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Simple, Smart Magic Tricks for Young and Old
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ON APPARATUS. AND ITS USES AND ABUSES--HOUDIN'S DIE--ADDITIONAL EFFECT--NEW METHOD--THE GOLD-FISH TRICK: PISCICULTURE EXTRAORDINARY--THE BOWLS AND COVERS--THE CLOTH--WHERE TO CARRY THE BOWLS--HOW TO PRODUCE THEM--BAD AND GOOD INNOVATIONS--HOW TO CAUSE THE BOWLS TO DISAPPEAR--MISHAPS--GOLD FISH AND INK--THE GLOBE--THE LINING--THE LADLE--HOW TO FILL IT--THE CARD--THE TRICK IN A SMALL WAY-- TRAVELS OF A GLASS OF WATE GOLD! GOLD! EVERYWHERE--THE HEN FOR EVERY HOUSEHOLD--THE BEST BREEDS: NO. 1. NO. 2, AND NO. 3--HOW TO HATCH YOUR EGGS WITH DESPATCH--DECAPITATION NOT FATAL TO FOWLS--"KLING. KLANG" -- HOW TO STAND FIRE -- THE INTERCEPTED BULLET -- THE WANDERING GINGER-BEER BOTTLE--THE PLUME AND THE SEED--COOKING MADE EASY: HAT VERSUS SAUCEPAN--A LITTLE ACCIDENT, AND HOW TO RECTIFY IT--THE FLAGS OF OLD ENGLAND--A NUT FOR BLACKSMITHS TO CRACK--THE DRAWER BOX-- HOW TO MAKE IT -- WHEN TO USE IT, AND WHEN NOT --THE CONE--BACCHUS' DOVECOTE--HOW TO PREPARE THE BOTTLE--HOW TO MESMERISE AND CAUSE A DOVE TO DISAPPEAR--THE WINE-DRINKING CRYSTAL BALL--BACCHUS' MAYPOLE--ON PROGRAMMES AND TITLES--HOW TO MAKE THE BOTTLE -- THE ACCOMMODATING BOTTLE -- HOW TO "WORK" IT SUCCESSFULLY--ANOTHER METHOD--THE MESMERIC SUSPENSION WAND: TWO METHODS -- THE MAGI'S BRAZEN ROD--THE BALLS--HOW TO CHANGE THE RINGS --THE SHOWER OF PLUMES--THE FAIRY FLOWER--THE VASE
The Ubiquitous Glass of Water: First Method.--Procure two small tumblers, exactly similar in size, shape, and appearance. Fill one with water, cover it with a tight-fitting indiarubber cover, and place it in the breast pocket or inside the vest. These little covers are easily procurable, as they are universally sold as covers for jam-pots. They cost about sixpence each. Have a small double handkerchief or cloth, containing a circular piece of card, the size of the mouth of the tumbler, with a few stitches through it to keep it in the centre. Show the empty tumbler, and then fill it with water. Cover it with the handkerchief, and affect to take it up, but place it on the shelf. Advance very carefully with the supposed glass of water, and either stumble on the floor and drop everything, or else pretend to place the glass in someone's hands. If you stumble you must take care to avoid injuring the concealed tumbler. The glass and water vanished, it is now your business to find them again. For this purpose, you call in the aid of a spectator (a youth preferred), whom you request to stoop. Over his back spread the cloth or handkerchief, and, grasping that portion containing the card, raise it gently.
Hold it a short time in the air, and then say that you will throw it into someone's pocket, indicating the particular person. Shake out the handkerchief or cloth again and then desire the person indicated to examine his or her pocket. Of course nothing will be found, but you borrow the handkerchief, which will have been taken from the searcher's pocket during the examination, and, waving it about, get the tumbler into it from the pocket, according to the directions given for producing the bowls of water and fish. Remove the cover and produce the glass and water, saying that you knew you had passed them into the indicated pocket. The cover being small, it can be easily removed and the handkerchief returned. It improves the effect a great deal if a small piece of wet sponge can be introduced beneath the cloth whilst the glass, presumably found in the youth's back, is being held, and then squeezed in imitation of the spilling of water from the glass. The sponge can be carried at the mouth of one of the large breast pockets, and, if carefully disposed, need not make the performer uncomfortable by wetting him. I have even seen the sponge attached to the under side of the prepared cloth or handkerchief, which is an excellent plan if the performer is careful not to expose that side, as the sponge is always at hand, and there is no necessity to introduce the hand under the covering, compression from the outside being equally effective in exuding the water.
Some performers think it necessary to go through certain actions for the purpose of convincing the company that the handkerchief does not contain a card or other shape. I must confess that I regard such actions as being decidedly supererogatory, for there is not the least foundation for assuming that the audience suspect the existence of any such thing; and for the performer to do anything indicative of an anticipation on his part that the company are likely to divine what is the true secret of the trick is highly suicidal. However, all are not of my opinion, so, if any beginner thinks he would like to be able to draw the handkerchief through the fingers previous to using, he can easily do so. All he will have to do will be to run a couple of stitches from two adjacent corners to the centre of the handkerchief, and inclose his card in the triangular space thus formed. As it is now loose, when the handkerchief is held by one of the opposite corners, the card falls to the extreme border, and the bulk of the handkerchief may be drawn through the hands. When the handkerchief is held by that side which forms the base of the triangle, the card falls at once into position in the centre. A copper or brass wire ring, being heavier than card, is perhaps more serviceable, as it more readily falls into position.
