There is a distinct fascination about conjuring not easy to understand. In the many years that we, the writers of these papers, have practised the art, we have known many men, and some women, who took it up for pleasure or money, or both, and we have never known one to lose interest in it. Shakspere, that master "mind-reader," must have understood this ceaseless handkering, for he makes Rosalind say: "I have, since I was three years old, conversed with a magician most profound in his art," which undoubtedly means that she had taken lessons in conjuring all those years. We preface our instructions "with these few remarks" as a warning, so that we may not be blamed should our readers find themselves possessed of this undying love for "conjuration and mighty magic."
That "the hand is quicker than the eye," is one of those accepted sayings invented by someone who knew nothing of conjuring—or, as is more likely, by some cunning conjurer who aimed still further to hoodwink a gullible public. The fact is, that the best conjurer seldom makes a rapid motion, for that attracts attention, even though it be not understood. The true artist in this line is deliberate in every movement, and it is mainly by his actions that he leads his audience to look not where they ought, but in an entirely different direction. Mr. David Devant, who for a number of consecutive years has entertained London with his ingenious tricks, has said: "The conjurer must be an actor. By the expression of his face, by his gestures, by the tone of his voice, in short, by his acting, he must produce his effects." He is certainly right, but as it is not our purpose to furnish an essay on conjuring as a fine art, let us turn on the lights, ring up the curtain, and let the magician make his bow.