Professor Hoffmann - Drawing Room Conjuring

August 27, 2017 | Author: magicarchiver | Category: Magic (Illusion), Hand, Playing Cards, Leisure
Share Embed Donate

Short Description

Descripción: magic...



Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------






3 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE.

The following pages are a translation of a recent French work entitled "Recueil de Tours de Physique Amusante," published by Delarue of Paris. They do not profess to form a complete treatise on the art of conjuring, but merely to describe, with the appropriate "boniment" or "patter," a selection of illusions which, by reason of the small amount and portable nature of the apparatus required for them, and their comparative independence of "stage" appliances, are especially suitable for drawing-room performance. It is assumed that the reader possesses a certain amount of elementary knowledge, which is indicated, rather than actually conveyed, in the preliminary chapter. Where such knowledge is wanting, the student desirous of complete instruction will find it in the writer's work on "Modern Magic,"1 of which a sixth Edition has recently been issued, and to which references, where appropriate, have been given. So far, however, as space has permitted I have endeavoured, by explanatory footnotes, to render the text fully intelligible, without the necessity of recourse to any extraneous source of information. LOUIS HOFFMANN. January, 1887.


George Routledge & Sons.

5 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


7 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DRAWING-ROOM CONJURING, PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS. I SHALL pass very briefly over the elementary processes which form the A B C of sleight of hand. In card tricks, the most important of the artifices employed is the "pass." There are several different ways of making the pass ― some with both hands, some with one only. The method which is the least likely to be detected, and consequently the most generally used, is the twohanded pass, which is executed as follows:

Take the pack in the left hand, and divide it, with the little finger, into two equal portions (see Fig. 1.) Cover the pack with the right hand, and nip the undermost portion endwise between the thumb and the remaining fingers of that hand (Fig. 2); then, by the aid of the little finger and of the second and third fingers of the left hand, draw the upper portion under the lower. There are several other methods of making the pass, but there is not much difference between them. That known as the "Voisin" pass, however, after the name of its inventor,2 is unlike any of the others, and as it may occasionally be found useful, and is comparatively unknown, I will here describe it.

Take the pack in the left hand, allowing its upper part to project beyond the hand for about half its length (Fig. 3). With the middle finger of the same hand open the pack like a book, the closed portion resting on the fork of the thumb.

A well-known manufacturer of magical apparatus. The "pass" in question is in truth merely the adaptation, to a single card, of the "false shuffle" known as the queue d'aronde, or dovetail.---TRANS. 2


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

With the right hand, take the card to be introduced, and place it in the space formed by the opening of the pack, but holding it slant-wise (Fig. 4), then close the pack. With the forefinger of the right hand, press down the card as if merely to bring it square with the rest, but guiding it in such manner as to make it project below the pack by about half its length.3

Next, with the right hand, grip the remainder of the pack between the thumb and middle finger, and take it out of the left hand, though without removing it to any considerable distance. This manoeuvre will enable you to draw out with the left hand the introduced card. Replace the pack in the left hand, slightly raising the card, which remains therein, in order to place it on the top. It is very important also to be able to "change" a card, i.e., to exchange a card, held by itself in the right hand, for another which lies on the top of the pack held in the left hand, simultaneously getting rid of the "changed " card by placing it either upon or underneath the pack, as circumstances may require (Fig. 5).

The conjurer must also be well skilled in the art of "palming" a card4 (Fig. 6), not to mention "false shuffles," "replacing a palmed card," the "card drawn back," &c.5 It is also absolutely necessary for the performer to be thoroughly versed in coin-palming, which is performed as follows: ―Taking the coin with the tips of the fingers of the right hand, and (ostensibly) transferring it to the left hand, you secretly press it, under cover of that movement, into the palm of the right hand, between the ball of the thumb and the fleshy portion of the hand below the little finger. This is effected by keeping the card still diagonal to the rest of the pack, and pushing it down by the tip of the right forefinger on the left-hand top corner (which projects at the left side of the pack), until such corner has reached a position halfway down, when the card may be straightened with the rest. Its lower half will now project below the rest, of the pack. –TRANS.


i.e., secretly retaining a card in the open or half-closed hand.-TRANS. "replacing a palmed card" explains itself, "False shuffles" retain the whole or a portion of the pack in a pre-arranged order, though appaently the cards are thoroughly mixed. The "card drawn back" (i.e. showing the second card from the bottom in place of the bottom card) is a device now quite out of date among conjurers of any pretension to skill.―TRANS. 4 5

9 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There are several methods of "vanishing" a piece of money ―viz. "palming" as first described; the coulee, which is performed by sliding the coin with the thumb (in the act of apparently transferring it to the left hand) along the middle and ring fingers nearly to their tips, the coin being kept in position by the pressure of the first finger and little finger against its edges;6 the "Italian" palm, wherein the coin is held in the fork between the thumb and first finger; the tourniquet or "French drop," wherein, holding a coin horizontally between the fingers and thumb of the left hand, you apparently take it with the right, but really let it drop into the palm of the left hand; the pincette7 &c.; and lastly the "change" of one coin for another by means of palming or of the coulee. A proper "table" is desirable for a drawing-room performance; but if you are not provided with or cannot procure a table fitted with a servante,8 or with a drawer which may do duty as such, any ordinary table may be made available. All that is needful is to secure a tolerably high one, or, if need be, to increase its height by placing something underneath it, and to cover it with a woollen cloth, of which the side remote from the spectators is pinned up at each corner, so as to form a sort o f bag to receive articles which you may require secretly to get rid of. A very important point is the manner in which your tricks are presented to your auditors. In a word, your "patter" should be perfect. No special instructions can be given for this, but what you say should have at least some show of reality, and above all must be lively. The smarter and the simpler the better. Of course there are cases in which you will be compelled to spin out the performance of a trick a little in order to allow your assistant (a totally different thing from a "confederate," by the way) to carry out some necessary arrangement. In such a case the operator must display his utmost tact and intelligence, giving to his patter a neat and appropriate turn, in harmony, so far as possible, with the particular circumstances under which he is performing.

The coulee is rarely used by English conjurers. It is chiefly useful with coins of large diameter, like the silver five-franc piece. With a hand of ordinary size, any English coin (save the crown piece, which is now a rarity) is too small to hold securely in this manner.―TRANS. 6

The pincette is much the same as the tourniquet, save that the coin is held upright, instead of horizontally, between the fingers and thumb of the left hand.-TRANS.


A hidden shelf behind the magician's table, by means of which to to procure or get rid of objects used in his performance.-TRANS.



Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE FLYING COIN. To pass a piece of money from the one hand to the other.

This is a mere piece of sleight-of hand, which will however be found, in certain cases, very useful.

Palm in the hollow of your right hand a coin of like value with that which you propose to borrow. Take this latter, when obtained, between the tips of the fingers of the left hand, advance the right hand to take it, and as you do so, let fall into the left hand the coin which is concealed in the right (Fig. 7). Quickly close the left hand, and draw away the right, keeping the coin in full sight; then close your right hand on the coin, and state that you propose to pass it into the other hand. Open the right hand, keeping the borrowed coin palmed in the hollow of the hand;9 then show in the left hand the coin which you let fall into it in the act of taking away the original. This little piece of hanky-panky may be repeated ad libitum; and may, when occasion requires, be used to effect the exchange of one coin for another. Suppose, for instance, that you have borrowed a piece of money. You may state that, once in your hands, it has already acquired certain peculiar properties ― as, for example, that of being able to pass from the one hand to the other. If you then execute, once only, the trick just described, the substitute coin will be in the left hand, while the borrowed one will remain hidden in the right. You can then pass it off to your assistant, or dispose of it as may be necessary for the purpose of your trick. Or again, after having taken the borrowed coin in the right hand, and let fall the substitute into the left, you may hold this latter palmed in the hollow of the left hand, take a glass in the same hand and hold it with the hand covering the glass, palm downwards. When the right hand opens as though to throw the coin which is held therein, the left hand relaxes its grip, and allows the substitute coin to fall into the glass.

These instructions are rather feeble. No skilled performer would ever dream of closing the right hand on the coin. He would simply make a slight "throwing" movement of the right hand to accompany the word "Pass," and under cover of such movement the coin would be palmed, the hand still remaining open.TRANS.


11 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE MONEY-PRODUCING CARD. To produce a half-crown from a card by simply pressing it with the fingers. BEFORE coming forward to perform this trick, provide yourself with a half-crown,10 and keep it concealed in the palm of the right hand. You commence as follows: "If it has ever happened to you, gentlemen, to be in a company where card-playing is going on, and to find that you have forgotten your purse, you have probably felt rather uncomfortable. To have to admit one's forgetfulness is unpleasant, and to refuse to take part in the game would appear discourteous. What is to be done in such a case? "Never mind, don't trouble yourselves to answer the question. You would be certain only to find mere makeshift ways out of the difficulty; while the one I shall show you is unimpeachable. The plan that I am going to teach you will get you out of your scrape without the smallest loss of dignity." "See ― under some excuse or other, which you will readily find, you take a pack of cards" (here you take up a pack accordingly with the left hand), "and you pick out the ace of clubs" (while talking, you seek out and exhibit the card in question―we have said the ace of clubs, but of course any other card would answer the purpose equally well). "Here it is. You are probably aware that this card, in the science of cartomancy, or divination by cards, is considered to indicate money, and never was a reputation better justified, for as a matter of fact, this card contains a considerable quantity of the precious metal." As you say these last words, you give a fillip or two with the fingers of the right hand on the card, back and front; then hold it up with the left hand so that all may see it, keeping your own eyes constantly fixed upon it. At the same moment you lower the right hand a little, and let the coin slip down to the face of the second and third fingers, keeping it supported by gentle pressure between the sides of the first and fourth fingers, as in the sleight called the coulee (see page 5). Then lower the left hand and transfer the card to the right, so as to cover the coin which is concealed therein. "You see that I have nothing either in my left hand" (here you turn it in all directions) "or in my right." The right hand being for the moment occupied, you take from it with the left hand the coin and the card which covers it. In taking the card, you must take care to clip the coin between the second finger and the thumb, pressing the card front and back, the card being meanwhile held rather low, the better to conceal the coin. Once more take the coin in the right hand. To do this, bring that hand near to the left hand, which holds the card, and then, with the middle finger of the right hand, the back of which is turned toward the spectators, slide the piece from under the card and again palm it. This enables you once more to give two or three fillips upon the card.

In the original a five-franc piece is spoken of, that being the favourite sleight-of-hand coin among French conjurers. The half-crown would practically be the nearest English equivalent.-TRANS. 10


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You repeat the same feint as before to get the coin again under the card, but this time you leave it there. Then, holding the card with the left hand, still keeping it low down, you bring the right up to it, and with the thumb of this hand on the face of the card, and the middle finger behind, holding the coin, you gently slide off this latter to the lower edge of the card, from whence it is apparently extracted (Fig. 8). You accompany this movement by remarking: "By pressing the card gently between your fingers, like this, you will be able without difficulty to squeeze out the coin which it contains." If, as suggested in the trick next following, "The Magic Coin," you make use of the double coin for the illusions just described, you must take care to keep it palmed shell outwards, so that the two portions may not come apart in the course of the various passes. When you at last produce the coin from the card, you must turn it over, so that the presence of the "shell" may not be noticed by the spectators.

13 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE MAGIC COIN. Out of one half crown to make two, and vice versa. For the performance of this trick, you must have a half-crown fitting easily within another hollow or "shell " coin, which serves as a kind of cover for it, and which of course has one "face" only. If you have used such a coin for the preceding trick, you may continue in manner following:

"This half-crown comes to the rescue in a very acceptable way, but I should recommend you not to risk it at cards until you have made the very most of it. In point of fact, a coin obtained under these circumstances has the faculty of doubling itself, as you see." Here you separate the double coin and show as two. (Fig. 9.) "Now let us suppose that, by good luck, you have been a winner, and, like a prudent man, you wish to put back the coin into the card, so as to be able to find it again another time. This is what you must do. In the first place, you must put back the second coin into the first, which is a very simple matter" (you replace the solid coin in the hollow one), "and in the next place pass the coin back again into the card, which is rather more difficult." As you say this, you take the double coin in the right hand, and palm therein the two coins as one, but taking care to have the "cover" or "shell" coin next the palm, and in bringing that hand towards the left hand, drop the solid coin alone (visibly) into the latter. You then pick up, with the right hand, the ace of clubs which lies on the table, this movement enabling you to get rid of the hollow coin on the servante. The left hand closes as the solid coin is dropped into it. You make a feint of passing the coin into the card, but suddenly pausing, as if some one had made an observation to you― "You wish to examine the coin before its departure? Certainly, sir, with pleasure, and all the more so because, to tell you the truth, all this pretty little story that I have been telling you is a fiction, from beginning to end. Neither you nor I can possibly find money in a card, unless we happen to possess a coin like this, which is a masterpiece of mechanical ingenuity. Here it is." (You hand it for inspection.) "Examine it closely, and admire the skill of the maker; it is thick enough to split into two portions, and yet thin enough to be hidden in a card." When the coin is returned to you, you palm it in the right hand, making believe to place it in the left, whence it apparently vanishes to pass into the card, which you take in the right hand, in so doing getting rid of the coin which was palmed therein.


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You may make a little more of the trick, which is otherwise but of short duration, by exhibiting the illusion next following.

15 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DEMATERIALISED MONEY. By pressing a pack of cards between the fingers, to produce from it several half-crowns at each pressure, and afterwards to pass the coins so produced into two glass bottles, which must be broken before the coins can be taken out again. THE trick of the money-producing card may be carried a stage further, in manner following: After having made believe to pass the half-crown back again into the ace of clubs, you replace that card, not on the pack from which it was taken, but on a mechanical pack (to be hereafter described), which is placed in readiness on the table. "I have so far," you remark, "only dealt with one card, and have consequently produced from it only one coin, but by using a whole pack of cards I shall of course be able to produce several coins." So saying, you pick up from the table the pack on which you have just laid the ace of clubs. This pack is in reality a tin box, of the form and dimensions of a pack of cards. On the front and back are glued two cards, the edges being painted to correspond, while, to complete the illusion, five or six genuine cards are laid upon it. This box contains a sort of flat tube, in which are placed four half-crowns, kept in position by springs, but capable of being released two at a time. To produce the two first coins, you press on the lower spring, and to produce the remaining two, upon both springs at once. "See," you continue, taking up the pack just described, "a gentle squeeze brings out two coins, and another little squeeze gives us two more."

To produce the coins, you take the pack in the right hand, and hold it in a perpendicular position, with the opening of the tube downwards, and the finger resting on the springs. At the proper moment, the left hand is brought to the lower part of the pack, and appears to squeeze it, while the right hand works the springs (Fig. 10). Place the four coins you have thus obtained on the table, and, under cover of your "patter," pick up with the left hand four other half-crowns which you have placed in readiness beforehand on the servante. If possible, again exchange the mechanical pack for a genuine one. This exchange can be made easily enough, even under the very eyes of the public, if you have taken the precaution to place three or four packs of cards on your table. In the course of your


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

patter you lay the mechanical pack at the proper moment close to the others, and immediately afterwards take up in its place one of the other packs which lie beside it. Even if the exchange were noticed, it would be but of little consequence, because, in the first place, nobody knows that the pack just laid down is mechanical, and secondly, you proceed to produce a farther supply of coins from the pack you have picked up.11 You continue the trick as follows: “If a second pressure, so gentle as this, has produced two more coins, another squeeze, a little harder, should produce still more substantial results." You then bring forward the left hand, which contains the four coins just picked up from the servante, and make believe to squeeze the pack, which is held by the right hand in the same position as in the first stage of the trick. You then chink the four coins together and exhibit them to the spectators. Replace the pack on the table, and picking up the whole eight coins, say― “You must not be surprised to see so much money come from this pack. These coins possess the faculty of passing anywhere and everywhere, as I will prove to you by the aid of these two bottles. You will observe that they are of clear glass, and that the neck of each is too narrow, to allow even a single coin to pass through it." (Here you place a coin on the mouth of each bottle.) "I will close this first bottle with this cork, and then, taking a portion of the coins … " (Here you take four coins with the tips of the fingers of the left hand. The right hand advances as if to take them, but you in reality let them fall into the hollow of the left hand, while the right, followed by the eyes of the operator, is moved away as though containing the four coins, which are meanwhile quietly placed on the servante, or slipped into a private pocket.)

" … and squeezing them pretty hard for a moment in my hand, just to warm them; I pass them into the bottle, without even removing the cork" (Fig. 11). You suit the action to the word. As the hand opens, it 11

Here we venture to disagree from our author. The undisguised use of three or four different packs in the

course of the same performance would be extremely inartistic, as raising a natural suspicion of arrangement or preparation. Where it is necessary to change one pack for another, the exchange should be effected secretly, either by means of the servante or on the performer's own person in moving to or from his table.-TRANS.

17 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------presses on a little projecting point on the top of the cork, imperceptible to the public, and thereby causes four "folding" coins12 stored within the cork to fall into the bottle, resuming their proper form in their fall. You then remove the cork and invert the bottle in order to show that the coins cannot pass through the neck.

“To get the coins out again I shall have to break the bottle. That is the reason I use one made of such common glass. Here I have a second bottle, the neck of which is narrower still (Fig. 12). I shall place in the neck this brass tube which you see here, and which, you will observe, is surmounted by a little flat case of the same metal. I shall place the coins in this case, when they will pass down the tube into the bottle. In performing this second experiment, I will introduce the coins one by one, so that you may the better see them fall; for when I pass all four at once, people frequently complain that they have not time to see them clearly." You place the four coins one by one in the little receiver, which is divided into four compartments, each just large enough to contain one coin. The first coin should be introduced on that side on which a screw is seen. The coins, pressing on the lower part of the receiver, work a spring which lets fall one coin into the bottle each time it operates. The coins which fall are folding coins, which have been placed ready in the tube before performing the trick. In order to insert them you must, in the first place, jerk the tube smartly upwards. This sets the spring. This done, you turn the tube upside down and introduce the four coins through the hole in the cork one by one, folding them for that purpose, and taking care to insert them all the same way ― i.e., with their hinges all towards the same side of the tube. The folding pieces, after being introduced into the bottle, can easily be got out again by drawing them one by one through the neck, at the same time pressing the coin with the finger so as to partially fold it. This must, of course, be done after the performance is over; but if you desire to enhance the effect of the trick, you may break the bottles in presence of the spectators, who are thereby led the more fully to believe that the coins are not dummies, and that there is no other way of getting "Folding" coins are ordinary coins cut into two or more portions, such portions being so arranged as to fold one on another, again expanding and lying flat as soon as they are released.-TRANS.



Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

them out again. In this case, as soon as you have broken the bottles, you must "exchange" the folding coins for genuine ones.

19 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE TWO HALF-CROWNS. A pack of cards being laid across the mouth of a drinking-glass, to make two half-crowns in succession pass through the pack and fall into the glass. IT may sometimes be necessary slightly to modify the preceding trick (that of the dematerialised money) by reason of the performer happening to possess one only of the two "bottles" we have mentioned. The trick may very well be worked with one bottle only; but in this case, when you make believe to squeeze the cards for the third time, you produce two coins only instead of four, thereby reducing the number you work with to six only. Taking four of these, you pass them into such one of the two "bottles" as you may chance to possess, and make use of the other two coins to perform the trick next described: “These coins have passed through the neck of this bottle, though its diameter, as you perceive, is considerably less than their own. The secret of this is that these coins have the faculty of reducing themselves to quite infinitesimal proportions. To give you some idea how far they can be reduced, I will pass them into this glass, which I will cover over with" ― (you look about as if seeking for some appropriate object) ― "with this pack of cards. The coins will pass through the cards just like water through a filter."

So saying, you take up a pack of cards prepared beforehand, and consisting of a dozen ordinary cards, followed by a sort of shallow box made of brass, and of the same size as the cards. The four sides of this box are painted to match the edges of the cards. The box is composed of a brass frame of about a quarter of an inch thick, divided into two equal portions by a bar of the same metal. The bottom of each of the two divisions is a plate of thin steel, fixed on one side only, and so forming a spring. Two brass studs, at a suitable distance apart, are riveted on each of these plates, and are made to support a half-crown in each division (Fig. 13). When a light pressure is applied to the steel plates they bend, and the studs, being thereby drawn farther apart, no longer retain their hold on the coin, which consequently falls. The flexibility of the springs is such that even a dozen cards placed above them do not prevent their working. When you desire to perform the trick, you place a half-crown in each division, between the two studs, and then mask the box and its contents by means of a few loose cards which accompany the sham pack, and which are placed above and below. You make believe to shuffle, and in so doing manage to get all the loose cards to the top; then lay the pack flat on the top of the glass. The coins being arranged as above, will naturally fall into the glass as soon as the springs are pressed.


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I take the first coin," you remark. This coin should be lying upon the table; you take it with the right hand, but the four fingers, concealing it, gently draw it towards the hinder edge of the table. Once arrived at this point the thumb makes a movement as if to secure it, but the hand, still drawing it towards the edge, lets it fall on the servante. You then hold up the right hand, closed as though it contained the coin. You next place the forefinger of the left hand on the pack, just above one of the springs; the finger so placed seems merely to indicate at what particular point the coin will pass through. Open the right hand with a movement of throwing the coin; press slightly with the forefinger of the left hand, and coin No. 1 falls into the glass (Fig. 14 ). Then, taking the second coin in the right hand, you make believe to transfer it to the left, but in reality palm it in the right, which, in the act of picking up the wand, drops it quietly on the servante. "My wand," you proceed, "shall serve as the conductor for the second coin." The wand, held vertically in the right hand, should at this moment rest on spring No. 2, while the closed left hand is held just above it, as though it contained the coin. You then make a rubbing movement with the fingers of this hand, as though reducing the coin to the smallest possible dimensions; and when at last the hand opens, the right hand, pressing with the wand, causes the spring to bend outwards, and thereby liberates the second coin (Fig. 15).

21 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SOLUBLE MONEY. To melt in a glass of water a half-crown borrowed from one of the company, and thence to make it pass into a box held by another person. PROCURE a piece of clear glass in shape and thickness as nearly as possible resembling a half crown. Next select a glass (of the kind with a foot) whose internal diameter at bottom shall not be perceptibly greater than that of the coin; and, lastly, provide yourself with a little box known as the coin casket,13 wherein a half-crown may be made to appear and disappear at pleasure. "Water, as you are aware, ladies and gentlemen, is Nature's universal solvent. Of this unquestioned and unquestionable truth I am about to give you a fresh illustration. "I have in this carafe some water, distilled by my own hands, that I may be absolutely certain of its purity. Here, on the other hand, I have a glass of crystal clearness; you hear its ringing sound. Being perfectly transparent, you can see for yourselves that it contains no false bottom; at any rate, you can readily ascertain the fact. Perhaps, sir, you will have the kindness to do so? You are quite satisfied that the glass has no false bottom? You are. Then I will ask you to be good enough to hold the glass for a few moments. In the first place, I will fill it with water from my carafe, and in the next, I shall ask some charitable person to be good enough to lend me half-a-crown, and as I make it a point of honour to return the identical coin lent to me, and not merely another like it, I will ask you, sir, to mark it with this little stiletto before you hand it to me. Meanwhile, let me ask you all to examine this silk pocket-handkerchief." (In taking the handkerchief from the table you pick up the glass disc and hold it, palmed, in the right hand.) "In the middle of this silk handkerchief, I will place the marked coin." You suit the action to the word, but instead of placing the marked coin under the handkerchief, place there instead the glass disc, and let the coin take its place in the palm. This change is made while the hand is masked by the folds of the handkerchief. "Now I shall ask this gentleman, who already holds the glass of water, to take with his disengaged hand the coin also, through the handkerchief."

The advantage of this arrangement is, that having both hands occupied, he will have no temptation, or at any rate will not be able, to peep underneath the handkerchief (Fig. 16). Take Ecrit a la piece. We are not aware whether the little box in question has any more precise name among English conjurers.-TRANS. 13


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

care to have the coin held edgewise and not flat between the fingers, that the holder may not, by feeling the smoothness of its surface, discover that it is glass. Next go and fetch your wand from your table. This enables you to pass off the borrowed coin to your assistant, who places it in the little "casket," presses the stud which causes the coin to disappear from view, and then brings forward the casket, thus made ready for use. Have the handkerchief held just above the glass of water, in such manner that when the coin is let go it must naturally fall into the glass. With your wand, drape the folds of the handkerchief, which might otherwise get wetted, so arranging them that the glass is entirely hidden by such folds. "Now, Sir, when I count three, you will please let fall the coin into the water. But first, I will hand to this young lady," (you take care to choose a juvenile for this purpose14) "this little box to receive the coin, which cannot continue in a state of solution in the water except in darkness, and consequently as soon as the handkerchief is removed, will fly out of the glass, and pass into the little box." (You make the child hold the box between the finger and thumb in such manner as to keep the lid closed, at the same time strictly charging her not to open the box.) "Now to begin: One, two, THREE." (All hear the sound of the coin as it falls into the glass.) "Now take off the handkerchief, please. The coin which was in the first place dissolved has now passed into a volatile condition, so that there is now no part of it left in the glass." The spectator, who has duly followed your instructions, looks into the glass and is greatly surprised to see nothing there, for the piece of glass is invisible. Get back the glass as quickly as you can, and show it, from a reasonable distance, to the company. "Now, Miss, I will ask you to be kind enough to give me back my little box."

You take it from her, press the stud which liberates the coin, and raise the lid. The coin appears in the box, and you carry it in this condition, without touching it, to the person who lent it to you, with a request that he will make quite certain that it is really the identical coin which he marked (Fig. 17). If you work without the aid of an assistant, a very small amount of dexterity will enable you to place the half-crown in the casket yourself without attracting attention. If you are afraid of the child peeping into the casket (though she would see nothing in it, if she did), you may yourself 14

A superfluous precaution. The casket, if properly made, will bear any casual inspection.-TRANS.