Second Method.--For this a special tumbler will be required. It is a large one, with perfectly straight sides, and is furnished with an outside cylindrical shell, also of glass, which is not discernible from the glass itself when in position. This outside shell must be sufficiently large to slip over the hand of the performer, so it will be seen that it is of considerable dimensions. This fact is always of value from the point of view of effectiveness: the larger the article the performer can manage to successfully manipulate, the better. The performer advances with the glass and shell together, and fills the former to the brim with water. He then places the whole on the rear edge of the table, and covers with the cloth. Grasping the shell, from the outside, with one hand, and placing the other hand below, the glass is slid gradually off the table, when it will drop through the shell into the hand of the performer, which places it upon the shelf. The more rapidity there is employed, the better. The performer comes forward with the shell inside the cloth, and allows the audience to feel its shape, and also taps it with the wand, to make the glass ring. He cannot allow the shell to be actually seen, as the absence of any water would be at once noticed; but the satisfying of the senses of touch and hearing will be sufficiently convincing. Retiring to about the centre of the stage, the performer thrusts one of his hands through the shell, from the bottom, and, whilst supporting the card shape with the fingers, allows the shell to glide down the arm, inside the coat sleeve. The handkerchief is then shaken out, and shown to be empty. In this case, the glass is not reproduced, the trick depending for effect upon the apparent bringing of a very large glass, full of water, amongst the audience, and causing it to vanish before their eyes. In the first method, there is no tapping of the sides of the glass when in the handkerchief, or any feeling of its shape, which is, of course, a very great feature of this method. The cuff must be gripped by the third and little fingers, when the arm may be dropped without any fear of the glass shell falling to the ground.
Third Method.--This method is, in every way, vastly superior to either of the preceding, and, in clever hands, becomes perfectly marvellous to the uninitiated. Only one tumbler is employed. This should be of a substantial character, and requires to be fitted with a flat glass top, exactly the size of the top of the tumbler. To the under side of this should be cemented a slightly smaller circular piece, the size of the interior circumference of the mouth of the tumbler. The glass top cannot now possibly shift from its position. This top the performer has concealed under his vest or in his breast pocket, so that it is readily at hand. Without so much as approaching a table or chair he has the tumbler filled, and, as he covers it with the cloth, he gets out his top and places it into position. With the supposed object of, say, placing the tumbler upon a chair, so that some plea be instituted for bending the body, the tumbler is removed from the cloth and put into the pocket at the bottom of the coat tail. The performer now goes through any performance he pleases with his shape and sponge, and, at the proper moment, produces the tumbler again. In doing this, however, he must get both hands under the cloth, so that he may secrete the top in one of them. It would not do to lift this off from the outside of the cloth, as its extra presence would be noticed. Its size enables it to be readily nipped between the joints of the fingers and root of the thumb.
As the performer does not approach the table, it is impossible for the audience to imagine what has become of the glass, filled, as it is, with water. There is no doubt that this method calls for more skill in execution than does the first, but the effect is immeasurably superior.
To Invert a Glass of Water. This is an effect which may either be accomplished separately, or may follow the third method of the preceding trick. The performer places the tumbler upon the table, fills it with water, and, in the act of shifting its position, places the lid, unperceived, upon it. He is provided with a half-sheet of note-paper, which he places upon the tumbler, and then, covering the whole with one hand, inverts the glass upon it. He then addresses the company, remarking that they are, no doubt, familiar with the schoolboy trick of holding an inverted tumbler of water, with merely a sheet of paper to keep the contents from falling to the ground. To illustrate this, the performer holds the tumbler by the base in the disengaged hand, and removes the one below. In the ordinary way the paper would fall to the ground; but the performer has taken care to allow it to become slightly wetted, so that it adheres to the glass top. The performer now proceeds: "This any schoolboy can do; but I dare say you do not think it possible for me to remove this paper and yet retain the water in the tumbler. However, I will show you that such a feat is possible." Taking the paper by an edge, the performer gradually removes it, all the time affecting to hold the tumbler with the greatest steadiness, and keeping his eyes rigidly fixed upon it, as though momentarily anticipating some catastrophe, to avert which a concentration of all his energies is necessary. If he pleases, the performer may swing the tumbler into an upright position and back again, repeating the action three or four times. The paper may be eventually replaced, and the top removed inside it, or that article may be got rid of without the aid of the paper at all.
A slight objection exists in connection with the use of the glass top, from the fact that it is liable to "talk," i.e., make a noise, as it is being placed in position. This does not signify on the stage, but, when performing before small audiences, it may be as well to use a piece of mica. As this has no sunken edge, it is not quite as secure as the glass top; but, with ordinary care, no mishap need be apprehended. In removing the paper from beneath, it will be necessary to adopt great caution in avoiding all approach to a sideways sliding movement, which would probably have the effect of shifting the mica, when a deluge would immediately follow. The paper must be boldly peeled off away from the mica. Mica may be purchased in sheets, and the conjuror should cut several sizes, both for tumblers and wineglasses, and carry them in his pocket-book.
When at a house, if even only for the evening, where he is likely to be called upon, he can soon obtain an opportunity for fitting the various glasses in use, by carrying a mica in the palm. Performed with a wineglass, the trick makes a very valuable addition to the few applicable to the table. In turning the glass back to the upright position, always place the hand beneath first, as, in removing it, it is then an easy matter to take away the mica.