchief in the vase, and the peas in the caddy. Now I will
show you a very curious experiment. Perhaps some scientific gentleman
among the audience will explain how the effect is produced; for I
confess that though I have performed this trick some scores of times,
I am not quite certain myself as to the reason of the phenomenon.
Let me beg you once more to assure yourselves that these are genuine
peas, real common-place peas at twopence a pint, with no nonsense
about them.” As he says this, he passes along the front rank of the
spectators, exhibiting the peas in the caddy, and occasionally taking
out a handful, and offering them for closer inspection. As he reaches
the end of the line, he says, “You are all thoroughly satisfied that
these are genuine peas, and that the lady’s handkerchief is in the vase
upon the table. Quite right. Now observe, I don’t even touch the vase,
and yet, at the word of command, the handkerchief will pass into the
caddy which I hold in my hand. Pass!” During the last few words, and
holding the caddy for an instant with the lid towards the audience, so
as to screen his hand, he has pushed the sliding tray to the left, so
that _d_, containing the peas, now occupies the end space, while the
bottomless compartment _e_ has taken its place in the middle. Dipping
down through this compartment into the hollow space beneath, he takes
out the substitute handkerchief. “My commands are obeyed. Here is the
handkerchief. But where are the peas? Probably, as the handkerchief
has taken the place of the peas, the peas have taken the place of the
handkerchief. Let us see.” He uncovers the vase, lifting this time with
the cover the moveable compartment containing the real handkerchief.
“Yes, here are the peas, right enough,” shaking the vase, and taking
them up by handfuls to show them. He continues, “Now I dare say this
seems very surprising to you, but in truth it is comparatively simple.
The real difficulty begins when you try to make the handkerchief
and the peas travel back again to their original situation. This
part of the experiment is so difficult, that I always feel a little
nervous over it, but I must make the attempt.” Pushing the substitute
handkerchief openly down to the position it originally occupied, he
takes the opportunity, in carrying the caddy back to the table, to
slide back the tray as at first, and, after a little more talk, shows
that the peas have returned to the caddy, and lifting the cover alone
from the vase, produces therefrom the genuine handkerchief.


[Illustration: FIG. 187.]

THE COVER, TO PICK UP ANY ARTICLE.--This (called in French
“_ramasse-tout_”) is a brass cover of six to ten inches in height, and
of the shape shown in Fig. 187. Within it works backwards and forwards
on a spring hinge, a kind of scoop, pressing, when at rest, against
the side of the cover, as in Fig. 188, but moving into the position
shown in Fig. 189 whenever pressure is applied to the button _a_, again
returning to its original position when such pressure is removed. The
manner of using it is as follows:--The performer, we will suppose,
desires to cause the disappearance of an orange, in order that it (or
a counterpart) may be subsequently produced in some other quarter.
Placing the orange upon the table, he places the cover over it,
pressing, as he does so, the button _a_, so as to draw back the scoop.
As his hand quits the cover, the pressure being removed, the return of
the spring causes the scoop to clip the orange tightly against the
side of the cover; and if the cover be now lifted without pressing the
button, it will carry the orange with it. If it is desired again to
produce the orange, the button is pressed in the act of lifting the
cover, which then leaves the orange on the table.

It is hardly necessary to observe that the cover is always lifted
perpendicularly, so that the spectator cannot see the interior.

[Illustration: FIG. 188. FIG. 189.]

It is well to be provided with a second cover similar in external
appearance, but without any mechanism. This may be handed round for
inspection, and afterwards secretly exchanged for the mechanical cover.


THE CHANGING COVER.--This cover is available not only, as in the last
case, to produce or vanish, but also to change one article for another.
It is somewhat of the pattern of an ordinary round dish cover, with a
metal knob on the top. (_See_ Fig. 190.) It is divided by a vertical
tin partition _a_ (_see_ Fig. 191), into two equal compartments, _b_
and _c_. The lower, or open side of each of these compartments is of
course semicircular. A flat tin plate, _d_, also semicircular, works on
an upright axis, _e_, passing upwards through the centre of the cover,
and terminating in the knob on the top. By turning, therefore, this
knob halfway round to the right or left, the performer is enabled to
close whichever of the compartments happens for the time being to be
open, at the same time opening that which was previously shut. There
is a little point or stop on the upper side of the semicircular plate,
which meeting resistance from the vertical partition, prevents the
plate making more than the necessary half-turn either way.

[Illustration: FIG. 190. FIG. 191.]

The apparatus is prepared by placing the article representing the
result of the supposed transformation (say an apple) in either
compartment, and turning the knob so as to close that compartment, and
open the other. The article to be changed (say an orange) is placed
upon the table, and the performer places the cover upon it, taking care
that the open compartment for the time being shall come fairly over it.
He then gives a half turn to the knob, thereby closing the compartment
which has hitherto been open, and securing the orange within it, and at
the same time releasing the apple, into which, on the cover being again
raised, the orange appears to be transformed. In this case, as in the
last, it is well to have a plain counterpart cover to hand round for
inspection if necessary.

The uses to which the changing cover may be put are very numerous.
The following is an instance of a rather original application of it,
which produces a capital effect. We will suppose that the performer
has executed a trick in which he has availed himself of the assistance
of some juvenile member of the audience, and that an apple has been
one of the “properties” of the trick. The trick being concluded, the
professor asks his temporary assistant whether he would like to have
the apple, and is of course eagerly answered in the affirmative. “Very
well,” says the professor, “you shall have it; but you must first earn
it by a little display of dexterity. I will put it under this cover.”
He suits the action to the word. “Now I am going to say, One, two,
three! At the word ‘Three’ I shall raise the cover, and you must try
to snatch the apple before I replace it. If you can catch the apple in
this manner three times in succession, it is yours; but on one further
condition, that you eat it at once here upon the stage.” The conditions
are readily accepted. “One, two, three!” cries the professor, raising
the cover and disclosing the apple, which is instantly snatched up.
A second time the process is gone through, with a like result. “You
mean to win, I can see,” remarks the performer. “Now, once more, and
the apple will be yours; but I warn you I shall be rather quicker
this time. One! two!! three!!!” The eager boy springs forward, and
clutches--not the apple, but a Spanish onion, which had been placed
in the second compartment of the cover. “You have won, sir,” says the
professor, pretending not to notice the change; “but don’t forget
the second part of your bargain. You are to eat it at once, before
leaving the stage.” We will leave to the imagination of the reader the
discomfiture of the victim, and the amusement of the spectators; also
the subsequent magical processes by which the transformed apple may be
restored to its original and more fragrant condition.


[Illustration: FIGS. 192, 193, 194.]

THE CHANGING LADLE.--This is a piece of apparatus designed for secretly
obtaining possession of a chosen card or piece of writing. The bowl,
so to speak, of the ladle is in the form of a segment of a cylinder
(_see_ Fig. 192), the size of its opening being about four inches by
two and a half, and its depth three inches. It is made of tin, with a
thin, cylindrical handle. The edges of the bowl are turned inwards all
round to the extent of about a sixteenth of an inch, thereby serving
to disguise a moveable slab of tin, _a_, which moves backwards and
forwards like the leaf of a book within the ladle, working upon a
hinge at its lower edge. This is made to work backwards and forwards
by a wire rod passing through the whole length of the handle, and
terminating in a little knob or cap at its outer end. The normal
position of _a_ is to lie against the inner or handle side of the bowl
(_see_ Fig. 193), being retained in that position by the effect of a
spiral spring in the handle, which draws the wire back. If, however,
pressure be applied to the knob or cap at the end of the handle, the
wire is forced downwards, thereby bringing the moveable leaf _a_ against
the outer side of the bowl, as shown in Fig. 194.

There are various modes in which the changing ladle may be made
useful. For example, it may be used to burn and restore a card. For
this purpose, the ladle is prepared by placing in it beforehand any
indifferent card of similar pattern to the pack in use, and is in this
condition placed on the performer’s table, in such manner that the
spectators may not observe that there is already a card in it. The
performer then comes forward and hands to one of the company a pack of
cards, with a request that he will select any one he pleases. While
he is making his selection, the performer or his assistant places on
the table and sets fire to some spirits of wine on a bowl or plate. A
card having been chosen, the performer requests the drawer to return
it to him, and, in order to exclude the possibility of any exchange or
sleight-of-hand, volunteers to receive it at arm’s length in the ladle,
which he brings forward for that purpose, holding it by the extreme end
of the handle, and pressing with his palm the knob at the top, thereby
bringing the moveable leaf into the position shown in Fig. 194, with
the card already in it pressed flat against the outer side of the bowl,
and thus completely hidden. The chosen card being placed in the ladle,
the performer, in returning to his table, relaxes the pressure of his
palm, thereby bringing the moveable leaf back into the position of
Fig. 193, releasing the dummy card, and concealing that chosen against
the inner side of the bowl. He then drops apparently the chosen, but
really the substitute, card into the flames, taking care as he does
so not to turn the face of the card toward the audience. The ladle,
with the genuine card in it, is carried off by the assistant as having
served its purpose, and the chosen card is subsequently restored after
any fashion which the fancy of the operator may dictate.

The ladle may also be used to apparently burn and restore a paper on
which one of the company has written any words or figures. In this case
a blank half-sheet of note-paper, folded in four, is beforehand placed
in the ladle, and a piece of paper folded in the same way is handed to
one of the audience, with a request that he will write what he pleases
upon it, again fold it, and place it in the ladle. It is then either
apparently burnt (as in the case of the card), or placed in some other
apparatus, the operator making a great point of the fact that he does
not touch the paper. As the genuine paper remains in the ladle, it is,
of course, very easy for the performer to ascertain what is written
upon it, and having displayed his knowledge, to ultimately reproduce
the paper under any circumstance which he thinks fit. Sometimes the
trick is varied by requesting a spectator to write a question upon the
paper, which is subsequently reproduced with an appropriate answer
written beneath the question.


[Illustration: FIG. 195.]

[Illustration: FIG. 196.]

THE CONE, OR SKITTLE. (_La quille_).--This is a block of polished
boxwood, of the shape shown in Fig. 195, with a thin shell of the
same material exactly covering it, and so closely resembling it in
appearance, that the solid block and the hollow shell, seen apart,
cannot be distinguished the one from the other. The cone is made in
various sizes, from three inches in height by one and a half at the
base, to seven inches in height by three at the base. It is worked
with a paper cover, consisting of an open tube of cartridge paper
about double the height of the cone, and tapering in such manner that
its larger end shall fit loosely over the cone. The performer brings
forward this paper tube in his right hand, and the cone (with the
hollow shell upon it) in his left, taking care to hold his fingers
beneath it in such manner that the solid cone cannot fall out. He first
calls attention to the paper tube, which the audience are allowed to
examine at pleasure. When it is returned to him, he says, “You are now
quite satisfied that there is no preparation about this tube, which is,
in fact, simply a cover for this block of wood.” As if merely suiting
the action to the word, he covers the block with the tube, immediately
removing it again, and carelessly laying the cover on the table. In
removing it, however, he grasps it with a gentle pressure, and so takes
off with it the hollow shell (_see_ Fig. 196), of whose existence the
audience have no suspicion. He continues, “Perhaps you would also like
to examine the block, which you will find to be a plain, solid piece of
wood, without mechanism or preparation of any kind.” The block having
been duly examined, the supposed empty cover is placed upright upon
the table; and the solid block having been disposed of by any means in
the performer’s power, is ordered to pass invisibly under the cover,
which being raised, the hollow shell is seen, appearing to the eye of
the audience to be the block itself, and to have found its way there in
obedience to the performer’s command.

The above is the working of the “cone” in its simplest and barest
form, but no skilled performer would dream of presenting the illusion
in such a common-place way. To make the trick effective, it should be
so arranged as to make the cone apparently change places with some
other article. There are many combinations which might be suggested,
but we shall content ourselves with describing one or two of those in
most general use. The smaller sized cones may be worked in conjunction
with a goblet and ball (the same as those used for the Cups and
Balls), in manner following:--Having tendered for inspection the cone
and cover as already described, and placed them on the table, the
performer offers the goblet and ball in like manner for inspection.
When they are returned, he places them also upon the table, a little
distance apart, and meanwhile palms a second ball, which should be
in readiness either on the _servante_, or in one of his _pochettes_.
He now places the paper cover (which, it will be remembered, contains
the hollow shell) over the first ball on the table. “Pray observe,” he
remarks, “that I have fairly covered over the ball” (here he raises
and replaces the cover, pressing so as to lift the shell with it, and
showing that the ball is still there). “The goblet, as you have seen,
is perfectly empty.” (Here he raises the goblet, and, in replacing
it, introduces the second ball under it, as described in the chapter
devoted to the Cups and Balls.) “I shall now order the ball to pass
from the cover under the goblet.” He waves his wand from the one to
the other. “Presto! Prestissimo! Pass!” (He raises the goblet, and
shows that the ball has (apparently) passed under it.) The first ball
still remaining under the paper tube, he cannot at present raise it,
so proceeds rapidly to the next stage of the trick, that the omission
may not be noticed. “So far,” he remarks, “the trick is mere child’s
play. The real difficulty is to pass the cone under the cover in place
of the ball. However, I will make the attempt.” So saying, he picks
up the cone with his right hand, and apparently transfers it to his
left, really palming it, and immediately afterwards dropping his right
hand to his side, and getting rid of the cone into the _profonde_.
Then, taking two or three steps away from the table, still holding
the left hand as if containing the cone, and looking towards the
cover, he says, “One, two, three, Pass!” with a motion of the hand
as if throwing something; immediately showing the hands empty, and
lifting up the cover (but this time by the top, so as not to exert any
pressure against its sides), and showing the hollow shell, which now
conceals the ball, and is taken by the spectators to be the genuine
cone. “We have succeeded pretty well so far, ladies and gentlemen,” he
remarks; “it remains to be seen whether I shall be equally successful
in bringing back the cone and ball to their original positions. I dare
say you would all like to know how the trick is done, and therefore
this time I will vary the mode of operation, and make the transposition
visibly.” (Here he drops his right hand to the _profonde_, and secretly
palms the solid cone.) “First the cone” (he passes his right hand,
keeping the back towards the audience, upwards along the cover, and, as
it reaches the top, brings the cone into view). “Pray once more assure
yourselves that it is fair and solid. Now for the ball.” He picks up
the ball with the left hand, and holding it between the finger and
thumb, apparently transfers it, by the pass called the _tourniquet_
(_see_ page 150), to the right, forthwith getting rid of it into the
_profonde_ on the left side. “Pray observe that it does not leave your
sight even for a moment.” Then holding his hand high above the paper
cover, he makes a “crumbling” movement with it, immediately showing it
empty, and lifting the cover with a slight pressure, so as to carry the
shell with it, shows the ball beneath. The attention of the spectators
being naturally attracted to the ball, it is an easy matter to let the
hollow shell slip out of the paper cover upon the _servante_, and again
to hand the cover for examination.

Some performers, instead of using the goblet, work the small cone with
the “ball-box” (_see_ page 296).

It is obvious that the directions above given will apply only where the
cone is of a size so small as to be readily palmed, in which case it is
hardly conspicuous enough to be used before a large audience. Where a
cone of larger dimensions is employed, it is necessary to vary the mode
of operation. We shall therefore proceed to describe the trick in its
stage form, as worked by Herrmann and other public performers.

The cone in this case is about seven inches high, and is worked in
conjunction with a “drawer-box” of such a size as to contain it easily.
Having handed round for inspection the cover and cone, as already
described, the performer suddenly remembers that he requires an orange,
which he forthwith produces from his wand. (It is hardly necessary to
observe that the orange is beforehand placed in readiness in one of the
_pochettes_, and is produced from the wand in the manner described for
producing a ball. _See_ page 276). Laying down the orange on the table,
he next exhibits the drawer-box, taking the drawer completely out,
and, after showing it on all sides, replacing it. He then covers the
orange on the table with the paper cover (containing the hollow shell),
and places the solid cone in the drawer-box, which being of the kind
described at page 345, he turns upon its side, with its top toward the
audience. He meanwhile palms in his right hand, from his pocket or the
_servante_, a second orange. He now announces that he is about to take
the orange back again, which he does by passing his wand up the side
of the cover, and immediately producing therefrom the second orange.
He places this upon another table at a little distance, and covers it
with a borrowed hat, making as he does so a feint of removing it, and
slipping it into his tail pocket. He hears, or pretends to hear, some
one remark that he took away the orange, and answers accordingly. “Oh!
you think I took away the orange. Allow me to assure you that I did
nothing of the kind.” (He lifts up the hat, and shows the orange in its
place.) “I will cover it again; or, still better, to prove that I do
not take it away, I won’t cover it at all, but leave it here in full
view on the table.” He replaces it on the table, but this time places
it on what is called a “wrist-trap,” in readiness for a subsequent
disappearance. “Having taken the orange from under the cover,” he
continues, “I have now to make the solid block vanish from the drawer,
and take its place; but I shall do it this time invisibly. See, I have
only to wave my wand from the one to the other, and the thing is done.
The drawer is empty” (pulling out the false drawer only), “and here is
the block” (he lifts the paper cover, and shows the hollow shell). “Now
I come to the most difficult part of the trick, which is to bring both
articles back to their original position. First, I will take the block
of wood.” He covers the shell with the paper tube, and makes a movement
of his wand from the cover to the drawer. “Pass! Let us see whether it
has obeyed.” He this time pulls the drawer completely out, and lets
the block fall heavily on the stage. “Now for the orange.” He places
both hands round it, as if picking it up between them, and presses as
he does so the spring of the trap, which opening, lets the orange fall
through into the table. Bringing the hands, still together, immediately
above the paper cover, he rubs them together as if compressing the
orange, finally separating them and showing them empty, and immediately
afterwards lifting the cover with the hollow shell, and showing the
first orange beneath it.

It will be observed that the trick above described is, in some of its
parts, very similar to that described at page 337. The mechanism of the
wrist-trap will be found explained in the next chapter. In the meantime
the student may produce the same effect without using a trap at all, by
means of the sleight described at page 294.


[Illustration: FIG. 197.]

[Illustration: FIG. 198.]

THE CONE AND BOUQUET.--This is another form of the cone trick,
involving the use of rather more elaborate apparatus. The cone in
this case is about five inches in height by three at the base, and
tapers very slightly. It may be either of boxwood, as in the trick
last described, or the block may be of any hard wood, and the hollow
shell of tin to fit, each blacked and polished, so as to look exactly
alike. It is used in conjunction with a paper cover as before, and two
little bunches of flowers, exactly alike, and of such a size as to be
just covered by the hollow shell. Each of these little bouquets is
made upon a tin framework, consisting of a wire arch springing from a
flat saucer-like base. (_See_ Fig. 197.) A pedestal and cover complete
the apparatus. The pedestal _a_ (_see_ Fig. 198) is cylindrical; and
about six inches in height, by four across the top. Its upper surface
consists of a circular plate of tin, working up and down piston-wise
in the pedestal. This is forced upwards by a spiral spring, but yields
to pressure, sinking vertically to a depth of four or five inches when
necessary. The upper edge of the pedestal is slightly turned in all
round, so that the top may not be pressed out altogether by the force
of the spring. An outer casing of tin, _b_, fits over _a_, just so
tightly as to resist the upward pressure of the spring when forced down
by any object between the pedestal and this casing. The cover, _c_, is
about double the height of _a_, and by means of a bayonet catch (_see_
page 352) may be lifted off either with or without _b_ at pleasure.

[Illustration: FIG. 199.]

[Illustration: FIG. 200.]

The pedestal is prepared for use by removing _b_, and placing one of
the little bouquets on the top of _a_; then again putting on _b_, and
forcing it down into its place, when the condition of the apparatus
will be as shown (in section) in Fig. 199. The wire arch prevents the
flowers being crushed out of shape by the pressure of the spring. The
pedestal and cover are now brought forward and placed on the table;
also the cone (with the shell on), the paper tube to cover it, and the
remaining bunch of flowers. The paper tube is first exhibited, placed
over the cone, and removed with the hollow cone within it, as in the
last trick. The solid cone is then offered for examination, and having
been duly inspected, is placed upon the pedestal. The performer makes
a movement as if about to place over it the cover _c_, but checks
himself in the act, and shows that this cover is empty and hollow
throughout. He then puts on the cover, and reverting to the bunch of
flowers on the table, covers it with the paper tube. He next announces
that in obedience to his command, the block and the bunch of flowers
will change places. He raises the paper tube, holding it by the top,
and thus leaves behind the hollow shell, covering and concealing the
bunch of flowers. He next takes off the cover of the pedestal, first,
however, turning the bayonet catch, so as to lift off with the cover
the casing _b_. The solid cone is carried off between the casing and
the cover (_see_ Fig. 200), while the action of the spring, the casing
being removed, brings the concealed bunch of flowers to the top of the
pedestal, in the position lately occupied by the cone. Having shown
that the cone and the flowers have changed places, the performer next
undertakes to bring them back to their original situation, which, by
reversing the process, he does without difficulty.

The pedestal above described is a very useful piece of apparatus,
being available either to produce, change, or vanish any article of
appropriate size. A very effective trick may be performed therewith
by causing an empty tumbler to appear full, or _vice versâ_. In this
case, however, it should by no means be admitted that an _exchange_
takes place, as the supposed filling of an empty glass with water by
covering it with an evidently unsophisticated cover, is rather the more
surprising phenomenon.


THE FLYING GLASS OF WATER.--This capital trick was, we believe, first
introduced to the public by Colonel Stodare, to whom the profession
is indebted for many first-class illusions. The necessary apparatus
consists of a couple of ordinary glass tumblers, exactly alike, with
an india-rubber cover just fitting the mouth of one of them, and a
coloured handkerchief of silk or cotton made double (_i.e._, consisting
of two similar handkerchiefs sewn together at the edges), with a wire
ring (of the size of the rim of one of the tumblers, or a fraction
larger) stitched loosely between them, in such manner that when the
handkerchief is spread out the ring shall be in the middle.

[Illustration: FIG. 201.]

[Illustration: FIG. 202.]

The performer, beforehand, nearly fills one of the tumblers with water,
and then puts on the india-rubber cover, which, fitting closely all
round the edge, effectually prevents the water escaping (_see_ Fig.
201). The glass, thus prepared, he places in the _profonde_ on his
right side. He then brings forward the other glass and a decanter
of water, and the prepared handkerchief, and in full view of the
audience fills the glass with water up to the same height as he has
already filled the one in his pocket, and hands round glass and water
for inspection. When they are returned, he places the glass upon the
table, a few inches from its hinder edge, and standing behind it,
covers it with the handkerchief, first spreading out and showing both
sides of the latter, proving, to all appearance, that there is no
preparation about it. In placing the handkerchief over the glass, he
draws it across in such manner as to bring the hidden ring as exactly
as possible over the top of the glass. Then placing the left hand
over the handkerchief, as shown in Fig. 202, he raises, apparently,
the glass within the handkerchief, but really the empty handkerchief
only, which is kept distended by the ring, and, at the same time, under
cover of the handkerchief, gently lowers the glass of water with the
other hand on to the _servante_. This is by no means difficult, as the
pretended carefulness of the operator not to spill the water allows
him to make the upward movement of the left hand as deliberate as he
pleases. All that is really necessary is to take care _to follow with
his eyes the movement of the left hand_, which will infallibly draw the
eyes and the minds of the audience in the same direction. Having raised
the supposed tumbler to a height of about two feet from the table, the
performer brings it forward to the audience, and requests that some
gentleman with a steady hand will favour him with his assistance. A
volunteer having been found, and having given satisfactory replies as
to the steadiness of his nerves, and the strength of his constitution
generally, is requested to place his hand under the handkerchief and
take the glass. As he proceeds to obey, the performer lets go of the
handkerchief with the left hand, still retaining one corner with the
right, and lets the right arm with the handkerchief drop to his side.
Pretending to believe that the gentleman has taken the glass, and not
to notice its disappearance, he turns carelessly aside, and brings
forward a small table or chair, saying, “Put it here, please.” Looking,
generally, somewhat foolish, the victim replies that he has not got
it. If the performer is a good actor, he may here make some fun by
pretending to believe that the victim has concealed the glass, and
pressing him to return it. At last he says, “Well, if you won’t give
it to me, I must find it for myself,” and he proceeds to tap with his
wand the sleeves and pockets of the unfortunate individual, but without
success, till, on touching him between the shoulders, he pretends
to tell by the sound that the glass is there. “Yes, here it is,” he
remarks. “I am sorry to be obliged to ask you to turn your back on the
company, but to show them that there is no deception on my part, I am
compelled to do so. Will you please turn round for one minute.” On
his doing so, the performer, again shaking out the handkerchief, and
showing both sides of it to prove it empty, spreads it over the back
of the victim. Again he taps with his wand, which, striking the ring
through the handkerchief, causes an unmistakeable hard sound to be
heard; and then grasping the ring as before through the handkerchief,
he deliberately raises it up in a horizontal position, the effect
being as if the glass had again returned to the handkerchief. He then
says, “I don’t think I will trouble this gentleman again; he is too
much of a conjuror himself;” then turning rapidly to the audience, he
says, “Catch, ladies and gentlemen,” and “flicks” the handkerchief
quickly towards the spectators, who duck their heads in expectation of
a shower. “Pardon me, ladies, I fear I alarmed you; but you need not
have been afraid; I never miss my aim. That gentleman has the glass”
(designating anyone he pleases). “May I trouble you to step forward one
moment, sir?” On the person indicated doing so, the performer places
him facing the audience, and under cover of his body takes the second
glass out of the _profonde_, and throws the handkerchief over it,
remarking, “Yes, ladies and gentlemen, here it is, in this gentleman’s
tail pocket.” Then taking hold of the glass with the left hand beneath
the handkerchief, he clips with the first finger and thumb, through the
handkerchief, the edge of the india-rubber cover, and thus drawing off
the cover inside the handkerchief, hands round the glass and water for
inspection.