23 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------hold it in your own hand, show that it is empty, and at the moment when the glass disc falls into the glass, press the stud which causes the coin to spring up in the box.


Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------TRANSPOSITION EXTRAORDINARY. To make an apple take the place of a piece of money, and vice versa.

This is a modification of the trick of the "cone;" but it has an advantage over that trick, inasmuch as it appears to the spectators to exclude any possible idea of previous preparation. On an inverted wine-glass you place a borrowed coin, and cover it with a conical paper bag, which you twist into shape under the very eyes of your audience, but into which, as soon as made, you secretly introduce a small apple,15 the under side of which is hollowed out sufficiently to allow it to completely conceal the coin. The apple thus prepared has of course been placed beforehand on the servante of your table. On the other hand, you take openly an unprepared apple, similar in appearance to that which is under your paper cover, and inform your audience that you are about to pass it under the paper cover in place of the coin. Take the apple with your two hands, but in so doing draw it over the hinder edge of your table, and let it fall on the servante, which must be properly padded to receive it. Before you do this, however, you must secretly palm in the hollow of the one hand or the other a coin similar to that lent to you. Make believe to pass the apple down through the point of the paper bag and to take out the coin, which you exhibit at the tips of your fingers.

Pick up the paper bag, holding it by its apex. The apple will remain on the glass, and by reason of the cavity you have made in its under side will completely conceal the coin (Fig. 18). Once more cover the apple with the paper cone, take the (substitute) coin in the right hand, and in apparently transferring it to the left, palm it (the left hand closing as if it actually received it) and command it to pass under the paper cone. The apple you order to pass downwards through the table. To effect this, you stretch your arm under the table, and as the hand passes the servante, seize the apple (which was left there at the first stage of the trick), and at the same time get rid of the coin in your hand. Showing the apple to the company, pick up the paper cone, taking it by its lower portion so as to retain the apple, which is consequently lifted with it, and keeping the apex of the cone turned 15

An orange would be preferable.-TRANS.

25 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------towards the spectators, so as to mask the presence of the apple. The coin remains upon the glass. Hold it up that all may see it, and while the general attention is thereby attracted, let the apple fall gently from the paper cover on the servante; then show that the cover is empty.


Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE SHOWER OF MONEY.

THERE are several methods of performing the trick of the Shower of Money.

The common element, or starting point, is as follows: -You ask for the loan of a hat. When it is given to you, you take it with the right hand, and as, in turning, your body masks the left hand, you take from your pochette16 on that side a certain number (say seven) of half-crowns (or florins) which you have placed there in readiness, in such a way as to be easily got hold of. You then take the hat in the same hand, in such manner as to lay the coins flat against the leather band inside (Fig. 19). Some conjurers come forward to perform this trick with a coin ready palmed in the right hand, and this same coin is used throughout. To make it visible, you bring it to the tips of the fingers.17 Each time that you thus make believe to find a coin, you also make believe to drop it into the hat, but in reality palm it and let fall one of those which are in the left hand, held against the inside of the hat. Other performers begin with two coins palmed, and as soon as they have caught the first, throw it unmistakably into the hat, continuing the trick with the second coin. This plan of having two coins is a very good one, because the spectators, having seen the first piece really fall into the hat, are all the more disposed to believe that the others are thrown in in like manner. Another plan is to use a coin in the edge of which a small hole has been bored, and which is fastened by a hair round one of the fingers of the performer. This arrangement allows of the coin being palmed when necessary, with the additional advantage of being able to show the inside of the open hand, without the presence of the coin being even suspected; for the coin being attached, say, to the middle finger, with a quick jerk you can throw it over the back of the hand, and may then fearlessly show the palm, provided only that you keep the hand upright. When you wish to produce the coin, you have merely to reverse the movement, the effect to the spectators, who see the coin fly over the hand, being that it is actually caught in the air. On the whole, however, I do not recommend the use of the suspended coin, which requires great skill to use it neatly, and produces little, if any, more effect than the ordinary method. In order to spare the performer the inconvenience of coming forward with a coin already palmed, a piece of apparatus (known as the "money-slide") has been devised, consisting of a flat tin tube A secret pocket behind the leg of the trouser. -TRANS. This is done by a quick "catching" movement, which jerks the coin out of the palm towards the fingertips.-TRANS. 16 17

27 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------containing four half-crowns, which on pressure of a spring slip out one by one, as required. This tube is concealed either beneath the lining of the waistcoat, or in the lapel of the coat. This little apparatus enables you to come before your audience perfectly empty-handed, and further enables you to really throw several coins from the right hand into the hat, thereby making the illusion complete.18 I have seen the trick worked by a very expert performer in manner following: You make use of the "money-slide" above described, concealing it between the cloth and lining of the right lapel of your dress coat. After having borrowed a hat and introduced a supply of coins (with the left hand) as already described, you turn half round (so as to mask your right side) and get one of the half-crowns from the slide into your right hand. "Catch" this coin with the tips of your fingers, and drop it unmistakably into the hat; but under pretence of wishing to see what date it bears, take it out again, and hold it in the palm of your hand, whence you allow it to fall into your sleeve. (This is a very easy method of vanishing a coin. All that is needed is to have the cuffs of your shirt-sleeves tolerably large. The palm of the hand being turned towards the operator, with the tips of the fingers upwards, a slight inclination of the hand causes the coin to slide downwards into the shirt-sleeve, and so to disappear.)19 Then, having named any date you please, you move your empty hand towards the hat as though to drop the coin therein, but in reality let fall one of those in the left hand. As soon as you lower the arm, the coin drops once more into the hollow of the hand. You use this same coin two or three times, either palming it, or letting it fall into the sleeve, or else, after dropping it visibly into the hat, you (with the right hand) stir about the coins already in the hat, and secretly pick up one of them to continue the trick with. When this coin has served its turn, you throw it for the last time into the hat, get another coin out of the slide, and proceed in like manner till the supply is exhausted. When the coins which were in the left hand have all been dropped in, you take the hat in the right hand, and stir about the coins in the crown with the left, as though to show that there is a tremendous amount of money collected therein. This little manoeuvre enables you to regain possession of three or four. You once more transfer the hat to the left hand, and hold these coins against the lining, as before. You may also make believe to pass the coins into the hat through its sides or crown. Suppose, for instance, that the coin has been let fall into the sleeve; you draw your closed right hand along the For a minute description of this piece of apparatus, see Modern Magic, p. 207. It has, however, been superseded by a later invention, a little brass box attached to the arm of the performer, within the sleeve. ―The box in question is of French origin, and even in its first shape was a vast improvement on the older apparatus, but it lacked absolute certainty, a cardinal point in magical appliances. The idea has been still further improved upon by a well-known English maker, Mr. J. Bland, who, retaining the form, has altered the operative principle of the apparatus. The gain in ease and certainty is very great, the coins (to the number of eight) being shot into the open palm with admirable neatness and precision. This elegant little piece of apparatus should form part of the stock-in-trade of every amateur conjurer:-TRANS. 18

Performers who use this sleight (which is at best a clumsy expedient) generally pass an elastic band over the shirt-sleeve, so that the coin stops short a few inches below the wrist, and is readily available when again wanted ―TRANS.



Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

side of the hat, pretending to pass the coin into the hat by rubbing on its surface, and at the moment of removing the hand, you let fall one of the coins held in reserve against the lining. Or again, holding the coin at the tips of the fingers, you palm it, and then open the hand as though throwing it from a distance through the crown of the hat.20 The left hand once more drops a coin, which chinks against those which are already lying in the crown. Finally, when all the four coins in the tube have been made use of, when the seven coins in the left hand are exhausted, and the trick has lasted long enough, you pass behind the servante of your table, where you have beforehand placed one or more heaps of five or six coins. Get possession of one of these heaps, which you produce all at once, and let the coins fall from some little height into the hat. This last effect may be repeated two or three times. Throughout the trick, the performer should study to find the coins in the greatest possible variety of places; for instance, in the air, in the flame of a candle, in a lady's handkerchief, in a glove or a gentleman's cravat, on the tip of a child's nose, in the sleeves of spectators, on his own trouserleg, even on the bald head of an elderly gentleman. MISE-EN-SCENE OF THE TRICK. Your "patter" may run somewhat as follows: "The spot in which we are at this moment, ladies and gentlemen, was inhabited, a couple of centuries ago, by an alchemist who was little known among his contemporaries, but who left behind him some very curious discoveries. "The manuscripts in which he noted the results of his various researches have only recently come to light. I have looked through them, and I have satisfied myself that the worthy man, like his predecessors, was in search of the philosopher's stone. As a matter of course he did not find it, but in seeking for it he discovered, among other things, the secret of dematerialising money. I have tried his method, and I think I may claim to have succeeded. "I have taken advantage of the invention, and have done away with my iron safe. Whenever I have any money in my possession, I dematerialise it at once, and the coins, thus rendered invisible and impalpable, float about in the air in every direction. This room is full of them. I will collect a few before your eyes; but in order that you maybe satisfied that there is ‘no deception,' I will ask one of the gentlemen present to lend me his hat to serve as cash-box. Thank you, sir (You press your seven coins with the left hand against the lining, and then get one from the money-slide into the right.) "Attention! I am going to begin. The only difficulty is to train one's eyes to distinguish the coins. Ah, here is one just on the point of getting frizzled in the flame of the candle." you show it, and throw it into the hat, but immediately take it out again, remarking: ― "Stay, though! I forgot to look at the date. ― Ah, 1850." In the act of looking for the date, you have let the coin slip down into the sleeve; you then make believe to put it back in the hat. The left hand simultaneously lets fall a coin. In practice, these three movements would form one only, the effect being as if the coin was thrown from the finger-tips through the crown of the hat ―TRANS. 20

29 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Here is another just coming down. I will catch it in its flight. (You make believe to drop the coin into the hat, but instead of actually doing so, you palm it.) "Another." You toss the coin in the air and catch it in the palm of the hand, whence you let it slip down into the sleeve. You bring the closed (and in reality empty) hand up to the outside of the hat; the coin appears to pass through the silk and fall inside. "Madam, will you oblige me with that coin in your handkerchief?" You shake the handkerchief, the coin falls. You take it with the tips of the fingers, then rapidly close the hand and palm it, meanwhile making believe to throw it through the crown of the hat. As the right hand again opens, the left drops a coin inside the hat. Take care, sir! here is a coin just falling on your head." So saying, you show the coin once more, and then drop it unmistakably into the hat. With the right hand you stir about the five coins which are in the hat, and exhibit them, remarking, "You see that they are genuine coins." You chink them together in the hand, then return them to the hat, but keep one palmed, and continue in like manner, ad Iibitum. You must do your best to vary and enliven your method of proceeding. When you reach the point at which you pick up a whole handful of coins at once, you may remark ― "Upon my word, I might well tell you that it only needs a little practice to be able to see the coins, for here they come on all sides. I hardly know where to begin," &c., &c.


Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------A FINANCIAL OPERATION.

To allow a person to take a handful of pieces of money; and then, having made him count them on a tray, to pour them into his hand, and twice in succession to make a certain number of other coins pass into his hand with the before-mentioned. You must use for the purpose of this trick the tray known as the "multiplying" tray, with two money tubes.21 "Gentlemen, I propose to ask your assistance in a little financial operation. It has been said that commerce is ’other people's money.' This definition at any rate exactly applies to finance, which is in truth only a branch of commerce. "Suppose, for instance, that this gentleman" (you indicate one of the spectators) "has discovered in his garden a vein of virgin gold; how is he to set about developing his mine, if he has not the capital necessary to meet the preliminary expenses, always pretty heavy in such cases? If he applies to a banker to procure the needful capital, and the speculation appears to be really a good one, the banker will advise him to start a joint-stock company. He will perhaps advance him a small sum to begin with, but will recommend him to raise the remainder by means of other people's money. "If you will allow me, sir, I will myself, for the moment, play the part of the banker ― a very pleasant part, by the way. ― But, before we go further, we will take, to represent the capital of the future shareholders, two little parcels of coins from this purse, seven coins, we will say, in the one, and eight in the other." (We have said seven, but the number may be greater or less, being regulated by the number of coins which the tubes of your tray are arranged to hold. The first heap should be exactly equal to the contents of one tube. The second heap must consist of one more than the first.) "We will suppose that the first shareholder is a small capitalist who has hidden his savings at the bottom of his trunk, and that he has wrapped them in paper. I might have said in an old stocking, but I prefer to say paper, as being more refined." You wrap the coins in a piece of paper, and in moving to place them on your table exchange the little packet thus formed for another of exactly similar appearance, but empty, and placed beforehand in readiness on the servante. "As to the other shareholder, let us suppose, while we are about it, that he is some merchantprince, who does not trouble himself to buy stockings to wrap his money in, because he would want too many of them. He hands over his capital in like manner." (Here you place the pile of eight coins, uncovered, by the side of the empty paper parcel.) 21 The multiplying tray is a tray with its upper and under surface about an eighth of an inch apart. Between these two surfaces is placed a flat tin tube, open at one end, to contain four or more coins. There may, as in the trick under description, be two of these tubes, placed side by side, but opening at opposite ends.TRANS.

31 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"This being settled, as I am your banker, I come to you, sir, and invite you to dip into this purse, and to help yourself to whatever money you may require. Don't be afraid of taking too much: help yourself to a good large handful.

"Now, as strict reckonings make good friends, it is as well that I should know how much you have borrowed. Count the coins, if you please, from your hand on to this plate.22 Twenty seven?" (This number will of course vary.) "Very good! We will bear in mind that number. Now then, hold out your two hands, please, and I will pour into them the coins which you have just counted." (The seven coins, from one of the tubes, fall into the hand with the others. Fig. 20.) "Now keep your hands fast closed. I will myself withdraw to a little distance, and as it is admitted on all hands that money attracts money, and as I have now, by my first advance, floated your speculation, I feel sure that the rich capitalist's contribution will not be long before it reaches you." Here you pick up the pile of eight coins with the tips of the fingers of the left hand, and make believe to take them thence with the right, but in reality let them fall into the hollow of the left hand. The right hand closes as though full, while the left is gently lowered and gets rid of the coins either into a secret pocket or on the servante. “One, two, three,-Pass!" You open the right hand, and show that it is empty. "You felt them, no doubt. No! Did not the pleasure of finding your capital increase give you an agreeable sensation? Come, let us count once more. Twenty-seven coins that you had already, and eight that I have just sent you, should make thirty-five in all. Let us count and see if it is so." Fetch your tray, whose false bottom is still "loaded" with seven coins, but before leaving your table, secure from the servante a single coin, which you palm in the right hand. Hold the tray with this same hand during the counting of the coins. "What do you say, sir? Thirty-four only? Then there is one short. It must have fallen by the way. Ah! yes, see, here it is in your handkerchief, madam! " You transfer the tray to the other hand, then pick up the handkerchief with the right, give it a shake, and drop from it the coin which you have just before palmed. 22

It is well always to count with the spectator, to prevent any possibility of mistake.


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"It was my fault, for not wrapping them up. However, the total is all right now. Take your money once more, sir," (you pour it into the spectator's hands as before, while the remaining seven coins slide out from under the tray and join the others), "and wait patiently for the contribution of capitalist No. 2. To tell the truth, he is a little reluctant. I shall have to use my power as magicobanker, or banker magician. I take the seven coins out of the paper with my wand, and send them to join the others. Go! See, the paper is empty; let us count once more. Thirty-five and seven should make forty-two." (You make the spectator count the coins on the tray.) "Quite correct, you see, forty-two! Now, sir, that your speculation is floated, I withdraw my capital, together with that of your two shareholders, as a remuneration for my trouble. That's only fair, is it not? And, besides, you will be able henceforth to dispense with my assistance, since I have just shown you a process for attracting money into your own coffers." You then carry off the tray and the coins upon it. If you do not happen to possess a tray with two money tubes, you can make shift with one only, but you will be obliged in that case to suppress a portion of the patter above given; unless, indeed, you possess sufficient dexterity to dispense with the use of the money-tube for the first stage of the trick, using instead the hand only. The use of the tray is absolutely necessary for the second "pass," because the company and the person assisting you, knowing beforehand the effect to be produced, note all your movements with more than. ordinary vigilance. In order to dispense with the money-tube the first time, you must proceed as follows: Advance to the gentleman assisting you, and present the tray (held in the right hand, the thumb above and the four fingers beneath). Between these fingers and the tray are seven coins, which you concealed in your hand before taking up the tray. These coins are hidden between the bottom of the tray which covers them and the fingers which hold them. Have the twenty-seven coins counted on the tray, and then ask the spectator to hold out his hand to receive them. As you speak, you empty into your own right hand the coins just counted, which, mingling with the seven coins which are there already, form a total of thirty-four, which you place bodily in the hand of the person assisting you. (It is hardly necessary to remark that you must hold the tray in such manner as not to permit the escape of the coins placed there for the second stage of the trick.) This done, continue after the manner above described, with the single money-tube of the tray.

33 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE FLYING HALF-CROWNS. Four half-crowns being placed in a small casket, to make them pass one after another into a glass placed at the opposite side of the room. THE apparatus necessary for this trick consists of: 1. The blue money-glass, 2. The half-crown casket, 3. The half-crown wand. The money-glass is a tumbler, of ordinary appearance, but sufficiently deep in colour (green or blue) to conceal the fact that it has a false bottom (working on a hinge), beneath which there is sufficient space for four half-crowns to lie concealed.

The half-crown casket is a little box so constructed that, each time it is closed, one of four coins which are placed therein like rings in a jewel-case, disappears. When the four coins have all disappeared from sight, an ingenious mechanical arrangement enables the performer to turn the box upside down without fear of letting the coins fall out (Fig. 21). The half-crown wand is in appearance like the ordinary magic wand, but so constructed that you can make a half-crown appear at one end of it and disappear again at pleasure.23 The preliminary preparations for the execution of the trick are as follows: 1. You "set" the casket for the reception of the coins.24 2. You place four half crowns under the false bottom of the blue glass. "Who will be kind enough," you ask, "to lend me a few half-crowns? You need not hesitate, gentlemen; here borrowed money is always repaid, and in point of fact, those who may kindly assist me in this experiment will find it well worth their while. The money which I hand them For details of the construction of these three pieces of apparatus, see Modern Magic, pp. 200 et seq.TRANS.



This is done by pressure with a pin through a minute hole on one side of the casket.-TRANS.


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

back will have acquired the faculty of multiplying in their pockets. I am therefore really giving you the opportunity of a capital investment. "Four coins will be sufficient for my purpose. Personally, a larger number would not inconvenience me, but you see my little casket here has only spaces for that number. " Let us have a look at the coins. They happen to be all of different dates: ―George the First, George the Fourth, George the Third, and Victoria. You must admit that one need be pretty skilful to make so many rival sovereigns travel all one way for five minutes together. "I put them, one after another, in this casket, which I will place in full view on this little round table. "Now observe this glass, which you see is perfectly empty." You hold the glass upside down, rattling the wand about within it. This is done in order to mask any sound which the coins might make, if they chanced to shift at all under the false bottom. "I will place the glass as far as possible from the casket, say on this other table." In placing the glass on the table, you push aside with the little finger the catch which releases the false bottom;25 and so set the coins at liberty. "Here then we have an empty glass, and there a casket containing four half-crowns. I propose simply to pass those four coins one after another into the glass. At my command, they will one by one leave the box, and will fall into the glass." "I close the box, and I say to the first coin, 'Go!' "You follow with your wand the course which the coin is supposed to take. "It is gone!" The spectators hear the sound of a coin falling apparently into the glass. This sound is produced by your assistant behind the scenes, who stands as near as possible to the blue glass, and, on hearing the word of command, drops a coin into another glass placed in front of him.

You open the little casket. "You see that one coin has departed from the box, which I will close once more. This time, to prove to you that the coins really travel in the way I tell you, I will catch This is a little arm of tin, working on a pivot, which projects through the bottom of the glass, and secures or releases the hinged flap. -TRANS.


35 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------the second, flying, on my wand. Second coin, go! I catch it, so! Here it is, you see, on the end of my wand." (You cause the half-crown to appear, as in Fig. 22.) "I will take it in my hand" (you suit the action to the word by drawing the wand through your left hand, and in so doing make the coin disappear again within the wand) "and send it to join the first. (A second coin is heard to fall upon the first.) "You see that now there are only two coins left in the casket. The third" (here you close the casket) "I will take out of the box with my wand" (the coin appears on the end of the wand accordingly); "I will carry it in full view half-way, and from thence pass it into the glass. Go!" As you say these words, you make a throwing movement, which enables you to "vanish" the coin from the end of the wand. Another "chink" is heard in the glass. "Notice again, please, that there is now only one coin left in the casket, which we close again for the last time." Here you draw near to your table to lay down your wand (which may be exchanged for an unprepared one, to meet the possibility of any one asking to examine it) and in so doing get possession of a half-crown which has been placed beforehand on the servante; this you palm in the right hand, then place yourself halfway between the glass and the casket. "Attention! Fourth coin, Go! Stay, I will catch it in its flight." You make a catching movement, and show the coin which you have just concealed in your right hand; then, in the act of apparently transferring it to the left, you again palm it in the right. The left hand closes as though it contained the coin. You make a motion as if throwing it towards the glass, and say ― "I will send it to rejoin its companions. One, two, THREE!" As you say the last word, your servant behind the scenes once more lets a coin fall into his own glass. You get rid of the palmed coin by either dropping it into a pochette or by placing it quietly on the servante of your table. You open the little casket, turning it upside down to show that it is empty; and then turning over the blue glass, pour out the four coins contained therein, which you return to the spectators who lent you the originals (Fig. 23).

To render the trick still more surprising, you may have the four borrowed coins marked by their owners. After they are marked, you exchange them for substitutes, and place these latter in the casket. During this operation, which you purposely prolong a little, your servant places the four marked coins under the false bottom of the glass. This done, he brings forward the glass, and you continue the trick in the manner above described. The exchange of the coins may be effected as follows You bid your servant carry to the spectator who is to mark the coins the little bodkin or stiletto provided for this purpose. Meanwhile, you


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

yourself take from some convenient spot,26 where they have been placed beforehand, four other half-crowns. The servant, necessarily turning his back on the company in returning to the stage, advances as if to hand you the borrowed coins, but he only makes believe to do so. Meanwhile, holding your own four coins at the tips of your fingers, you let these fall into the hollow of your hand as if you were taking the genuine ones. Should you not happen to possess the half crown casket, you may make use, instead, of a special tray (known as the "Vanishing" tray27), and place the coins on this. In this case you content yourself with merely picking up the coins from the tray (into the interior of which they disappear), and then pass them (apparently) from the hand into the glass; but the use of the half crown casket and the mechanical wand enable you to give a more striking character to the trick.

This may be either a pocket, the servante of the principal table, or smaller servante behind a side table or gueridon.--TRANS.



For a description of this piece of apparatus, see Modern Magic, p. 208.―TRANS.

37 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MESMERIC SYMPATHY. A pack of cards being cut into two heaps, to guess several times in succession the card that is on top of the one heap by looking at that which is on the other. OFFER a pack of cards to some one to shuffle, then shuffle again on your own account in such manner that you may know the top card. Place the pack on the table, and ask some one to cut, placing the upper packet, or "cut," towards himself.

This done, announce that you will undertake to discover the card on the top of the one heap (the card which you already know, and which we will suppose to be the ace of hearts) by looking at the one which is on the top of the other heap. You look accordingly at the card on the top of the second heap (which we will suppose to be the knave of spades), and announce that the card on the top of the first heap is the ace of hearts (Fig. 24). Replace the second packet on the first, when the knave of spades will naturally be on the top. Have the cards cut as before, look at the card on the second heap (which we will suppose to be the knave of hearts), and name the knave of spades as being the top card of the heap next to the person cutting. Then place your heap on his, and the knave of hearts will be the top card. You may in this manner continue the trick indefinitely. You may introduce the trick, by asserting that there exists between the cards a certain mesmeric sympathy which enables you to tell by the face of one card, what is the suit and value of the other.28

We can hardly conceive that the trick, as above described, would cause any illusion; indeed, it would seem almost an insult to the understanding of an ordinarily intelligent spectator. It might, however, be made into a fair trick, as follows: ―Secretly ascertain the top card, and palm it. Have the pack shuffled. Replace known card. Have the pack cut, look at top card of second heap, and name known card. Join the cards with second heap on top. Palm the new top card (which you have just ascertained), and have pack shuffled. Replace card, and continue ad libitum, each time palming the known card and having the pack shuffled. -TRANS. 28


Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE AMBITIOUS CARD. To place a card in different parts of the pack, and yet to make it always return to the top.

"SINCE I have taken to the study of prestidigitation, I have noticed a very curious fact, namely, that cards, like human beings, are extremely fond of positions of dignity. To them the highest honour is to lie on the top of the pack, and when one of them has been chosen by a spectator, it consider that it has become very superior to its companions, and will persistently elbow them out of the way in order to get to the topmost place. If you like, I will give you a specimen of these little domestic dissensions among the cards. "Madam, will you be kind enough to draw a card? With your left hand, please. Very good. What card have you taken? Oh! The queen of diamonds. Be kind enough to replace it yourself in the pack." (You make the pass.) "See, before I have time even to turn round, the card has got to the top of the pack." (Shew the queen of diamonds, which, in consequence of the pass, is now on the top.) "I again place it in the middle." (Pass it to the top by the Voisin method, described at page 2.) "Scarcely have I done so, when the card, with extraordinary agility, regains its place on the top of the pack.” Again shew the card, but, while still talking, "change" it (as described at page 3) for the top card, which you hold low so that its face cannot be seen. "I replace the card a third time. Upon my word, this is too bad. The very moment I leave it, it flies to the top again.” (Turn up the queen of diamonds, which was left by the "change" on the top.) "But you may fancy, perhaps, that I don't really put the card in the pack. If you will put it back yourself, madam, there can be no doubt on the subject." So saying, you hold the queen of diamonds in your hand in full view of the spectators, and advance towards the person to whom you speak. On your way, however, you again "change" this card for the top card, and offer this latter to the lady, who, having no reason to suspect the change which you have made,29 places the card in the pack without looking at its face. "You see, madam, the very moment you have let go of it, it has got back to its favourite position." Show the card, and hand the pack for examination to prove that it does not contain more than one queen of diamonds. In fact, the better to satisfy the spectators on this point, it is as well, during the progress of the trick, to spread the pack two or three times before them. The prestidigitateur Alberti has the credit of being the inventor of this trick, which is very effective, but demands a considerable amount of dexterity to perform it neatly.


