Some years ago an Italian who assumed a Japanese name and costume, introduced a little trick which lately has been revived, and has proved popular with the public and the "profession."
Taking some small sheets of tissue paper, red and white, the performer tore them into narrow strips, placed these in a goblet, and poured water on them. With one end of his wand he pressed the paper into the water until it was thoroughly saturated, and afterward fished it out. Placing the wet strips in his right hand, the performer squeezed out the water, and then made them into a little wad. Picking up a fan, he opened it, and beginning to fan the wet wad, a number of tiny pieces of red and white paper flew about in every direction. The wad had disappeared.
The tiny bits of paper, which are of a fairly stiff quality, say, like writing paper, are gathered into a ball and wrapped in a piece of thin, white tissue paper, which is then tied with a bit of thread, as shown in drawing. Fig. 131. Before beginning the trick this little ball is placed under the right armpit.
In fishing out the wet strips, the performer does so with his left hand; he removes the wet paper with his right hand and squeezes the water out. At the same time he places his wand under his right arm, and in this way gets hold of the little ball. The next move is to pretend to place the wet strips in the left hand, but, in fact, the performer retains them between the second and third fingers of the right hand, picks up the fan, and begins to fan the supposed wet pieces. A little pressure breaks the tissue wrapper, and the tiny pieces fly about like a snow flurry. The wet wad in the right hand is dropped on the table behind a book or a box, when putting down the fan.