[Illustration: FIG. 203.]

Two improvements have recently been made in this trick, which, though
trifles in themselves, greatly heighten the effect. Upon a performance
of the trick as already described, it is not uncommon to find some
person, more acute than the average, guess that there is a ring in
the handkerchief. The first of the improvements we have mentioned
is designed to make the ring no longer a fixture, and yet to insure
bringing it into the right position when necessary. This is effected by
stitching the two handkerchiefs together, not only round the edge, as
already explained, but also as shown by the dotted line in Fig. 203.
This confines the ring to the triangular enclosure, _a e d_, within
which, however, it is allowed to move freely, not being attached to the
handkerchief in any way. If the handkerchief is held by the two corners
_a_ _d_ (which should be distinguished by a mark of coloured silk or
worsted, so as to be readily identified by the performer) the ring will
take its proper place in the middle, as shown in the figure. If, on the
other hand, the handkerchief be held by either the corners _a_ _b_ or
_c_ _d_, the ring will forthwith run into the angle _a d e_ or _d a e_,
as the case may be, and the handkerchief, if grasped a little below
this particular corner, may be twisted or pulled through the hands
ropewise, proving, with apparent conclusiveness, that there is no ring
or shape concealed in it.

The second improvement is to have ready on the _servante_ a small piece
of sponge, recently dipped in water. This is picked up by the right
hand of the performer as he places the genuine glass on the _servante_.
When he has moved away from his table, at the moment of requesting his
volunteer assistant to take the glass, he places the right hand for a
moment under cover of the handkerchief, and squeezes the sponge, the
water that immediately pours from it being, apparently, accidentally
spilt, and so negativing any possible doubt on the part of the
spectators that the glass is really in the handkerchief. With these two
additions the trick is one of the most effective that can possibly be
performed, whether in a drawing-room or on the public stage.


THE BOWLS OF WATER AND BOWLS OF FIRE PRODUCED FROM A SHAWL.--After the
explanation of the last trick, the reader will form a tolerably good
guess at the means of performing this, which has puzzled thousands,
and is still one of the most popular feats in the _répertoire_ of the
conjuror.

The performer comes forward with a shawl in his hand, which he spreads
out and exhibits on both sides, to show (as is really the fact) that
there is no preparation about it. The spectators being satisfied on
this point, and the orchestra playing the “Ghost Melody” or other
appropriate accompaniment, he swings the shawl about in time to the
music, finally throwing it over his left shoulder and arm, the arm
being held square before him. The arm now gradually sinks down, and the
form of some solid object is seen defined beneath the shawl, which,
being removed, reveals a glass bowl brimming with water, and with
gold fish swimming about in it. This is repeated a second and a third
time, the performer sometimes discarding the shawl, and borrowing a
pocket-handkerchief among the audience for the production of the last
bowl.

The bowls used are saucer-shaped, measuring six to eight inches in
diameter, and one and a half to two inches in depth. Each is closed
by an india-rubber cover, after the manner of the tumbler in the
last trick. Thus secured, they are concealed about the person of the
performer. The precise mode of concealment varies a little. Where
three bowls are to be produced, one is generally carried beneath the
coat-tails, in a sort of bag open at the sides, suspended from the
waist, and the other two in pockets, opening perpendicularly, inside
the breast of the coat or waistcoat, one on each side.

Sometimes, by way of variation, bowls of fire are produced. The
bowls are in this case of thin brass. They have no covers, but the
inflammable material (tow moistened with spirits of wine) is kept in
position by wires crossing the bowl at about half its depth, and is
ignited by a wax match, struck against the inside of the bowl under
cover of the shawl and immediately dropped into the bowl, when the
contents instantly burst into a blaze. Some bowls have a mechanical
arrangement for igniting the tow, but we ourselves much prefer the
simple bowls above described.

It was originally the practice to throw the shawl over a small round
table, immediately removing it, and exhibiting the bowl upon the table.
Modern performers discard the table, and produce the bowls in the midst
of the audience.


THE BOWL OF INK CHANGED TO CLEAR WATER, WITH GOLD FISH SWIMMING IN
IT.--The performer brings forward a goblet-shaped glass vase, six or
eight inches in height, nearly full of ink. To prove that the ink is
genuine, he dips a playing-card into it, and brings it up with the
lower half stained a deep black. Next, taking a ladle, he ladles out
a portion of the liquid, and pours it on a plate, which is handed
round for inspection. He next borrows a handkerchief from one of
the audience, and covering the vase with it, announces that, by the
exercise of his magic power, he will transform the ink in the vase to
water. On removing the handkerchief, this transformation is found to be
accomplished, while a couple of gold fish, placidly swimming about in
the bowl, sufficiently prove that the trick is not performed, as might
be imagined, by means of some chemical reagent.

The explanation, though by no means obvious, is very simple. The liquid
in the vase is plain water; but a bottomless black silk lining, fitting
the vase, and kept in shape by a wire ring round its upper edge, gives
it the appearance of ink to a spectator at a little distance. In
removing the handkerchief, the performer clips with it the wire ring,
bringing away the lining within the handkerchief, and revealing the
clear water in the glass.

But the reader will naturally inquire, “How, then, are the blackened
card and the genuine ink ladled out on the plate accounted for?”

[Illustration: FIG. 204.]

The blackened card, though apparently an ordinary one, has the same
figure, say a knave of diamonds, on both its sides; but the lower half
of the one side is beforehand stained with ink. The performer dips
it in with the unsoiled side toward the audience; but giving it a
half-turn as he removes it, thereby brings the blackened side in front.
The ink poured on the plate is accounted for with equal simplicity.
The ladle (_see_ Fig. 204) is of tin, having a hollow handle of the
same metal, with a minute hole opening therefrom into the bowl. There
is a similar small hole near to the top of the handle. The bowl is
beforehand filled with ink, which is thence allowed to run into the
handle; after which the upper hole is stopped with a little pellet
of wax, or a small piece of paper is pasted over it. By reason of
a well-known natural law, the liquid will not run out of the lower
hole until the upper one is opened. As the performer dips the ladle
apparently into the ink in the bowl, he scrapes off with his nail
the wax or paper with which the upper hole is stopped, and the ink
immediately runs into the bowl, whence it is poured upon the plate.


[Illustration: FIG. 205.]

THE INEXHAUSTIBLE BOTTLE.--The same natural principle which prevents
the ink from flowing into the bowl of the ladle until the upper hole
is opened, is the basis of this old but still popular trick. The
inexhaustible bottle, though in appearance an ordinary glass bottle, is
in reality of tin, japanned black. Internally it is divided into three,
four, or five separate compartments, ranged round a central space, and
each tapering to a narrow-mouthed tube, which terminates about an inch
within the neck of the bottle. A small pinhole is drilled through the
outer surface of the bottle into each compartment, the holes being
so placed that when the bottle is grasped by the hand in the ordinary
way (_see_ Fig. 205), each hole may be covered by one or other of the
fingers or thumb. The central space is left empty, but the surrounding
compartments are filled, by means of a funnel with a very tapering
nozzle, with the wines or liquids expected to be most in demand, or
to which it is intended to limit the spectators’ choice. A tray full
of glasses, made specially of very thick glass, so as to contain in
reality much less than they appear to do, completes the apparatus.

The performer comes forward with the magic bottle, followed by an
attendant bearing the tray of glasses. He commences by openly pouring
water into the bottle, and out again, so as indirectly to raise the
inference that the bottle must be perfectly empty. The water, in truth,
really passes into the centre space only, and thence runs out again
as soon as the bottle is tilted. The fingers, meanwhile, are tightly
pressed on the different holes, and thus excluding the air, effectually
prevent any premature flow of wine from the various compartments.
The performer, still holding the bottle mouth downwards, says, “You
observe, ladies and gentlemen, that the bottle is now perfectly empty,
and yet, by my magic art, I shall compel it to refill itself for your
benefit.” He then, addressing various individuals, asks each whether
he prefers port, sherry, gin, etc., and when the answer is given, has
only to raise the finger stopping the air-hole of that particular
compartment to cause the liquid named to flow from the bottle, stopping
as soon as the finger is again pressed on the hole. It is a good plan,
in order to prevent confusion, to place the liquors in the bottle in
alphabetical order, commencing from the hole stopped by the thumb. Some
performers increase the variety of the liquors produced, by placing
beforehand in certain of the glasses a few drops of various flavouring
essences. By this means a compartment filled with plain spirits of
wine may be made to do duty for brandy, whiskey, etc., at pleasure,
according to the glass into which the liquid is poured.

[Illustration: FIG. 206.]

The trick is sometimes elaborated by the performer, by way of
conclusion, apparently breaking the bottle, and producing therefrom a
borrowed handkerchief or other article which has been made to disappear
in some previous trick. This is effected by means of an additional
speciality in the construction of the bottle. The compartments
containing the liquids in this case terminate a couple of inches above
the bottom of the bottle, and the part below this, which has a wavy
edge, like fractured glass, is made to slip on and off. (_See_ Fig.
206.) The performer, having produced the wines, pretends to crack the
bottle all round by rapping it with his wand, and, having apparently
cracked it, pulls the bottom off, and exhibits the handkerchief, which
was beforehand placed in readiness therein. The two parts of the bottle
joining with great nicety, there is little fear that the pretended
crack will prematurely attract attention.

Where the trick is performed before a very large audience, a single
bottle would not contain sufficient liquor to answer all the demands
upon it. In this case it is necessary to change the bottle, sometimes
more than once in the course of the trick. This is most frequently
done under cover of a chair or table; but where the trick is performed
on the stage, a more elaborate expedient is sometimes employed. The
bottle used has in this case an outer shell or casing of tin, open at
the bottom, the actual receptacle for the liquids being within this.
When the bottle is exhausted, the performer with apparent carelessness
places it upon a small table, standing against the side scene, pending
the arrival of more glasses, or under any other convenient pretext. The
bottle is, in truth, placed immediately over a small round trap, the
performer being guided as to its proper position by a couple of small
pins projecting upwards from the surface of the table, against which
pins he pushes the bottle. The moment it is so placed, the assistant
behind the scenes, who has his eye to a hole in the partition, and his
arm extended within the table, opens the trap, pulls down the empty
interior of the bottle, and instantly replaces it with a full one,
which he holds in readiness, and at the moment when the performer again
grasps the bottle to continue the trick (and thereby furnishes the
necessary resistance), pushes it sharply up into its place.


[Illustration: FIG. 207. FIG. 208.]

THE BOTTLE AND RIBBONS.--This is another favourite bottle trick. The
bottle is in this case also of tin, with an enclosed space round the
sides to contain wine, commencing about an inch and a half from the
lower end, and terminating just within the mouth. (_See_ Fig. 207.) The
bottle has no bottom, and there is thus a passage, in the shape of an
inverted funnel, extending through its whole length. A cylindrical base
or stopper (_see_ Fig. 208) just fits into the space at the bottom of
the bottle, and on this are fixed six or eight small reels or bobbins.
On each of these is wound a yard or so of ribbon, each of a different
colour. An upright wire rod springs from the centre of this base,
terminating just within the neck of the bottle in a little flat piece
of metal, perforated with as many holes as there are ribbons; and one
end of each of the ribbons is brought up through one of these holes,
and a little knot made upon it to prevent its slipping back again.

The ribbons being in position, and the space in the bottle duly filled
with wine, the performer brings it forward, and, after pouring out a
glass or two, asks some lady present which is her favourite colour,
and on receiving an answer, gently taps the bottle with his wand, and
immediately draws out with the tip of his forefinger from the neck, and
presents to her, a ribbon of the desired colour. More wine is produced,
alternately with fresh ribbons, until all are exhausted.

The above is the drawing-room form of the trick. Upon the stage, it
is slightly varied. The same kind of bottle is used, but the internal
provision of reels and ribbons is removed, so that the bottle remains
a simple tin bottle, open at the bottom, with the funnel-shaped
passage already mentioned extending through its entire length. The
performer, having poured out a glass or two of wine, places the
bottle on a stool or table, through the pillar of which is a hole or
passage communicating with a corresponding hole in the stage. Beneath
this is stationed the performer’s assistant, who is provided with a
large number of various coloured ribbons, and a thin rod of three or
four feet in length, with a small point or blunt pin at the top. The
performer takes care always to repeat in an audible voice the name of
the colour called for. This is a signal to the assistant to hitch one
end of the ribbon in question on the top of the rod, and hold it in
readiness beneath the stage. He does not, however, push it up through
the bottle until warned by the sound of the tap of the wand on the
bottle that the performer is ready to receive it. The performer, on
his part, takes care, before tapping the bottle, to place his thumb
upon the mouth, so as to prevent the rod passing too far. Sometimes a
combination of colours is asked for, as, for instance, the tricolour,
or any other national group of colours.

Alter having produced a reasonable number of ribbons, an effective
finish may be made as follows:--A last colour or combination of
colours having been demanded, the performer does not draw the ribbons,
as hitherto, completely out of the bottle, but leaves them hanging
down loosely on each side of it. He now announces that, at the word
of command, the ribbons shall, of their own accord, return into the
bottle. The assistant takes his cue accordingly, and at the third tap
of the wand draws the ribbons smartly down again; their instantaneous
disappearance within the bottle being exceedingly effective.


THE NEW PYRAMIDS OF EGYPT, OR THE WINE AND WATER TRICK.--This trick may
be very well worked in conjunction with either of the bottle tricks
already described, and we therefore notice it in this place. Its effect
is as follows:--The performer pours out a glass of wine and a glass
of water, finally transferring both to a small decanter. Placing the
decanter on a small round stand, and the empty glasses on similar
stands on either side of it, he covers each with a pyramidal cover,
and announces that at his command the mixed wine and water will again
separate, and pass into the empty glasses, the spectators being allowed
to choose into which of the glasses each element shall pass. The choice
having been made, he fastens a tape or ribbon to the centre pyramid,
and thence to each of the side ones, giving the audience to understand
that, by a mysterious kind of capillary attraction, the wine and water
will travel along this ribbon to their respective destinations. A few
moments having elapsed, the ribbons are untied and the covers removed.
The decanter is found to be empty, and the wine and water to have
respectively returned to the glasses designated by the audience.

[Illustration: FIG. 209.]

The glasses used have no speciality, but the decanter has a small
hole in its under side. This is plugged with a pellet of wax, which,
however, is instantly removeable at pleasure. Of the three stands, two
(those on which the glasses stand) have no preparation, being mere
raised shapes of tin. The third is similar in appearance, but is, in
fact, a hollow box, with three or four little holes drilled in its
upper side, for a purpose that will presently appear. Of the three
covers, the centre one is hollow throughout, but the other two have
each its upper portion occupied by a hollow chamber or reservoir,
divided in two by a vertical partition, and tapering down to a tube
with a very small opening. Each of these compartments has an air-hole
at the top. (_See_ Fig. 209.)

These two covers are beforehand prepared for the trick by filling the
two compartments of each, one with wine, and the other with water.
The air-holes are stopped with pellets of wax, but for the sake of
distinction the “wine” compartment of each is plugged with red wax,
and the “water” compartment with white wax. Any other distinguishing
mark is, of course, equally good. So long as the air-holes are thus
stopped, there is no fear of the liquid running out. The performer,
having filled the glasses as already described, mixes the contents
in the decanter, and in placing the latter on the stand, removes the
wax plug from the bottom, thus allowing the wine to run out, and to
percolate through the above-mentioned holes into the stand, where it
remains. He next places the empty glasses on their respective stands,
and places the covers over them. He then asks the audience into which
of the glasses they desire that the wine shall travel, and into which
the water. When they have made their decision, he has only to remove
the red pellet from the cover which is over the glass into which the
wine is to pass, and the white pellet from the opposite cover. The
tying of the tape from cover to cover is merely designed to give time
for the liquids to reach their respective destinations, and is, indeed,
altogether dispensed with by many performers. The air-holes may be
stopped by means of tinfoil pasted over them, instead of the wax, if
preferred. The foil is instantly removeable by scraping with the nail.


[Illustration: FIG. 210.]

THE MYSTERIOUS FUNNEL.--This is a little appliance on the same
principle, which may be incidentally introduced with good effect in the
course of a wine trick. It is a tin funnel, made double throughout,
with a space of half-an-inch or so between its inner and outer sides.
It is, in fact, a funnel within a funnel, joined at the upper edges.
(_See_ Fig. 210.) It has an air-hole, _a_, generally on the under side
of the handle. When required for use, the hidden space is filled with
wine. The simplest way of doing this is to stop the spout of the funnel
with the finger, and then to fill it with wine, which, seeking its own
level, will gradually rise to the same height in the outer space as it
stands at inside the funnel. This must, of course, be done with the
air-hole open. When the space is filled, the air-hole is stopped, and
the wine remaining inside the funnel allowed to run out. The funnel
will now appear perfectly empty, and may be used as a funnel in the
ordinary way.

The mode of using the funnel is somewhat after the following manner,
subject, of course, to variation, according to the taste and invention
of the performer:--

A juvenile is invited to take a glass of wine, the produce of either
of the preceding tricks. When he has imbibed it, the performer asks
a second juvenile whether he would like a glass also. The reply is
pretty sure to be in the affirmative, but the performer pretends to
find, when about to oblige him, that his store is exhausted. He begins
to apologize for the supposed disappointment, but as if suddenly
bethinking himself, says, “However, you shan’t be disappointed. If I
can’t supply you in the natural way, I must do so in a supernatural
way. Suppose we take back the wine this young gentleman has just drunk.
I don’t suppose it will be any the worse. Let me see, where is my magic
funnel. Oh, here it is. Let us make sure first that it is quite clean.”
He pours water through it, and then holds it up to the light in such a
manner that the audience can see right through, thus indirectly showing
them that it is empty. “Now, sir” (addressing the youngster who has
drunk the glass of wine), “I am going to take back that glass of wine.
Be kind enough to bend your elbow, and hold it over the mouth of the
funnel, so. And you, sir” (addressing the expectant), “perhaps you will
be kind enough to take this young gentleman’s other arm, and work it
gently up and down. In fact, we are going to transform him into a pump.
Now, sir.” The performer holds the glass under the funnel, and as soon
as the pretended pumping begins, opens the air-hole, when the wine runs
into the glass, and is handed to the second young gentleman as a reward
for his exertions.

Acted with spirit, this little interlude is sure of an uproarious
reception from the juvenile portion of the audience, particularly if
the operator possesses the magic bradawl described at page 332, and
makes use of it to bore a small hole in the victim’s elbow before
beginning to pump the wine from it.


[Illustration: FIG. 211.]

THE BOX OF BRAN TRANSFORMED TO A BOTTLE OF WINE.--While upon the
subject of wine tricks we may mention this, which is by no means the
least surprising of the illusions to which “the bottle” gives birth.
The necessary apparatus consists of four pieces. First, a plain
cylindrical tin box A (_see_ Fig. 211), japanned to taste, and about
six inches high by three in diameter. Secondly, B, a similar box, so
far as external appearance is concerned, but materially different
in its internal construction. This latter is bottomless, but has a
horizontal tin partition at about three-quarters of an inch from the
top. These two boxes have but one lid, which fits either indifferently.
The third article is a cylindrical pasteboard cover (Fig. 212), closed
at the top, and of such a size as to fit loosely over B, but an inch or
two taller. The fourth item is a bottle, made of tin, japanned black,
and of somewhat peculiar construction. (_See_ Fig. 213.) As a measure
of capacity, it terminates just below the shoulder, the remainder,
or body of the bottle, being, in fact, merely a tube closed at the
bottom, in which this upper portion works. A spiral spring within the
body presses the neck portion upward into its proper position; but if
pressure be applied, the neck portion will sink downward into the body,
as shown in Fig. 214, in which condition it just fits into B. A small
point projects from the lower part of the bottle, and corresponds with
a bayonet catch at the bottom of B, which is in fact designed as a case
or cover for the bottle.

[Illustration: FIG. 212.]

[Illustration: FIG. 213.]

[Illustration: FIG. 214.]

For the performance of the trick the operator will require, in addition
to the apparatus above mentioned, an oblong deal box, half full of
bran. (Rice is sometimes used, but is not so good.) Any box will answer
the purpose, so long as it is not less than fifteen inches or so in
length, and nine in breadth and depth. In preparing for the trick, the
first step is to fill the bottle, or the “fillable” portion thereof,
with wine or some other liquid. The bottle is then corked; B is placed
over it and pressed down, and the bayonet-catch fastened. In this
condition, but without a lid, B is placed in the deal box, and buried
in the bran. The box of bran being now brought forward and placed on
the table, the performer is ready to begin the trick. He first draws
attention to A, which he hands round for inspection, as also the
pasteboard cover. When they are returned, he brings forward the box of
bran, moving his hand backwards and forwards in it, and distributing a
few handfuls to show its genuineness. Replacing the box on the table,
he proceeds to fill A with bran. This he does by dipping A completely
in the box, and scooping up the necessary quantity. As if to show
all fair, he pours the bran out again into the box, and then makes a
second dip to refill it. This time, however, he makes an exchange,
and instead of bringing up A, brings up B, filling as he does so the
shallow space at the top of the latter, which thus appears to be full
to the brim. Placing it on the table, and putting the lid on, he places
the pasteboard cover over it, and, addressing the company, volunteers
to teach them how to extract wine from bran, and wine bottles from tin
boxes. After a moment’s pause, and the orthodox touch with the wand,
he removes the cover, giving it at the same time a slight twist, thus
releasing the catch, and removing B within the cover. The spring within
the bottle now meeting no resistance, presses the neck portion upwards
into its proper position, with all the appearance of a genuine bottle;
and as it, in its present condition, is considerably taller than B,
it can hardly be suspected that it was a moment ago concealed in the
latter, particularly as the performer immediately proceeds to give a
further proof of its genuineness by pouring a glass of wine from it.

In connection with the above trick we may describe another useful piece
of apparatus, known as


THE BRAN BOTTLE.--This is a bottle, which, being covered over for an
instant, vanishes, leaving in its place a heap of bran. The bottle is,
like that last described, of tin, with a false bottom or partition,
about an inch below the shoulder, so that it holds about a glassful of
wine. The place of the ordinary bottom is supplied by a disc of tin,
with a raised shoulder round it, fitting loosely within the bottle,
so as to drop out by its own weight, unless kept in place by some
external pressure. The cover is a mere cylinder of pasteboard, closed
at the top. The bottle is prepared for use by filling the lower portion
with bran, and putting the bottom in place (where it is retained by
the pressure of the fingers), then filling the upper part with wine.
The performer first pours wine from the bottle, and then places it on
a plate, ostensibly to show that it does not pass through any opening
in the table, but really for a reason which will presently appear. He
now places the cover over the bottle, and on again lifting it presses
the sides slightly, and so lifts the bottle with it. The loose bottom,
having no longer anything to hold it, remains on the plate, concealed
by the bran which pours from the bottle, and into which the bottle is
apparently transformed. Meanwhile, all eyes being drawn to the heap
of bran, the performer lowers his hand, containing the cover, for an
instant behind the table, and relaxing the pressure of his fingers,
lets the bottle slip out on the _servante_, immediately coming forward
with the cover, and carelessly showing that it is empty.

In combination with the Bran Bottle, the trick last above described
is greatly heightened in effect, the bottle appearing under the cover
which has just been placed over the tin box--the bran from the latter
being found under the cover which a moment previously concealed the
bottle, and the tin box being found to have passed into the large
box of bran. The Bran Bottle may also be worked with great effect in
combination with the trick of the “Bran and Orange,” described at page
335.


[Illustration: FIG. 215.]

[Illustration: FIG. 216.]