This is strictly true. The "change" in skilful hands is practically invisible.-TRANS.

39 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE TWO CARD-BOXES. To cause two chosen cards to change places.

THE card boxes (Fig. 25) are two flat boxes exactly alike, and containing each a thin wooden slab which, according as the box is laid the one or the other side upwards,30 falls into the opposite side, and thereby conceals or exposes, as the case may be, a card placed in the box. A pretty little "transposition" trick may be performed with these boxes, as follows: Place in one of the boxes (say) a queen of spades, and in the other a seven of diamonds, and cover each card with the loose bottom. This done beforehand, take a pack of cards and "force" the queen of spades on one person, and the seven of diamonds on another. Then have the drawn queen of spades placed in the box which contains the seven of diamonds, close the box, and in placing it on the table, turn it over. Proceed in like manner with the drawn seven of diamonds, causing it to be placed in the box which contains the queen spades. On again opening the boxes it is found that the queen of spades has taken the place of the seven of diamonds, and vice versa. Once more close the boxes, again turning them over, and show that the cards have returned to their original positions.31

It should be mentioned that the boxes are polished all over, top and bottom, so that no difference is discernible, whichever side chances to be uppermost.-TRANS.


This is one only of many tricks which may be performed with the boxes in question, which are equally available to change, produce or vanish cards. See Modern Magic, p. 134.-TRANS. 31


Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE PEREGRINATIONS OF A CARD AND A COIN.

A card having been drawn and placed in a box, to make it disappear from thence, appear in another, and afterwards to take the place of a sixpence which has been marked, and placed in another box; the sixpence vanishing from such last-mentioned box and passing into a third box held by one of the spectators. THE pieces of apparatus required for this trick are as follows: 1. The two "card-boxes" last described.

2. A "rattle" box (Fig. 26). This is a box with a sliding lid, and so arranged that as you close the box, by tilting it slightly, any piece of money which may have been placed therein slides gently along the bottom, and deposits itself in the hand which holds the lid. Further, if you shake the box, at the same time lightly pressing on the bottom, a little metal tongue which is concealed therein moves backwards and forwards, in exact imitation of the noise which the coin would make if it were still in the box. When the bottom is not pressed, all remains silent.

3. The nest of boxes (seven or twelve, as the case may be). This is a circular box containing sometimes six, sometimes eleven other boxes fitting one within another. Before beginning the trick in which the "nest" of boxes is to be used, you open them all and place all the lids on one side, and the boxes On the other, but in regular order one within another, so that by placing the collected lids on the collected boxes (Fig. 27) you close the whole at once. But though the boxes can be closed simultaneously, when they have to be opened, the spectator who is invited to do so must necessarily open them one by one. (Fig. 28.) Preliminary preparations. ―Under the lid of the rattle box you fix, with a small piece of wax, a card, say the ace of hearts, You place another ace of hearts in one of the two "card-boxes," and lay the loose bottom over it. Lastly, you open all the seven boxes of the nest, and place the boxes on the one side and the lids on the other. Working of the trick. ―Borrow a sixpence; have it duly marked, and placed in the "rattle-box."

41 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------In closing the box, you slope it slightly, so as to let the coin slip out into the hand that holds the lid. With this same hand you give a little push to the card which you have fastened under the lid. The card is thereby detached, and falls loose in the box in the place of the sixpence. Place the box on the table, first, however, shaking it, and at the same time pressing the bottom, so as to make the spectators believe that the coin is still therein. Then go and fetch the little nest of boxes, but before closing it, quickly and adroitly slip in the coin, which has remained in your hand, then hand the box to one of the spectators. Next force a card corresponding with that which is in the box (in this case the ace of hearts); have this card placed in the empty card-box. Close the box, turn it over, and place it on a table at the opposite side to that on which you have placed the rattle-box. Open the other card-box, in which the other ace of hearts is hidden; show that it (apparently) contains nothing, close it, and place it (turning it over as you do so) on your centre table. This done, announce that the ace of hearts will pass into the box which at present contains the coin (i.e. the rattle-box), but that the distance being somewhat great, it will rest on the way, in the box on the centre table. Open the first card-box, which is now (apparently) empty, and shew that the ace of hearts is now in the second card-box. Again close this box, turn it over, and lay it down again. Take up the rattle-box and "rattle" it to prove that the marked coin is still therein; then, under the pretext of desiring to make room for the ace which is about to appear therein, order the coin to pass into the little box (the nest of boxes) which is in the custody of one of the spectators. Open the rattle-box, when the ace of cards will be found therein. Show that the card in question is no longer in the second card-box. Request the person who holds it to open the nest of boxes, and to testify that the coin which he finds in the innermost box is really that which was marked. In place of the coin, a ring, borrowed from a lady, maybe used instead, if preferred.


Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE RISING CARDS. (Improved Method.)32

THE trick of the "rising cards" is described in pretty nearly every work on magic. I only allude to it in order to place before the reader the various improvements which have from time to time been made in the trick.

The most important is the suppression of the tin box or houlette which held the cards (Fig 29), which has been replaced (greatly for the better) by a case of similar shape, but made of glass. Instead of, as formerly, arranging the cards which are intended to "rise" in a hinder compartment of the case, they are placed in readiness on the table, and laid on the top of the pack before you place it in the receptacle; or they may form part of a second pack for which you exchange secretly that which you have been using, the change being made either on the servante or on the table itself. You may, if preferred, have two of these glass cases, one of which will contain the prepared pack, and will be placed in readiness on the servante. You allow the spectators themselves to place the pack in the other case, and secretly exchange it for this one. You may make the trick of the rising cards more complex by having one of the cards torn into eight pieces, which you place in the brass bird-box (see Fig. 41).33 You make believe to withdraw seven of the pieces with your wand and to pass them into the case which holds the rising cards. The card appears in due course, but with one piece missing. You open the bird-box, wherein the missing fragment is found; you take out the torn card to show that the fragment exactly fits it, replace the card in the glass case, and then "vanish" the fragment in the act of (apparently) throwing it at the card, which again appears, but this time complete. This is (as the reader will readily understand) another card which has been placed in readiness beforehand. Or again, you leave the card half-way out of the glass case, showing the gap created by the missing piece; you take this latter out of the box in which it was placed, and in making believe to 32

For a full description of the working of this trick, see Modern Magic, p. 125 et seq.- TRANS.

The piece of apparatus known as the “plug-box " will be found more suitable. See Modern Magic, p. 192. -- TRANS. 33

43 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------pass it to join itself to the card, you "vanish" it, while the card is seen to become whole in a twinkling under the very eyes of the spectators.

The card used in this case is glued on to a thin tin plate with a little spring flap in one corner, to which is attached the missing fragment. This flap being folded back behind the card cannot be seen by the spectators. But when the card in its upward course has arrived at a certain height, the spring flap, which has hitherto been held back by the hinder surface of the glass receptacle, passes its upper edge. As soon as it does so, it flies forward, and replaces the torn fragment in its normal position (Fig. 30). Sometimes an amusing little mystification is introduced, as follows: ―You have forced (say) the seven of spades, but on the seven which is to rise from the pack, you have beforehand, with a little wax, stuck a loose pip of the spade suit, so as to give the card the appearance of an eight. After having had the drawn card named and ordering it to appear, you place yourself a little behind the cards, so as to take out the card without yourself seeing it. You then show it to the drawer, saying, “Here is your card, you see." If the person in question does not himself repudiate the card, some one of the spectators is pretty sure to remark aloud, "That is not the card. It is an eight." You pause, lower the card for an instant, and, while still. talking, detach with your nail the loose pip, which comes off very readily. Addressing yourself to the spectator who made the observation: ―"An eight, you say? I thought the gentleman said it was a seven he drew. Did you not, sir?" The drawer replies in the affirmative. “Well then, why did somebody say that it was an eight you took? What do you say?" "It was an eight that came out of the glass." "Impossible, sir; let us clearly understand each other, for I make it a point of honour never to have such a thing as a failure in my experiments. You are sure that it was really a seven of spades that you drew?" Naturally the answer is in the affirmative. You turn up the card, which having got rid of the loose pip, has now become a seven. "It is a seven, you see, that came up ― you are trying to play me a trick," &c., &c. The same effect may also be obtained by the use of a mechanical card specially adapted for this purpose. The eighth pip moves from its place by means of a little lever which makes it shift from one point to another, according as the card is desired to appear as a seven or as an eight. When


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

the movable pip is not intended to be seen, it lies just over one of the corner pips, and so is not perceptible.

The threads which actuate this moveable pip are of white horsehair, extremely fine, and are invisible against the face of the card even at a very short distance (Fig. 31). A mechanical card thus constructed is a triumph of patient ingenuity.34 For this same trick of the rising cards, a bouquet of artificial flowers has been devised, with a little box in the middle to hold the pack of cards. In this case, no thread is used to cause the cards to rise. The stem of the bouquet is mechanical, and a slight movement of the fingers actuates a little metal tongue which pushes up the drawn cards. These must have been brought to the top of the pack by means of the "pass." Even this bouquet has been still further improved upon, and the latest idea is to have a glass receptacle which fits on the end of the performer's wand. In this case the wand is mechanical being made like the stem of the bouquet above described. The advantage of these two last improvements is that the cards to appear from the houlette need not be forced cards. The pack of cards is passed from hand to hand, the spectators choose any cards they please and give you back the pack. You then have the drawn cards placed in the middle, and by means of the "pass" bring them to the top. You palm them off, and hand the remainder of the cards to be shuffled. When they are returned to you, you replace the palmed cards on the pack, which you then place in the houlette on the wand, or in the bouquet (as the case may be), and push up the spring. You may also, in the ordinary form of the trick (with the receptacle placed on the top of a decanter) dispense with the assistant who draws the thread, and connect it instead with a clockwork train which is placed on the servante, and which you set in motion at the proper moment.

The diagram on the right hand of the figure shows the internal mechanism of the card, the back being removed. All that is noticeable in the actual card is the tip of the little lever projecting beyond its lower edge, which in use is hidden by the finger. Cards with two moveable pips, changing a six to an eight, have been in use for some time past. Mr. Bland has gone even beyond this, and supplies a card with four such pips, changing a five to a nine with startling effect. ―TRANS. 34

45 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lastly (and this is the simplest and most effective improvement yet invented), certain exceptionally dexterous performers discard every item of apparatus which could give rise even to a suspicion of preparation. In this case the plan to be adopted is as follows: Attach to one of the buttonholes of your waistcoat a very fine black silk thread (or even a hair), and on its free end fasten a tiny pellet of wax. Have two or three cards freely drawn, bring them to the top of the pack, and on the back of the uppermost, near its lower edge, press the pellet of wax, thereby attaching the thread to the card. Drop the pack into an ordinary drinking-glass, and place the whole on a table; by gently drawing yourself away or by pressing on the thread with your wand (which you should have in your hand), the card drawn by the thread, rises, and finally falls out of the glass (Fig. 32). You pick it up in order to show it to the company and this gives you the opportunity to remove the wax pellet which you then attach to the card next in order.

You may, if you prefer it, hold the glass in your hand. As you move the hand towards the spectators, the thread is drawn taut and the card rises.35 (Fig. 33.) This method of working the trick was invented by Alberti. For a more minute description of its practical working, see The Secrets of Conjuring and Magic, by Robert-Houdin (George Routledge & Sons), p. 241.



Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have seen a Hungarian conjurer, M. Velle, a performer of exceptional dexterity, who even ventured to give the glass to be held by one of the company, when about to produce the last card. He placed the glass containing the pack in the hands of a spectator in the front row, and then himself drew back a little. (The hair or thread cannot be seen by the company, or even by the person who holds the glass, by reason that all have their eyes fixed on the pack of cards.)36 He then commanded the card to rise, first slowly, then more quickly, and lastly to jump out of the glass. To make the card rise accordingly, he pressed upon the thread with the wand he held in his hand, at first gently, then with a sharp downward movement, which had the effect of not merely making the card fall out of the glass, but of detaching the thread from it. The movement of the wand has nothing to excite suspicion; it merely seems to the spectators that it is the power of the wand which actuates the card (which is not very far, by the way, from the truth).

The most perfect method of working the "Rising Cards" is that of the American wizard, Hartz, who for neatness and finish, stands unsurpassed, if not unrivalled, among living conjurers. His modus operandi is as follows: ―A small glass box, open from end to end, a detachable tin bottom on a socket, and a short wooden rod, are handed for examination. The three (together forming the houlette) are put together by one of the spectators, and retained in his own hands throughout the trick. Cards are chosen in the ordinary way, and returned to the pack, which is placed in the glass box, and the remainder of the trick proceeds as usual: the element of special merit being that the effect is produced in the midst of the audience, without any apparent possibility of mechanical aid. Should a card chance to come up askew, it rights itself at the performer's command. We are acquainted with the secret, but being indebted for the knowledge to the courtesy of the performer, under seal of confidence, we are not in a position to reveal it.―TRANS. This is scarcely a sufficient reason, as the eyes of the spectators would naturally travel over and beyond the glass in search of the motive power. But as a matter of fact, a black silk thread (and still more, a hair) is invisible by gaslight, so long as it is extended across a black background, which is supplied by the evening dress of the performer.-TRANS.


47 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

UNCONSCIOUS DIVINATION. To have a card drawn by a spectator, and then to make another person, selected by the company, guess what such card is. FORCE a card (the king of hearts, for example); have such card replaced in the pack; make the pass to bring it to top; palm off the card, and deposit it secretly in some spot where your assistant can take it and place it in the "card box."37 (See Fig. 25, page 48). Hand the pack to be shuffled and leave it in the hands of one of the company. Then request the company to select one of their number, and ask the person so selected what the drawn card was. He will naturally reply that he has no idea. You assure him that he is too modest, and ask permission to put a few questions to him, to prove that he does know the card. In order to let him ultimately to name the card which has been drawn, you must proceed as follows. We have supposed the card to be the king of hearts. "In a pack of thirty-two cards, there are sixteen red cards and sixteen black. Which will you take?" "The black." (We will suppose the answers to be given as here stated, but, as will be seen hereafter, they make no difference to the final result.) "Good. You take the black and you leave me the red. The red cards consist of diamonds and hearts, which will you take of these?" “The hearts." " You leave the diamonds and you take the hearts. I conclude therefore that the chosen card must be a heart. But in the heart suit we have the ace, king, queen, and knave, which I will call the high cards; and the seven, eight, nine, and ten, which I will call the low cards. Which will you take?" "The high cards." "You leave the low and you take the high cards. Among the high cards we have the ace and king, which we will call the strong cards; and the queen and knave, which we will call the weak cards. Which will you take?" “The weak cards." “You take the weak and you leave the strong, namely the ace and the king. Of these two, which will you take?" "The ace." 37 If the card is to be "forced" this last direction is superfluous, inasmuch as the card-box can be prepared beforehand with a duplicate of the card. The only possible object of proceeding as above would be that the card might in such case be chosen freely.-TRANS.


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“You take the ace, and you leave me the king. It is therefore a king which was drawn, and as we settled just now that the suit was hearts, I conclude that the card drawn was the king of hearts." The whole secret consists in the manipulation of the two words take and leave, which must be placed, as may be needed, at the beginning or end of the sentence, and be so arranged as to name last always the series of cards which includes the one to be ultimately designated. The better to enable the reader to comprehend the mode of working, and to shew that the process is infallible, I will repeat the same illustration, but reversing throughout the choice of the person interrogated. "Red or black?" "Red." "You take the black and you leave me the red." "Diamonds or hearts?" "Diamonds." "You take the diamonds and you leave me the hearts. The card is therefore a heart." "High or low?" "Low." "You take the low cards and you leave me the high." "Strong or weak?" "Strong." "You leave the weak and you take the strong." "Ace or king?" "King." "You leave the ace and you take the king, whence I conclude that the drawn card was the king of hearts." Continue the trick by exhibiting the little card-box, apparently empty. In placing it on the table, turn it over, remarking: ― " I will place this box here. With my wand I take the king of hearts, which is at present in the pack, in that gentleman hands, and I pass it into the box. Examine the pack satisfy yourself that the card is not there, for it has already passed, as you see, into the box."

49 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The trick may be rendered even more surprising by having the drawn card marked. If you work without an assistant, you may beforehand place in the box a duplicate of the card intended to be forced. This trick will serve to lead up to that of the " Elastic Cards," next described, which may be introduced as follows: "You are surprised, no doubt, that it is possible for me to take the card on the end of my wand without your being able to see it, but that is a very simple matter. Under the influence of my wand, the card shrinks down to quite microscopic dimensions. I will show you the successive stages of this reduction with a complete pack." You then exhibit the trick next following.


Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE ELASTIC CARDS.38 To alter the dimensions of a pack of cards by simply pressing it in the hands.

The “pack" employed for this illusion is formed of an ordinary card so arranged so as to fold in two, behind which is fastened another pack of about half the usual size. On the backs of these last cards are pasted other cards of still smaller size. Lastly there must be yet another pack of extremely small dimensions, say about half an inch in length.39 The set can be procured complete of any dealer in magical apparatus.

Take the pack in your left hand, the large card outermost, and the thickness of the pack turned towards the public and along the thumb, so as to convey the idea of a complete full-sized pack. (Fig. 34.) In the space behind the lower part of the front card, place the very small pack, which you lodge in the hollow of the hand. On the face of the full-sized cards, place two or three ordinary cards, which you hand or throw to the audience singly for examination, taking care to leave them in their possession. Then begin as follows : "It often happens that I take with my wand a card from the pack, and this card, though in reality it is on the end of my wand, is quite invisible to the spectators. The reason, however, is simple enough; under the magnetic influence of the wand, the card immediately undergoes such a reduction of size that it becomes no larger than a grain of dust. "I propose to show you the successive phases of this transformation; and, to make the changes still more striking, I will make use of a complete pack. "Satisfy yourselves in the first place, if you please, that the cards have not undergone any special preparation." (Here you give the two or three top cards, as before mentioned, for inspection.) "I shall produce the first change by giving the pack a good strong squeeze between my hands." Bring the right hand over the left, and in so doing turn over the folding half of the single card, and display the first of the smaller packs, remarking: "You can see for yourselves the effect produced, for the pack is already diminished to half its original size. I give it another squeeze, and again reduce it by half."

38 The first stage of this trick is generally known to English conjurers under the name of the "Dissolving" or "Diminishing" Cards.-TRANS. 39 Each of these small packs is usually held together by a thread through one Corner. -- TRANS.

51 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------In the act of replacing the little pack in the left hand, you turn it round so as to bring it hind part before. Again make believe to squeeze it between the two hands; then, after a moment's pause, spread out the still smaller pack, taking care to hide the lower parts of the cards with the fingers of the left hand.40 "Again, you see, I have completely succeeded. In the third transformation I shall probably find rather more difficulty but by slightly increasing the degree of pressure, no doubt I shall be able to manage it." Again square up the pack with both hands, and in so doing, take in the right the very small pack, which you have up to this point kept palmed behind the larger pack; produce it with the right hand, and hold it up before you, following it with your eyes. Carelessly drop the left hand, which still holds the larger pack, and get rid of it, either on to the servante, or into one of our pochettes.

"This time, you see, the cards are reduced to quite microscopic dimensions. The result is encouraging. I shall now take this little pack in my left hand" (you really keep it in your right), "and by means of the mere pressure of my fingers, I will reduce it to a powder so fine that I shall be obliged to use this little tray to receive it." (Fig. 35.) (You step back to your table to get a tray, and avail yourself of the opportunity to let fall the miniature pack on the servante.) "I will ask you, madam, to be kind enough to hold this tray for a few moments. But, whatever you do, please don't breathe too hard upon it, or the whole will be scattered to the winds; and I should not be able to recover my pack of cards.

"You have just seen executed, spread over several minutes, the same process which takes place in one second at the end of my wand. To restore the pack to its original condition, a single second 40 It will be remembered that the cards of pack No. 2 are pasted on the backs of pack No. 1; and No. 2 being considerably the smaller, the lower part of the back of each card of No. 1 is left visible. The lower part these last must, therefore, not be exposed; neither must the pack be open too wide.-TRANS.


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

will in like manner suffice, so long as the dust of the cards is placed where no light can penetrate, a condition which can be easily secured by placing it in this box." (This is the box called the "drawer-box,"41 Fig. 36, in the inner drawer of which you have beforehand placed a full-size pack.) "I just close it, and open it again. The transformation takes place instantaneously." You take the pack of cards out of the box, and continue as follows (though the trick may very well, if you prefer terminate at this point). "If, instead of diminishing the pack to the vanishing point, I had wished to enlarge it, I should set about it like this." Hold the pack fanwise in your left hand, but without spreading it to any great extent. This is in order to show that it is of ordinary size. Close it again, and make a show of pulling it in all directions, then open it afresh, spreading the "fan" a little more, and making the cards rather more prominent. Close the pack a second time, and again pull it both lengthways and breadthways as though to stretch it. Again spread it fanwise, but this time make it look as large as possible by spreading it out to the utmost, and drawing the cards out to the very tips of the fingers. (Fig. 37.)

The spectators, who have but a moment before seen the cards really diminished in size, are now deceived by their apparent expansion, and are fully persuaded that the cards grow larger. You close the pack once again, and give it a squeeze, in order, as you explain, to bring back the cards to their ordinary dimensions. In order that the illusion of this trick shall be as complete as possible, you should take care to perform two or three other card-tricks before it, and having concluded them, to place the pack which you have been using on the table close to the prepared pack; so that when you take up this latter it may be assumed that the pack is the same you made use of a few minutes previously.

The "drawer-box" is a wooden drawer working in an external box or case. The drawer consists of two portions, the drawer proper, and an outer or shell drawer. This latter maybe drawn out either with or without the drawer proper, thereby enabling the operator to show the apparatus, either full or empty, at pleasure. For a detailed description of two or three varieties of this piece of apparatus, see Modern Magic, p. 343.―TRANS. 41

53 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AN IMPROMPTU TRANSFORMATION To transform a pack of cards into an object indicated hap-hazard, and then to perform a trick with such object. COME forward holding in your hand (thumb uppermost), a plate or tray of cut-glass, and concealing beneath your thumb an imitation gold wedding-ring. Borrow a wedding-ring, receive it on the plate, and turning to place it on your table, release the sham ring, and let it lie beside the borrowed one. As you are naturally at some little distance from the spectators, no one can possibly see what you have done.

Then take another plate, on which you have beforehand placed four pieces of ribbon of different colours, and request the audience to choose with which colour you shall tie up the ring. When the choice has been made, pick up the substitute ring from the first plate (take care you don't pick up the borrowed one by mistake) and tie it with the ribbon which has been selected. Transfer the other ribbons to the plate on which the borrowed ring remains, and hand the whole to your assistant, who carries it behind the scenes, and having heard the lady's choice, attaches to the genuine ring a ribbon similar to the one chosen, and therewith fastens it to the neck of a little canary. This he places under the false bottom of the "card-and-bird box" (Fig. 38),42 and forthwith brings forward the box. The substitute ring with its ribbon remains in your hands, and you place it on the plate which you have retained. You next exhibit a special pack of cards, on the faces of which are drawn (in place of the ordinary "pips" and kings and queens of playing cards) various common objects. Twenty-nine of these cards must represent a canary-bird; the other three any objects you please, say, a cigar, a wineglass, and a pansy. As you will naturally infer from the foregoing description, you only show the public the three last cards, and the person who draws a card will, as a matter of course, take one of those representing the bird. (If you prefer it, you may use, in place of the pack described, a pack the thirty-two cards of which represent each a different object; but in such case you must have one card representing a canary, and "force" that particular card. Thus performed, the trick will be even more effective.) Offer the cards to a person to draw, and make him take one of those with the "bird" picture; return to your table and lay the pack in a line, face downwards, so placing them as to be able to gather them up at a single sweep; then with the right hand sweep them rapidly up in such manner 42

For a detailed description of this piece of apparatus, see Modern Magic, p. 138.


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

as to draw them over the servante, while the left hand is lowered as if to meet them. You take advantage, however, of the momentary interval when this hand is hidden from the eyes of the spectators, to take from a little box, placed for that purpose on the servante, a canary, which has lain concealed there from the commencement of your performance. The right hand, continuing its movement, appears to push the cards into the left hand, but when they reach the hinder edge of the table, they are let fall on the servante. The hands are brought rapidly together, as if containing the pack of cards, but actually holding the bird instead. You then show that the pack of cards has become transformed into the object depicted on the chosen card. The bird flies about, and your assistant goes to catch it, or you may hand the bird direct to him to be carried to the person who drew the card, that he or she may verify the close resemblance between the original and the copy. While the general attention is attracted to the bird, you secretly pick up with the left hand a little mechanical canary-bird concealed on the servante; and when your assistant brings back the living bird, he makes believe to hand it to you, but really keeps it in his hand and carries it off behind the scenes. You meanwhile are holding the mechanical bird in your left hand, which you must keep all but closed, only allowing the head and tail to peep forth on either side. In point of fact, these are the only portions that you can show, inasmuch as the remainder of the body consists merely of a couple of pieces, of iron wire, hinged together near the head. As a matter of course, nobody suspects the substitution, and the company continue to believe that the bird you hold in your hand is a living one. You then take a pistol, and endeavour to thrust the bird into the barrel, but you profess to find it too large. You squeeze it between your hands in order to make it smaller, in reality folding back the hinge, which causes the head of the bird to lie; flat against the wire, enables you to take it in the right hand between the first joint of the fore-finger and the root of the thumb.43 The bird being held as above, you make believe to have it in the left hand; the right, which really contains the bird, is all but wide open, and points with the forefinger towards the left hand, as though to call attention to the fact that the;, bird is therein. You then lower it to take up the pistol, which you have placed at your right hand near the hinder edge of your table; and in picking up the pistol, let fall the dummy bird. During these last movements of the right hand, you must take care to keep the fingers close together, though without apparent intention, so that the spectators may not catch sight of the mechanical canary hidden therein. When you have secured the pistol, you make believe to thrust in the bird, which is professedly still in your left hand. The ring, as a matter of course, is also too large to go into the pistol. You therefore break it with a hammer, and then make believe to drop it into the barrel, in reality getting rid of the fragments by sleight of hand. This is a matter of little difficulty. After having shown that the bird-box (which was brought in as soon as ready by your assistant) contains (apparently) nothing, you close the lid, which, causing the false bottom to fly up, frees the bird. You place the box in some conspicuous position, and make use of it as a mark for your pistol. You then open the box, and the bird flies out, with the borrowed ring hanging from its neck. 43

Better, between the lower joints of the first and middle fingers.--TRANS.

