This pretty little combination is performed with billiard balls of different colors which appear, disappear, and change from one place to another in a most mysterious manner. Three solid balls, two red and one white, and a red shell are needed for the trick. The "shell" is a hollow half-ball that fits exactly over one of the red solid, and when of the same color and finish can not when in place easily be distinguished from the ball itself.
The performer borrows a hat and lays it on its crown on the table. Near it he lays the white ball. Taking one of the red balls, which is covered with the shell, he places it between the thumb and forefinger of his left hand, the shell toward the audience. Then he puts the other red ball between the first and second fingers of the same hand, as shown in Fig. 103. His right hand being now in front of the lower ball, he removes the solid ball from the shell with his third and little fingers and palms it (to make this perfectly clear the inside of the right hand is shown in the illustration), the shell only remaining between the thumb and forefinger, as shown in Fig. 104, but the audience imagine that two solid balls are still there. The right hand, in which the red ball is palmed, picks up with the tips of the fingers the white ball and puts it into the hat. The moment, however, that the hand is inside the hat, the red ball is left there and the white one is palmed in its place. "Please note just how matters stand," says the performer addressing the audience. "Here in the fingers of my left hand are the two red balls, while in the hat is the white ball. But if you will watch me closely, you will see, or rather you will not see, that by my magic power and these long fingers of mine that were made on purpose, I shall cause one of the red balls to change places with the white ball that is in the hat. See." With a little motion of the hand the performer with the second finger of the left hand slips the solid red ball into the shell, and to the audience it will seem as if the ball had suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. Then grasping in the air with his right hand, he allows the palmed ball to appear at the tips of his fingers. This he places between the first and second fingers of the left hand. Picking up the hat with the right hand, the thumb on top of the brim and the fingers below, he tilts it over to show the red ball inside. At the same time the left hand is placed on the brim, as if to show that all three balls are there. The thumb and forefinger of the left hand are now immediately over the right palm, and, under cover of the hat, the red ball is released from the shell and palmed. The balls are now disposed of as follows:—One red ball is in the hat, the other is palmed in the right hand. The red shell is between the thumb and forefinger of the left hand and the white ball is between the first and second fingers of the same hand. "Now," says the performer, "I will send the white ball into the hat and take the red out, both invisibly." As he says this he slips the white ball into the shell and shows that it has gone. Clutching at the air, he produces the palmed red ball. "So," he continues, "we have here once more the two red balls," and while placing the red ball, which he has just, apparently, caught in the air, between the first and second fingers of the left hand, he removes the white ball from the shell and palms it. Dropping his right hand into the hat, and taking it out again he shows the white ball between the tips of the fingers. He puts the ball into the hat again. "And now to finish the peregrinations of these spheres, which I (s)fear may bore you, I shall send the red balls to join the white one in the hat, one visibly, the other invisibly. See!" Bringing the solid ball behind the shell he commands it to "go," and to show that it has obeyed, tilts over the hat, in which are seen a white and a red ball. Taking the remaining ball, which is half covered by the shell, he drops it visibly into the hat, palming the shell and getting rid of it.
Fig. 104 As seen behind the right hand.