THE BRAN GLASS.--This is an ingenious and very useful piece of
apparatus. It is made in all sizes, from that of an ordinary
wine-glass to a goblet large enough to hold a rabbit. Its effect is as
follows:--The glass is brought forward apparently filled with bran to
the brim. The performer proves its genuineness by taking up a handful
of it, and scattering it over the stage. A brass cover is now placed
over the glass, and instantly removed, when every particle of bran is
found to have disappeared, and in place of it is found some article
which had been conjured away at some earlier period of the trick. The
explanation is very simple. The glass is shaped as shown in Fig. 215,
with straight sides, tapering outwards. The supposed bran is really a
hollow shape of tin, _a_, closed at the top, but open at the bottom,
with bran gummed all over it, and a handful of loose bran spread on
the top. At each side of its upper edge is a little wire point, just
overpassing the edge of the glass. The cover (_see_ Fig. 216), which is
of such a size as to cover the glass as far as the upper part of its
stem, has no speciality about it, save a shallow groove running round
its upper edge on the inside, as shown by the dotted line. When the
cover is placed on the glass, and pressed smartly down, the two points
already mentioned are forced into this groove, which thus grips the
tin shape, and when again removed, lifts it out of the glass, leaving
behind whatever article may have been beforehand placed within.

Where the bran glass is of large size, the metal cover is
indispensable; but for glasses not exceeding the ordinary tumbler size,
it is preferable to cover the glass with a borrowed handkerchief only,
the hollow shape being in this case made, not of tin, but of thin
cardboard. The two points are dispensed with, but in place of them
there should be a piece of thread, in length about double the diameter
of the glass, fastened from side to side of the shape. This, hanging
down on the side of the glass which is toward the performer, is caught
hold of through the handkerchief, and thus handkerchief and shape are
lifted together.

The Bran Glass may be made available in a variety of ways; the trick
next following will afford a good practical illustration of its use.


[Illustration: FIG. 217.]

TO FIRE BORROWED RINGS FROM A PISTOL, AND MAKE THEM PASS INTO A
GOBLET FILLED WITH BRAN AND COVERED WITH A HANDKERCHIEF, THE BRAN
DISAPPEARING, AND BEING FOUND ELSEWHERE.--The glass used in this
instance is of ordinary tumbler size. It is not brought forward as
above, with the bran shape already in place, but empty, and may
therefore be freely offered for inspection. With it is brought forward
a wooden box, of any size and shape, filled with bran, and in this,
ready to hand, is concealed the bran shape. We have already had
occasion to describe the magic pistol, or rather pistol tube; but
the tube used in this instance (_see_ Fig. 217) has an additional
peculiarity. It is of comparatively small size, being about two inches
wide at the mouth. Within this mouth fits easily a tin cup, _a_, about
an inch and three-quarters in depth, and having its edge turned over
outwards all round, so as to afford a ready grip to the palm when it
may be necessary to remove it. The pistol is beforehand loaded with
powder, and the cup above described is placed in the mouth of the tube.

The performer begins by asking the loan of three rings, to be fired
from his magic pistol. To preclude the possibility of their being
exchanged, he requests the owners to drop them into the pistol
themselves. First, however, by way of wad, he takes a small piece of
white paper, and presses its centre portion into the mouth of the
pistol tube, its edges projecting all round, and forming a sort of cup
to receive the rings. Three rings having been offered, and dropped
into the pistol, the performer closes over the edges of the paper,
and presses them down with his wand, the effect being as if the rings
were fairly rammed down into the pistol, though they really remain in
the cup, just within the mouth. He now hands the pistol to one of the
spectators, requesting him to hold it muzzle upwards above his head. In
handing it to him, he places for a moment his own right hand over the
mouth of the tube, his palm being flat upon it, and in again removing
the hand lifts out and palms the cup (which the projecting edge enables
him to do with perfect ease). He has thus obtained possession of the
rings. (As the holder of the pistol has been instructed to hold it
above his head, he is not very likely to look into it; but lest he
should do so, and discover that the rings are already removed, it is
well to place in the tube beforehand a piece of crumpled white paper,
to represent that which contained the rings.)

The performer now hands round the glass for examination, and
subsequently draws attention to the box of bran. While doing this he
has little difficulty in getting the rings out of the cup and paper
into his right hand. He then, holding the glass in his left hand, dips
it into the box, and fills it with bran, which he forthwith pours
slowly back again to prove its genuineness. Meanwhile, his right hand
is engaged in fishing up the bran shape among the bran, placing it
mouth upwards in the box, and dropping the rings into it. When he again
dips the glass into the box, he slips it mouth downwards over the
shape, immediately turning it into the natural position, and bringing
it up, to all appearance, full of bran. As the rings were in the shape,
they are, of course, now in the glass. He brushes the loose bran off
the top, and then covers the glass with a borrowed handkerchief, taking
particular notice on which side hangs the loop of thread. The person
holding the pistol is now requested to take good aim, and fire at the
glass. He does so, and the performer, lifting the handkerchief with the
shape within it, lets the latter drop on the _servante_, and advancing
with the glass, requests the owners to identify their rings.

The trick may either end here, upon the supposition that the bran has
been blown away altogether by the explosion, or the bran may be shown
to have passed to some other place. There are numerous methods of
effecting this latter transposition. For instance, the pea vase (_see_
page 351), first shown empty, may be used, or the bran may be made to
fall out of a second borrowed handkerchief, by means of the bag shown
at page 248, or may be found in the apparatus next described.


[Illustration: FIG. 218.]

[Illustration: FIG. 219.]

THE “DOMINO-BOX” (SOMETIMES CALLED THE “GLOVE-BOX”).--This is a little
oblong box of walnut or rosewood, measuring about four inches in length
by two inches in width, and an inch and a quarter in depth. It has a
sliding lid, drawing out in the ordinary manner, but the whole box
has a tightly-fitting inner lining, which may be pulled out, drawer
fashion, with the lid. (_See_ Fig. 218.) It is used as follows:--Any
small article, say a glove or a lady’s handkerchief, is secretly
placed inside this inner lining. The performer exhibits the box to the
company, and to show that it is empty, turns it over towards them, and
draws the lid nearly out, drawing out with it at the same time the
inner lining or drawer also. (_See_ Fig. 219.) From the position of the
box, the drawer is, at a very short distance, completely hidden by the
lid. The box is, of course, seen to be perfectly empty. The performer
now closes it, and turning its right side upwards, places it on the
table. He then proceeds with the next stage of the trick, and at the
right moment again opens the box, or invites some one else to do so.
This time the lid alone is drawn out, and the hidden article is found
in the box.

[Illustration: FIG. 220.]

There is another speciality about the Domino-box, which renders it
available to cause the disappearance of a coin placed in it; though,
as in the case of the “Rattle-box,” described in the chapter devoted
to coin tricks, the coin is heard to rattle within it till the very
moment of its disappearance. This is effected as follows:--Between the
bottom of the drawer and that of the box proper is a very small space,
just large enough to allow a shilling to lie between the true and false
bottom. On the under side of the drawer, however (_see_ Fig. 220,
showing the under side of the drawer portion), are glued two thin slips
of wood, gradually approaching each other, and thereby narrowing this
space to a width of about half an inch. If when the lid is withdrawn
_with_ the drawer, as already explained, a shilling or sovereign is
dropped into the box, and the box again closed, the coin will have
plenty of room to rattle about as long as it remains at the end _a_,
but if shaken down with a sharp jerk in the direction of the end _b_,
it will become caught in the narrower portion of the opening, and will
thenceforth be silent, unless it may suit the purpose of the performer
to release it again, which he can do by a sharp downward jerk in the
direction of _a_. Of course, as the coin is below the false bottom, it
will appear to have vanished when the box is opened in the ordinary way.

The Domino-box is sometimes used to change a sovereign to its
equivalent in silver, the “change” being beforehand wrapped in paper,
and concealed in the drawer. It is sometimes also caused to fill itself
with bonbons, in place of a coin deposited in it.

These boxes are usually made in pairs, alike in appearance, but the one
is a simple box without any speciality, and may therefore be handed
round for examination, the mechanical box being adroitly substituted
at the right moment. The fact that _two_ boxes are used is, of course,
carefully concealed.


[Illustration: FIG. 221.]

THE COFFEE TRICK. (COFFEE BERRIES CHANGED TO HOT COFFEE, WHITE BEANS
TO SUGAR, AND BRAN TO HOT MILK).--The pieces of apparatus used in
this trick are of brass or japanned tin, and are three in number, two
being tall cylindrical vases, standing eighteen to twenty inches in
height, the third a goblet-shaped vase, of about half that height. The
latter is made upon the principle of the “bran glass,” above described,
consisting of three portions (_see_ Fig. 221), the goblet _a_, the
cover _c_, and a shallow tray _b_, which fits into the goblet, and
which, if the cover is pressed down smartly, and again removed, is
lifted off with it. It differs, however, from the “bran shape” in the
fact that _b_ is open at top instead of at bottom, and is only about
one-fifth the depth of the goblet, leaving therefore considerable space
below it. This portion of the apparatus is prepared for use by placing
in the goblet a quantity of hot milk, putting _b_ in position above it,
and finally filling _b_ with loose bran.

[Illustration: FIG. 222.]

The construction of the other two vases will be quickly understood upon
an inspection of Figs. 222, 223. _a_ is the vase, and _c_ the cover
fitting loosely over it, but between these two is a well, _b_, made
double, so as to fit at once into and outside of _a_, after a mode of
construction which we have more than once had occasion to notice. There
is a bayonet-catch at the lower edge of _c_, corresponding with a pin
or stud at the lower edge of _b_, so that _c_ may be lifted off either
with or without _b_. There is a similar catch at the lower edge of _b_,
corresponding with a stud at the bottom of _a_, but cut in the opposite
direction to the other catch, so that the action of unlocking _a_ from
_b_ locks _b_ to _c_, and _vice versâ_.

[Illustration: FIG. 223.]

The vase a requires a special description. A shallow saucer of tin,
_d_, just fits the interior of the vase, working up and down therein
piston-fashion, but prevented from coming out altogether by the fact
that the upper edge of _a_ is slightly turned inwards all round. Below
_d_ is a spiral spring, whose action tends to force _d_ to the top of
the vase, as shown in Fig. 222. From the centre of _d_, however, there
extends downwards through the spiral spring a piece of stiff wire
_e_, with a crook, _f_, at the end. The foot of the vase is hollow
throughout. If the saucer _d_ is forced down by pressure from within,
this wire, as soon as it reaches the position shown in Fig. 223, will
hook itself within the foot of the vase, and so keep down _d_, until
the crook is again released, when the whole will instantly return to
the condition shown in Fig. 222. The bottom of the foot is open, so
that the fingers can without difficulty find and release the crook when
necessary.

The vases are prepared by pressing down _d_ in each as shown by the
dotted lines in Fig. 223, and filling the well of the one with hot
coffee, and that of the other with loaf-sugar. Their respective covers
are then placed over them. The attention of the audience is first
directed to a couple of wooden boxes, each about half as long again
as the vases, and ten or twelve inches in depth, one of which is
filled with coffee-berries, and the other with white haricot beans.
The performer now uncovers the vase which contains the coffee, first
turning the bayonet-catch so as to lift off the well _b_ with the
cover, and shows, by holding the vase upside down and rattling his
wand within it, that it is perfectly empty. He now fills it with
coffee-berries, laying it down in the box to do so, and holding it by
the foot with one hand while he shovels the berries into it with the
other. Having completely filled it with the berries, he holds it aloft,
and, to show that there is “no deception,” tilts it, and lets them run
back again into the box. Again he dips it into the box, but, as he does
so, releases the crook (which the fingers of the hand holding the vase
are just in position to do), and thus lets _d_ fly up to the top of
the vase. Again he brings up the vase, apparently full as before, but
really having only a mere layer of berries, of the depth of _d_, at the
top. He now puts on the cover, the well in which again forces _d_ and
the superposed layer of coffee-berries down to make way for it, and
causes the crook again to catch beneath the hollow of the foot. The
same operation is now gone through with the vase whose well contains
the sugar, and the box of white beans. The performer lastly takes
from the third vase a handful of bran, which he scatters to show its
genuineness, and then places the cover over it. The trick is now really
completed. On removing the respective covers (taking care of course,
first to turn the bayonet-catches in the right direction), the wells
are released from the covers and locked to the vases, which are thus
found full respectively of hot coffee and sugar, and, on removing the
cover of the third vase, the bran is lifted off with it, and the milk
is revealed.

[Illustration: FIG. 224. FIG. 225.]

Some coffee vases, and more particularly those of French make, dispense
with the bayonet-catch, replacing it by a peculiar arrangement inside
the top of the cover. The upper edge of the well is slightly turned in
all round, and the turning of the knob at the top of the cover causes
three flat bolts or catches to shoot out circularly from the edges of
a hollow disc, soldered to the top of the cover inside, and insert
themselves under this projecting edge. (_See_ Figs. 224, 225.) The
mechanical arrangement by which this is effected is almost impossible
to explain in writing, though it becomes readily intelligible upon an
actual inspection of the apparatus, and will be understood without much
difficulty after a slight study of the above diagrams, the arrow in
each case indicating the direction in which the knob must be turned,
in order to bring the bolts into the condition shown in the opposite
diagram.


THE INEXHAUSTIBLE BOX.--The inexhaustible box is, to all outward
appearance, a plain wooden box, of walnut, mahogany, or rosewood,
in length from twelve to twenty inches, and in depth and width from
nine to fifteen inches. Whatever its dimensions, its width and depth,
exclusive of the lid, must be alike. To prove that it is without
preparation within, the performer turns it over on the table towards
the spectators, and, lifting the lid, shows that it is perfectly empty.
Again he closes it, and, turning it right side upwards, opens it once
more, and instantly proceeds to take from it a variety of different
articles. At any moment the box is again turned over towards the
audience, and shown to be empty; but it is no sooner replaced, than the
performer recommences taking from it toys, bonbons, etc., the supply
being many times larger than could possibly be contained at one time in
the box.

[Illustration: FIG. 226.]

The bottom _a b_ of the box (_see_ Fig. 226) is moveable, working on a
hinge _b_ extending along its front. When the box is turned over to the
front, this bottom piece does not turn over with it, but remains flat
upon the table as before. A piece of wood _b c_, of exactly similar
size and shape, is glued to _a b_ at right angles. When the box stands
right side upwards, this piece lies flat against the front of the box,
whose upper edge is made with a slight “return,” so as to conceal it.
When the box is turned over to the front, this piece, like the bottom,
retains its position, while any object which had previously been placed
in the box remains undisturbed, but hidden by this latter piece. (_See_
Figs. 226, 227.) It is, of course, necessary that such object should
be of such a size as not to overpass the arc which the edge of the box
describes in its change of position, and the length from _b_ to _c_
must be exactly the same as that from _a_ to _b_.

The mode of using the box will require little explanation. Any number
of objects, not overpassing the limits we have mentioned, may be placed
in the box, which, being then turned over, can be shown apparently
empty. The box being replaced in its normal position, the articles
are again within it, and can be produced at pleasure. The effect
of “inexhaustibility” is produced as follows:--Each time that the
performer turns over the box to show that it is empty, he takes from
the _servante_, or from his pockets, and places upon _a b_, a fresh
supply of articles, to be produced as soon as the box is again right
side upwards.

[Illustration: FIG. 227.]

It should be mentioned that the hinge at _b_ is made to act freely,
so that the bottom may by its own weight retain its position when the
box is turned over, and not turn over with the box. Some boxes are made
with a catch or pin at some part of _a_, so as to prevent _a b_ falling
prematurely while the box is being placed on the table, or while the
performer carries round the box, and shows that, inside and out, it is
without preparation. This, however, the performer may safely do, even
without the use of any catch or fastening, by taking care to grasp
the box, when carrying it, by its front edge, with his fingers inside
it. The fingers will thus press _b c_ closely against the front of
the box, and will thereby effectually prevent _a b_ from shifting its
position. The box is, of course, in the case supposed, really empty.
The performer has therefore to make an opportunity for introducing what
may be needful into it; this he may do by remarking as he replaces it
on his table, “You are by this time, ladies and gentlemen, tolerably
well satisfied that there is nothing in this box; but for the greater
satisfaction of those who may not have been able to see the interior
as I carried it round, I will once more show you that it is absolutely
empty.” So saying, he turns it over, and once more shows the interior,
at the same time placing on _a b_ whatever article he designs to
produce.


[Illustration: FIG. 228.]

THE JAPANESE INEXHAUSTIBLE BOXES.--This is a form of the same
apparatus, in which an additional element of mystery is produced by the
use of a box within a box. The inner box is an ordinary inexhaustible
box, as last described, but made with a flat wooden lid, instead of the
hollow or “box” lid used in the older form of the trick. The outer box
just fits over the inner, and is, in fact, a mere cover for it, being
an ordinary wooden box, save that it has no front. The two are brought
on one within the other. The performer begins by taking the smaller
box (which is ready filled with the objects to be produced) completely
out of the larger, and shows that the latter is absolutely empty. He
then places the two boxes together, as shown in Fig. 228, turning over
the smaller box to show its interior, as already described. After this
has been done, the smaller box is tilted back to its normal position
within the larger, the lid of the latter being slightly lifted to allow
it to pass, and then both lids being opened together, the production
of the contents commences. The function of the larger box is, in fact,
merely to act as a screen to the hinder part of the smaller, when
turned over towards the audience. The only advantage of the Japanese
over the ordinary box is that it may be worked on any table, and with
spectators on all sides, but this advantage is counterbalanced by the
drawback that nothing can be produced save what was originally in the
box, neither can the smaller box be carried round, and shown empty.
This, however, may be met by beginning the trick with the two boxes
together, and then, after having brought to light the whole of the
original contents, offering (for the pretended purpose of heightening
the effect) to continue the trick without the aid of the outer box. The
inner box may thenceforth be replenished from behind in the same way as
the ordinary Inexhaustible Box.

The Inexhaustible Box is frequently made the vehicle for those
distributions of bonbons, toys, etc., which to the juvenile mind form
by no means the least attractive feature of a magical performance. It
is also available for the production of flowers, multiplying balls
(_see_ page 307), goblets, bird-cages, and the miscellaneous assortment
of articles generally associated with “hat” tricks. One of the most
effective modes of using it is in connection with the very pretty trick
next following.


THE FEAST OF LANTERNS.--The performer, having exhibited the box empty,
as already described, turns it over again, and instantly produces from
it a paper lantern of many colours, with a lighted candle in it. This
he hands to his assistant or one of the company to hang up at some
convenient part of the stage or room, and returning to the box produces
another, and yet another, till ten or twelve, or even a larger number,
have been produced, the box being every now and then turned over to
prove it empty. The effect of a number of lanterns thus mysteriously
produced from an empty box, and hung about the stage in all directions,
is most brilliant. As the candles do not burn very long, and there may
be some risk of the lanterns catching fire, it is well to make this
trick the _finale_ of the entertainment, and to allow the curtain to
fall before the illumination has had time to lose its effect.

[Illustration: FIG. 229.]

[Illustration: FIG. 230.]

A great part of the effect of the trick lies in the very considerable
bulk of the lanterns, three or four of which would apparently be more
than sufficient to fill a box from which a dozen or so are produced.
This arises from the construction of the lanterns themselves, which
are of the kind used for Christmas-trees and illuminations, and when
open offer a considerable cylindrical surface (_see_ Fig. 229), though
when closed they are little more than flat discs (_see_ Fig. 230). They
are placed in the box in the condition shown in the last-mentioned
figure; but when lifted out by the wire at top, at once expand,
concertina-fashion, and assume the shape shown in Fig. 229. They are
lighted in sundry ways, one method being as follows:--Each lantern
contains about three-quarters of an inch of candle, from which the
wick has been removed, and a wax match inserted in its stead. Against
the front of the box, or rather against the wooden flap _b c_ (_see_
Fig. 227), is glued a tablet _d_ of sandpaper upon which to strike the
match, and a gentle rub against this instantly lights the candle, when
the lantern is immediately lifted out, as already explained. There
is, however, an improvement whereby the lanterns are not only made to
occupy much less space, but may be lighted simultaneously. In this
case the little cylinder which forms the socket for the candle, and
which should be about half an inch in diameter, instead of occupying
the middle of the space at the bottom of the lantern, is placed at one
side of such space. One of the lanterns, viz., that which is to be
undermost when they are grouped together, has no further preparation;
but the second, by the side of its own socket, has a round hole in the
bottom, just large enough to give room for the socket of the first.
The next, or third lantern, has two holes, allowing the passage of the
sockets of the first and second. The fourth has three holes, the fifth
four, the sixth five, the seventh six, and the eighth seven, so that
when the lanterns are placed one upon another in proper order, the
sockets of the lower lanterns come up in a circle through the holes in
the bottom of the uppermost one. The tops and bottoms are made of tin,
which is not only safe from catching fire, but occupies very little
space. In this case the original wicks of the candles are retained,
but are slightly moistened with turpentine to render them instantly
inflammable, and are lighted by a lucifer or wax match struck in the
ordinary way, the merest touch sufficing to ignite them. They may then
be lifted out in rapid succession with great effect. A group of six or
eight lanterns thus prepared may be produced from a borrowed hat, being
previously concealed in the breast or tail-pocket of the performer, and
“loaded” into the hat at any convenient opportunity. It is desirable in
this case to have a friction tablet glued upon the top of the uppermost
lantern to strike the match upon, as the hat lining is hardly adapted
for that purpose.

[Illustration: FIG. 231. FIG. 232.]

The lanterns above described are the most generally used, and are by
much the easiest to manipulate. There is, however, a spherical lantern
also obtainable at the toy-shops, which has a decidedly prettier
effect. This form of lantern is, when shut up, as shown in Fig. 231.
To develop it, the wires _a_ and _b_ are each made to describe a
semi-circle, as shown by the dotted line, bringing the whole into the
condition shown in Fig. 232, in which condition it is maintained by
slipping the loop of _a_ under _b_. The best plan for lighting in this
case is to have a separate small piece of candle, prepared with a
match wick, as above-mentioned, placed in readiness on the _servante_,
and a small pin or sharp nail projecting upwards from the bottom of
the box to act as a candlestick. The candles in the lantern will in
this case need no special preparation. The performer first lights the
prepared candle by rubbing it against the tablet, and then presses it
down upon the upright pin we have mentioned. The other candles are in
turn lighted from this, each lantern being put into shape before being
lifted out of the box, which must in this case be of tolerable size, in
order to admit of their ready development.


THE BUTTERFLY TRICK.--This is a trick of Japanese origin, which became
very popular two or three years since. In effect it is as follows:--The
performer brings forward an ordinary fan, and a couple of bits of
tissue-paper, each torn into a fanciful likeness of a butterfly.
Taking these upon his hand, he gently fans them, the motion of the air
speedily causing them to rise above his head. Still gently fanning
them, he causes them to hover, now high, now low, now fluttering along
the wall, now descending into a gentleman’s hat, whence they presently
emerge to again flutter hither and thither at his pleasure.

The point that most strikes an attentive observer is the fact that,
whether they fly high or low, the butterflies always keep _together_.
Sometimes they may be a couple of feet apart, sometimes only a few
inches, but they never exceed the above limit; and the spectator
naturally concludes that an extraordinary degree of dexterity must be
necessary to enable the performer to keep them from diverging more
widely. Here, however, in truth lies the secret of the trick, which is,
that the so-called butterflies are connected by a piece of very fine
silk a couple of feet in length, which, when the butterflies are in
motion, is absolutely invisible to the spectators. The remainder of the
trick is a matter of practice, though it is less difficult than would
be imagined by any one who had never attempted it.

Some performers have the silk thread attached to one of the buttons
of the coat. This arrangement will be found greatly to facilitate the
working of the trick.

The paper for the butterflies is better torn than cut, and should be as
nearly as possible of the shape of a St. George’s cross, and about two
inches square.


THE WIZARD’S OMELET. (BORROWED RINGS AND LIVE DOVES PRODUCED FROM AN
OMELET.)--This is a trick which always produces a great sensation,
whether performed upon the stage or in the drawing-room. Its effect
is as follows: The performer produces either naturally or magically
(_e.g._, from the egg-bag, or from the mouth of his assistant,
as described at page 329) three eggs, which he hands round for
examination. His assistant next borrows from the audience three
ladies’ rings, receiving them, in order to prove that he does not
tamper with them in any way, on the performer’s wand instead of in his
hands. The wand, with the rings still upon it, is laid upon the table.
The assistant next brings in an omelet pan, and places it, with its
lid beside it, on the table. The performer breaks the eggs into it,
dropping in shells and all--then pours some spirits over it, to which
he sets fire, and while it is still blazing drops the rings from the
wand into it. He brings it forward to show that the rings are really in
the flames; and on returning to his table, claps the cover on the pan,
and fires a pistol (any ordinary pistol) over it. Without a moment’s
interval, he again removes the cover. All traces of the omelet and
egg-shells have vanished, but in their place are found three live
doves, each with a ribbon round its neck, to which is attached one of
the borrowed rings.