55 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you do not chance to possess the card-and-bird box, you can make use of the brass bird-box referred to in the next trick (p. 75), or even of two eggs, each placed in an ordinary bottomless double egg-cup;44 one of such eggs must be empty, and have a hole at one end; in this your assistant will place the bird, which will then be in the position indicated in the diagram. (Fig. 39) It is easy enough to make the choice fall (apparently, at any rate) on the prepared egg. If the other is chosen, you break it to shew that it is really a genuine egg, and perform the trick with the one which remains.

The box used to hold the bird in readiness on the servante, is a little oblong tin box with a hinged lid; the front of the box is also hinged along its lower edge, but kept upright by a spring within. This front side of the box is continued upwards a little above the lid, and a little catch projecting from it serves as a fastening for the lid. One of the ends has an opening in it, to allow the tail of the imprisoned bird to project through it. The whole is mounted on a little wooden slab, which enables you to fix the box in any desired position. (Fig. 40.) To get possession of the bird, the four fingers of the left hand push back the front of the box, and diving down to the bottom, grasp the bird and lift it out, at the same time raising the lid, which being no longer held down by the front, opens without difficulty. If you only happen to possess one bird, the trick may still be worked just as easily. The assistant, instead of getting ready the card-and-bird box in the first instance, waits until the living bird has been exchanged for the mechanical one, and then places the former, with the ring round his neck, under the false bottom of the box. I have entitled this trick an impromptu, because you can introduce it by informing the spectators that you propose to pass the borrowed ring into whatever object may be designated by the chosen 44 This (see Fig. 39) is a kind of egg-cup much used in France. It is of white earthenware, and is in the form of two bottomless cups, the one a little larger than the other, joined together by their narrowest parts, with an opening between.--TRANS.


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

card, or, in other words, by chance; and that, consequently, the trick is quite impromptu, "since," you remark, "I cannot possibly know beforehand what card will be chosen, and consequently what the object will be." As soon as the object (the bird) has been designated and has been produced, you remark that it would be very easy to perform what you have promised, but that you fear the bird might be hurt by being compelled to swallow the ring, and that you will therefore, if no one objects, merely make it travel for an instant or two in company with the ring, instead.

57 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE MYSTERIOUS LETTER. A card chosen and torn up found restored, save one corner only in a sealed envelope, and afterwards completely restored. THE miss-en-scene of the following trick was I believe, invented by the French conjurer, Professor Brunnet, the partner of Robert-Houdin the younger.45 Anyone who dabbles ever so slightly in conjuring will readily understand the working of trick, which is in itself remarkably simple, but which I think worthy of being mentioned here as an illustration of the effect which may be produced by skilfully conceived "patter." “I have here," you begin, indicating a letter which you hold in your hand, "an envelope sealed with the utmost care, and it may be safely said that the envelope being thus hermetically closed, it would be absolutely impossible henceforth to introduce anything into it. I invite you all to watch it with all possible vigilance, and I will ask you, sir, to hold it for few moments. "Here I have a pack of thirty-two cards, which, like all well-regulated packs, has no two cards alike. I shall ask this lady to be kind enough to take a card from the pack ― with the left hand, please! Hide it well, madam; engrave it on yo memory; and when you are quite sure you will remember what it is, I will ask you to fold it, and to tear it in half. Good. Will you again tear those pieces across the middle ― that makes four. If I am not troubling you too much, for the last time tear them once again, so that the card will be in eight pieces.

"Now I will deposit all these pieces, which might otherwise get scattered, in this little brass box, which I will leave in your hands. (Fig. 41.) We will open it together, by and by. "As it will not do to let the card which you have torn up remain in that condition, I am going to take all these pieces with my wand, and pass them into the envelope which that gentleman is holding, and in which the card will regain its original form. "To begin: two, four, six" (here you make believe to hesitate a moment). "No! I will only take seven of the pieces, the eighth will serve to prove the identity of the card. "The seven pieces are now in my hand.46 I pass them into the envelope. The two conjurers above-named were, until the recent death of M. Robert-Houdin the younger, joint proprietors of a pretty little theatre, the Salle Robert-Houdin, on the Boulevard des Italiens, Paris.-TRANS. 45

46 This assertion must be understood in a Pickwickian sense. The seven pieces are supposed to be withdrawn from the box, and supposed to be in the hand, but only in an impalpable and invisible condition.-TRANS.


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"What card was it that you drew, madam? The knave of hearts? Very good. Sir, will you be good enough to break the seals? And you, madam, will you be kind enough to open the little box? Here is the card, right enough, in the envelope, but it lacks just the one piece I left in the box. Here is the piece, you see, corresponding exactly with the missing portion of the card. "I am bound, however, to effect the complete restoration of the card, and I shall therefore place it in the hands of a little workman who is confined in this box. (See Fig. 38.) We first drop in the card, then the torn piece, and shut the box. My little workman is very rapid in his operations; he will soon have finished his task. There he goes, you see, flying away with the card, completely restored." Explanation.-The card drawn is a "forced" card, a duplicate of which you have placed in the envelope, first, however removing one corner, which you place in the inner compartment of the brass bird-box47 depicted in Fig. 41. For the final restoration of the card, you make use of the "card-and-bird box" (Fig. 38), in which a hinged flap (forming a false bottom) flies up as soon as the box is closed. This flap as it rises conceals the card and the loose fragment, and at the same time releases a little bird to whose neck you have tied a whole card similar to the one drawn.

As it is sometimes difficult to procure the bird necessary to bring the trick to a conclusion as above described, or the use of the card-and-bird box may be otherwise undesirable, it may, in such case, be replaced by the "card-table" (Fig. 42) or by the "drawer-box" (Fig. 36).

47 Better, the box known as the "plug-box," of which a detailed description will be found in Modern Magic, p. 192. The box above referred to is identical in construction, save that it is larger, and that the "plug" is open at bottom so that the interior may be utilised to conceal a bird, or other bulky object.-TRANS.

59 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A SUPERNATURAL MEMORY. ARRANGE a pack of cards en chapelet,48 and provide yourself with a few loto cards (all alike), whose three rows of numbers you have committed to memory. Get some one to cut from the pack a pretty large number of cards (about half the full quantity); give the remainder to some other spectator, and ask the two holders of the cards each to sort his portion into the different suits. This is done in order to destroy the arrangement of the cards, which otherwise some specially acute person might possibly notice. This done, ask a third spectator to choose one of the loto cards, which you offer him for that purpose. You then announce to the company that you are gifted with a very remarkable memory, and that you only need a single glance to enable you to learn. anything instantaneously by heart. You ask the first person to shew you the cards which she has just sorted as above-mentioned. You glance at them for a moment, and hand them back again; then ask for the loto card which was selected, run your eye rapidly over it, and return it. Inform the person who holds the remainder of the pack that his duty will be to see that not one of the cards you are about to require from the first person is among those in his own possession. Begin by asking for five or six cards, taking care however not to ask for the one which commences your series. Next ask the spectator who has the loto card to tell you which row ― top, bottom, or middle ― you shall name. When a row has been selected, state the numbers which compose it. Again ask for such and such cards; have a second row of numbers selected, which you name accordingly; then ask, one by one, for all the cards remaining in the hands of the spectator, with the exception of the one which commenced series. State the last row of figures on the loto card. Name the remaining card of the chapelet, take back the other half of the pack from the person charged to check your operations, have the card you last named (the first of your series) replaced in the middle of the pack; make the pass, palm off the card, give the pack to some one to hold; get rid of the card, and announce that you propose to make it pass into one of the two candles which are on your table, whichever the company may choose. (You have beforehand taken the precaution to prepare both candles accordingly.) Ask someone to look through the pack, so as to make certain that the card is no longer therein, then cut the candle in half, and produce the card from it. You may further elaborate the trick by placing an almanac in the hands of the spectators, who may indicate, first any month, then any given day of that month, when you will tell them instantly on what day of the week the date so chosen falls.

En chapelet, i.e. placed in a known order, corresponding with a given formula or memoria technica, so that their succession may be readily recalled. -TRANS. 48


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To produce this result, you may, if you please, learn an almanac by heart;49 but you will do better to prepare seven pieces of pasteboard, on the faces of which you have printed very bold letters indicating the seven days of the week, thus― M, TU, W, TH, F, SA, SU. You hand these cards to a confederate, who will take his place among the company, and will quietly hold up, when required the card answering to the date indicated. To work this last feat smartly, you should first ask some one to name a month. When he has done so, you ask for cards, or name the numbers on the loto card, thereby giving time to your confederate, who is provided with an almanac, to look out the month indicated. You then ask some one to name a date in that month; and it will be for your confederate to find out that date as quickly as possible. You may, however, give him time by repeating the question asked, "Let me see, the ― of ―? That falls on a ―." As your confederate is placed facing you at the extreme rear of the hall, and the attention of all present is naturally attracted to yourself, no one is likely to suspect the artifice employed. The trick may be presented as follows:

This, which is apparently "wrote sarcastic," as Artemus Ward would say, is perfectly practicable, and a far more artistic mode of performing the trick than the clumsy method suggested. The day of the week in which any given date falls may be readily ascertained, as follows: ―You must commit to memory the date of the first Saturday in each month. This is not a very difficult matter in any case, and by the help of some simple form of mnemonics, should be mastered in a few minutes. For instance, the following doggrel verse will give the date of the first Saturday in each month for the year 1887:


Feb'ry, March, November, five, To merry May we seven give; Six for August stands alone; For Jan'ry and October one; Two for April and July; Four will the date for June supply; And three we may divide between September and December. Beating these lines in mind, you have merely to subtract from the required day of the month the date of the first Saturday, as above; then divide by seven and the remainder will give the day of the week, one indicating Sunday, two Monday, and so on. Suppose, for example, the required date is June 29. We subtract in the first place four, being the number of the first Saturday in June. This leaves 25. Dividing by seven, we have, as remainder, four, indicating that the 29th June (1887) falls on a Wednesday. Again, take September 30. Here we subtract, in the first place, three, and dividing the surplus, 27, by seven, we have six remainder, indicating that September 30 falls. on a Friday. If there is no remainder, the date in question will fall on a Saturday. Suppose, however, that the date required is one earlier than the first Saturday, for instance, the 2nd of December, the first Saturday in that month falling on the third. In such case you have merely to reckon backwards from the first Saturday; a very simple matter. Where (as in the case of May) the first Saturday falls on the seventh, the required date, if below that number, will itself indicate the day of the week, e.g., in such case the 1st will fall on a Sunday, the 2nd on a Monday and So on. --TRANS.

61 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"The pack of cards I hold in my hand, ladies and gentlemen, is composed, as packs usually are, of thirty-two cards, all different. "I will ask you, madam, to take from this pack a pretty large number, say half, or thereabouts, and to sort them into the different suits. I will hand the rest of the pack to you, sir. Perhaps you will kindly do the same thing. Your duty, sir, will be to check my operations; that is to say, to assure yourself that the cards which I shall presently ask this lady to give me are not among those you hold. You will please ascertain this, as I call for the cards. “Here again I have a set of loto cards. The game of loto has now gone out of fashion, and I haven't the smallest intention of challenging you to play at it. I shall merely ask this young lady to choose one of the cards. "And, lastly, I will pass round this almanac, commencing, sir, with you. “You have no doubt heard of persons gifted with extra ordinary memories, and you have probably envied the fate of the happy mortals so richly endowed. Now, I will undertake to prove to you, that anybody may possess, if he pleases, an excellent memory. All that is needed is cultivation. “I myself had naturally a shocking bad memory; so much so that, when I was at school, I was always getting punished, for not knowing my lessons. Luckily, an old usher who took a great interest in me undertook to impart to me the power of immediately learning by heart anything I chose. And I may fairly say that, though it cost me a great deal of hard work to acquire the faculty, my efforts were crowned with success. To prove the fact, I will ask this lady to spread out, fan-wise, the cards she holds in her hand, and to show them to me. Thank you, madam, that is quite sufficient, I know them all. Now, miss, will you oblige me with your loto card for one second. I return it, with thanks. That single glance has enabled me to learn by heart all the numbers on it. As to the almanac, I mastered that long ago; and if the school-boards only knew how valuable I find it, they would immediately make the almanac one of the compulsory subjects in all their schools. "Will you be kind enough to name any month you please, sir? January? Very good. Meanwhile, madam, may I trouble you to give me, from the cards you hold, the ten of hearts, the eight of clubs, the nine of diamonds, the knave of spades, the ace of hearts, and the seven of clubs.50 "And you, miss, which row of the figures on your loto would you like me to repeat? The middle row? Good; 14, 39, 58, 79. "You selected the month of January, sir. Will you be kind enough to name some particular date? The twenty-first? The twenty-first of January falls on a Friday. Please to pass the almanac to the lady next you? What month, madam? June? It is obvious from this series that the formula or chapelet employed by the writer is the familiar “Le Roi dix-huit ne valait pas ses dames,” meaning, “Roi dix huit neuf valet as sept dame,” or, “King ten eight nine knave ace seven queen.” The connective sense is of course lost in English.-TRANS.



Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Will you now give me, madam, the queen and king of diamonds, the ten of spades, the eight of hearts, the nine clubs, the knave of diamonds, the ace of spades, the seven hearts, and the king and queen of clubs? Thank you! "Which row of figures, miss? The top row? 24, 44, 66, 86. "What day in the month of June, madam? The first? The first of June is a Wednesday. Pass the almanac on, please, to the gentleman next you. What month, sir? December? "Madam, will you give me, if you please, the king of clubs, ―no, we have already had that card ―will you give me the ten of diamonds, the eight of spades, and the nine of hearts? "The last row of figures on the loto card is 1, 25, 44, 69, 70. What date in the month of December, sir? The seventeenth. The seventeenth of December falls on a Saturday. "Madam, you have only one card left, I think; it is the king of spades. Retain it for one instant, if you please." (To ensure this feat producing its full effect, the performer must have a pretty good memory, and carry the above scene through smartly without any hesitation.) “You see," you continue, "what a result may be attained by a little practice. I wish all the young ladies and gentlemen at school would take example by me. It would be an excellent thing for them. "Now, sir,"―to the gentleman who holds the lower half of the pack,― "as there is nothing more for you to check, kindly hand me back the cards. "Madam, will you be kind enough to place your king of spades here, in the middle of the pack, which I will leave in your own keeping. Now will you be kind enough to tell me into which of the two candles on the table I shall pass that king of spades? Into this one? Very good. I just take the card on my wand, and say `Fly.' The deed is done. Look in the pack, the card is there no longer. I cut the candle in two, and ― here it is. I will not detain you longer with this experiment, which, after all, is really nothing very surprising. I merely wished to prove to you, that with determination you may conquer anything, even a very refractory memory."

63 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE PENETRABLE HAT. To pass first a card, then the magic wand, and lastly one's own finger, through a borrowed hat. To pass a card through the crown of a hat is a feat very familiar to conjurers, and I only refer to it here in order to indicate certain additions which give it a new form, and so enable the performer to make use of it, by way of comic interlude, between two illusions of a more important character. To have a card drawn and replaced, to hold the pack against the crown of a hat, and to make the chosen card pass inside is a very easy matter. The modus operandi is follows: Invite a person to draw a card. When he has looked at it, make him replace it in the pack. Make the pass, shuffle the cards, keeping the drawn card on the top. Palm off the card (that is to say, holding the pack in the left hand, slip the little finger under the chosen card, and at the same time bringing the right hand over the pack, secretly carry off with it the card in question, clipping it between the top joints of the four fingers, and the root of the thumb) and hand the pack to one of the spectators, requesting him to shuffle. You then borrow a hat, take it with the disengaged hand and thence transfer it to the right, which in taking it lets fall therein the palmed card. Then, advancing to the person who has the pack, you make him hold it against the crown, requesting him to order the card to pass inside. You ask the drawer to name the card; show that it is now in the hat, and have the pack examined to prove that it is no long therein. If, after having executed this little feat, you proceed to explain that the borrowed hat is made of a very elastic tissue, which closes again spontaneously after a foreign body has passed through it, you may, in order to prove your assertion, continue the trick by means of the mechanical wand thrust through the hat, and finish by poking your finger through it, this also being thrust, to all appearance, completely through the fabric. This last "sell" (if I may be allowed the expression) is produced by means of a wooden finger, painted in imitation nature,51 and mounted on a tolerably long needle-point, which can be thrust through the hat without leaving any mark. The working of the trick is as follows: ―You palm the dummy finger in the right hand, and taking the hat in the left hand, show the hat to the spectators, with the inside towards them. This enables you to thrust the needle-point through the crown (from the outside). You then take the hat in the right hand, which is now disengaged, and pretend to thrust one of the fingers of the left hand through from the inside. This hand really takes hold of the needle-point. Again you turn the hat round with the crown to the company, and the dummy finger, moved by the hand which holds the needle-point, appears to be the finger of the operator. To withdraw it, you go through the same movements in reverse order.

The best "fingers" are made of wax, on a foundation of cork, Cigars may also be had, constructed on the same principle.-TRANS. 51


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The "wand" is constructed on the same principle. You pretend to thrust it through the crown from outside, while with the hand that holds the hat you thrust through from within the needle-point attached to a sham wand-end corresponding with your actual wand. You turn round the hat, and the spectators, seeing the dummy end, imagine that your wand has really penetrated the hat (Fig. 43).

65 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE MYSTERIOUS SHOT. To burn a card, and with the ashes to load a pistol, which you fire at a glass vase covered with a borrowed handkerchief. The pips of the card are found imprinted on the handkerchief, while the smoke has passed into the vase. THE preliminary arrangements for the trick we are about to describe are as follows: 1. Place upon your table, in such manner as to be shielded from the eyes of the public, a thin wooden block on which are cut, in relief, the pips of a card, say, for example, the ten of spades. Moisten these "pips" with a thin coating of lampblack, mixed with oil or glycerine. 2. Into a glass vase with a tolerably large cover, also of glass, pour a few drops of hydrochloric acid (otherwise known as muriatic acid, or spirit of salts), and move the vase about in every direction until its sides are wetted all over with the acid. 3. Repeat the same process as to the cover, but with liquid ammonia, and place the cover thus prepared at some little distance from the vase. The above arrangements having been made beforehand, "force" a ten of spades, have the card named aloud, burn it, and place the ashes in the barrel of a pistol, already loaded with powder. Then borrow a handkerchief, which you fold, with apparent carelessness, in such manner as to leave in the centre a clear space of about the size of a playing-card, and, in the act of placing your glass vase on the table, press the handkerchief thus arranged on the prepared block, which prints on it the pips of the card; place it by the side of the vase; put on the cover, and immediately throw the handkerchief over all, taking care not to let the spectators see the impression just made on it. Fire the pistol at the vase. Take off the handkerchief, and, in so doing unfold it, showing the card imprinted on it. At the same time exhibit the glass vase, which is apparently full of smoke ― hydrochloric acid having the property, when combined with ammonia, of throwing off dense white fumes. If you do not happen to possess a suitable glass vase, a wide mouthed glass bottle will answer the purpose. You prepare the bottle with the acid as above described, and pour a few drops of ammonia on the under side of the stopper. EFFECT OF THE TRICK. "Will you oblige me, madam, by drawing a card from this pack? What card have you taken? The ten of spades? Very good-kindly return it to me, if you please. That card is destined to be cremated." (You set fire to the card by means of a lighted taper, and then place it on a little tray or salver, where it is allowed to burn itself completely out.) "Now I shall collect the ashes, and make use of them to load this pistol."


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Sir, you look like a good shot, may I ask you to take charge of the pistol? You say you are no marksman? You are too modest. You must really allow me to doubt your assertion, but even if it were true, you may as well test your skill. I will show you what to fire at in an instant. "Still adhering to that little weakness of mine, of everlastingly borrowing, I shall now ask one of the company to oblige me with the loan of a large white handkerchief. Thank you, sir. You will allow me, I suppose, to make any use of this handkerchief I please? You will? Any use I please, you quite understand, so that if any accident should happen to the handkerchief, you won't hold me responsible. Thank you, sir, for this mark of your confidence." (You fold the handkerchief as above described.) "Here is a clear glass vase, which I will place here in full view on the table." (In placing it on the table, you apparently lay down beside it the folded handkerchief, but really press the handkerchief upon the block.) "Here is a glass cover, which I shall make use of to close the vase." (You do so accordingly.) "I will cover the whole with the gentleman's handkerchief." These last two movements must be executed pretty quickly, in order to prevent the spectators noticing the first appearance of the fumes, which begin to form almost instantly in the vase. In order to give them time to form in considerable quantity, you discourse as follows, not too quickly. "Now, sir, this vase will serve as your target. If you have ever chanced to burn a piece of printed paper, you may have remarked that the characters remain still visible, even after the paper is burnt. That is just what has happened in the case of the card. The mere paper is destroyed, but the ‘pips' of the card are not so; and when you fire, sir, you will impel them in this direction; but they will not have the force to go very far, the charge of powder being very light. The ‘pips,' therefore, will settle on the handkerchief, and the smoke alone, produced by the combustion of the powder, will pass through the glass and collect inside the vase.

" Now, sir, attention! Take good aim. One, two, THREE! Just as I told you, you see. The ten of spades appears on the handkerchief (Fig. 44), and the smoke is in the vase." You spread out the handkerchief, and uncover the vase, whence the fumes are seen to escape. (Fig. 45.)

67 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"The smoke has now grown cold, and therefore does not escape very rapidly, but you can see it all the better. "Sir, I have much pleasure in returning your handkerchief, which will serve to remind you of this evening's performance. The marks will readily disappear in the laundress' hands." Lamp-black mixed with glycerine is easily removed by soap and water. I should not however advise you to run the risk of borrowing the handkerchief of a stranger, who might possibly take offence at your little practical joke (annoyance to any one being a matter to be avoided). The best way to avoid any unpleasantness from this cause is to "plant"52 a handkerchief beforehand in the hands of one of the spectators. The handkerchief selected should be large enough to completely cover the vase.53

An article is said, in conjurer's parlance, to be "planted" when it is either placed beforehand in a given place to be found at the right moment, or handed to a friendly spectator to be "lent" to the performer for the purpose of some particular trick.-TRANS. 52

We have seen this trick performed by a distinguished amateur, with two improvements, which greatly enhance its effect. The first is the dropping of a blank card (backed to correspond with the pack) into the vase in the act of covering it; and the second, a simple mechanical arrangement in the table, which makes the vase, at the moment of firing, describe a semi-revolution. The handkerchief is thrown over with the printed side to the rear, the revolution of the vase bringing it to the front, while the blank card is produced as being the burnt card restored, minus the pips, which appear transferred to the handkerchief.-TRANS. 53


Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THOUGHT CONTROLLED OR ANTICIPATED.

UNDER the above title I have grouped together a series of tricks, of which the magical element consists in compelling the spectators to do certain things predicted by yourself beforehand. The manner of presenting the trick may vary, according to the taste of the performer. You may, for instance, before commencing one of the feats in question, hand to one of the company a sealed letter predicting exactly the various results you propose to bring about. Or again, if cards or numbers are in question, you may have them divined by an automaton figure. You will of course understand that you must always take your measures without allowing any one to suspect your intentions beforehand, and keep the persons who may assist you fully persuaded that they have chosen with perfect freedom the particular heap of cards, number, or other article which forms the subject of the trick.

THE TEE-TOTUM. ―In this case you make use of a special tee-totum, so contrived as to bring up any given number at pleasure.54 When the required number has been produced, give the movable portion of the tee-totum a twist, and ask the person who spun it to do so once more, so as to assure himself that the tee-totum is not arranged to show always that particular number. As you have displaced the weighted side, another number will naturally be produced. (See Fig. 46.) WITH CARDS.-Make up a pack of thirty-two cards as under, viz.: ―the following series (or any other at your pleasure) king and queen of diamonds, king and nine of spades ― five times repeated, then twelve indifferent cards. Make a false shuffle,55 leaving the order of the cards undisturbed, then lay on the table five heaps of four cards each which consequently will each be composed of the four above mentioned. Ask some one to verify the fact that there are just twelve cards left. Palm off two of them, and divide the ten remaining into two heaps of five cards each, but lead the spectators suppose that they are unequal in number, and taken hap-hazard. Invite some one to choose one of these two heaps, and inform the person selected that whichever heap he chooses will be for himself; in handing it to him, add the two palmed cards to the heap. Such a tee-totum as described may be procured at any conjuring depot. One side is slightly weighted, and by twisting round the lower portion, which is movable, the weight maybe brought to any desired position, and so ensure the turning-up of the corresponding number,-TRANS. 54

For the various kinds of false shuffles, which are very numerous, the reader is referred to Modern Magic, p. 23 et seq.-TRANS. 55

69 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------You then ask him to count the heap which is found to contain seven cards. You yourself count the remaining heap and show it to contain five only. "Just so," you remark: "five heaps of four cards each make twenty; one heap of seven, which you, sir, have chosen, makes twenty-seven, and this one of five, which remains, completes the pack of thirty-two cards."56 You make another person choose one of the five "all alike” heaps. You hand him the heap he selects, and gather up the remaining cards. Working the trick as above, it is an easy matter to predict beforehand that the first chooser will select a heap of seven, and reject one of five, cards; and that the second person will choose a packet of four, consisting of the king and queen of diamonds, king and nine of spades. WITH DOMINOES.-Prepare beforehand a set of dominoes consisting of seven different dominoes four times repeated. Place these in a box, arranging the four series one on the top of another, so that all the rows, taken horizontally, shall be alike. Take your box and turn out the dominoes upon the table, taking care not to mix the different rows; make them into four parcels, which consequently will be all alike, and invite some one to choose one of them. You may thus readily predict beforehand what particular dominoes will be chosen. WITH FLOWERS. ― On blank cards of about the size of a playing card, write the names of different flowers,57 one on each card; also prepare a dozen cards, all bearing the name of the Same flower. Spread out before the eyes of a lady the greater part of the cards bearing the different names, then make the pass (see page 1) and bring to the top the cards which all bear the same name; ask the lady to touch one of them with a pen or any similar object, then hand her the card that she may see what it is. Obviously, you will be able to make up beforehand a bouquet of the particular flower on which her choice is destined to fall. THE MYSTERIOUS ADDITION. ― We may further mention, as belonging to this class of tricks, the predicting of the total of a number of figures written down by the spectators, but this requires confederacy on the part of two members of the company.

