Magic Trick: A Borrowed Bank Note that is Destroyed by Tearing or Burning is Found Imbedded in a Lemon
This trick is frequently exhibited at a dinner party or in some public place where a lemon may be procured. The performer has the nail of his right thumb quite long and trimmed to a sharp edge. With this he cuts a hole in one end of a lemon, and in it he thrusts his forefinger. To do this without being seen he puts the lemon into his trousers pocket, while some one of the audience is taking the number of the borrowed bank note, so that it may be identified readily. As the performer is looking on, his hand goes into the pocket and does the cutting. As he takes the lemon out, which has been marked in some way at the beginning of the trick, he brings with it an imitation bank note (professionally known as "stage money") folded up. The lemon he lays on the table, and as the real bank note is returned to him he joins the imitation note to it, and folds it till the two notes look alike. Then he places the dummy note alongside the lemon and palms the original. Picking up the lemon, he applies a lighted match to the stage money, and while he watches it burn, his hands naturally go behind his back, which enables him to push the genuine note into the lemon. By this time the other note is destroyed. Gathering the ashes, he rubs them on the lemon, and then proceeds to cut it open at the perfect end. As soon as the bank note is seen he goes to its owner and asks him to take it out and identify it, reading aloud its number.
Some performers use an imitation bank note that is printed on flash paper. This disappears the moment it is lighted.
Instead of a lemon a small apple may be used. In this case two apples, alike in size and general appearance, are used. In one of these a hole is cut, large enough to admit the borrowed note. This apple is in the trousers pocket. Under the performer's vest or under his coat lapel is a small packet of flash paper. The perfect apple is on a table. When the performer borrows the bank note he wraps it in a piece of tissue paper and getting hold of the flash paper packet brings the two packets together and exchanges one for the other. The flash paper he asks some lady to hold. As he goes for the good apple his hand is thrust into his pocket and the bank note packet is pushed into the cut apple. The good apple is then handed out for examination. In the meanwhile he palms the other, and as he goes back to his table, ostensibly for a knife, he puts the good apple under his vest and lays the prepared one on the table. Then he returns to the lady who holds the flash paper. Taking it in his fingers, he lights it. Whiff! it is gone. Hurrying to his table, he cuts open the apple, beginning to pare it at the perfect part. As soon as the bank note appears, he takes it out, holding it at arm's length so that the audience may see it is not exchanged, and hands it to its owner. The apple he crushes and lays on a plate, which he carries off as soon as possible.
Each form of the trick has its advantages. The one in which the lemon is used is the more brilliant, as the lemon may be marked for identification; while in the use of the apple, the bank note is not soiled by lemon juice, which is sometimes objected to.