The explanation of this surprising result is simplicity itself. The
reader, with his present knowledge, will readily conjecture that, as
to the rings, a substitution is effected; but he may not so easily
guess the manner of such substitution. It will be remembered that
the rings were collected by the assistant on the performer’s wand.
This arrangement, which is ostensibly adopted to prevent, in reality
facilitates an exchange. The assistant makes his collection with
three dummy rings placed beforehand on the lower end of the wand, and
concealed by the hand in which he holds it; which, we will suppose, is
the right hand. In returning to the stage, he takes hold with the left
hand of the opposite end of the wand, and allows the borrowed rings to
run down into that hand, at the same moment releasing the dummy rings
from the right hand, and allowing them to run upon the middle of the
wand in place of the others. He now has the borrowed rings in his left
hand, and (laying the wand with the substitutes on the table) carries
them off with him to prepare for the _dénouement_ of the trick.

[Illustration: FIG. 233.]

The only other matter which will require explanation is the
construction of the omelet pan. This is a shallow pan of brass or tin,
about ten inches in diameter, by two and a half in depth. Within this
is an inner pan, also of brass or tin, fitting tightly within it, but
about half an inch less in depth. The lid is made with a very deep
rim or shoulder all round, and just fits within the lining, though
less tightly than the latter fits within the pan. (_See_ Fig. 233, in
which _a_ represents the pan, _b_ the lining, and _c_ the lid.) The
assistant, as soon as he gets behind the scenes, loops the borrowed
rings to the ribbons, which are already tied round the necks of the
three doves, and places the latter in _b_, immediately putting on _c_
(the two together having the appearance of a simple cover), and brings
forward the pan and cover. The performer now makes his omelet, and
drops the substitute rings into it. In bringing forward the pan to show
that the rings are really there, he takes care to avoid the owners of
them, who would alone be likely to detect the substitution. When he
claps on the cover, the trick is really done, the firing of the pistol
being merely for effect. When the cover is again removed, the lining
remains in the pan, concealing the omelet beneath it, and revealing the
doves, with the rings attached to their necks.


THE ROSE IN THE GLASS VASE.--The ingenious piece of apparatus which we
are about to describe was, we believe, the invention of Robert-Houdin.
It consists of a glass vase, on a foot, and with a glass lid, standing
altogether eight to ten inches in height. This is placed on a square
box-like plinth or pedestal, of wood covered with morocco, and
measuring about eight inches square by six in height. The lid is placed
upon the vase, which, being transparent, is clearly seen to be empty. A
borrowed handkerchief is for a moment thrown over the whole, and again
removed, when a handsome rose (natural or artificial) is seen to have
mysteriously found its way into the vase; whence it is removed, and
handed to the company for inspection.

[Illustration: FIG. 234.]

The secret of this mysterious appearance is twofold, lying partly
in the vase and partly in the pedestal. The vase, which at a little
distance appears as simple and commonplace as any in a confectioner’s
window, has a segment cut off one side, leaving an opening of about
five inches in height by three and a half in width. (_See_ Fig. 234.)
This opening is kept turned away from the audience. The pedestal, like
the vase, is closed on every side except the side remote from the
spectators, which is open. A curved wire arm, with a “clip” at the
end to receive the stalk of the rose, works up and down, describing a
quarter of a circle, in this open space. A spring hinge, on which this
arm works, impels it to assume the position shown in the figure, thus
lifting the rose through the opening into the vase. The apparatus is
set by forcing down the arm with the rose into the position indicated
by the dotted lines, in which position it is retained by a little
catch, until the performer, in the act of covering the vase with the
handkerchief, presses a stud at the upper side of the pedestal. This
withdraws the catch, and allows the rose to rise into the vase. Of
course, the performer in taking out the flower does so from the top,
and with proper precautions not to disclose the existence of the
opening at the back of the vase.

The ingenuity of the reader will probably suggest to him combinations
to make the trick more effective. To those who have not such ready
invention, we may remark that the trick may be very effectively
combined with that of the ball that changes to a rose, and _vice versâ_
(_see_ page 300), or a duplicate rose may be placed in the _mouchoir du
diable_ (described at page 195), and thence ordered to pass to the vase.


[Illustration: FIG. 235.]

THE CHINESE RINGS.--These are rings of brass or steel, in diameter
from five to nine inches, and in thickness varying from a quarter to
three-eighths of an inch. The effect of the trick to the spectator
is as follows:--The rings are given for examination, and found to
be solid and separate; but at the will of the operator they are
linked together in chains of two, three, or more, becoming connected
and disconnected in a moment, and being continually offered for
examination. Finally, after the rings have become involved in an
apparently inextricable mass, a slight shake suffices to disentangle
them, and to cause them to fall singly upon the stage.

[Illustration: FIG. 236.]

The sets of rings sold at the conjuring depôts vary in number, ranging
from six to twelve. The set of eight, which is perhaps the most usual
number, consists of one “key” ring, two single rings, a set of two
linked together, and a set of three linked together. The “key” ring
(_see_ Fig. 235), in which lies the secret of the trick, is simply a
ring with a cut or opening, _a_, in it. For use upon a public stage,
where the performer is at a considerable distance from his audience,
there may be a gap of an eighth of an inch between the ends, but
for drawing-room use, they should just touch each other. Some rings
are made to “clip” like an ear-ring, and some have the opening cut
diagonally instead of square, but the simple square cut is, in our own
opinion, the best.

[Illustration: FIG. 237.]

We shall, in the first place, describe the trick as performed with
the set of eight rings above mentioned, afterwards noticing the more
elaborate performance with twelve. We must premise, however, that the
manipulation of the rings admits of almost infinite variation, and that
the practice of performers differs greatly as to the mode of working
them.

[Illustration: FIG. 238.]

[Illustration: FIG. 239.]

[Illustration: FIG. 240.]

[Illustration: FIG. 241.]

The performer comes forward holding the eight rings in his left hand,
arranged as follows. First (_i.e._, innermost), comes the set of three;
then the “key” ring (the opening uppermost in the hand), then the set
of two; and, lastly, the two single rings. Taking the first of these,
he hands it to a spectator for examination; passing it when returned
to another person, and carelessly handing a second ring to be examined
in like manner. This should be done without any appearance of haste,
and with an air of being perfectly indifferent as to how many of the
rings are examined. The two “singles” having been duly inspected, the
performer requests one of the spectators to take them both in his
right hand, at the same time taking in his own right hand the next
two rings, which, it will be remembered, are the set of two, though
the audience naturally believe them to be, like the first, separate.
“Now, sir,” the professor continues, “will you be good enough to link
one of the rings which you hold into the other.” The person addressed
looks more or less foolish, and finally “gives it up.” “You can’t?”
says the performer, in pretended surprise. “My dear sir, nothing is
easier. You have only to do as I do. See!” Laying down the rest of the
rings, he holds the two as in Fig. 236, and makes a gentle rubbing
motion with the thumb upon the rings, and then lets fall one of them,
which naturally drops to the position shown in Fig. 237. He now hands
these two rings for examination. The spectators seek for some joint
or opening, but none is found; and meanwhile the performer transfers
the next ring (the “key”) to his right hand, keeping the opening under
the thumb. He now takes back with the left hand the two single rings,
immediately transferring one of them to the right hand, and with the
ball of the thumb presses it through the opening in the key ring, into
which it falls, with exactly the same effect as the apparent joining
of the two linked rings a moment before. Again he separates and again
joins the two rings. The second single ring is now made to pass through
in like manner, making the combination shown in Fig. 238. The performer
remarks, “We now have three joined together. Here are three more, as
you see (shaking those in the left hand), all solid and separate, and
yet at my will they will join like the others.” Making a rubbing motion
with the thumb as before, he drops two of the three, one by one, from
the hand, when they will appear as a chain of three. These he hands for
examination, taking back the set of two, and linking them one after the
other into the key ring, to which now four rings are attached. Again
taking back the set of three, he links these also one by one into the
key ring, which thus has seven rings inserted in it. (_See_ Fig. 239.)
Using both hands, but always keeping the opening of the key ring under
one or the other thumb, he now takes off these seven rings, commencing
with the two single ones, and again offering them for examination; then
taking off the set of two. Last of all, he unlinks the set of three,
and then, holding them at length in his left hand, joins the upper one
to the key ring, thus making a chain of four, of which the key ring is
the uppermost. He next takes the lowermost ring of the four, and links
that into the key ring, bringing the four rings into a diamond shape,
as shown in Fig. 240. Again unlinking the lower ring, he takes up the
set of two, and connects them with the key ring, holding them up above
it, thus making a chain of six, the key ring being third from the top.
(_See_ Fig. 241.) Taking the upper ring between his teeth, he links the
two single rings into the key ring on either side, making the figure of
a cross, as shown in Fig. 242. As the hands are now occupied in holding
the single rings forming the arms of the cross, he can no longer keep
the opening of the key ring concealed by the thumb, but it is extremely
unlikely that among so many rings, so slight a mark in one of them will
attract notice. Regaining possession of the key ring, he links all one
by one into it, so as again to bring them into the condition depicted
in Fig. 239. Then, holding the key ring with both hands, and with the
opening downwards, about a couple of feet from the floor (_see_ Fig.
243), he shakes the rings violently, at the same time gently straining
open the key ring, when the seven rings will all in succession drop
through the slit, and scatter themselves about the floor, the general
impression being that they all fall separate, though the grouped sets,
of course, remain still united.

It is not an uncommon thing to see a performer commit the _gaucherie_
of handing _all_ the rings, save only the key ring, to be examined in
the first instance; the key ring being hidden under the breast or under
the tail of the coat, and being added to the set in returning to the
table. The spectators are thus needlessly made acquainted with the fact
that certain of the rings are already linked together, and this once
admitted, the trick loses nine-tenths of its effect.

[Illustration: FIG. 242.]

[Illustration: FIG. 243.]

The set of twelve rings is less frequently seen, and is rather more
complicated to manage, though in good hands it is capable of much more
brilliant effects than the smaller number. The set consists of five
single rings, a group of two, a group of three, and two key rings.
These are held in the hands of the performer in the following order.
First (_i.e._, innermost) a key ring, then the group of three, then
the second key ring, then the group of two, and lastly the five single
rings. The latter are distributed for examination. While they are still
in the possession of the audience, the performer requests one of the
spectators to link two of them together, and himself taking in his
right hand the group of two, pretends to link the latter, as already
described, and hands them for examination. The performer meanwhile
takes in his right hand one of the key rings, and collects the single
rings in his left. As soon as the group of two are handed back, he
links one of them to the key ring in his right hand, thus forming a
chain of three, with the key ring uppermost. Next linking the lowest
ring into the key ring, he forms Fig. 238, which, by holding the two
lower rings apart, assumes the shape of a triangle. Again disengaging
the lower ring, passing one of the single rings from the left hand to
the right, and laying down on the table all the rings remaining in that
hand (the group of three uppermost) he joins the single ring to the
key ring, thus making a chain of four, of which the key ring is second
from the top. These he lays, still linked, upon the table, and takes up
from the heap already lying there the three uppermost (which, it will
be remembered, are the group of three), and holding them for a moment
together in the hand, lets them fall one by one to form a second chain
of three. Taking the next ring of the heap (the second key ring) in
his disengaged hand, he steps forward, and requests some one to take
hold of either of the three rings, and to pull against him, in order
to prove their solidity. This ascertained, he passes the upper ring of
the three into the hand which already holds the key ring, and links it
into the key ring, thus forming a second chain of four, of which in
this case the key is the uppermost. Linking the lowermost into the key
ring, he shows the rings as in Fig. 240. Once more unlinking the lower
ring, so that the four again appear as a single chain, he proceeds
(apparently) to link all the twelve together. This is effected as
follows:--

Taking two of the single rings, the performer links them into the key
ring of the chain which he holds. He next links one of these same
single rings into the key ring of the other chain, thus linking the two
chains together at a distance of one ring from the end of the chain.
He thus has ten rings joined. He now takes the two chains one in each
hand by the ends remotest from the point of juncture, immediately after
picking up and holding (one in each hand) the two remaining single
rings. These, of course, he does not and cannot link with the rings
adjoining them, but the audience seeing that all the rest are linked
together, readily believe that these also form part of the chain. The
precise arrangement of the rings will be readily understood from an
inspection of Fig. 244.[M]

    [M] The numbers 1, 2, 3, in the centre of the various rings in
        Figs. 240–244, indicate whether the ring in question is a
        “single” or forms part of the group of two or of three, as
        the case may be.

[Illustration: FIG. 244.]

The feat may either end here, the rings, still linked, being gathered
together and carried off by the assistant, or the performer may link
all one by one into either of the key rings, and then shake them out
and scatter them on the floor in the manner already described as to
the eight rings. The performance may be elaborated to any extent, the
two key rings giving a wonderful facility of combination, but whatever
be the passes adopted they should not be too numerous, as the trick,
however skilfully worked, consists only of repetitions of the same
primary elements, and the interest of the spectators will quickly
diminish.

The performer should, in manipulating the rings, study neatness and
lightness, rather than rapidity. The effect should be as though the
rings _melted_ into and out of one another, and the smallest appearance
of force or exertion should be avoided. It has a very good effect in
disengaging the rings one from another, to hold them together for a
moment or two after they are actually disconnected, and then holding
them parallel to each other, to draw them very slowly apart. The
precise moment of their separation is thus left uncertain, the illusion
being thereby materially heightened. A single ring may in this way
be drawn along a chain of three or four, the effect being as if the
disengaged ring passed _through_ the whole length of the chain.


THE CHARMED BULLET.--As a rule, people object to being shot at, and
the least nervous person might fairly demur at facing the muzzle of
a loaded pistol at six paces’ distance; but the magician is superior
to such weakness, and will face a bullet with as little compunction
as he would stop a ball at cricket. Neither must it be imagined that
there is any “deception,” at any rate in the quality of the articles
employed. The pistol is a real pistol, the powder is genuine powder,
and the bullet--an ordinary leaden bullet--is chosen and marked by one
of the audience, fairly placed in the pistol, and fairly rammed home.
The pistol is fired with deliberate aim by a disinterested spectator;
but no sooner has the smoke cleared away than the performer is seen
standing unharmed, with the marked bullet caught between his teeth.

So much for the effect of the trick; now for the explanation. The
pistol (_see_ Fig. 245) is, as already stated, an ordinary weapon,
and the only speciality of the bullets is that they are a size or
two smaller than the bore of the pistol. The ramrod, _b_, is a plain
cylinder of wood or metal, tapering very slightly at each end. The
secret lies in the use of a little metal tube _a_, about two inches
in length, open at one end, but closed at the other. This tube, which
is of such a size as to fit loosely within the barrel of the pistol,
but tightly upon either end of the ramrod, is placed in the right-hand
_pochette_ of the performer, and a small bag of bullets in the
_pochette_ on the other side.

[Illustration: FIG. 245.]

The performer comes forward with the pistol in one hand and the ramrod
in the other, and having a small charge of gunpowder, screwed up in
a bit of soft paper, concealed between the second and third fingers
of his right hand. He hands the pistol and ramrod for inspection.
While they are under examination, he asks, “Can any lady or gentleman
oblige me with a little gunpowder?” Nobody answers, and he continues,
addressing some mild elderly gentleman, “Perhaps you can accommodate
me, sir?” The elderly gentleman naturally replies that he is not in
the habit of carrying gunpowder about with him. “Excuse me,” says the
performer, “but I fancy you have a small packet of powder under your
coat-collar. Permit me!” and drawing his hand gently down beneath the
collar, he produces the little packet. This he hands to the person
who is holding the pistol, with a request that he will load it. While
he puts in the powder, the performer drops his left hand to the
_pochette_, and palms the little bag of bullets, which he forthwith
produces from a gentleman’s hat, or a lady’s muff.[N] From among the
bullets he requests the person who put in the powder to select and
mark one. While this is done, he himself takes the pistol in his left
hand, holding it muzzle upwards, and in the act of transferring it
with apparent carelessness to the other hand, secretly drops into it
the little tube, the open end upwards. The spectator having chosen
and marked the bullet, is requested, for greater certainty, to place
it in the pistol himself. A very minute portion of paper is added by
way of wad, and the performer then takes the pistol, and rams it down.
The bullet, of course, has fallen into the little tube, and as the
ramrod fits tightly within the latter, it naturally, when withdrawn,
brings out tube and ball with it. The tube and ramrod are made to
match (generally black, but sometimes of brass or silver-plated);
and therefore the tube, when on the rod, even if exposed, would not
be likely to attract attention. The performer, however, prevents the
possibility of its doing so, by holding the rod by that end, thereby
concealing the tube with his hand. He now hands the pistol to a
spectator, requesting him, for fear of accidents, to hold it muzzle
upwards until the word to fire is given. The performer now takes up
his position at the furthest part of the stage, and during his short
journey gains possession of the bullet. This is effected by sharply
drawing away the ramrod with the left hand, thereby leaving the tube
open in the right, and allowing the ball to roll out into the palm. The
tube, having served its purpose, is got rid of into the _profonde_,
and the ball is either slipped into the mouth or retained in the hand,
according to the mode in which it is intended to be produced.

    [N] A muff, being open at each end, is an excellent thing
        whence to produce any small article--_e.g._, a borrowed
        watch, a ball, etc. For this purpose the performer should
        take hold of one end of the muff with the hand in which
        is palmed the article in question, which is immediately
        allowed to slide gently through the muff, and is stopped
        by the other hand. If this is neatly done, the keenest eye
        cannot detect the deception.

Some performers use several small bullets. In our own opinion, a
single ball of tolerable size is not only more manageable, but more
effective. The mode of producing the bullet also varies. Some, instead
of producing it in the mouth, hold up a china plate by way of target,
the bullet being held under the two first fingers against the front of
the plate. When the pistol is fired, the plate is turned horizontally,
and the bullet released from the fingers. This plan is sometimes to
be preferred, inasmuch as it creates an excuse for leaving the stage
for a moment to fetch the plate, an opportunity which is valuable in
the event, which sometimes happens, of the ball, from an excess of
wadding or any other cause, not dropping readily from the tube into
the hand. To meet this possible difficulty, some tubes have (to use an
Irishism) a small hole through the _closed_ end, so that the performer,
on leaving the stage, can, by pushing a piece of wire through the hole,
instantly force out the bullet.


[Illustration: FIG. 246.]

THE BIRTH OF FLOWERS.--There are two or three different tricks which go
by this name. Of one of them we may dispose in a very few words. It is
purely a mechanical trick, having neither ingenuity of construction nor
dexterity of manipulation to recommend it. The apparatus consists of
a cover _a_ (_see_ Fig. 246), a base _c_, and an intermediate portion
_b_, connected with _a_ by means of a bayonet-catch; _c_ is beforehand
partially filled with earth, and in _b_, the top of which is perforated
with small holes, is inserted a natural or artificial plant, or bouquet
of flowers. The cover _a_ is placed over _b_, and the apparatus is
ready. The performer, drawing attention to _c_, pretends to sow some
magic seed therein. He then places _a_ over it, and pretending to warm
it with his hands, commands the seeds to germinate. Releasing the
bayonet-catch, he removes the cover, and shows the flowers apparently
just springing from the earth in _c_. In some of the smaller sizes of
this apparatus the bayonet-catch is dispensed with, the mere pressure
of the fingers on the sides of _a_ being sufficient to lift off _b_
with it.

The trick which we are about to describe under the same title is
one of a composite nature, and one which, proceeding from marvel to
marvel, produces in good hands a great effect. It is divided into three
portions--first, the production of a single flower, then of a handsome
bouquet, and lastly, of a large basket of flowers. The performer comes
forward with his wand in one hand, and in the other a little box,
in reality quite empty, but containing, as he asserts, magic seeds,
capable of producing on the instant the choicest flowers. “I will first
show you, ladies and gentlemen, their effect in the simplest form. In
the hurry of coming here this evening, I omitted to provide a flower
for my button-hole. You will see how easily, by the aid of the magic
seed, I can supply the deficiency. What shall it be? Clematis, rose,
geranium? Suppose we say a rose. I take a single seed from my box--ah,
here is a rose-seed--and place it in my button-hole.” (He applies the
supposed seed to the button-hole.) “I breathe on it to supply the
necessary warmth. I wave my wand--Once! twice! thrice! The seed has
blossomed, you see, into a handsome rose.”

The explanation of this pretty little trick is exceedingly simple. The
preliminary preparation is made as follows:--Through the centre of
an artificial rose, without stalk, a short piece (about ten inches)
of thin black elastic is passed, and secured by a knot on the inside
of the flower. The other end is passed through the button-hole (from
the outside), and thence through an eyelet-hole made for the purpose
in the breast of the coat, immediately under the button-hole. The
extreme end is looped over a button sewn on the waistcoat about the
region of the waistband. The tension of the elastic naturally draws
the flower close against the button-hole, while yet allowing it, when
necessary, to be drawn away from it to a distance of several inches.
The performer, before coming forward to perform the trick, draws the
rose away from the button-hole, and places it under the left armpit,
whence, so long as the arm is kept close to the side, it cannot escape.
When he waves his wand, with the words, “Once, twice, thrice!” he makes
the first motion facing to the right, the second fronting the audience,
and the third facing slightly to the left, at the same time striking
the button-hole with the wand, and throwing up the left arm, when the
flower, released, instantly springs to the button-hole, the slight turn
to the left completely covering the manner of its appearance.

[Illustration: FIG. 247.]

But the trick is not yet over. “You see, ladies and gentlemen, that
I am not dependent on Covent Garden for a rose for my button-hole;
but you will naturally say, ‘Ah! the magic seed may be all very well
for a single flower, but what if you wanted a complete bouquet?’ I
hasten to show you that this is equally within my power. Will some one
oblige me with the loan of a hat by way of hothouse? Thank you. Here;
you observe, is an ordinary drinking-glass” (this has, meanwhile,
been placed on the table by the assistant), “in which I will drop,
haphazard, a pinch of the magic seed.” This he does with the left hand,
the right being occupied with the hat, and then, with the glass in the
left hand and the hat in the right, comes forward to the audience,
requesting a lady spectator to breathe upon the glass, which he
immediately afterwards covers with the hat. He now requests the same or
another spectator to count ten, to allow the mesmeric influence time to
operate, and then, removing the hat, shows a handsome bouquet (natural
or artificial) in the glass. Returning the hat, and handing the glass
and flowers for inspection, he borrows a silk pocket-handkerchief, or,
in default of procuring one from the audience, uses one of his own,
brought forward by the assistant. Drawing it ropewise through his hands
to show that it is empty, he spreads it before him, holding it by two
of its corners. Having exhibited one side of it, he spreads the other,
when the shape of something solid is seen to define itself beneath it,
and the handkerchief being removed, a large round basket of flowers
(_see_ Fig. 247), ten or more inches in diameter by two deep, is
revealed.

The reader, with his present knowledge, will probably have already
conjectured the mode in which the bouquet is brought into the glass.
It is beforehand placed at the left hand corner of the _servante_, the
stem slanting upwards at an angle of about 45°. When the performer,
standing at the left hand side of the table, drops the imaginary seed
into the glass with his left hand, his right, holding the hat, drops
for a moment to the level of the table, and clips between the second
and third fingers the stem of the bouquet, when, by simply bending the
fingers, the bouquet is brought into the hat after the manner of the
cannon-ball. (_See_ page 305.) When the hat is placed over the glass,
the bouquet is naturally brought into the latter.

We may here mention that there are bouquets of a special and rather
ingenious construction, enabling the performer, in the act of producing
the bouquet from a hat in the above or any similar trick, to cause
it suddenly to expand to three or four times its original size. The
bouquet is in this case made of artificial flowers, stitched on a
framework forming a kind of miniature parasol, with a very short
handle. The bouquet, when introduced into the hat, has a slightly
conical shape, but the performer in withdrawing it puts up the parasol,
so to speak, thereby spreading it to twelve or fourteen inches’
diameter.

[Illustration: FIG. 248.]

[Illustration: FIG. 249.]

The production of the basket of flowers from the handkerchief is
produced by wholly different means, and will require a somewhat minute
explanation. In the first place, the flowers are secured to the sides
of the baskets by silk or wires, so that they cannot fall out, in
whatever position the basket is placed. To the basket are attached two
black silk threads. The one (which we will call _a_) is about eighteen
inches in length, and is attached to a button on the performer’s
waistband, immediately above the front of the left thigh. Obviously,
therefore, the basket, if fastened by this thread alone, would hang
down loosely in front of the performer’s left knee. The second thread
(which we will call _b_, and which is attached to the edge of the
basket at a few inches’ distance from the first) is only three or four
inches in length, and serves to suspend the basket behind the back of
the performer (concealed by his coat) until the proper moment for its
appearance. For this purpose it has a small loop or ring at the loose
end, and this is attached by means of a strong short needle, after the
manner shown in Figs. 248 and 249 (the latter representing a slightly
enlarged view of the attachment), to the waistband of the performer.
The needle carries a third thread _c_, which, passing through the cloth
of the trousers, is brought round and attached to the centre button of
the waistband, being concealed by the edge of the waistcoat. The _modus
operandi_ will now be easily understood. The basket is in the first
instance suspended by the thread _b_. The performer, while spreading
the handkerchief before him, ostensibly to show that it is empty,
crooks the little finger under the edge of his waistcoat, and pulls
_c_, thereby withdrawing the needle, and detaching _b_. The basket,
being no longer held back by _b_, falls, but is compelled by _a_ to
swing round in front of the performer, who, while lifting it, still
covered by the handkerchief, breaks _a_, and thus altogether releases
it. The object of passing the needle through the cloth of the trousers
is that it may not fall forward and be seen when _c_ is pulled.