56 It will be remembered that all French, and many English conjurers use the piquet pack of thirty-two cards only, the twos, threes fours, fives and sixes being wanting.-TRANS. 57

Better, have the flowers painted in colours on the cards.-TRANS.


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You ask some indifferent person to write, on a tablet which you hand to him for that purpose, a number of three figures. You then pass the tablet to one of your confederates, who writes underneath such figures as with those already written shall give a total of 999. Suppose, for instance, that the first person has written number 697, your confederate must write the number which when added to the other will give a total of 999. Beneath these two numbers have two more numbers written under the same conditions (i.e., one by an independent person the other by a confederate). The four numbers, being added together, will infallibly give the number 1998 as total. FIRST MANNER OF PRESENTING THE TRICK "SOME years ago, ladies and gentlemen, much interest was taken in the subject of table-turning. I need hardly tell you that as a magician I did not overlook this new form of mystery and I flatter myself that I have procured from it some very surprising results, which I am about to submit for your consideration. "Here are two sealed envelopes. Each contains a letter. These letters were written at the dictation of a little round table to which I often have recourse for information. "The pen you see here" (you show a handsome quill pen), "was used to write these two letters. I will ask this lady to be good enough to take charge of the first, and this gentleman of the second letter. We will open them presently. "Here, madam, is a set of little cards on which are written the names of various flowers." (You spread them fanwise, one after another as you name them, but you take care not to go quite to the end, so as not to show those which are alike, and which you keep separated from the rest by the little finger.) "Periwinkle, rose, corn-flower, myosotis. Have the kindness, madam, to take my magic pen ― with the left hand, please.” ―(As you say this, you turn to pick up the pen, and avail yourself of the opportunity to bring to the top, by means of the "pass," the parcel of cards bearing the name of the same flower ― rose, for example. Meanwhile, your servant places on your table a bouquet of roses, standing on a tray, but covered over with a handkerchief, so as to prevent the spectators seeing what the tray contains.)― "Now touch with it one of the little cards which I have just shown you. Keep the tip of the pen resting on the card; so that I cannot be suspected of substituting any other. I place it in your own hands. Please to see what name is written on it, and to keep that name engraved on your memory." “Here, sir, we have a pack of thirty-two cards, which I will divide into separate heaps upon the table. In the first place, I will make five heaps of four cards each, which will dispose of twenty cards, and the twelve which remain" (you count them one by one and then secretly palm off two of them) “I will divide into two unequal portions.

71 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------“Now, sir, of these two last packets, be kind enough to tell me which I shall keep on my table, ― warning you beforehand, that whichever heap you choose will be for yourself.58 The one on the right? This one? There is no mistake about the matter? This one I am to keep for myself, and this other I am to hand to you." You put aside the one heap and take up that which was selected. In handing it to the person who makes the choice, you add to it the two cards which you had previously palmed. "How many cards have you there, sir?" "Seven." “Very good! Seven that you have, and five, which is the number of the heap you rejected, make twelve." (Take care to count the five cards openly so that the spectators can see for themselves the number.) "We have twenty cards left, divided into five heaps, which I will call the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth. Which heap shall I hand to you? The fifth? Very good; here it is. Don't mix the cards, please, with the seven you have already; (You pick up all the cards on the table, only leaving the fifth heap) which you hand to the person who chose it.) “Now let us proceed to open our correspondence. Will you open your letter, sir, and read it aloud?" “SIR. ― Of two parcels of cards, you will reject one containing five cards, and keep one containing seven cards. "Secondly, counting court cards as ten each, and other cards according to the number of their pips, the total value of the four cards which you will subsequently choose will amount to thirty-nine. This total will be made up of the following cards: king of diamonds, queen of diamonds, king of spades and nine of spades. “Your faithful wizard." (Date.) (Signature.) “Be kind enough to see, sir, whether my little table has told the truth or not. "Before you break the seal of your letter, madam, be kind enough to say what flower you chanced to select. The rose was it? Good! now open your letter." "MADAM.-The magic pen which has traced these lines will guide your hand, and will compel you to choose the rose among the various flowers designated by the cards which have been offered you. Your very devoted wizard." (Date.) (Signature.)

58 The original says just the reverse, but the above is the more natural arrangement, and moreover is in accordance with the instructions previously given. I have therefore ventured to amend the text accordingly.―TRANS.


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I felt so certain, madam," you add, "of the influence of my magic pen, that I ventured to procure beforehand a bouquet of roses" (here you take off the handkerchief which covers the bouquet) "of which I beg your acceptance in acknowledgment of your kind assistance." SECOND MANNER OF PRESENTING THE TRICK. “Before beginning to perform this trick, I will take the liberty of depositing this envelope and its contents in the hands of this gentleman. "Here is a little blackboard and a piece of chalk. I will ask you, madam, to take these two articles, and to write with the chalk a number of three figures on the board. "841. "Now I will ask you, sir" (confederate No. 1), "to write under this first number a second, also of three figures." The confederate writes 158. "Now miss, will you be kind enough to write a number. "729. ”And you, sir" (confederate No.2), "may I trouble you to write a fourth and last number?" He writes 270. "Adding up these four numbers, I find that the total is 1998. "Now I take this set of dominoes. Will you, sir, have the kindness to assist me in this experiment ? You know that a complete set of dominoes consists of twenty-eight pieces. I turn the set out on the table, and I divide it into four portions of seven dominoes each. I will proceed by the method of elimination; that is to say, I shall hand to you the last heap which is left upon my table. See, I lay my wand between the four heaps, two on this side, two on that. Which two heaps shall I put aside? These two? Good. Now I will divide the two remaining heaps by placing the wand between them in the same way, and ask you to indicate once more which shall be put aside. This one? Then this other heap is the one I am to hand to you." You sweep the seven dominoes on to a tray, and hand them to the person who decided which heaps were to be put aside. "We have now completed two operations, which may be shortly stated as follows: ―Four numbers, written down by the company at their own choice, have been added up, and have given a total of 1998; and this gentleman holds seven dominoes which he has selected haphazard. "I daresay it has often happened to yourselves, ladies and gentlemen, on hearing of some event which has happened, to exclaim, 'Ah! I knew it would be so ― I had a presentiment of it.' And you were right; for all human beings have an undefined and instinctive sense

73 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------which warns them, why or how they cannot say, that such and such an act of their lives will have a particular consequence, which they anticipate beforehand. "We speak of this inexplicable sensation as a presentiment. Now, it is with this sixth sense as with the five others; if you give it constant exercise you may cultivate it to an extent approaching absolute perfection. “I have striven in my own case to develop this sixth sense, and I have so far succeeded as to be able, in many cases, to predict with absolute certainty the result of some particular action of my life. "Yesterday, for instance, I was thinking of the performance which I am giving at this moment, and I guessed, or I should rather say, divined, ―and correctly, I venture to hope, ―the result of the two operations which we have just carried out together. I made a note of my prophecy, if I may call it so, in the letter which you, sir, have in your custody. I will ask you to be good enough to break the seal, and let us know the contents." The letter is found to run as follows: “The total of the four numbers written down by four different members of the company will amount to 1998. "The seven dominoes chosen by one of the company will be ―" (State numbers, as may have been arranged.) "Do the numbers stated correspond, sir, with the dominoes you have in your hands?" “They do." “I must frankly tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that I am not always successful in this experiment, but I am very glad that I have made no mistake to-day, and have been enabled to give you a satisfactory proof of the truth of my statement." The series of tricks above described may be elaborated to any extent at the pleasure of the performer. I commend them as worthy of special attention, for they invariably produce a surprising effect.


Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE BURNT HANDKERCHIEF.

Up to the present time, one method only of performing this trick has appeared in print. The performer is instructed to borrow a handkerchief, and to roll it between his hands, this movement enabling him to bring uppermost a small piece of cambric, which is cut and burnt in place of the handkerchief.59 The method now preferably adopted is as follows: ―Have a handkerchief, closely rolled up, in your right hand, and the better to conceal its presence hold your wand in the same hand, this giving you a fair excuse for keeping the hand closed, as you are obliged to do. Take the borrowed handkerchief with the left hand, bring that hand near to the other, which holds the wand, and rub the handkerchief lightly between the hands; this movement enabling you to "change" the borrowed handkerchief for that which you held previously palmed, and whose place it now takes; then, laying your wand down on the table, drop the borrowed handkerchief at the same moment on the servante, or into a pochette. The substitute handkerchief then remains alone in your hand, to be dealt with as may suit your purpose.

To conclude the trick, you secretly get back the borrowed handkerchief into your hand, and again "change" it, as at first, unless you prefer to make use of the Burning Globe. 60 (Fig. 47.) The extreme conciseness of this description may render a little additional explanation desirable. The performer comes forward with a little piece of cambric, say five inches square, concealed in his palm. He borrows a handkerchief, takes it by its centre with the same hand that already holds the small piece; then with the other hand draws through the fingers (to the extent of a couple of inches or so) apparently the centre of the borrowed handkerchief, but really the centre of the small piece. He then invites some one to cut off and burn the portion thus exposed, which is done, the effect to the spectators being that the handkerchief itself is thus mutilated, to be restored in due course. The statement that no other method of performing the trick of the burnt handkerchief has ever been published must be taken with considerable qualification.-TRANS. 59

This is a brass vase, of spherical shape. Inside the outer globe is an inner globe, divided into two compartments, each with its own opening. According as the foot of the vase is twisted round to the right or the left the one or the other of these openings is brought uppermost, opposite the mouth of the vase. To use the apparatus, a "dummy" handkerchief is put into one of the compartments, and the foot of the vase twisted round so as to bring the empty compartment opposite the mouth of the vase. A borrowed 60

75 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The first exchange can also be made by placing beforehand a substitute handkerchief inside your waistcoat. When you have squeezed the borrowed handkerchief into a sufficiently small compass, you turn round to place it on your table and, in so doing, substitute your own for it.

handkerchief being then placed in this empty compartment, a reverse turn will bring the other compartment again uppermost, effecting the change, and enabling the performer to apparently burn or otherwise destroy the borrowed handkerchief (really the substitute), and to reproduce it at pleasure. The disadvantage of this piece of apparatus, though very ingeniously contrived, is that it is too obviously made expressly for conjuring purposes, and is therefore suggestive of mechanical aid. Mr. Bland has introduced a novel and inexpensive little apparatus for producing the same effect in a homelier and less suspicious way. It is a little tin saucepan, of about quart size, divided vertically (by a tin partition extending to within an inch and a half of the top) into two compartments; which we will call, for the sake of distinction, the front and back compartments. The upper edge of the partition carries a semicircular lid, which, according as it is moved backward or forward, closes the one or the other compartment. A spring, attached to the hinge, causes it normally to lie forward, thereby closing the front compartment. The apparatus is prepared for use by placing a dummy handkerchief in the hinder compartment, and drawing the lid back so as to close this compartment and leave the other open. The lid is kept in this position by a little catch. The borrowed handkerchief is, on some pretext or other, placed in the saucepan (in the front compartment), and the saucepan closed. The act of again taking off the lid releases the spring flap, which now closes the front, and leaves open the back compartment. The performer, changing his mind decides to burn the handkerchief, and takes it out (really the dummy) for that purpose, while the real handkerchief is carried off by his assistant in the saucepan, to be dealt with as occasion may require. It is obvious that the saucepan may in like manner be used for restoration, being brought on with the borrowed handkerchief (previously passed off) already in it. The maltreated dummy handkerchief may then be put in the saucepan, and cooked over the flame of a candle or spirit-lamp, and the original in due time brought out, "restored." The experienced conjurer will readily devise other uses for this handy little apparatus,-TRANS.


Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE SECRET SENTENCE.

To have a word or sentence privately written on a piece of paper, to burn the paper, and then to produce it again from a dinner roll or lemon, selected even before the word was written. ASK one of the company to write anything he pleases on a slip of paper, which you hand to him for the purpose. Take back the paper, having first had it folded in four, and "change" it for another paper of exactly similar appearance.

(This change may be effected either on a tray,61 or by means of the Changing Ladle62 (Fig. 48). Then pass off the genuine paper to your assistant, who opens it and copies the writing on a bit of soft wrapping paper. He then introduces the original paper into the card-knife.63 The slip of paper must in this case, when folded in four, be of such a size as to be capable of being covered with the ball on the thumb. A tray is brought forward to receive the paper, with a similar folded paper under the thumb, which, in the ordinary position of holding, will naturally be on the top of the tray. When the genuine slip of paper is placed on the tray, the thumb is shifted so as to cover this and uncover the other slip, which is then dealt with as may be desired.--TRANS.


62 The working of the Changing Ladle will be readily understood from an inspection of Fig. 48. The "bowl" of the ladle is divided into two portions by a spring flap, which normally lies against the hinder surface of the bowl, but by pressure on the end of the handle is forced over against the front portion of the bowl, thereby "changing" any card or writing deposited therein for a substitute, placed beforehand against the hinder part of the bowl. The spring-flap is shown by the dotted lines in the illustration, midway in its progress from back to front. An ingenious amateur, Dr. Herschell, has invented another little appliance for "changing" a slip of folded paper. It consists of two card-board cylinders, one perfectly plain, and 6 inches high by 3-1/2 inches diameter; the other a shade smaller, and having fixed within it a sort of upright wooden forceps, the movable blade, which we will call a, working between two fixed blades, which we will call b and c, but normally pressed by the action of a spring against b; a and c are of equal length, but b is about an inchand-a-half shorter. The apparatus is used in conjunction with an ordinary tumbler. It is prepared by placing beforehand, between a and b, the substitute slip of paper, properly folded, and concealing the smaller cylinder, thus arranged, on the servante or behind some object on the table. The performer shows the tumbler, the plain cover, and a blank slip of paper; and while the company are writing the sentence, or their attention is otherwise engaged, slips the plain cover over the other and brings both in sight together. The paper having been written on, he receives it in the tumbler, and under any convenient pretext, drops the cover over it. In taking it off again, he works the forceps with the tip of the finger from above, the effect being that the substitute paper between a and b is released, and falls into the glass, while the genuine paper is clipped between a and c, and removed with the cover, to be dealt with at the performer's pleasure. The inner cylinder may be allowed to slip out on to the servante, leaving the outer again free for examination. This ingenious little apparatus can be procured of Mr. Bland, to whom the idea has been presented by the inventor.-TRANS.

This is a knife with a square metal tube, about two-and-a-half inches long, and half-an-inch wide, soldered against one side of the blade near the handle. The substitute card or paper, properly folded, is beforehand placed in this tube. In the act of cutting (say) , a roll or loaf of bread, the thumb of the hand holding the knife, by pressing on a small metal stud shoots the card or paper into the cut thereby made. There is an improved and much more highly-finished knife for a similar purpose, wherein the blade is split through its thickness into two portions, the folded paper lying between them. In the act of cutting, a


77 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

While this is being done, you occupy the attention of the spectators by burning the dummy paper on the foot of an inverted wine-glass, after which you ask for a bit of paper to wrap the ashes in. Your assistant brings you the piece on which he has copied the contents of the original paper, so that in the act of placing the ashes therein you are enabled to ascertain what was written. You then load a pistol with the paper containing the ashes. I have omitted to mention, by the way, that before the slip of paper was written on, you had asked the company to choose from a number of dinner-rolls, oranges, or, lemons (as the case may be) one into which the writing is ultimately to pass. The article selected has been left in the custody of the person who made the selection. You now ask for the selected article, thrust the blade of the card-knife into it, and press the spring, which forces the writing into the cut thereby made. You then invite somebody to fire at this object, which you hold for that purpose on the point of the knife. When the shot is fired, withdraw the knife, make use of it to cut in half the roll or lemon (as the case may be) and show the slip of paper within. The "patter" for the trick may be as follows: "In this little basket, as you see, ladies and gentlemen, are a roll, a lemon, and an orange. Will you be kind enough to say, madam, which of these three articles I shall have the pleasure of handing to you? The roll? Very good. Have the kindness to hold it for a few moments while this gentleman writes on this slip of paper anything he pleases; the name of a person, the name of a town, a number, a motto, a proverb, just what he likes, in fact. Here are writing materials. Now be kind enough to fold the paper in four, as it was before,64 and to put it on this tray." (In going back to your table you exchange the paper for the substitute.) "I place it carefully on the foot of this inverted wine-glass, and set fire to it with spirits of wine." (Meanwhile, the tray is removed by your assistant, and the piece of paper, to receive the ashes, brought in.) "Now that it is reduced to ashes. I will collect them in this other piece of paper" (that just brought in by your assistant), "and wrap them closely up in it, so that no particle of them shall be lost. "Dear me! how is this? I burnt the paper so that I could not possibly know what it contained, but my doing so has had just the contrary effect. The burning of the paper has only made the letters the more distinct, and I can see clearly what you wrote. You wrote so and so," (giving the phrase which was written). "Am I not correct? “However, we won't stop here. Let us continue the experiment. downward pressure of the thumb moves the two portions of the blade apart, and releases the folded paper. Both sides of this knife can be shown, which is not the case with the older apparatus, but the latter is the easier to use. -TRANS. The author apparently uses a paper which has been already folded, in order that the style of the folding shall correspond with that of the substitute. The precaution is, however, needless, so long as you take care to use a paper whose length shall be exactly double its width. In such case folding in four, however interpreted, will give tire same shape for the folded paper.-TRANS. 64


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I load this pistol with the ashes, wrapped up as you see them, and place it in the hands of this gentleman, who will be good enough, when I say `three,' to fire. "By the way, we will make use of a new style of target. The roll which this lady has selected, placed on the point of this knife, will answer the purpose capitally. "Take good aim, sir, so as not to send the charge in my face, by mistake. By the way, ladies, you had better stop your ears. Attention. One, two, THREE! "I pull out the knife, and cut the roll in half. Pray accept my best compliments on your dexterity, sir; for I see that you have fired the slip of paper into the very centre of the roll. Take it out yourself, sir, and make quite certain that it is really your own identical writing."

79 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FLORICULTURE EXTRAORDINARY. By sowing a few seeds, to produce an instantaneous growth of flowers. You come forward holding a little box or cup in your right hand, and your wand in your left. You place the little box on the table, and begin as follows, holding the wand, one end in each hand: "Horticulture, ladies and gentlemen, has made extraordinary progress during the last few years. The very latest improvement, as you will probably be enabled to see for yourselves at the next great floral exhibition, consists in making flowers bloom instantaneously. The secret of the method employed has been confided to me by the inventor, on condition that I should make use of his process without explaining it. I propose to avail myself of his permission, and shall begin by producing a single flower. "A rose is a graceful ornament in one's button-hole: ―I will put one in mine. Here, you see, I have a little box, which is full of various kinds of seeds. Let me see if I can find one of the right kind. No! this is mignonette. Ah, here is a rose seed.65 I apply it to my button-hole, and by means of a little mesmeric friction, implant it in the substance of the cloth; then, just passing my wand over it, I order it to bloom instantaneously." As you speak you raise your arm, and a rose instantly appears in the button-hole of the coat. (How this effect is produced will be explained later on.) "You see, ladies, my first attempt is quite satisfactory. Now we will try the experiment on a rather larger scale. May I ask some gentleman to oblige me with the loan of a hat ?" You take the proffered hat, and move towards table. "Here," you remark, "is a glass bowl. Being of clear glass, it cannot possibly have any mechanism about it, for the transparency of the material would at once reveal its presence. I propose to make use of this bowl as a flower-pot in which to grow the flowers I have mentioned, but I must first put a little leaf-mould in it, earth being indispensable to all vegetation. Then I shall endeavour by my magic process, to grow in this bowl a bouquet of different kinds of flowers. "I am obliged to use a hat to cover the bowl, in order to prevent the escape of the warmth required for germination.” You cover the vase with the hat, but without placing it on table. You pause a few seconds, and then remark, "Let us see how our vegetation is progressing." You take off the hat, but no flowers have made their appearance. "Dear me, they haven't made much progress as yet. now I come to think of it, in order to produce flowers, we must sow seeds. I quite forgot that. Come, ladies, tell me, what flowers you would like me to produce? A rose? Good! Corn-flowers? Good! What else? A camellia? Very good! Dandelion? Did some one say dandelion? Pray observe that I don't in the least object to sow a dandelion if you wish it: but you must allow me to observe that dandelions are more appropriate in a salad-bowl than in a bouquet." 65

This is only part of the “patter." The box is in reality empty. ―TRANS.


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As each flower is named, you make believe to sow the corresponding seed. Before again taking up the hat to cover the bowl, you ‘load' into it a bouquet of artificial flowers, placed in readiness on the servante of the table. You then cover the bowl with the hat, letting the "stalk; portion of the bouquet, which is cut short and flat, rest on the earth in the vase. You hold the hat in this position for some seconds, and then uncover the vase and exhibit the bouquet. In the act of replacing the hat on the table you slip quickly into it a bundle of little bouquets of natural flowers, which was also placed in readiness on the servante. “Bravo! Our success is complete. Thanks to the assistance of the hat, I have been enabled to produce a charming bouquet. Allow me, ladies, to offer you a few flowers. Here is your hat, sir; I am very much obliged to you for the loan." But in the act of returning the hat, you suddenly pause; glance into it, and exclaim: "Well, this is curious; I suppose I must have dropped a few seeds into the lining, for here is the hat itself quite full of flowers." You break the threads which fasten the little bouquets together, and distribute them to the ladies, keeping one for the obliging gentleman who has favoured you with the loan of his hat. Explanation.-The rose which is to appear in the buttonhole is arranged as follows: You take a piece of cord elastic, and fasten it to one of the buttons on the right-hand side of the waistband of your trousers. This done, you pass the elastic across your back (under your coat), bring it through the cloth of your coat by means of a hole made just under the top button-hole on the left-hand side, through which you thread it. Fasten securely to the end of the elastic an artificial rose, which you place, thus attached, under your left armpit, keeping it in position by pressing the arm against the body. When you wish the rose to appear, you raise the arm, and at the same moment, with the other hand, pass the wand over the button-hole. The elastic, which was at full stretch, on being released, naturally contracts, and carrying the rose with it, brings it to the desired spot. The bouquet, which you load into the hat, to be thence introduced into the bowl, is of artificial flowers, with a few natural flowers (for distribution) mixed with them. this bouquet is so made, that by introducing the little finger into a tube or hollow space left for that purpose,66 it can be lifted without difficulty.

This is after the manner of the "cannonball." Most people will find the use of the middle finger more convenient than that of the little finger as suggested.-TRANS. 66

81 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Instead of using a bowl, you may, if preferred, employ, an ordinary drinking-glass with a foot; working the trick, in such case, with a bouquet of natural flowers. (Fig. 49.) A very little practice will enable you to introduce it with great ease, into the hat. There is also to be found at the conjuring depots a little apparatus on the "false bottom" principle, in which after sowing seeds, you are enabled to follow the successive stages of their vegetation. Your first see the flowers just opening, then in full bloom. This little apparatus cannot be said to constitute a very first-class trick, but it still produces a certain amount of effect.67 Lastly, there is a very large mechanical bouquet, which is made on a framework of springs, and when closed, packs into so small a space that it can be hidden under the coat. It is produced from a silk handkerchief.

The trick in this form derives its "artistic merit" solely from the "tinman" who manufactures the apparatus, and may be disregarded by any one possessing the smallest knowledge of genuine conjuring.-TRANS. 67


Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE FLYING BOTTLE AND GLASS. A bottle and glass, standing on different tables, made to change places.

THIS is an improvement on what is known as the passe-passe trick, and produces a brilliant effect. The apparatus necessary for its performance is as follows: 1. Two bottles, exactly alike in appearance, of japanned tin, made bottomless, and so arranged in point of size, that the one will fit easily over the other. 2. Two drinking-glasses, of such a size as to be just covered by either of the bottles. Before exhibiting the trick, you place one of the glasses on a tray, and fill it with wine. By its side you place the two bottles, the one inside the other, covering the second glass, empty. You also place on the tray a funnel, of glass for preference. You must also get ready beforehand two large paper or cardboard covers,68 of such a size as to completely cover either of the bottles.

You tilt the united bottles a little, thereby raising the glass enough to enable you to slip the little finger underneath,69 while the other fingers grasp the body of the outer bottle. You lift all together, glass and bottles, and place them on a table. (Fig. 50.) You then place the funnel in the neck of the combined bottles, and pour into it about half the wine contained in the tumbler which remains on the tray. This wine, as a matter of course, runs into the glass which is hidden beneath the two bottles. This done, offer your paper covers to the spectators, show that they are empty, and that they will just cover the bottle. As if merely to illustrate what you are saying, pass one of the covers over The word in the original is cornet, which is generally understood to indicate a conical cover, but this would be a very unsuitable shape. The covers should be cylindrical, and open at both ends, but some inches taller than the bottle.-TRANS.