The contrivance last above described is the invention of Robert-Houdin,
slightly simplified, however, inasmuch as he employed, in place of the
needle, a little wire bolt working on a metal plate attached to the
back of the waistcoat; but the principle in either case is precisely
the same.


[Illustration: FIG. 250.]

THE MYSTERIOUS SALVER.--This is a tin tray (_see_ Fig. 250),
ornamentally japanned, and of about twelve inches in diameter. There is
a space of about three-quarters of an inch between the upper and under
surfaces of the tray, at one side of which, under cover of the curled
rim, is an opening of about three inches in width. Within this opening,
so placed as to be within easy reach of the fingers of any person
holding the tray, are two wire hooks, marked _a_ and _b_ in the figure.
On gently pulling hook _a_, a little hammer _c_ rises up at right
angles to the surface of the tray, again falling back by the action
of a spring as soon as the pull is relaxed. On pulling _b_, a similar
movement is communicated to a sort of ladle _d_, sunk in the surface of
the tray, and rising up in a direction parallel to that of the little
hammer already mentioned. This ladle has a flat tin cover, hinged very
loosely upon its outer edge (so as to open of its own accord when the
ladle passes the perpendicular position), and japanned in such manner
as to represent one of a circle of medallions forming part of the
pattern of the tray, and therefore little likely to attract attention.
If any small article be beforehand placed in the ladle, and _b_ be
pulled, the article will naturally be flung out upon the surface of the
tray. In practice, however, the salver is always used in conjunction
with a little glass tumbler, about three inches in height, which, being
placed upon the medallion opposite to that which forms the cover of the
ladle, the contents of the latter fall into the glass instead of upon
the tray.

The salver is generally used somewhat after the following fashion:--A
little round brass box, say an inch and a half in diameter and an
inch deep, is handed to the audience, with a request that they will
place any small article (such as a coin, a ring, a watch-key) in it.
All necessary precautions are taken to prevent the performer knowing
what the articles in question are, and the box is, for still greater
security on this point, wrapped by the performer in a handkerchief,
and handed to one of the audience to hold. The reader, with his
present knowledge of the little faith that is to be put in the acts
of magicians, however apparently straightforward, will readily
conjecture that at this point there is a substitution. The performer,
apparently wrapping up the box which has just been handed to him,
really substitutes another of similar appearance, sewn in one corner
of the handkerchief. This latter, which contains two or three metal
buttons, or other objects adapted to cause a rattling when shaken, is
so arranged that when the lid is pushed home a piece of cork within is
pressed down upon the buttons, and they are made silent; but if the lid
be raised ever so little, and the box shaken, they rattle. This latter
is the condition in which the box is wrapped in the handkerchief.

The performer, leaving the dummy box, wrapped up as above, with the
spectator, retires for a moment in order to fetch the salver. This
gives him the opportunity to take the articles out of the box, to note
what they are (we will suppose a ring, a florin, and a locket), and
place them in the “ladle” of the salver. The empty box he places in
one of his _pochettes_. He now brings forward the glass and salver,
together with a paper lamp-shade (similar to those placed over the
lights of a billiard table), wherewith to cover the salver while the
supposed flight of the objects takes place. He first shows that there
is nothing in his hands, on the salver, or in the glass, and then
places the latter in its proper position, and covers the whole with the
paper shade. His assistant holds the salver, using both hands, with
his right in such a position as to have control of the hooks _a_ and
_b_. The performer requests the person holding the box to shake it,
in order to show that the articles are still there. He then addresses
the company to the following effect:--“Ladies and gentlemen, allow me
to remind you of the position of affairs. Some articles, unknown to
me, have been placed by yourselves in a box. That box has not been in
my possession, even for a moment, but has remained ever since in the
hands of the gentleman who is now holding it. Here, as you see, is a
little glass” (he raises the shade with the left hand), “perfectly
empty. I shall now, by virtue of my magic power, order the articles in
the box, whatever they may be, to leave the box, and fall into this
little glass, and I will tell you by the sound of each as it falls
what the article is. Let us try the experiment. First article, pass!”
The assistant pulls _a_, and the little hammer _c_ forthwith strikes
the glass, simulating to some extent the sound of a small article
falling therein. “That, by the sound, should be a coin, I should say
a florin. Hold tight, sir, please. Second article, pass!” Again the
assistant causes the hammer to strike the glass. “That, ladies and
gentlemen, is a ring. You must hold tighter yet, sir, if you mean to
defy my power. Third article, pass!” This time the assistant pulls _b_,
causing the ladle _d_ to rise, and to shoot out the three articles
together into the glass. “That, I should say, was a lady’s locket.
Fourth article, pass!” (This is a mere blind, and elicits no response.)
“Ladies and gentlemen, there were three articles placed in the box,
a ring, a florin, and a locket, and you will find that they have now
all passed into the glass.” (He removes the shade, and shows that they
have done so.) “May I trouble you once more to shake the box?” The
repeated injunctions to hold tighter have naturally caused the holder
to press the lid home, and the box is therefore silent, corroborating
the assertion that the articles have departed. “Now, ladies and
gentlemen, having conjured away the contents, I shall now proceed to
conjure away the box; but this time, by way of variety, I will do it
visibly. Attention!” He takes one corner of the handkerchief with his
right hand. “Now, sir, when I say ‘Three,’ will you please drop the
handkerchief. One, two, _three_!” The performer shakes the handkerchief
and pulls it rapidly through his hands till the corner containing the
box comes into the left hand, the box having apparently vanished. “The
box has gone, you see, but where? that is the question. Pardon me, sir,
you have it in your pocket, I think,” addressing some elderly gentleman
of innocent aspect. With the handkerchief still dangling from his
left hand, the performer thrusts the other hand into the waistcoat or
breast-pocket of the individual in question, and produces from thence
the missing box, which he has a moment previously palmed from the
_pochette_.

The weak point of the trick, as above performed, is the sound of the
hammer on the glass, which is but a poor imitation of that of coins,
or the like, falling into it. In some trays the hammer is altogether
dispensed with, the performer himself holding the tray, and the
necessary sound being produced by the assistant actually dropping a
coin into a glass behind the scenes, as near the standing place of the
performer as possible. This latter plan is much to be preferred.

A further improvement consists in the use, in place of the salver,
of a small round table, or _guéridon_, made on the same principle
(without the hammer), and worked by pulling a string from behind the
scenes. With a little dexterity, the articles may be introduced into
the “ladle,” while in the act of placing the glass upon the table, or
of moving the latter to the front of the stage, though it is more usual
to do this behind the scenes, and then to bring the table forward, as
described in the case of the salver.

The trick may be varied by borrowing four half-crowns or florins, duly
marked, which, being exchanged, and their substitutes placed in the
half-crown casket (_see_ page 202), are thence made to pass one by one
into the glass.


THE VANISHING DIE.--The effect of this trick, in its simplest shape,
is merely to make a die, some three inches square, pass through the
crown of a hat, and be found inside. The trick in this form is but a
poor and transparent affair, but it is sometimes useful as affording
a pretext for borrowing a hat which you design to make use of for
some other purpose; and it furnishes the germ of two or three really
effective illusions. The apparatus consists of three portions--a solid
wooden die, generally painted black with white spots, a tin counterpart
thereof,--fitting loosely over it, and exactly similar in appearance,
but with one side open,--and an ornamental cover of thin pasteboard
(sometimes this also is of tin), fitting in like manner over the hollow
die. The trick is worked very much after the manner of the “cone,”
recently described. The performer comes forward, having the solid die
in the one hand, and the cover, with the tin counterpart within it, in
the other. Placing these on the table, he borrows two hats, which he
likewise places on the table, mouth upwards. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he
commences, “I have here a block of wood” (he lets it fall on the floor,
the sound sufficiently indicating its solidity, and again picks it up),
“and a cover of simple pasteboard.” He places the cover over it, as if
merely suiting the action to the word, and in again removing it, leaves
the tin die over the solid one. “If any one would like to examine it,
he is perfectly welcome to do so. I have here also two hats, borrowed
haphazard from the audience, and, as you can all see, perfectly empty,
and not prepared in any way. Now I propose to make this solid die” (he
tosses it carelessly into one of the hats, and again apparently takes
it out, but really takes out the hollow shell only) “pass right through
the crown of one of these hats, and fall into the other.” He places the
hats one upon the other, mouth to mouth, and the tin shell, with the
opening downwards, upon the uppermost. “Here is the die, which I cover,
thus. Now, at my command it shall pass downwards through the hat. One,
two, three! Pass! See, the cover is empty” (taking it up with gentle
pressure, so as to lift the shell with it, and placing both on the end
of his wand, proving, apparently, that the cover is empty), “and here,
in the lower hat, is the die. Let us try the experiment again. I will
replace the die in the lower hat. One, two, three! Pass!” He lifts the
cover, without pressure, leaving the hollow die on the upper hat. “It
has obeyed, you see. Once more. One, two, three! Pass!” Again the cover
is empty, and again the die has passed into the lower hat.


THE DIE DISSOLVING IN A POCKET HANDKERCHIEF.--The trick last described
has two drawbacks--first, that it is very generally known, and, second,
that the principle is rather too obvious, the secret being very easily
guessed, even by persons not endowed with special sagacity. There is,
however, an improved form of the same trick, in which an additional
element is introduced, whereby these disadvantages are, to a great
extent, removed.

[Illustration: FIG. 251.]

The apparatus used is the same as in the last case, with the addition
of a coloured handkerchief, prepared as follows: Five square pieces of
stout pasteboard, each a shade larger than one side of the solid die,
are joined together with hinges of tape or cloth, in the form shown by
the dotted lines in Fig. 251. The centre piece, _a_, is attached to
the middle of the handkerchief, the others being allowed to hang loose
upon their respective hinges. A second handkerchief of similar pattern
is then laid upon the first, and the edges of the two are stitched
together all round.

[Illustration: FIG. 252.]

The performer having exhibited the solid die and cover, as already
explained, and having removed the latter (with the hollow die within
it), places it upon the table. Spreading the prepared handkerchief
beside it, he places the solid die upon the centre of the handkerchief,
and gathering up the four corners of the latter, lifts it, bag-fashion,
with his left hand, the four loose flaps of pasteboard naturally
folding themselves up around the die. He now takes it with his right
hand, clipping the solid die within the pasteboard, and turns the whole
over as in Fig. 252, thus bringing the die uppermost, with the folds
of the handkerchief hanging down around it. He next takes in the left
hand a borrowed hat, holding it up for a moment, to show that it is
empty. Then, turning it mouth upwards, he remarks, “I will place the
die here in the hat.” Suiting the action to the word, he lowers his
hand into the hat, but, as if suddenly bethinking himself, he says,
“No! I won’t use the hat at all. Perhaps some one will kindly hold the
die.” In withdrawing his hand, however, he relaxes the pressure of
his fingers, thereby leaving the solid die in the hat, though as the
folded pasteboard retains its cubical shape, the handkerchief still
appears to contain the die. Grasping it immediately below the folded
shape, he gives the handkerchief in charge to one of the spectators,
who is directed to hold it in like manner. The hat he places carelessly
upon the table. He now once more lifts the cover with the hollow die,
rattling his wand within it to show that it is empty. Again replacing
it, he commands the die to pass from the handkerchief under the cover.
The person holding the handkerchief is asked if he felt it depart, but
he naturally maintains that it is still in the handkerchief. “You are
mistaken,” says the professor; “what you see is merely the ghost of
the die still clinging to the handkerchief. Allow me!” and taking one
corner he requests the owner to drop the handkerchief, which he then
shakes out, exhibiting both sides to show that the die has vanished. He
then lifts the cover, and shows the hollow die, which the spectators
take to be the genuine one, and concludes the trick by finally
commanding the die thus shown to pass into the hat; which, on being
turned over, is found to contain the solid die, while the hollow die is
again raised with the cover, and the latter shown apparently empty.


THE DIE AND ORANGE.--The die in this instance is about three and a half
inches square. It has the usual ornamental tin or pasteboard cover,
but there is an additional item of apparatus employed, a square wooden
box, with hinged lid, and of such a size as just to contain the die.
The effect of the trick is as follows:--The die is brought forward in
the box, the performer holding the square cover in his other hand.
The die being then taken out of the box, and placed on the table, the
box is shown empty, and the cover placed over the die. The performer,
having mysteriously procured an orange from the hair or whiskers of a
spectator, drops it into the box, which is then closed. He now asks the
spectators, in order to impress the facts on their memory, where they
suppose the two articles to be. They naturally answer that they are
where they have just seen them placed; or, if they venture to question
this, the performer raises the cover and opens the box, and shows that
die and orange both remain _in statu quo_. He now commands the two
articles to change places. Lifting the cover, the die is found to have
disappeared, the orange having taken its place, and, on opening the
box, it is seen to contain the die, which is taken out, and exhibited
on all sides to the company. The die and orange, being again covered
over, at command change places as often as the company please.

The reader will doubtless have conjectured that there are in reality
two dice and two oranges. The box when first brought forward contains
in reality _two_ hollow dice, one within the other. The smaller and
innermost (the one which is afterwards taken out and placed under the
cover) is placed in the box with its open side towards the hinges, and
contains an orange. The performer takes it out, taking care, of course,
that the orange does not fall out, and places it (open side downwards)
upon the table. The cover is now placed over it, and, if lifted with
pressure, lifts the hollow die with it, and reveals the orange; but
if lifted by the button on top, so that the sides are not pressed, it
leaves the die covering the orange.

We now return to the box. This contains a second hollow die, so placed
that the open side is upwards, and the box therefore appears to be
empty. The lid, however, contains a sixth side, exactly fitting the
open space, and thus making the die complete. This moveable side is
alternately made to form a lining to the lid or to form part of the
die, according as a little button on the lid is moved in one or another
direction. Both the true lid and this moveable portion of it are lined
with looking-glass, so as to show no difference of appearance, whether
the box is exhibited empty or as containing the die. When the sixth
side is made to form part of the die, the latter may be completely
removed from the box, and shown on all its sides without betraying the
secret, the orange for the time being remaining enclosed within it.

It is a good plan to have a solid die matching those used in the trick,
to be, if necessary, substituted and handed round for inspection. If
the performer uses a trap-table, it has a very good effect to conclude
the trick by causing the orange under the cover to fall through the
trap, and then, lifting the cover and hollow die together, to show by
rattling the wand within, that both die and orange have altogether
vanished.


[Illustration: FIG. 253.]

THE VANISHING CANARY BIRD AND CAGE.--This is another favourite die
trick. The performer exhibits a canary bird in a little oblong brass
cage, measuring six inches by four. He next exhibits a die three inches
square, showing all sides to prove that it is solid. This he places
upon a tray, which is held by the assistant, and covers it with a fancy
cover as already described. He now throws a handkerchief over the cage.
Bringing it forward thus covered to the company, he orders the cage to
vanish, the die to pass into a borrowed hat, and the bird to appear
upon the tray in place of the die. No sooner said than done; he waves
the handkerchief, which is seen to be empty, and on raising the cover
the bird is found under it; while, on turning over the hat, out falls
the die.

[Illustration: FIG. 254.]

The disappearance of the cage, which is of the form shown in Fig.
253, will be readily understood by any reader who has followed the
description of the “flying glass of water” described at page 367. The
handkerchief used is double, and contains in its centre, stitched
between the two surfaces, an oblong wire frame, in size and shape
exactly corresponding with the top of the cage. When the performer
throws the handkerchief over the cage on the table, he takes care to
bring this wire shape immediately over the cage. When he apparently
lifts the cage under the handkerchief, which he does standing behind
his table, he really lifts the handkerchief only, distended by the
hidden wire, and with the other hand he gently lowers the cage out of
sight upon the _servante_.

[Illustration: FIG. 255.]

So much for the disappearance of the cage; but it yet remains to be
explained how the bird comes to be found under the cover in place
of the die. This is effected as follows:--There are two dice, the
one solid, the other of hollow tin, and having one side wanting, but
capable of being closed at pleasure by means of a sliding lid, also of
tin, which supplies the missing side, and is painted accordingly. The
outer edge of this lid is folded over outwards in a semicircular form.
(_See_ Fig. 254). The tray used (_see_ Fig. 255) is of tin, japanned,
and of ordinary appearance, but has a square piece of tin, of the same
size as one of the sides of the die, soldered upon its centre at
about one-sixteenth of an inch above the surface. Three of its sides
are soldered to the tray, the fourth being left open. The centre of
the tray is ornamentally japanned, in such manner as to conceal this
special arrangement.

[Illustration: FIG. 256.]

A duplicate bird is beforehand placed in the hollow die, which is
then closed, and placed either upon the _servante_ or in one of
the secret pockets of the performer, who, having borrowed a hat,
secretly slips the hollow die into it, and places it on the table
mouth upwards. He now brings forward and offers for inspection the
solid die, the cover, and the birdcage, placing the latter when
returned upon his table, rather towards the hinder edge. “The die,”
he carelessly remarks, “I will place in this hat” (suiting the action
to the word); “or, better still, I will place it upon this tray, so
that you may be able to keep sight of it throughout the trick.” So
saying, he again takes out apparently the same, but really the hollow
die, and places it on the tray with the moveable side downwards, in
such manner as to hook the turned-over portion of that side into the
open edge of the corresponding square upon the tray, and places the
cover over it. Handing the tray to his assistant, he proceeds to cause
the disappearance of the birdcage from the handkerchief, as already
described. This done, he advances to the tray, and lifts the cover with
the hollow die within it, first, however, sliding away cover and die
together towards the opposite end of the tray (_see_ Fig. 256), and
thereby leaving behind upon the centre of the tray the moveable slide,
the interior of which is japanned so as to correspond with the centre
pattern of the tray, and thus does not attract any attention.

The solid die, having remained in the hat, may readily be produced when
required.


THE DECANTER AND THE CRYSTAL BALLS.--The routine of this trick, as
practised by different performers, varies a good deal. We propose to
describe it in two forms, the first being as nearly as possible that
which was adopted by Robert-Houdin.

_First Method._--The apparatus in this case consists of four glass
balls (two of plain glass an inch and a half in diameter, one of
ruby-coloured glass of the same size, and one of plain glass,
three-quarters of an inch in diameter) and a decanter of clear glass,
with a hollow or “kick” underneath it just large enough to admit one
of the larger balls. The decanter is two-thirds filled with port or
claret, and is brought forward with the red ball beneath it, in the
hollow we have mentioned, and is placed on the performer’s table. The
remaining balls are disposed as follows: the two large balls in the
performer’s left _pochette_, and the small one in the _pochette_ on
the other side. Thus provided, the performer comes forward, wand in
hand. Taking the wand carelessly in his right hand, he says, “Ladies
and gentlemen, I have already given you some proofs of the singular
powers of this wand, but I do not know whether I have drawn your
attention to one remarkable faculty which it possesses, viz., that if
I strike anything with it, at the same time mentally calling for any
object, that object is instantly produced from the article touched.
Let us put it to the test.” (He pulls back his coat-sleeves, showing
indirectly, by a careless gesture, that his hands are empty.) “For
the purpose of the trick I am about to show you, I require a crystal
ball. Now, observe, I give but one gentle touch, not here upon the
table” (he raps the table with his wand), “where you might suspect some
mechanism or preparation, but here in my empty hand, and instantly, you
see, a ball appears at my bidding.” As he touches the table with the
wand, thereby drawing the eyes of the spectators in that direction,
he carelessly drops his left hand to his side, and takes from the
_pochette_ and palms one of the plain glass balls, which as soon as
the wand reaches his hand he produces at the finger-tips. “The ball,
as you see, ladies and gentlemen, is of solid crystal, without crack
or flaw” (he takes it in the right hand, tosses it up, and catches it
again). “The hardest steel would fail to chip it, and yet, by my magic
power, I am able instantly to divide it into two equal portions, each
round and true as the original.” At the moment of tossing the ball in
the air, all eyes are naturally attracted to it, and the performer has
ample opportunity to again drop the left hand to his side, and palm the
second ball. Keeping this in the palm of the left hand, he transfers
the first ball to the finger-tips of the same hand. Drawing the wand
across it, he allows it to drop into the palm, and to strike against
the ball already there. Rubbing his palms together, as if to mould
the divided ball into shape, he shows the two balls, professedly the
divided portions of the first. Taking one in each hand, he continues,
“I undertook to make the divided portions exactly equal, but I have
not succeeded so well as usual. It seems to me that this one is rather
the larger, what say you, ladies and gentlemen?” He places the two
balls on the table, side by side, as if for comparison, and carelessly
dropping the right hand to his side, palms between the second and third
fingers (_see_ page 273), the small ball. “Yes, this one is certainly
the larger, but I can easily rectify the mistake by pinching a little
piece off.” Taking the ball in the left hand, he pretends to pinch off
a portion from it with the right, at the same time letting the little
ball fall to the finger-tips of the latter. He replaces the large ball
on the table, rolling the little ball between the fingers, as though
to give it roundness. “No, that one is still the biggest, I haven’t
taken quite enough yet. I must take a little more; or, better still,
I will add this little piece to the smaller one.” Taking the supposed
smaller ball in the left hand, he pretends to squeeze the little one
into it, presently letting the latter fall behind it into the palm
of the left hand, and replacing the two larger balls side by side on
the table, dropping the little ball at the first opportunity into the
_pochette_. He continues, “I think they are now about right. The reason
why I have been so particular about it is that I am about to pass one
of these balls into the other, which I could not have done unless they
had been of exactly the same size. Now which of them shall I pass into
the other? It is for you to decide.” He has meanwhile moved so as to be
behind his table, standing sideways, with his right side to the table.
Whichever ball the company decides is to be passed into the other, he
takes in his right hand, immediately afterwards taking the other in the
left hand, which he holds aloft, following it with his eyes. Stretching
back the right arm, as though to give an impetus to the ball, he drops
it into a padded box, or basket, placed upon the _servante_ to receive
it, immediately afterwards bringing the right hand with a semicircular
sweep upon the left, and rolling the ball the latter contains between
the palms, as though to press the one ball into the other; and
presently showing that the hands now contain one ball only.

[Illustration: FIG. 257.]

The same effect may be produced without the aid of the table, as
follows:--Taking both the balls in his right hand, as in Fig. 257,
the performer covers them with the left hand, retaining as he does
so ball _a_ with the thumb, but allowing ball _b_ to roll down the
left sleeve, which, with a little practice, will be found by no means
difficult. He now rubs the palms together, as if rubbing the one ball
into the other, and then separating them shows that the two balls have
become transformed into one only. This he exhibits in the right hand,
and while the eyes of the company are attracted to the ball, lowers
the left arm, allowing the ball to run down the sleeve into the hand,
whence it is immediately dropped into the _pochette_ on that side.

The next step is the supposed colouring of the ball. The performer
continues, “Ladies and gentlemen, having proved to you my perfect
control over the ball in respect of size, I propose to show you that
I have equal mastery over it in respect of colour. This I shall do by
passing it into this bottle of wine, which being red, the ball will
become red also. Had the bottle contained a blue liquid, you would
have found the ball become blue, and so on. The ball” (he takes it
in his left hand, and apparently transfers it to his right by the
_tourniquet_, keeping the right hand closed as if containing it,
and dropping it from the left into the _pochette_ on that side) “is
considerably larger than the neck of the bottle. This, in a natural
way, would be rather a difficulty, but to a magician it will give very
little trouble. I have only to squeeze the ball a little” (he lifts
the bottle with the left hand, at the same time slipping the little
finger underneath it, to prevent the red ball beneath it falling, and
holding the right hand an inch or two above it, works the hand as if
compressing the ball), “and it gradually becomes smaller and smaller,
till it melts completely into the bottle.” He opens the right hand, and
shows it empty, immediately afterwards shaking the bottle, and allowing
the ball beneath to rattle slightly. “The ball is now in the bottle, as
you see; the next step is to get it out, and it is rather difficult to
do this without at the same time allowing the wine to escape. However,
we will try. I have no doubt that by a strong effort of will I shall
be able to manage it.” He now takes the bottle between his hands,
holding it so that the two little fingers are beneath, and after a
little shaking, allows the ball to drop, as if through the bottle.
This may be varied by holding the bottle with the left hand only, and
striking the mouth with the palm of the other, allowing the ball to
drop at the third stroke, professedly expelled by the compression of
the air.

[Illustration: FIG. 258.]