The bottles are now generally made with a round hole, about the size of a shilling, in each, about two inches from the bottom. The holes are made to lie one over the other, on the side remote from the spectators, and the middle finger passing through both openings, presses on the glass, and enables you to lift the whole without being obliged to tilt the bottle, as above described. -TRANS. 69

83 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------the bottle, and in taking it off again, lift it by its lower end, at the same time using gentle pressure, which will enable you to lift off the outer bottle with it. You place this cover, with the bottle within it, over the visible tumbler, which remains half full of wine, and which you have placed at some distance from the bottle, on a side table or small round table. Place the second cover over the bottle which remains visible, and which masks the hidden glass. You now announce that you are about to make the glass and its contents take the place of the bottle, and vice versa. Having shown that they have done so, you make the articles return to their original position. The mode of working will be readily understood. When you desire to leave the glass visible, you take the paper cover by its lower part, pressing it sufficiently to lift the bottle with it. When you desire to leave the bottle visible, you lift the cover by its upper portion and without pressure. When the trick is completed, you carelessly pass the cover which contains the outer bottle over the inner bottle, which is now visible, and lift it off again (alone) by the top, thereby bringing the articles back to the same relative condition in which they were at first. You then replace all the articles on the tray, and have them removed by your assistant. As a matter of course, when you have made the bottle appear in place of the glass, you must take care to lift this latter with the bottle in the manner already indicated, so as not to give the spectators any reason to suspect that the bottle is a mere shell.70


See preceding note.-TRANS.


Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE BEWITCHED RING. A ring having been placed in a locked box, to make it pass into an egg.

THIS trick will be found described in a work of M. Ponsin.71 I have seen it introduced by an amateur in manner following: "Perrault, in his fairy tale of Peau d'Ane, says, in the course of his narration of the story of a certain ‘cake': ― ‘While in the midst of her task, intentionally or otherwise, a ring, which she was wearing on her finger, fell into the dough, and was kneaded up in it.' "The illustrious author might very well have said ‘intentionally,' without any qualifying expression, for there undoubtedly was premeditation in the matter; but when he wrote he was not aware of the little incident we are about to mention, and he might therefore fairly feel the doubt which he has expressed. "This was the actual state of the case; the fairy of the Lilacs, godmother of Peau d'Ane, had already made one unsuccessful effort to make her god-daughter known to the young prince. She had introduced the ring in question into one of the boiled eggs, which had been placed before the prince on the occasion of the rustic luncheon which he partook of at the farm, the hiding-place of the fair princess. As luck would have it, the prince did not take the egg which contained the ring. This proves, however, that there was design in the matter. "But, you may think, it was a very feeble artifice to put the ring in an egg, which, as the shell must necessarily have been broken to allow of its introduction, would not be very tempting to the guest. You are quite right. Such would have been the case, but that the fairy employed the method I am about to shew you, to introduce the ring into the egg without breaking it. "Here is the egg which I propose to use. Examine it carefully, or even mark it, if you please. "Meanwhile, I will ask one of the ladies present to be kind enough to lend me a ring ― a wedding-ring, for preference: it is more easily recognised, and less liable to accidents. I know that ladies are not very willing to part with so precious a token, and consequently I intend that it shall remain throughout in your own keeping. "Thank you, madam: as you are good enough to trust me so far, I will ask you to put your ring in this box, to close and double-lock it, and keep the key yourself. "I will place the box here, in full view, and on the opposite side I will place this egg-cup," (as you speak you give it a wipe round with a table napkin) "in which I will place the egg you have just examined. "With my magic wand, I take the ring from the box, and order it to pass into the egg.

La Sorcellerie Ancienne et Moderne Expliquee, Paris. 1858. A very good book, though now out of date, owing to the great advances the magic art has made since it was written.-TRANS. 71

85 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"To shew you that there is really ‘no deception,' I break the egg with this little hook, thrust it down inside, and take out the lady's ring." (Fig. 51.) You wipe it, and hand it back to its owner. "Be kind enough to open the box, madam: you will find that it is empty." Explanation. ―At the bottom of the egg-cup, which is of wood, is cut a little slot or mortise, of such a size as just to admit a wedding-ring (in an upright position) to one-third of its diameter.

The wedding-ring is first deposited in the "ring-box,"72 whence it is easily extracted through the secret opening at side. (Fig. 52.) You take up the egg-cup, and shew it carelessly, but without offering it for actual examination. Under pretence of wiping it out, you slily introduce the ring, which you have secretly retained in your hand, and which drops easily into the mortise. You place the egg-cup on the table, and take up an egg which you have previously taken care to crack slightly at one end.73 This is an elegant little box, one end of which is movable, working outwards on two pivots, and opening of its own accord when pressure is applied on a particular spot. It contains within the lock a little mechanical contrivance, which, when the box is double-locked, and shaken in a particular manner, causes a rattling sound as if the ring were still within it, though it has actually been extracted by the performer. If the box is unlocked, or only singly-locked, this rattling sound is not audible. ―TRANS. 72

The use of an already cracked egg, as above suggested, would be inartistic, as the whole marvel consists in the ring being produced from an egg which has been examined and found untampered with up to the very last moment. There are two ways of getting over the difficulty. The first is to hand an unbroken egg for examination, and then to "change" it (a very easy matter) for the cracked egg. The second, more simple still, is to give the egg a gentle tap with the wand on one end, say the small end, immediately before placing it in the egg-cup. Put it in with that end uppermost, but finding, or professing to find, the 73


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You hand it for examination, and place it in the egg-cup, pressing it gently down. However slightly the egg may be cracked, the ring will force its way in without difficulty. The rest of the trick will need no explanation.

large end rather too tight a fit for the cup, turn it quietly over, and then break the upper end afresh. The use of a recent invention will considerably enhance the effect of this or any other egg-trick. Natural eggs are now prepared by Mr. Bland in such a manner that, when the shell (placed in an ordinary eggcup) is broken in the usual way, a little piece of linen becomes visible. On drawing this upward, a miniature barber's pole, of various colours, and fifteen or sixteen inches high, comes into view, projecting from the top of the egg. This being removed, is followed by some dozen yards of white tissue paper about half an inch wide, representing the white of the egg, and this again by as many of yellow, representing the yolk; the whole expanding to so large a bulk, that it seems absolutely impossible that it could ever have been packed within the compass of an egg. There is nothing in the external appearance of the egg, unless very carefully examined, to indicate that it has undergone any special preparation. In the case of the trick in the text, a choice might be allowed between two eggs, viz., one prepared as above and the other perfectly natural. Of course the audience would not be asked in which egg the ring should be made to appear, but simply to choose an egg. If they chose the natural egg, the trick would proceed as above, and be followed by the production of the paper ribbon, &c., from the other. If the prepared egg were chosen the performer would say that he must see whether it was fresh enough, or make some other excuse for breaking it, express great surprise at finding the contents of so remarkable a character, and then revert to the other egg for the production of the ring.-TRANS.

87 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A HUMAN HEN. This is a feat which depends entirely on address, and should not, therefore, be exhibited in public until you feel certain of being able to execute it with absolute perfection. Fill your pochettes beforehand with as many eggs as they will hold. Bring forward your assistant to the front, and make him hold a dish or tray with both hands before him. He has beforehand placed in his mouth either a small imitation egg of ivory, or a real egg, boiled hard. The presence of the egg in his mouth he must disguise as well as he possibly can. When it is desired to produce an egg, he slightly opens his mouth, and pushes forward with the tongue the egg which is hidden therein. The conjurer meanwhile gets one of those with which his pockets are garnished, palms it, and steps up to the assistant as though to receive the egg from his mouth in his two hands.74 But instead of really giving the one which is in his mouth, the assistant conceals it afresh (by letting it slip back again into the mouth), and the performer shows instead the egg which he has taken from his own pochette (though apparently from the mouth of his assistant), and lays it on the tray which the latter is holding. This pass may be repeated as many times as you think fit. Finally, you take the actual egg which your assistant has had throughout the trick in his mouth. You should be sure, by the way, to break one of the first eggs produced, in order to prove to the spectators that they are genuine. You may, if desired, break all, save the egg last produced, which is the ivory one.75 The performer should heighten the effects of the trick as best he can, by means of a few "feints," which he will have no difficulty in devising; showing, for instance, the egg which he has (apparently) just taken from the mouth, vanishing it by sleight of hand, and then making it pass back again into the assistant's mouth, through the back of his head. The assistant, to produce this effect, opens the lips and shows the tip of the egg, at the same moment that the magician gives him a gentle tap on the head, supposed to mark the passage of the egg.

This direction is open to criticism. To use both hands, as above suggested, would have a very clumsy appearance; one hand is quite enough to mask the retirement of the egg into the mouth. Finished performers take the egg with one hand only, sometimes the right, sometimes the left being used. Meanwhile the disengaged hand is securing another egg for the next production.-TRANS.


The egg in the assistant's mouth may, if preferred, be a raw one. In this case all might be broken.TRANS. 75


Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE METAMORPHOSES OF A GLOVE.

THE performer must provide himself with a white kid glove torn into several pieces, a second white kid glove of gigantic dimensions, and a third of extremely small size, such as would be used for a doll. The various "passes" worked with these gloves are as follows: You advance to the company, having the "torn-up" glove palmed in your right hand, and, in order to avoid any appearance of constraint, holding your wand in the same hand. You borrow a white glove from some lady of the company, hold it to the flame of the candle as though intending to curl it round the wand; then suddenly drop this latter and roll the glove nervously between your hands as though you had had the misfortune to scorch it. This enables you to roll the borrowed glove into a ball, and to exchange it for the "torn" glove, which you then pull apart, bit by bit. You drop one or two pieces on the floor, thereby gaining an opportunity, as you stoop to pick them up, to slip the borrowed glove into a pochette, and to get into your hand the gigantic ditto, just inside which you have concealed the very little one. This large glove should be placed in a pochette or on the servante.76 In the latter case, the performer gains possession of it by going to fetch his wand from the table. Next, rubbing the torn glove between your hands, under pretence of endeavouring to repair it, you roll the pieces into a ball, which you conceal in the palm of the right hand, and produce instead the very large glove. You ask one of the company to take hold of one of the fingers of this glove, which is dragged out little by little, and is found to be of giant size. You hold it up in the air, that all may see it, and in passing by your table, get rid, on the servante, of the pieces which were left in your hand. Under pretence of trying the glove on, you now put your hand inside, and get possession of the miniature glove, which was concealed within it. You roll the large glove in a ball on the table, and in so doing vanish it through a trap. If you do not possess a trap-table, you must roll it in such manner as to bring it gradually nearer and nearer to the servante, on which, at a favourable moment, you let it fall, continuing, however, the rolling motion as if it still remained in your hands. You show the little glove, which you slip over the end of your wand, then holding it aloft, while all eyes (including your own) are fixed upon it, get from the pochette, where you had hidden it, the borrowed glove, and palm it in the hollow of the hand. It then becomes a very easy matter to conjure away the little glove, and to restore, in its original condition, the one originally borrowed. The whole effect of the trick depends upon the address of the operator, who must study every possible artifice to mask the successive substitutions.


Better, under the lower edge of the vest,---TRANS.

89 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------In the execution of this trick the wand plays an important part, inasmuch as, by holding this little emblem of your power in the same hand which holds the glove to be "changed," you prevent the unavoidable contraction of the fingers attracting any attention. I have on several occasions seen this trick exhibited by M. Velle, whom I have already mentioned as a performer of exceptional dexterity. He made use, for getting rid of the large glove, of the trap of a small round table. This is a very convenient method, but with sufficient practice the performer will be enabled to dispense with such assistance: and it is very desirable to be able to do so; for in giving a drawing-room performance it is but seldom that you can carry with you so cumbrous a piece of apparatus as a table, however small. And, moreover, articles provided by the conjurer himself are always regarded with a certain amount of suspicion, which it is well to avoid.77

77 The author, in speaking, as he so frequently does, of the servante, does not necessarily contemplate the employment of a regular conjuring table, but rather of a table adapted extempore for the purpose, as described in the introductory observations. Professional performers, however, in England, generally use a table of their own, even for a drawing-room performance. - TRANS.


Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE JAPANESE BUTTERFLIES.

THIS is an extremely simple trick, but nevertheless produces an extraordinary illusion. The manner of presenting it is as follows: You hand for examination sundry small square pieces of tissue paper, each folded in half. You take two of these papers, and with a pair of scissors trim them into the shape, as nearly as you can, of a couple of butterflies. Then placing them on a bouquet of flowers, and fanning them with a fan, or, better still, a Chinese hand-screen of very light bamboo, you make them flutter gracefully first over the bouquet, then all over the room. So natural is the effect, that to the spectators it seems as if these two butterflies, which hover so constantly around the performer, must surely be living insects. This surprising result is obtained as follows: Take a black human hair about twenty-seven inches in length, to one end of which you attach, by the middle, another hair of the same description, about seven inches in length. To each end of this last-mentioned hair you attach by the middle of the fold (by means of wax or otherwise), a slip of tissue paper, folded in two. (The size of the papers when folded should be about that of a cigarette paper.) Place the papers, thus attached, among a number of other papers exactly similar in appearance, and fasten the free end of the long hair to the uppermost button-hole on the left side of your coat; the buttonhole in which a flower is generally worn. You come forward, carrying in your hand a considerable number of slips of paper, among which are placed the two prepared as above mentioned, the connecting hair being already attached to the button-hole. You hand out a portion of the slips of paper for inspection, and then take two of them, apparently hap-hazard, though, as a matter of course, you really pick out the two prepared slips, which should lie one upon the other. By the aid of a pair of scissors, you trim your papers into the semblance of a couple of butterflies, taking care not to cut the hair which holds them. Slightly open the "wings" of your two butterflies, and lay them on a bouquet, which you hold in the left hand. Then, taking a fan in the other hand, and setting it in motion, you are enabled to make your two butterflies hover hither and thither, with every appearance of life. The fan used should be of rather stiff make, so as to create plenty of wind. The small Japanese hand-screens, made of split bamboo covered with paper, answer the purpose admirably. To make the illusion as complete as possible, you should, now and then, allow the butterflies to settle on some object; then make them rise and again descend. This is very easily managed, fanning pretty smartly to make them rise, then more gently, at the same time slightly bending the body as if following their movements. A few hours of steady practice should give you complete mastery of this inexpensive and yet charming illusion.

91 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AN ILLUSTRATION OF FREE TRADE PRINCIPLES. To cause a silk handkerchief, held in your own hand, to change places with an egg in a glass held by one of the spectators. "FREE TRADE! Whole floods of ink have been expended on the question; and yet, in spite of the many discussions which have taken place, public opinion is still divided on the subject. It is just possible, by the way, that these interminable discussions are the main cause of the difference of opinion; for instead of throwing light on the subject, I rather think, myself, that they have only tended to make it more obscure. "Will you allow me to reduce the question to its simplest expression? This, I think, will reconcile the conflicting opinions. "I shall not trouble you with theory, but proceed at once to practice; and shall take, to illustrate my argument, two very common objects ― an egg and a silk pocket-handkerchief. "England is in want of our eggs, for which she proposes to give us in exchange the silk handkerchiefs which she derives from her Indian possessions.78 What can be more simple? We will test the matter by a practical illustration. Here is a new-laid egg, which I brought up myself this morning from the country. I place it in this glass and cover it over with a handkerchief. "You are a Frenchman, I presume, sir? Then I have no doubt you will have much pleasure in representing France. You will? Very good! Then all you have to do is to hold this glass in your hand. "You see that the egg is really in the glass." (You take up a corner of the handkerchief and show the egg.) "Besides, you shake the glass lightly, you will be able to hear the egg strike against the sides, producing a sound which will leave, no question as to its presence. "I myself will represent free-trading England, as indicated by this silk handkerchief, which I propose to exchange for your egg. I will begin by folding it into a small, compact parcel; so! Now ― shake the glass a little, please. Yes, the egg is still there ― I send you my handkerchief, and I take in exchange, your egg! Here it is, you see. I uncover the glass, the egg is gone, and the handkerchief has arrived there in its place. This, ladies and gentlemen, is an illustration of free trade. I trust my demonstration is fully satisfactory." In the performance of this trick, you must be provided with: 1. A tolerably wide-mouthed tumbler. 2. A large silk handkerchief. It will be remembered that this is a translation of a French work. The performer is assumed to be a Frenchman, and addressing a French audience.--TRANS. 78


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3. A wooden egg.79 4. Two small silk handkerchiefs, exactly alike. 5. A hollow egg (generally of metal, japanned),80 in one side of which is an oval opening through which to introduce, one of the small handkerchiefs into the interior. You must attach to the wooden egg, by means of a minute wire hook or staple, a fine black silk thread about three inches long, the other end of which is attached to the centre of the large silk handkerchief. You arrange the whole on a table so as to look as if the egg was merely lying loose upon the centre of the handkerchief, and at the same time put one of the small silk handkerchiefs within one of the upper folds of the large one, but so hidden that its presence shall not be suspected. On another table you lay the duplicate small handkerchief, concealing the hollow egg beneath it. These arrangements being made beforehand, you pass the left hand under the large handkerchief, assisting yourself with the right, and grasp simultaneously the egg and the small silk handkerchief, which latter must still be kept out of sight. "Here we have," you remark, "a handkerchief and an egg." As you say these words, you take up the egg with the right hand, raising it a couple of inches or so to show it to the company;81 then replace it on the centre of the handkerchief, still lying on the left hand. With the right hand, which is now at liberty, take the glass, and with the left hand, which is still covered by the handkerchief, lay the egg therein (keeping the back of the hand towards the spectators), and at the same time throw over the large handkerchief by way of cover, but in so doing first drop the small handkerchief into the glass. Lift a corner of the large handkerchief on the side towards yourself, and take out the egg to show that it is really in the glass.82 This little manoeuvre gives you an opportunity to settle the small silk handkerchief well down into the bottom of the glass.83


Many performers use a blown natural egg in place of this.-TRANS.

Real egg-shells, coated internally with a hard cement, so as to strengthen them, are now prepared for this purpose, and are preferable, as more natural in appearance.-TRANS. 80

It will be remembered that the egg is attached to the handkerchief, and you can therefore only lift it to the extent of the connecting thread. -TRANS. 81


As before, it can only be raised a very few inches. See preceding note.-TRANS.

It is necessary that the small handkerchief should be undermost, and clear of the suspended egg, which would otherwise be likely, when the Large handkerchief was removed, to drag it out of the glass.-TRANS.


93 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Replace the egg in the glass on the top of the small handkerchief, cover it again with the large one, and give the whole to some person to hold. Such person must grasp the glass by its bottom part, his or her hand being covered by the folds of the larger handkerchief. (Fig. 53.) Ask the holder to shake the glass gently, that all may hear the egg knock against the sides; then take the second small silk handkerchief from the table where it lies, at the same time getting possession of the hollow egg, which you keep palmed in the right hand. Have the egg again shaken once or twice in the glass, and announce that you are about to roll the handkerchief into a ball, and pass it into the glass. While thus speaking you hold the small handkerchief between your hands, and gradually work it, by means of the thumbs, into the hollow egg. When the whole of the handkerchief has been worked into the egg, have the glass shaken once more, and ask the person who holds it to keep thenceforth quite still. Take hold of the large handkerchief at the edge of the glass, and lift it off; first, however, making believe to "change" the egg for the handkerchief. Show the hollow egg in your right hand, and lift off the large handkerchief, which carries with it the suspended egg. The small handkerchief alone remains in the glass.


Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE THREE RINGS.

To have three rings shut up in a box, and thence to make them pass on to a metal rod, though each end terminates in a knob, and such knobs are held by a spectator. “I MUST address myself more particularly to the ladies in reference to this trick, seeing that I shall require three rings, and I hope that some of the ladies will be kind enough to lend them to me. I can assure you that I will take the greatest possible care of them." The rings being duly collected on a tray, you continue: "I am sincerely flattered by the confidence which is reposed in me; but I cannot say I am surprised at it. People cannot refuse anything to a conjurer. Why it is so I really don't know, but the fact is unquestionable. For instance, if any of you gentlemen were to ask one of these ladies to lend you her rings to play at catch-ball with, I am quite sure she would refuse, and yet if I were to make the same request, she would grant it immediately. I have a right, therefore, to feel extremely flattered by the confidence which is placed in me; and in order to justify it, and to avoid the possibility of accident, I will ask this young lady to be kind enough to place the rings herself in this little box" (the "ring-box,'' described at p. 116), "to lock and double-lock it, and to keep the key in her own possession. Under these circumstances you will feel, ladies, that your rings are quite safe, as they will not quit the box till I give them my command to do so, and till all is ready to receive them." During this little oration you press the spring, which causes the end of the box to fly open and lets the rings fall into your hand. These you "pass off" to your assistant,84 first, however, reclosing the secret opening of the box and addressing one of the spectators as follows: "I will leave the box and its contents in your custody, sir. Don't shake it too roughly, for fear of injuring the ladies' property; but move it about gently, and listen carefully, so as to assure yourself that the rings are still there." (The box contains, in the thickness of its front, a little metal tongue, which is normally held silent, but is set free by the act of double-locking, so that when the box is shaken, anyone would naturally suppose from the sound that the rings were still inside.) "I will now ask you to examine this little arrangement, consisting of a brass rod with a knob at each end. One of these knobs is a fixture; the other unscrews at pleasure and allows the rod to be thrust through this wooden ball, which, as you see, has a hole in it, allowing it to move freely up and down the rod. Be kind enough to ascertain for yourselves that these two articles have undergone no special preparation, and are innocent of any mechanical contrivance. The black ball 84 The conjurer finds himself frequently compelled to "pass off" some article, i.e., to place it by some means or other in the hands of his assistant, who deals with it, behind the scenes, as may be necessary for the purpose of the trick. This is done in various ways. Sometimes the article is left (unknown to the audience), in some piece of apparatus just used, which is then carried off, as done with, by the assistant. In the present instance the performer could drop the rings on the serrvante, or behind some article on one or other of his tables, whence they would be presently picked up, the assistant passing the spot on some pretext.-TRANS.

95 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------is of solid wood, and the knob at each end of the rod is of the same metal as the rod itself." (Fig. 54.)

After the examination is concluded, you secretly exchange the black wooden ball for another of similar appearance, but hollow, and so arranged that your assistant has been enabled to place the borrowed rings within it.85 "Your inspection being completed, I will place the whole here, and I will ask some one of the company to come and stand beside me. Perhaps this young gentleman will oblige. You will, sir? Then please take the brass rod in one hand and the knob, which is now unscrewed, in the other. I pass the rod through this solid ball" (it is of course the “trick” ball, with the rings, which is really used). "Now be kind enough to screw the knob which you have in your hand on the exposed end of the rod. Very good! Now I will cover the black ball with this silk handkerchief. Be kind enough to hold the rod by its two ends, so as to prevent anything being passed either on or off it, and then be good enough to stand just here, exactly facing our kind friends. "Finally, I will place this brass cup in full view on this little table."

This may require a little further explanation. The ball given for examination is of ebony, about 1-1/2 inches in diameter, with a hole through it of about 3/8 inch in diameter, the rod itself being about 1/4 inch. The substitute ball exactly resembles it in external appearance, but is cut in half vertically down the centre of the bore. The two halves, a, b, fit nicely together, being made like box and lid. (See Fig, 55.)


At right angles to the central bore, in each half, are three semicircular slots, lined with cork, for the reception of the rings, so that when these are placed therein, and the ball closed, the rings encircle the central bore. Both balls are reeded externally in circles, starting from the point of junction in the trick ball, such junction being thereby rendered invisible. The assistant having previously got possession of the rings, inserts them into the trick ball, closes it, and then brings forward the apparatus, and places it on the table, the rod and solid ball openly; the trick ball on the servante, or behind some object, where it can readily be got at by the performer.-TRANS.


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(This is the "pick-up cover"86 (Fig. 56), into which your assistant has secretly introduced the solid ball.) "I advance to the box, and by the power of my magic wand take out the three rings, so! Open the box, if you please, sir. The rings are no longer there, I take them in my hand" (this is of course make-believe only), "and pass them through the handkerchief. I press with both hands on the solid ball, which, yielding under the pressure, flies off the rod, and passes under the cover." Under pretence of squeezing the ball to make it leave the rod, you really press with the right hand on the springcatch which keeps it closed,87 while the left hand holds it to prevent its falling. The ball opens and leaves the rings at liberty. The ball itself you palm off under cover of the handkerchief. The three rings are found threaded on the rod, and the (solid) ball under the brass cup. You request the person who holds the rod to restore the rings to the ladies who lent them; which, however, can only be done by unscrewing one of the brass knobs at the end of the rod. I have suggested the finding of the solid ball under the “pick-up cover"; but the use of this appliance is not absolutely necessary.88 The ball may, if preferred, be found in your pocket, or in that of the person assisting you.

A brass cup or cover, with a scoop-like arrangement working on a spring-hinge against its side, and capable of supporting a ball or any small article. By pressure on a button on the top of the cover, the "scoop" is made to recede from the side and to release the article. Where it is desired to use the cover to pick up any object, it is brought down over the object in question, while the button is at the same time pressed, thereby keeping the "scoop" open. The pressure being relaxed, the scoop reverts to its normal position against the side of the cover, and clips the object between itself and the side.-TRANS. 86

Some balls are made with a spring catch as above-mentioned, but as a general rule, the two halves merely fit one into the other, just tightly enough not to come prematurely apart.-TRANS.


If the cover be used as above described, it is well to have two solid balls, one to be used in the earlier stage of the trick, and the other to be produced at its termination. -TRANS.


97 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE FAKIR'S WAND.89 WHEN it is proposed to perform this trick, it should be made, if possible, the first item of the entertainment.