_Second Method._--The balls used in this instance are five in number,
two large, one of each colour; two small, one of each colour, and one
(a trifle larger than these latter), of which one half is red, and
one half white. The decanter is replaced by an ordinary wine bottle
(_see_ Fig. 258), prepared as follows:--A tin tube, _a_, three inches
in length, closed at the bottom, but open at the top, is made to fit
within the neck (just so tightly, that it cannot fall out of its own
accord), its upper edge being turned over all round, and japanned
black, so that when placed in the bottle it may be undistinguishable
from the actual neck. The cavity at the bottom of the bottle is filled
with a resinous cement, in such manner as only to leave room for one of
the larger balls. The tube is beforehand filled with port or claret,
and placed in the neck. The bottle itself, which, if not naturally
opaque, must be rendered so by an interior coating of black japan,
should be nearly filled with water. Thus prepared, it is brought
forward and placed on the table. The balls are disposed as follows: the
two white ones in the left _pochette_ of the performer, the two red
ones and the parti-coloured ball in the _pochette_ on the other side.

Coming forward to the audience, the performer produces the large white
ball, either as described in the first form of the trick, or from his
wand in manner described at page 276. While showing it in his left
hand, he drops the right hand to his side, and palms the large red
ball. Laying the white ball on his table, he remarks, “I have here a
bottle of wine. We will begin by testing its genuineness.” He lifts
the bottle by the neck with the left hand, immediately transferring
it to the right (which grasps it round the bottom), and introduces
beneath it the red ball, which is thenceforth kept in position by the
little finger. Taking in the other hand a wine-glass (which should be
of such a size as just to contain the contents of the tube), he fills
it with wine, and hands it to one of the company. In returning to his
table, he secretly withdraws the tube. (This is easily done by grasping
the bottle round the neck with the left hand, and gently drawing it
downwards with the right, the turned over portion of the tube being
clipped by the finger and thumb of the left hand, in which it naturally
remains.) As the performer passes behind the table, he gets rid of the
tube by dropping it on the _servante_. In placing the bottle on the
table, he is of course careful not to expose the red ball underneath
it. Taking the white ball in his left hand, he proposes to turn it red,
and for that purpose to pass it into the bottle. Pretending to transfer
it to the right hand by the _tourniquet_, he drops it from the left
hand into the padded tray on the _servante_, and then apparently passes
it into the bottle, as above. The routine of getting it out of the
bottle again is the same as above described in relation to the first
method.

We may, however, here note a variation in practice. Some performers,
instead of introducing the red ball under the bottle at the outset of
the trick, as above described, make no attempt to bring it under the
bottle until after the white ball is supposed to have been passed into
the wine, when the performer, raising the bottle with the left hand,
transfers it to the right, and brings the ball under it, retaining it
there with the little finger until he thinks fit to allow it to drop,
pretending to squeeze the bottom of the bottle as if to force it out.

After having produced the red ball, the performer remarks, “Perhaps,
ladies and gentlemen, you imagine that I have not really passed the
ball through the bottle, and that the effect is, in reality, produced
by the substitution of a different coloured ball. Let me assure you
that so truly is the wine in the bottle, and nothing else, the cause
of the change of colour, that you will find on examination that
every particle of colour has left the wine, its whole virtue having
been absorbed by the ball. Supposing for a moment that I could have
exchanged the ball, you will hardly imagine that I could exchange the
liquid in the bottle, which has been proved to be good old wine. Will
the same gentleman who tried it before be good enough to taste it now?”
Taking another glass, he fills it from the bottle, which is now found
to contain nothing but water.

The performer, meanwhile, has again palmed the white ball, which he
next produces, as being a new one, from his wand. Comparing the red
and the white together, he pretends to discover that the red is the
largest, and therefore pinches from it a small portion (the small red
ball). He now discovers that he has taken too much, and that the red
ball is now the smaller. He therefore pinches a second piece (the small
white ball) from the white one, and finally rolls the two little balls
thus obtained into one, producing the parti-coloured ball. The mode of
producing these last effects will present no difficulty to any one who
has attentively studied the description of the first form of the trick.


THE FLAGS OF ALL NATIONS.--This is, in good hands, a very pretty and
effective trick, but requires considerable neatness of manipulation.
Its effect is as follows:--The performer comes forward with a couple
of miniature silk flags, measuring, say, three inches by two. Taking
one in each hand, he brings the hands together, and begins to wave them
backwards and forwards, when the flags are seen to multiply, the two
being suddenly transformed into a dozen, quickly increasing to a still
larger number. Not only do the flags increase in number, but in size
also, until perhaps a couple of hundred have been produced, ranging in
dimensions from one or two inches square to a foot or even larger, and
of six or eight different colours.

This seeming marvel rests on a very slight foundation. The flags to be
produced are of coloured tissue-paper, with flagstaffs made of wire, or
of the “bass” of which scrubbing-brooms are made, so as to occupy very
little space. These are rolled up together in little parcels, like with
like, according to size. Thus arranged, they are placed, the smaller
ones in the sleeve of the performer, and the larger ones about his
person, with the ends just inside the breast of his waistcoat. While
waving the first two flags backwards and forwards, he gets one of
the parcels from the sleeve into his hands, immediately unrolling and
developing it, when the two flags appear to have multiplied into fifty.
Under cover of these, he draws down from the sleeve another parcel,
which he develops in like manner, and after the sleeves are exhausted
has recourse to the fresh store within the waistcoat. He all along
takes care to retain in his hands a large and widespread bundle of the
flags, which, being kept moving backwards and forwards, materially aids
in covering the mode of production of the remainder.


THE UMBRELLA TRICK.--The performer comes forward with an umbrella,
which may be either the common-place article of every-day life, or a
brilliant fancy production, akin to Joseph’s coat of many colours. This
he hands for inspection, and meanwhile borrows a lady’s handkerchief.
The latter, for safe keeping, he places in an empty vase, which is left
in full view of the company. The umbrella, duly examined, he places
in a case, which may be either the ordinary glazed oilskin case, or
a special apparatus prepared for the purpose. Whichever it be, the
result is the same. On again uncovering the vase, the handkerchief has
vanished, and in its place is found the silk covering of the umbrella.
On removing the umbrella from its case, it is found to have lost its
covering; but the handkerchief, torn in several pieces, is found
fastened to its naked ribs, one piece to each. These are removed. Again
the vase is covered, and the umbrella restored to the case. The torn
fragments of the handkerchief are burnt, and their ashes invisibly
passed into the vase; and on a new examination the two articles are
found uninjured as at first.

With reference to the transformation of the handkerchief in the vase,
it will be only necessary to state that the vase employed is either the
burning globe (_see_ page 246), or the “pea vase” described at page
351. In either case a duplicate umbrella cover is placed in the second
compartment, and thus the vase may be shown to contain either the
handkerchief or the umbrella cover at pleasure.

[Illustration: FIG. 259.]

[Illustration: FIG. 260.]

With regard to the umbrella, the reader will readily conjecture that
an exchange is effected, but the mode of effecting it varies. If the
ordinary glazed case is used, the umbrella is exchanged bodily for
another, similarly encased, placed beforehand on the _servante_.
This, however, requires some little dexterity, as an umbrella, from
its length, is an awkward article to exchange; and this has led to
the employment of cases specially constructed to effect the change.
That most frequently used is an upright pillar of zinc or tin, oval
in form, and open at the top, and so constructed as to stand upright
without support (_see_ Fig. 259). It is divided vertically into two
compartments, in one of which is placed beforehand the second umbrella.
Of course no one can be permitted to examine or even look into the
case, which is a serious drawback to the effect of the trick. There is,
however, another form of case sometimes employed, which is a trifle
less objectionable. This is a wooden tube, about three feet long, and
three and a half inches square. (_See_ Fig. 260.) Like the case already
described, it is closed at the bottom and open at the top, and divided
vertically into two compartments, _a_ and _b_. One or other of these,
however, is always closed by the flap _c_, which by virtue of a spring
is normally compelled to take the position shown in the figure, thus
closing compartment _b_. When required for use, the second umbrella is
placed in compartment _a_, and the flap _c_ drawn back (as shown by
the dotted line) so as to close _a_, in which position it is held by a
little catch. The performer hands the genuine umbrella for inspection
to one of the spectators, with a request that he will himself place it
in the case. As soon as he has done so, the performer by a movement of
his forefinger draws back the catch, and releases _c_, which flying
back to the opposite position, shuts in the genuine umbrella, and
reveals the substitute. When this apparatus is employed, the supposed
restoration of the umbrella is omitted.

Some performers dispense with the use of the vase, and vanish and
reproduce the borrowed handkerchief by sleight-of-hand, after one or
other of the modes described in relation to handkerchief tricks.


THE “PASSE-PASSE” TRICK.--The trick which is specially designated by
this name (which would appear to be equally applicable to about three
parts of the tricks we have described) is as follows:--

The performer brings forward a bottle and a small tumbler, which he
places side by side upon the table. Producing a couple of tin or
pasteboard covers, ornamentally japanned, of a size to just go over the
bottle, he places one of them over the bottle, and another over the
glass. He now commands the two articles to change places, and on again
removing the covers the glass and bottle are found to be transposed.
Again he covers them, and again the change takes place; and this he
repeats as often as he pleases, occasionally pouring out wine or other
liquor, to show that the bottle is a genuine one, and not a mere
make-believe.

The reader will already have anticipated that there are in reality two
bottles and two glasses. The bottles are of tin, japanned to resemble
the ordinary black bottle, but with the bottom only about a couple of
inches below the neck, leaving an open space beneath for the reception
of the glass. Each bottle has near the bottom, at the side which is
kept away from the audience, an oval opening or finger-hole, measuring
about an inch and a half by one inch. When it is desired to lift the
glass with the bottle, the middle finger is made to press on the glass
through this opening, thereby lifting both together with perfect
safety. The outer cover just fits easily over the bottles, and if
lifted lightly leaves the bottle on the table, but if grasped with some
little pressure, carries the bottle with it.

The mode of working the trick will now be readily understood. The
bottle which is brought forward has a second glass concealed within
it, kept in position, while the bottle is brought in, by the pressure
of the finger. The cover which is placed over this bottle is empty.
The other cover, which is placed over the glass, contains the second
bottle, which, being hollow below, enables the performer to rattle his
wand within it, and thus (apparently) to prove the cover empty. Having
covered the glass and bottle, he raises the cover of the first very
lightly, leaving the glass concealed by the second bottle, but lifts
the other with pressure, so carrying the bottle with it, and revealing
the glass which has hitherto been concealed within it. By reversing the
process, the bottle and glass are again made to appear, each under its
original cover. Where it is desired to pour wine from either bottle,
the performer takes care, in lifting it, to press the glass through
the finger-hole, and thus lifts both together. For obvious reasons the
glass into which the wine is poured should be a third glass, and not
either of the two which play the principal part in the trick.

[Illustration]



CHAPTER XVII.

STAGE TRICKS.


The present Chapter will be devoted to such tricks as by reason of the
cumbrousness or costliness of the apparatus required for them, are,
as a rule, exhibited only upon the public stage. The stage performer
may, if he pleases, avail himself of the aid of mechanical tables,
electrical appliances, etc., which enable him to execute a class
of tricks which are beyond the scope of an ordinary drawing-room
performance, though the wealthy amateur will find no difficulty in
converting his own drawing-room into a quasi-stage, and qualifying it
for the presentation of the most elaborate illusions.

The leading items of apparatus in stage magic are mechanical tables.
These are of various kinds, many being specially designed to assist
in the performance of some one particular trick. Putting aside these,
which will be separately noticed, stage tables may be broadly divided
into three classes--trap tables, piston tables, and electrical tables.
In practice, these classes are somewhat intermingled, for it is rather
the rule than the exception for a stage table to be fitted with both
traps and pistons, while either or both of these may be found in
conjunction with electrical appliances.

_Trap_ tables are such as are provided with one or more “traps,” their
object being, at the will of the operator, to cause the disappearance
of a given article into the interior of the table, or sometimes to
produce or apparently change an article. The traps most generally used
may be described as follows:--


[Illustration: FIG. 261.]

[Illustration: FIG. 262.]

1. _The Plain Trap._--This consists of a thin plate of metal, generally
zinc, screwed down flush with the top of the table. In this, which
we will call the surface plate, is cut a hole, generally circular,
and from two to four inches in diameter, closed by a flap or door,
which by the action of a spring hinge is pressed up level with the
rest of the trap, though it instantly yields to pressure from above,
again rising as soon as such pressure is removed. Figs. 261 and 262
represent the trap as seen detached from the table, Fig. 261 exhibiting
its under side. _a_ is the circular flap, _b b_ the spring hinge, _c_
a little bolt by means of which the trap may be fastened at pleasure,
and which is worked by a pin projecting upwards through a slot in the
surface plate, and through the cloth which covers the table; _d_ is a
small flat piece of metal, screwed to the under side of the flap _a_,
and acting as a “stop” to prevent the flap being forced by the action
of the spring above the level of the surface-plate. The “mountings”
of the trap are generally brass, and attached to the zinc by screws.
A brass eyelet, _e_, is sometimes soldered to the centre of the under
side of the flap. To this is attached a cord, which may hang down ready
to the performer’s hand at the back of the table, or may be carried
down a groove in one of the hinder legs, and either terminate in a
pedal (to be pressed by the foot of the performer), or be continued
behind the scenes within reach of the hand of the assistant. The mode
of working the trap is as follows:--Any small article, being placed on
it, is covered over (either with an ornamental cover or with a simple
handkerchief). The cord being gently pulled by either of the means
above mentioned, the trap opens, and the article falls into the body
of the table. As soon as the pull is relaxed, the flap again rises and
closes the opening. Where a cord is not used, the performer gets rid
of the article by direct pressure on the trap, or the article upon it,
with the one hand, while with the other he veils the opening in the
table.


[Illustration: FIG. 263. FIG. 264.]

[Illustration: FIG. 265.]

[Illustration: FIG. 266.]

2. _The “Wrist” or “Pressure” Trap._--With this form of trap the
use of a cord is unnecessary, the trap being worked from the surface
of the table, by pressure upon a particular spot. The manner of its
construction will become clear upon an inspection of Figs. 263, 264.
Fig. 263 represents the under side of the trap; _a_ is the flap,
working upon a spring hinge _b b_, as already explained in the case of
the plain trap; _c c_ is an oblong piece of metal, cut out of and lying
flush with the surface-plate, and working upon an ordinary hinge at
_d_. When _c_ is pressed down, the crosspiece _e_, which is soldered
to it, presses down the lever _f_, and this in turn acting upon the
shorter lever _g_, which is fixed at right angles to the rod upon which
the flap _a_ is hinged, causes the latter to open.

The mode of using the wrist trap is as follows:--The performer has
occasion, we will suppose, to cause the disappearance of an orange, as
for instance, in the “Bran and Orange” trick, described at page 335.
Placing the orange upon the flap _a_, he places both hands round it as
though to pick it up between them. (_See_ Fig. 265.) In this position
the under side of the hand furthest from the audience (_see_ Fig. 266,
showing the right hand removed), is just over _c_, and pressing gently
upon it, causes the flap to open, and the orange to fall through; the
position of the hands completely veiling the operation. The operator
now leaves the table, still holding his hands as though having the
orange between them, and after a due interval, brings them closer and
closer together, at last showing that it has vanished.

[Illustration: FIG. 267.]

The wrist trap is generally worked by the performer standing at the
side of the table, and the traps are therefore made right-handed and
left-handed, according to the end at which they are intended to be
placed, the rule being that _c_ must be so placed with reference to
_a_, as to be when in use under the hand furthest from the spectators.
Fig. 267 illustrates this difference of make, to suit the one or the
other end of the table.


[Illustration: FIG. 268.]

3. _The “Rabbit” or “Dove” Trap._--This, as its name indicates, is a
trap for causing the disappearance of a rabbit or pigeon. The opening
is in this case oval, measuring about eight inches by six, and closed
by a double flap, divided down the middle (_see_ Fig. 268, representing
the under side of the trap.) It has no string, the animal being simply
pushed down through the trap under cover either of a second rabbit, or
of a piece of paper in which the victim is supposed to be wrapped. As
the rabbit trap requires considerable space, and, moreover, involves
the necessity of some sort of an inclosure within the table to prevent
an unexpected reappearance of the animal, it is a convenient plan to
devote to it a small special table. This should be circular; about
thirty-two inches in height, and sixteen to eighteen in diameter. The
upper part of the table must form a circular wooden box, about eight
inches in depth, with an opening behind to get out the rabbit. The
table may, like the principal table, have a _servante_ behind it, which
will greatly increase its utility. The depth of the upper part may be
concealed by a hanging fringe; the general appearance of the table
(seen from the back) being as shown in Fig. 269. A table of this class
makes a very pretty side table, and may be balanced on the opposite
side of the stage by another of similar appearance, but designed for
some different purpose.

The interior of the table should be well padded with wadding or hay,
that the animal may not be hurt by its sudden descent.

[Illustration: FIG. 269.]

Each of the traps above-mentioned should be so made as to be capable
of being secured, when necessary, by a bolt, or there would be
considerable risk of a trap giving way unexpectedly under any
article carelessly placed on it. The mode of bolting, however, varies
considerably. Some traps are fastened by little bolts on the under
side, which, being only get-at-able from the inside of the table, must
be bolted or unbolted for good before the curtain rises, occasioning
considerable embarrassment in the case of a slip of the memory. Others
again are secured by means of long bolts, or wire rods extending across
the under surface of the top of the table, each terminating in a hook
at the back, within reach of the performer’s hand. A third, and, we
think, the best, plan is to have the bolt (as shown in Figs. 261 and
262, and therein marked _c_) worked backwards and forwards by means
of a little pin projecting upwards through the surface plate and the
cloth of the table. By the adoption of this plan the performer is
enabled to draw back the bolt with the finger-tip in the very act of
placing the article upon the trap. It will readily suggest itself
to the reader that some provision must be made within the table for
making the various articles drop noiselessly through the traps. The
best plan of effecting this is to use what is called a “railway.” This
is a wooden frame just large enough to lie within the table, with a
piece of black serge or alpaca stretched all over its under side. This
is so placed within the table, as to slope gently down to the level
of the _servante_, with a fall of three or four inches. Any article
dropped through a trap will not only fall noiselessly upon the surface
of the stretched alpaca, but will immediately roll down the incline
towards the _servante_, so that it is instantly get-at-able, should the
performer have occasion to reproduce the same article at a later stage
of the trick.


4. _“Changing” Traps._--The traps which we have hitherto discussed have
only had the faculty of causing the _disappearance_ of a given article.
Those which we are about to describe will not only do this, but will,
moreover, produce an article on the surface of the table where a
moment previously there was nothing, or will replace a given object by
another.

[Illustration: FIG. 270.]

[Illustration: FIG. 271.]

The trap for this purpose is a somewhat complicated arrangement, of the
appearance shown in Figs. 270 and 271. The surface-plate, _a a a a_, is
oblong, measuring about twelve inches by six, with a circular opening
_b b_ in the centre. Below it are fixed vertically two brass cylinders
_c_ and _d_, which are so arranged as to work backwards and forwards
on a kind of railway _e f e f_, in the direction of the length of the
surface-plate, just so far in either direction as to bring _c_ or _d_
in turn immediately under _b_. The two cylinders are soldered together,
so that the one cannot move without the other. If, therefore, the
cylinders are drawn back to the utmost by means of one of the bent iron
rods or handles _g h_, the cylinder _c_ will be below the opening _b_,
as in Fig. 272. If, on the contrary, they be pushed forward, _d_ will
in turn be below the opening, as in Fig. 273. Each cylinder contains a
brass piston, faced with zinc on its upper surface, and moved up and
down by a lever attached at right angles to one or other of the iron
handles _g h_ already mentioned, and working through a vertical slot
in the side of the cylinder. A piece of clock-spring, attached to the
iron handle at the point of junction, gives the piston a gentle upward
tendency, which is so regulated, that if either of the cylinders be
brought under the opening _b_, the piston belonging to that cylinder
is made to rise into the opening, its upper surface resting just
flush with that of _a a a a_. The piston of the forward cylinder _c_
is made to work very easily within it, so as to rise spontaneously by
the action of the spring; but that of the hinder cylinder, _d_, for a
reason which will presently appear, works a little more stiffly, so
as to require a little assistance from the lever to make it rise into
its proper position. The action of the handles _g h_ is outwards, in
the direction of the arrows in Fig. 274, the movement of either handle
in the direction so indicated drawing _down_ the piston to which it
belongs.

[Illustration: FIG. 272. FIG. 273.]

[Illustration: FIG. 274.]

The handles further serve, as already mentioned, to move the cylinders
backwards and forwards as may be required. It should, however, be noted
that no backward or forward movement can take place so long as either
of the pistons stops the opening _b_; but as soon as the piston is, by
turning the proper handle, depressed ever so little below the level of
the surface-plate, it no longer forms any obstacle to the movement. The
trap is fixed in the table in such manner that the handles _g h_ shall
be just within the opening at the back of the table (_see_ Fig. 274),
and thus be within easy reach of the performer’s hands when standing
behind it. We will suppose, for the sake of illustration, that the
performer desires to change an empty tumbler (of small size) to a full
one. The trap is beforehand prepared by bringing the foremost cylinder
_c_ under the opening _b_. The full glass is then placed on the top
of the piston, which is then lowered gently downwards by means of the
proper handle, the glass sinking into the cylinder. The cylinders are
now pushed forward, so that _d_ in turn comes under _b_, the piston
being then moved up into its proper place, and so closing the opening.
This is, of course, arranged before the curtain rises.

When the performer desires to perform the trick, he places the empty
glass upon _b_, and conceals it with a cover of any kind. Standing
carelessly behind the table, and keeping the attention of the audience
occupied by any observations he may deem most appropriate for that
purpose, he takes hold with his right hand of the handle _h_, and
turns it outward, thereby lowering the empty glass into _d_. As soon
as he feels that it will sink no further, he shifts his hand to the
handle _a_, and therewith draws the cylinders back so as to bring _c_
under _b_, and then, by turning _g_, gently raises the full glass of
water up through _b_ to the surface of the table. The reader will now
perceive the reason why, as already mentioned, the piston in _d_ is
made a little tight, so as to require the assistance of the handle to
raise it into its position. It is necessary that this piston, when
once depressed with the object to be changed, shall remain down while
the hand is shifted from handle _h_ to handle _g_. If it were not
made to work somewhat stiffly, the moment the handle _h_ was released
the piston would instantly fly up again with the object upon it, thus
neutralizing what had been already done. The cylinder _c_, which is
to produce the substitute object, is not brought under _b_ until the
hand of the performer is already on the handle belonging to it, and can
thereby check its upward ascent as may be necessary.

It is obvious that the changing trap will be equally available to
produce an object under an empty cover. The object to be produced will
be placed in _c_ as above, the piston in _d_ going down empty, and that
in _c_ rising with the object upon it.

[Illustration: FIG. 275.]

[Illustration: FIG. 276.]

The above are the traps in most frequent use, but there are others
designed for special purposes. Thus there is a trap for causing the
disappearance of six or eight half-crowns (as, for instance, in the
well-known trick of the “crystal cash-box,” which will be described
in the course of the present chapter). Of course the coins could be
made to disappear through an ordinary trap, but they would cause
a suggestive “chink” in their fall. The trap to which we are now
referring (_see_ Figs. 275 and 276) is designed to prevent this
tell-tale sound, and to cause the half-crowns to disappear in perfect
silence. The opening in the surface plate is an inch and three-quarters
in diameter, and is closed by a circular piston of brass or zinc, _a_,
working up and down in a small brass cylinder _b_, and so arranged as
to drop by its own weight to the bottom of the cylinder, save when kept
up by a little lever catch at the side of the cylinder. A short pin _d_
attached to this catch projects upwards through a slot in the surface
plate, and stands up very slightly above the cloth of the table. The
disc _a_ being raised level with the surface plate, and secured by
means of the catch, six or eight half-crowns or florins are placed on
_a_. The performer, in making the motion of picking up the coins (with
one hand), with the tip of the third finger pulls the pin _d_ towards
him. This withdraws the catch, and _a_ instantly drops down to the
bottom of the cylinder, carrying the coins with it. As soon as _a_
reaches its lowest point, it draws down the pin _e_, thereby releasing
a similar disc _f_, which, working laterally on a spring pivot at the
edge of the opening, describes a semicircle, and assumes the position
previously occupied by _a_, a portion of one side of the cylinder, at
the top, being cut away to allow of its passage. Fig. 275 shows the
trap in its first, and Fig. 276 in its second condition, the latter
being, for greater clearness, drawn in section. The apparatus is
rather complicated, and it is almost hopeless to endeavour to render
it clearly intelligible by description only. In the absence of this
special trap, the same object may be nearly as well effected with an
ordinary trap by using half-crowns (be it remembered that it is always
_substitute_ coins which are made to disappear in this manner) which
have been beeswaxed on both sides. A very slight pressure will cause a
number of coins thus prepared to adhere together, and form for the time
being a solid mass, which will fall through the trap without causing
any “clink.”

We next come to--


[Illustration: FIG. 277. FIG. 278.]

[Illustration: FIG. 279.]

_Pistons._--These are appliances for working pieces of mechanical
apparatus--as, for example, the Watch Target, the Card Star, the
Demon’s Head, etc., etc. A piston (_see_ Figs. 277, 278) consists of
a brass tube _a_, about five inches in length by five-eighths of an
inch in diameter, with a collar at one end pierced with screw-holes for
affixing it to the under surface of the table. Within this tube works
a wire rod, _b_, three-sixteenths of an inch thick, and terminating in
a small round disc of brass _c_, just large enough to work freely up
and down the tube. A spiral spring, also of brass, keeps the rod down,
unless when forced upwards by pulling a piece of whipcord, which is
attached to the disc _c_, and thence passes up the tube, and over a
small pulley _d_, which is soldered to the collar already mentioned.
When this cord is pulled, _b_ is forced to rise, which it does to the
extent of about two inches above the surface of the table (_see_ Fig.
278), again sinking under the pressure of the spring, as soon as the
pull is relaxed. Each piston is screwed to the under surface of the top
of the table, in which a small hole is bored, in order to allow of the
upward passage of the piston rod. Where complicated mechanical pieces
have to be worked, three, four, or more of these pistons are placed
side by side. The cords are carried behind the scenes, either directly
from the back of the table, or down grooves in the legs, and through
holes in the stage to the hiding-place of the assistant. Where a single
piston only is required, it may be made to work in the central pillar
of a light _guéridon_, or fancy table, such as shown in Fig. 279, the
lightness and simplicity of the table, and the thinness of its top,
apparently precluding all possibility of the presence of concealed
mechanism. The cord may be made to pass down the centre pillar, so as
to be quite invisible to the audience.

[Illustration: FIG. 280.]

The mechanical pieces worked by the agency of these pistons vary
greatly in construction, but they are alike in one particular, viz.,
that they are set in motion by one or more vertical rods passing up
the shaft or column on which they stand, and each terminating in a
flat metal disc, or pedal, which receives the upward pressure of the
piston. Fig. 280 shows the arrangement of the foot of a mechanical
piece worked by one such rod only. Another specimen will have been
observed in the case of the pedestal for the animated money. (_See_
page 186.) Where three or four pedals are necessary, they are generally
enclosed in a square wooden base, as in the case of the “Demon’s Head,”
described at page 458.

Before quitting the subject of the tables used upon the stage, we
must not omit to say a few words as to what is called the “bellows”
table, though it is now comparatively little used. It was formerly
(say forty or fifty years ago) the fashion among conjurors to use
tables with drapery hanging to within a few inches of the floor. The
table being, say, two feet seven inches high, this gave room for a
box-like arrangement, of two feet deep, or thereabouts, within the
body of the table. In this box, which was open at the back, was hidden
an assistant, who worked the pistons, managed the traps, effected
necessary substitutions, etc., etc. Conjuring under such circumstances
was very easy work. In 1845, however, Robert-Houdin gave his first
public performance, and one of the earliest of his reforms in the
magic art was the suppression of the too suggestive drapery, and the
substitution of tables of light and elegant form, allowing no possible
room for the concealment of an assistant. A reaction set in in favour
of the new fashion, which has ever since maintained its ground. The
“bellows” table combines the apparent simplicity of the undraped table
with the internal capacity of the old-fashioned draped article. There
is a trick, formerly very popular as the wind-up of an entertainment,
which consists of the magical disappearance of a youthful assistant,
male or female. The subject of the trick, generally dressed in a page’s
costume, is made to mount upon a table, and is covered by a wicker
cone, which being almost instantly removed, he or she has vanished. The
table in this case is draped to within a few inches of the ground, but
to show that no hidden receptacle is thereby concealed, the performer
before commencing the trick lifts up the table-cloth, and shows that
the top of the table is at most not more than two or three inches in
thickness. The drapery is then again allowed to fall into position, and
the trick proceeds. The table used in this trick is a bellows table;
_i.e._, it has a double top, or rather two tops, one above the other.
The upper one is a fixture, with a large wooden trap (opening upwards)
in it, to allow of the passage of the person to be conjured away. The
under top is moveable, being in its normal condition pressed against
the upper one by the action of four spiral springs (one in each leg of
the table), but sinking down to nearly the depth of the cover under the
weight of a person stepping upon it, and thus affording the requisite
hiding-place, in which the person remains until the fall of the curtain
enables him or her to come forth with safety. Cloth is nailed round
three sides of the upper and lower boards, folding between the two when
closed, after the manner of the leather of a bellows; and from this
circumstance the table derives its name.

[Illustration: FIG. 281.]

Small round tables (for the disappearance of a rabbit, or the like)
are sometimes made on the same principle. The following will be found
a simple and convenient arrangement:--Let the table be of the form
shown in Fig. 281, and two feet seven inches high. Let the uppermost
eight inches of the pillar be a plain cylinder _a a_, an inch and a
half in diameter. Below this the pillar may increase in size, and may
be of an ornamental character. Take two circular boards of deal or
mahogany, each eighteen to twenty inches in diameter, and five-eighths
of an inch thick. In the centre of one of them, _b_, cut a circular
hole an inch and three-quarters in diameter. This will form the under
side of the “bellows,” the object being to allow the board to slide
freely up and down on _a a_. The other board, which we will call _c_,
is screwed firmly on to the pillar, to form the top of the table.
Next take a strip of black alpaca, ten inches in width, and nail its
opposite edges round _b_ and _c_, leaving a small space at one side
to give access to the interior. Tie a piece of cord elastic round the
centre of the alpaca, tightly enough to exercise a considerable degree
of tension. Fix such traps as may be desired in _c_, and glue over it
a fancy-patterned cloth, with a fringe or border hanging down nine or
ten inches round the sides. The performer, before executing any trick
with this table, may pointedly draw attention to the fact that it
contains no drawer or other place of concealment. In doing this (_see_
Fig. 282) he with one hand raises the lower board level with the upper
(the action of the elastic drawing in the alpaca between the two),
while with the other hand he raises the fringe, and shows, apparently,
that the top of the table is but a single board.

[Illustration: FIG. 282.]

The top of every conjuring table should be covered with woollen cloth,
not only to prevent the clatter which would be occasioned by the
placing of objects upon the bare wood, but to conceal the presence of
the traps and pistons. The cloth used should, for this latter reason,
be of two colours, and of a tolerably intricate pattern, as the outline
of the traps will be thereby rendered much less perceptible; indeed,
if the pattern of the cloth be a favourable one for the purpose, the
traps should be, by gas-light, absolutely invisible. The cloth should
be glued over the top of the table after the manner of a card-table;
the upper surface of the traps being first roughed slightly, to make
the glue adhere to the metal. When the glue is thoroughly dry (but not
until then) the cloth may be cut along the outline of the traps with
a very sharp penknife, and small holes bored to allow of the upward
passage of the piston rods. As it is necessary in placing a mechanical
piece upon the table, to do so exactly over the pistons, it is well to
have a couple of wire points projecting upwards a quarter of an inch or
so from the surface of the table, in such positions that if the piece
of apparatus rests firmly against these (which the performer can tell
instantly by feel) it must necessarily be in proper position.

Where “wrist” traps are used, the cloth need not be cut out round the
little oblong slab marked _c_ in Figs. 263, 264, but the cloth should
be without glue over this particular spot, and for half an inch round
it on either side. The cloth will by this arrangement be found, without
cutting, to stretch sufficiently over _c_ to allow of the proper
working of the trap.

Assuming that our stage appliances are complete, we will proceed to--


THE RABBIT TRICK.--The performer comes forward to the audience, and
borrows a hat. He asks whether it is empty, and is answered that it
is; but he, notwithstanding, finds something in it, which the owner is
requested to take out. The article in question proves to be an egg. No
sooner has this been removed, than the performer discovers that there
is still something in the hat, and immediately produces therefrom a
live rabbit, quickly followed by a second. Not knowing what other use
to make of these, he proposes to pass one of them into the other. The
audience decide which is to be the victim, and the performer, placing
them side by side on the table, proceeds to roll them together, when
one is found to have vanished, nobody knows when or how; but the
theory is that it has been swallowed by the remaining rabbit, to the
(imaginary) increased fatness of which the performer draws special
attention.

Having thus passed one rabbit into the other, the next step is to get
it out again. To do this the performer calls for some bran, and his
assistant immediately brings forward, and places on a table or chair,
a huge glass goblet, twelve inches or thereabouts in height, filled to
the brim with that commodity. The performer takes the borrowed hat,
and (after showing that it is empty) places it mouth upwards upon
another table, so as to be at some considerable distance from the
goblet of bran. He then places a brass cover over the glass, first,
however, taking up and scattering a handful of the bran to prove its
genuineness. Taking the surviving rabbit, and holding it by the ears
above the covered goblet, he orders the one swallowed to pass from it
into the glass, at the same time stroking it down with the disengaged
hand, as though to facilitate the process. He remarks, “You must excuse
the comparative slowness of the operation, ladies and gentlemen, but
the fact is, the second rabbit passes downwards in an impalpable
powder, and, if I were not to take sufficient time, we might find that
a leg or an ear had been omitted in the process, and the restored
rabbit would be a cripple for life. I think we are pretty safe by this
time, however. Thank you, Bunny; I need not trouble you any more.” So
saying, he releases the visible rabbit, and on taking off the cover the
bran is found to have disappeared, and the missing rabbit to have taken
its place in the goblet; while on turning over the borrowed hat the
vanished bran pours from it.

The reader who has duly followed our descriptions of the appliances
employed in the magic art will have little difficulty in solving the
riddle of this trick. The performer first comes forward with an egg
palmed in one hand, and with a small rabbit in an inner breast-pocket
on each side of his coat (_see_ page 9). The first step is the
pretended finding of _something_ (it is not stated what) in the hat.
The owner is requested to take it out, and while all eyes are naturally
turned to see what the article may prove to be, the performer, without
apparent intention, presses the mouth of the hat with both hands
to his breast, and tilts one of the rabbits into it. This is next
produced, and in placing it on the ground at his feet, the performer
brings the second rabbit in the same manner into the hat. When he
undertakes to pass the one rabbit into the other, he places both upon
the table which contains the rabbit-trap, and, standing sideways to the
audience, pushes the hindmost, under cover of the other, through the
trap. This particular rabbit is not again produced, the rabbit in the
“bran glass,” which has already been explained (_see_ page 383), being
another as much like it as possible. It only remains to explain how the
bran comes into the borrowed hat. This is effected by having a black
alpaca bag filled with bran in one of the _profondes_ or under the
waistcoat of the performer. This bag is introduced into the hat after
the manner of the goblets (_see_ page 308), and the bran having been
allowed to run out, the bag is rolled up in the palm, and so removed,
the bran remaining, to be produced in due course.

It is obvious that the trick may be varied in many ways. The following
is an effective modification:--A rabbit having been produced by natural
or supernatural means, is placed on the principal table (close to the
hinder edge), and temporarily covered with a borrowed hat, while the
performer goes in search of a sheet of paper, which when obtained, he
spreads upon a small side table. Lifting the hat slightly, he takes
out the rabbit, and walking with it to the side table, rolls it up in
the paper, making a somewhat bulky parcel. Coming forward with this to
the audience, he turns toward the principal table, and saying, “Now,
ladies and gentlemen, if you watch me very closely, you will see the
rabbit fly out of the paper, and back to the hat.” He crushes the paper
together between his hands, and tearing it, shows it empty, while on
lifting the hat the rabbit is again found safely ensconced beneath it.

The ingenious reader will readily guess that duplicate rabbits are
employed. One of them is placed under the hat, and remains there
throughout the trick. A second, of similar appearance, is placed in
a box or basket on the _servante_, immediately behind the hat. This
box has no lid, but is pushed until wanted just within the interior
of the table, the top of which prevents the rabbit making a premature
appearance. The performer, slightly raising the hat, as though to take
the rabbit from under it, lifts up this _second_ rabbit, which the
spectators naturally believe to be the same which they have already
seen, and in apparently wrapping it in paper on the side table, presses
it, under cover of the paper, through the rabbit trap, and screws up
the ends of the paper (which should be rather stiff) in such manner
as to make it appear that the animal is still inside it. The same
trick may be performed with a pigeon with equally good effect, and
considerably less difficulty.


THE FAIRY STAR.--This is one of the most telling of stage card tricks.
The performer, coming forward with a pack of cards, allows six to be
chosen. His assistant meanwhile brings forward and places on a table a
handsome gilt “star” on a stand. The performer, collecting the chosen
cards, places them in his pistol, and fires them at the star, when, at
the moment of the explosion, they are seen to attach themselves one to
each of its points, as in Fig. 283.

[Illustration: FIG. 283. FIG. 284.]

The principal point to be explained is the construction of the star.
Behind each “ray” is a moveable arm, working on a spring hinge at about
two inches’ distance from the point, and carrying a spring clip at
its outer end wherein to insert a card. (_See_ Fig. 284, representing
a back view of the apparatus.) A card being placed in each of the
clips, the six arms, with the cards attached to them, are folded down
one by one behind the centre of the star, which is just large enough
to conceal them. Each card, as folded, holds down the one which has
preceded it. When the last card is folded down, the free end of a
moveable button or lever at the top of the pillar on which the star
rests is so turned as to press upon the arm which holds the card
last folded, and thus to keep it and the five other cards preceding
it in place. This button, however, is so arranged as to be instantly
withdrawn upon an upward movement being communicated to a wire rod
which passes up the centre of the pillar, and terminates in a flat
disc of metal at its foot. The apparatus, thus prepared, is placed
immediately over one of the pistons of the table. At the moment of
firing the pistol the cord of the piston is pulled. The piston rises,
pressing up the disc and wire rod, the button is withdrawn, and the
arms, being thereby released, revert to their natural position,
exhibiting a card upon each point of the star.

There are many little differences of detail between the “stars” of
rival manufacturers, but the foregoing may be taken to represent the
general principle of all. Some have the addition of a rose in the
centre, which opens simultaneously with the appearance of the cards,
and discloses a watch, borrowed a moment previously from one of the
spectators.

The mode of working the trick varies a good deal in the hands of
different performers. The most legitimate method is to “force” cards
corresponding to those already folded behind the star, and this method
has the advantage of allowing the star to be brought in and placed upon
the table before commencing the trick; and as it is not again touched
by the performer or his assistant, the appearance on its points of
(apparently) the identical cards just chosen seems really miraculous.

To be able, however, to force six cards in succession with ease
and certainty, demands a more than average degree of dexterity on
the part of the performer; and a “forcing pack” (_see_ page 23) is
hardly available where more than three, or at most four cards have
to be forced. Various expedients have been adopted to get over this
difficulty. Some professors simply collect, or allow their assistant
to collect, the cards which have been drawn, and forthwith secretly
exchange them for the same number of others. These latter are laid upon
the table, and subsequently placed in the pistol, while the originals
are carried off by the assistant behind the scenes, and there attached
to the star, which is then for the first time brought forward. Others,
again, use what are called “longs and shorts”--_i.e._, two packs of
cards, one of which has had a small portion shaved off its length or
breadth. The performer offers the uncut pack for the company to draw
from, letting each person retain his card, and then secretly exchanging
the pack for the shortened pack, he requests each of the drawers
(singly) to replace his card, and to shuffle freely. The substituted
pack being a shade smaller than the returned card, the latter becomes
a “long” card (_see_ page 60); and therefore, however well the cards
are shuffled, the performer is able, with absolute certainty, to cut
at that particular card. “Here is your card,” he remarks, “the knave
of diamonds.” As he names the card, the assistant, behind the scenes,
takes the cue, and attaches a corresponding card to the star. The card
named is removed from the pack and laid upon the table, in order to be
subsequently placed in the pistol, and a second drawn card is returned
and shuffled with the like result.

The star may, in the absence of a mechanical table, be placed on the
hand, the disc being pushed up by the fingers. Some stars have a
moveable stud at the side of the pillar, connected with the rod within,
to facilitate this mode of working the trick.


[Illustration: FIG. 285.]

THE CARD BOUQUET.--This is a trick very similar in effect to that last
described, though differing a little as to the manner of the appearance
of the cards. Six cards are drawn, and placed in a pistol, as in the
last case. A vase (apparently of china, but really of tin, japanned),
containing a handsome bouquet, is placed upon the table, and, at the
instant of firing, the six cards appear ranged in a semicircle above
the flowers in the bouquet. (_See_ Fig. 285.) In this instance, the
cards are attached to the branches of a sort of fan, so constructed
as to open of its own accord, unless forcibly kept closed. The cards
having been duly placed in position, this fan is shut, and pressed
downwards through a narrow opening in the lower part of the vase, the
pressure of whose sides keeps it, for the time being, closed. When
pressed upwards by the action of a piston, the fan rises above the
level of the flowers, and at the same time opens and exhibits the six
cards.

The vase is sometimes made with a second pedal, to produce a second
series of six cards. In this case twelve cards are drawn; six of these
first appear, and then, at the command of the performer, these six
suddenly change to the other six. This is effected as follows:--The
twelve cards are pasted back to back in couples. Each of the six arms
which hold the cards is so arranged as to be capable of being turned
half round (after the manner of the centre of the “watch target”), in
which position it is retained by a catch, flying back however to its
old position as soon as the catch is released. The six arms are each
turned round in this manner, bringing what are naturally the hindmost
cards in front. The movement of the first lever exhibits these cards;
that of the second lever releases the six catches, when the arms
instantly fly round and reveal the other six cards, into which those
first exhibited appear to have changed.


THE DEMON’S HEAD.--This is a large and effective piece of apparatus,
standing about twenty-eight inches from the table. It consists of a
grotesque _papier maché_ head, representing that of a demon or satyr,
and painted according to taste. It is supported by an ornamental brass
column, about an inch in diameter, springing from a velvet-covered
base, nine inches square and four and a half high. (_See_ Fig. 286.) At
the will of the operator, the head rolls its eyes and opens its mouth,
and is sometimes made available in this way to answer questions; the
rolling of the eyes being taken to signify a negative, and the opening
of the mouth an affirmative. In addition to these accomplishments, the
demon will indicate chosen cards in the following manner: Five cards
having been selected, are returned to the pack, which, after being duly
shuffled, is placed in the demon’s mouth. The performer now orders him
to produce the chosen cards, when two of them fly from his mouth, and
the other two spring up between his horns.

[Illustration: FIG. 286.]

[Illustration: FIG. 287.]

The head owes its movements to the action of three different sets of
levers, each terminating in a disc or pedal immediately over a circular
hole in the under side of the base. The apparatus is so placed upon the
table that these openings correspond in position with the same number
of pistons. Fig. 287 is a general view of the internal mechanism, the
back of the head being removed (as in fact it may be in the original)
to give access thereto. Fig. 288 exhibits (as seen from the rear) the
action of the left-hand group of levers, producing the movement of the
eyes. When an upward pressure is applied to the foot of the lever _a_,
it causes the upper arm _c d_ of the elbow piece _b c d_ to describe
an arc of about a quarter of an inch from left to right, thereby
communicating a corresponding movement to the pair of levers _e e_,
working on the pivots _f f_; and, as a necessary consequence, a reverse
movement to the opposite ends of such levers, on which are fixed the
eyes _g g_. As soon as the upward pressure is removed, the spring _h_,
a spiral coil of fine brass wire, draws back the levers _e e_, and with
them the eyes, to their original position. To produce a continuous
rolling, the pressure of the piston is applied and relaxed alternately,
the effect to the spectator being as if the figure looked first to
the left and then to the right, although as already explained, the
active movement of the levers is in the one direction only, the normal
position of the eyes being in the other direction.

[Illustration: FIG. 288.]

[Illustration: FIG. 289.]

Fig. 289 shows the action of the second or middle group of levers,
serving to produce the opening of the mouth. The chin of the figure
consists of a solid block of wood _i_, working on a pivot _j_ in each
cheek, and so counterweighted that its normal position is as in Fig.
289, thus keeping the mouth closed. When, however, the shaft _k_
is raised by pressure from below, the lever _l_ rises with it, and
proportionately depresses the opposite end of the block _i_, thereby
opening the mouth. As soon as the pressure is removed, the block falls
back into its original position, and the mouth closes.

[Illustration: FIG. 290.]

[Illustration: FIG. 291.]

The third or right-hand set of levers is a little more complex in its
operation, inasmuch as it has to perform a double office, the expulsion
of two cards from the mouth, and the elevation of two others at the top
of the head. The cards to be shot from the mouth are placed beforehand
(from the front) in the receptacle indicated in Fig. 289 by the letters
_m m_, and a “plan” of which is given in Fig. 290, and a back view in
Fig. 291. _m m_ is a flat piece of tin, its edges folded over so as to
form a receptacle or platform just capable of holding easily a couple
of cards; _n_ is a spring, which, when the cards are put in position,
is “set” by being drawn back into the notch of the catch _o_. When
an upward pressure is exerted by the shaft _p p_ on the elbow-piece
_q q q_, the latter pressing against _r_ draws back this catch, and
releases the spring, which forthwith shoots out the two cards from the
mouth. The other two cards are inserted in the clip _s_ (_see_ Fig.
291), consisting of two small pieces of sheet brass soldered to the end
of the rod _t_, which works up and down piston-wise in the tube _u u_.
Within the tube is a spiral spring which impels _s_ upwards level with
the top of the head, across which a slit or opening is made to allow
of the passage of the cards. This portion of the apparatus is set by
placing the two cards in the clip, and then drawing down the piston-rod
by the cross-piece _v_, which is riveted thereto, and hitching such
cross-piece under the catch _w_. The upward movement of the shaft _p_,
at the same time that it draws back the catch _o_, also draws back the
catch _w_, thereby releasing _v_, and allowing the clip _s_ and the two
cards therein to spring upward, and appear at the top of the head.

It is hardly necessary to remark that the cards chosen by the audience
are “forced” cards, of which duplicates have beforehand been placed in
the head.


[Illustration: FIG. 292.]

THE MAGIC PICTURE FRAME.--The performer, always borrowing, borrows
this time a lady’s handkerchief, and any small articles--say a watch
and a glove. These latter he rolls up in the handkerchief, and places
the ball or bundle thus made upon the table. He looks about in search
of his magic pistol, which is immediately afterwards brought in by
the assistant. The performer places the handkerchief, etc., in the
pistol, the assistant meanwhile bringing forward and placing on the
table a handsome picture-frame, mounted on a stand. It contains no
picture, the space which the picture should occupy being filled by a
board covered with black cloth. The performer, standing at the farthest
available distance from the frame, takes aim at it, and fires, when the
borrowed articles are seen instantly to attach themselves to the black
background, whence, being removed, they are handed to the owners for
identification.

[Illustration: FIG. 293. FIG. 294.]

The picture-frame, which is of the appearance shown in Fig. 292, and
stands altogether about two feet high, is backed by a sort of wooden
box, an inch and a half in depth, and a little smaller than the
external measurement of the frame. The inside of this box is covered
with black cloth, and in fact forms the true back of the frame; and it
is upon this that the borrowed objects are fastened by means of small
sharp hooks, the back opening on hinges to facilitate the doing so. An
ordinary spring roller-blind, also of black cloth, works up and down
just behind the opening of the frame. We have said an ordinary spring
blind, but, in truth, the usual check at the side is wanting, and the
blind therefore, if drawn down, instantly flies up again, unless held
down from below. The blind terminates at bottom in a square lath,
five-eighths of an inch in length by three-eighths in thickness, with
a wire pin, half-an-inch in length, projecting at right angles from
its hinder side. The ends of this lath, when the blind is drawn down,
sink into two upright grooves, one at each side of the frame, thereby
keeping the latter square, and the pin in a horizontal position. The
catch _a_ (an enlarged view of which is shown in Figs. 293, 294) is now
hooked over the pin, as in Fig. 293, thus holding the blind down. A
wire rod, attached to this catch, passes down the column on which the
frame stands, and terminates in the usual disc or pedal at bottom. When
an upward pressure is applied to this, the catch assumes the position
shown in Fig. 294, thereby releasing the pin, and allowing the blind to
fly up. The blind is represented in Fig. 292 in the act of flying up,
but, in truth, its rise is so rapid as to be practically invisible.

The sudden appearance of the articles in the frame is thus sufficiently
accounted for, but it remains to be explained in what manner they were
placed there, as they have (apparently) never been removed from the
sight of the audience. It will be remembered that the smaller articles
were rolled up in the handkerchief, which was then placed on the table.
In truth, what is placed upon the table is a substitute handkerchief,
similarly rolled up, while the original is dropped on the _servante_,
and carried off by the assistant when he brings in the pistol. Having
thus obtained possession of the articles, he quickly places them in the
frame, and draws down and fastens the blind. This done, he closes the
door at the back, and brings forward the frame, taking care to place
it immediately over one of the pistons of the table. As the pistol
is fired he pulls the cord, the blind flies up, and the articles are
revealed.