The requirements are a magic wand of some black wood, made round and perfectly plain, and a spring clip, also black (see Fig. 57), which serves to hold the wand in different positions. This clip has two little uprights.90 When about to perform the trick, you take the clip in your left hand, the second and third fingers passing between the two uprights, and come forward, holding the wand in the right hand. During the speech following, you hold the wand carelessly, sometimes in the one hand, sometimes in the other, sometimes with both together. "Ladies and gentlemen," you begin, "I am about to have the honour of exhibiting a few experiments in natural magic, which will, I trust, afford you some little amusement, and to the execution of which I shall devote my very best energies. "I will ask you, in the first place, to be kind enough to examine this wand with all possible care." (You hand it to the company accordingly.) "Up to the present time, it has been popularly believed that the magic wand was a commonplace piece of wood, an ordinary stick and nothing more, serving merely to supply occupation for the hands of the conjurer. This is a very great mistake. The magic wand is so called because it possesses genuine magic power; but such power, I should tell you, can only be fully developed under the influence of electricity. "I used formerly to prepare my wand before making my appearance on the stage, but to-day I propose to perform the whole operation in your presence." You take back the wand from the spectators, and, still speaking, place yourself behind your table, facing the company, and lay the wand upon it. "You are aware, ladies and gentlemen, that a glass rod or stick of sealing-wax, when rubbed with a piece of flannel, acquires, in virtue of the electric fluid which is thereby generated, the faculty

So called after the "Fakir of Oolu" (Professor Sylvester) by whom it was first produced in England. The trick in question was made use of by Professor Sylvester as an introduction to the more important illusion known as the "Aerial Suspension," wherein a lady floats in air without visible support.-TRANS.


The two "clips" shown in the diagram, are of clock-spring, and of such a size as just to fit the wand. Being flexible, they slip on and off easily enough, though they hold pretty tight when on. It is a good plan to line these clips with black velvet. The little uprights are to enable the fingers to hold the clip.-TRANS.



Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

of attracting light bodies. I have only to rub this wand lightly with my hands, to develop in it the mysterious power in question."

You bring your hands down over the wand, slip over it the "clip" which is in the left hand; and, after moving the fingers backwards and forwards a few times, lift both hands horizontally, at the same time pressing together the fingers of the left hand,91 so as to keep a firm hold of the clip, this in turn lifting the wand, which appears to adhere spontaneously to the hands. (Fig. 58.) You then come forward to the company, saying ― "You observe I have now magnetised the wand, so to speak, and so strongly does it hold, that I can even support it with one hand only." You then remove the right hand, but sliding it to the end of the wand, and lifting the fingers one by one, as though it was impossible to remove them all at once. Then, as if replying to some one,92 you say, "No, sir, there is no mechanical attachment, neither have I anything in my sleeve."

This is rather questionable advice, as the hand held with the fingers close together has a constrained appearance. If the little upright points are made, as in the diagram (Fig. 57), to bend slightly inwards the clip can be securely held by an outward pressure of the second and third fingers, the other fingers remaining free to be expanded or brought together at pleasure,--TRANS.


This, viz., replying to some imaginary objection, is a frequent expedient in conjuring. It is often very useful, as enabling the performer to make some necessary remark for which he would otherwise have no excuse. A conjurer speaking in this manner is technically said to speak a la cantonade.-TRANS.


99 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------You then turn the left hand, so that the palm shall face the company, at the same time bringing the wand from the horizontal into the vertical position. (Fig. 59.) "Neither has the wand any special attraction for my left hand, for I can transfer it with equal facility to the right." So saying, you bring the right hand palm to palm with the left, and giving the wand a half-turn between the palms, twist round the two points so that they now rest on either side of the middle and ring-finger of the right hand. Press laterally with the fingers of this hand to prevent the clip from falling, and gently draw away the left hand, moving the fingers as if you had some little difficulty in detaching them. The wand then remains in the right hand, in exactly the same position which it previously occupied in the left. "The power of the wand is, as you see, beyond question, yet this is but a feeble specimen of what it is capable of doing. You will be better enabled to appreciate its marvellous qualities as the performance proceeds." As you say these last words, you again take the wand in the left hand, disengaging the clip with the right, and forthwith getting rid of it either on the servante or into one of your pochettes. You can, if time permits, prolong the trick by changing the position of the clip, and showing that the wand can be just as well supported by either end as by the middle; but I do not think it worth while to protract it to any considerable length, it being merely presented as an evidence of the, reality of the cabalistic properties attributed to the magician's wand.93

There are two or three other ways of working this same trick. One is by means of an endless loop of black silk thread passing round the performer's neck, and hanging down over his breast. The loop thus formed is slipped over the end of the wand, and as far as its middle, when pressure applied by the thumb and fingers on the inner side of the wand forces it against the loop, and holds it in pretty nearly any desired position. Another plan is to have two wands, one perfectly plain, the other prepared with two or more pairs of wire points, about half an inch in length, and 2 inches apart, at an angle of about 60° to the wand. These are used in the same manner as the uprights of the spring clip, the plain wand being first handed for inspection, and then exchanged, on the servante or otherwise, for the prepared wand, which should be of ebonized pine, or other very light wood. Again, the trick is sometimes worked with a full-sized walking-stick, brought on in a hinged box. After being examined, it is replaced for a moment, under some pretext or other, in the box, and therein changed, by a mechanical arrangement, for the prepared stick, which is in this case held suspended by means of a silk thread attached to the stick itself. The use of so clumsy an expedient for exchanging the stick deprives the trick in our own opinion, of all artistic merit,-TRANS. 93


Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE SPIRIT PADLOCK.

THIS is a padlock (Fig. 60) so constructed that, after it has been locked in the ordinary manner, you can, by pressing a spring in a particular way, make it open of its own accord at the expiration of a given time. The apparatus is made use of as follows: You come forward with the padlock (unlocked) and key in your hand; you give both for examination, then take back the padlock and ask some one to be good enough to lock it. As you say this you press the spring in such manner as to prevent its unlocking itself. This done, you explain that, this padlock is subject to the power of your will, etc., etc. To prove your assertion, you hang it up in a conspicuous place, clear of all communication with surrounding objects, or, if you prefer it, you may pass your wand through the bow, and give it to one of the company to hold. Then, under pretext of making it hang perfectly steady, or any other convenient excuse, you take hold of it for a moment, and set the mechanism in operation. Withdrawing to a little distance you take a black-board, on which you have beforehand drawn, with chalk, a padlock, of similar appearance to the one you are using. Calling attention to your drawing, you remark: "Here is a sketch of the padlock you have before you. Here, you see, is the keyhole. Now observe, as soon as I rub out that keyhole, the lock will open. See, this is all I have to do." You rub with one finger the spot on which the keyhole is drawn, and, just as it is completely rubbed out, the padlock is seen to open. You will not succeed in hitting the exact moment when the clockwork has run down without some little previous practice, so as to know exactly to what length of time to extend your observations. You should, however, when in the act of rub bing out the keyhole, begin at the top and proceed very gradually, keeping a sharp look-out for the opening of the padlock, and at the last moment make a clean sweep of all that is left. This trick always causes the greatest possible astonishment, The trick of the padlock, as also that of the fakir's wand, might be presented as illustrations of spiritualism. A suitable mise en scene could be readily found. The following, for instance, might, at a pinch, serve the purpose. "Since the recent introduction of spiritualism, many persons have taken a great interest in it.

101 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"At the outset, it was 'table-turning' that turned people's heads. Now we hear of nothing but 'mediums,' and the extraordinary effects which they are enabled to produce; causing a complete reversal of the ordinary laws of nature, and the appearance of independent volition in objects which, till now, had been regarded as completely inert, etc. etc. All these effects can be produced by means of various conjuring tricks, as I will at once proceed to prove to you." With this introduction you perform the tricks of the "padlock" and of the "fakir's wand;" requesting the company, however, to take notice that you by no means claim to be a medium, but on the contrary, desire to show by your experiments that physical and mechanical science are quite adequate to produce effects which, in the hands of unscrupulous persons seeking only to make a profit out of public curiosity, might very well pass, in the eyes of the less instructed classes, for supernatural phenomena.


Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------EXPERIMENTS OF A PSEUDOSPIRITUALISTIC CHARACTER.

THE experiments we are about to describe are, in reality, mere conjuring tricks; some of them very old, but some, on the other hand, of quite recent invention. These tricks have been selected as being well adapted, with a special mise en scene and appropriate "patter," to recall and to explain the spiritualistic feats executed by so-called mediums, which for some years past have attracted so much attention.94 Each feat will be described with a mise en scene of its own, but it is obvious that a given selection may be grouped together so as to form a complete seance. The introductory observations of the performer may be to the following effect: “Ladies and gentlemen, the various experiments in pseudo-spiritualism which I am about to have the honour of showing you, are merely designed to fortify the genuine believer in spiritualism against a class of performances which, to put it plainly, are mere humbug. "If you will allow me, I will give you a few examples of different kinds of spiritualistic manifestations."

The utmost that can fairly be said of the tricks in question is that the performer makes use of the spiritualistic theory to serve as a framework for them. The tricks themselves, with one or two trifling exceptions, have not the remotest resemblance to the stock manifestations of the "spirit" medium. Any reader who is interested in the modus operandi of some, at least, of the spiritualistic "manifestations" will find information on the subject in the writer's notes to Robert-Houdin's "Secrets of Stage Conjuring" (G. Routledge & Sons), pp. 213 et seq.-TRANS. 94

103 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE INTELLIGENT COIN. "WHEN spiritualism is spoken of, the subject of table-turning naturally suggests itself to the mind. And, indeed, which of you has not, once in a way, played an active part in some of those experiments which afforded so much amusement to family circles a few years ago. "Wherever a dozen people got together with outspread fingers round a table, there was always some sly joker to give the table the necessary "shove," and start its revolving movement. As soon as this first result was obtained, questions were put to the table, which replied more or less correctly, indicating the answers by means of raps or knocks, which each person was at liberty to interpret after his own fashion. "It will, of course, be useless for me to assure you that the magic art has long been able to produce effects of a similar character, unless I also give some practical proof of my assertion, which I shall accordingly proceed to do. "I must frankly confess, by the way, that I should never have dreamt of exhibiting the trick which I am about to show you, had not the ‘manifestations' of the more or less conscientious mediums of the day suggested to me the idea of resuscitating this experiment, which dates from time immemorial. "Instead of making use of a table by way of oracle, I propose to use a half-crown, which, perhaps, some one will be kind enough to lend me, first marking it with this stiletto." (You pass a small stylus or bodkin to the person who lends the coin, which is then laid upon the table.) "Here is an ordinary glass goblet. The clearness of its 'ring' and its perfect transparency show pretty plainly that it has undergone no special preparation, but, notwithstanding, I will ask you to make quite sure on that point." (You hand round the glass accordingly.) "I place the goblet in the centre of my table, upon this glass dish.95 I use this last merely in order to cut off all possible communication with the table. "Now I will place in the glass the coin which this gentleman has been kind enough to lend me."

This is not shown in the illustration, but it is obvious that such an addition would make no practical difference to the working of the trick. -TRANS



Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the act of picking up the coin from the table, you press against it a little pellet of virgin wax attached to one end of a black silk thread, the other end of which is in the hands of your assistant behind the scenes, who, by pulling the thread, makes the coin dance and "talk," according to the exigencies of the trick. In order to prevent the possibility of the pull of the assistant upsetting the glass, the thread is passed through a little wire staple fixed on the upper surface of the table. (Fig. 61.) The wax should be so placed beforehand on the table as to be readily got hold of. "Now, if I claimed to be a spiritualist, I should gravely extend my hands over the glass, and invite the spirit of some departed Cagliostro to come and take up his abode in the coin for a few minutes. "As it is, however, I shall do nothing of the kind. I shall merely tell you that, by virtue of a trick, known but to a chosen few, the coin is now in a condition to answer any question that I may put to it. "Let us consider it an understood matter with the coin that to answer ‘Yes' it is to jump once in the glass ― so." (The coin jumps once accordingly, the thread being pulled by the assistant.) "To indicate `No' it will simply remain at rest.96 Take a pack of cards arranged en chapelet,97 and have a card drawn haphazard by one of the company. Before closing the pack, pass to the bottom that portion of the pack which was above the card drawn, and then return to your table, holding the pack in such manner as to enable your servant (peeping from behind the scenes) to catch sight of the bottom card. Bearing in mind the order of the chapelet, he at once knows the card chosen,98 which I will suppose to be the ten of hearts. "Coin, did you see what card was drawn?" The coin answers, "Yes." "Is it a court card?" 96

A better code is three for `Yes,' two for 'No,' and single strokes to indicate numbers.-TRANS.


See page 77.


This will be the card next following (in the order of the chapelet) the visible card.-TRANS.

105 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"No." "Is it a ten?" "Yes." "A black one?" "No." "A red one, then?" "Yes." "Is it a heart?" "Yes." Take back the card from the hands of the person who drew it, and after shewing it to the company, place it on the top of the pack.99 Have another card drawn and named in the same way, and repeat at pleasure. Next hand to one of the company a little piece of paper folded in four, and ask him to write upon it any number he pleases; have the paper folded as before, and receive it back in the changing ladle. (See p. 104.) As you return to your table, press the spring, thereby making the moveable partition close over the written paper, and disclosing in its stead a dummy paper of exactly similar appearance. Hold the ladle over a tray and let the sham paper fall out upon it; then put aside the ladle, but in so doing let fall the genuine paper in such a position that your assistant can get instant possession of it. He at once opens it and reads the contents, then places the paper in the card-box (described at page 47) under the wooden slab, or false bottom. He then brings forward the box, and places it open in some place where you will be able readily to get at it when required. In order to give time for your assistant to carry out the little arrangements I have mentioned, you occupy the attention of the company by a few remarks of some kind or other, concluding as follows: "Here we have a slip of paper on which this gentleman has written a number of his own selection. I am going to make the coin tell us what that number is; but in order that no one may suspect me of looking at the paper myself, I shall first shut it up in this little box." You take the "card-box" prepared as above by your servant. You place the dummy slip of paper in it, and, in placing the box on your table, turn it over, so as to bring the false bottom above the substitute paper, and to set the genuine one at liberty. "I must place the box near the coin, so that it may be the better able to see the paper." You then take a slate, or a small blackboard, and a piece of chalk; and put the questions following to the coin. (We will suppose that the number written was 793.) "How many digits are there in the number the gentleman has written?" The coin sounds three times. 99

By this means the order of the chapelet remains unbroken. -TRANS.


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Be kind enough to tell me the number of the units." The coin again sounds three times. "Did you say three?" “Yes." You write the figure 3 on the slate. "Now the number of the tens." The coin sounds nine times. "Nine?" "Yes." "And the number of the hundreds?" The coin sounds seven times. "What, seven?" "Yes." "Then if I have written correctly under your dictation, the number fixed upon by the gentleman was 793?" "Yes." You open the little box, take out the genuine paper, and have it handed round among the company. "Merely to disclose a number is not a very difficult feat, but to do a sum in addition requires a little arithmetical knowledge. The coin, however, is very intelligent, and I fancy it will stand even that test with credit. "Be kind enough, sir, to write on this slate any number you please." (We will suppose that 34 is written.) "And you, sir, another number, under the first." This second person must be one with whom you have a private understanding beforehand, and must write below the first number, another, each of whose digits, with the one above it, will make a total of 9. He will in this case write 65, thus: 34 65 together making 99. Pass the slate to a third person, who will in his turn write some number, suppose for example 610. Finally, pass the slate to a second confederate, who will in such case write the number 389. Result: 610 389 999

107 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------If the first digit on the left hand of the number written by one of the indifferent persons chanced to be a 9, your confederate would simply refrain from writing any figure underneath it. If, for example, the number were 910, your confederate would write 89 only. 910 89 999 In like manner, to throw people off the scent, one of your confederates might write a number having one figure more on the left hand, provided that such figure be a 9. You must so arrange matters as to indicate to your assistant of how many digits the numbers to be added together consist. Knowing this, he will be enabled to calculate the total. For, since your confederates are bound to write in every case such a figure as shall, with the figure above it, amount to 9, it follows that, according as the numbers written consist of one, two, three, or more digits, the total of each two rows will be 9, 99, or 999, and so on. Here we have only to add together 99 and 999, which gives a total of 1098. "We have," you continue, "two numbers of two digits each, and two numbers of three digits each,100 which the coin is to add together. I will ask you, sir, to be kind enough to draw a line under these four numbers, and to write down one by one the figures which my clever calculator will dictate to you. Let us begin." The coin sounds first eight times for the units, then nine times for the tens, but when you ask for the hundreds, it remains silent. "Is it a nought, then?" "Yes," replies the coin. Finally it sounds once for the last figure. "1098 Kindly see, sir, whether the addition is correct." "You can imagine, ladies and gentlemen," you continue, "what an effect an acute medium would produce with this trick. If I were not afraid of trespassing too much upon your indulgence, I would propose to make the coin read a word, which perhaps you, madam, will be kind enough to write on this paper. I will only ask you, madam, not to select too long a word, so that I may be able to bring the experiment to a prompt conclusion, for it has already lasted almost too long." You offer the lady a slip of paper and a pencil: at the same time handing to her, by way of writing-desk, a little slab of wood covered with dark-coloured paper. Under this paper, you have beforehand placed another sheet of very thin paper, one of whose sides has been blackened with a mixture of lampblack and suet. The blackened side rests upon a slip of white 100 This observation gives the assistant all the information he requires. He knows that the total of the two two-digit numbers will necessarily be 99, and that the total of the two three-digit numbers will be 999. Adding these two amounts together, he gets 1098 the complete total.-TRANS,


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

paper, so that when the lady has written the word of her choice on the slip you gave to her, the same word will be found repeated on the paper hidden within your extempore desk. (Writing-slabs, ready prepared for this purpose, may be purchased at the conjuring depots.) Take back the pencil and the writing-slab, and pass off this latter to your servant, who, thanks to the secret impression within, readily ascertains what word the lady wrote. Let us suppose that the word is "aim."101 "Be kind enough, madam, to retain in your own hands the paper on which you have written the word of your choice, so that I cannot possibly be suspected of knowing it. I proceed to interrogate my little oracle. "Of how many letters does the word this lady has written, consist?" " Three." "Is the first letter to the left a vowel?" "Yes." "An a?" "Yes." "I will write down a. Is the next letter a vowel?" "Yes." "I will name the vowels, one after another. The coin will sound when I reach the right one. a, e, I - (the coin sounds. "It is an i. I write down i. Now for the third letter, is it a vowel?" "No." "It is a consonant, then?" "Yes." "I will name the consonants, b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m (the coin sounds). Is it m?" "Yes." "Then, if I have written correctly under your dictation, the word is aim?" "Yes." "Be kind enough, madam, to say whether that is correct, and to pass round the slip of paper to the company, that all may assure themselves of the truthfulness of the answer." You then take the glass, turn it over, and let the coin fall into the hand. A quick movement of the nail suffices to detach the wax from the coin, which you return to its owner, begging him to satisfy himself that it is really the same he lent you.102 The word in the original is ami, "friend." We have taken the word "aim" as involving the least possible deviation from the text.-TRANS.


Some performers, instead of using wax, as above described, have a coin already attached to the end of the thread, and placed behind some small object on the table. The borrowed coin is then "changed" for this, before it is dropped into the glass, and the change again made when it becomes necessary to restore the coin. Some borrow two or three coins, and put them all in the glass, previously adding the prepared coin to their number. The spectators cannot see how many coins are in the glass, neither can they see whether one or several chink when the thread is pulled.


109 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To the various pieces of apparatus I have mentioned as available for use in this trick, I might add the tee-totum, already spoken of at page 91, as being so arranged as to produce any desired number. There are also loaded dice, which, thrown from a sufficient height, always throw the same point. By borrowing a little from the different works which describe arithmetical recreations, a good deal of variety might be introduced into the questions propounded to the coin; but I should recommend you not to spin out the trick to too great a length.

A very good effect may be got, in the course of the trick, by dropping a borrowed hat over the glass, the excuse being to show that the coin need not even see what is going on around. Of course the hat does not in the least interfere with the chinking of the coin.-TRANS.


Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE DANCING DOLLS.

The "dolls" used for this trick are little card-board figures, ― to be found at any toy-shop; or you may, if you prefer it, purchase coloured card-board, and cut them out for yourself. The limbs of the figure are attached to the body by means of short pieces of thread. The only special arrangement required is to fix behind the head of the doll, a little slip of pasteboard, glued only by its upper edge.103 The whole should be coloured black on the reverse side. You should also load each hand and foot with a good thick slab of black sealing-wax, so as to make the limbs fall smartly down again when lifted. (Fig. 62.) You place at opposite ends of the table two tolerably heavy candlesticks. To one of them you tie a fine black silk thread, which, passing through a ring or hook fixed to the other candlestick, terminates in the hands of your assistant behind the scenes. This thread, when stretched horizontally, must be at such a height above the table as to allow the feet of the figures, when suspended from it, to just touch the surface of the table. You offer the dolls for examination, and then stand them upright on the table, at the same time hitching them, as secretly as possible, over the extended thread, by means of the little piece of pasteboard behind the head, which forms a hook, so that you can at pleasure place or remove the figures without fear of revealing the artifice which sets them in motion. The "patter" with which you introduce the experiment may be as follows: "It has long since been generally admitted that music softens the manners. Up to the present time, I must admit that I have not been able personally to verify the fact, but it is an unquestionable fact that music exercises an influence on the nerves; and spiritualists often avail themselves of this influence in order to bring their spectators into the proper frame of mind for their purpose.

This is to form a "hook " to attach the figure to the thread. Unfortunately its presence is rather suspicious, and tells tales to an acute person. A better plan is to cut a little notch about three-eighths of an inch deep on each side of the head of the figure, sloping upwards and inwards. The little tooth thereby made on each side of the head, if bent back a little, forms a capital hook for the silk, and when it is desired to offer the figure for examination, can be instantly pressed flat again, in which condition it will attract no observation,-TRANS. 103

111 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"Far be it from me, ladies and gentlemen, to think of testing this influence of music on yourselves. I shall content myself by showing you its effect upon these simple card-board figures. Examine them on all sides. You will find nothing to remark about them, save the neat workmanship of the person who made them. "In the first place, I shall mesmerise them, so as to make them stand upright. This is the approved way of putting, them to sleep standing." (You take one of the figures with the left hand and hold it upright on the table, taking care to slip the little pasteboard hook over the thread, and with the right hand make passes over it in mesmeric fashion). "The deed is done! I defy the most wearisome of novelwriters to put any one to sleep more quickly. Now, at the very first notes of the orchestra, which will play us some lively air, you will see my dolls proceed to rival the most energetic of dancers." Scarcely has the orchestra sounded a few notes, when the assistant begins to jerk the thread, and thereby sets the dolls in motion. After having played for a minute or two the orchestra stops, and the dolls do the same. "You see," you remark, "how sensitive these little figures are to the effect of the music. When it stops, they stop too. I won't prolong their dancing-lesson any further. I shall request my two dancers to make a graceful bow to the company, after which we will dismiss them to enjoy their rest in the saloon.104 The servant first slackens and then tightens the thread, to make the figures obey your commands; and you then pass to another trick.

Ate foyer de la danse. The Paris Opera-house has a large saloon, used as a lounge for the dancers when not actually employed on the stage, -TRANS. 104


Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE ABODE OF THE SPIRITS.

RESERVE in the room where you perform a clear space of tolerably large dimensions, and place in such space first a piece of carpet; then, on the carpet, a little round table, which you afterwards enclose by a screen, sufficiently large completely to surround it. The preparations above-named should be made in the presence of the company, whom you request to observe that the carpet is laid down in order to exclude all possible idea of communication through the floor; and that the table and screen are mere everyday pieces of furniture, and have not undergone any special preparation. You can invite, if you please, some member of the company to come forward and examine the whole. "Ladies and gentlemen, I am about to exhibit for your amusement a little magical performance, but presented with the same kind of mise en scene which might be employed by a conjurer who desired to pass off his tricks as spiritualistic manifestations. "I have just placed in position, as you have seen, the table and the screen which I propose to use. I might have added a chair, and tied a confederate to it, professing that he was the motive power of the various effects to be produced behind the screen, but I prefer to exhibit my tricks without any such superfluous addition. "Please to imagine, then, from this moment, that I am some celebrated spiritualist." Describe with your magic wand a circle round the little table, then another round the screen, and continue: "This little nook is about to be inhabited for a short time by the spirit of the celebrated enchanter, Merlin. In order to prove to you that he has already taken possession of the abode I have arranged for him, I will ask him to manifest his presence by the sound peculiar to spirits."

Walk round the screen, holding your right hand over it, and letting your left hand hang down beside the body, on the side remote from the audience. In this hand you have one of those little toys known in France as a cri-cri, and in England as a distinette,105 which you work as suits your purpose. It consists (Fig. 63) of a little frame of coloured lead, carrying a broad slip of steel, slightly convex. In size it is little more than one inch long by half an inch in breadth. You take this instrument between the thumb and first finger, press slightly on the steel spring, and then let it fly back to its original condition. In recovering itself, as well as when originally pressed, it causes a sharp "rap." This little toy was in everybody's hands a few years since, but is now forgotten, so that you may safely use it, particularly if you take the precaution to mask its slightly These were brought out some years since as a substitute for the castagnette, but were speedily abandoned, --TRANS. 105

113 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------metallic sound by wrapping it in paper. This deadens the sound, and so alters its quality that no one is likely to recognise the source from whence it comes. "That is pretty satisfactory," you remark, “but I will make him still further testify his presence by instantaneously igniting the liquid contained in this bowl."

You move about behind the screen a brass bowl containing lamp-cotton saturated with spirit of wine, to which you set fire, by means of a lucifer match attached to a mechanical contrivance, which can be worked imperceptibly from outside the bowl. (Fig. 64.) This apparatus is sold at the conjuring depots under the name of the " fire-bowl." "Observe, if you please, ladies, that I have no intention of giving a mere spirit-rapping performance. I merely desire to call your attention to one or two rather curious manifestations."' THE KNOTTED POCKET-HANDKERCHIEFS. ― “To begin with, I will ask the loan of a few pocket-handkerchiefs. Here are four; that will be ample. I tie them one to another by means of knots which you are welcome to examine. I pull them hard to tighten them, and then, of all these handkerchiefs so tied together; I make a bundle and place it on the little table. I place the screen round it; and if the famous Merlin wishes to show us that his powers have not been overestimated, he will undo all the knots in a single second." You close the screen, and again, almost instantly, open it, and pick up the handkerchiefs, all the knots of which are found to be undone. This feat is extremely easy to execute. The knots which unite the handkerchiefs one to another should be made as follows:

Make a first knot with two handkerchiefs, but without pulling tight, taking care to carry the end of the handkerchief held in the left hand behind the one held in the right. In completing the knot follow the opposite rule; namely, carry the end of the handkerchief held in the right hand behind that which is held in the left. Pull lightly in the first instance; but when you have formed the complete chain of four handkerchiefs, pull the knots hard, but pulling, in each case, not b and a, but b and c. As b and c really form part of the same handkerchief, by pulling them you make them lose the tortuous form which they had occupied in the knot, and draw them into a straight


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

line with the portion a d forming a slip-knot round it. See Figs. 65, 66, and 67. (Fig. 65 shows how to make the knot; Fig. 66 the condition of things when b, c, are pulled into a straight line; and Fig. 67, the same thing with the folds of the slip-knot drawn up close, so as to look genuine and attract no suspicion.) While rolling the handkerchiefs thus joined into a bundle together, you push off the slip-knot with the thumb and forefinger, and so free the portion b, c. While in this condition, the former twist of the knot still remains visible through the handkerchief, but, in taking it up, you give it a shake, and the knot disappears.106 THE HAT AND THE CHOSEN CARD. ― Borrow a hat and place it on your table,107 lying on its side with the opening toward the servante. Then take with the right hand a pack of cards, which should be placed in readiness at a short distance from the hat. As you pick up the cards with the right hand, the left takes a “set of lanterns" from the servante and slips it into the hat. Advance to the spectators and ask one of them to take the pack and select from it any card he pleases. While he is making his selection, take up the hat again, as if to place it on the round table, but stop half-way, and glance inside, remarking ― "The experiment I have in hand is one that requires to be made very clear, and I observe with satisfaction that the gentleman who has kindly lent me this hat has studied the subject, and proposes apparently to throw some light upon it.108 Be good enough" (to assistant) "to bring me a hook of some kind."

106 In the performance of this feat, Herrmann, Buatier, and other high-class performers, allow the knots to be tied by the spectators themselves, an element which heightens tenfold the effect. Much practice, keen eyesight, and a little generalship are necessary to the performance of the trick in this form, though it is not so difficult as might at first sight be supposed. The performer, holding a handkerchief in each hand, asks a spectator to tie the ends together (he holding them the while). He takes care to keep them at a tolerably wide angle, and sufficiently far apart not to give the spectator any very great amount of the stuff to deal with. Under these circumstances the spectator is pretty sure to tie either a "reef-knot "as above described, or a "granny," which very nearly resembles it. The performer then examines the knot critically, saying, "What kind of a knot do you call this, sir?" and pulling it this way and that, professedly to tighten it, but really in order to get it into the condition shown in Figs. 65, 66. This can generally be managed without much difficulty, so long as you pull on the right ends and here good eyesight becomes necessary. A difference of colour or texture between the two handkerchiefs will greatly assist in distinguishing the portion to be pulled. If, notwithstanding his efforts, the performer finds that a given knot defies all his efforts to convert it into a slip, he is still not conquered. In such case he pulls it as tight as he possibly can, and then remarks, "Now let us see, in the first place, how long it will take in a natural way, to untie just one of these knots. Will you try, sir, how quickly you can untie this knot?" Watch in hand, the performer times the operation and states the result, then himself ties a fresh knot, or invites some other person to do so, and proceeds with the trick.-TRANS.

This is of course a distinct table from that which the performer is directed to enclose within the screen. The author apparently contemplates the performer's general stage arrangements remaining in statu quo, the small round table and screen being additional.-TRANS. 107

Two or three other mild jokes, which have a very good effect in the original, are unavoidably lost in translation.-TRANS. 108

115 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your assistant brings forward a little metal hook, which he has heated behind the scenes to a high temperature. 109 By means of the hot iron you light the match-tipped wicks of the candles in the lanterns, which you then lift out with the hook, one by one, from the hat (Fig. 68).110 You leave the hat on your principal table. “Have you chosen a card, sir, as I asked you? Keep it, please, and give me back the pack. Fix that card firmly in your memory, and when you feel that you know it thoroughly be kind enough to put it back in the middle of the pack." This done, you make the pass, and palm off the chosen card. Hand the pack, without the chosen card, to one of the company, and ask him to shuffle. Meanwhile, in the act of taking the hat from the centre table, you let the palmed card fall therein; then place the hat on the little round table, take back the shuffled pack, place it by the side of the hat, and close the screen around all. "Our invisible magician will now take the chosen card and put it in the hat." (You open the screen.) "Before I disturb anything, be good enough, if you please, to name the card which you This may be done by means of a spirit-lamp, if no fire be available. The iron (which is a sort of buttonhook in a wooden handle), should be nearly red-hot. Of course the audience are not allowed to know that it is heated.-TRANS. 109

The candles, which are only about an inch in length, are prepared by pulling out the original wick, and substituting in its place a wax vesta, point upwards. The application of the hot iron to this point causes it instantly to ignite. The lanterns used are the ordinary paper expanding lanterns sold in the toy-shops, but with the wooden top and bottom removed, and a broad ring of tin substituted in each case. Eight of these, when closed, will occupy little more than an inch in height. By an ingenious arrangement the candle sockets are removed from the centre, and made to occupy different positions at the bottom of the lanterns, in such manner that when the set is put together for use, all the candles appear in a group within the upper ring of the top lantern, and can be lighted almost simultaneously. Each lantern has a folding wire bow across the top, by which to lift or suspend it. In the trick as above described the production of the lanterns is made to follow rather too closely on their introduction into the hat. It would be far more effective to work the card trick first, and then to produce the lanterns. The interposition of the card trick would give the spectators time to forget that the hat had rested for a while on the larger table, and the appearance of the lanterns would be thus rendered doubly mysterious.-TRANS.



Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

selected. The king of hearts, was it ?" You show that the king of hearts is in the hat, and no longer in the pack. THE CARD-FRAME AND THE HALF-CROWN. ― "While I chance to have a pack of cards at hand, I will make use of them just once more; and this time I will give the spirit a rather more complicated task to perform." You force a card (say, the eight of diamonds), have it replaced in the pack; make the pass, palm off the card, and invite some one to shuffle the pack, which you then change by some means or other111 for a mechanical pack in which you have beforehand placed four half-crowns. This is only a sham pack of cards, being in reality a mere box or case, with sides painted white and a card glued on the top and bottom, one face outwards, the other back outwards, so as to resemble a genuine pack. In the interior of this box is a hollow space to contain four half-crowns, which a clockwork train lets fall one by one at unequal intervals. A trap, masked by the design of the bottom card (which should be a court card) closes the hole through which the coins fall. This dummy pack you place on the little round table.

You then borrow four half-crowns, which you hold (as shown in Fig. 69) between the thumb and second and third fingers of the left hand; bring the right hand towards it as if to take the coins in that hand; but at the very moment the fingers reach them let them fall into the hollow of the left hand, while the right continues its movement, closing as though it contained the coins. This pass is known as the tourniquet.112

111 The precise manner of making the change must be governed by the conditions under which the performer is exhibiting. In a general way it would be made during the transit from the spectators to the table.-TRANS.

See page 5. In the execution of this pass most performers pass the thumb of the right hand under the coins in an upward and outward direction; but others, particularly among foreign conjurers, bring the hand over the coins with a downward swoop, as shown in the diagram, the thumb and fingers closing as they reach them.-TRANS. 112

117 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Place yourself behind your (centre) table and open the right hand immediately over a china bowl (which must be placed there in readiness beforehand), as if letting fall the coins therein. Meanwhile, however, the left hand, which you hold rather lower, opens and lets the actual coins fall noisily into a similar bowl placed on the servante (Fig. 70). (These two movements, executed simultaneously, produce a complete illusion, the spectators being fully convinced that you have dropped the coins into the visible bowl on the table.)

You then place the empty bowl on the little table, beside the mechanical pack of cards. Next call the attention of the company to a little frame (known as the "enchanted card" frame) which is so arranged that, by turning it upside down, you cause a card, placed therein beforehand, to become visible.113 Show that there is (apparently) nothing in the frame, and place it upright on the little table, resting against the bowl, but with its back towards the spectators. In the act of so doing, you turn the frame over, so as to cause the gradual appearance of the card within, which should be similar to the one which you previously forced. (Fig. 71.)

This is a very ingenious little piece of apparatus. The glass in front is double, with a very narrow space between, and with a reservoir, filled with fine sand, at top. When the frame is placed upright in what we will call its natural position, the sand runs down between the two glasses, and prevents the card behind from being seen. The presence of the sand tells no tales, for it has the appearance of grey paper. When the frame is turned upside down, the sand runs back again into its reservoir and the card is revealed. The piece of apparatus in question was used, and we believe invented, by the elder Bosco; but on his retirement was lost sight of until a few years since, when it was brought out afresh in a cheap form, and had a large sale. -TRANS. 113


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Take a drinking-glass, and place it in like manner on the little table; then announce to the company that the spirit inhabiting this mystic nook will in the first place take the chosen card from the pack and place it in the frame, and will then take the coins in the bowl and drop them into the glass. You add, "He shall do it slowly, so that you may all hear the coins fall one by one into the glass; and in order to increase the difficulty of the task, I will cover the glass with this pack of cards." (Fig. 72.) You suit the action to the word, and in so doing, start the mechanism which lets the coins fall. You close the screen, and after a few moments the first coin is heard to drop into the glass; and afterwards the three others in their turn. You then, after asking the person who drew the card to name it, open the screen, and show that all you promised has been fully carried out. You must promptly exchange the dummy pack for the genuine one, and have this latter examined to prove that the eight of diamonds is no longer therein, but has really passed into the frame, which you open, taking out the card, so as to negative all idea of preparation. THE SPIRIT PADLOCK. ― Make use of the padlock, described at page 138; have it locked by a spectator, hang it on an upright stand placed on the little round table; lay the key beside it, start the movement, and close the screen. After a pause of a few seconds, remove the screen, and show that the padlock is open.

"You will remember, ladies and gentlemen," you may remark, "that I told you beforehand that the mise en scene I have adopted is purely imaginative; and that spiritualism has really nothing whatever to do with the matter. I will give you a proof of my assertion by means of this very trick. My padlock needs no key to open it; my simple command is quite enough; and it was by

119 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------means of such a command, privately given, that I just now compelled it to open without any human aid." You accordingly work the trick over again, in the manner already described under the title of "The Spirit Padlock." THE TWO HATS. ― This is another trick which may form part of the same series as the preceding, and be performed under the same conditions.

After having borrowed two hats, you place them side by side on the little table, and ask some one to mark two half-crowns. These you apparently transfer to the left hand, but in so doing, really palm them in the right. (Fig. 74.) With this same (right) hand, you take one of the hats, and lay the coins noiselessly against the leather lining, keeping them in position by the pressure of the fingers. Then, holding the closed left hand over the other hat, which remains on the table, you state that you are about to let the two coins which are (supposed to be) in your left hand fall therein. You accordingly make the movement of so doing, but at the same moment let the two coins held against its side by the fingers fall into the hat held in the right hand, as in the trick of the "Shower of Money" (page 28). Everybody naturally believes that the coins are in the other hat. The remainder of the trick will be readily understood. You say that the spirit inhabiting your enchanted circle will take the coins from the hat in which you have ostensibly placed them, and transfer them to that in which they really are. You close the screen, open it again a few moments later, and taking the two hats, show that what you predicted has in fact come to pass. You return the two marked coins, and continue the trick; but before doing so, place the two hats on your centre table, the inside turned towards the servante. While you are returning the coins, your assistant introduces into one of the hats a large spring doll, known as the "baby for the hat," and into the other a set of small folding cages, each containing a bird. If you have no assistant, you can easily "load" these articles yourself into the hat, in the act of taking them up to return them to the owners.114 You must of course have the doll

This is decidedly the more artistic method. The fact of your assistant going behind your table and beginning to handle the hats, even under pretence of brushing them (the most plausible excuse) would be very suspicious, and would destroy the whole effect of the subsequent production. The best plan for effecting the "load" would be as follows: Standing behind your table, you pick up one of the hats, and enquire, "Who lent me this hat? Maker's name--?" reading out the name accordingly; and meanwhile, with the disengaged hand, loading the other hat. When your question is answered, take up the second hat and make a similar enquiry, meanwhile loading the first hat. The maker's name in the second hat you must take care to ascertain at an earlier stage of the trick, as, the hat being now full, you will not be able to see it. The fact that you (professedly) read out the name after the hat is loaded has a very good effect, as it convinces the spectators that the hat is, up to that time, empty.-TRANS. 114


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

and cages in readiness on the servante. You take up the first hat, but in the very act of returning it, you glance inside it, and observe with a smile― "We occasionally see a mamma, in order not to be obliged to pay for a seat for her son and heir in an omnibus, take him on her knee, and assure the conductor that he is under age. But this gentleman has discovered a much simpler way of giving his family a ride for nothing. He carries his children in his hat."

You then produce the "baby" from the hat, first, however, releasing the spring, so that the doll may expand to its full proportions. (Fig. 75.) When about to return the second hat, you continue: "In the case of this other gentleman, it isn't a question of children. The owner of this hat has, I suppose, had a little difficulty with the police, or with his landlord, who objects to his hanging his pet birds outside his window; so, for lack of better means of giving them fresh air, he brings them out with him for a walk."

You then bring out the four or five mechanical cages, taking care to allow them to unfold fully in the hat before producing them.115 (Fig. 76.) The cages in question are about 4-1/2 inches square, and three are generally considered to constitute a complete set. To fold them, the bottom slides upwards nearly to the top, leaving just room for a canary; 115

121 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There are also many other objects which are suitable for production from hats.116 THE CORD FEAT. ― Finally, you may conclude this series of illusions as follows: "I told you, ladies and gentlemen, at the outset, that I might, if I had thought fit, have tied some person to a chair, and led you to believe that such person untied himself with supernatural rapidity, in order to accomplish the various ‘manifestations' which have been produced within my haunted screen. Allow me by way of conclusion, to show you how very easily any one, with a little practice, can release himself from some kinds of bonds. You will observe that I don't go so far as to say all bonds whatsoever."117 Get some one to tie your wrists together with a handkerchief, taking care that they are not tied too closely together, or you will not have room to operate. Then ask the same or another person to pass behind the handkerchief and between your arms, a tolerably long piece of cord, about the thickness of a skipping rope. Ask the person who has passed the cord through, as above, to take one end in each hand, and to withdraw as far from you as the length of the cord will permit. Then, pulling gently upon the cord, so as to stretch it taut and bring the bight close up to the and the sides, which are hinged, then fold down one after the other on the bottom. When lifted out of the hat by the wire-loop on top, the sides and bottom fall into position by their own weight, and till the bottom is again pushed up from below, the cage remains perfectly solid and substantial.TRANS. The reader is doubtless familiar with the "cannon-ball" (solid and hollow, the parti-coloured spring balls, the reticules, and fancy caskets, which are used for this purpose. One of the latest novelties in this direction is a bundle of firewood, looking as genuine as if it had come direct from the nearest chandler's shop, but really hollow, being made on a pasteboard shape, and serving to contain a variety of smaller articles. The greatest "hat trick” on record is that of the American Wizard, Hartz, who has worked up the feat to an absolutely sensational pitch. Working without any servante, and on a stage bare, apparently, of all possible mechanical cover, he produces, in quick succession, from a borrowed hat: 116

1. A dozen silk pocket-handkerchiefs. 2. A baby's bodice. 3. Twenty-five silver goblets. 4. A wig. 5. Seven cigar-boxes. 6. Twenty-five transparent glass goblets. 7. Twenty-five pint champagne bottles. 8. A large bird-cage with living bird. 9. About twenty packs of playing cards, making a wheelbarrow-load when shaken out of the hat. 10. A number of broad silk ribbons of various colours. 11. Six lighted lanterns, of metal and coloured glass. 12. A large Japanese doll. 13. A skeleton crinoline. Some of the items are occasionally varied; the "baby" and “crinoline," for instance, are sometimes suppressed in favour of a more impressive denoument. The hat being placed on a small glass table, remote from the performer, a full-sized human skull is seen to rise slowly from it, and glare with its fleshless sockets at the audience.-TRANS. This observation is, we presume, introduced to guard against the performer's being embarrassed by some volunteer from the company claiming to bind him after his own fashion. If the performer chance to be an adept in rope-tying tricks he may safely omit the qualifying observation. ―TRANS



Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

handkerchief, you grip the bight between the lower portions of the two hands, near the root of the thumb: then let the cord slacken a little, and with the aid of the fingers, draw up between the hands the portion of the cord you have thus got hold of. When the loop becomes large enough, slip through, first one finger, then the whole hand. (Fig. 77.) Pull upon the cord, which, slipping between the outside of the hand and the handkerchief, is released without any one being able to detect the modus operandi, the handkerchief still remaining tied, and the ends of the cord in the hands of the spectator who held them.

As a matter of course, the hands should be gently waved from right to left during the operation, so as to cover the movements which you make to get rid of the cord. SPIRIT PHOTOGRAPHY. ―"I have now a word or two to say about the last dodge of the mediums. I refer to spirit photography, which professes to fix on the plate the image of an absent person. The modus operandi of this new form of fraud was exposed in the police-courts, and at the present day we only laugh at the absurd history of the dummy figures that served to work the trick.118 “The experiment I am about to show you has nothing to do with conjuring, in the ordinary sense, inasmuch as the sole operative agent employed is magnetic electricity. "I am too modest to brag of my great discovery, so shall submit it without comment for your consideration. "Here are some cards which I propose to use for the experiment." (You take up from the table a small packet of blank cards, which has been placed in readiness beforehand.) "You can easily satisfy yourselves that they have undergone no special preparation." Distribute a considerable number of the cards among the company. The lower portion of the parcel you hold in your hand should be cards on which you have pasted your own photograph. These portrait-cards should be arranged in pairs, face to face, so that the public shall not catch sight of the photograph prematurely.

118 This observation refers to the trial of a "spirit photographer" before the Correctional Tribunal of Paris in 1875, which led to some startling exposures of fraud, and imprisonment of the convicted persons.TRANS.

123 Drawing Room Conjuring ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------You take back from the company a number of the cards, (counting them as you do so), remarking that you will make use of those identical cards to perform the experiment of which you have spoken. As you take them back, one by one, you replace them on the pack in your hand, but in returning to your table you turn the pack over, so as to bring the portrait-cards uppermost. You count off as many as were given back to you, which you must take care shall be an even number. You make a packet of these, which packet, as the portraits are face to face, will necessarily be blank at both top and bottom, and you wrap them in a handkerchief lent by some lady of the company, whom you invite to take charge of the whole.

You then take from your table an ordinary hand-mirror, to which you have fastened a tolerably long piece of silk cord to the opposite end of which is attached a brass rod, terminating in a ball of the same metal, like the knob of a Leyden jar. You hand this rod to the lady who holds the handkerchief, requesting her to hold the knob close against the cards. (Fig. 78.) You then take the mirror in your own hand, first pretending to arrange your hair, or making any other sham preparation for securing an effective likeness. "Of course it would be just as easy for me to take the likeness of any indifferent person, but I prefer to take my own, because I shall then be able to distribute the copies by way of a little remembrance among those ladies and gentlemen who have been kind enough to honour me, for a brief space, with their attention." You place yourself in the same position as that of the portrait, and gaze fixedly at yourself for a moment in the mirror-then lower it abruptly, and say, "The photo is taken. Will you be kind enough, madam, to see if it is a success ? What say you? Is it a good likeness?" You take one of the copies, and examine it. "That is my likeness," you continue, "without a doubt but don't you think, madam, that photography makes one look much older than one's real age? Anyhow, ladies and gentlemen, if you have no objection, I will ask your acceptance of these likenesses, merely remarking, in the words of one of our modern writers "Si l'appareil m'a fait si laid, C’est qu'il travaillait sur nature."119


"If the camera has made me so ugly, it is because it has exactly followed nature.” ―TRANS.


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Instead of turning over the pack of cards as above directed, you may, if you prefer it, have those which you first show all blank, and change the pack adroitly, for another pack, consisting of portraits, and placed beforehand on the servante. The mise en scene may also be elaborated by introducing the actual electric spark from a Leyden jar, or the like.

125 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A FEAT OF DIVINATION. I HAVE yet to describe a trick which, neatly performed, produces a striking effect. The only apparatus necessary is an ordinary slate, or miniature blackboard, in a frame. You cut in the inner edge of the frame a mortise or groove to about half the depth of the wood, and about an inch and a half long; this groove leaves a small hollow space between the slate and the frame. Distribute among the company sundry small slips of paper folded in four,120 asking the persons to whom you hand them to write on the paper any word, sentence, number, or question that they please, and to re-fold the paper as at first. Then ask one of the spectators to oblige with the loan of his hat, and himself to collect in it the slips of paper. Having done so, he hands you the hat, which you place on a table. You have beforehand palmed in your right hand a slip of paper exactly resembling those you have distributed, whereon you have written a word agreed upon with the person who acts as your assistant for the purpose of the trick. This person you place behind a screen or in an adjoining room. Take one of the papers out of the hat, but in so doing, and while the hand is still concealed within the hat, "change" the slip which you have hidden in your hand for one of those written by the spectators. Bring up the former visibly between the fingers, but keep the other hidden in the palm. Show only the dummy paper, and hand it to someone to hold. Show your slate, exhibiting both sides, to prove that it has on it no indication which might serve to guide the person assisting you. In the act of turning it over, you slip the folded paper you retained in your hand into the little mortise above referred to. (Fig. 79.)

Now pass the slate with a little piece of chalk to your assistant behind the screen, who, knowing what is written on the dummy paper, writes the same word or figure on the slate; takes out and ascertains the contents of the slip hidden in the mortise, replaces it, and hands you back the slate. You show that the contents of the slip you gave to be held are correctly inscribed thereon.121 While this is being ascertained, you take the genuine paper out of the mortise in the frame and again palm it; you then take a fresh paper out of the hat, substituting for such paper the one of which your assistant has just ascertained the contents; you give this latter to some one to hold, and place the slip you have just taken in the mortise of the slate, which you hand to your See note on page 105.-TRANS. In combination with a rope-tying feat, this excellent trick might be made still more effective. The "medium," being bound hand and foot, after one or other of the approved spiritualistic methods, might free himself, write the message, and again fasten himself. The marvel would in this case be twofold, consisting not merely in the supposed supernatural knowledge exhibited, but in the fact of anything at all being written under apparently impossible circumstances.-TRANS. 120 121


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

assistant. He writes on the slate the contents of the slip which he read on the former occasion; unfolds the one now in the mortise to ascertain what is written upon it, and replaces it. The remainder of the trick will be readily understood. You simply repeat the operation as often as you think fit. In order not to suggest any suspicion to the spectators, you should not pronounce a single word, from the moment when you take the slip of paper out of the hat, until the slate is returned to you, showing the contents of the paper.122 Again, you may; if you please, have the dummy paper actually written at the same time as the others, by some spectator with whom you have a private understanding, and who makes some agreed mark on it, visible on the outside,123 so that at starting you can take this slip to be given to some one to hold, at the same time secretly taking another to be hidden in the recess in the frame. The remainder of the trick would proceed as already described. It will be perceived that this trick is analogous in principle to the one described under the name of Mesmeric Sympathy (page 44).

This is a matter of taste, to be decided by the operator. As the trick does not depend on any "code" or other form of signalling, it would be perfectly in accordance with conjuring principles to endeavour to induce a belief that it does so depend, and to arrange the "patter" accordingly.TRANS. 122


E.g., a corner turned down in folding.-TRANS.

127 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS. I DESIRE, in concluding my task, to remark once more that I do not claim to offer the public anything absolutely new, conjuring being an art of too long standing to warrant me in such a claim. A considerable number, however, of the tricks here described have never before appeared in print. My object, I repeat, has been to arrange a collection of tricks, and more particularly, of modes of presenting tricks, which may be suited to the Amateur Conjurer, who is obliged, for obvious reasons, to give his performances without the mechanical aids of a regular stage, and must perforce dispense with large and cumbrous pieces of apparatus. I venture to think that amateurs, to whom I more particularly address myself, by combining the tricks here described with the card, coin, and other tricks which they may already be acquainted with, or may find in other publications, will be in a position to give a tolerably large number of performances, each with a different programme. If the amateur is pretty skilful, his reputation as a conjurer will spread very quickly in the houses that he visits, and I will therefore venture to give him a little piece of advice; namely, to have always about his person two or three necessary articles which can be carried without inconvenience in the pocket; so that, even when he has had no previous intimation that he is to be called upon for a "show," he will still be able, on request, to perform some few tricks; which will astonish the spectators all the more because they suppose him to be taken unawares. I may mention, for instance, the double coin for the trick of the "Magic Coin" (described at page 11), the glass disc for that of the "Soluble Money" (page 22); in a word, just such objects as are least suggestive of previous preparation. All the tricks I have here described may, of course, be either modified or elaborated according to the circumstances in which the performer happens to be placed, and the appliances which he has at his command.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------Woodfall & Kinder, Printers, 70 to 76 Long Acre, London, W.C.


Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

129 Drawing Room Conjuring -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

View more...


Copyright ©2017 KUPDF Inc.