[Illustration: FIG. 295.]

THE FLYING WATCHES AND THE BROKEN PLATE.--This is a rather more
elaborate form of the trick last described. The performer collects
three or four watches from the company, the assistant, meanwhile,
being sent to fetch a plate. On his return, the watches are laid one
by one on the plate, and he is ordered to place them on the table. In
attempting to do so he trips and falls, the watches being scattered in
all directions, and the plate being smashed to pieces. The performer
reprimands the offender for his carelessness, and picking up the
watches, finds that they are injured in various ways. After a momentary
hesitation, he hits on a way of repairing the damage. Calling for his
pistol, he drops the battered watches and the fragments of the plate
into it, keeping all down with a wad of newspaper. The assistant now
brings in the picture-frame, as in the last trick, and the performer,
taking good aim, fires at it. At the instant of firing, the plate is
seen restored in the centre of the frame, with the borrowed watches
encircling it. The performer advances to remove and return them to the
owners, but is (or appears to be) thunderstruck at perceiving that the
restoration is incomplete, a large piece being missing from the plate.
(_See_ Fig. 295.) After a moment’s reflection, he discovers the cause
of the defect, for, looking about upon the stage, he finds and picks up
a fragment which he had overlooked when he put the rest in the pistol,
and which consequently is wanting in the restored plate. He apologizes
for the oversight, and proceeds to remedy it. Standing at the furthest
portion of the stage, he makes the motion of throwing the recovered
fragment towards the frame. It is seen to vanish from his hand, and
the plate at the same moment appears whole as at first. The plate is
removed, and with the restored watches handed to the audience for
examination, when the closest inspection fails to discover any trace of
fracture.

The first point to be explained is the mode in which the assistant
obtains possession of the borrowed watches, in order to place them in
the frame. The watches are collected by the performer in a changing
apparatus (say one of the changing caddies described at page 348, or
a drawer-box with a shallow inner drawer, as described at page 346).
In this is placed beforehand a like number of dummy watches, and it is
these latter which are placed on the plate, and meet the pre-destined
downfall. The apparatus being left apparently empty, no suspicion is
excited by the fact that the assistant, when sent to fetch the pistol
or the frame, carries it off as no longer needed.

The sudden restoration of the piece apparently wanting in the plate,
though marvellous to the uninitiated, is really effected by very simple
means. The restored plate is throughout whole and unbroken, but the
effect of a piece wanting is produced by covering one portion of its
outer rim with an angular piece of black velvet or alpaca, similar
to that which covers the back of the frame. The illusive effect is
perfect. The frame is provided with two pedals, the first releasing
the black blind in front of the plate and watches, and the second
serving to withdraw the angular piece of cloth already mentioned, and
thus (apparently) effecting the complete restoration of the plate. The
pretended disappearance of the broken piece from the hand at the moment
of throwing is effected by taking it first in the left hand, and thence
apparently transferring it to the right by the _tourniquet_, so that
when the right hand is opened in the act of throwing, it is naturally
found empty.


THE MAGIC PICTURE AND THE CHOSEN CARDS.--We notice this trick in this
place as having a very close affinity, in effect, to the two last
described. It is, however, wholly independent of stage appliances,
and is equally well adapted for the drawing-room as for the platform.
The performer, taking an ordinary pack of cards, allows three to be
chosen. These are returned to the pack, and the pack shuffled. He then
brings forward a small picture in a frame, and measuring, say, fourteen
inches by twelve. Having exhibited both front and back, he entrusts the
picture to a spectator to hold, and taking the pack of cards, throws
them smartly against the glass, when in an instant the three chosen
cards appear in front of the picture, but under the glass. The back
of the frame is next taken out, and picture, back, frame, and glass
are separately handed for inspection; but the closest scrutiny of
the audience cannot discover any mechanism or special arrangement to
account for the effect above described.

The reader will already have anticipated that the three cards are
“forced.” The picture is on the principle of the frames last above
described, with a slight variation. There are, in fact, two pictures
exactly alike. One of these is pasted upon the wooden back of the
frame, and upon this are fastened duplicates of the cards to be chosen.
The second picture is mounted on cloth, and works on a spring roller
artfully concealed in the upper part of the frame, taking, in fact,
the place of the black blind in the other frames. This is kept down
by a pin at the lower side of the frame, and is so arranged as to be
released by the smallest pressure against the glass. The pack of cards,
smartly thrown, supplies this pressure. The foremost picture flies up,
and reveals apparently the same, but really a similar picture, with the
chosen cards between it and the glass.


THE MAGIC PORTFOLIO.--The performer comes forward with a large
portfolio, such as is used to contain engravings, and barely an inch
in thickness. This he places sideways to the audience, upon a stand or
trestle, thereby raising it to a convenient height, and at the same
time negativing the possibility of its having any communication with
the floor of the stage. Standing behind it, he proceeds to take from
it a number of large engravings, then a couple of lady’s bonnets of
the latest fashion, and showing no sign of creasing or compression.
These are followed by a large bird-cage, containing a number of living
birds; and finally by three brass stew-pans, one containing haricot
beans; a second, water; and a third, fire. Other articles are sometimes
produced, but the above are those most generally used.

This really surprising trick is performed by the simplest possible
means. The bonnets and the bird-cage are made to fold nearly flat, on
the principle of the reticules and bird-cages described at pages 309
and 311. In this flattened condition they are placed in the portfolio,
which being turned sideways to the audience, and the performer standing
behind it, the side which is towards the spectators naturally forms a
cover for the operator, and gives him every facility for developing
the folded articles. The stew-pans, however, cannot be made thus
compressible, and consequently a different plan is adopted in respect
of them. These have india-rubber covers, after the manner of the bowls
of gold-fish, and, like them, are concealed about the person of the
performer, who, producing them under cover of the portfolio, appears to
take them out of it. The pan for the fire contains a little spirits of
wine, which the performer, still behind the portfolio, ignites with a
wax match before producing this particular pan.

Where it is desired to produce a child, or other specially bulky
object, the portfolio is for a moment placed on the table, behind
which such object is placed. The object having been introduced into the
portfolio, the latter is then transferred to the proper stand.


THE GLOVE COLUMN.--This is an ornamental column, sometimes of brass,
sometimes of glass, on a massive foot and standing about two and a half
feet high. It is surmounted by a metal cup, about an inch and a half in
depth and two inches in diameter.

The mode of using the column is as follows:--Three or four rings are
borrowed, also a white kid glove, and the whole are placed in the magic
pistol. The column is then brought in, and placed upon the table. The
magician takes aim at it, and fires. At the instant of his doing so,
the glove, expanded as though containing a living hand, appears at
the top of the pillar, with one of the borrowed rings on each of its
fingers.

The glove and rings, as the reader will probably conjecture, are
exchanged at an early period of the trick. There are plenty of ways of
effecting this exchange. Perhaps, as regards the rings, the expedient
of having them collected on the performer’s wand by the assistant
(_see_ page 399) is as good as any. The assistant, having thus gained
possession of the borrowed articles, arranges them as follows:--The
glove is placed upon the end of a tube, which runs through the whole
length of the column, terminating just within the cup at top, and is
kept in position by an india-rubber ring slipped over it, and holding
it tight to the tube. One of the borrowed rings is now placed over
each of the fingers, and the glove thus prepared is pressed down into
the cup, so as not to show above the rim. The column is now placed
upon the table in such manner that the lower opening of the tube shall
correspond with a small hole in the table, communicating by means of an
india-rubber tube with a hollow ball of the same material, filled with
air, and so placed as to be within reach of the hand or foot of the
assistant. At the moment of firing a smart pressure is applied to the
ball, thus causing a rush of air through the tube, and inflating the
glove, which instantly springs up into a perpendicular position, with
the rings upon it. The articles are now returned to the owners, and are
identified as those which were borrowed.

Some columns have a large hollow black or gilt ball at the top,
divided vertically into two parts, and so arranged as to fall apart at
the moment of the inflation of the glove.


THE VANISHING POCKET HANDKERCHIEF, FOUND IN A CANDLE.--This was a
favourite trick of Robert-Houdin, by whom, we believe, it was invented.
The performer borrows a lady’s handkerchief, drawing particular
attention to the fact that he takes the first handkerchief which may be
offered, and that it is wholly free from preparation. Fixing upon some
gentleman among the audience, he asks him if he thinks he could set
fire to the handkerchief. The person addressed naturally expresses his
belief that he could. The performer ventures to doubt it, and at once
fetches a lighted candle to enable him to try the experiment, meanwhile
spreading the borrowed handkerchief over the top of a small round
table, or _guéridon_, where it remains in full view of the spectators,
showing clearly that it is not tampered with in any way. Returning with
the candle, the performer hands it to the gentleman, and requests him
to go and set fire to the handkerchief. Hardly, however, has he taken
the first step to do so, when the handkerchief suddenly vanishes, its
disappearance being so rapid that the spectators cannot even decide in
which direction it travelled. The performer accuses the gentleman, who
is still holding the candlestick, of having the handkerchief about him.
This he naturally denies. The professor insists, and after keeping up
the dispute as long as the audience are amused by it, offers to prove
his assertion, and taking the candle from the candlestick, breaks it
in half, and produces from it the borrowed handkerchief, which is
immediately identified by the owner.

This capital trick requires the aid of a special table. The top is
thin, and without fringe or ornament of any kind, allowing no apparent
space for the concealment of even the smallest article. The centre
pillar, however, is a hollow tube, and it is into this that the
handkerchief is made to vanish. The first step in the trick is to
exchange the handkerchief for a substitute. (_See_ page 240.) This
substitute is spread over the top of the table. The real handkerchief
the performer carries with him when he leaves the stage under the
pretence of fetching the candle, and utilizes his momentary absence in
placing it inside the candle, which is hollow, and of the description
mentioned at page 251. When the gentleman advances to set fire to
the handkerchief, the pulling of a string by the assistant causes a
clip to rise up in the centre of the table, and nip the middle of the
handkerchief, which is instantly drawn down within the tube through a
small trap at its upper extremity.


THE SPHINX.--Few tricks have of late years caused so great a sensation
as this now well-known illusion, which was first introduced to the
London public by the late Colonel Stodare, in 1865. We cannot better
preface the explanation of the trick than by quoting a portion of the
_Times_ notice on the subject, of October 19, 1865:--

“... Most intricate is the problem proposed by Colonel Stodare, when,
in addition to his admirable feats of ventriloquism and legerdemain,
he presents to his patrons a novel illusion called the ‘Sphinx.’
Placing upon an uncovered table a chest similar in size to the cases
commonly occupied by stuffed dogs or foxes, he removes the side facing
the spectators, and reveals a head attired after the fashion of an
Egyptian Sphinx. To avoid the suspicion of ventriloquism, he retires to
a distance from the figure supposed to be too great for the practice
of that art, taking his position on the borderline of the stalls and
the area, while the chest is on the stage. Thus stationed, he calls
upon the Sphinx to open its eyes, which it does--to smile, which it
does also, though the habitual expression of its countenance is most
melancholy, and to make a speech, which it does also, this being the
miraculous part of the exhibition. Not only with perspicuity, but with
something like eloquence, does it utter some twenty lines of verse; and
while its countenance is animated and expressive, the movement of the
lips, in which there is nothing mechanical, exactly corresponds to the
sounds articulated.

“This is certainly one of the most extraordinary illusions ever
presented to the public. That the speech is spoken by a human voice
there is no doubt; but how is a head to be contrived which, being
detached from anything like a body, confined in a case, which it
completely fills, and placed on a bare-legged table, will accompany
a speech, that apparently proceeds from its lips, with a strictly
appropriate movement of the mouth, and a play of the countenance that
is the reverse of mechanical? Eels, as we all know, can wriggle about
after they have been chopped into half-a-dozen pieces; but a head
that, like that of the Physician Douban, in the Arabian tales, pursues
its eloquence after it has been severed from its body, scarcely comes
within the reach of possibilities; unless, indeed, the old-fashioned
assertion that ‘King Charles walked and talked half-an-hour after
his head was cut off,’ is to be received, not as an illustration of
defective punctuation, but as a positive historical statement.

“Davus might have solved the ‘Anthropoglossus,’ but Colonel Stodare
presents us with a Sphinx that is really worthy of an Œdipus.”

For the benefit of those who have never seen this illusion presented
upon the stage, we will describe its effect a little more minutely. The
Sphinx is always made a separate portion of the entertainment, as it is
necessary to lower the curtain for a few moments before and after its
appearance, in order to arrange and remove the necessary preparations.
The curtain rises, and reveals a round or oval table, supported upon
three slender legs, and utterly devoid of drapery. This stands in a
curtained recess of ten or twelve feet square, open on the side towards
the audience. The performer comes forward bearing a cloth-covered box,
fifteen to twenty inches square, and places it upon the table already
mentioned. He then unlocks the box, the front of which drops down, so
as to give a perfect view of the interior, in which is seen a head of
Egyptian fashion, and coloured in perfect imitation of life. (_See_
Frontispiece.) The performer now retires to a position in the very
midst of the audience, and raising his wand, says in a tone of command,
“Sphinx, awake!” The Sphinx slowly opens its eyes, looking first to the
front with a strong gaze; then, as if gradually gaining consciousness,
to the one side and the other, the head moving slightly with the eyes.
Questions are put by the performer to the head, and are answered by
it, the play of the mouth and features being in perfect harmony with
the sounds uttered. Finally, in answer to a query of the operator, the
Sphinx declaims a neatly turned oracle in verse. This concludes the
exhibition, and the performer closes the box. Should the audience call
for an _encore_, the performer addresses them to the following or some
similar effect:--“Ladies and gentlemen, I am glad that the Sphinx has
afforded you satisfaction, and I should be only too pleased to be able
to indulge the desire which you kindly testify of seeing it again.
Unfortunately, this is not possible. The charm by which I am enabled,
as you have seen, to revivify for a space the ashes of an ancient
Egyptian, who lived and died some centuries ago, lasts but for fifteen
minutes. That time has now expired, and the head which has astonished
you with its mysterious eloquence has again returned to its original
dust.” As he speaks the last words, he again opens the box, and the
head is found to have disappeared, leaving in its place a handful of
ashes.

[Illustration: FIG. 296. FIG. 297.]

This singular illusion depends upon the well-known principle, common to
optics as to mechanics, that “the angle of reflection is equal to the
angle of incidence.” Thus, if a person standing at the point _a_, in
Fig. 296, look into a mirror placed in the position indicated by the
line _b c_, he will see reflected, not himself, but whatever object
may be placed at the point _d_. By an ingenious application of this
principle a looking-glass may be used to conceal a given object behind
it, while at the same time an image reflected in the glass may be made
to represent what would be presumably seen if no glass were there, and
thus prevent the presence of the mirror from being suspected. This is
the secret of the Sphinx. The table, as already mentioned, has three
legs, one in front, and one at each side. Between these legs the
spectator sees apparently the curtains at the back of the recess, but
really a reflection of the curtains at the sides. The space between
the middle leg and that on either side is occupied by pieces of
looking-glass (_see_ Fig. 297, which represents a ground plan of the
arrangement), extending from _a_ to _b_, and _a_ to _c_. The glass
extends quite down to the floor, which is covered with cloth of the
same material and colour as the surrounding curtains. The spectators,
therefore, looking towards the table, see above it the curtains at the
back, and below it the reflection of the curtains at the sides; which,
however, if the relative angles are properly arranged, appears to be
simply the continuation or lower portion of the curtains at the back.
The illusion is perfect, and the spectator, from the position assigned
to him, cannot possibly discover, by the evidence of his senses, that
he is looking at any other than an ordinary bare-legged table, with the
background visible in the usual way.

The rest is a very simple matter. The person who is to represent the
Sphinx is beforehand placed, duly attired, underneath the table. There
is a trap in the table through which he can pass his head at the proper
moment. This trap is a round piece of wood, covered to match the
surface of the table, and working on a hinge on the side nearest to the
audience. It has no spring, but is kept closed by means of a button on
the opposite side, and when released hangs down perpendicularly. It
must be large enough to allow the passage of the somewhat elaborate
headpiece of the Sphinx, and would therefore leave an open space
visible round the neck. This difficulty is met by the expedient of
having a wooden collar, whose upper surface is a facsimile in size and
pattern of the trap, fastened round the neck of the representative of
the Sphinx. When he lifts his head up through the trap, this collar
exactly fills the opening, and thus shows no break in the surface of
the table. The box is bottomless, and when brought forward by the
performer is empty. A little caution has to be observed in placing it
upon the table, for, if the performer were to approach the table _from
the side_, his legs would be reflected in the glass, and would thereby
betray the secret. He must therefore make his appearance from some
quarter _outside_ of the curtained recess, and advance to a position
well in front of, and at some little distance from the table, when, by
moving in a straight line from the audience towards the middle leg _a_,
he prevents this inconvenient reflection. The placing the box upon the
table, and the unlocking it, allow time for the representative of the
Sphinx to get his head into position within it. This done, the box is
opened, and the rest depends on the dramatic talent of the performer
and his assistant. The performance being concluded, the box is again
locked, and the head withdrawn, a handful of ashes being introduced on
the trap in its stead.

The angle at which the two mirrors should be set cannot be determined
absolutely, but will vary according to the distance and position of the
surrounding drapery.

Some performers use a shawl or a screen of cardboard in place of the
box, but we doubt whether any method is more effective than that above
described.

The ghastly illusion of the so-called “Decapitated Head,” which drew
crowds to the Polytechnic some few years since, was merely the “Sphinx”
in a less pleasant form.


[Illustration: FIG. 298.]

THE CABINET OF PROTEUS.--This is another adaptation of the principle
on which the Sphinx illusion is founded. It is the joint invention of
Messrs. Pepper and Tobin, by whom it was patented in 1865. The first
steps towards a patent for the Sphinx were also taken in the same year,
but the latter invention never proceeded beyond provisional protection.
The Cabinet of Proteus is a wooden closet, seven to eight feet in
height by four or five feet square, supported on short legs, so as to
exclude the idea of any communication with the floor. (_See_ Fig. 298.)
It has folding doors, and an upright pillar extends from top to bottom
of the interior, at about the centre of the cabinet. At the top of this
pillar, in front, is fixed a lamp, so that the whole of the interior is
brightly illuminated.

[Illustration: FIG. 299.]

The cabinet may be used in various ways. One of the most striking is
as follows:--The folding doors are opened, disclosing the interior
perfectly empty. (_See_ Fig. 299.) The exhibitor directs his assistant
to walk into the cabinet. He does so, and the doors are closed.
Meanwhile, a couple of gentlemen, selected by the audience, are
invited to stand behind or beside the cabinet, and see that no one
obtains ingress or egress by any secret opening. Notwithstanding these
precautions, when the doors are again opened, the assistant is found
to have vanished, and another person, different in dress, in stature,
and in complexion, is found in his place. This person steps forth,
makes his bow, and retires. Again the cabinet, now empty, is closed,
and after an interval of a few moments, again opened. This time a
human skeleton is found to occupy the vacant space. This ghastly
object having been removed, and the door having been once more closed
and opened, another person, say a lady, appears. This person having
retired, the doors are again closed; and when they are again opened,
the person who first entered is once more found within. A committee
from the audience are now invited to examine the cabinet within and
without, out all their scrutiny cannot detect any hidden space, even
sufficient to conceal a mouse.

[Illustration: FIG. 300.]

An examination of Fig. 300, representing a ground plan of the cabinet,
will make plain the seeming mystery. A moveable flap _a b_, working on
hinges at _b_, extends from top to bottom of each side, resting when
thrown open against the post _c_ in the middle, and thus enclosing a
triangular space at the back of the cabinet. The outer surfaces of
these flaps (_i.e._, the surfaces exposed when they are folded back
against the sides of the cabinet) are, like the rest of the interior,
covered with wall paper, of a crimson or other dark colour. The
opposite sides of the flaps are of looking-glass, and when the flaps
are folded back against the posts, reflect the surfaces against which
they previously rested, and which are covered with paper of the same
pattern as the rest. The effect to the eye of the spectator is that
of a perfectly empty chamber, though, as we have seen, there is in
reality an enclosed triangular space behind the post. This is capable
of containing two or three persons, and here it is that the persons and
things intended to appear in succession are concealed. The assistant,
entering in sight of the audience, changes places, as soon as the
door is closed, with one of the other persons. This person having
retired, and the door being again closed, those who are still within
place the skeleton in position in front of the post, and again retire
to their hiding-place. When all the rest have appeared, the person
who first entered presses the flaps against the sides of the cabinet,
against which they are retained by a spring lock on each side, and the
public may then safely be admitted, as their closest inspection cannot
possibly discover the secret.


THE INDIAN BASKET TRICK.--This is another of the sensational feats
identified with the name of Colonel Stodare, and is imitated from
a similar illusion performed by the Indian conjurors. It is not a
pleasant trick to witness, but, like the “Decapitated Head,” it drew
immense crowds, its fictitious horror being apparently its chief
attraction. Its effect, as the trick was originally presented by
Stodare, is as follows:--A large oblong basket, say five feet by two,
and as deep as wide, is brought in, and placed on a low stand or bench,
so as to be raised clear of the stage. The performer comes forward
with a drawn sword in his right hand, and leading with the other hand
a young lady, dressed in a closely-fitting robe of black velvet.
Reproaching her upon some pretended ground of complaint, he declares
that she must be punished, and forthwith begins to blindfold her eyes.
She simulates terror, begging for mercy, and finally escaping from him,
runs off the stage. He follows her, and instantly reappears, dragging
her by the wrist. Regardless of her sobs and cries, he compels her
to enter the basket, in which she lies down, and the lid is closed.
Simulating an access of fury, he thrusts the sword through the basket
(from the front) in various places. Piercing screams are heard from the
interior, and the sword when withdrawn is seen to be red with blood.
The screams gradually subside, and all is still. A thrill of horror
runs through the audience, who are half inclined to call in the police,
and hand over the professor to the nearest magistrate. For a moment
there is a pause, and then the performer, calmly wiping the bloody
sword on a white pocket-handkerchief, says, “Ladies and gentlemen,
I fear you imagine that I have hurt the lady who was the subject of
this experiment. Pray disabuse yourselves of such an idea. She had
disobeyed me, and I therefore determined to punish her by giving her a
little fright; but nothing more. The fact is, she had left the basket
some time before I thrust the sword into it. You don’t believe me,
I see. Allow me to show you, in the first place, that the basket is
empty.” He turns over the basket accordingly, and shows that the lady
has vanished. “Should you desire further proof, the lady will answer
for herself.” The lady at this moment comes forward from a different
portion of the room, and having made her bow, retires.

This startling illusion is performed as follows:--To begin with, there
are _two_ ladies employed, in figure and general appearance as nearly
alike as possible. Their dress is also exactly similar. The little
dramatic scene with which the trick commences is designed to impress
upon the audience the features of the lady who first appears. When she
is blindfolded, she, as already mentioned, runs off the stage. The
performer runs after her, and apparently bringing her back, really
brings back in her place the second lady, who is standing in readiness,
blindfolded in precisely the same way, behind the scenes. As the
bandage covers the greater part of her features, there is little fear
of the spectators detecting the substitution that has taken place. The
substitute lady now enters the basket, where she lies, compressing
herself into as small a compass as possible, along the back. Knowing
the position which she occupies, it is not a very difficult matter
for the operator so to direct the thrusts of the sword as to avoid
any risk of injuring her. The chief thing to be attended to for this
purpose is to thrust always in an _upward_ direction. The appearance
of blood on the sword may be produced either by the lady in the basket
drawing along the blade, as it is withdrawn after each thrust, a sponge
saturated with some crimson fluid, or by a mechanical arrangement in
the hilt, causing the supposed blood, on pressure, to trickle down the
blade.

[Illustration: FIG. 301.]

The only point that remains to be explained is the difficulty which
will probably already have suggested itself to the reader, viz., “How
does the performer manage to show the basket empty at the close of
the trick?” Simply by having the basket made on the principle of the
“inexhaustible box,” described at page 391. The performer takes care
to tilt the basket over to the front _before_ he raises the lid. This
leaves the lady lying on the true bottom of the basket (_see_ Fig.
302), while a moveable flap, fixed at right angles to the bottom, and
lying in its normal position flat against the front of the basket,
for the time being represents the bottom to the eyes of the audience.
While the basket is thus shown apparently empty, the lady who first
appeared in the trick comes forward, and is immediately recognized by
the audience; and as they are fully persuaded that she was the person
placed in the basket, the inference that she has escaped from it by
some quasi-supernatural means seems inevitable.

The above is the form in which the trick was first introduced to the
London public, but another _modus operandi_ has since been adopted by
some performers. The low tabl